The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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: Burning plastic
Date: 04 August 2001 11:46

Dear family and friends,
I sat up until a little before midnight last night reading the 46 page
document just released by the Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum and this morning
I am still in deep shock. In a tip of the iceberg report the ZHR Forum
gives details of human rights abuses committed in Zimbabwe just prior to
last years election. It gives personal statements, names, places and the
most horrific details of torture,murder and rape. It tells of torture
centres and re-education camps, of locked rooms with barred windows. It
names both the victims and the perpetrators and many of the latter are men
now sitting in our Parliament As I sit here on this beautiful spring morning
in Zimbabwe, I cannot believe the horrors that have gone on, and are still
going on in the name of land re-distribution. The 77 cases reported in the
document are not of whites or of farmers but of the ordinary men and women
of Zimbabwe who have dared to stand up for their belief in democracy, who
have dared to suggest that they no longer want to be ruled by a one party
state. Please do not allow your children to read this one excerpt below,
please do bring it to the attention of your parliamentarian.
"...3rd June 2000... They made us lie down. They took ropes and tied our
hands and legs and they started assaulting us. They were beating us with
sjamboks. At around 7.00pm, they took us to their base at Texas farm. They
made a fire and began assaulting us using fire. First it was my friend BM.
They tied plastic around his hands and legs and then lit it. Next it was my
turn. They beat me first. Then they used all the same tactics, wrapping my
legs, hands and private parts and lighting the plastics. They also lit some
plastic and then dropped it on us as it melted. They were taking hot ashes
and spreading them on my body. ... I have burns all over my back, front,
buttocks, private parts, thighs and legs ..."
This is just one statement from 46 pages. Others tell of horrific sexual
abuses, of  the use of electricity and water, of whips and batons, bicycle
chains and iron bars used to inflict beatings on people suspected of not
supporting the ruling party. These abominations must be exposed, the
perpetrators must be brought to justice. The countries still giving money
to Zimbabwe must STOP now because the pennies you drop into a collection
box are being used by our government for violence and torture and not for
land redistribution. The people committing these crimes are not in goals,
they are still out there, still being paid to kill and maim us. I know that
if you are white and speak out you are called a racist and if you are from
outside Africa you are called a colonialist. We know different though.
These abominations are being committed by black people against black,
white, yellow and brown people. If we do not find a way of exposing these
horrors now, thousands and thousands more people will be raped, burned,
tortured and murdered in the next few months as we stagger towards
elections again.
This week particularly I have questioned my place and my role in this
country. I had a couple of frightening encounters with our local police,
police who are not policemen at all but  war veterans who wear the uniforms
and sit at the desks of the officials over whom they have complete control.
My determination has wavered but then I turn in my chair and look at the
collage of family photos that sits on my wall. My mother, father and
stepfather all fought for freedom and democracy in Zimbabwe twenty years
ago. They gave me these feelings of patriotism, these beliefs in right and
wrong, they taught me to stand up for what is right. As I write three
children are lying on the carpet watching cartoons, one is white, two are
black. It starts there, racial harmony, goodness and honesty, morals and
principles all start there. They do not notice that their skins have
different hues, they are children together and every Zimbabwean owes it to
them to fight this evil. If you are an ex Zimbabwean in another country
now, you too owe it to these children, our future parliamentarians to speak
out. If you are reading this from the comfort of your walled and gated
Harare home you too must open your eyes, you too must read these 46 pages
of the hell that has engulfed us.
The 'war veterans' who are still beating, burning, raping and torturing
have led us to the edge of starvation. This week the Commercial Farmers
Union held its annual congress and told us the cold hard facts of the
situation we are now looking at thanks to the politicians who are so
desperate to stay in power. The farmers have been as powerless as the
people who had burning plastic draped around their testicles. I quote from
Tim Henwood's address: "...maize production was set to drop to less than
half of the previous crop. ...the shrinkage in cotton production has
declined from 400 thousand to 282 thousand tonnes. .. the coffee industry
has seriously declined...tobacco production was down by 15 to 20%...the
wheat crop yield was expected to be 250 thousand tonnes, lower than the
required 550 thousand tonnes... the beef industry is facing a serious
challenge as farmers liquidate their herds... 160 out of 225 dairy farms
have been listed for compulsory acquisition... the wildlife industry
continues to be raped......" What the ruling party have called a peaceful
demonstration in the name of  land
re-distribution will leave us with serious shortages of dairy produce,
bread and maize, fruit and coffee, meat and milk. War veterans have removed
almost all our means of earning foreign currency as they have swept over
farms that grow all our export crops - tobacco and flowers, game and
safaris. This week the FAO announced the top 3 African countires facing
starvation in 2001/2, they were Sudan, Somalia and Zimbabwe.
The ravages in Zimbabwe have affected us all, rich and poor, black and
white, educated and illiterate. In one way or another we have all had
burning plastic dripped onto our backs. As Zimbabweans we are completely
powerless and helpless. The ruling party have infiltrated the police and
the army, the civil service and the municipalities. We will not survive
this without outside intervention. I know that YOU can help. With much love
and thanks as always, Cathy
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Democracy Bill passed

