The public hospitals of Zimbabwe, once a model for Africa, have become waiting rooms for death.
A doctor at one of the country's five central hospitals - the biggest and supposedly best equipped health care centres in the country - laid bare the desperate state of the system.
"Patients are dying of things like dehydration - in a hospital," he said.
Neither the doctor nor his institution can be identified for fear of reprisals. During the interview, held in the back seat of a car, he looked around to check for observers at least a dozen times.
"We no longer have a system. Now it's beyond any form of help," he said, citing the example of a young girl admitted after a falling rock crushed her thigh and broke her shin.
"I couldn't clean the wound except with tap water. She needed surgery but there were no anaesthetic drugs.
"After three days we could operate but by that time gangrene had set in. We had no antibiotics and ended up amputating her leg. She is a 10-year-old girl." He shook his head sadly.
He listed some of the items his hospital has run out of: penicillin, insulin, painkillers, bandages, hydrogen peroxide, gauze, plaster, X-ray film, sterile gloves, surgical blades and intravenous fluids.
"Most of the staff have left. Some emergencies like appendicitis are no longer emergencies. We have got to the stage where with any condition not deemed life threatening, we are not operating," he said.
Patients have to wait for hours to see a doctor and must buy all their own medical supplies. If they cannot pay they cannot be treated, he said, pointing out that the first litre of intravenous fluids and a set of equipment to administer it costs Z$1.5million - half a civil servant's monthly salary.
"Every ward round you do you record 'patient is severely dehydrated, patient needs fluids, patient can't afford fluids'. You are literally watching patients die in your hands of correctable illnesses."
With President Robert Mugabe's government unable to import supplies because of the collapsing Zimbabwean dollar, the doctor has learned not to respond to the desperate pleas of the sick and their relatives. "I tell them, 'My hands are tied, I can't do anything for you'.
"This is how I am now. It hardens the heart, it annihilates hope, it obliterates the whole purpose of coming to work. You can't easily forgive yourself."
The doctor has just received a 540 per cent pay rise, to Z$9 million a month, about £30 at black market exchange rates and not enough to live on. "I can't remember the last time I bought myself an item from a clothing shop," he said. "Almost everyone tries to do something to get the extra dollar."
One of his colleagues has resorted to making bootleg CDs, while others use the hospital's internet access to look for a job abroad, most commonly in South Africa, Australia or New Zealand.
The doctor's description is a graphic confirmation of a United Nations report last month, which pointed out shortages of essential drugs and intravenous fluids.
Stella Allberry, health spokesman for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, said: "This government wants to pretend everything is wonderful. They are hiding their dead, they are hiding their ill and they are hiding the fact that nothing works.
"People are letting their families die at home rather than trying the hospitals. In our country you are an old man if you are 55."
The average life expectancy in Zimbabwe is now 37 for men and 34 for women.
Mothers, she added, had told her: "I just want my children to be a bit bigger, then I can die. No one dreams further than that."
Officials from Zimbabwe's ministry of health and child welfare could not be reached for comment.
Should Mbeki’s assurances about the Zimbabwe elections be believed?James Myburgh
In his weekly letter in ANC Today last Friday President Thabo Mbeki commented that for the "agents of progressive change" complete and accurate knowledge was an imperative. "Opponents of change" meanwhile, "see it as their obligatory task to falsify reality, in their interest." The ANC, he said, "must continue to search for, respect and defend the truth. Sooner or later those who try to falsify reality to achieve partisan objectives discover that lies have very short legs."
On Sunday Mbeki gave a rare briefing to the media after the mid-year cabinet lekgotla. In response to a question about the situation in Zimbabwe he stated, that "we are currently engaged in facilitating discussions" between the ZANU-PF government, and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
"In March next year Zimbabwe will have parliamentary and presidential elections. It's important that when those elections take place the results should not be contested. In other words you must have elections in Zimbabwe that are free and fair, and therefore produce a government that will be acceptable to all the people of Zimbabwe as a legitimate government emerging out of a democratic process. It is therefore necessary that everything is done to achieve that outcome."
These comments were reported by a number of news outlets under variant of the heading "Mbeki: Zimbabwe Elections Must Be Free and Fair." They echo the remarks Mbeki made in his state of the nation address to parliament on February 8 2002. He said then:
"In pursuit of stability in our region, we will work tirelessly to support the people of Zimbabwe in their quest to hold free and fair elections in their country. It is in the interest of the people of Zimbabwe and, indeed, the whole region that the government that emerges from the March elections is legitimate and enjoys the support of the majority. In order to play our part in ensuring that this happens, and in response to the wishes of Zimbabweans themselves, we will, within a week, send a multi-sectoral South African Observer Mission (SAOM) to Zimbabwe... I am informed that Parliament is also ready to send a Parliamentary Observer Team on the same mission. Clearly, the mission and the conditions that our teams seek to create are one and one only: let the people of Zimbabwe speak through the ballot box!"
Those two missions, along with the ANC's own, duly went and observed the poll. The elections were held on March 9 and 10 2002, and the results - which gave Mugabe a majority of the vote - were announced on March 13.
In its editorial, headed "Zimbabwe's Tragedy," The Times (London) commented the following day:
"Robert Mugabe has been declared the victor of a presidential election he has stolen, not won. It is the miserable conclusion of two years of ruthless preparation not merely to rig the vote itself, but to destroy all prospect of a fair electoral challenge to his ruinous policies. Paid thugs in his ZANU-PF party have used beatings, torture, kidnap and murder, in many instances in full view of police who offered no protection, to cow both voters and their would-be representatives. He starts his fifth term in power as a dictator, disgraced before the people he has cheated and before the world."
Under the heading "The cost of Mugabe" the Daily Telegraph (March 14) predicted that:
"Buoyed by his ‘victory', Mr Mugabe will now tighten the screws on the opposition Movement for Democratic Change and those civil and religious leaders who have spoken out against him. The future for white farmers in Zimbabwe, the first target of the terror campaign, looks hopeless. And the economy, already unable to produce enough of the main staple, maize, can only sink lower while such policies last. Mr Mugabe remains in power, but at a huge cost."
In its editorial titled "Zimbabwe's Stolen Vote" the Washington Post (March 14) commented:
"Gen.Alfredo Stroessner, the long time dictator of Paraguay, simply loved to be elected. In 1978 he announced he had won 89 percent of the vote; in 1983 he claimed 90 percent; five years later he awarded himself 88.5 percent. It is perhaps a mark of progress that Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe, a contemporary dictator, pretends to have won only 56 percent in the election that concluded on Monday. But the fraud is basically the same. A thug who crushes popular opposition to his rule is claiming popular legitimacy."
"The minimum response to this stolen election" it added, "is to describe it honestly."
The ANC government took a very different view. After the results were announced the ANC said "The will of the people of Zimbabwe has prevailed"; the SAOM said that the outcome "should be considered legitimate"; and, the ANC component of the Parliamentary Observer Team said the result was a "credible expression of the will of the people."
On a visit to Harare Deputy President Jacob Zuma said: "We sent observers here, who were observing each and every detail. They have reported...the elections were legitimate, are valid. They were free and fair and we have got to respect that." On March 20 the cabinet said:
"The South African government will continue to relate to the Government of Zimbabwe as the elected government of that country. In this regard, President Mbeki has noted and accepted the report of the SA Parliamentary Observer Mission adopted by Parliament yesterday, and the interim report of the SAOM."
This raises some interesting questions about the way in which the ANC of Mbeki respects and defends the truth. Does the ANC still believe that the 2002 (and 2005) elections produced a democratically legitimate government? Did it really believe it then? Were the editorials quoted above a case of the opponents of change merely "falsifying reality"? If so, is the presidency now saying that the elections next year need be no more free and fair than the previous lot, since they so credibly reflected the will of the people? In which case, how is this going to provide any kind of solution to the catastrophe currently unfolding in Zimbabwe? But if the ANC was mistaken then, how can it now claim a unique ability to "understand objective reality" free "from prejudice, false assumptions and propaganda"?
Earlier this week the political editor of the Herald - the Zimbabwean government's mouthpiece - set out what he claimed were the respective positions of the MDC and ZANU-PF in the mediation process. ZANU-PF had apparently "modelled its terms" along the lines of the SADC communiqué and were demanding that the MDC:
"Accepts the legitimacy and significance of the liberation struggle; Declare its acceptance of the President and Government's legitimacy and act accordingly in both language and actions; Drastically re-orient its attitudes towards national events; Stop forthwith its promotion of violence; Publicly and unequivocally call for the lifting of sanctions; and, Stop calling for outside interference in Zimbabwe's domestic affairs."
What is being demanded of the MDC is their capitulation: that they accept the results of the last two stolen elections, endorse the policies that have ruined the Zimbabwean economy, and surrender the two remaining levers of influence they still have. The MDC meanwhile apparently want (inter alia):
"A new constitution before next year's elections; That all Zimbabweans above 18 be allowed to vote; Impartial and transparent management of the electoral process; Full audit of the electoral process at key stages; Speedy and impartial resolution of electoral disputes; Impartial policing during elections; Press freedom and equal access to media outlets by political parties; Extensive and credible observation of the elections; Election agents and monitors to have free access to polling stations and vote counting centres; and, End to abuse of state resources by political parties during elections."
These are, with the possible exception of the constitutional issue, absolute pre-conditions if free and fair elections are to be held in Zimbabwe next year. If Mbeki was indeed sincere about ensuring this result he would be pressing ZANU-PF to accept its time its up, and accede to these demands. Yet one of the many problems of a leader proclaiming a unique ability to determine the truth is that it makes it very difficult for him to admit error or to take corrective action - even after the disastrous consequences of a policy become quite self-evident.
August 02, 2007, 06:30
An International Monetary Fund (IMF) official has predicted that its year on
year inflation could exceed 100 000% by the end of the year. This is just
one of the latest developments that have prompted Wits University to host a
public dialogue with three prominent Zimbabweans on the leadership challenge
facing their country.
Zimbabwean opposition politics suffered a major setback when a break-away
faction of Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the country's opposition,
announced that it would not back Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader, in next
year's elections. Instead, Arthur Mutambara declared that he would
personally stand as the MDC faction's presidential candidate.
Trevor Ncube, the Mail & Guardian publisher, a fierce critic of Robert
Mugabe, the Zimbabwean president says: "The crisis of leadership has
effectively paralysed Zimbabwean society." Ncube says that the current
leadership crisis affecting both the ruling Zanu-PF and opposition MDC
indicates that neither political party can produce a credible leader. He
says Zimbabwe needs a leader to steer it away from the current
Zimbabweans are confused
"Zimbabweans right now are confused by the division within the MDC. They are
disheartened and indeed feel the pain of abuse that comes from Zanu-PF. They
are running around looking for a home and they are unable to find it. For me
the third way has been a rejection of the politics of Zanu-PF, a rejection
of the politics of the MDC and an opportunity to offer a new beginning for
Zimbabweans. But I have realised that the third way is an idealistic
position...an idealistic position that in this particular time might be a
The southern African state is hard hit by high unemployment and rising
poverty. Many urban residents are reportedly also facing water, electricity
and transport shortages. During the past month, the Zimbabwean government
arrested, charged and fined hundreds of business people for overcharging
food prices. The IMF has warned that the price controls being enforced are
likely to exacerbate the shortages and ultimately fuel further inflation.
Elinor Sisulu of the Zimbabwean Civil Society Activists said: "Zimbabwe is
not an aberration on this continent...it is an exaggerated symptom of an
Sisulu, a Zimbabwean born political activist, accuses the Mugabe
administration of using, what she terms, "populist tactics" to cover up its
total disregard for the rule of law.
"Food is being used as a weapon. Voter registration was supposed to have
been taking place during this upheaval of price controls...it is not well
advertised. People have not been assisted on proper information on the voter
registration exercise. So many people would not have registered because they
will be busy chasing after bread, milk and meat. And these elections would
be declared free and fair. The same Southern African Development Community
(SADC) people will go there and the same South African government will
announce that those elections are free and fair," she said.
Last weekend, President Thabo Mbeki stressed that Zimbabwe's upcoming
elections had to be "free and fair" and also produce a legitimate
government. SADC earlier this year mandated Mbeki to mediate between Zanu-PF
and the MDC.
Tawanda Mutasah, the Zimbabwean executive director of the Open Society
Initiative, believes that Zimbabwean peace talks should be conducted in a
more transparent and inclusive manner.
Tawanda Mutasah says: "I think we need to make sure that those talks are not
talks that are happening in the closet. If the talks are happening behind
closed doors...and the very Zimbabweans who were brutalised are suddenly
excluded from the table. I have a problem with that. So I think it is very
critical that the talks shift from being talks between six men who are able
to fly between Pretoria and Harare".
