Sun 11 Dec 2005 5:42 AM ET
By Stella Mapenzauswa
ESIGODINI, Zimbabwe, Dec 11 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's
ruling party has consolidated its gains this year, but a renewed crackdown
on critics shows panic within its ranks in the face of a deepening economic
crisis, analysts say.
Mugabe's ZANU-PF party recommended on Saturday that the government act
against hostile rights groups and asked security forces to draw up a list of
people whose passports should be seized under new laws seen aimed at
The call at the end of a two day party conference came shortly after
security agents seized the passports of the opposition party's spokesman and
a leading Zimbabwe publisher whose papers have carried stories critical of
Analysts said the crackdown was a sign the ruling party and government were
devoid of ideas on how to tackle chronic shortages of food, fuel and foreign
currency, as well as triple-digit inflation.
"If anything this is an indication of frustration and panic on the part of
the government. The crackdown might worsen but I do not think it will stop
people from making constructive criticism," Heneri Dzinotyiwei, a political
analyst from the University of Zimbabwe, told Reuters.
"This is just some hot air from the ruling party in order to keep themselves
agreeing on something because even among their own followers there are deep
concerns about the worsening hardships facing the country," he added.
Threats of further reprisals against rights groups and individuals critical
of the government are unlikely to silence voices that have spoken out even
in the face of repressive security and media laws enacted three years ago,
CRITICISM FROM WITHIN
In an unusually tough editorial at the weekend, the state-owned Chronicle
newspaper urged the government to come up with concrete programmes to pull
millions of Zimbabweans out of poverty, saying the welfare of ZANU-PF hinged
"The failure of the government is the failure of the party. It is as simple
as that," the paper said bluntly. "The long-suffering nation is now
impatient for solutions to the country's economic challenges. Time for
action has come."
Despite the euphoria at ZANU-PF's annual conference after November's
sweeping Senate poll win, it still faced the daunting tasks of pulling the
economy out of crisis and resolving internal squabbles over Mugabe's
successor, analysts said.
Analysts say tensions still simmer within the party after Mugabe cowed
members to endorse Joyce Mujuru as second vice-president both in ZANU-PF and
government last year.
In the process he purged some senior officials who had lobbied for a rival
candidate for the post, seen as a stepping stone to the top job.
The dispute nearly split the party in two a few months before crucial
parliamentary elections in November 2004, which ZANU-PF went on to win amid
charges of vote-rigging by the opposition.
CALL FOR UNITY
In his closing address to the ZANU-PF meeting in the southwestern district
of Esigodini, Mugabe -- who is 81 and expected to retire in 2008 at the end
of his current term of office -- called for unity among his party faithful.
"Only a strong party yields a strong government and we need to be strong to
defeat the machinations of imperialists," he said.
In power since independence from Britain in 1980, Mugabe routinely accuses
the former colonial ruler of spearheading a Western campaign to sabotage
Zimbabwe's economy and unseat him over the government's seizure of
white-owned farms for blacks.
The weekend convention adopted a recommendation to take stern action against
non-governmental organisations and rights groups it said were sponsored by
Britain, the United Sates and the European Union.
"To me statements like that show that this is a party that knows it is still
in trouble because you do not talk about enemies unless you are in deep
trouble," said lawyer and political commentator Lovemore Madhuku, chairman
of pressure group National Constitutional Assembly.
"It's all stemming from a clear sense of realisation within the party that
things are definitely not well but they do not succeed by trying to silence
critics," said Madhuku, whose NCA was listed among organisations to be acted
11/12/2005 17:12 - (SA)
Esigodini - Zimbabwe's ruling party ended its annual conference on Saturday
urging the government not to entertain any more "clandestine" envoys sent to
Harare under the auspices of the United Nations.
"The conference resolved to encourage government to re-think its position on
entertaining any future UN envoys sent into the country as clandestine and
insidious agents of the British and other Western countries in pursuance of
their hidden agenda of regime change in Zimbabwe," said a conference
The resolution by the ruling Zanu-PF was adopted a day after President
Robert Mugabe accused the UN envoy on humanitarian affairs and relief aid
co-ordinator Jan Egeland, who visited the country earlier in the week, of
being a "damn hypocrite and a liar".
The longtime leader hinted on Friday that he might ban any more emissaries
sent from the UN because he believed they were shoring up Britain's
Mugabe said Egeland had misrepresented the facts of a meeting between the
two men by claiming that they had discussed a critical report compiled by
another UN envoy, Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka, who spent two weeks in Zimbabwe
in July assessing the impact of the government urban demolition campaign.
The head of state said no reference was made to the Tibaijuka report during
their two-hour meeting in the capital.
The conference said it was convinced that the Tibaijuka report was "a direct
product of some anti-government non-governmental organisations operating in
Harare has rejected the report, saying it exaggerated the facts and ignored
the fact that victims of the clean up campaign had a safety net on which
they could rely.
"Most of those affected by the clean up programme have rural homes or farms
they can return to," said Zanu-PF, adding Zimbabwe had one of Africa's
lowest rates of urban squalor.
Zanu-PF said it was disappointed that Egeland had failed to stick to the
truth about his Harare trip and had decided to tell the media of its outcome
before UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who had sent him to Zimbabwe.
It said contrary to the UN's assertions that food shortages were a result of
controversial land reforms, the country had experienced three successive
years of drought, but the government had ensured nobody had died of hunger.
Zimbabwe embarked in May on an urban clean up exercise which saw tens of
thousands of people lose their shelter and livelihood.
Mon 12 December 2005
HARARE - There is simply no respite for Harare's long suffering
While the cost of living was already beyond the reach of many in the
capital - thanks to six years of unprecedented economic recession - the cost
of dying is set to surge beyond the reach of many families, according to the
city's financial plan for 2006.
The state-appointed commission running the crumbling capital after the
popularly elected opposition council was controversially dismissed by the
government, last week announced a shock Z$32.56 trillion budget for 2006 in
which the price of the cheapest grave is set to rise several times more than
the average salary of a factory worker.
Rates and tariffs for other municipal services and facilities are
similarly expected to rise by between 500 and 2 000 percent. But it is not
the fact that charges are rising while council services and facilities are
deteriorating by the day that has attracted the most ire from residents.
It is the new burial charges that many in Harare's teeming low-income
suburbs say are not only unaffordable but also show the city commission's
insensitivity to the plight of bereaved families.
Or to use the words of Oscar Mubaya, a resident of the capital's
Kuwadzana suburb: "These new charges mean that dying is now a luxury only
the rich can afford. How do the city fathers think we will cope with these
new charges? Surely, it is anti-people to come up with such a budget whose
effect extends even to the dead."
Harare, with about two million people, has three main cemeteries at
Warren Park, Granville and Greendale as well as several smaller ones
scattered across the city.
Charges at all the burial grounds will, beginning January 2006, soar
more than 20-fold from $750 000 to $8.5 million for the grave of an adult. A
further hike is planned mid-year to leave the cost of a grave at $17
The average take home pay of a worker in Zimbabwe is about $3 million
per month meaning many will find it extremely hard to pay for a relative's
or their own grave.
It is many times cheaper for one to cremate a deceased loved one. But
cremation is an alternative acceptable only to Zimbabwe's minority Asian and
white communities and not among the black segment of the population.
"We, black Zimbabweans do not believe in cremating our departed ones.
Burning the bodies of dead relatives is simply not an option," said Sekai
Mapusa of Highfiled suburb, a mother of four who vowed she would never
forgive her children if they were to cremate her dead body.
Combined Harare Residents Association chairman Mike Davies said the
association was still consulting over not only the proposed new burial
charges but the entire budget as well.
Davis however was quick to add that the proposed new grave charges
would be unaffordable to the average Harare resident and accused the city
commission of wanting to cash in on the people's misery.
He said: "Very few people can afford that kind of money to buy burial
space for their departed ones. Right now the country has no fuel and it is
very expensive to ferry the deceased to the rural areas where burial ground
is free and many residents were resorting to these urban cemeteries. With
the latest hikes, I am not sure how residents are going to cope."
Harare Commission chairwoman Sekesai Makwavarara was not available for
comment on the matter. But the commission has defended the rates and tariff
hikes saying this was in line with galloping inflation which hit 502.4
percent last month.
Whatever the justification for hiking burial charges, the move is
certain to pay off handsomely for Makwavarara and her commissioners given
the high number of deaths in the capital due to a burgeoning HIV/AIDS crisis
that alone is killing at least 2 000 Zimbabweans every week.
But total deaths in Harare due to HIV/AIDS-related illness and a host
of other causes are even higher with municipal figures showing that an
average 5 000 people are buried in the city's cemeteries every week, with
several more transported to their rural homes for burial there.
But Shyleen Mupukuta from Mabvuku suburb in the east of the capital
said if the city budget was approved by the government without changes to
the proposed costs of burial ground, then Harare - already overflowing with
uncollected garbage - might soon find its hospitals clogged by corpses as
relatives struggle to raise enough cash to pay for graves.