8/4/01 10:52:02 AM (GMT +2)

Chief Reporter

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.

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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 disappeared.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 policies.

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 2002.
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.

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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.

Just last week, another task force to examine professionalism and ethics in the media was set up.

We now have had or have task forces on virtually every facet of life in Zimbabwe: corruption, land resettlement, education, the resuscitation of the economy, the pay and working conditions of government health workers and on how and which parastatals should be privatised and when.

In short, we have become a nation of task forces, every time groping for solutions or elusive scapegoats to well known and endemic problems: the problems of our governance.

In doing this, the government’s apologists who are slotted into these panels and others who support them fail to understand the underlying cause why such committees are being set up: to hoodwink ordinary Zimbabweans into believing that something is being done to alleviate their suffering of two decades.

Even a cursory examination of the work or results of any of these committees will show anyone that they are nothing but a tool designed solely to postpone the resolution of problems whose solutions are known by all in the land.

Let’s take the shortage of fuel, which has dogged Zimbabwe since 1999, as an example. Don’t we all know that the shortage started because of rampant graft at the national oil company NOCZIM?

Don’t we all know that Zimbabwe, deserted by its friends among multilateral agencies, needs to earn more hard cash in order to buy more fuel? But how do you earn more foreign currency under economic chaos marked by record inflation and interest rates and company raids that are fuelled by the government?

Let’s look at another subject of an official inquiry: land redistribution.

Did anyone have to set up such a committee to know that poor peasants crowded into rural areas needed land and that the government, aided by a willing international community, needed to fund this programme?

Even after the government in 1998 reached agreement with international partners on how to finance the land reforms, was it not the government which threw out that same plan and adopted its own unworkable scheme and yet it now cries foul?

It is hard to understand what, if any, solutions the fuel committee formed this week with the blessings of labour and business will proffer other than to delay labour’s much-publicised plans to go ahead with an indefinite job stayaway.

The longer this or any other panel takes to cobble up "solutions" — solutions the government never implements — the longer the suffering of Zimbabweans and the longer the government remains in power, which is all it cares about.

Zimbabweans, for all their patience, no longer need any more task forces to tackle obvious issues.

They needed action yesterday from their rulers to move with speed to deliver "deliverables of independence" — to quote President Robert Mugabe himself — or they had to elect new leaders who could deliver.

This is the challenge facing all Zimbabweans — whether to continue tinkering with self-inflicted problems of the past or to start a new beginning altogether.

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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.

The whole bunch of busybodies in your Cabinet do not have spine or whatever you like to call it. To me, an ordinary Zimbabwean citizen, they are blatant opportunists whose sole purpose for staying on board your doomed train is to cream it off as long as possible before jumping off at the last minute to leave you to face the music, which, necessarily, is not long due now.

There are plenty of spineless jokers out there, but believe me Nkosana Moyo is certainly not one of them. In fact, he is the best example of what we need more of right now.

Speaking of ministers having to go, why don’t you start firing all those clowns you call ministers, beginning with bumblers like Joseph Made?

I do not expect you to really do that because that is the best calibre of personnel you have in your party and you certainly would not want to antagonise the few real allies you have left these days.

