|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
Tears for a lost home
By GRAHAM REID
The two women sitting in an empty office of a North Shore company are close to tears just talking about their homeland of Zimbabwe. They fear for their families - parents, sisters, nieces and nephews - still living in a country notorious for its political turmoil, but where the human tragedy is rarely given a face.
With foreign journalists banned and the closure of local papers such as the independent Daily News, information about the plight of the people has been effectively shut down. Even in a week when Zimbabwe has commanded headlines for withdrawing from the Commonwealth, it is difficult to get a picture of what is going on inside that chaotic, failing state.
This is a country where inflation runs at 550 per cent, food is scarce, sudden violence not unexpected, and fear endemic. Neither woman wants to be identified because of families still there.
One of the women, let's call her Anna, says she never discusses anything political when she phones her mother who lives in the south of this country of 16 million.
"The phone, absolutely, is tapped. You can hear people listening on the other side. And you never know who is here from there, so I'd just rather not say my name."
The woman we'll call Carol says the same. Her mother fled to Malawi this week, but her sisters are still in Zimbabwe. They keep emails simple and bland, and use code when speaking on the phone.
"We'll say, 'How's the situation with food?' and she would know 'food' means 'the police'. We've got to that stage. We know she's not getting any food so it's not worth even talking about that."
She laughs, but there is no humour in it.
Six weeks ago Anna and her husband went back to visit her family and were horrified. They saw beggars in Bulawayo (some they knew) who were too weary to even ask for a handout, and streets empty of traffic because no one can afford petrol. She tells of a school friend wheeling a child's trolley stacked with packets of milk powder, his food for a week.
She talks of the lunacies of inflation. It is pointless to convert Zimbabwe dollars into New Zealand currency - prices change so rapidly it's all but impossible anyway. A loaf of bread costs Z$1600 (about NZ$3) in the morning, Z$2400 in the afternoon and Z$3000 the following week. At the small business she and her husband used to run in Bulawayo, only one of their former employees was still there. He was earning Z$20,000 a month and was painfully thin.
He wasn't eating, but Anna also suspects he might be among the 2.5 million Zimbabweans with HIV/Aids. He is in his early 30s and has children.
Their former business was barely functioning and squatters had set themselves up outside where there was protection from the wind and they could keep their fires going.
"But the people are just so tired. I was never scared. That's what I thought I was going to encounter, but there was no violence towards us - just this absolute, 'we are so tired' feeling. I was exhausted after two days. Just trying to get petrol you have to wheel and deal."
The company's manager had fled to Botswana and they gave his brother Z$40,000 to get a passport so he too could leave. He left the following day, joining the steady stream of those getting out if they can. It is believed around a million Zimbabweans are now in South Africa.
Anna tells of the crowds waiting in the Bietbridge bus station at 4am going across the border to South Africa: women with babies on their backs, people carrying possessions in a sack.
"It was also eerily silent, the people were simply too tired and too hungry to make a noise. In Johannesburg I saw many people with signs reading, 'Zimbabwean, please help'."
Anna got out of Zimbabwe six years ago, going first to Britain and then settling in New Zealand. Her husband's parents left shortly after. Her visit back was no joyful return, and a single snapshot memory encapsulated the tragedy.
"Elijah used to look after the house we lived in in Bulawayo," she says, showing a photograph of a distinguished, grey-bearded but painfully thin man in blue overalls smiling for her camera.
"He was happy to see us. My husband gave him Z$10,000 and he started to cry. I said, 'Elijah, don't be silly, that's not a lot of money.' But he said 'No, that's more than half my [monthly] salary'."
"What happened was his employers now live in South Africa so they have no idea about the inflation. Two years ago he was getting Z$18,000 and that was a lot of money. But he's still being paid that. He pays Z$10,000 rent and a loaf of bread is Z$3000. The guy can only buy 2 1/2 loaves of bread in a month.
"I have no idea how people are living. I can only assume they must steal for survival, and I don't bloody blame them. Elijah told us he hadn't eaten a piece of meat in over two years."
The stories these women tell of Robert Mugabe's dysfunctional and dangerous country are sad, scary and even absurd: a bookshop with three books; supermarkets where the stock is old and carries a dozen different price tags.
To understand what the 550 per cent inflation means, Anna offers some examples. She went to a wine shop which had four casks for sale. She bought one for Z$16,000. Her father said that was cheap, so she went back the following day for another. The remaining three were now Z$40,000 each. In a shop she saw an old man buying a meagre bottle of oil, "maybe only 250ml", and counting off a pile of Z$100 and Z$500 notes.
Money is being printed constantly to keep up with inflation - the new notes are in denominations of Z$5000, Z$10,000 and Z$50,000. And they are printed on only one side.
"It's pathetic. You see people carrying sacks of money and our car boot was full of money. We spent over Z$1,000,000 in one week out of our boot. When we left we still had some. I just threw it in a dustbin in South Africa. You can't exchange it anywhere."
Foreign currency is essential if you want to leave. "To even buy our bus tickets back to South Africa we had to pay in foreign currency. You think you are a Zimbabwean and want to get out. but you can't because you only have Zimbabwe dollars. We were repeatedly warned not to carry foreign currency because the police would body-search you at roadblocks.
"It didn't happen to us, because my husband still has his Zimbabwe licence and we spoke the lingo. And we were driving a car without foreign numberplates. We were scared because we did have foreign currency and knew they [the police] would just take it."
She shows a photo discreetly taken from their car window of people walking home from work.
"There were no other cars on the road. I was scared to take photographs because of what they had done to journalists. But this just shows people walking home. Usually they would have taken an 'emergency taxi', which are those trucks where everyone just piles on. But there were no 'emergency taxis', no buses, nothing.
"Food is available in shops, but at a price no normal person can afford. I have no idea what people are doing [to eat]."
One answer was on the road out of Bulawayo, a trip she and her husband used to make regularly. A decade ago the landscape was full of animals - goats, donkeys and the like.
"This time was saw exactly three goats and three donkeys. There was no wildlife. People are having to eat them, and I don't blame them."
The farms from which many of the white owners have been frightened off by the war veterans - often just teenage thugs with guns, they say - now stand idle. The people who originally took them over have been given no assistance so the crops were left untended. Many have just drifted back to the cities. Once-profitable farms are deserted.
People, black and white, have been fleeing steadily, often leaving with nothing. Carol, born in Hwange in the west of the country where her family owns and still works a farm, left in August last year.
"It was terrible, you were scared to go out. We had friends who would go shopping and not come back, they'd be arrested for stupid little things.
"Then one time I went to work and I got a call to say a whole lot of war veterans had broken into our house and stolen all our stuff.
"My 5-year-old son was in the house and he has a cut from a knife they gave him. They locked him in the toilet with the maid and when that happened I felt I'd had enough." Carol went to Britain with her son, then came to New Zealand. Her son's passport expires next year and she has been told Zimbabwe will not renew it "because they say he has 'abandoned' the country. He was 5!"