She said: "It's not just about the cost of the burial ground, you also
have to consider the prices of coffins that are also rising daily, the cost
of transport from the hospital mortuary to the cemetery and then the cost of
food for people gathered for the funeral wake.
"To be honest, the way I see it is that dead bodies will pile up in
hospital mortuaries for months and months while poor relatives scrounge
around for enough money to pay for all what is required to conduct a
burial." - ZimOnline
Mon 12 December 2005
MUTARE - As darkness slowly envelops the eastern border town of
Mutare, Edmore Mukwena (not his real name), a senior Zimbabwean police
officer, rather hurriedly puts on his faded grey uniform as he gets ready
for the evening's "assignment"
Soon, Mukwena's battered Renault 18, packed with five other
"colleagues" who literally live by the sword in Mutare's crime-infested
Sakubva suburb, roars into life as he drives towards a dingy spot along
Forbes Border Post on the Zimbabwe-Mozambique border.
It is at this spot that Mukwena, a veteran and "loyal servant of the
people" over the past 15 years, now ekes a living as the boss of a criminal
"I have resorted to crime because that is the only way I can survive.
The criminals make money, so why shouldn't I work with them if that is how
my family will survive?"
"Tell me, what is better, to arrest a criminal and get a salary that
is not enough to buy a pair of trousers or partner the criminals and make
millions of dollars?
"I use my police identification card and uniform to scare away border
jumpers. After they run away, my gang loots their wares, which we later
resell," says Mukwena, who opened up to ZimOnline only after much coaxing
and reassurance that his true identity would not be revealed.
Mukwena also uses his services gun to scare away the more hardened
border jumpers who sometimes try to put up some resistance.
The Mutare police officer is not alone. Hundreds of the Zimbabwe
Republic Police's once highly regarded officers have been forced to forsake
the oath to keep the law and instead turned to crime as the country's
six-year economic crisis deepens.
"I take 50 percent of the spoils while my gang shares the other half.
I am the boss and after all, I am the one with the uniform and the police
identity card. Other members of my gang simply pose as civilian police,"
Mukwena told ZimOnline from a smoky bar in downtown Mutare.
With an average paltry salary of Z$3 million, Mukwena like most police
officers, says he can hardly make ends meet.
The police are among the lowest paid workers in Zimbabwe which is
grappling hyperinflation and severe food shortages. Zimbabwe's inflation
shot up to 502.4 percent in November, highlighting worsening economic
conditions in the once prosperous country.
Food, medicine, fuel and virtually every other basic commodity is in
short supply because the country does not have foreign currency to import
the commodities after the International Monetary Fund withdrew
balance-of-payments support to Harare following disagreements with
President Robert Mugabe over fiscal policy and other governance issues.
The forex shortages were worsened after Mugabe began his farm seizure
programme five years ago. The farm seizures destabilised agriculture, the
country's biggest hard cash earner, while food production dropped by about
60 percent to leave Zimbabwe dependent on handouts from food relief
The state-funded Consumer Council of Zimbabwe says an average family
of a father, mother and four children requires $11.9 million for basic goods
and services per month which is several times more than the take-home pay of
most workers, including policemen and soldiers, who have propped up Mugabe's
But many police officers have found a new way to beat the worsening
poverty and economic hardships - they have simply swapped roles from being
enforcers of the law to accomplices in crime.
Here in Mutare, residents say they have long lost trust in the police
because according to some of the residents the police have turned into worse
criminals than the usual thief or gangster in the city.
"The government should stop training more police officers because they
are nurturing criminals. The more policemen they train, the more criminals
they are unleashing on society," says Muchafara Matutu wryly.
To prove his point Matutu, a 28-year accountant with city financial
services firm, without prompting quickly recounts an encounter he had with
one of the robber-policeman.
"From nowhere the policeman charged at me, accusing me of being on the
police's list of wanted criminals and before I knew it, he had pinned me
down and handcuffed me. He only released me after empting my pockets. I ran
for dear life," said Matutu.
Last October, Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri told a
parliamentary portfolio committee on defence that his officers were
"dangerously underpaid" and admitted that some were resorting to crime to
make ends meet.
Chihuri said: "The situation is very bad. It would not be surprising
if serving officers decide to down their tools anytime from now. They are
saying they cannot wait for next year for a salary adjustment. Our officers
are being forced to steal and get bribes to buy cabbages for their
Police spokesman Wayne Bvidzijena last month also told the Press that
more than 100 police officers had been fired over the past year for engaging
in criminal activities.
Judging from the number of police officers who are turning to crime,
it appears Mugabe's cash-strapped government is unable to do much to stop
the trend. - ZimOnline
By Gibbs Dube
BULAWAYO - While at least three million Zimbabweans are in desperate need of
food aid, there was a glut of food for delegates to the eighth Zanu PF
Annual People's Conference who feasted in Umzingwane for four days.
Fifty beasts were slaughtered for the 3 000 delegates, who were also
expected by the end of today to have sampled other dishes following the
sourcing of 48 goats, 11 kudu, five reed bucks, 17 impala, five buffaloes,
1.19 tonnes of rice, 60 chickens, 50 kg of wheat and 11 tonnes of maize
Those with a gluttonous appetite for three-course meals and continental
breakfast were not left out as there were 250 bags of oranges, a tonne of
tomatoes, 400 cabbages, 60 litres of ice cream and other assorted
The abundance of food at the conference caught the attention of President
Robert Mugabe, who officially opened the event on Friday, and Zanu PF
chairman John Nkomo.
"When I arrived, I was complaining to (Governor Thokozile) Mathuthu saying
that I wanted meat. Now, I don't want steak but liver. Where is the liver?"
he asked, sending delegates into a fit of laughter.
Welcoming the delegates to the venue of the conference - Mzingwane High
School, 42 km south-east of Bulawayo - Nkomo noted that there was plenty of
food for the delegates which was donated by Matabeleland South Province.
"We have enough meat and other foodstuffs to feed delegates . However, there
are some people fond of stealing. Don't abuse MatabelelandSouth's kind
gesture by stealing meat. Otherwise you will be embarrassing the leadership
of the party," he said.
To top it all, the host province donated $1.3billion and sources within the
party indicated that more than $4 billion was spent on accommodation, fuel,
printing party paraphernalia and hiring of the state-of-the-art tent pitched
at Mzingwane High School. The school was renovated and roads leading to the
venue of the conference were recently upgraded at an estimated cost of more
than $6 billion.
In addition, a national cellphone network provider and the Zimbabwe
Electricity Supply Authority erected booster stations to cater for
delegates' needs and this is expected to be a permanent feature in
Esigodini, widely known for its extensive crop cultivation and citrus
To complement these efforts, the District Development Fund also sank a
borehole, with water tested in Bulawayo laboratories on a daily basis in the
countdown to the conference.
Millions of Zimbabweans are currently living from hand to mouth due to the
country's economic meltdown, with an average family expected to spend $11.9
million a month to cater for its basic needs.
Prices of basic foodstuffs recently went up following an unofficial price
increase of fuel, a scarce commodity in the country only available on the
parallel market at a rate of $120 000 a litre.
Some of the delegates, including top party officials, who were interviewed
by The Standard said they hoped that leftovers would be donated to less
"I believe that we do not need to feast so much while some of our fellow
citizens do not know where they will get their next meal. Donating some of
the foodstuffs to the needy, and not only leftovers, is an idea which we
have to suggest to senior members of the party," said one delegate. He said
he was aware that some Zimbabweans were only having a single meal a day due
to crippling inflation and other socio-economic problems.
"I hope that we will not consume all the food here so that we can donate
some of the beasts and goats to a group of entrepreneurs in Esigodini," said
This will leave the beneficiaries empowered for life,"
While delegates to the Zanu PF conference were enjoying their bounty United
Nations humanitarian affairs co-ordinator, Jan Egeland, who was in the
country last week repeated the UN's commitment to fighting starvation in
Zimbabwe saying World Food Programme was set to increase the number of
people receiving food aid from two million this month to three million by
By Gibbs Dube and Walter Marwizi
STATE security agents last week unsuccessfully tried to bar UN envoy for
humanitarian affairs co-ordinator, Jan Egeland, from getting first hand
information on the humanitarian crisis caused by "Operation Restore
Visibly jittery Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) operatives
repeatedly tried to gatecrash the private meetings, but found UN security
Egeland met church leaders and made field visits to holding camps such as
Hopley, where he assessed the magnitude of the problem. Back in New York on
Thursday, Egeland said the humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe was "extremely
serious and it is worsening as we speak".
He said it was "heartbreaking" to meet AIDS orphans, estimated to be one
million in Zimbabwe.
"It's heartbreaking to meet with people who are fearing the future because
of food insecurity, which is affecting the majority of the people. Prices
are spiralling as food is becoming increasingly scarce. It was heartbreaking
to meet victims of the eviction campaign last summer, who now are back in
the same place, only in much worse shelter than the house that was
Egeland disclosed he explained to Mugabe that permanent structures would
take a long time to build, hence the need for tents to temporarily house the
people who were staying in the open this rainy season. He said Mugabe
refused saying this would create an impression that Zimbabwe had a shelter
"If they (tents) are good enough for people in Europe and the United States
who have lost their houses, why are they not good enough for Zimbabwe?"