Most of us have seen through your political manoeuvreing for some time now and we have correctly identified you as the greatest impediment to real development in this nation. We will not be fooled into blaming other races or vague foreign imperialists — some of whom you blamed for diverting petrol tankers meant for us on the high seas! — and patiently wait for the day when we cast our votes.

We increasingly see a rigid leader who has amply demonstrated his inability to live in the present and there really is no hope that you will change. As people put it these days, Joseph Chinotimba will always be Chinotimba: broken English, unpolished, simplistic, grass hat and all, never mind how many immaculate suits he puts on these days.

The events of the past two years have clearly separated real leaders from pathetic self-serving pretenders and our minds are firmly made.

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War veterans to take charge of national youth training

Blessing Zulu
WAR veterans, who of late have become agents of political coercion, are to be incorporated into the recently launched national youth service programme as tutors, the Zimbabwe Independent has established.

The Ministry of Youth, Gender and Employment Creation launched the controversial programme on Tuesday in a move observers said was meant to entrench Zanu PF rule ahead of the presidential election. The election is expected to be contested by President Robert Mugabe for Zanu PF and Morgan Tsvangirai for the Movement for Democratic Change.

The war veterans' major focus in the training programme would be to drum into the youth Zanu PF's political agenda. Sources said the war veterans would also seek to indoctrinate trainees with a history of the liberation war as seen from Zanu PF's side and the need to revere the current crop of national leaders.

The permanent secretary in the ministry, Dr Thompson Tsodzo, said the programme was officially launched on Tuesday in the Zanu PF stronghold of Mount Darwin.
"The programme was launched in Mount Darwin at a former 2 Brigade army barracks. The barracks had been turned into a vocational training college by the Ministry of Higher Education and Technology. Vocational colleges now fall under our ministry and we inherited it from them," Tsodzo said.

He also confirmed that war veterans were assisting in the training programme and said there was nothing amiss with their inclusion as tutors.

"There are war veterans in my ministry just like in any other. Take for instance the Ministry of Education, it has some war veterans.

"There are some with the requisite skills that we can utilise and they will be assisting us based on their merit. So don't be surprised if you see them training the youth," he said.

The syllabus will be divided into four subjects: orientation, skills training, disaster management and vigilance.

"For orientation, the focus is on national pride. The youth will be taught to respect the national flag, the national anthem and national heroes.

"We want them to identify with Zimbabwe and this is the main subject. They must be committed and when the time comes for them to defend the nation, they should know why they should die for it," Tsodzo said.

"The second subject, skills training, is aimed at ensuring that the youths graduate with a practical skill.

"The skills on offer will include carpentry, building, agriculture and other practicals," he said.

The third subject, disaster management will teach the youth how to respond should a disaster, such as Cyclone Eline, occur, he said.

"The last subject is vigilance which is meant to ensure that the youths do not engage in petty crime, theft and rape," he said.

Apart from the war veterans, members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Zimbabwe National Army would be invited to drill the youth.

"The youth will undergo basic military training so that they are able to defend their country if the need arises. This is where the police and the army come in handy," said Tsodzo.

The government so far has recruited about 1 000 youths from all provinces. National youth service will be made compulsory for all youths who intend to work for or attend any government institution.

"In the next five years we intend to make it compulsory for all who intend to work in the government or intend to attend government colleges and universities. The focus will be as from grade seven right up to 30 years," he said.

MDC national youth chairman Nelson Chamisa dismissed the national youth service
as a waste of resources.

"The problem facing Zimbabwe at this particular hour goes beyond the national youth service," said Chamisa.

"This is a manifestation of Zanu PF's policy flip-flops. The reason that prompted the government to pursue this policy of militarising the youth is its realisation that it has lost support amongst the youth.

"It reminds one of despotic and desperate regimes such as that of Kamuzu Banda and Adolf Hitler," he said.

"What the youth need are jobs, easy access to education and health."
Chamisa urged the government itself to undergo national service.

"The government was elected by the people to do national service and this entails addressing the economic and political problems that are afflicting the country," he said.

Chamisa said he viewed the national youth service as an exercise in political dishonesty.

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