|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
|Democracy Bill passed|
8/4/01 10:52:02 AM (GMT +2)
THE Zimbabwe Democracy
and Economic Recovery Bill, which seeks to impose some sanctions on Zimbabwe,
was passed by the full United States Senate on Thursday.
A spokesman for the US Embassy in Harare confirmed last night that the Bill had been passed by a voice vote by the full Senate.
The Senate committee on
foreign relations had earlier approved the Bill on 12 July. The Bill will now be
tabled in the House of Representatives in September. The House is also expected
to pass the Bill before President George W Bush signs it into law.
If passed into law, it will restrict President Mugabe, his immediate family, Cabinet ministers, government officials and Zanu PF officials implicated in political violence, from travelling to the US.
While the travel ban on Mugabe, Zanu PF and government officials is least worrying, Zimbabweans, already reeling under harsh economic conditions,would be concerned about the withholding of aid by the US.
According to the Bill, the American government and all institutions with American links will also be barred from dealing with the government.
It will also stop aid flows and bilateral trade worth millions of dollars.
The move comes after several countries and international finance organisations froze aid to Zimbabwe.
|Reserve Bank officials in alleged $1,4bn scam|
8/4/01 10:45:47 AM (GMT +2)
From Kelvin Jakachira in Mutare
THREE senior officials
at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) are said to have been asked to step down
amid reports that $1,4 billion in proceeds from jewellery sales may have
The jewellery was
manufactured by Aurex (Pvt) Limited, a subsidiary company of the RBZ, sources in
Harare said this week.
The Aurex jewellery consignment was sold to an undisclosed foreign country most likely the United States of America but proceeds from the sale never found their way into either Aurex or RBZ coffers, the sources confided.
The matter is understood to have been investigated by the anti-corruption unit of the National Economic Consultative Forum (NECF), a quasi-government, multi-sector body set up about three years ago to help spearhead the country’s economic revival.
The NECF, according to our sources, recommended that the three senior RBZ officials step down for their respective roles in the transaction. It was not immediately clear what roles they played.
The three officials, who were all said to be out attending workshops and could not be reached for the past five days, are reportedly resisting measures to remove them.
Other officials at the RBZ, Aurex and NECF were not forthcoming when contacted for comment, amid suggestions within financial and political circles that the matter was being kept firmly under the carpet to protect the image of the central bank.
Aurex, which has undergone a restructuring exercise and announced a new board of directors on Thursday, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Reszim Investments (Pvt) Limited, which in turn is wholly-controlled by the RBZ.
The company, based at Ruwa outside the capital, manufactures jewellery for export to the US, which earns it an average of $55 million (US$1 million) a month in foreign currency earnings.
Both John Dhliwayo, the managing director of Aurex, and Ignatious Mabasa, the RBZ spokesman, said they were unaware of the matter.
Nonetheless, the pair suggested this newspaper submit questions in writing.
At NECF, the chairman of the anti-corruption unit, businessman and politician Phillip Chiyangwa, denied the quasi-governmental body had investigated such an issue.
“I’m hearing this for the first time from you,” said Chiyangwa, referring further questions to Nhlanhla Masuku, the NECF’s chief spokesman. Masuku did not return messages left at his office.
“There have been all sorts of rumours going around about that, but there is no substance to it,” Lovemore Chihota, the chairman of Aurex, said on Thursday. He then suggested the newspaper visit him for a face-to-face interview over the allegations.
In advertisements flighted in issues of yesterday’s newspapers, Aurex said it had appointed new directors as part of a restructuring programme that would culminate in the marketing of machine-made and hand-made jewel products to Europe, the Middle East and the Americas.
“Currently, Aurex is producing and selling jewellery to the American market only,” the company said in the advertisement. “The exports are earning the country an average of US$1 million a month in foreign currency.” At the official exchange rate, that is $55 million a month, or $660 million a year.
|War veterans besiege veterinary services office, fire clerk in Chipinge|
8/4/01 10:47:03 AM (GMT +2)
From Our Correspondent in Mutare
ABOUT 50 war veterans in
Chipinge last Thursday allegedly “sacked” a clerk with the department of
veterinary services in the town, alleging he was an MDC sympathizer Police
sources said on Wednesday the group was led by Elena Mlambo, 45, the chairperson
of the Zimbabwe War Veterans’ Association in the district.
They besieged the
veterinary services office and demanded the office keys from the clerk,
identified only as Randinyo.
The source said the veterans took the office keys and handed them to the Chipinge district head of veterinary services, Dr Wilmot Chikunhe.
They declared they had “sacked” the clerk for being an MDC supporter. They threatened to take unspecified action against the clerk if he returned to work, a police source said.
Chikunhe could not be reached for comment at his Chipinge office. An officer in Chipinge said Chikunhe had gone to Mutema on business.