Yet even as their homeland continues its relentless descent, they long for it to become stable so they can return. They feel guilt at being safe here when their families are struggling and in danger.
People here don't understand, they say, and some think they are over-dramatising.
Says Carol: "I just say, go there for two weeks, just go, don't say anything, just go and come back and then you can tell me what you think."
They say Zimbabwe never had apartheid and they grew up, went to school with, and worked alongside blacks. They were sympathetic to the war veterans originally, but now they are just kids from the town parading as patriots who are given guns and food and let loose to do what they want.
Carol: "There's no colour involved in it any more. It started like that but now it's just anyone and everyone [is a target]."
Anna: "It's the government versus the ordinary people now. And people are helpless, and unless you have family out of the country you have no hope of getting out."
Carol: "Every day you think you are going to get a phone call saying something has happened. If something happens to my sister and she gets killed, I can't even go to her funeral because they won't let me back in the country.
"But I would love to go back. It's the world we need to live in, it's absolutely beautiful and I'd like to bring my son up there. I miss it so much. So much." The tears well up.
Vision International (WVI)
Short queues of school children with a plate in hand form around a makeshift
shed and within a few minutes they seat themselves into small groups and
carefully spread the porridge in their plates ready to enjoy what is
probably their first meal of the day. This sight is familiar with Zimbabwean
rural schools but this has since spread into urban schools in Bulawayo as
the humanitarian crisis continues to worsen.
Ntombi Khumalo a grade one pupil at Dumezwile Primary School in Pumula
South, situated in Zimbabwe's second largest city, is one of the several
primary school children benefiting under the urban school pilot- feeding
"The porridge is nice," said Ntombi as she added some sugar to her plate,
"this will make it sweet," she added as she passed the small container to
some of her friends. She said since the introduction of the school feeding
program, her mother ensures that before she leaves for school every morning
she carries her small plastic plate and some sugar.
The deepening humanitarian crisis and economic decline has hit children the
most. This has led to increased dropouts from schools, absenteeism and high
prevalence of children fainting at schools across the country. "Our
enrolment has dropped significantly over the past year," said Nobson
Sibanda, headmaster at Dumezwile Primary School. Zimbabwe's economy has been
blighted by the shortage of basic commodities, foreign currency and fuel as
well as hyperinflation predicted to close the year at 600 percent. This has
pushed most basic commodities beyond the reach of most ordinary Zimbabweans.
In some cases families are only having one meal a day as the economic woes
continue to bite. To meet some of the needs of orphaned children, World
Vision Zimbabwe launched a US$200,000 Coca Cola grant targeting 10,000
children in Bulawayo and 5,000 in Harare for three months.
"I have two children left in my care and have been struggling to feed them,"
moaned one woman who was in a queue at Ngwalo Ngwalo Primary School in
The continued decline in the welfare of children has seen an invasion of
street-kids in most urban centres casting a very sad tale of how fast the
situation is deteriorating in the country. It is estimated that there are 12
000 street-kids nationwide but these figures are feared to have increased
sharply in the past one and half years. This opens these children to all
sorts of gory abuses sometimes by influential figures of the society
exposing them to sexually transmitted diseases and HIV and AIDS.
Mugabe Accuses US, Britain of Using Information Technology for Espionage
The Post (Lusaka)
December 11, 2003
Posted to the web December 11, 2003
ZIMBABWEAN President Robert Mugabe yesterday accused Britain and the United
States of using their information and communication technologies' (ICT)
superiority to challenge his legitimacy and to undermine his country's
And UN secretary general Kofi Annan said the right to freedom of opinion and
expression is fundamental to development, democracy and peace.
In his speech at the on-going World Summit on the Information Society in
Geneva, Switzerland yesterday, President Mugabe accused the two countries
and other Western countries of using ICTs for hi-tech espionage purposes
against poor nations like Zimbabwe.
He said for Zimbabwe, e-commerce meant developing the economies for the poor
people and not for the benefit of multinational corporations.
He said for his country, e-government means developing a sovereign Zimbabwe
run by Zimbabweans and not "the racial British, Australians or Americans".
President Mugabe said as far as he was concerned, e-governance and
e-education require "a sovereign national state whose preoccupation is its
people first and foremost, not the needs of the white warrior states who are
using their technological superiority to drive through a dangerous imperial
"We live in a false and failed information society, where ICTs are used to
impose global hegemony and dominance on the part of rich nations of the
He said the imperialist North had continued to take advantage of the digital
divide to use their control of the information society to promote "hostile
and malicious broadcasts calculated to foment instability" in poor
President Mugabe said ICTs should mean people having access to food,
education, health and not ambitious goals of wiring them with computers when
most African villages did not even have electricity to facilitate their ICT
He said it would be a far fetched dream to think of putting computers in the
villages of African countries when the people's basic needs such as food
were not being met at the moment.
President Mugabe said it would be difficult to seek an information society
in a world still divided by hegemonic powers.
He said apart from being used for espionage, ICTs have long been
commercialized and commoditised by a few rich countries.
President Mugabe further said beneath the rhetoric of good governance and
transparency preached by Western countries lies the inequality of hegemony.
He said as the world stood today, the "imperialist North" remained on one
side of developed technologies while the South was still lagging behind in
terms of technology.
He said it would be discovered in future that long after having talked about
the development of ICTs, poor villagers would still have no access to basic
And addressing the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) which
opened in Geneva, Switzerland yesterday, Annan said society would continue
looking to the civil society for their knowledge of hopes and concerns at
the local level and among communities that were eager to join in the global
exchange of ideas and information.
He urged the media, as creators of content and essential watchdogs, to keep
playing their part in development and social cohesion.
Annan said it was vital that media organizations retain their freedom, as
enshrined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
"Indeed, the right to freedom of opinion and expression is fundamental to
development, democracy and peace, and must remain a touchstone for our work
ahead," he said.
He said although information and communication technologies were not a
panacea or magic formula, they could improve the lives of everyone on earth.
Annan said as the world discusses the power of technology; it should
remember that it is the people who shape technology and decide what it could
and should be used for.
He said as society embraces new technologies, it was important to realize
that the task transcends technology.
"Building an open, empowering information society is a social, economic and
ultimately political challenge," Annan said.
And Annan further stated that the world had a challenge of building a
multi-sectoral information society.
He pointed out that at present, there were several digital divide gaps in
technology, infrastructure, content, gender and commerce among others.
"And there are obvious social, economic and other disparities and obstacles
that affect a country's ability to take advantage of digital opportunities,"
He said such gaps would not disappear on their own and that an open,
inclusive society would not emerge without sustained commitment and
"We look to you, the leaders assembled here, to produce those acts of
political will," Annan added.