Meanwhile, Xolelwa Mangcu, a Wits University academic, says the Zimbabwean
government and Zanu-PF declined to participate in the latest public dialogue
on the state of their country and its future.
August 02 2007 at 07:29AM
By Wendy Jasson da Costa
Gauteng's biggest refugee centre in Marabastad has turned into a
slumland where women are raped every night and where refugees - mainly from
Zimbabwe - squat for months hoping to get legal documents.
The national assembly's Home Affairs committee paid an impromptu visit
to the Home Affairs centre on Wednesday and its chairperson, Patrick Chauke,
labelled the situation "inhumane" and a "massive crisis".
The smartly dressed MPs were met by hundreds of hungry, haggard
looking refugees pushing and shoving to get into the building.
The centre's director, Mfundo Ngozwana, said at least 1 000 people
streamed to their office each day but with a staff of only 15 and unreliable
equipment, only 50 to 75 people could be processed.
He said many of them slept outside the building and had been there for
"It's created a slum where people are sleeping outside and there are
even smash and grabs," he said.
Some refugees told Chauke they had been there since January 2006 and
even those who got their papers had no place to go.
As the MPs made their way into the building, they were visibly
disgusted by the stench of unwashed human bodies, overflowing bins, dirt
strewn across the stairs, broken equipment with springs sticking out and
important documents piled willy-nilly on the floor.
It was obvious that the floors had not seen a broom for months and in
one office the table was covered in what seemed like used condoms but on
closer inspection turned out to be latex gloves.
Ngozwana said they had no cleaners and had repeatedly told Home
Affairs head office about their problems but nothing had been done about it.
He said 20 interns had just been deployed to work there but there were
no offices and no computers for them.
According to Chauke, the health department had labelled the centre a
"health hazard" and not conducive to providing a service to the public.
"The place does not conform with any standard.
"The place is filthy . we don't even have ablution facilities (and)
people are relieving themselves in the field.
"There's no proper water or shelter that people will fit in while they
wait to be served," Chauke said.
He said that apart from Rossetenville in Johannesburg this was the
only centre that dealt with refugees and the adverse working conditions had
Also alarming was that syndicates from Pakistan were operating in the
area and taking money from people with the promise they would be first in
the queue, said Chauke.
On the pavement outside the steel fence surrounding the centre,
hundreds of women sleep on cardboard boxes lined up next to each other every
They said about 500 people usually slept there and sometimes the
number swelled to 1 000.
On Wednesday many of them said they had not eaten for at least a day
and, if they were lucky, donors would sometimes arrive with food.
The majority of them were Zimbabweans hoping to get their official
refugee documents so they could find work and send food to their families
One of them, a young Zimbabwean mother, Cynthia, had been sleeping on
the pavement with her baby since last week.
She said at night the men would often take their food and phones and,
if they resisted, they were beaten or raped.
Chauke said the committee would meet with the national department of
home affairs on Friday to discuss the matter.
This article was originally published on page 3 of Pretoria News on
August 02, 2007
Thu, 02 Aug 2007
Renewed bickering among Zimbabwe's opposition only months after a vow to
bury their differences looks set to wreck prospects of a united challenge to
President Robert Mugabe at elections next year.
After they both fell victim to a crackdown by the security services in
March, leaders of the two factions of the main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change promised they would no longer be distracted from their
primary task of ending Mugabe's 27-year rule.
But the uneasy truce broke down at the weekend when the main MDC leader
Morgan Tsvangirai was denounced as "an intellectual midget" by Arthur
Mutambara, who commands the loyalty of nearly half the party's lawmakers.
Tsvangirai in turn accused his rival of wasting ammunition on the wrong
Analysts believe the only real winner is Mugabe, seeking a seventh term in
office next year at a time when the economy is in meltdown and his country
increasingly diplomatically isolated.
"This rivalry will be an added advantage to the ruling (Zanu-PF) party and
Mugabe," said Takura Zhangazha, a Harare-based political scientist.
"The decision (to renew rivalries) is unfortunate for the people who are
fighting for democratic space in Zimbabwe."
Other anti-government activists felt let down by the MDC's failure to put
differences to one side, saying it underlined the need for a whole
"What is clear is that after next year, Mugabe will remain in power because
of these personality differences," said Lovemore Madhuku, chairperson of the
National Constitutional Assembly, a coalition of civic groups agitating for
a new constitution.
"The future will now need a new leadership, because currently there is lack
of seriousness from the two factions. So after next year, there is need for
people who are keen to have united opposition to come out and look for new
Split in 2005
Once posing the stiffest challenge to 83-year-old Mugabe's stranglehold on
power, the MDC split into two factions in 2005 over a decision to
participate or boycott senate elections which Tsvangirai said were a waste
After Tsvangirai and Mutambara were assaulted by Mugabe's forces at a foiled
protest in March, both men made a point of standing side-by-side in court
and Mutambara declared that "we are going to manage our differences."
But at a press conference on Saturday, Mutambara, a former academic,
delivered a withering assessment of one-time union leader Tsvangirai.
"If Morgan Tsvangirai is such a weak and indecisive leader who cannot
embrace what ordinary Zimbabweans are demanding, is he worthy of the
presidency of this country?" Mutambara said.
Tsvangirai's response came the next day when an appeal for unity contained a
swipe at his younger rival.
The enemy is Mugabe
"The enemy is not Tsvangirai. The enemy is Mugabe. If you focus on
Tsvangirai, you are wasting your resources on the wrong target," he said.
Both factions have sent representatives to on-off talks in Pretoria which
form part of efforts by the South African government to mediate between
Zanu-PF and MDC ahead of next year's presidential and parliamentary polls.
But the divisions among their leaders has prevented them from presenting a
united front at the talks with sources saying that the two factions have put
forward differing demands on conditions for free and fair elections.
Former information minister Jonathan Moyo, who has split from Zanu-PF, said
the opposition was making a fatal mistake by failing to resolve its
differences and would hand victory on a plate to Mugabe.
"Another fool's choice being peddled in opposition circles is that Morgan
Tsvangirai's faction of the MDC can or will win the presidential election in
March 2008," he wrote in the privately-owned Zimbabwe Independent.
"While Tsvangirai has over the years shown commendable courage as an
opposition leader, his exemplary courage has been failed by his
characteristically poor leadership and lack of strategy or sound judgment."
Njabulo Ncube Political Editor
Tsvangirai, journalists attacked
JOCELYN Chiwenga, the wife of the commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Force
(ZDF), Constantine, yesterday caused an uproar at Makro Wholesalers in
Harare when she hurled insults at opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and
attacked shoppers and a journalist.
The former trade unionist was on a tour of stores in the capital city to
assess the impact of a government-sponsored price blitz when he came
face-to-face with the wife of the military supremo at Makro - a South
African-owned wholesale chain - around lunchtime.
Chiwenga, doing her shopping with a uniformed soldier in tow, went into a
frenzy upon seeing Tsvangirai, hurling unprintable insults at the Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) leader who will be launching his party's March
2008 election campaign in September.
"This dog has caused the suffering in this country. What is he doing here?"
She then ordered Makro management to shut the doors, whipped out her mobile
phone, and said she was calling her husband so that he could order soldiers
to come down on "Tsvangirai's journalists" and everyone in the store.
"We are going to deal with these MDC people. They bring the British here to
cause problems for our country," she screamed, in front of a group of
journalists who were at the wholesale to cover Tsvangirai's tour.
As if taking instructions from their bosses in South Africa, Makro security
immediately rushed to shut the doors to the premises.
This sparked a stampede by shoppers, journalists and part of Tsvangirai's
entourage for the exit. Tsvangirai himself only just slipped past the doors
before they were slammed shut.
A number of journalists suffered minor injuries in the melee. Most managed
to escape, but photojournalist Tsvangirai Mukwazhi was not so lucky.
Left barricaded inside the wholesale, Mukwazhi was slapped in the face by
Chiwenga, who tried to grab and smash his equipment.
"You are the people that are sending bad pictures to the West. I will kill
you," she screamed at Mukwazhi, slapping him several times.
Unbelievably, management at Makro showed little remorse for taking
Chiwenga's instructions, and even accused Mukwazhi of taking pictures inside
the store without permission.
Last night, Chiwenga was unrepentant in a radio interview with VoA's
Studio7, a multimedia broadcasting service funded by the United States
government. She told her interviewer to "tell everybody that Tsvangirai ran
Asked to explain her actions, she threatened the reporter, and asked if he
thought there was something special about America.
"And if you come to Zimbabwe, I will beat you up myself. My name is Jocelyn
Back at his party's Harvest House headquarters, Tsvangirai condemned
Chiwenga's actions, saying she had demonstrated how those closely related to
the military and ZANU PF had become a law unto themselves.
"It confirms the lawlessness in the country if ordinary citizens can have
powers to order businesses around," said Tsvangirai.
In 2003, Chiwenga assaulted former Daily News lawyer Gugulethu Moyo at a
police station in Glen View, after the lawyer had gone to try and free
another photojournalist, Philemon Bulawayo, who had been arrested while
covering an MDC protest.
According to records, Chiwenga allegedly twisted Moyo's arm and slapped her
in the face, shouting: "So what if you are a lawyer? You want to encourage
anarchy in this country. You want to represent our enemies."
She was allegedly assisted in the assault of Moyo by her employee at
Zimsafe, a company that has been a long-standing supplier of luminous
protective clothing to both the police and the military.
Her husband denied before the Parliamentary portfolio committee on defence
and home affairs last September that Zimsafe had been favoured in the
awarding of contracts to the ZDF.
In 2002, she was accused of grabbing farm produce, valued at what was then a
massive $7 billion. This earned her a ban in Europe and America.
When she tried to showcase products from her hunting concession in
Kazungula, in May 2002, Chiwenga was denied a United States visa, prompting
her to throw another tantrum.
Media watchdogs, among them the Media Institute of Southern Africa,
yesterday condemned Chiwenga's actions. In 2003, Chiwenga assaulted former
Daily News lawyer Gugulethu Moyo at a police station in Glen View, after the
lawyer had gone to try and free another photojournalist, Philemon Bulawayo,
who had been arrested while covering an MDC protest.
According to records, Chiwenga allegedly twisted Moyo's arm and slapped her
in the face, shouting: "So what if you are a lawyer? You want to encourage
anarchy in this country. You want to represent our enemies."
She was allegedly assisted in the assault of Moyo by her employee at
Zimsafe, a company that has been a long-standing supplier of luminous
protective clothing to both the police and the military.
Her husband denied before the Parliamentary portfolio committee on defence
and home affairs last September that Zimsafe had been favoured in the
awarding of contracts to the ZDF.
In 2002, she was accused of grabbing farm produce, valued at what was then a
massive $7 billion. This earned her a ban in Europe and America.
When she tried to showcase products from her hunting concession in
Kazungula, in May 2002, Chiwenga was denied a United States visa, prompting
her to throw another tantrum.
Media watchdogs, among them the Media Institute of Southern Africa,
yesterday condemned Chiwenga's actions.
Kumbirai Mafunda Senior Business Reporter
ZIMBABWE'S embattled business leaders tabled at last week's meeting with
President Robert Mugabe an ambitious plan they say can bring economic
stability in just three months.
But a document they presented is heavy on fawning praise singing, and vague
on concrete recovery measures.
The recovery plan, contained in a 14-page document that was presented to
President Mugabe, aims to show signs of a reversal of years of economic
decline within 90 days of "robust implementation" of a package of recovery
This would be done through the mobilisation of foreign currency to stabilise
the country's skidding currency, the removal of all pricing misalignments,
including that for hard currency, and the creation of "a primary budget
The entrepreneurs said the country's deep economic crisis would require the
implementation of extraordinary measures and unconventional methods.
"Your Excellency, we are not here to prescribe. We now seek your advice and
guidance so that we deal with the grave situation out there within the next
90 days. We propose that you consider setting up a small team of people
drawn from government and business to put together and implement a
comprehensive emergency package of measures designed to rescue, stabilise
and eventually turn around our economy," reads part of the business leaders'
set of proposals, obtained this week by The Financial Gazette.
Business is optimistic the implementation of the economic rescue package
would significantly reduce the country's runaway inflation - the highest in
the world at 4 500 percent in May - increase capacity utilisation and
increase confidence in the economy.
During a four-hour meeting with President Mugabe at State House, business
leaders proposed the implementation of "a credible, transparent pricing
mechanism that ensures both business viability and affordability for
consumers for controlled and monitored products through the framework from
the social contract."
Business also suggested the restructuring of the country's loss-making
public enterprises, which have been a drain on the fiscus, and the need to
stem the mass exodus of skilled manpower by putting in place appropriate
legislation and other measures to retain skills.