Dr Elton Muusha, the provincial veterinary services officer in Mutare left for Chipinge on Wednesday to “iron out the differences in Chipinge” between the war veterans and his officer, according to an officer, at the Mutare office, who refused to be named.
“We understand Muusha has gone to Chipinge today but the purpose of his visit is not very clear. However it must have something to do with the matter you are raising,” said the officer.
Meanwhile, Mlambo last Sunday led a group of 14 illegal settlers to Ben Viljoen’s Nest Farm in Chipinge.
They demonstrated at Viljoen’s homestead against the alleged poisoning of Mlambo’s five dogs and three head of cattle.
Police sources said the demonstrators gathered at Viljoen’s gate and accused the farmer and his employee, Nelson Chireya Mtetwa, of poisoning the animals.
The source said Mlambo ordered Viljoen to bar Mtetwa from further patrols of the plots at the farm where the war veterans have illegally resettled.
|Divisions rock Zanu PF in Mashonaland Central|
8/4/01 10:53:33 AM (GMT +2)
By Sandra Nyaira Political Editor
DIVISIONS are emerging
in the Zanu PF stronghold of Mashonaland Central province over the appointment
of a senior party member to replace Elliot Manyika as governor of the province.
Manyika was elected MP for
Bindura last the weekend.
Senior Zanu politburo members have recommended Edward Chindori-Chininga, the MP for Guruve, Chen Chimutengwende, the Mazowe East MP, and flamboyant businessman James Makamba.
But party youths in the province are pushing for a younger person to be appointed.
The youths have told Manyika and other senior Zanu PF politburo members that they have worked so hard for the party to ensure the province retained all its seats in Parliament, and should be rewarded for their efforts.
Itai Dickson Mafios, a former temporary teacher and current vice-chairman of Pfura Rural District Council, is being recommended by the youths to take over the provincial governor’s office.
Mafios, 34, is the Zanu PF provincial youth chairman and is also in charge of security.
Sources in Zanu PF said a meeting was called by Joyce Mujuru, the acting Minister of Defence, at Makamba’s house on Wednesday to discuss the issue.
The youths told Manyika at a meeting in Chiwaridzo that Mafios should be rewarded for working so hard with the people to shut out the MDC from Mashonaland Central. They said he was at home with the people and enjoyed their support.
Manyika is said to have drawn the attention of the politburo to the youths’ concerns.
It is unlikely Mafios will be appointed ahead of the old guard in Zanu PF.
Chindori-Chininga, the Deputy Minister of Environment and Tourism, has turned down the offer, preferring to keep his constituency. Sources say there is intense lobbying to ensure he is appointed governor.
He acknowledged he was aware of the lobbying but refused to answer questions.
Another turbulent by-election would be on the cards if either Chimutengwende, a former Minister of Information, or Chindori-Chininga is appointed to succeed Manyika.
Sources say the name of Leslie Gwindi, a public relations executive with the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority and a former Dynamos Football Club official, has also been mentioned. They said although he was closely connected to some senior politicians in the province, he was unlikely to land the big job as he was virtually an unknown quantity among senior Zanu PF officials at the national level.
|Morale high in Zanu PF camp|
8/4/01 9:36:42 AM (GMT +2)
Luke Tamborinyoka and Sandra Nyaira
Morale is naturally very
high in the Zanu PF camp after their resounding victory against the MDC last
weekend in the Bindura by-election.
This was the third such
victory for the party in the three by-elections held since the parliamentary
election in June 2000.
Zanu PF even won Bikita West which they had lost to the MDC in 2000.
The Bindura seat has special significance for the MDC because its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, worked for 10 years at nearby Trojan Nickel Mine, where he began his trade union career.
But the Bindura seat has always belonged to Zanu PF. The MDC support base in the constituency, as seen from the votes cast, shrank significantly.
Zanu PF retained the Marondera West seat in a by-election last November when Ambrose Mutinhiri beat the MDC’s Shadreck Chipangura, following the death in a car accident of Rufaro Gwanzura.
In January this year, the MDC lost its Bikita West seat to Zanu PF in a by-election held after the death, from natural causes, of Amos Mutongi.
Tsvangirai said then that the loss of Bikita West was a temporary setback, representing the victory of violence over peace, of hooliganism over rationality and the triumph of evil over good.
“We have lost a battle and not the war,” Tsvangirai said then.
But it is seems that the party continues to lose more battles ahead of the crucial war, the presidential election next year.
With the defeat of the MDC candidate Elliot Pfebve, for the second time in less than 12 months in the largely rural Bindura constituency, the party seems to be finding it difficult to penetrate Zanu PF’s seemingly impregnable fortress - the communal areas of Mashonaland.