"We also look to the business community, which I am glad to say is
represented here in impressive numbers."
He said the future of the information technology
industry did not lie so
much in the developed world, where markets are saturated, as in reaching the
billions of people in the developing world who remain untouched by the
"E-health, e-school and other applications can offer the new dynamic of
growth for which the industry has been looking," said Annan.
Mugabe's Faux Pas
December 11, 2003
Posted to the web December 11, 2003
Reports that President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe has led his country out of
the membership of the Commonwealth are disturbing.
Zimbabwe had been on suspension by the Commonwealth since last year when it
held elections, which were widely held to be unfair.
Interestingly, Pakistan, another country that has been on
the Commonwealth for similar reasons, however has not announced it is
leaving the Commonwealth.
The Independent is concerned about what we think is a grievous mistake on
the part of President Mugabe in deciding, single-handedly as usual, in
leading his countrymen out of the Commonwealth on one of his ego trips,
since the issue of land redistribution came up in that country.
We maintain that President Mugabe's response to the continued suspension of
his country from the Commonwealth is a mistake.
Many people have wondered whether President Mugabe has done anything wrong
against the background of the Lancaster House Agreement and The Independent
wishes to take this opportunity to take issue with many of such persons that
even though the Lancaster House Agreement has largely been ignored by
Britain, there is no basis for Mr. Mugabe to resort to all the tactics he
has employed to perpetuate himself in power.
The African leader of the old stock that he is, Mr. Mugabe has cleverly
introduced the element of land redistribution into the Zimbabwean equation.
Unfortunately, for many so-called Pan-Africanists, they have swallowed Mr.
Mugabe's bait hook, line and sinker.
For us, the real issue is all about the suppression of opposition in
Zimbabwe. Mr. Mugabe has virtually gone berserk in his attempts to prevent
the growth of opposition in Zimbabwe.
The state-sponsored atrocities being meted out to the leadership and
membership of the Morgan Tsvangirai-led Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
throughout that country, are for us, the real McCoy in the Zimbabwean
Indeed, anyone who supports the actions of Mr. Mugabe on the land
redistribution question in Zimbabwe is expressly and impliedly giving the
thumbs up to Mr. Mugabe to continue to suppress the growth of a political
alternative in that country and we consider this illogical and
contradictory, because, for many of the so-called Pan-Africanists supporting
Mr. Mugabe, the political situation in their countries allows alternative
We recall how the Mugabe-led Zimbabwe African National Union-Popular Front
(ZANU-PF) used all sorts of means to get the late Joshua Nkomo's Zimbabwe
African People's Union-Popular Front (ZAPU-PF) to join with the offer of a
Vice Presidential position to Nkomo after years of struggle between the two
Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC's only 'mistake' is that they are not prepared
to go the ZAPU-PF way and their punishment is for Mugabe and his cohorts to
portray them as unpatriotic and not fit to live in Zimbabwe.
Mr. Mugabe is the head of a nation that has fallen to a net importer of food
from a previous position of a self-sufficient food producer and other
economic indices worth talking about.
The Zimbabwe problem, we maintain is beyond the mere issue of 'land
redistribution,' which Mr. Mugabe has introduced to deceive many people to
believe in his cause.
The Independent believes in land redistribution in Zimbabwe but certainly
not along the lines Mr. Mugabe is pushing. In our consideration, Mr. Mugabe
is politicising the land redistribution issue to his political advantage.
Need we point out that Zimbabwe was only on suspension from the Commonwealth
and would definitely have been restored to its membership with time, of
course, subject to respect for human rights and other standards?
Nigeria has been on suspension from the Commonwealth before and its response
was not to exit the organisation. Today, many recognise that the sanctions
of the Commonwealth among others, helped it to sanitise its image and
Mr. Mugabe is too intransigent and we would not be surprised if in the end
he begins to negotiate his exit for Zimbabweans to have their real
independence after the one he led them to in 1980.
$740m to Revive Irrigation Scheme
December 11, 2003
Posted to the web December 11, 2003
Government has availed $740 million to rehabilitate Chilonga irrigation
scheme in Chiredzi in a move that is expected to revive the project and end
the woes of 300 plot holders.
The money would be used to buy three new water pumps and install canals at
the 140-hectare irrigation scheme, while the remaining funds would be used
to repair broken pumps.
Work at Chilonga scheme had become heavily affected for the past two years
by constant break down of water pumps.
The break down of the three water pumps at the scheme had thrown the lives
of farmers into disarray, forcing them to relay on rainfall to undertake
The Deputy Minister of Rural Resources and Water Development Cde Tinos
Rusere said Government was committed to reviving irrigation projects in all
parts of the country to boost food security.
"We are currently involved in efforts to rehabilitate all irrigation schemes
that are not functioning fully and very soon we will flight tenders for the
supply of water pumps at Chilonga.
"Before the end of the month we anticipate to have restored normal
operations at the irrigation scheme and to have repaired those already
there," said Cde Rusere.
He said that the pumps that
would be repaired would be put on standby to in
an effort to guarantee the availability of water at the irrigation scheme.
Farmers at Chilonga, most of whom benefited from the rural electrification
programme, were failing to pay their electricity bills as they were no
longer generating enough income.
State Dedicated to Enhancing Human Rights - Official
December 11, 2003
Posted to the web December 11, 2003
Government is very much attached and dedicated to enhancing human rights in
the country, the Secretary for Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Mr
David Mangota, said yesterday.
Speaking at a ceremony to mark Human Rights Day in Harare, Mr Mangota said
his ministry had established an inter-ministerial committee that would
investigate allegations of human rights levelled against civil servants.
He also said there was need to eliminate poverty, racism and child abuse.
United Nations Information Centre director Ms Christine Koerner said human
rights day was a very significant event that should be remembered and
honoured by everyone in the world.
"The day is a remembrance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
adopted by the United Nations on December 10 1948. It spells out cultural,
economic, political and social rights that should be enjoyed by everyone,"
said Ms Koerner.
United Nations Development Programme resident representative Mr Victor
Angelo stressed the need to safeguard the rule of law as it is the
fundamental provision of human rights.
This year's ceremony to commemorate the day was held at
Prince Edward School
It was punctuated by drama, songs, dance and poetry by Young Africa Voice
and the Children's Performing Arts Workshop.
JAG OPEN LETTER FORUM
Email: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to
email@example.com with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.
Re: Alex Hangartner Letter
I am not a farmer, nor economist, but I live in this country but wasn't
born here and I need to know what has and is happening. As Mr Hangartner
points out I need the discussion about fundamental and cherished norms and
values to both understand myself and communicate to my siblings and friends
from other countries. The open letter Forum provides just that opportunity.
A few years ago, now vice president, Joseph Msika said to me when I asked
him why ZANU-PF was so fixed against granting title deeds to re-settled
farmers said "Never! the poor blacks will simply sell their land to rich
whites and we would be back where we started".