Once the internal package of measures achieves traction, the business
leaders would then "seek external balance of payments support on favourable
terms," according to the proposals.
But it is the business leaders' engagement with President Mugabe, which will
During the meeting, also attended by members of the Cabinet taskforce on
price monitoring and stabilisation, the captains of industry blamed targeted
sanctions imposed on the ruling ZANU PF elite by western governments,
hostility towards the land reform programme, and drought, for the crisis.
One striking testimony was a "confession" by the business leaders that
everyone - including "the country" and business itself, had let President
"Your Excellency, when we look at how we as a nation have performed against
the goal that you set for us, that is the goal to create a prosperous nation
where the lives of all our people are uplifted, we can all clearly see that
we have all let you down as there exists a glaring gap between your goals
and our performance as an economy. This country, business and government
together, have let you down. That is our conclusion and that is what we seek
to remedy together as a team."
Although the business leaders' proposal sees foreign aid as key to any
recovery, they also replayed the government mantra on sovereignty, stating:
"We chart our own course and determine our own destiny rather than accepting
a rescue package on the terms of foreigners."
President Mugabe's government last month ordered businesses to slash prices
by half to curb ravaging inflation, which the International Monetary Fund
predicted on Tuesday could top 100 000 percent by year end.
The price cuts have weighed down businesses, prompting some of them to close
shop while others have had to scale down production. This week, government
issued a fresh statutory instrument extending the price freeze to December,
signalling even leaner times ahead for businesses.
ENVIRONMENT and Tourism Minister, Francis Nhema, could have exerted his
influence to arm twist the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (PWMA)
into spending US$44 000 on the importation of a Prado VX model for his
personal use, The Financial Gazette can reveal.
The luxury 4x4 will ultimately cost the authority about US$96 000 after
factoring in 105 percent import duty, but this excludes shipping costs.
The Financial Gazette has obtained documents revealing how senior government
officials, including Nhema and Margaret Sangarwe, the permanent secretary in
the ministry could have made misrepresentations to Cabinet, allowing them to
use the PWMA to acquire luxury vehicles for themselves.
A June 29 letter, reference number D/C/18/4, signed by a security officer
only identified as S Murombedzi, indicates that Nhema's ministry sought and
was granted Cabinet approval to purchase the vehicle by claiming that "an
incoming director" at the parks authority was to use it.
"The vehicles will be used by the Director General (of the PWMA, Morris
Mtsambiwa) and one of the incoming directors (respectively) in executing
their duties, which include among other things, accessing the authority's
terrain, which is predominantly rugged," Murombedzi's letter says.
"I have attached earlier correspondences highlighting why the Ministry (of
Tourism) has seen it acceptable for the department to buy the Prado VX for
the Hon Minister," Murombedzi said.
Under the arrangement, Mtsambiwa was granted authority to import a Mercedes
Benz ML 320.
Nhema yesterday described the information as "nonsense" orchestrated by
"someone trying to be creative."
"What normally happens is that if there is a request from a parastatal to
import something, and if the Central Mechanical Department does not have the
foreign currency, the (line) ministry can seek Cabinet approval," he said.
PWMA public relations manager Edward Mbewe said the authority does not buy
vehicles for ministers.
"We buy Prados for our own directors, not for the minister," Mbewe said.
When reminded that documents showed that the vehicle in question was
purchased specifically for the minister, Mbewe replied: "It could be
something that I am not aware of, but as I said, we only buy Prados for our
directors. I will have to find out."
But earlier correspondence within Nhema's Ministry indicates that a decision
had already been reached between top officials to get Cabinet approval
through the submission of inaccurate information to the Ministry of
Transport and Communications, which is in charge of all state vehicle
A letter written by Mtsambiwa to Sangarwe asking her to secure Cabinet
approval for the importation of the Prado, included notes-scribbled in long
hand at the bottom: "I suggest Parks should just buy it (the Prado) as one
of its vehicles rather than a ministerial vehicle, as this may raise
eyebrows, 'Honourable Minister your guidance please'.. 'Agreed'.. 'Parks
should apply for the Cabinet."
It is not clear, however, who added the hand-written notes to the letter.
However, documents at hand indicate that after this plan had been hatched,
on June 29, Nhema's ministry instructed Mtsambiwa to import the Prado VX.
A June 22 letter from the Ministry of Transport and Communications,
reference number 19/14/36, refers to the Prado as a "vehicle for the PWMA",
suggesting the ploy to hoodwink Cabinet had worked.
"Authority is granted for the PWMA to buy a Mercedes Benz ML 320 for the
director general and a Prado for one of the incoming directors," wrote the
Ministry of Transport.
Nhema, who is not entitled to a PWMA vehicle, already drives a government
issued Mercedes Benz and an Isuzu 4X4 purchased under a Parliament facility.
But sources report he had already obtained another Prado, registration
number AAR 3111, from the PWMA for personal use.
It also emerged this week that the controversial importation of Nhema's
latest luxury vehicle points to a broader scam, where the PWMA could have
been prejudiced of billions in procurement, and in fuel and service costs
for its vehicles that have been looted for personal use by senior government
Details indicate a plunder of PWMA resources by influential officials taking
turns to order the slaughter of game, commandeering vehicles, and ordering
the purchase of personal cellphones by the authority.
In 2004, deputy Environment Minister Andrew Langa grabbed a Nissan Hardbody,
registration number GNP 587, for use at his Matabeleland farm.
The vehicle was only returned in 2006 after developing technical problems,
after which the official, whose identity is known to The Financial Gazette,
demanded a Mazda B1800, registration number GNP 662.
In December 2004, Sangarwe seized an Isuzu 3L, registration number 829 521S
for personal use.
She confirmed yesterday that she was using a PWMA vehicle at her farm
because she did not have a suitable car to use.
She did not however, say government had a mandate to buy her a vehicle for
her personal businesses.
"I have a 607, which I cannot use at the farm so I have borrowed a car from
Parks to use," Sangarwe said.
"The deputy (Langa) has the same problem, he has said his Prado is not
suitable for the terrain in rural constituencies and for elections so he has
also borrowed another car from Parks. But that is not an anomaly because all
permanent secretaries are doing it."
"They all enjoy free maintenance and fuel costs," a source said.
The Financial Gazette is reliably informed that the Isuzu is serviced by
PWMA, at a cost of $36 million after covering every 10 000 kilometres, or
after two months.
Sources say Sangarwe has also instructed the PWMA to purchase a Nokia N70
phone for $398 million and "promised to refund the authority later."
She confirmed the transaction yesterday but said the phone was not yet
Turning to Nhema's car, Sangarwe said she has a circular dating a few years
back to buy 4X4s for ministers to use in constituencies but with only a
budget of $300 000 the ministry failed.
They then approached PWMA "because they have the foreign currency, but it is
"But yes, he is entitled (to a PWMA car)," she said.
On Monday last week one of the government officials, who also enjoys
substantial government allowances such as a top of the range vehicle, phones
and fuel, commandeered a Nissan, registration number 829 499D, from the PWMA
fleet for a foreign trip, receiving 100 litres worth of fuel coupons at the
expense of PWMA.
"There is a serious shortage of cars at PWMA, but the Ministry took two blue
Peugeot 405s, registrations numbers GNP 591 and GNP 594, for its top
officials," a source said.
One of the cars has since been damaged in an accident.
Official records obtained in the course of investigating this story indicate
that the PWMA recently decided to beef up its depleted fleet. Twenty percent
of the budget has been allocated towards the purchase of "managers' cars",
the records show.
Twenty-four Land Cruisers have been imported for operations and six Nissan
Sunny 2.7D twin cabs have been procured for management.
But the bulk of them are yet to be delivered.
But it is feared that the bulk of the budget for "managers' cars" could go
towards the importation of luxury vehicles for top government and PWMA
Although documents at hand show that Mtsambiwa, the director general, was
granted permission to import a new Mercedes Benz ML 320, he already had
another Mercedes at his disposal.
An official at the ministry only identified as Mudzamiri questioned on May
28 the logic behind the acquisition of the new Benz, the documents reveal.
"What has happened to the current Mercedes, which the DG (director general)
has?" his footnotes on the May 8 letter, reference number A/1/164 reads.
The PWMA is one of the biggest foreign currency earners among government
departments, making it a magnet for corruption.
Dumisani Ndlela Business Editor
SIGNIFICANT cash injections pushed the market up from a $877 billion deficit
on Monday to open the day short to the tune of $182 billion Tuesday, with
the market forecast short to the tune of $157 billion yesterday.
The huge cash injection was expected to have come from government
expenditure, as well as payments for gold deliveries by the central bank of
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe this week increased the price for gold
delivered in June, a week after raising the gold support prices by 760
percent with effect from the beginning of last month.
The support price was raised from $350 000 to $3 million per gram last week
in a bid to boost falling gold production.
Central bank governor, Gideon Gono, said this week the new payments would be
made "with immediate effect" to those who had already delivered their gold
to Fidelity Printers and Refineries.
It was expected that part of these payments had turned the market from the
The improved liquidity forced short-term money market rates into a tail
spin, with short-term investment rates plumbing to fresh depths of between
50 percent and 100 percent from around 300 percent.
Dealers and analysts said the market shortages for Tuesday and the forecast
deficit position for Wednesday, significant enough to have created a rates
rapture, indicated the growing deposit books by the country's banking
A $157 billion deficit would have kept rates up, with banks jostling for
cash to cover short positions.
Washington Mehlomakulu, an analyst with Highveld Financial Services, said
about falling money market rates: "It's merely the fact that the market can
now absorb what could normally be a significant shortages under normal
circumstances. Because of the growth of deposit books, the shortage becomes
thin when spread across the market."
He said banking institutions were pricing their instruments at low rates
because of increasing uncertainties in government activities.
Clemence Manyukwe Staff Reporter
SOLDIERS taking orders from a brigadier-general who illegally seized a farm
in Manicaland at the beginning of this year have defied a directive by Vice
President Joseph Msika to vacate the property where they have been deployed
to ensure that their boss prevails.
The soldiers, who are camped at the farm permanently, have sent police
officers who arrived at the farm to effect a High Court order packing after
their superior assembled them to send a "show of force" message to the law
enforcers, court documents show.
Charles Lock, the farmer from whom Karori Farm in Headlands, Makoni
District, was seized, filed an urgent application in the High Court against
a Brigadier General Mujaji, who occupied the property in February this year.
To bolster his case, the farmer attached a letter in which Msika said the
farmer should be allowed to remain on the property.
In his founding affidavit, Lock says after the takeover of the farm, he
approached the constituency's Member of Parliament, Security Minister
Didymus Mutasa, who is also Minister of Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement,
Mutasa referred the matter to provincial Governor Tinaye Chigudu, who in
turn submitted the matter to the presidency, resulting in Msika's
In a letter to Lock, Chigudu says: "As you may recall, the Acting President
(Msika) asked me, as the Governor of Manicaland, why we had taken your
Karori Farm to which I responded in the negative."
"He, however, proceeded to direct that we should not take Karori Farm from
you considering that your other farm had been taken by government for
resettlement purposes.As he instructed, the farm is not to be taken away
Court papers reveal how senior police officers had visited the farm to
arrest Mujaji, but had left without accomplishing their mission because the
brigadier general "cocked his weapon" and assembled his soldiers for a
showdown with the police.
High Court judge Justice Samuel Kudya ruled in Lock's favour.
Mujaji appealed to the Supreme Court, but his appeal was dismissed last
month because he had not filed his heads of argument on time.
Lock's lawyer, Alexander Masterson, of Coghlan, Welsh and Guest, said
yesterday: "The brigadier is still on the farm. He still has soldiers on the
farm. I am not prepared to comment further."
In his ruling, Justice Kudya said in addition to vacating the farm, Mujaji
must remove the soldiers camped on the property.
"The respondent (Mujaji) shall forthwith secure the removal from the land
all military personnel presently stationed there together with their tents
and belongings. The respondent shall make no further attempt to occupy or
utilise any equipment and materials belonging to the applicants," the judge
This is one more case that reflects contradictions within government over
its land allocation policies.
Recently, Msika conceded that the land reform exercise had been chaotic.
"The (land) policy document didn't say all white farmers should be chased
out. I am not a racist and I refuse to be racist."
JUSTICE Minister Patrick Chinamasa and the Deputy Minister of Health and
Child Welfare, Edwin Muguti, have clashed over whether or not Simon Mann,
the suspected British mercenary detained at Chikurubi Maximum Security
Prison needs to undergo surgery urgently, the High Court heard last week.
During an appeal hearing against a lower court's decision granting an
application to extradite Mann to Equatorial Guinea to face charges of
plotting a coup, defence lawyer Jonathan Samkange said Muguti had written to
Chinamasa informing him that Mann must undergo a hernia operation urgently.