Zanu PF’s support base is mainly rural, while the MDC enjoys popular support in the urban constituencies, where it won most of the 57 seats in last year’s parliamentary election.
With another two by-elections pending in Chikomba and Makoni West in
September, it remains to be seen whether the MDC will be able to break the jinx and win in a rural seat.
Chikomba and Makoni West constituencies fell vacant following the deaths of war veterans’ leader Chenjerai Hunzvi and Defence Minister Moven Mahachi.
Clearly, Zanu PF is going to pull out all the stops to ensure it retains these key constituencies.
A defeat in either could signal the beginning of a serious slide in popularity.
The only consolation for the opposition in the post-June 2000 electoral contests was its victory in the Masvingo mayoral election when Alois
Chaimiti defeated Zanu PF’s Jacob Chademana.
This was no mean feat as Zanu PF has always touted Masvingo province as one of its “one-party” domains.
In the unfolding political drama, Zanu PF holds a definite upper hand over the MDC and if it retains the two constituencies, this could deal a major psychological blow to the opposition.
The MDC has accused Zanu PF of using violence to win elections, while Zanu PF has made similar charges against the MDC.
The by-elections so far have been caused by death, but the MDC’s election petitions have already caused ripples.
They have been based on the party’s claims that there was so much pre-election violence in the constituencies, the elections could not be considered free and fair.
In a number of cases, the courts have agreed with the MDC - declaring the election results null and void, But there are more than 30 election petitions still to be heard and the courts are in no hurry to conclude them.
However, the allegations of violence against Zanu PF would seem to have been vindicated by the courts.
Says Alfred Nhema, a political science lecturer at the University of
“For Zanu PF and President Mugabe, it was important to retain the Bindura seat.
“It’s not a disaster for the MDC, considering the controversies that have surrounded the by-election, but Zanu PF will look at it as a psychological boost.”
But Tsvangirai said: “The result was disappointing because our supporters had high expectations, but it can never be a barometer of national sentiment.
“The outcome can reflect some feeling in the constituency or maybe in the province, but certainly not the national sentiment.”
If Zanu PF wins the two remaining by-elections, the MDC will have suffered a 5-0 drubbing in less than a year - too high a defeat for a political team intending to run in the presidential contest next year.
Still, these are all rural constituencies won for Zanu PF in 2000 by high-profile party people, two of them (Mahachi and Gezi) Cabinet ministers and members of the politburo, and one the leader of the war veterans, Hunzvi, whose members played a significant role in the violence of the 2000 election campaign.
Tsvangirai said his party was disappointed to lose Bindura, but the result did not reflect a nationwide sway from the MDC.
Said Jonathan Moyo, Zanu PF’s deputy secretary for information and publicity: “It is now clear to anyone who can read the writing on the wall, Zanu PF is the future just like it is our party.
“The opposition will not win any by-election. They may win in court but not in an electoral court. The population of Zimbabwe has woken from the slumber that it was put into last year.”
The polling in Bindura was peaceful but the campaign was marred by violence and the arrest of over 25 MDC supporters, including Pfebve.
Pfebve was arrested while monitoring the voting process and was only released after about two hours.
There were isolated incidents of violence in the two-day poll, which included the alleged abduction of 21 MDC youths at Chirikadzi service centre in Musana communal lands and the stoning of an MDC vehicle at Duiker Estate in Mutepatepa.
Forty voting points were manned by 16 mobile voting units in the election that had a total of 69 polling stations.
The only hope for the MDC is the Bulawayo mayoral election, which they are likely to win, especially after Zanu PF lost all the 19 parliamentary seats in the City of Kings in 2000.
|Bindura by-election farce a defeat for democracy|
8/4/01 9:42:21 AM (GMT +2)
Pius Wakatama on Saturday
SOME people are actually
rejoicing that Zanu PF’s Elliot Manyika won the Bindura seat by-election and to
them this signifies that the majority of Zimbabweans are behind the government
With stupid grins on their
faces they bask in the so-called victory and crow about how Zanu PF is going to
win the other forthcoming elections as well as the presidential election in
Professor Jonathan Moyo, the government’s spin-doctor, said: “The results show that the people are supportive of government programmes and its determination to turn around the economy by putting people first.”
May someone out there tell the errant professor that winning an election is not a matter of getting the most votes. When democracy and freedom have lost one is mistaken to think they have won for their victory is but a hollow sham. The nation has lost.
In a democratic society, unlike ours, one can only be deemed to have won if the elections were reasonably free and fair.
No one in his right mind can call the Bindura by-election free and fair. It was not so by any stretch of imagination because the opposition did not have any access to the public media as required by democratic principles.
They were selfishly monopolised by Zanu PF for electioneering and propaganda purposes. It is also no secret that there was open intimidation through threats, violence and unwarranted police detention of opposition members.