While he went around Zimbabwe gathering facts on the ground, State security
agents who in May had allowed the author of a damning report on the
demolitions, UN envoy Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka, to meet as many victims as
possible, were keen to monitor his movements.
In Bulawayo, a CIO operative caused a scene on Tuesday when he manhandled a
United Nations (UN) security official after he was denied entry into a
private meeting where churches were meeting Egeland.
There was chaos and pandemonium outside the venue of the meeting as the
security officer, identified only as Mungate, attempted to forcibly attend
the meeting without any success.
Mungate pushed and shoved but the UN official was not moved by his actions.
"You have a secret agenda and you are hiding (Archbishop) Pius Ncube and his
delegation. You have no mandate to hold meetings in this region without us
knowing who is hosting you. You are not allowed to hold private meetings
where the media is barred," said an irate Mungate, attempting to drag the
media into the issue.
However, the UN security official stood his ground and informed the CIO
operative that he was not a welcome guest. The operative temporarily left
the main entrance of the venue of the meeting and attempted to gatecrash the
meeting using a backdoor. He found it sealed off.
He gave up after unsuccessfully trying getting assistance from the Permanent
Secretary of Information and Publicity, George Charamba. Archbishop Ncube
did not attend the meeting.
Prior to the meeting, one UN official accompanying Egeland blocked the main
entrance of the Holiday Inn and informed government officials and about
eight State security officers that they were not expected to attend the
Egeland had also earlier indicated to the Governor of Matabeleland North
Province, Thokozile Mathuthu, that he was comfortable with a small group of
people accompanying him during his tour. However, Mathuthu insisted that she
wanted to accompany the envoy.
By Nqobani Ndlovu
BULAWAYO - THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has failed to pay polling
officers engaged during the recent senatorial election. The Standard
established that the majority of unpaid polling officers were teachers
deployed in remote parts of the country.
A large number of officers, drawn mainly from teachers and junior civil
servants, were reportedly paid on Monday with each pocketing $1.7 million.
Some of the affected polling officers said they were instructed by ZEC to
submit their bank accounts when they were hired but were surprised to find
no money had been deposited in their accounts.
"Initially we thought we were to be paid our money after the poll but were
surprised when ZEC officials told us to give them our bank account numbers.
They indicated that the money would be deposited on Monday.
However, they failed to do so and now we do not know whether we will ever be
paid," said one of the affected teachers, who was stationed in Plumtree.
Several other teachers said they were angry over the empty promises made by
ZEC over the payment of their allowances.
"It appears as if the commission does not have money to pay us. We have not
faced such problems in the past and are worried that we are regarded as
cheap labour," said another affected teacher.
The secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Teachers' Association, Denis Sinyolo,
said he had received disturbing reports that ZEC had failed to pay most of
the teachers who were engaged as polling officers in the just-ended Senate
Sinyolo said ZEC's failure to pay the teachers was a "demotivating" factor
to teachers who were always willing to take part in such national events.
"It is unfortunate that teachers who are rendering an important service to
the nation have not been paid their dues in time considering the fact that
they receive meagre monthly salaries. We want the teachers to be paid their
money as soon as possible. This is a demotivating development," said
Progressive Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) acting secretary general,
MacDonald Mangauzani, said his organisation had received similar reports
with most of the unpaid teachers based in rural areas.
Mangauzani said: "A large number of teachers are visiting our offices to
make reports that they have not yet been paid. We are very worried about
this issue and hope that it will be rectified within the shortest possible
Contacted for comment, ZEC spokesperson Utoile Silaigwana confirmed that
some polling officers had not yet been paid their allowances. He however
blamed the polling officers for allegedly providing incorrect bank account
details to ZEC.
"Polling officers have been paid election allowances save for a few who
supplied our paying officers with incorrect details. These polling officers
will be paid as soon as we rectify problems of their details supplied to
Mangauzani said his organisation would in future discourage teachers from
taking part in polls.
"The government has abused teachers and civil servants in general for too
long and in future, we will discourage our members from participating in
elections," he said.
By Valentine Maponga and Davison Maruziva
THE government, scaling up repression against Zimbabweans it considers among
its trenchant critics, has compiled a list of people whose passports should
be "seized, withdrawn and invalidated", The Standard can confirm. The move
has drawn a chorus of condemnation both at home and abroad. The list was
drawn up on 24 November and reportedly has the names of 64 on it, although
The Standard has been able to confirm 17 on those blacklisted.
Last week's seizure of the passport of Trevor Ncube, the chairman of The
Standard and The Zimbabwe Independent newspaper marks the beginning of an
onslaught against the private media through withdrawals of their travel
On Friday MDC's Secretary for Information and Publicity, Paul-Themba-Nyathi
had his passport seized and withdrawn by the State soon after arrival in
Bulawayo from Johannesburg, South Africa.
The Standard understands that the list of people whose passports should be
seized, withdrawn and invalidated is from Tobaiwa T Mudede, the
Registrar-General to Immigration and is listed as Reference D/9.
The letter from Elasto H Mugwadi, the Chief Immigration Officer, is dated 28
November 2005 and is headed Invalidation and withdrawal of Zimbabwe
Passports. It reads:
"With immediate effect Zimbabwe Passport held by the under listed persons
are deemed invalid and should be withdrawn on sight for onward transmission
to the Chief Passport Officer.
"Attached hereto is a self-explanatory copy of the invalidation authority
dated 24/11/05 from the Chief Passport Officer and the Registrar-General,
Cde TT Mudede."
Mudede's letter to Immigration, dated 24 November 2005, says:
"You are please advised that the current Zimbabwe passports of the following
holders are effectively withdrawn and invalidated for the purposes of
passage. Please these passports must be surrendered to the Chief Passport
Officer, if with- drawn."
The European Community (EU) and local analysts condemned the latest
government move. The EU cited the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,
Article 13, which says: "Everyone has the right to leave any country,
including his own, and to return to his country" guarantees freedom of
In a statement, the EU said: "Any withdrawal of a passport prevents freedom
of movement and is in breach of the Declaration. We have repeatedly
expressed concerns about the human rights record in Zimbabwe and called on
the government to respect individuals' rights, which include free expression
and free movement."
Ncube said there was a linkage between the seizure of his passport, the
listing of the other 16 and the Constitutional Amendment No 17 and that the
intention is to create a climate of fear and intimidation.
"From here on Zimbabweans are going to be terrified to speak up and express
themselves. The move is meant to frighten people. The 17 of us are being
used as an example. I am the first person to have his passport withdrawn. I
do not think I am likely to get my passport in Bulawayo. The passport will
be sent to Harare," said Ncube, who is launching an application to have his
Meanwhile Ncube who last week appeared on an Australian sanctions' list
said: "The Australians have called me and have apologised. They have said
the issue is under review and it will be corrected."
MDC Secretary-General Professor Welshman Ncube said Themba-Nyathi was being
punished for speaking out against Mugabe's repressive policies.
The Committee to Protect Journalists in its condemnation of Ncube's passport
seizure said: "The existence of this list is an affront to basic rights
including freedom of movement. This is nothing short-of a witch-hunt against
those courageous few who still dare publicly to criticse President Robert
Mudede and Mugwadi were unavailable for comments all of Friday and
But local analysts interviewed yesterday said there was no enabling
legislation that would give the government a leeway to start impounding
Arnold Tsunga, the human rights lawyer and director of the Zimbabwe Lawyers
for Human Rights, said the move couldn't be justified in terms of the
country's laws and even by international statutes.
He said: "This kind of a purge can only be found in a dictatorship where
there is a severely oppressive regime or in those governments who are
suffering from severe paranoia and are even afraid of their own shadows,"
Rashweat Mkundu the director of the Media Institute of Southern Africa said
the move is only an intensification of repression by Mugabe's government on
Mkundu said: "This goes to show how this government is determined to silence
all dissenting voices. We have seen much of what this government can do to
its own people since 2000. It's a grand plan to muzzle the Press and curtail
the freedom of movement of the people in this country. This is just an abuse
of State positions which is only synonymous with dictatorships."
Lovemore Madhuku, a Constitutional lawyer and political analyst said the
seizures could never be justified in a democratic society.
Mudede's hit list
Brian Kagoro; Raymond Majongwe; Trevor Ncube; Geoffrey Nyarota; Basildon
Peta; Clive Masiiwa (sic); Nqobile Nyathi; Noble Sibanda; Bernard
Mandizvidza; P Themba-Nyathi; Caroline Gombakomba; Tafadzwa Musekiwa; Grace
Kwinjeh; Beatrice Mtetwa; Gabriel Shumba Marechera; Lloyd Mudiwa; and Lionel
This list was drawn up on 24 November 2005. However, there is an expanded
list of 64 people and Ncube also features on that list.
By Ndamu Sandu
THE drama at the troubled First National Building Society (FNBS) has taken a
new twist amid revelations that curator David Scott had sold the society's
assets without consent from the Master of High Court and founding directors.