Muguti is one of Mann's four doctors.
However, state prosecutor Joseph Jagada told the court that Chinamasa had
decided that the operation was not urgent.
"I have a letter here from the (Justice) Minister saying permission is
denied," said Jagada.
The state and Mann's defence team have previously clashed over where the
alleged mercenary should undergo surgery.
In previous hearings at the magistrate's court, Samkange said his client had
chosen to be operated on at a private hospital, while Jagada insisted any
operation be conducted at a government facility for security reasons.
At last week's appeal hearing, presiding judges Justice Rita Makarau and
Justice Bharat Patel reserved judgment indefinitely.
Mann was arrested with 67 others at Harare International Airport in March
All members of the group were charged and convicted of violating the country's
security and arms laws. All the others, except Mann have served their
sentences and been released.
The mercenaries were accused of having been on their way to Malabo,
Equatorial Guinea, to stage a coup. They denied the allegations.
Mann has submitted that his extradition would be in contravention of
international statutes on torture, to which Zimbabwe is a signatory. He has
cited treaties forbidding the extradition of any individual to a country
where he or she would face either torture or an unfair trial.
ONE of the suspects accused of plotting to overthrow President Robert Mugabe
has disappeared while at the same time he and his alleged accomplices have
filed a $20 billion claim in damages against the police for torture.
The missing man's lawyer, Charles Warara, said on Monday that Edmore Gapare
was last seen in public more than a month ago.
Court documents show that Gapare, who is related to Albert Matapo, the
alleged ring leader in the coup plot saga, was arrested on June 5, and
released on June 18 but was allegedly tortured during his detention. When
the police subsequently visited Gapare's home to re-arrest him, they
discovered that he had vanished,.
Warara said since then, Gapare's whereabouts have been unknown, both to his
relatives and to the police.
"We do not know where he is. It is still a source of much concern," said
"The last thing I heard was that they had checked in the rural areas and
there was no sign (of Gapare)."
A medical report complied by a doctor, only identified as Musuka of Gonda
Clinic in Harare's central business district, confirms that Gapare was
tortured during his incarceration from June 5 to 18.
The report says Gapare had lacerations on his tongue, blisters on his feet
and swollen ribs, which were consistent with being assaulted and subjected
to electric shocks.
"These are very serious injuries, and they would need continuous monitoring
and treatment," part of the doctor's report reads.
Gapare and two other suspects, who are also related to Matapo, are suing the
police for more than $20 billion as compensation for illegal detention and
In a letter of demand filed by his lawyer before his disappearance, Gapare
recounts how he was arrested in Ruwa, blindfolded and bundled into a car.
He was allegedly taken to a house he believes to be located near Harare
International Airport, where he was assaulted and forced to implicate Matapo
in the alleged coup.
"The instruction we have is that the method used to torture our client was
the application of electricity to his toes, where electric wires were wound
around the toes and then electricity would be connected," reads part of the
"He also indicated that electricity was used on his head, as a result of
which he passed out."
Kumbirai Mafunda Senior Reporter
CRACKS within the ruling ZANU PF deepened this week when the party's
provincial chairpersons protested against the selective execution of the
ongoing price blitz, which they charged exempted ZANU PF big shots.
Informed ruling party sources disclosed this week that the provincial
chairpersons took the national political commissar, Elliot Manyika, to task
over the discriminatory implementation of the price crackdown at a meeting
held in the capital on Monday.
The chairpersons reportedly charged that the price enforcement teams were
sparing properties and businesses owned by prominent ZANU PF officials.
Manyika reportedly pressed the chairpersons to identify the alleged
culprits, prompting Bulawayo interim chairperson Macloud Tshawe to nail
Obert Mpofu, the chairperson of the Cabinet taskforce on price stabilisation
Tshawe, who could not be contacted for comment at the time of going to pres,
alleged that Mpofu, who is leading the government crackdown on the business
sector, had defied the decree to slash rentals at York House, a building
Mpofu owns in Bulawayo.
"Manyika was taken to task by the provincial chairpersons on why properties
belonging to prominent ZANU PF officials were being spared by the blitz.
During the meeting, Mpofu was singled out for increasing rentals in defiance
of the government order," the source said.
York House is owned through a company called Trebo and Khays, which bought
the building from Old Mutual for $30 million in 2001. The directors of the
company are listed as Obert Moses Mpofu and Sikhanyisiwe Mpofu.
Mpofu, who was away on official business when the meeting took place on
Tuesday, disputed the allegations, insisting that York House had the lowest
rentals in Bulawayo.
"Just go there and get the rentals and find out on your own. That building
is the one with the lowest rates in town. Comparatively, we are the lowest
in town, and I wouldn't be that foolish (to defy government orders)," said
Investigations conducted by the Financial Gazette's Bulawayo Bureau
yesterday showed that Mpofu had indeed not raised rentals as alleged.
The government clamped down on manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, estate
agents and commuter omnibus operators in June when it ordered them to slash
prices by 50 percent after accusing them of frequently hiking prices to stir
up a rebellion against President Robert Mugabe's government.
Clemence Manyukwe Staff Reporter
Talks collapse further cripples opposition
THE collapse of opposition unity talks is like manna
from heaven for President Robert Mugabe and ZANU PF and creates an unimpeded
path for them to march to victory in next year's polls, analysts say.
Arthur Mutambara, leader of one faction of the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), at the weekend attacked factional
rival Morgan Tsvangirai, describing him as an "intellectual midget" and a
"weak and indecisive leader".
Blaming his rival for the failure of attempts to
re-unite the two groupings, Mutambara vowed his party would field its own
candidate against Tsvangirai and President Mugabe when harmonised elections
are held next year.
"If Morgan Tsvangirai is such a weak and indecisive
leader who cannot embrace what ordinary Zimbabweans are demanding (unity),
is he worthy of the presidency of this country? Zimbabweans deserve better
Explaining why his faction pulled out of the Save
Zimbabwe coalition of opposition groups, Mutambara said the grouping had
"become a vehicle to solely advance the perverted agenda of Morgan
However, at a rally in Kuwadzana the following day,
Tsvangirai said he remained committed to unity, although he will launch his
election campaign in September.
Negotiations collapsed after Tsvangirai refused to
publicly endorse a code of conduct ending hostilities and leading to a
coalition pact, Mutambara claimed.
The latest mudslinging comes after months of
bickering between the factions, which began when the MDC split into entities
in October 2005 over disagreements about participating in senate elections.
Analysts say the undoubted beneficiary of the
bickering is President Mugabe and his party.
Lovemore Madhuku, chairman of the National
Constitutional Assembly (NCA), said those who understood the MDC had never
expected the two factions to re-unite because of what he termed "fundamental
personality differences" between its founding figures.
Madhuku, seen as an ally of Tsvangirai, charged that
Mutambara was a mere figurehead, and that real power lay with the faction's
secretary general, Welshman Ncube and David Coltart, secretary for legal
But he conceded the acrimony would further cripple
"If you have both disunity and the absence of a fair
electoral playing field, the result is sure defeat," Madhuku said.
He said voters would have to contend with the
current opposition leaders, as it would be impractical to replace them
before next year's polls. But he said upon defeat, both rival leaders should
resign to make way for new leadership committed to unity.
Madhuku, whose NCA is part of Save Zimbabwe, denied
the grouping was "championing Tsvangirai's cause".
"I got the impression - from listening to what
Arthur was saying and from reading the press statements - that it appears
they entered Save Zimbabwe in order to leave it."
Political analyst John Makumbe said Mutambara has
more to lose as a result of the rift.
"I think the majority of their candidates will lose
some seats in Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South and Bulawayo," said
"There is also the fact that Mutambara is not a
quarter as popular as Morgan Tsvangirai, anywhere in Zimbabwe."
The opposition would lose some seats it currently
holds to ZANU PF, Makumbe said, but the losses would be limited.
"ZANU PF may gain some seats, but it is unlikely to
be widespread," Makumbe said.
However, Tsholotsho independent MP Jonathan Moyo
does not believe the split seriously weakens either faction, especially
considering that they had split back in 2005. The only new factor was
Mutambara's withdrawal from Save Zimbabwe.
Save Zimbabwe's purpose had always been to forge a
broad alliance around Tsvangirai, says Moyo
"If there are people who say the purpose was not to
build a broad based alliance around Tsvangirai, then those people were not
part of the alliance. Their denial is inconsequential."
He added that the Mutambara faction might now even
be better positioned for the polls, as they have not yet announced their
The person that will emerge to stand on the faction's
ticket could well prove to be acceptable to the electorate, Moyo says.
Both factions might yet emerge stronger from the
"When ZAPU split in 1963, it did not weaken the
nationalist movement. ZANU and ZAPU became formidable forces. There is a
possibility of both factions, or either one of the factions, becoming a
potent opposition force after the split."
Coltart on Tuesday described as "nonsense" Madhuku's
claim that Mutambara was a mere figurehead.
He also denied that his faction was responsible for
the collapse of unity.
"If you look at the resolution passed by (his party's)
national council, it states that we are prepared to adhere to the April
agreement. The blame does not lie with us."
But he described the failure to reach an agreement
as "regrettable", and conceded the split favoured ZANU PF.
Rangarirai Mberi News Editor
THEY say opposites attract. But somebody between Kingdom and Meikles Africa
will have to give up the pants.
One is a company established by three Scotsmen some 115 years ago, while the
other celebrated its tenth anniversary only last year. The one has, as its
most recognisable business, a 92-year old hotel - complete with two British
Lions at the entrance - and is seen as a relic of the stoical conservatism
of the past.
The other is a young bank that recently invested in a randy new logo, has
the ambitious "beyond tomorrow" as its payoff line, and has a youthful,
evangelical chief executive. And it's been the strongest company on the
board all year, its stock up close to 60 000 percent since January.
Throw in Tanganda, the company famously formed out of a box of seed smuggled
from India back in 1924, and you have what is plainly a merger of old money
and new money.
The big question now is whether the obvious gap in cultures that exists
between the two sides will become a hurdle or a stepping-stone.
When Time Warner, an old media hand, merged in 2000 with AOL, a darling of
the dotcom era, a fallout resulted in the loss of US$200 billion in
shareholder value. One report said "Time Warner employees considered their
AOL counterparts to be too pushy and aggressive, while AOLers considered
Time Warner staffers to be coddled, passive, and lazy".
Kingdom and Meikles will be looking to avoid that. But the differences in
management styles between them are just as different as their histories.
Kingdom has a youngish management team, comprising the likes of chief
executive officer Nigel Chanakira and finance director Onias Makamba.
It is the fastest growing bank - so fast was growth last year the bank had
to deliberately pull the brake.
On the other hand, Meikles is seen as the last bastion of the old order, and
has faced criticism over such things as the bland branding and systems at
its businesses, especially in retail, and its perceived "over cautious"
People involved in the deal are obviously aware of such concerns. But they
prefer to concentrate on what either side is bringing to the party;
Kingdom's "younger, dynamic management," one person involved said yesterday,
and the "well networked" establishment at Meikles.
Promoters of the deal believe concern over the likely impact of the culture
gap is being overplayed. Meikles has been part of Kingdom right from the
bank's roots, they point out.
"Chanakira had the idea, and Meikles had the money," one said.
But either side would have to give up some to gain some. The question is how
Just how much of its culture - built over 100 years - is Meikles ready to
give up for a partnership with what, at least compared to its own pedigree,
must surely be a group of greenhorns?
And, on the other hand, how much of its chic, up-town flavour is Kingdom
ready to give up in return? Just a few centimetres added to the short
skirt's hemline to give up a bit of that sex appeal? Or a complete makeover,
out with the skirts and in with ankle-length gowns?
There is also debate on management of the new group. People involved in the
deal said this week that roles would obviously have to change, but that this
was still subject to further negotiation.
But, others say, a Meikles man at the top would never look good. Both
because it would be politically incorrect, and also because of market
sentiment that whatever group emerges from this would offer leadership
edgier than that offered by current Meikles management.
The company that will emerge will be massive in size. But would the balance
sheet be flexible enough to allow Chanakira to chase his banking vision? In
a company that would have everything from a bank, a tea and beverage
producer, hotels, supermarkets and even a linen maker, where would
priorities lie in what would only be an investment holding business?
What's in it for them . . .
KINGDOM Financial Holdings and Meikles Africa announced on Tuesday talks on
a possible merger of the businesses of both companies, plus Tanganda and
Cotton Printers, both majority held by Meikles. Here is what the two could
be looking to get out of the mega deal.
Shares in Kingdom fell 28 percent yesterday, trimming Tuesday's massive 180
percent gain, a sign that market sentiment towards the deal remains split.