This should interest you
Letter 3: Re: Thought For The Day Dated 9 October 2003
This is SOOOOOOOOOOOO true that you should send this out once a week.
Letter 4: Re: Open Letters Forum No. 203
I have been following the exchange of letters in your Open Letter Forum for
some months with slightly raised eyebrows on occasion.
At long last I have read a letter which seems to be short , to the point
and sensible - I refer to Alex Handgartner's letter No 3 in the OLF No 203.
Whilst sympathising and endeavouring to empathise with all points of view,
I have wondered whether we were reading "letters" or full scale thesis on a
number of subjects, including, I suppose not surprisingly, religion.?
Can anyone assist me in locating a friend called Andy Kerr who was in the
Greys Scouts sometime between 1976 and 1979 and is believed to have gone to
live in Australia?
Please respond to firstname.lastname@example.org - many thanks, Kerry.
All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice
State Will Destroy White Hegemony: Mohadi
December 12, 2003
Posted to the web December 12, 2003
THE Government remains geared to dismantle the economic hegemony of the
white settler colonial minority, as it sets the path for total emancipation
of Zimbabweans, a Government minister has said.
Speaking at the police senior officers conference in Harare yesterday, the
Minister of Home Affairs Cde Kembo Mohadi, said the so-called "angels of
democracy" continue to pray for the demise of national institutions in
"While the so-called angels of democracy
continue to pray for the demise of
our national institutions in Zimbabwe, the Government remains geared to
dismantle the economic hegemony of the white settler colonial minority as it
sets the path for total emancipation of our people, who over the years have
been denigrated to the periphery of national development," he said.
He said the challenging political, social and economic situation in the
country continues to demand the services of a loyal and patriotic force.
"Notwithstanding our 23 years of independence, it is beyond any conceivable
doubt that Western influence continues to haunt us in our country due to its
inherent explicit and implicit distortion of our economic and political
domains," Cde Mohadi said in a speech read on his behalf by the secretary of
Home Affairs, Cde Melusi Matshiya.
"We therefore, need to change our paradigm and take on the African
perspective in all our initiatives."
He said the majority of Western-oriented policies emanating from the IMF and
World Bank, which have been pursued in the hope of achieving economic
development and growth since independence, have not borne any fruit and
totally failed to solve the country's problems.
Cde Mohadi said the outcome has been disappointing despite having a wide
intellectual base that emerged from renowned Western institutions.
"If anything, we have been led up the garden path, leaving us in deeper
economic, political and social morass, which the Government has decided to
tackle head on through its land reform and the indigenisation policy," he
He said the prescriptions of the World Bank and IMF have left a trail of
casualties in most developing countries, as they tend to support,
perpetuated and accentuate capitalist interests, which are at variance with
the aspirations of the majority.
"The basic principle is that as Zimbabweans, we understand our situation
better. We therefore need to demystify, deconstruct and decolonise the
Euorocentric illusion, distortion and parochialism that frown upon
home-grown solutions to peculiar Zimbabwean problems."
He urged police officers to free themselves from intellectual dependency and
control by the West and rediscover meaningful strategies and initiatives
that further the Zimbabwean security cause.
He said these efforts must shake off the virulent fetters and dying embers
of imperialism in policing paradigm and precipitate systems peculiar to the
"The continent cannot sing a song of freedom while the practices of its
police organisations are strange and alien to the desires and wishes of its
people," said Cde Mohadi.
He also attacked some white members of the Commonwealth, saying that they
treat themselves as paragons of virtue and seek to perpetuate the isolation
Zimbabwe Plans 2,000 Percent Hike in School Fees
12 Dec 2003, 16:17 UTC
fees for the majority of Zimbabweans are set to rise at
least 200 percent and as much as 2,000 percent next month. That is likely to
have a huge impact on working-class Zimbabweans who already have been hard
hit by super high inflation.
At a high school in a high density suburb about 15 kilometers east of
Harare's city center, fees have gone up from 5,000 Zimbabwe dollars a
semester to 50,000. At a government primary school in a low density suburb,
fees are up to 250,000 Zimbabwe dollars a term.
Two hundred fifty thousand is about $40 U.S. on the black market, which is
where most hard currency in Zimbabwe is exchanged. But in Zimbabwe, where
more than 70 percent of people are unemployed, and most industrial workers
earn only about 120,000 Zimbabwe dollars a month, the increase is
Parents who reached the Department of Education in their provinces say they
were told that the cost of electricity, water and wages and general
inflation have forced the increase in school fees.
They are also told that the government does not have the money for further
The government pays only a small portion of the cost of running most
schools. The shortfall is met by school governing bodies made up of parents
who have to find money by charging fees, which they call levies.
Many parents have told the Department of Education that they will not be
able to send their children to school next year.
Until a few years ago, Zimbabwe had an enviable record of education in
Africa, with a literacy rate of between 80 and 90 percent.
But now, even school textbooks have become unaffordable for the majority of
parents. And educators, including those in government service, have admitted
to parents that standards have been slipping for the last three years.
William Bango, spokesman for opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, said
Friday the rise in school fees would be a human disaster.
He said many parents will be unable to send their children to school next
year. If they have to make choices, cultural influences indicate that boys
will be given a chance at education over girls.
The government says inflation in Zimbabwe is running at more than 500
percent. But private sector economists say the true rate of inflation is
above 1,000 percent. Meanwhile, interest rates this week rose to more than
The hike in school fees is possibly the most dramatic increase in the cost
of living since Zimbabwe's economy began to go into free fall in late 2000.
Mbeki lashes out over Zimbabwe
Fri 12 December, 2003 08:31
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African President Thabo
Mbeki has lashed out
at the Commonwealth, saying the group was not working to solve Zimbabwe's
problems and has lost sight of their root cause -- land redistribution.
In his weekly letter to the ruling African National Congress (ANC) on
Friday, Mbeki said some in the group of mainly former British colonies were
more set on extending sanctions against Zimbabwe than on sorting out the
political and economic crisis in South Africa's northern neighbour.
Last week, a divided Commonwealth summit in Abuja, Nigeria, decided by
consensus to indefinitely extend Zimbabwe's suspension -- first imposed in
2002 -- saying President Robert Mugabe's government was violating the
group's democratic values.
Zimbabwe responded by withdrawing from the 54-nation group.
"At the Abuja (meeting), the land question in Zimbabwe was not discussed,"
"Indeed, the land question has disappeared from the global discourse about
Zimbabwe, except when it is mentioned to highlight the plight of the former
white landowners and attribute food shortages (to it)."
Mbeki said Britain, the United Nations and the European Union had not
honoured their commitments to help finance the redistribution of farms in
Zimbabwe, worsening problems there.
Mugabe has led a drive to give white-owned farms to landless blacks. He says
this is necessary to right the wrongs of colonialism, which left the bulk of
Zimbabwe's fertile land in the hands of minority whites.