Standardbusiness heard last week that Scott, curator for the institution
since 7 February 2003, had under-priced the assets.
The move to sell FNBS assets is in contravention of the formal agreement
between the promoters/ majority shareholders, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe,
Scott and the Master of Master of High Court to stop any liquidation process
and give the re-opening of the society a chance.
In September Master of High Court Charles Nyatanga deferred the liquidation
of FNBS to next year on the grounds that there were fresh manouvres by the
founding directors/ promoters to inject capital to resuscitate the society.
Scott requested the postponement of the liquidation saying he had received a
number of written enquiries seeking an opportunity to invest into FNBS to
reopen the society.
The founding directors Samson Ruturi and Nicholas Musona have 89.74% in the
holding company First National Holdings Limited (FNHL). Documents in
possession of Standardbusiness reveal that Scott had understated FNBS assets
when he disposed of them without the consent of the founding shareholders.
Documents show that assets worth more than $45 billion had been sold for a
paltry $4.41 billion. The assets included 11 vehicles including two Mercedes
Benz (1997 E280 and 1996 C220) vehicles sold for a meagre $414 million.
Investigations last week revealed that the 1996 C220 was sold for $140
million while the 1997 E280 was sold for $180 million.
A total of nine vehicles that included Madza 323s, Peugeot 306s and 406s,
one Mazda 626 and a Toyota Crown Executive were sold for a combined $94
It also emerged last week that Scott had sold 136 residential stands and
three commercial stands for $1.6 billion. The residential stands are
situated in Devonshire, a medium to low-density suburb in Mutare, and the
commercial stands were also in Mutare. A house on nearly two acres in the
plush Borrowdale suburb of Harare was sold for $2.4 billion. All stands and
the house had pending transfer indicating that they were sold recently.
Standardbusiness heard last week that Scott's latest balance sheet as at 30
September 2005 did not show the disposal of the stands though it was
reflecting the disposal of vehicles.
Investigations last week unraveled that Scott had failed to make available
management accounts and audited annual financial statements for the past 33
months as at 16 November 2005. Audited financial statements are a specific
mandatory requirement on curatorships in terms of Section 55 (1) (d) and (e)
of the Banking Act Chapter 24:20.
As the battle for the control of the society rages on, it emerged last week
that Policy Implementation Minister Webster Shamu had written to Scott
seeking clarification on the disposal of the society's assets. Shamu's
letter was prompted by the correspondence he received from Ruturi and Musona
outlining how FNBS' assets had been unlawfully sold.
In a letter dated 29 November 2005, Shamu wrote: "Find enclosed a
self-explanatory letter I received from Mr. S Ruturi and Mr. N.B. Musona of
Lesal Investment P.L and Strongline Investments P/L respectively. May you
please respond to the issues they are raising in their letter. May I request
you to copy the Governor your response to me and Mr. Ruturi and Mr. Musona
so every one is kept informed."
Since the closure of FNBS in 2003, Scott has on a number of occasions failed
in his bid to push for the liquidation of the society. Twice he has turned
down plans by the founding directors to inject new capital in order for the
institution to re-open. Scott is a senior partner at PWC that audited the
accounts of the now defunct Bank of Credit and Commerce International
(BCCI). BCCI gave birth to CBZ.
Contacted for comment, the founding directors said they had undertaken an
agreement that they will not give interviews to newspapers and referred all
questions to Scott. Scott had not responded to questions sent to his office
at the time of going to press.
By our staff
BULAWAYO - Gweru City Council has introduced water rationing due to the high
demand for water that has outstripped the pumping capacity of the town
council, says Gweru mayor, Sesil Zvidzai.
Zvidzai blames the failure to meet the water needs of the residents on the
meteoric rise of poverty and unemployment that has seen an upsurge of rural
to urban migration in Gweru, a situation leading to high demand for water.
"The rural to urban migration has doubled over the years due to a plethora
of reasons like unemployment.the number of people in town now exceeds our
pumping capacity. Our pumping capacity is not managing to meet the demand,"
said Sesil Zvidzai.
As a result, the city now has a shortfall of 19 mega-litres of water. Under
normal circumstances, Gweru needs 65 mega-litres of water a day, but
currently only 46 mega litres are being pumped from the city's supply dams.
To worsen matters, only a 21-months' supply of water is now left in the
Gweru supply dams. Four dams - Gwenoro, White Waters, Amapongogwe and
Ngamo -supply the population of Gweru, which is about 350 000.
"We have also decommissioned some of the supply pumps as we are doing a lot
of rehabilitation works at the pumping stations in Range Booster and Gwenoro
Treatment Works," Zvidzai said.
The Mayor said the situation was likely to improve in February next year
when the city completes the $10 billion rehabilitation programme.
Meanwhile, Bulawayo Mayor Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube says he is disappointed that
there is nothing in the 2006 National Budget, yet again, for the local
authority that has been grappling with acute water shortages for years.
Of the Budget, Ncube would only say: "It is very disappointing. I am
disappointed." In his $123.9 trillion Budget presentation 11 days ago,
Herbert Murerwa, the Minister of Finance did not make an allocation towards
improving the water situation in Zimbabwe's second largest city.
The cash-strapped council last month was struggling to raise funds to
rehabilitate boreholes at the Nyamandhlovu aquifer, commissioned during the
Some suburbs in the city have gone for five months without consistent water
supplies after the main supply dams - Mzingwane, Upper Ncema and recently
Lower Ncema - were decommissioned in June due to low water levels.
By Godfrey Mutimba
THE newly elected Senator for Chivi-Mwenezi constituency Samuel Mumbengegwi
is embroiled in a land wrangle with war veterans in Mwenezi, The Standard
War veterans led by Wensisilous Chikovo are accusing Mumbengegwi of trying
to evict them from Lot 21 A farm in Mwenezi district.
They allege the Senator, who denies the allegations, is trying to bring back
a white commercial farmer who donated beasts slaughtered during his
senatorial campaign rallies.
The war veterans, led by Chikovo, have vowed not to vacate the plots
alleging that they were aware that politicians were accepting bribes from
farmers, thereby derailing the land reform exercise.
"They now want us out of the farm when the rains have just begun.
Politicians must respect our offer letters and desist from using their
political muscle where it is not warranted and they are the ones who are
openly derailing agrarian reform," Chikovo said.
The war veterans allege that when President Robert Mugabe intended to visit
Mwenezi to attend an aborted victory party for Isaiah Shumba, a white farmer
was instructed by the politicians to give the President a bull so that his
farm would not be taken over.
Chikovo added that the farmer was also told by the Masvingo political
leadership to give more bulls to Mwenezi chiefs so that he could get the
unwavering support of the traditional leaders.
Mumbengegwi, who is the Zanu PF provincial chairman, however denies any
wrongdoing. The Senator said he was not involved in the distribution of
land, and after all there was a land audit underway.
"There is a lot happening at Lot 21 A farm but the allegations are false.
The land reform programme is not run by politicians but by the land
committee which is the accepted and normal channel," said Mumbengegwi, who
added that he could not stop people from saying whatever they wanted about
Mumbengegwi is the newly appointed Minister of Indigenisation.
By Bertha Shoko
THE $5.2 trillion allocated to the country's ailing health sector in the
2006 National Budget announced last week is just not enough to improve
deteriorating conditions in the sector, experts have said.
For the first time in a number of years, the health sector got priority over
other key ministries such as defence, claiming at least 12 percent of the
total budget expenditure. The defence ministry has traditionally received
top priority in budget allocations. However, critics maintain that more
could be done for the country's ailing health sector.
Also, other than the Aids Levy, the Budget did not make any specific
provision to mitigate the effects of the HIV and Aids epidemic, which
continues to claim thousands of lives weekly.
Of the total health budget, $2,1 trillion is earmarked for health centres
that include mission and local authority hospitals, an amount of which $665
billion will go towards construction and rehabilitation works at various
hospitals and rural health centres throughout the country.
Under this provision, Harare, Chitungwiza and Parirenyatwa hospitals - in
the capital city - and United Bulawayo Hospitals and Mpilo in Bulawayo would
be the major beneficiaries.
Provision has also been made for the procurement of ambulances, service
vehicles and medical equipment for various health centres.
Zimbabwe's health service delivery has taken a nosedive over the past few
years due to inadequate funding, shortages of foreign currency and the
departure of skilled health personnel to other countries offering better
conditions of service.
Most health institutions, especially in the rural areas are operating below
capacity as they continue to experience shortages of essential medicines and
drugs as forex crunch persists.
In his Budget speech,The Minister of Finance and Economic Development,
Herbert Murerwa, acknowledged that the health sector faces a number of
Said Murerwa: "Most of the equipment at our health institutions is now
either obsolete or non-functional. This has affected the delivery of health
services. I therefore propose to allocate $260 billion for the procurement
of medical equipment to be distributed to the five central hospitals, eight
provincial hospitals and 60 district hospitals."
Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Health and Child Welfare,
Blessing Chebundo, says although the health sector got one of the highest
allocations, funding is still inadequate compared to the needs the sector.