Someone from the Bindura constituency told me that they were warned by war veterans and Zanu PF supporters that if they voted for the MDC candidate, President Mugabe’s helicopters would come and bomb their villages. In such circumstances, who would expect unsophisticated and uneducated voters to go ahead and vote for the MDC?
The land redistribution exercise also proved its worth as a campaign tool.
According to Tendai Biti of the MDC, no less than 5 000 peasants were bought with land in the constituency and were immediately registered there as voters.
Heaven knows what dirty trick Zanu PF did not use to make sure they retained the Bindura seat. Their candidate, Manyika, won in an election which was in reality a travesty of democracy.
Anyway, all is fair in love and war and to the Zanu PF warped mentality violent coercion is legitimate in their concept of democracy. What civilised people the world over consider to be democracy is anathema to Zanu PF.
According to their primitive reasoning, they fought the war and, therefore, are entitled to rule until they die. Anyone who dares to question that is a traitor and an enemy to be prosecuted and persecuted.
They are not capable of understanding why the Church, civic society, the courts and the rest of the world say they are wrong. They have become so power-drunk that they have lost all sense of reality. They now live in a world of their own - a world of delusion not different from that of Adolf Hitler, Joseph Goebbels, Wilhelm Goering, Heinrich Himmler and Adolf Eichmann. In fact, all these have their budding counterparts in Zimbabwe.
It is indeed frightening to see how Zimbabwe is following in the footsteps of Nazi Germany.
Like Hitler, Mugabe gained power legally through elections. Both men were charismatic leaders who promised their people justice, peace and prosperity.
When he was entrenched in power, Hitler soon overthrew the constitution and created a dictatorship. His Nazi party seized control of the courts, industries, newspapers and schools. Zanu PF’s moves in this direction have been well orchestrated.
Those who opposed Hitler’s dictatorship were murdered, imprisoned or forced out of Germany.
Some were beaten up by Hitler’s private army of hoodlums called storm troopers. These acted just like the war veterans, whose patron is Mugabe, are doing in Zimbabwe today.
Hitler hated Jews. They became very convenient scapegoats for all Germany’s ills just like Zimbabwean whites are being blamed for the country’s self-inflicted woes, be they political or economic. The number of Jews murdered by the Nazis is proportionate to the number of whites killed in Zimbabwe during the land redistribution exercise. Where did this end for Nazi Germany? The Nazis declared war on the rest of the world just as Zimbabwe is almost doing. This brought about World War II. Who knows where the so-called Third Chimurenga is going to lead us to? When Germany was brought to its knees by the international Allied Forces Hitler committed suicide. Many Nazi leaders accused of war crimes were tried, found guilty, imprisoned or hanged. Most of the trials took place in Nuremberg. I wonder where the trials of Zimbabweans who are committing crimes against humanity will be held?
Hitler was elected in a free and fair election but went ahead and forged the most vile dictatorship on earth. You see, democracy is much more than having people put an “X” against the name of some political candidate.
It is a philosophy - an internalised way of life. Elections are but a tool of democracy for it is an acknowledged fact that freedom flourishes best when people choose their leaders. But the mere fact that people have chosen their representatives does not guarantee democracy and freedom.
Writing in an American magazine called The Freeman (October 1999), Donald Smith said: “Freedom is something that exists alone, and of itself. A big turnout on election day (as in Bindura) is meaningless if those elected are not primarily concerned with the rights of the individual. If indeed the people who are elected are intent on passing laws that impinge on personal freedom, then representative government is working against the people.”
What is the answer? We must be thankful to God that Zimbabwe has a civil society which is fighting for democracy against very heavy odds. However, things have so much gone out of hand that as in Nazi Germany’s case, it will take the might and influence of the international community to bring sanity and order to the country.
I am against the idea of blanket sanctions for they will harm most of those already suffering. I whole-heartedly support the notion of freezing the ill-gotten overseas assets of the perpetrators of violence and mayhem and the kicking-out of America and Europe of their children and close relatives.
Curtailing their overseas travel will also save the country much needed foreign currency.
If the international community fails to bring about change in Zimbabwe, then only God can save us.
|A nation looks for
elusive scapegoats |
8/2/01 6:43:49 PM (GMT +2)
YET another task force, this time to look into Zimbabwe’s fuel needs and problems, was launched earlier this week by the government. It is the second such committee in as many years.
|It’s not being spineless but having principles |
Seen the Light, Harare.
8/2/01 6:53:01 PM (GMT +2)
EDITOR — I see the President wants all "spineless ministers", like Nkosana Moyo, to take the high road. Well, Mr President, sir, it is not about being spineless; rather, it is about having principles, self-respect and esteem and standing by them.
War veterans to take charge of national youth training