But the programme has faced intense Western criticism and helped turn the
former regional bread basket into a famine zone.
The European Union and United States have imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe in
protest over Mugabe's controversial re-election last year and his alleged
persecution of political foes.
Mbeki made no mention of Mugabe's human rights record in the letter on the
Instead, he blamed Australian Prime Minister John Howard for his role,
saying he had ridden roughshod over the troika of Australia, Nigeria and
South Africa set up by the Commonwealth to find a solution to the Zimbabwe
Mbeki said Howard's decision to publicly announce his disagreements with the
troika and his desire to extend sanctions had damaged the Commonwealth,
which groups largely former British colonies.
"At one stroke this both destroyed the troika and put in question the
democratic principle of decisions by the majority," Mbeki said.
Opposition rejects govt statements on Zimbabwe
December 12, 2003, 07:53 AM
Opposition parties have rejected statements by the government that Southern
African countries are united on Zimbabwe.
A statement issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs on behalf of the
Southern African Development Community (SADC) earlier this week put out a
unified front in its criticism on the Commonwealth for deciding to prolong
Zimbabwe's suspension from the organisation.
However, Tony Leon, the Democratic Alliance (DA) leader, says Botswana and
Malawi reportedly voted with the rest of the Commonwealth to maintain
Zimbabwe's suspension. Leon has also referred to statements by Tony Blair,
the British Prime Minister, this week that every single Commonwealth member
signed up to the Abuja Statement on Zimbabwe, including South Africa.
During the Commonwealth meeting in Abuja, Nigeria, last week several heads
of state openly supported, Tony Blair, the British Prime Minister's
position, that Zimbabwe's suspension should be continued. Jean Cretien, the
Canadian Prime Minister, believed that the Zimbabwe crisis was devastating
the people of that country and something had to be done.
The wrong move
However, SADC believes the suspension was the wrong move and nothing can be
done now to assist the people of Zimbabwe. Abdul Minty, the deputy director
general of foreign affairs, says the Commonwealth operated on the basis of
consensus, and in the case of Zimbabwe they would normally go with the
position of the regions, because the crisis would directly affect that
country's neigbours. Minty says the Commonwealth, however, chose to ignore
the voice of SADC.
He says the Zimbabwean question has caused a serious split within the
Commonwealth, which will have lasting consequences. He believes that the
Commonwealth's future seems to be uncertain. Minty says despite the
suspension of Zimbabwe, SADC will continue to assist the people of that
country. The government is also adamant that the Zimbabwean government is
taking steps towards a process of national reconciliation.
Ngwenya Accused of Assaulting New Farmer
December 12, 2003
Posted to the web December 12, 2003
TRADITIONAL healer and director of the James Mobb Immune Enhancement Centre
Richard Ngwenya was arrested early this week together with six others for
allegedly assaulting a newly resettled farmer over a piece of land in
Ngwenya, Wonder Samukange, Ronny Mukombwe, Farai Shoko, Charles Tshuma,
Nokaya Tshuma and Saidi Bwana were yesterday brought to the Harare
Magistrates' Courts to answer kidnapping and assault charges.
They appeared before magistrate Ms Memory Chigwaze who remanded them to
December 24 on $20 000 bail each.
It is alleged that on December 6 this year, around 10am, the complainant,
Cde David Gendi of Danbury Farm in Marlborough, was at Cde Norman Zvenyika's
plot where he was helping him plough.
Cde Gendi and Cde Zvenyika were approached by the group of six men who
allegedly ordered them to stop what they were doing. But they refused.
The group promised to call Ngwenya, the former owner of the plot and fix
The court heard that the group returned in the company of Ngwenya who
started assaulting Cde Gendi.
It is alleged that the rest of the group then joined in assaulting Cde Gendi
with bottles and sticks until he collapsed.
They later allegedly tied his hands with a rope and threw him into a Mazda
Cde Gendi sustained serious injuries as a result of the assaults.
Compassion Isn't for Unrepentant Autocrats
December 12, 2003
Posted to the web December 12, 2003
THE just ended Commonwealth Summit held in Abuja maintained
of Zimbabwe. The indefinite suspension from the Commonwealth has prompted
varying comments from different stakeholders.
A number of countries within the Southern Africa region are reported to be
opposed to the suspension as they prefer the silent diplomacy strategy in
dealing with the problems of Zimbabwe.
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) have always
maintained that there is an urgent
need for all countries to unambiguously communicate their displeasure
regarding the collapse of democracy in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe, a country that
used to be an impeccable example of racial reconciliation, national
tolerance, economic and political stability, has degenerated to the level of
a government that butchers its own people, grossly insensitive to criticism
and has no regard for human rights. Mugabe and his Zanu PF have employed all
the imaginable tricks to clinging to power by hook or by crook, subjecting
the innocent citizenry to a life of poverty, misery and suffering.
The BCP has in the past disassociated itself from the proponents of quite
diplomacy in dealing with Zimbabwe. Over a protracted period of time, the
strategy has yielded nothing, while on the other hand, the regime
intensifies its terror campaign.
Those calling for Mugabe to be treated with kids' gloves with the hope that
this will entice him to act reasonably, should know that the mettle of
democracy is not enhanced by compassion for unrepentant autocrats. Africa
has a shameful history of dictatorships that were tolerated at the expense
of prosperity. Rewarding Mugabe with any semblance of tolerance will amount
to endorsing the backwards drift to the dark ages for the continent, and in
effect nullifying the high standards and hopes for an African Renaissance.
The Botswana government should emerge from the sidelines and lead the agenda
for change in the region. Our country is subjected to direct financial costs
that compromise developmental plans due to the crisis in Zimbabwe. Mugabe
should be isolated in all possible ways and a clear path to reinstating a
democratic and accountable regime be pursued.
The Botswana Democratic Party should desist from openly flirting with ZANU
PF. Their continued attendance of high profile ZANU PF gatherings threatens
to smear the image of the country.
Information & Publicity Secretary,
Botswana Congress Party
Hospitals Turn Patients Away As Strike Begins to Bite
Chris Anold Msipa
HARARE, Dec 12 (IPS) - The strike by
medical doctors and nurses in Zimbabwe
is crippling the public health sector, at a time when the poor cannot afford
high fees that private hospitals charge.
Monica Ngwere, an asthmatic patient from Shurugwi in central Zimbabwe, was
last week turned away from Parirenyatwa Referral Hospital in the capital,
"They said I should come back after the strike. But nobody told me when that
would be. I had come to see the specialists. Nurses at our clinic said I
should be put on different medication from what I am taking now," she said
during an interview, while waiting to board a bus back home.
Other patients in Harare and the commercial city of Bulawayo share her
dilemma. Government hospitals in the two towns have reportedly closed some
of their wards and are not admitting patients due to the industrial action.