Kingdom, officials say, is looking to use the vast network that the owners
of Meikles have built over the past century to raise offshore the money it
needs to expand in Africa and build capacity for Wall Street.
Already, new African bank licenses are close to being bought, insiders now
report, although expansion would be deliberately measured.
In an April interview with The Financial Gazette, Chanakira revealed his
bank had been to 18 African counties to scout for opportunities.
Chanakira is likely to sit up when discussions stray into the future of
Meikles' relationship with South Africa's Mvelaphanda Group, and the
possibilities it brings.
The planned Cape Grace joint venture (JV) is part of a wider strategy by
Meikles to step up its relationship with Mvela, Tokyo Sexwale's empowerment
Meikles already holds a one percent stake in Mvela Group, representing 4.5
million shares. At yesterday's Mvela Group share close of R10.90, that stake
is worth R49.05 million.
Meikles boss John Moxon has stated his desire to become "a partner, and not
just a shareholder" of Mvela.
Sexwale, on the other hand, sold off his resources assets to Incwala last
year, and his remaining interests are now in investments in which he sees
strong growth potential.
Currently, Mvela's main investment is a 4.5 percent stake in Absa, through
Bato Bonke consortium.
Moxon has stated how the Mvela partnership is key to future strategy.
A larger share of Mvela suggests better access to foreign currency for the
merged group - meaning hotel expansion for Meikles and, at last, cash to get
Kingdom into Africa.
And the Wall Street dream suddenly no longer looks too extravagant.
A Zimbabwean company earning Zimbabwe dollars never looked a good candidate
for New York, but the critical mass and foreign exchange earning capacity
that would now be built makes it a real possibility. Getting to Wall Street
requires balance sheets of nothing less than US$100 million.
But a US$30 million stash that Meikles hopes to use to start building on its
Mvela share is stuck at central bank, delaying progress. But Moxon has said
the relationship with Mvela was "flexible", and that Mvela would be patient.
The investments the JV would take on would be outside of Meikles'
traditional hotels and retail, and would be "hard decisions not guided by
emotions", Moxon said at one time.
The hotels and retail group's market capitalisation stands at $31.2
trillion. It owns department stores Greatermans, Barbours and Meikles, and
the local franchise of health and beauty store Clicks. Meikles controls 75
percent of TM Supermarkets, one of the country's two largest supermarket
chains, with South Africa's Pick 'n Pay holding the remainder.
The company has a 50 percent JV with Zimsun on Victoria Falls Hotel, and
owns the whole of Cape Grace Hotel, which is valued at R200 million. Meikles
is, however, looking to sell 30 percent of the hotel to Mvelaphanda Group as
part of a new JV.
Meikles is tightly held by the old family, via Meikles Consolidated
Holdings, which holds 55.29 percent. Old Mutual is the only other major
shareholder, with 13.19 percent.
Meikles already holds a 32.83 percent share of Kingdom, and 44.86 percent of
Tanganda, the country's largest tea maker that exports the bulk of its
There will be debate as to how much stock of the merged group the partners
will emerge with at the end of the talks, which moved a step up in
Kingdom has been one of the biggest contributors to earnings at Meikles.
Whatever Meikles negotiates for - and it's safe to assume the negotiations
have already gone on for longer than now known - it will keep an eye on
boosting its empowerment credentials.
"They are adding colour," one executive familiar with the deal quipped
Dumisani Ndlela Business Editor
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) this week took an extraordinary decision
to increase the price for gold delivered in June, a week after raising the
gold support prices by 760 percent with effect from the beginning of last
The move, meant to rescue gold mining operations teetering on the brink of
collapse, could significantly improve operations but might fail to breathe
life into the gold mining sector, which desperately requires foreign
currency for critical imports, industry players said.
The gold price review was made concurrently with a review of the tobacco
support price, which was first raised this year when tobacco auction floors
opened in April to encourage deliveries from farmers who fear incurring
losses because of an unattractive exchange rate.
Analysts and industry players said while the move by the central bank to
review the gold price was positive, the bank should now move to make quick
payments for gold deliveries from gold miners for obligations under which
they are entitled to make foreign currency payments.
This would significantly boost confidence in the sector, an analyst said,
and would also reassure the industry that future deliveries would be paid
for in time.
The central bank last week increased the support price for gold purchases
from $350 000 to $3 million per gram in a bid to boost falling production.
The new price was backdated to July 1 for miners with documented evidence of
delivery to the RBZ.
Central bank governor Gideon Gono said escalating operating costs had
necessitated the price review.
"Gold remains a strategic reserve mineral to the economy, given its general
acceptability as a medium of exchange and store of value in global financial
markets. As a country, our gold production levels have lately fallen victim
to escalating operating costs, as well as elements of indiscipline,
side-marketing and smuggling," Gono said.
In announcing a fresh support scheme for June deliveries, Gono said he
wanted to enhance viability in the gold mining sector.
Zimbabwe's gold mines are operating below capacity mainly due to power
supply problems and late payment for gold deliveries to Fidelity Printers
The Chamber of Mines last month indicated that the situation in the sector
was dire, requiring urgent attention from the central bank, which owns
Under a new dispensation created for the sector by Gono, gold miners are now
classified as exporters and therefore qualify to receive a portion of their
proceeds from the central bank in foreign currency.
Gold miners are paid 40 percent of their proceeds in Zimbabwe dollars, with
the rest of the payments made in foreign currency.
It has been the foreign currency payments that have presented the central
bank with problems.
An acute foreign currency shortage has meant that it has to scrap for
limited foreign currency supplies to meet urgent government commitments, but
this has left gold miners in a very unenviable position, with no foreign
Forecasts are that gold output in 2007 will come in at 8 715.66 kilogrammes,
a huge fall from 11 tonnes last year.
The country has failed to capitalise on firming global mineral prices due to
a myriad of problems.
Load shedding by power utility ZESA Holdings has compounded the sector's
woes. Gold producers are reeling from high production costs, caused by
inflation and loss of skilled manpower.
The world gold price surged from around US$275 an ounce in 2001 to US$678 an
This means, at reported parallel market rates of $180 000 for the US dollar,
central bank's new gold price is US$472 an ounce, a discount to current
The $3 million per gram price itself implies a US dollar rate of some $126
Mavis Makuni Own Correspondent
South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), appointed by
Nelson Mandela in 1995 to document human rights abuses committed under
apartheid should have brought closure to those who suffered injustices,
persecution, arbitrary arrest and imprisonment or lost loved ones through
extra-judicial killings perpetrated by the apartheid regime.
However, recent developments, as reported by the South African media, show
that despite the fervent hopes of the TRC's chairman, retired Archbishop
Desmond Tutu, that the process would bring healing and allow a "rainbow
nation" to emerge from its brutal past, this has not been the case. Fourteen
years after the end of apartheid and seven years into the 21st century,
skeletons are still tumbling from the closets of officials and operatives
who held sway in the era of judicially enforced segregation. These
developments should be a reminder to those currently perpetrating similar
atrocities against innocent populations all over Africa that while they may
convince themselves of their invincibility now, they will eventually have
nowhere to hide in a world that is increasingly becoming a global village
which abhors man's cruelty to his fellow humans through genocide, war
crimes, crimes against humanity and human rights abuses.
When atrocities such as the holocaust occurred in Nazi Germany more than 60
years ago, the world was not as open and technologically advanced as it is
today and thus many perpetrators could go underground and remain undetected
for decades. But even wrongdoers from this dark period are still being
hunted down and flushed out of their hiding places to face justice. As the
last apartheid leader of South Africa, F W de Klerk is discovering , the
truth will always catch up with those accused of having blood on their
De Klerk's hitherto impeccable reputation as the National Party leader who
set in motion the events that led to the end of apartheid has been
besmirched by allegations that he was fully aware of and authorized the
killings of the opponents of apartheid by death squads. The man spilling the
beans, Eugene de Kock,is serving a 212-year sentence for his own role in the
atrocities perpetrated during the apartheid era.
De Kock, a former death-squad commander has claimed that the former
president, who shared the Nobel Peace Prize with the first post-apartheid
leader of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, ordered a raid in Umtata (now called
Mthatha) in 1993 in which five young people who were asleep were killed.
De Kock, speaking from prison, is reported by the Sunday Times to have told
a radio station; "This raid took place at a time when De Klerk was awarded
the Nobel Peace Prize and the award is therefore covered in blood. They
acted on orders, they acted on De Klerk's orders." De Kock said there was a
double standard in that killings perpetrated by the security forces on the
orders of P W Botha were regarded as murders while those that occurred when
De Klerk was head of state were referred to as legitimate operations.
De Klerk is reported to have refused to answer any questions on the latest
developments. The Sunday Times reported that when he appeared before the
Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 1997, De Klerk stormed out when he
was questioned about his involvement in meetings that discussed the
formation of a "Third Force" and such themes as how to eliminate
"politically sensitive persons" and facilitating the formation of
"paramilitary force" by Mangosuthu Buthelezi's Inkatha Freedom Party. All
these tactics, which are being emulated by some tyrannical post-independence
African leaders, were designed to frustrate democratic forces led by the
An interesting twist to the current development has been provided by someone
who worked as a "patriotic" journalist during the apartheid era when his
motto was to support the government blindly by adopting a hear- and-
see-no-evil approach. In a letter to the Editor published in the Sunday
Times issue of July 29, Cliff Saunders a former South African Broadcasting
Corporation scribe says: "As a journalist working for SABC News at the time,
I fully succumbed to the 'hear, see and speak no evil' dictum when it came
to reporting on the evils prevalent in that period of South Africa's
Saunders said the "huge" mistake that he made was to dismiss all reports
published by the now defunct Rand Daily Mail on the atrocities that were
being perpetrated by the apartheid regime. He said all at the SABC at the
time regarded the paper as a vicious and ultra-liberal newspaper promoting
the communist ideology. "Being strong National Party supporters and
propagandists we at SABC did no care or dare to launch investigations into
the feared security forces." He said while journalists at the SABC were
found wanting, members of the South African government at the time were also
guilty of deliberately ignoring what was happening.
Journalists in Zimbabwe where four newspapers have so far been closed down
under the hostile Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act
(AIPPA) will be interested to know that Saunders now thinks highly of the
principled journalists who worked for the Rand Daily Mail although he never
missed a chance to ridicule and disparage them at the time. "The Sunday
afternoon after the RDM carried the huge headline: 'Mail closes down', I had
the temerity to state on Springbok's Africa Survey that this was the best
lead story ever carried by the Rand Daily Mail. That remark weighs heavily
on my conscience because I tried to ridicule the work of perhaps the most
dedicated and professional journalists in South Africa at the time."
De Klerk and Saunders are not the only figures from the apartheid era whose
past misdeeds are catching up with them. Former law and order minister
Adriaan Vlok and ex-police chief, Johann van der Merwe have been charged
with attempting to murder Rev Frank Chikane, a former secretary general of
the South African Council of Churches, who is now an adviser to President
Personal Glimpses with Mavis Makuni
WHEN former finance minister, Chris Kuruneri was arrested in 2004 on
allegations of violating exchange control regulations, I was one of those
sceptics who did not believe this was a sign that the government was serious
about tackling corruption in the public sector.
I believed and said so in one of my columns, that Kuruneri was being made a
sacrificial lamb to divert attention from the reluctance of the
powers-that-be to deal with hardcore corruption that had manifested itself
through numerous scandals involving people in high places. At that stage
these included the looting of the War Victims Compensation Fund, the abuse
of the VIP Housing Scheme, the multiple farm ownership racket and the
pillaging of equipment from Kondozi Farm in Manicaland and from other
commercial farms that had been compulsorily acquired by the government
throughout the country.
Kuruneri was arrested after the government had set up an Anti-Monopolies and
Anti-Corruption Ministry headed by Didymus Mutasa. Accompanied by an
explosion of rhetoric, fury and drama, the government had launched the
anti-corruption drive under which the nation was told, the long arm of the
law would stretch out without fear or favour to bring culprits to book
regardless of their political affiliation or station in life. But alas, when
the rhetoric reached a deafening crescendo without as much as a whisper
about the fat cats involved in the scandals that had already been exposed,
it began to sound hollow and hypocritical.
The povo began to suspect and to say so at every opportunity, that the
anti-graft war was a smokescreen designed to facilitate the sweeping of
big-time corruption involving the big fish under the carpet while targeting
petty criminals and nonentities in a dramatised and exaggerated manner. It
was apparently because of this persistent scepticism that it was decided a
few lightweights from the ruling party and government had to be sacrificed
at the altar of political expediency to dupe the public into thinking that
the anti-corruption campaign was being conducted non-selectively. This is
when people like Philip Chiyangwa, James Makamba and Kuruneri were arrested
and publicly paraded as examples of how serious and even-handed the
government anti-corruption crusade was.