He said the provision made to the health services board, which was appointed
recently to oversee the improvement of conditions of service for health
personnel, was inadequate to address the problems of brain drain, among
other challenges facing the sector.
Said Chebundo: "Murerwa attempted to address the problems we as the
parliamentary committee recommended but adequate funding remains a key
issue. The needs in the health sector are great. There are many challenges.
Our health delivery system has gone to the dogs.
"The Budget focused on all the areas we had recommended such as transport,
personnel, procurement of drugs, repair of equipment and the rehabilitation
of existing infrastructure but the money allocated on all these is not
Another bone of contention is government's apparent lack of commitment to
fight the HIV and Aids scourge by allocating enough resources for treatment,
among other key interventions. Health experts and activists say government
has failed to treat HIV and Aids as a national disaster even after it made
At least 1,8 million people in Zimbabwe are HIV positive. Of that number at
least 500 000 are now at full-blown Aids stage and require Anti Retroviral
Therapy (ART) but less than 30 000 are accessing them in both the private
and public sector.
National Aids Council director, Dr Tapuwa Magure, said his organisation was
yet to analyse the budget before making any statements.
Sostain Moyo of the Zimbabwe HIV/Aids Activist (ZAHA) said although he had
not thoroughly analysed the budget, it was quite clear that it had not
singled out the problem of HIV and Aids and made any provision to help
mitigate its effects on the desease.
Contacted for comment on the budget, The Minister of Health and Child
Welfare, David Parirenyatwa told The Standard to phone later saying this
year's budget was "a bit different" and therefore needed to analysed
By our staff
ZIMBABWE Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) have attacked the police for
disrupting this year's edition of the World Aids Day commemorations,
following the arrest of five aids activists.
Police, said ZLHR, had no right to stop the peaceful demonstrations, which
were held last week as part of the commemorations, held annually on 1
The five AIDS activists; Sostain Moyo of the Zimbabwe Activist on HIV/Aids
(ZAHA), Munyaradzi Gwisai of the International Socialist Organisation,
Nickson Nyikadzino of the National Constitutional Assembly, Gladys Chiume
and Anacolletta Penduka both of Women and AIDS Support Network, were
arrested at Africa Unity Square on World Aids Day and spent the night in
police cells. They were released the following day in the afternoon after
police failed to level any charges against them.
One of the arrested Moyo said the demonstrations had police clearance and
the arrests came as a surprise to them.
Moyo said: "We had police clearance and the disruptions came a shock to us.
Police queried the involvement of the National Constitutional Assembly and
Gwisai's ISO in the march and we told them that HIV and Aids is a human
rights issue and is everyone's problem. We can't say you come and march and
you don't come, it is ridiculous."
In a statement, the ZLHR said the police had no basis to act heavy-handedly
as they did. The ZLHR is convinced that police action clearly showed the
failure by the government of Zimbabwe to treat HIV and Aids as the national
disaster that it is.
"It is shocking that the State would act in such an abhorrent manner and
take such a grossly unreasonable decision in an environment where
approximately 2 000 people are dying of Aids every week, 1.2 million
children have been orphaned by HIV/Aids and an estimated 20 000 out of an
estimated 290 000 in need of antiretroviral treatment (ART) are actually on
"With some 2 million people living with HIV/Aids in Zimbabwe, the looming
drug shortage presents an eminent threat to the lives of millions."
The ZLHR say the disruption of the demonstrations by police also show that
have little understanding of the provisions of the Public Order and Security
"This prohibition by the police clearly illustrates the failure of the
government not only to duly regard HIV/AIDS as a national emergency calling
for concerted efforts against its impact, but also a pure misconception of
the purpose and provisions of the Public Order and Security Act (Chapter
11:17) to which AIDS Service Organizations (ASOs) are exempt from the
procedures relating to political organisations.
The World Aids day commemorations were organised by a number of Aids
organisations such as the Women and AIDS Support Network, ZAHA, Zimbabwe
National Network of People Living With HIV/AIDS.
World Aids Day has been commemorated since 1988 worldwide as an occasion
that provides yet another opportunity for Zimbabweans to reflect on progress
made towards mitigating the effects of the HIV and Aids scourge.
Said ZLHR: "The need for the government to reflect on its commitment comes
against a background where the public health delivery system in Zimbabwe has
virtually collapsed, culminating in the State's failure to facilitate,
provide and promote the full realization of the right to health, including
the right of access to treatment particularly for PLWAs."
THE picture of the United Nations emergency relief co-ordinator, Jan
Egeland, peering into a hovel with surprise and disbelief at how people can
be expected to live in such circumstances can only confirm the horror of the
cruelty of the government's "Operation Murambatsvina/Restore Order".
Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka the UN special envoy who visited Zimbabwe in July
wept when she was confronted with the cruelty of "a people's government".
Egeland's shock and horror is unlikely to make his report and findings any
different from Tibaijuka's. In fact, where Tibaijuka was given a commitment
on completion of houses for the victims of Murambatsvina, Egeland found the
targets had not been met and that no houses had been occupied.
The UN was horrified at the lack of progress in moving the victims of the
government's operations, eight months after they were thrown out onto the
streets. The victims have endured winter. Now they are enduring the wet
weather conditions. It is unlikely Egeland missed this double misfortune to
befall the victims of the so-called people's government.
Egeland's impatience with the government was not disguised. He said: "We
don't want to come here every year to help. I am appealing for the evictions
to stop." Egeland's comments confirm that the government has not put an end
to the evictions.
But where Harare hoped to put a positive spin on Egeland's visit and
capitalise on it, it will be dismayed. Egeland did not wait for his return
to New York to make his intentions known about what he had seen and had been
horrified by. He declared, much to Harare's dismay: "I came here to
reiterate my colleague's (Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka's) findings. It is a UN
report and not Anna's. The humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe is very
serious and prospects are growing and also very worrying. The need of people
that want assistance is big and growing.
"The shelter campaign was the worst possible thing at the worst possible
time. It created a lot of problems as far as the humanitarian situation is
Egeland openly disagreed with President Robert Mugabe during their 90-minute
meeting on Tuesday because the government wants the UN to be active. There
was disagreement over the eviction of the estimated one million people, how
to assist them as well as enable them to have food.
Once the government realised the enormity of the resources required for the
project and its own inadequacy, it pinned its hopes on the intervention of
the world body, hoping that it could assume responsibility where the
government had failed.
The government allowed Egeland's visit because it was convinced whatever his
recommendations; they will open the taps for UN resources to be channelled
to Zimbabwe. Typically, the government will seek to benefit from the
resources intended for the victims of "Operation Murambatsvina".
The fact that the houses being built under "Operation Garikai" have not met
the targets for completion and the fact that they remain unoccupied attests
to the inability and lack of resources by the government to carry the
But real victims of "Operation Murambatsvina" are unlikely to afford the
houses and therefore qualify for them. In fact, they were never the intended
The houses will become yet another tool in the government's programme in
consolidating its hold on power, through political patronage.
The impact of "Operation Murambatsvina" was not just confined to loss of
shelter for almost one million people affected. For the victims, it meant
loss of income and consequently, food insecurity that impacted negatively on
people suffering from HIV and AIDS. The gains that Zimbabwe claims to have
made in reducing the prevalence rate of the scourge could be short-lived.
Scores of women with no other sources of income have resorted to the only
means of survival they know - prostitution - in the process undermining the
optimism over the fall in prevalence rates.
It will take time for the full effect of the evictions on HIV and AIDS
statistics to be felt. For people living with HIV and AIDS, deprivation of
income and shelter impacts severely on their ability to resist opportunistic
infections, while exposure to the elements hastens the inevitable.
But there is another side to Egeland's visit: It was to prepare for a
possible visit next year by the UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan. It is now
doubtful whether what Egeland saw will provide any argument for the
Secretary General to proceed with the proposed visit to Zimbabwe. The UN
might feel that failure to meet targets which Tibaijuka was promised in
July, the ongoing evictions and the subsequent inability to house the
victims suggests tardiness on the part of Zimbabwe and therefore do not
present a compelling case for Annan to visit Zimbabwe next year.
WE, the students at the University of Zimbabwe are being barred from
expressing our grievances by a puerile and insensitive administration which
has taken it upon itself to silence all dissenting voices through arbitrary
suspensions and expulsions.
The unfortunate thing is that these suspensions are unlawful because they
are contrary to the rules of natural justice and the University of Zimbabwe
Act. The Act does not permit the suspension or expulsion of a student before
the convening of a disciplinary hearing.
A few lucky students have had their suspensions nullified by the High Court
while the majority have suffered irreparable harm by failing to complete
their degree programmes.
We call upon the authorities to put an end to this abuse of our inalienable
right to education otherwise we will have no option but to take to the
streets in protest.