Rumbidzai Mutero, a resident of Harare, said this week she witnessed the
ugly face of the strike. "We boarded a kombi (commuter omnibus) with one old
woman accompanying her daughter to Harare Central Hospital. They had a
prematurely born baby carried by the old woman".
What shocked Mutero on their way back from the hospital was that the two
still had the baby, now wrapped in a piece of cloth like a parcel.
She said she saw the young woman's medical papers, which read "uterus
contracted normally, breasts back to normal and baby brought dead, weighing
Mutero said it was obvious the old woman, with the corpse strapped to her
back, and her agonised daughter, had been turned away without receiving
The government of Robert Mugabe has ordered the arrest of the striking
doctors and their union leaders. At least 12 of them had resigned in protest
against a labour court ruling their industrial action was illegal.
Close to 20 doctors have been arrested and charged under a section of the
Labour Relations Act, which bans public workers from taking part in strikes.
Health Minister David Parirenyatwa has condemned the strike and urged
doctors to return to work, without giving them satisfactory answers. His
ministry has even threatened to take action against the striking nurses, if
they do not start reporting for duty.
"While it is appreciated that medical staff should not abandon patients, it
is unfair to expect someone to work for peanuts in the name of patriotism,"
said Maria Kanekora, a social worker in Harare.
She said, although the salary being demanded by the striking doctors was too
high, the government should feel for its workers in the face of the
increasingly difficult economic situation in the country. It can at least
show concern and negotiate in good faith, instead of trying to use force to
silence them, she said.
"The doctors' cries have fallen on deaf ears over a long period. They have
been harassed, threatened and fed on false promises like kids. It's high
time this matter is solved once and for all, if the health sector is to
start functioning normally again," Kanekora said.
Junior and middle-level doctors have since October been striking, for the
fourth time this year, to demand better salaries and working conditions.
They want monthly pay of 30 million Zimbabwe dollars, which is 6,000 U.S.
dollars on the thriving parallel market and about 37,500 dollars at the
official exchange rate.
Sources within the health sector say Cuban doctors working in Zimbabwe are
earning 6,000 U.S. dollars per month, and their Zimbabwean colleagues want
similar remuneration because they do the same job. Minister Parirenyatwa
says the government cannot pay such amounts.
The striking doctors say their take-home pay is not enough to meet their
basic needs such as food, accommodation and transport. This happens in a
country where inflation, which now hovers at more than 600 percent, is
expected to reach 700 percent early next year.
A spokesperson for the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, Mlamleli Sibanda,
is quoted as saying his organisation expects the conditions in the hospitals
to worsen, prompting more medical professionals to resign due to the
heavy-handedness of the government.
Dr. Phibion Manyanga, president of Zimbabwe's Hospital Doctors' Association,
said the striking doctors fully appreciate, and that it is in their
conscience, that they are guided by their professional ethics. "But everyone
has a breaking point," he said.
Manyanga said one cannot professionally consider another person's wellbeing
if one cannot fend for oneself.
Dismissals and resignations of medical staff have left Zimbabwe with only
around 900 instead of the required 2,200 doctors.
The striking doctors complain about poor pay, working long hours without
rest, shortages of soap, towels, gloves, x-ray films and other equipment
needed daily in wards, theatres and laboratories.
Acute foreign currency shortages have caused deficiencies in equipment and
medical supplies in the hospitals. Parirenyatwa Referral Centre in Harare,
the biggest in the country, has shortage of ambulances.
"The hospital uses old pick-up trucks as ambulances. But most of the
vehicles are parked due to shortages of spare parts and money to maintain or
repair them," said one security guard, a former labourer at the institution.
A recent report, financed by the United Nations Development Programme
(UNDP), shows Zimbabwe has lost about 125,000 doctors, nurses and
pharmacists, who have left for greener pastures to escape the depressing
economic, political and social crises at home.
Two years ago, the British Medical Journal said Zimbabwe was graded last out
of 191 countries the World Health Organisation, WHO, had surveyed. It even
performed worse than the struggling Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho,
Malawi, Swaziland and Zambia.
The WHO study says Zimbabwe's public health delivery system was once a
shining example to Africa, but it is now bleeding from years of neglect and
inadequate funding by the government. (END/2003)
Zanu-PF wants British, American embassies out
December 12, 2003, 06:24 PM
The Zanu-PF, the ruling Zimbabwean party, has urged the government to kick
the British, American Canadian and Australian embassies out of Harare. The
eviction could prove very costly.
More than 400 British companies, employing 30 000 people trade in Zimbabwe.
The fear is that if their embassy is thrown out that business will go too.
Zimbabwe stands to lose more than R7 million worth of British aid if links
are cut. However, the government argues that it was paying more than R6
million to the Commonwealth and now that it does not have to fork that bill
it stands to lose little from Britain's exit from its country.
The government has nonetheless taken a cautious stance on the matter.
From The Star (SA), 12 December
Zambia to export maize to Zim
By Anthony Mukwita
Lusaka - Zambia, which was only
last year threatened with starvation, is due
to export more than 50 000 tons of maize. Chance Kabaghe, the Deputy
Minister of Agriculture and Co-operatives, yesterday said Zambia decided to
export the maize to Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo because it
has harvested more than it can consume. "Zambia needs 60 000 tons of maize a
month," Kabaghe said. "We produced 1,2-million tons of maize during the last
season, so we decided to export some to our neighbours who are in dire need
of it," Kabaghe added. Kabaghe admitted that Zambia had no strategic food
reserves to fall back on in times of a crisis, raising fears that in case of
another drought, Zambia would start importing maize at a high cost instead
of falling back on reserves. "It is true we have no reserves for grain at
the moment," Kabaghe said. "We need at least three months' supply of
strategic food reserves (about 180 000 tons) and we are starting to build up
some this year." The government has often come under fire for exporting
grain in the absence of a strategic reserve, especially after last year's
food crisis. That threatened up to 3-million people with starvation at the
time, and forced the government to import more than 300 000 tons of maize
costing about R1 300 a ton.
Detailed report of occurring events on Pambeli Farm.
Farm owned by Mr. G Edwards.
Farm gazette as Farm no. 9 Portion of Yorkshire Estate
Subdivided by Mr. Edwards on 8 June 2001. (Signed by Mr. Shiringa & Mr. Malambo from the Makoni District Administration).
Section 5 issued 21st September 2000. General notice no. 447B of 2000.
Section 8 issued 11th December 2001
De-listing 28 September 2001. Government Notice 482 of 2001.
Sunday 5th October 2003.
Mr. E. Bosha (i.d no. 63-739074 B 25) of P O Box 871, Rusape, vehicle reg: 741-424V, issued J.Putterill with a copy of his “successful application for land under A2 scheme” letter. Ref: L183. Signed by Hon Dr. J.M Made and dated 22 September 2003.
Monday 6th October 2003.