But even as I write this, nothing has been done about the big scandals
referred to earlier and subsequent ones such as the abuse of subsidised
farming inputs, the plundering at the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company
(ZISCO) and the abuse of resources and allocation of stands under the
Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle housing initiative. The eventual finding by High Court
judge, Justice Susan Mavangira, that Kuruneri did not have a case to answer
after he had been detained for more than three years, part of it under house
arrest, is a frightening confirmation of the haphazard manner in which
processes where an individual's rights must be protected are being handled.
When Kuruneri's ordeal finally ended last Friday, his lawyer, Jonathan
Samkange said: "Justice has been done. He is now not facing any charges
except the one on dual citizenship which is a minor charge." While Samkange
must have been relieved to finally restore his innocent client's freedom,
those who have followed the saga will feel a gross injustice has been
perpetrated against Kuruneri by detaining him all these years when the
police did not have a watertight case against him. Justice delayed is
justice denied and in this case, Kuruneri has been ruined in every possible
way, including in terms of his health, standing in society and
professionally. He can never regain the time he has lost and nothing can
compensate for the humiliation and anguish he has been unjustifiably
A common criticism of the police these days is their dereliction of duty and
non-adherence to professional ethics. They are perceived to have allowed
themselves to be politicised so as to serve the selfish agendas of
individuals and political parties. They have been accused of ignoring
wrongdoing on the basis of the identities and political affiliation of the
culprits and to create storms out of teacups when dealing with persons
perceived to be from the wrong side of the political divide. A serious abuse
that has emerged as a consequence of the manipulation and hijacking of the
police force by politicians is their penchant for arresting in order to
investigate rather than doing things the proper and professional way - that
is arresting suspects after thorough investigations.
Recently, a group of opposition activists were released after spending
almost five months in detention. They had been facing allegations of
involvement in a spate of petrol bombings some months ago. The bombings
occurred at police stations and other government installations and were said
to be proof of a terror campaign that opposition groups had embarked upon
with foreign backing. Their aim, the world was told, was to topple a
popularly elected government. Some of those accused of involvement in these
activities were brutally battered while in police custody and were denied
But after all the commotion and high drama, it turned out that the whole
saga was much ado about nothing. High Court Judge, Justice Lawrence Kamocha,
whose ruling set the suspects free two weeks ago, declared the police
allegations to have been fabricated. Not only had the police concocted a
story about a non-existent farm in South Africa where they alleged the
suspects had undergone terrorism training, they had also created from thin
air, two witnesses said to have implicated the group in terrorist
activities. The fable collapsed when the law enforcers could not pinpoint
the location of their imaginary farm on a map when required to do so in
It is clear Zimbabwean police now practice a bizarre form of law
enforcement. They have no qualms about wasting time and resources pursuing
trumped up charges levelled against individuals for political reasons. Worst
of all, they do not hesitate to brutalise the hapless suspects in the full
knowledge of their innocence. And at the end of it all, the police never
tell the public when these stage managed farces finally collapse who, for
example, was responsible for perpetrating the series of bombings for which
torrents of denunciation were spewed and innocent citizens were unlawfully
arrested and detained? In the case of Kuruneri and others who have been
similarly victimised, the police never finally say at whose pleasure these
Zimbabweans are illegally held and what purpose these sadistic antics serve.
Ordinary Zimbabweans have every reason to be concerned when the police, who
are paid from a national fiscus made possible by their taxes to enforce the
law impartially, are prepared to bear false witness and lie through their
teeth. The $64 million question is, if the police cannot be trusted to
protect the people of Zimbabwe from arbitrary arrest and brutal treatment,
why do they have a charter enunciating a professional approach?
National Agenda with Bornwell Chakaodza
LET us be realistic about it all. As the clock ticks towards the harmonised
presidential, parliamentary and local government elections next year, what
should be deeply worrying is not the collapse of the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) as a single and united opposition movement. No. There is a much
more important issue that should deeply worry us.
The problem of factionalism in political parties and promoting one's own
personal and subjective interests are endemic everywhere. What is of crucial
importance for me is creating conditions necessary for a free and fair
election in 2008. This is what I see as the greatest challenge facing the
MDC and all progressive and democratic forces in Zimbabwe.
The mass of Zimbabweans are not interested in Arthur Mutambara or Morgan
Tsvangirai scoring political points or trading insults. Perhaps, Mutambara
has nothing else to do except to criticise Tsvangirai - thus playing into
the hands of the ruling ZANU PF party. But Mutambara must be told in no
uncertain terms that hurling insults at Tsvangirai will not deliver the sort
of Zimbabwe that everybody wants. Perhaps Mutambara knows that he has no
popular support, that is why he is behaving the way he is behaving.
The truth of the matter is that without insisting on and demanding a level
political playing field as a necessary precondition for a free and fair
election, no amount of political rallies will make a difference. Opposition
parties must therefore grasp this simple but important point.
Opposition parties can launch their presidential and parliamentary campaigns
in a month or so but with no appetite on the part of the ruling party to
create a democratic environment and conditions necessary for a new
beginning, what difference will it make? I cannot be anything but
pessimistic when I see the ruling party throwing spanners in the works all
the time and no strategies coming from opposition parties to counter them.
By pushing ahead with plans to amend the constitution and seemingly
oblivious of what is going on around him, President Mugabe is making it
clear that he is not about to bow to any pressure from any quarter (SADC
included) anytime soon. So there is some serious thinking to be done by
opposition parties here. We have lived with ZANU PF long enough to know that
the ruling party will continue to play tricks on us ad infinitum in the full
knowledge that nothing will be done to them. The past has borne out this
Coupled with the fact that there is little or no appetite on the part of the
majority of Zimbabweans to take to the streets to demand greater democracy,
then we have a classic case of a political environment characterised by too
many declarations and statements from opposition parties with little or no
action to show for it. I am indeed terribly pessimistic about the whole
thing at this point in time.
I am not saying here that opposition parties have become spent forces. No.
All I am doing is to draw attention to the enormity of the task as we get
closer to crunch time. The essence of my argument here is that we must not
be under any illusion that salvation is around the corner. Change could be a
long time coming unless and until a level playing field is created for all.
MDC formations or factions (call them what you will) and other opposition
parties and civil society as a whole can play a very important role by
focusing solely on the real issue. The real core of the issue lies in all
democratic forces standing together to demand a level political playing
field. This way, we will have an impact, I think.
I liked it when Tsvangirai said that if President Mugabe wins in a free and
fair election, he will be the first to congratulate the President. That is
as it should be. As long as the will of the people has been freely expressed
in an open, free and fair election, it does not matter who wins in the last
analysis. It is therefore crucial to have a free interplay of ideas in the
run-up to any election and if such an electoral environment can be
guaranteed, then it will be down to the Zimbabwean voters to elect a leader
and a political party they think in their wisdom will make a huge difference
to their lives. This really is the bottom line.
It is not for one leader to make jibes against the other like Mutambara did
last weekend, describing Tsvangirai as a "weak and indecisive leader". Weak
and indecisive in whose eyes? It is only in the eyes of the Zimbabwean
public and not those of Mutambara that a political leader is credible or
otherwise. It may be part of the political game by those who lack maturity
to needlessly scold a political opponent but the point is that it did
reflect very badly on Mutambara.
Indeed, Mutambara's behavior buttressed the perception that is already in
the public that his faction is nothing more than a new ZANU PF party in the
making - that is MDC-ZANU PF for short. Otherwise how does one explain such
an unwarranted and vitriolic attack on a man Mutambara should ordinarily see
as a comrade-in-arms?
The MDC - particularly but not exclusively the Mutambara faction - is facing
a credibility deficit with many Zimbabweans at the moment. The goodwill that
was engendered in the period following the February 2000 Constitutional
Referendum through to the 2002 presidential election appears to have
evaporated. The only way to regain that goodwill from Zimbabweans, difficult
as it is, is not by hurling insults at each other but by coming up with
coherent strategies to bring about a level playing field well before the
March 2008 polls - even as two different and separate factions.
Forming a coalition to fight next year's polls is of course a desirable
thing but it is not the end of the world if it does not come about. I see no
need for such a coalition myself in the absence - at the very least - of
minimum conditions for a free and fair electoral environment including a
genuinely independent Electoral Commission an equal access to the state
media. For me, this is the strongest card that both factions of the MDC will
have, especially the Tsvangirai faction which evidently appears to have the
majority of Zimbabweans on its side.
It is now a race against time. Timing is everything in politics. The
problems that the opposition and the civil society face in this country
including the unprecedented levels of brutality and a fearsome President are
challenging and tough, no doubt. But the alternative is not to do nothing.
It is a natural human impulse to continue fighting peacefully in order to
end democratic deficits and oppression wherever they rear their ugly heads.
Zimbabweans are worn out and worn down by all sorts of hardships and by the
need to survive. Perhaps, that is why there is no appetite among them to
take to the streets to demand normalcy in their lives. In this kind of
environment, MDC factions must stop shooting themselves in the foot by
engaging in unpleasant and uncalled for squabbles for power and non-existent
Cabinet positions. Kutandanisa tsuro muine salt muhomwe dzenyu hazviite vana
Tsvangirai na Mutambara. Ko mukatadza kuibata tsuro yacho, salt yacho
I think we need to preserve a sense of proportion as Zimbabweans and not be
unduly worried or panic over the collapse of the coalition talks between the
two factions of the MDC. Anyway, the faction with the popular support will
be the one to take ZANU PF head on in a meaningful way. The real truth is
that next year's polls are ultimately about creating conducive conditions
for a transparent, open, free and fair elections before, during and after
Anything else will be a recipe for opposition impotence as usual and once
again victory on a silver platter for President Mugabe and ZANU PF.
THE acquittal of former finance minister Christopher Kuruneri, who was
denied freedom for more than three years until last week's High Court
ruling, has rekindled debate about the effectiveness and independence of the
country's justice delivery system while laying bare the double standards and
hypocrisy synonymous with the government's purported fight against endemic
Kuruneri, who became the biggest fish in President Robert Mugabe's Cabinet
to be netted under the so-called "war" against corruption, which became one
of the ruling party's campaign themes in the run-up to the disputed 2005
parliamentary election, must be a bitter man. He spent 15 months in the
filthy remand prison and two years under house arrest only for the state
case to crumble like a deck of cards after he had endured such an
excruciating experience. If this is not outright violation of a fundamental
human right, then we don't know what is. Justice delayed is justice denied,
regardless of the outcome, period.
Kuruneri, considered a lightweight in ZANU PF politics and therefore,
dispensable, left no stone unturned in his long battle to regain his lost
freedom. Eight bail applications were thrown out only to succeed on the
ninth attempt, albeit with stringent conditions. He also appeared before 10
judges to fight charges of smuggling foreign currency into South Africa,
where he bought luxury properties in one of Cape Town's exclusive seaside
Kuruneri was lucky to have deep pockets to sustain such an expensive
defence. The question is, how many people could be suffering in silence
because they do not have the money to fight for justice or their profile in
society is too low to cause a public outcry? Who is safe from persecution if
this could happen to Kuruneri? What hope is there for the honest man? Who
can blame James Makamba and a coterie of other business people who skipped
the country in a huff with the police in hot pursuit?
The ruling was obviously such a huge relief to Kuruneri, but does that make
up for the humiliation and emotional torture he went through following his
arrest in April 2004, not to mention the costs he incurred in paying lawyers
and other legal bills? That aside, Kuruneri, who has pleaded guilty to the
other charge of violating the Citizenship Act, has already lost his Mazowe
West seat and Cabinet post and his standing in society has been impaired.
There is no denying that corruption needs to be uprooted wherever it exists.
Corruption has been particularly devastating for Zimbabwe. In 2005, the
country was rated 107th out of the 163 countries ranked on the Corruption
Perception Index, plunging 23 steps down the ladder in 2006. In other words,
graft has become more widespread.
The formidable alliance between corruption and poverty means the scourge
should be tackled with the same vigour as inflation. The rot has weakened
the social fabric, put paid to efforts to revive the tottering economy and
distorted the rule of law. Its harmful effects have been severe on the
country's poor, who have been hit the hardest by the economic recession,
which has caused a brain drain of alarming proportions.
The manner in which the authorities are dealing with corruption leaves a lot
to be desired. Questionable judgments have been passed in some cases while
certain laws have been crafted with specific people in mind. Law enforcers,
who should be the beacons of moral uprightness, have been accused of
effecting arrests before exhausting investigations.
Only last week, High Court judge Justice Lawrence Kamocha made startling
revelations that police fabricated an elaborate story about a farm that does
not exist and created two fictional witnesses in a desperate bid to link
opposition activists to "terrorism".