University of Zimbabwe
THE height of lunacy and financial promiscuity in the City of Harare is now
bordering on sabotage; courtesy of the under-performing but overpaid
It turns out that the turnaround strategy is proving only a talk show and a
smokescreen. The town clerk and his executive are lining their pockets with
ratepayers' cash. Unless something is done to stop these men, ratepayers
will rue the day these men were appointed to their present posts. Can
someone provide answers as to why:
The town clerk and his executive have their own payroll, separate from other
council employees? Recently they paid themselves November salaries with full
bonuses while paying the rest of other council workers only half bonuses and
even deducting the medical aid loan advanced to these workers hardly a month
As a nation we all know the salary of our president and cabinet because this
is our (tax payers) money. Central government has an obligation to let us
know how our money is being used. In the same vein the ratepayers must know
how much they are paying these tinkering men who run the offices at Town
House, since this is a local government issue. We must know how much we are
paying our non-performers at Town House;
An executive smashes a council vehicle and gets a new car a few days later,
while a less important worker would face the music for such an accident. If
they are lucky to escape summary dismissal, they would be made to pay for
repairs of the council vehicle.
The town clerk is refusing to pay workers their 120% in accordance with the
labour tribunal judgement, because he says council has no money, but the
same man thinks council must have utilities with 25 workers because council
has the money to pay them.
If the council has no money, how can it afford to suspend a few heads of
sections with full benefits, while paying those elevated to acting positions
an acting allowance? Where is the financial prudence here?
I will not be churlish to say this man can not be trusted to run a city a
hundred times bigger than Marondera. Remember this same man was in trouble
with the late executive mayor Solomon Tawengwa, Commissioner Elijah
Chanakira, and Engineer Mudzuri only to be saved by the municipal workers'
union, his present nemesis.
Anyone who runs the local authority of the capital city like a fowl run has
no business being at Town House!
THE first Head of State to visit Zimbabwe soon after independence was the
late President Julius Nyerere of Tanzania and what he saw in terms of
industrial development made him pronounce the following at Sakubva Stadium
and I quote: "The delay of Zimbabwe in attaining independence was a blessing
in disguise. Zimbabwe has the entire required infrastructure. Ourselves,
when we got independence in 1964, we had no such advanced infrastructure."
Over the years what has happened to all that Nyerere saw? I will just
mention a few like Cone Textiles, Cold Storage Commission (now Company),
forest plantations, private game sanctuaries as well as very productive
farms and sugar estates.
These have either ceased altogether or are operating below capacity. All
this has been brought about by Zanu PF's mismanagement and nepotism. Nyerere
must be turning in his grave now that what he saw has been destroyed by the
Zanu PF government.
For all the bad economic situations prevailing in Zimbabwe, the blame is
being put squarely on the negative publicity, demonisation, President George
W Bush of the US and Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain.
Surely the Zanu PF government should be ashamed of itself for blaming others
when it is responsible for the present great suffering of its own people due
to its gross failure to manage resources.
D R Mutungagore
THE much talked about Jatropha Tree Project seems to me to be just another
After surfing the internet as well as additional research, I found that
about 8 tonnes of
Jatropha seed produces only 1 300 litres of diesel.
Tests undertaken in India revealed that a Mercedes CD 1200 clocked 5 900 km
on 1 300 litres giving an average consumption of 4.5km to a litre.
The engine had to be specially modified by Daimler Chrysler, the
manufacturers of Mercedes Benz.
So for Zimbabwe to start growing Jatropha, it means we will need specialist
engineers to modify all diesel engines so that they can run on Jatropha
diesel. In any case we are yet to go to tender to find people with the
requisite knowledge to build a commercial plant.
There is also the question of technology, experts with the requisite skills
and the massive outlay of capital that would be required to pursue these
lofty dreams. Perhaps the powers that be need to look carefully at their
priorities before they plunge some of these hare-brained schemes.
I think the masses need to know where we are going.
newsfocus by Walter Marwizi
FOR more than 20 years, former Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi dominated
the affairs of his country, despite mounting criticism to his rule. In fact,
by the time the man bowed out of politics, it was generally agreed that he
was one of the "The Big Men" of African politics who, apart from
dictatorship, thrived because his opponents were deeply divided along ethnic
A few years after Moi officially left the east African country's political
landscape, the Kenyan scenario is becoming a reality in Zimbabwe where
leaders of the main opposition have turned on each other, leaving President
Robert Mugabe to entrench his grip on power. Fringe parties are also
appearing on the political horizon.
The main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), once a
cohesive body cutting across ethnicity, race and other differences, appears
to have lost its focus.
Ethnic clashes and infighting, which had all along been rumoured, have crept
into the open, tearing apart the party which offered so much hope to
millions of Zimbabweans, desperate for change.
For MDC vice president Gibson Sibanda and other members of the pro- Senate
faction, the greatest threat to democracy in Zimbabwe at the moment is not
Mugabe but their own party leader, Morgan Tsvangirai.
They charge that Tsvangirai is a "dictator in the making" who unleashes
violence on his opponents. On the other hand, the Tsvangirai camp accuses
Sibanda and others of tribalism and of links to Zanu PF.
Only last week, Gift Chimanikire, the party's deputy secretary-general,
unsuccessfully took the dispute to High Court where he sought an order to
shut out Tsvangirai from Harvest House, the party's national head office in
Harare's central business district. Court papers seen by The Standard show
that the party is deeply engaged in the squabbles leaving no room for them
to fight Zanu PF.
Even after the court battle - which left Chimanikire saddled with legal
costs - both factions' energies will be directed towards the party's
congress, where the decisive battle for the control of the MDC will be
fought in February.
Insiders say it will take some months for Tsvangirai or whoever emerges the
winner to bring unity and cohesion to a party that, three years ago, forced
Mugabe to resort to violence and a chaotic land redistribution programme in
order to remain in power. And like Moi, the veteran Zimbabwean leader is
having the last laugh.
For the first time since MDC was formed six years ago, Mugabe can be assured
of both the Christmas and New Year holidays free of political headaches.
At the Zanu PF conference in Umzingwane on Friday, an exuberant Mugabe told
cheering supporters that the opposition no longer caused him any
"stomach-aches and headaches".
"The party has disintegrated. It's now a complete wreck or wreckage if you
want," he boasted.
Ironically, Tsvangirai, the man who has caused those difficulties for the
81- year-old President, will this time around, spend much of the festive
season plotting the downfall of opponents who only four months ago shared
the same table with him.
Tsvangirai, who is seeking a fresh mandate to lead the party for the next
five years, is likely to be challenged by Chimanikire.
Apart from dealing with internal dissent, Tsvangirai will also have to work
hard to restore the confidence of donors and diplomats who have supported
the party over the years.
Information reaching The Standard indicates that key financial backers had
been alarmed by the disclosure by St Mary's MP, Job Sikhala that party
leaders were squabbling over US$ 2.5 million allegedly donated by Nigeria,
Ghana and Taiwan. They summoned some party officials.
Although Sikhala made a u-turn and said he was out to test the gullibility
of journalists from the State media, his pronouncements further damaged the
opposition party, gripped by its worst crisis since its founding six years
The Standard is informed that diplomats who had great sympathy for the party
were clearly unimpressed and sought explanation from the MDC president,
A well-informed party official talked about a "diplomatic mess" at a time
when the party was at its weakest point.
The official said: "One diplomat called Tsvangirai and said: 'If you people
can squabble over US$2.5 million, what more if you are entrusted with the
whole national fiscus?' Tsvangirai has been under pressure to write letters
clearing the air. It's a diplomatic mess and I have no doubt it's now
impossible for the party to get into West Africa."
While the party can easily regain the support of backers once they put their
house in order, analysts say this bickering is an early Christmas present
Churches, political analysts, diplomats and other people who had been trying
to persuade Tsvangirai and the other members to a common ground, appear to
have all but given up hope, leaving the opposition party hurtling towards a
One of the mediators told The Standard "When professors, lawyers, teachers
and respectable people reach a point where they shout names at each other in
public like children, then you know Mugabe has achieved his goal."
But Tsvangirai differs: "If Robert Mugabe thought he had an early Christmas
present in the form of a dead MDC, he shall now get a New Year wake up call.
The MDC is emerging stronger after the events of the past two months."
As the circus in the MDC continues, a new political party, the United
People's Movement is already on the horizon. Little is known about the party
save for the fact that it is fronted by former information Minister Jonathan
Moyo. It remains to be seen whether it's entry onto Zimbabwe's political
landscape will shake the resolve by Mugabe to rule until 2008.
Sundaytalk with Pius Wakatama
WHEN President Mugabe first mooted the idea of resurrecting the Senate,
which his Zanu PF party had abolished long ago as a "useless colonial
relic", he never dreamt that he was in fact aiming a body blow at his
arch-enemy, the Movement for Democratic Change. For him the Senate idea was
just part of his succession strategy. It had nothing to do with the hated
opposition. He was just ensuring that after retiring he will live happily
ever after without his sins dogging him as happened to other hated African
despots after they stepped down. So, the more of his old cronies he leaves
ensconced in power the better for him.
He must be chortling with glee because by the Senate strategy, he managed to
kill two birds with one stone. The MDC leadership got seriously divided over
the Senate issue.