Visited by Mr. Bosha, Albert, Mr Nyakuedzwa and two other members of the Makoni Land Task Force. Indicated to J.Putterill that Pambeli Farm was now owned by Mr. Bosha. They told me that Mr. Bosha would purchase all my equipment, pay me for the costs incurred in the current crops in the ground (33ha tobacco, 6ha mange tout peas & 0.25ha chillies). I would be able to take with me anything not paid for by Bosha.
A personal friend went to the Ministry of Lands in Harare and saw that there was no new listings / gazettes regarding the farm and the ministry did not have a copy of the letter to Bosha offering land
Tuesday 7th October 2003.
Bosha returned to the farm and spoke to my manager (Paul Kudimba) as I was away. He indicated that he did not have the money nor the expertise to take over a farm and wanted to make a deal with me. He would return the following day to speak to me. He also placed 2 guards on the farm to make sure I did not vandalize my property. (Nyasha Chokera i.d 07 1169535 S 07 & Soman Jana i.d 47 119425 Q 47)
A1 farmers that I assist with ploughing, fertilizer etc approached me very concerned about the news and said they would visit Mr. Matasa, which they did.
Mr. Matasa asked to see me. I went to his house and he said he was very happy with the way I helped the new farmers and that he would speak to Bosha to try come to an agreement, which would help me out. I was to phone the following day.
My wife and I went to CFU in Mutare and established that the last official document from Government was the de-listing. We then went to the Ministry of Lands and no one was able to help with the situation
Wednesday 8th October 2003.
I phoned Mr. Matasa and his response was that he had good news. I was to continue farming but could make a deal with Bosha. I phoned Bosha to see what he wanted and we made a plan to meet.
Bosha arrived with a proposal of me leasing the farm from him at 15%. This was totally unacceptable and after a long meeting he came up with me growing 10ha of maize for him. He would supply the seed, fertilizer and chemicals and I the labour and land prep. He left with both parties “thinking about it”
Saturday 11th October 2003.
Bosha arrived with a very aggressive attitude and said he wanted the whole farm. He would give us until November to move off, but when we said we had nothing official from Government that would make us get off, he said he would get us kicked off in twenty-four hours. He said he would bring all his equipment and move onto the farm that Monday or Tuesday (which he never did)
Sunday 12th October 2003.
Surprisingly Bosha removed the two guards he had placed on the farm. We informed the Headlands Police of the current situation (O.I.C Inspector Tiatara)
He said to us to return on Monday with any documents we had and he would take it from there.
Monday 13th October 2003.
Saturday 18th October 2003.
10 warvets appeared (Makureya, Ngoroyemoto, Mai Chitatu, Mai Chiparanga, Mutondori, Jeti and four others). They had a meeting with me regarding the fact that they are unhappy that an A2 farmer has been offered the land because they think this land is for A1 settlement. They proceeded to erect a Zim flag at the front gate and at 1:00pm, held a meeting with all the labour force. This meeting was about getting us off the land and the labour getting their packages. The warvets then asked for another meeting the next day.
Sunday 19th October 2003.
We tried to explain that we had been dealing with the police and MP to sort out our problem and they immediately said “the police are nothing” and “We tell Mutasa what to do”. They requested food and a tractor, which I said I could organize once they had produced the money. They requested I do it for free but I refused. They were very angry that we had not given them tea as our “guests”. We did explain that they had not been invited onto the farm by us. We left the meeting on the terms that I would contact Mr. Matasa and he would explain the farm situation.
That afternoon a Mr. Bonde and Mr. Mukiwa (Gov viechle, reg no. G-AGL 052) arrived to value the farm, which I let them do, as I do not know the law about this. They then left.
Monday 20th October 2003
The labour force has been stopped working by the warvets. I have called for the police and have been informed that there will be a meeting with Mr Mutasa (MP), Chiringa (DA), Police, Farmers Ass. Chairman, Bosha (supposedly new owner) and myself
Tuesday 21st October 2003.
arrived at 3.00pm for a meeting with Mutasa, DA, Police, Bosha and
ourselves. As it turns out we were to face the Makoni land force. Bosha did
not arrive. Three members of the warvets from on the ground were able to
address the meeting while we stood around outside. We were eventually called
in at 4.20pm.
In the meeting were the following: Mutasa (MP), Chiringa (DA), Miri Piri
(head of warvets), Kaunye (land committee chairman), a member of our labour
force (not brought in by us), myself and my wife, Graham Ross (Farmers Ass.
chairman) and 8 members of the task force (names not given to us). NO police
To be honest, we felt like school children that had done something very wrong
and they interrogated us and everything we answered, they turned around.
First of all, I was to address the board. I stated the following
1. We have planted 22 ha's tobacco, 0.25ha's chillies, 6 ha's peas on the
strength that this farm is de-listed. They asked to see the de-listed and
they saw it, they "gunned" us down for trying to question the LAND issue
when it is not our land. They also made sure we knew they were aware that we
are leasing the farm and that it was impossible for someone who lives in
Australia to own land in Zimbabwe.
2. We explained the whole story from when Bosha arrived and the fact that he
wanted us off immediately. They answered this with the fact that we cannot
do anything if Bosha wants it because he is the new owner. They were
insistent that the letter from Minister Made had more weight than our
3. We also explained that Mr. Mutasa had told us to continue farming, to
which he responded that at the time he thought that we were managing for Mr.
Edwards.(this is untrue as he told a neighbour (name to be kept out of it)
that I was lucky to have farmed this long as I leased).
Once Mr. Ross reiterated that I had only planted crops on the strength of
our de-listing, they seemed to calm down a bit and changed their attitude to
a "lets work towards helping you complete your crops" attitude. Mr Miri
Pirir was strong on this point, and as soon as Kaunye tried to revert to us
questioning the Governments land program, he told him that that issue was
They said the only way for me to get my crops off would to be to make a deal
with Bosha. Their best idea was "you must be the Manager for Mr Bosha
because as an A2, he is allowed to have a Manager BUT you cannot lease from
him." We gently said that we could not do this as they were OUR crops. They
briefly suggested that maybe Bosha could pay for what has been put in the
ground so far but this was not encouraged by them.
The meeting finished at around 5:30pm with us leaving with nothing concrete.
We have not got the go-ahead to complete our crops.
The police came to our farm while we were in Rusape and removed the war-vets
and told them that this was unacceptable behaviour. They said this was
illegal and that they should collect their flag and leave. This has been
The workers are all back at work this morning with only the questions about
their future (which we do not know). We have encouraged them and said that
we are still farming and will continue to farm.
Saturday 22nd November 2003.