It should not be surprising therefore that critics scoffed at Kuruneri's
arrest as yet another vote-catching gimmick, citing government's failure to
deal with political heavyweights, who were caught with their hands in the
till and attempts to sweep under the carpet a report detailing high-level
corruption at state-run Ziscosteel.
The crusade against corruption, it would appear, has been used to purge
"undesirable" elements and to hoodwink gullible voters. It lacked
transparency and has been applied half-heartedly and selectively. The
powers-that-be have allowed government officials to empty national coffers
In the 1980s, legislators abused parliamentary privileges to buy cheaper
priced vehicles, which they later re-sold at exorbitant prices in what
became known as the Willowgate scandal. The few unlucky culprits have since
been rehabilitated back into the fold. Years later, government officials
looted dry a fund set up to build houses for poorly paid civil servants and
no single prosecution has been made.
The land reform exercise has been another disaster. It has only benefited
the rich with some owning more than one farm against the government policy
of one-man, one farm. Yet others have looted the War Victims Compensation
Fund and public utilities of millions of dollars, while the majority of the
population wallows in poverty.
Despite countless pledges to net perpetrators of corruption, the crusade has
been applied like a spider's web, which catches the small insects and lets
the big ones through. The outcome is obvious, it is another war lost!
The MDC saga continues
THE recent fallout in opposition ranks needs to be put in context. On
October 12, 2005 the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leadership split
purportedly over the decision to participate in the Senate elections.
Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader, argued then that he did not want to be
led up the garden path by participating in an election for a body that had
been designed to manage ZANU PF's succession headaches.
While Tsvangirai argued that there was nothing wrong with a Senate per se,
the one proposed, was in his view not in the national interest for want of
value addition to the legislative process or resolution of the national
Secondly, he argued that the Senate was part of the 17th amendment, which
the MDC had opposed in Parliament.
Welshman Ncube, then the secretary-general prior the MDC split, argued that
the council's 33-31 vote to participate in the election should be respected.
Tsvangirai stated then that the council was split 50/50 including the
proxies send by Sekai Holland and Grace Kwinjeh, which Ncube allegedly
refused to recognise.
In addition, Tsvangirai argued, the only value to be derived from
participation was to give party officials jobs while people were starving.
In his view, government was advised to divert the funds allocated for the
elections to salaries for civil servants or maize. As leader of a party,
which was divided on a fundamental issue, Tsvangirai felt justified to
provide decisive leadership by taking a position, which was also supported
by civic society.
The Ncube group then labelled him undemocratic. The resultant leadership
split saw 27 out of 76 national council members inclusive of nine out of 36
national executive members leaving the party to constitute the Arthur
Mutambara MDC faction or is it fraction?
The recent by-elections in Budiriro and Chiredzi seem to suggest that the
majority of the ordinary members and supporters remained with the faction
led by Tsvangirai.
The Ncube group also attempted to stage a palace coup by expelling
Tsvangirai, but this failed both in a court of law and public opinion.
Justice Yunus Omerjee ruled that the Ncube group had no locus standi to
expel Tsvangirai and that his purported suspension had been set aside by the
appropriate body in the party - the national council and as such dismissed
the application both on procedure and on the merits.
The import and effect of this judgment was not only to confirm Tsvangirai as
the legitimate president of the MDC but it also delegitimised the structures
of the faction that attempted the coup. This unchallenged judgment remains
valid in law today.
In the court of public opinion, people largely boycotted the Senate
elections, with a less than 19 percent voter turnout. In a subsequent by
election in Budiriro, the Mutambara group recorded a paltry 504 votes.
The proposed 18th amendment seems to vindicate Tsvangirai's apprehensions
about the Senate in that ZANU PF now wants the combined houses to elect
President Robert Mugabe's successor.
With the benefit of hindsight, the position taken by Tsvangirai then is, in
my view, indicative of a decisive and visionary leader who had foreseen the
machinations of his opponent and refused to legitimise them.
In addition, the alleged scramble for tractors by the majority of the
Mutambara senators vindicates Tsvangirai's position on the current Senate
serving as a platform for patronage.
Notwithstanding their showing in by-elections, the Mutambara group has made
the issue of a 50-50 coalition with Tsvangirai as president their visible
Tsvangirai, on the other hand, has been on a campaign trail urging people to
register to vote and emphasising the need for unity of all democratic
forces. He has stated that unity should not be a boardroom affair but a
He has never publicly attacked Mutambara in person, nor sought to enforce
his rights in a court of law arising out of the Omerjee judgment, but
instead publicly embraced him during the launch of the Save Zimbabwe
Human as he is, mortals would have expected him to take Mutambara to the
cleaners for claiming to be the president of the MDC ever since he was
parachuted from outer space to be anointed the replacement leader of a mass
party in place of its popularly elected founding president.
On July 28, according to MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa, Tsvangirai's council
resolved to work towards the unity of all democratic forces. Surprisingly,
on the same day, Mutambara announced that his faction was going solo in the
next elections because Tsvangirai had allegedly refused to be the opposition
How can one refuse what they are already? Mutambara is on record as having
said he will not stand against Tsvangirai in an election. Was he genuine or
is his flip-flopping a sign that he is suffering from a crisis of
legitimacy? Or is he just a spoiler?
Is it not time for him to be honest with both himself and the people of this
country and form his own political party and show that he is an
"intellectual giant" without "moronic tendencies" rather than continue to
hold onto Tsvangirai's coat tails by clinging to the name MDC? Or is one
asking for too much since he appears not to be his own man considering his
outer space origins?
Mutambara also allegedly accused Tsvangirai of having a moronic sense of
judgment and accused his co-leaders of being intellectual midgets. Most
surprisingly, he also said they were pulling out of the Save Zimbabwe
Campaign because it was rooting for Tsvangirai as president.
The Save Zimbabwe Campaign is a coalition of mass-based civic bodies such as
churches, trade unions, Crisis Coalition and others.
A decision by a political party to distance itself from a mass based
organisation is, in my view, tantamount to a fish leaving the water and
deciding to go solo in the sun. Is this not moronic judgment or am I missing
First, if Mutambara's group felt Tsvangirai was a weak leader what prompted
them to propose in the draft agreement that they authored that he becomes
the presidential candidate? Why plan to lose by insisting on being led by
the weak and undemocratic unless you know the opposite to be true?
Secondly, if the objective of the Save Zimbabwe coalition was to support one
candidate (Tsvangirai), then why pull out of Save Zimbabwe Campaign for
allegedly supporting the spirit of the coalition? These questions beg
Finally, Mutambara did not provide any evidence that Tsvangirai had refused
to be the leader of the opposition forces. The fact is, this is what he has
been for the past seven years by popular will and not by anointment by King
Arthur. In fact, more than 1.2 million Zimbabweans gave him that crown in
2002 when King Arthur was in Babylon.
Mutambara should therefore not claim that he offered or donated to
Tsvangirai the leadership of the opposition.
Tsvangirai earned it and we do not know what Mutambara has earned. The only
allegation that he raised is that after signing a code of conduct together,
Tsvangirai was not keen to have photographs taken with him. Please, let us
To the contrary, Tsvangirai's public pronouncements and resolutions of his
council are calling for a broader unity of genuine democratic forces. Can
someone then tell me who really are the morons and intellectual midgets in
lNdapuwa Muteme is a Zimbabwean political commentator
The stink permeates the fabric of
EDITOR - I have just read through Ken Mufuka's stand on the Pius Ncube
sexscapades, and also your editorial calling on the few remaining voices of
reason to stand up and make a stand against the economic meltdown in our
once beautiful land.
Ken, you got it slightly wrong this time around. The message, dear
Professor, is not directed at the running dogs of imperialism and Blair's
stooges. Far from it! The message, my dear Prof is meant for the men and
women in the supreme organ of the party, also known as the Politburo. The
men and women, Ken, mukuru has called witches standing on his door-step.
Mukuru knows and has documented their sins in files running back decades.
The files are dusty and thick with juicy tit bits. All he does now from time
to time is pull out a naughty boy's file and lay bare his whole life. It is
a reminder and a warning, much like the promised day of judgment, when the
good in this present life will be given fine white linen to wear for the
appointed meeting with the ruler and owner of this universe, and the bad men
will be tossed old dirty rugs for their own appointment with the beast and
deceiver of nations.
Now tell me Ken, faced with a choice such as that, would a wise man ever
raise his head again? Does it even surprise you dear Ken, that Mukuru will
be in the race for the national office for yet another decade? That nobody
in the supreme organ found himself worthy to stand even in the primary
elections for the high office? Even you, my dear editor, would you dare make
I do not condone the ways of the Bishop, nor the ways of that other judge
who crossed Mukuru's path and had ghosts recording his every conversation
with that wretched criminal and murderer, Labuschagne, was it? All are
sinners and what is needed is a complete overhaul. A complete break with
pseudo-nationalists, who wear suits and drive around in Mercs, while
children and mothers die in hospitals without medicines, spend a good
afternoon hunting for a basic loaf of bread.
The stink has permeated every fabric of our society. We even smell it from
here! It is not the way our founding fathers should be behaving. State
resources should never ever be used this way and we must not deny a chance
to rule to genuine people with practical solutions to our national problems.
Tinashe E. Makoni
Going to work now life -threatening
EDITOR - Prevention is better than cure, once bitten twice shy. It seems our
government is very aware of the meaning of these two old adages. We have had
a number of bus disasters mostly caused by human error and worsened by
overloading. The government has now embarked on a scheme to have drivers go
for defensive driving courses.
All this is going to waste if something is not done to monitor and keep the
system in check. The conventional buses have now turned into death traps.
It is unfortunate that urban bus operators have now employed "professional
packers" who make sure that they have about two tightly packed lines of
human beings as standing passengers - a bus with a capacity of 20 standing
passengers ends up with more than 50 standing passengers. Imagine what could
be the outcome in case of an accident - another Dzivarasekwa, or Nyanga bus
Most worrying is that police officers and soldiers who will be part of the
extra load see nothing wrong with that - why should they allow this crime
and chose to be accomplices? More so these buses will pass through
It is now too risky to go to work in these buses. The police should be seen
performing their duty to save lives, for life is worth more than silver and
Lovemore Andrew Magaso
Misrepresentation and malicious injury
EDITOR - This letter is addressed to the Editor of the Herald in his
personal capacity and in his capacity in connection with the publication of
a story, which is false, suggesting that I was among those people who had
"reasonably accepted the tractors"
This false story was published as follows:
"Thank God, there are still a few reasonable people like Tapiwa Mashakada,
Editor Matamisa, Giles Mutsekwa, Joel Gabbuza, and Blessing Chebundo among
the MDC's merry band of sell-outs, who reasonably accepted the tractors"
Herald, Monday July 30 2007, page 6.
The article was not only false but very malicious. The article defamed my
character and personal integrity as the deputy secretary general of MDC, a
party which is progressive and we are on record as saying that we did not
need tractors because first, we are not farmers, second we did not apply and
third, there are people better qualified to get the implements than us.
In your article you go on to brand me as being among the "MDC's merry band
of sellouts' thereby further defaming me and inflicting injury on my
personal integrity and reputation as a leader in the opposition.
In view of the malicious, false and defamatory nature of the article you
recklessly published without checking the correct facts with me, I demand a
written public apology and a retraction of the false story as I never
applied for nor received a tractor or enjoyed any patronage from the ZANU PF
Failure to retract the story and offer a written public apology will leave
me with no option except to institute legal proceedings against you and the
Herald. Be therefore advised accordingly.
Honourable Tapiwa Mashakada
Deputy Secretary General (MDC)
See no evil, hear no evil?
EDITOR - I am disappointed by your paper's "see no evil, hear no evil"
attitude towards the issue of the clergyman Pius Ncube.
Is this because you are used to blowing his trumpet? The man who unashamedly
accused all and sundry of being cowards else he could face guns without
fear, now is cowing before the pen! And you see nothing wrong with his
Even Ken Mufuka sees no evil? All you can do is shout at the top of your
voices that this is the work of the CIO! Shame.
Did the CIO act on the clergyman's libido as well? Please tell us what is
going on in Zimbabwe instead of giving us selective truths and half truths.
Don't rule out the CIO yet
EDITOR - I view the remarks by Japhet Ncube (the Zimbabwean news editor of
South Africa's City Press) on newzimbabwe.com recently as senseless. As a
respected scribe how can he dismiss claims that the CIO had a hand in the
character assassination of Pius Ncube?
Japhet Ncube said President Robert Mugabe was not present when Pius Ncube
was allegedly caught with his pants down.
A few days ago another scribe who is the founding editor of zimonline.com
was shot by unknown people in Johannesburg. Their intention is still not
known but Japhet Ncube said there is no proof it is the work of the CIO
because independent journalists in Zimbabwe are not being shot at. This is
ridiculous. The CIO is doing everything possible to silence known critics of
ZANU PF, whether in or out of the country. I hope Abel Mutsakani recovers
soon to tell us what transpired.