However, I can bet you that the opposition will come out of this much
stronger. It was a necessary shake-up, which will separate the wheat from
By the way, most commentators seem to get things wrong. They say the people
heeded Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader's call to boycott the Senate
elections. Actually, it is the other way round. After consulting the people,
like a true democrat, it is Tsvangirai who heeded the people's call not to
lead them into useless and costly Senate elections when Zimbabwe is
bleeding. The pro-Senate group is not of democrats. They are the real
dictators because they ignored what the people were saying and tried to
bulldoze into the elections because they had their own agendas which had
nothing to do with the wishes of the people (Zvichemo zvevanhu).
It can be conceded that at face value, Tsvangirai breached the party
constitution. However, this does not mean he breached the democratic
process. He rightly decided to obey the spirit of the constitution rather
than the letter. It is the spirit, which lives and gives life. The letter of
any law is dead without the spirit behind it being followed. Christian
theology manifests this very clearly.
It is the pro-Senate group, which breached the democratic process by not
consulting with their respective constituencies and voting according to the
majority feeling in their constituencies. Instead, they voted according to
their own personal agendas. In other words, Tsvangirai did the wrong thing
for the right reason. He rightly rejected the result of a vote, which was in
all ways fake. The pro-Senate group is, therefore, clinging to a legality,
which is in all ways immoral and dishonest.
It is reported that a vicious legal fight is under way over the ownership of
the party's name and assets with the pro-Senate group seeking a High Court
order barring the MDC President, Tsvangirai, from speaking or conducting
business on behalf of the MDC.
Anybody who has seriously been following this unfortunate and rather sad
saga will tell you that it is academic and immaterial which group wins that
battle in our skewed judicial system. The real winner will be Tsvangirai
because, whether he wins the court battle or not, he will have the people
who comprise the MDC membership, solidly behind him. This also means that
the question of whether Tsvangirai breached the party constitution or not is
also entirely academic and immaterial. It is a question which the suffering
people of Zimbabwe have no time for just as they had no time for the Senate
I have read arguments by two pro-Senate advocates, Trudy Stevenson and
Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga. The major one is that Tsvangirai should
have abided by the pro-Senate vote according to the party constitution. I
have already dealt with that. The second one is that they did not want the
party to surrender political space to Zanu PF.
Now, ladies, be serious! You don't give anything to Zanu PF, let alone
political space. They take it whether you like it or not. Look at what
happened to the democratically elected mayor of Harare, Elias Mudzuri. Look
at what is happening to the mayor of Mutare, Misheck Kagurabadza and Misheck
Shoko, the mayor of Chitungwiza. What happened to Roy Bennett? While being
incarcerated after being convicted by a parliamentary kangaroo court, he
still tried to retain the party's political space in Chimanimani.
A judge of the High Court ruled that he had every legal right to contest in
the election. Zanu PF simply ignored that court order and grabbed the
Chimanimani political space. What makes these naïve ladies think things will
be any different now?
It is a pity that these ladies seem hell-bent on removing themselves from
the real battle ahead. I have picked on them because I have known them both
for years as personal and family friends. They are tough fighters who have
endured much. Their presence will be sorely missed in the main political
arena. I urge them to reconsider and reconcile with the people who need them
very much at this time.
The real political battle in Zimbabwe was never about the Senate. The Senate
idea is a Zanu PF ploy having to do with President Mugabe's succession. Only
people without feelings or consciences can squander billions of dollars on
something they once dismissed, as a colonial relic. While other countries
strive to feed their starving people, Zanu PF would rather have the United
Nations beg on their behalf. Havanyare! (They have no shame).
The political battle is not even about a few parliamentary seats, for that
is all the MDC can hope to get under the undemocratic political system
obtaining in this country today. The real battle is about creating a level
political playing field so that free and fair elections, which will lead to
the peaceful ouster of the heartless Zanu PF regime from power, can take
place. This can only be done through a new democratic constitution, which
will guarantee freedom of expression and association as well as protecting
basic human rights.
In fact, some of us questioned the wisdom of the MDC participating in the
March 2005 parliamentary race because they were effectively gagged and
hobbled. It is, indeed, a miracle and a sample of the people's resolve that
they managed to get the number of seats they did. This shows that in a free
and fair election, the MDC would win, hands down. Zanu PF would not get even
What is most saddening about the political division in the MDC is that it
has degenerated into exchanging personal insults. We must remember that in
politics, there are no permanent friends or permanent enemies, just
permanent interests. What we should all desire is the national interest.
Therefore, we should confine our public debate to the issues at stake only.
In Shona we say: "Kana muchitukana siyayi pehukama." This means when
rebuking each other, we should always remember that ultimately, we are
brothers and sisters, and nothing can change that. We should, therefore.
Always restrain ourselves so that the door to reconciliation is always open.
I do not for one moment buy the story that the pro-Senate group are on the
payroll of Zanu PF to destabilize the MDC. I have observed them for long
enough to realize that this cannot be so. They are just suffering from
fatigue and would like to surrender and also enjoy the good life.
Beckoning across the border is the South African President Thabo Mbeki with
his own agenda. He is the biggest MDC destabilizer. He is giving them
"brotherly" advice on how to resolve the Zimbabwe crisis through a
government of national unity with Zanu PF.
The mere thought of a labour-backed MDC government in Zimbabwe sends chills
down his spine. It might surely encourage the ANC's restive ally, COSATU,
which is close to the MDC, to break away and form an opposition party. He is
not sure that the ANC could withstand a labour-backed opposition onslaught.
This is why he prays that the MDC, led by uncompromising Tsvangirai, will
never get into power in Zimbabwe.
He, who has ears to hear, let him hear.
sundayopinion by Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem
THE more Africa changes the more it remains the same at the level of
leadership. While it is no longer an issue for debate that we should choose
our own leaders in a democratic election there are many challenges in the
processes that may make cynics proclaim that we are only making a
distinction without any fundamental difference in the way we are governed.
Our dictators have learnt how to repackage themselves with a veneer of
electoral democracy that ensures that we "vote without choosing" since the
outcome often remains the same.
In the past few years constitutionalism has also made a come back across
Africa but unwilling democrats that many of the leaders are they have found
ways of constitutionalising their illegitimacy by following a constitutional
route to deny their peoples the democratic right to genuine changes and
alternatives in public policy.
Take the cases of three Presidents from different regions of Africa who have
become the symbols of this constitutional gerrymandering. The first one
holds the dubious title of being Africa's longest-serving (I am not sure
what services any more) President El Hadj Omar Bongo of the oil-rich Central
African State of Gabon. He has been in power since 1967 and has just secured
for himself another 7-year term at the Presidential Palace, which will
ensure that he remains in power till he is 75 years old (officially).
After that term if both nature and the ancestors have not called him home we
sure that there will not be shortage of footloose opportunists to
orchestrate "one more term" using the same dubious argument that echoes from
the lips of supporters of sit tight leaders across this continent: "This
country will collapse if the Old man leaves", "Nobody can govern this
country but him" and other apologetic justifications by self-serving,
regime-worshipping apologists for status quo.
Any country whose social, political and economic well being depends so much
on one person probably does not deserve to survive. No matter how gifted and
committed any leader is he or she is still just one mortal being, fallible
Bongo has ensured that he runs and runs till he drops dead, by removing any
limitation on presidential terms. This is where his presidential run and
re-run interfaces with that of the Second President, Retired General Yoweri
Kaguta Museveni of Uganda whose onward match to another term was the subject
a recent column to which I got many responses from both the Museveni Camp
and even more from the anti-Museveni group.
The President's men and women typically become legalistic on the issue of
"sad term" arguing that now that Ugandans have spoken through referendum and
there has been appropriate change to the constitution the President is not
doing anything unconstitutional.
They overstate their democratic credentials by stating the seemingly
obvious: Ugandan voters are supreme they say and whatever they decide is
sacrosanct. It is a very beguiling democratic case even if democracy is the
last thing on the minds of those pushing it. It is always amusing to me why
Ugandans are supreme over the issue of Museveni running again but have
neither been supreme on the key economic decisions of the government or the
various wars the country has been involved in for the past two decades. Not
even elected Members of Parliament have any influence on the government's
neo-liberal policies yet the people are supreme! On the other side of the
debate the anti-"Sad term" camp think I have become too complacent about
Museveni's self -succession.
I had concluded my article matter-of-factly that five years will soon come
to pass. But the fear of many in the opposition is that it is not just the
next five-year term that Museveni and his cronies want but the next one, and
the one after that and probably another one after that till the President
gives up the ghost. In a sense self-succession in perpetuity like Bongo's.
I must confess that I have no answer to that speculation because there is
something that happens to our presidents once they enter office they find
ways and means of perpetuating themselves. People often blame opportunists
around them but I think that is a lazy approach. There is no adviser that
will compel an unwilling President to remain in office for a minute longer
if he is not that inclined.
Unfortunately Museveni is not alone in the struggle for presidency in
perpetuity. And that leads us to the third President, another retired
General, Chief Mathew Aremu Olushegun Obasanjo. I have been in Nigeria for
the past month and the big political issue is about the quest for another
term by President Obasanjo. Like Museveni's supporters when his campaign
first started to change the constitution Obasanjo's people are saying the
president has not decided either way. Like Museveni, Obasanjo rarely
addresses the issue directly and when he does he says defensively that the
constitution does not allow him to go beyond two consecutive terms and he
has pledged to uphold the constitution. However, as it happened in Uganda,
his agents and political contractors are busy pushing for constitutional
amendments that will allow him to stand for another term thereby
constitutionalising his self -succession as has happened in Uganda.