Zimbabwe: Love conquers all
EDITOR - There were two families in our village, which were very close. They
used to hold functions together, whether they be birthdays, weddings etc.
They were the pride of the village because they were the best farmers.
One day tragedy struck in one of the families when the father passed away.
This is the day hate and vengeance was born. The family of the deceased
concluded that it was their family friends who had committed the terrible
deed. They vowed to take revenge and this spirit has been passed on from
generation to generation.
The word "revenge" sends shivers down my spine because it is more poisonous
than the venom of a black mamba. It is more contagious than HIV because it
is difficult to find a cure for it. It can be passed from generation to
generation until eternity. Revenge causes a father to buy knobkerries,
knives and stones to fight instead of ice cream and chocolate for his wife
and children. It causes a country to spend billions of dollars on weapons
instead of buying food for its citizens.
African leadership has been infested with the spirit of revenge. If a new
president comes into power, the outgoing president has to flee or face
persecution. Why don't we emulate other continents, which have a proper
handover of power? Would it not be nice for the new president to go to the
former president to consult? If Morgan Tsvangirai or Simba Makoni or any
other person becomes president, will it not be nice to see him going to
consult his old man (mudhara) on critical issues?
I appeal to Zimbabweans to build their country based on love. Love is God
and, as long as there is no love, drought shall persist in our country.
Cloud seeding is not going to work except for love, peace and harmony. I
long for that Zimbabwe where water would collect in a small depression made
from elephant footprints for the whole year in Gokwe's forests. I long for
that time when crops used to ripen earlier than expected.
President Mugabe must be reminded that Tsvangirai and Mutambara are his
brothers not enemies. Resolve the Zimbabwean problem amicably and urgently.
You are the President of a nation with diverse political views. Why don't
you leave a legacy of love and oneness as Zimbabweans?
If you greet a brother in the diaspora in Shona or Ndebele, they ignore you.
Some now claim to be of other nationalities. I feel there is still that
chance to spread love in the country. Mandela was man enough to forgive
Botha, you forgave Ian Smith and he is still living at his farm. Why not
work with your brothers to wipe the shame from the face of our land?
Concerned Africans Association
Attached and below the section on Selection of Candidates for 2008 in the MDC
Coalition Agreement as agreed by the two negotiating teams in April 2007. The
agreement makes Tsvangirai the presidential candidate, and accords each
formation equality in all respects, including the selection of candidates for
all other elections.
MDC Coalition Agreement
As agreed by the negotiating teams of the two formations in April 2007.
Tsvangirai negotiating team: T Biti, I Gonese, E. Cross, J Majome
Mutambara negotiating team: W Ncube, PT Nyathi, P Misihairabwi, D Coltart
Selection of candidates
13. Presidential Elections
(1) The MDC formations agree that if the coalition decides to contest the next presidential election, the coalition will put forward a single candidate to contest it, and that candidate will be chosen by the formation led by Morgan Tsvangirai.
(2) If the candidate referred to in sub clause (1) wins the presidential election, he or she will appoint as Vice-President a person nominated by the formation led by Arthur Mutambara.
14. Elections to the House of Assembly
(1) If the coalition decides to contest the next general election, the question the question of which formation should put forward a candidate to contest a seat will be decided as follows;
(a) Where a member of one of the formations holds a seat, or held it immediately before it became vacant, that formation will put forward a candidate, after consultation with appropriate organs of the other formation, to contest the seat;
(b) Where a seat was not held by a member of either formation, the Coalition will agree upon equitable formula for deciding which formation should put forward a candidate to contest the seat, taking into account such considerations as the prospect of winning the seat in question. The formation, which is allocated the seat, will put forward a candidate, after consultation with the appropriate organs of the other formation, to contest the seat.
(c) In selecting candidates for the next general election in respect of whom clause 14(1)(b) applies the Coalition must ensure that each formation will have 50% of the candidates.
(2) If a by-election for a seat in the House of Assembly is to be held before the next general election, the decision to contest it will be reached by the Coalition after a process of consultation, and if decided to contest the seat, the allocation of the seat, the allocation of the seat between the formations will be decided in accordance with subclause (2).
(3) In the selection of candidates for a general election, the Coalition must try to ensure that 50% of the chosen candidates in the House of Assembly are women, but if that target is not possible it must ensure that at least 30% of the candidates are women.
15. Elections to the Senate
(1) If the Coalition decides to contest the next general election, each formation will be allocated 50% of the Senate seats available.
(2) In selection of candidates for a general election, the coalition must ensure 50% of the chosen candidates are women.
17. Allocation of Government posts by President
(1) Subject to the constitution, if the coalition wins the presidential and parliamentary elections, the president will allocate cabinet posts in consultation with the vice-president and the National Executive Council, taking into account the need for equitable distribution of posts between the two formations, regard being had to the importance of those posts: provided that the President may not allocate not more than three of the cabinet posts in his or her sole discretion.
(2) Subject to the constitution and any other law, the president will make appointments to other government offices in consultation with the vice president and the National Coalition Executive Committee, taking into account the need for equitable distribution of posts between the two formations paying due regard to the principle of equality between the two formations and the need for equal representation.
18. Priorities following election victory
If the coalition wins the presidential and parliamentary elections and no new national constitution has been brought into operation, the MDC government commits itself to making the process of constitutional reform its main priority, and this regard it is agreed that:
(a) The MDC government will consider itself to be a transitional administration tasked with formulating and implementing a new democratic Constitution with the people of Zimbabwe and
(b) The constitutional reform process will last no more than two years from the date on which the winning coalition presidential candidate takes office, and will culminate in fresh elections conducted in terms of the new constitution, which will be held not later than five years from that date.
19. Failure to win the election
If the coalition fails to win the presidential and parliamentary elections, the National Coalition Council will meet to discuss the Coalition.
20. Any expenses incurred in carrying out this agreement, or in operating the coalition structures, will be divided in equal shares between the two formations, provided that the Coalition Task Force may decide that any particular expenses will be shared in different proportions or will be borne one or other of the formations.
Following another tragic week in Zimbabwe's tourism there is no recovery in
sight. The Venues4Africa.com Harare booking office cancelled houseboat trips
and other holidays because there was no fuel or basic commodities. At the
end of 2000 on the back of lawless land invasions the tourism industry was
like a cigarette being lit, slowly going up in smoke, and now seven years
later all that is left is to put it out.
Commendable efforts by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority and various
independent operators are keeping Victoria Falls operating as normal but the
remainder of the country is facing the same challenges every other
Zimbabwean business has to deal with and sustainable operations are no
Our advice to regional tourists wanting to make the most of Zimbabwe's
diverse landscapes is to be self sufficient. With extra fuel and your own
supplies the holiday of a lifetime is still to be had. And accommodation
venue owners and tour operators are, in true Zimbabwean fashion, more then
willing to help where they can.
It will be with keen interest that business owners and employees in the
tourism industry watch the events that unfold in the coming months that will
make or break the tourism industry and the country as a whole.
Another challenging week in Zimbabwe's tourism industry has left operators
scrambling to find permits to import food for their accommodation venues.
There is no clear outline of what is required, no precise government
directive and no set protocol of what is needed to operate. This in turn
creates a grey area and historically grey areas are endemic to bribery and
corruption as individuals try anything possible to simply survive. It is no
longer about turning a good profit, survival is now every business' key
It is then a welcome relief to find a non-profit organisation committed to
wildlife preservation. The Zambezi Society has given priority to field
research into Zimbabwe's dwindling rhino population. Formed in 1982, the
Zambezi Society is the only conservation group focusing solely on the
Zambezi river basin. It is a membership-based non-profit organisation with
an operational base in Zimbabwe and an associate organisation in Mozambique.
Its international partners include Fauna and Flora International, the World
Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Save the Rhino International and The World
Conservation Union (IUCN).
The Zambezi Society provides financial and practical support for Protected
Areas and National Parks in the Zambezi River basin. They manage a range of
wildlife and wilderness conservation and community resource management
projects in the Zambezi basin region. Special focus is on protecting and
monitoring black rhinoceros, elephant and carnivore populations and
establishing training in wilderness awareness and management for custodians
of Zambezi wild areas.
Through their continued efforts they increase public awareness about issues
affecting the Zambezi river and its basin, by disseminating information
through research, publications, the media and our membership. They also
lobby or advocate against unsuitable development initiatives and promote
good river basin planning based on sound scientific information. With the
tide of development on the Zambian side of the Victoria Falls organisations
such as the Zambezi Society play a crucial role in creating awareness on
influences that impact our wildlife heritage.
The Zambezi Society Field Officer in the Matusadona National Park Black
Rhino Intensive Protection Zone reports that two of the black rhinos
previously hand-reared and released into the wild have given birth to calves
this season. Madonna has had her second calf (named CHISI, in recognition of
20 years of fund-raising for rhino conservation by the staff and girls of
Chisipite Junior School in Harare); and Mvura has had her first. The Zambezi
Society has asked the girls of Chisipite Junior to name Mvura's new calf.
As part of The Zambezi Society's 25th year celebrations, the Society is
offering its members and their friends a unique wilderness and wildlife
opportunity. The Society has been asked by the Parks and Wildlife Authority
to assist them with an extremely important conservation task: to estimate
the black rhino population in the mountains of the Matusadona National Park
Intensive Protection Zone.
They are organising an intensive, and carefully-focused waterhole count in
the Zambezi escarpment mountains above the Matusadona floodplain during the
week 11th-19th August 2007. They have mapped 35 water points which need
monitoring for a minimum of 3-4 days. Although it will be of interest to
monitor all wildlife coming to drink, they are looking specifically for
signs of black rhino - sightings, spoor, middens etc.
Currently teams of 3-4 people are needed to assist who:
. can get themselves into the Matusadona in a 4 x 4
. can provide all fuel and food etc.
. can be completely self-sufficient
. can camp in the bush for at least four days or more
. are prepared to hike in rugged terrain (in some cases waterholes may be
far from tracks)
. can recognise black rhino signs when they see them
. have a sense of adventure and an understanding of the wild
Each team will need to be accompanied by an armed Professional Hunter (who
can be one of the team) or a National Parks Scout (who will be seconded to
each team). Anyone interest must please contact The Zambezi Society via
their website www.zamsoc.org or call +263 (0)4 747002. You will be making a
difference and supporting a very worthy initiative.
Contact: Lucy Jarvis
+61 403 412 513
Pushing Past Politics, Play For Zimbabwe Must Go On
Australia 's Cancellation of Cricket Tour Inspires Worldwide Day of Play
With the Australian government's refusal to let its national Cricket team tour Zimbabwe in September, the cancellation of the highly-anticipated event leaves a void among fans and a country struggling to hang on to its normalcy. Young Zimbabweans are taking matters into their own hands, attempting for only one day to help fill the void with Play For Zimbabwe, a grass-roots effort to organize cricket games around the world on Sept. 1, 2007 .
The event will take place in several cities and towns across Europe , Australia and New Zealand, Africa , the USA and Canada. Zimbabweans and cricket lovers alike from around the globe are encouraged to be a part of games near them on Sept. 1. From backyards and playgrounds, to streets and clubs, organizers and players will enjoy a day where the focus is not on political ideology or its effects, but simply on the game of Cricket; a sport that crosses racial, political and socioeconomic lines.
"By celebrating the strengths of our people—that is, the hope, humour and resilience—we are starting to rebuild our sense of national pride and demonstrating that we still believe in our right to a future, that we haven't given up," organizer for the Australian region Lucy Jarvis said. "The Play For Zimbabwe initiative is an avenue for Zimbabweans to express their love for a nation at a time when all we get is bad news."
Organisers are hoping to use the extended network of young Zimbabweans around the globe, utilizing social networks on the Internet and blog sites, in a grassroots effort to promote unity among scattered citizens of the struggling nation. Mostly university students from Zimbabwe who are not currently in their home country are coordinating games.
"The initiative appeals to this generation in particular because of its simplicity and its optimistic nature," the event's blog site states. "It is different, but it is increasingly evident that in order to make a difference, a different approach is needed."
Kwapi T. Vengesayi, who is helping to organize a day of play on the West coast of the United States, describes the importance of cricket to his generation as it has helped to build bridges between race and class divisions in Zimbabwe. He also notes the pride and unity in Zimbabwe as a result of the team's display of the national colors in their uniform.
Like many other young people, this generation of Zimbabweans is finding hope in the potential for sport to represent the vision of a unified country. More importantly, they are celebrating the strength and power that is a current reality among them, as they are able to organize a worldwide event like Play For Zimbabwe.