It is obvious that our presidents compare notes on how to deceive their
people and adopt which manipulation methods work best. It is sad that, in
spite of the new African Peer Review Mechanism, they do not compare notes on
how to improve the lot of their people.
But somehow they think that they are indispensable to their countries.
Abacha could have killed Obasanjo in prison as he did his blue -blooded
former second in command, General Shehu Musa Yar Adua, with impunity.
Yet by a combination of local and international campaign and sheer luck or
divine intervention he survived. Not only escaping with his life but was
parachuted to the Presidency for a second time and as his eight years draw
closer, he cannot remember the exit door again or be thankful to his God for
the miracle of having a second chance.
Yet this man is supposed to be a born-again Christian. Is it really God that
tells these people to go on and on or they tell themselves and believe it is
God or may be they do think themselves as "god" hence their wishes must be
I looked at the sun, it was about 11:00 AM on Christmas day. I was getting
late for this was a day of showing off. I have to rush to the Shopping
Centre where people of all ages were celebrating the traditional christmas.
I needed to show off my new cloth to the rest of the village. Every body
was happy, I mean happy. There was no politics in sight, as far as I was
concerned I was my own liberator, MP, Minister and Prime Minister rolled
into one. This was the first christmas after attaining Independance, a test
of African rule in Rhodesia indeed. I was 9.
I was tall and slander, my friends used to mock me saying I was tall seated
than standing, which ever way I had no bad fellings. I wished there was a
big looking glass to cover my whole body but that was a luxury not to be
seen in a village. I was wearing a new pair of black Tender-Foot by BATA, a
Paramount English Khaki suit from ENBE, Moffat Street. It was slightly
oversize but stone robust and thick. I looked like a 1890 Brakwasha without
a cap, it was brilliant. My father, a carpenter by the way gave me some
spending money, Z $1.00. I was the luckiest child because not many families
would raise Z$1.00 in rural areas, let alone giving it to a 9 year old, I
was dressed to kill, I was lucky. The whole christmas wear costed $5.00,
very expensive indeed considering the value of the Zimbabwean dollar by
then. As was the traditional, I passed through relatives' houses showing
off my new cloths and feasting . Almost all families would afford meat and
bread on christmas. Not only bread but this was the only time that families
bought dozens and dozens of bread and tins of SUN jam and butter margerine.
Sorry I must leave you now and ejoy the christmas in peace.
"Munongotumira vana kuhondo, kuhondo iwe, kuhondo iwe, aha wedza muchadura,
kuhodo iwe, kuhondo iwe hwedza muchadura", I suddenly find myself dancing to
the tune. I had no idea who sang the song but all the same it gave me that
conviction of a forgotten struggle. Suddenly I felt courage flowing into me,
I wished the war would start again and so that I would be in the for front
of it all branding an AK 47 and a Bazooka, breaking the enemy lines. How
much I wished, I was old enough to have gone to war, I had the greatest
respect for the Comrades, "vana mukoma". With my $1.00, I was able to buy a
box of Lebena biscuits, a bottle of Coco-Cola, a tinned beef and still
remained with 70 cents (1Z$=100 cents). We danced to a host of musicians,
Ngwaru Mapundu, Thomas Mapfumo, Marshal Munhumumwe, Oliver Mutukudzi and the
Ngwenya Brothers, it was brilliant. I watched people dancing, bare footed,
people crying for more, there was that human bond of a nation in the making.
Zimbabwe or Rhodesia as was still the confusion was my home not that I owed
it a fovour but that it owed me a favour for bringing me to life.
Back home, my mother was waiting for me patiently. I had dust all over me
and my Khaki suit was wet with Sweat in the smearing heat as I was dancing.
I sat down and settled for the Mazowe Oranges, sweet and full of flavour.
There was plenty of food every way, evrybody was happy, what I didnot know
was whether the happiness was brought by Mugabe or Ian Smith. I did not like
politics by then , I was too young to understand it and even so I hated the
politicians for misusing people into being soldiers for their own gains.
By the way, I understand , Paramount Garments have since closed down so is
the Coco-Cola company, a cheapest pair of shoes costs not less than
Z$1,000,000.00. The bread is now $32,000.00. A shirt costs more than a pair
of trousers at over $1,200,000.00. A monthly rent for a decent house now
cost not less than $6,000,000.00. I understand that calculators no longer
work in Zimbabwe because there are just too many digits more than 8 digits
it was designed for. In 1999, 80% 0f the population was literate, to day
only 50% is literate. The rest can hardly count their day's earnings, its
just too many zeros. I undersand that there are no more pick pocketers in
Zimbabwe because anything in a purse won't buy even a sweet, you need a
carrier bag full of money to buy a pint of beer.
In a country where everybody is a millioneer, We must be the richest nation
in the World, happy christmass all Zimbabweans!. Pass my greetings to
Mugabe, the Amighty!
A good crowd to mark UN International Human Rights Day. Blest with
bright, calm weather, we could hardly fit between the 4 maples. Graphic
pictures of Mugabe victims underlined our message that the UN must do more
than feed the starving. It must take action to bring Mugabe to justice.
Posters reminded passers- by that the crisis is worsening: "Evicted and
Forsaken", "Rights under Siege", "Desperate Plight of Homeless". To mark
the occasion we unveiled our new updated banner "Mugabe wanted for Murder"
listing the victims of state-sponsored violence. Thanks to Angie and Alex
for doing this for us. It certainly hits people in the eye.
Unfortunately, another victim could already be added - Don Stewart, father
of Cathy Stewart, who, as we reported, was murdered in his home recently.
We were deeply touched that she made time to be with us on her return from
Zimbabwe. The drumming, singing and dancing stopped as we all stood with
her to pray for an end to the violence and suffering.
Among a number of newcomers to the Vigil was a former water polo
international from Zimbabwe, desperately homesick like the rest of us. We
were pleased to get publicity for our protest and to hear one of our
supporters, Harris Nyatsanza, speaking on BBC Radio.
As Christmas approaches our message becomes ever more potent and many people
out shopping for the festive season expressed deep concern about the
deteriorating situation. They were shocked by comments made by the UN
Emergency Relief Co-ordinator, Jan Egeland, after his visit to Zimbabwe. He
said: "The situation is very serious in Zimbabwe when life expectancy goes
from more than 60 years to just over 30 years in a 15-year span - it's a
meltdown, it's not just a crisis, it's a meltdown". He noted that 3,000
people die of AIDS every week and said that by next year the UN hopes to be
feeding about a third of the population. He was too diplomatic to point out
that, as people desperately seek shelter from the rains, Mugabe continues to
blame drought and the UN and the West in general for the plight of
FOR THE RECORD: about 60 supporters came today.
FOR YOUR DIARY: Monday, 12th December, 7.30 pm, Zimbabwe Forum, Upstairs at
the Theodore Bullfrog pub, 28 John Adam Street, London WC2 (cross the Strand
from the Zimbabwe Embassy, go down a passageway to John Adam Street, turn
right and you will see the pub - nearest stations: Charing Cross and
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place
every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of
human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in
October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair
elections are held in Zimbabwe. http://www.zimvigil.co.uk
11/12/2005 15:28 - (SA)
Harare - Two leading Zimbabwe national cricket team players and an official
have been fined by a magistrate's court for violating foreign exchange
regulations, a state daily reported on Saturday.
The Herald newspaper said long-serving national cricket team manager
Mohammed Meman was fined Z$1m (US$13, ?11) and national team players Vusi
Sibanda, $800 000 and Waddington Mwayenga $400 000.
The three were arrested on Saturday last week following investigations by
Zimbabwe's central bank into Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC)'s financial affairs.
"The three pleaded guilty to breaching the country's exchange control
regulations when they were initially arraigned before the court," The Herald
The newspaper said the cricket players and official worked for ZC and were
entitled to marketing and match fees in foreign currency each time they
travelled on national duty.
In July last year, the cricket league informed Meman it was holding on to
US$6 750 in marketing and match fees due to him.
Meman instructed ZC to deposit the money into his offshore account in
Britain without informing the central bank as required under Zimbabwean law.
In September this year Mwayera instructed ZC to deposit US$182 due to him in
marketing and match fees into Meman's British account.
Sibanda instructed the cricket union some time last year to deposit money
that was due to him into team captain Tatenda Taibu's offshore account in
Both of them did not seek authority from the central bank.
Zimbabwean cricket has been mired in problems which led to the resignation
three weeks ago of national team captain Taibu.
Taibu and other national players had earlier teamed up with the country's
seven provincial chairmen in a bid to have national chairperson Peter
Chingoka sacked and the ZC managing director Osias Bvute suspended pending
an investigation into the financial activities of the cricket body.
Zimbabwe cricket has been in crisis ever since and their performances have
been so poor that both England and Australia have refused to play Test
matches against them.