At around 3.00pm, Mr. Bosha arrived at the farm and told me he would be moving into the cottage on the farm and would move into the main house next week. I could not contact the police so phoned Mr. S Barnard and asked if he could collect some details from the station. He went there and was told they could not assist. After asking for the names of the Constables (and told they would be accountable for anything happening) they gave Mr. Barnard 3 details and he left for the farm. The police spoke to Bosha and during the conversation, Bosha got into his viechle and drove away leaving 7 youths. These youths had already moved into the garage at my back door and were singing, beating drums and drinking chibuku. The police asked for a lift back to the station so they could get further instructions from the officer in charge. I did this and returned to Mr Barnard to collect my 2-year-old daughter. On my return, I met my wife who was returning from South Africa. I thought I should drive to the house in front of my wife to make sure it was safe. While she was getting into her viechle, Bosha drove onto the farm road in front of her. She phoned me and warned me he had more support on the back of his truck. I waited at the gate into my yard and Bosha drove up behind me. He told me to get out of the way which I refused. I locked my truck and left it in the middle of the road. My wife drove around to the back of our office block and we left our vehicles in those positions for the night. We secured ourselves in the house and informed the district over the radio about the happenings. Two members of the district (Mr G Ross and Mr M Stubbs) contacted all the relevant people trying to get a police reaction but to no avail. At around 6.00pm, a lorry load of “youths” arrived (50 to 100). They were all very drunk and were running around the house singing, chanting, beating drums and blowing whistles. They opened windows and were shouting at us, verbally abusing us and banging on windows and doors. We requested help over the radio but again the police refused to react. Eventually Mr Stubbs managed to get pro-poll in Rusape to react and they arrived at 12.00 midnight. They addressed the “youths” and then asked to speak to me. They told me that they would only do something if there was violence or robbery and that what was happening they could do nothing about. Only the D.A could give the orders on this issue. While outside (in front of the police), I was extremely verbally abused (“go back to Tony Blair you white pig”, “come here and let me F**k you up”, “I want to kill you you stupid white bastard” to name a few of the LESS abusive words used) and the police did and said absolutely nothing about this. I was touched and pushed in front of the police but nothing was done. I eventually returned into the house and the police came to my window to complete their questioning. The police left saying the were to inform their superiors and if necessary would send a detail out to watch over us. 10 minutes after the police left, my security guard came to me and said the police had instructed him to tell me to move my truck. He had been harassed and was in tears. I refused because I could see he had been set-up to get me to come out of the house. The abuse through open cracks of window continued as well as all the very load and terrifying noise, through-out the night.
At 5:00am this morning (Sunday 23rd November), My wife and I moved our vehicles as the +/-10 remaining youths seemed to be passed-out. We have prepared ourselves for another day and night of terror.
Bosha came at mid-day and told our guards that he would be back at 5:00pm with the police to evict us by force (nothing so far).
The remaining youths have been playing drums and making noise around our house all day. They have been swimming in our pool and dancing around – NAKED which I find offensive and criminal as I have a wife and 2 year old subjected to this.
At 8.30 pm that night, the ZANU PF pick up – registration number 779-270G (Manicaland Province) – arrived and immediately, without warning, started bashing down the door. We locked ourselves in the bedroom and listened while they broke into our house. They then proceeded to our bedroom door, which we had locked and tried to convince James to come out of the bedroom so that they could talk. When we refused, they started getting violent and verbally abusing us and threatening our daughter’s life and us. They then moved to the bedroom window and they smashed it with a coke bottle. They continued to abuse us and shout at us until the police arrived at 11 pm. 5 details arrived – did not do anything while they continued to abuse us. Finally it was left that the 3 details would stay behind who slept in our lounge, along with all 10 youths and along with the intruders. The rest of the night was quiet and we remained there.
At 7 am the next morning, they again threatened and verbally abused us and the one held up a broken glass bottle to Alison. We were then given half an hour to get out of the house, which we negotiated till 11 am. John Parkin and Graham Ross arrived at 9.40 am and tried to negotiate with Bosha and the rest of the ZANU PF Youths. The result of the negotiations were still that we had to be out by 11 am but we had until 4 pm to remove our belongings, which the neighbourhood then came and took verbal abuse themselves and helped us remove our belongings. We were not allowed to take any movable assets, workshop spares or tools and now there is a problem with labour wanting SI6 packages. We were forced out of our home and it was under duress that we went as we were afraid for our lives.
Monday 24th and Tuesday 25th November
Spent the time at the lawyers office with Alex Masterson drawing up the affidavit for urgent chamber application High court to serve to Bosha and the Police. Also consulted the NEC and GAPWUZ regarding employee wages and packages
Friday 28th November 2003
The D.A. from Rusape (Mr Chiringa) phoned asking why we are off the farm and we must get back to the farm.
I also collected the affidavit papers which were now complete
Monday 1st December 2003
The D.A. phoned and confirmed that we must move back to the farm and he would meet us there to help everyone present on the farm understand that we were coming back to farm. I waited for the DA but he did not make it.
I served the “High Court urgent chamber application affidavit” papers to the Messenger of Court in Rusape who served them to Bosha and the Police.
Bosha then phoned Graham Ross (Headlands Farmers Ass. Chairman) and abused him for court papers that he had received. Bosha also stated that he had not received any directive at all to evict the farm. Is the message not getting down from the top or is he being stubborn and lying?
Tuesday 2nd December 2003
Bosha went to see the D.A. and gave the D.A. two options:
1. Either we continue farming our present crops from OFF the farm; or
2. Get a valuator to value our crops at present and if he has the money, Bosha will buy them (extremely suspect).
It is strange that Bosha can give the DA ultimatums! The D.A. has now changed his mind about us “going back to the farm” and is consulting with the Governor.
I then went to the farm to check the farm work being done and saw Bosha had stolen and instructed MY tractor into the land with the disc-harrow to prepare his land for maize (of which he has already brought the seed onto the farm). I immediately got the tractor to be parked and took the keys away. I have reported it to the police as theft BUT the Inspector Tiatara will talk to the DA and Governor to see what is going on. This is blatant theft (of our equipment, crops, homestead etc).
Thursday 4th December 2003
I received a phone call from my manager to inform me that Bosha was again using my tractors and equipment, and had left 4 “youths” to prevent me from disturbing his operations. I informed the police and lay a charge of theft on Bosha. Later that day the police reacted and told the people what they were doing was illegal and if caught doing it again would be arrested. The “youths” then left the farm and the tractors were parked.
Thursday 11th December 2003
I decided to go to the farm to see what was happening to my crops. I went to the police station to inform them of my doings and to get a detail to accompany me to the farm. On our way to the farm, I met my manager who gave me the following update:
Bosha arrived yesterday (10/12/03) with 2 members from the ministry of lands and rural resettlement. They informed the labour that they no longer worked for me and that Bosha was now their new boss. All crops, equipment and anything on Pambeli farm now belonged to Bosha. I would never return to the farm again.
I informed the police of this and Inspector Tiatara phoned his seniors to find out what the way forward was. He was told that this was the new directive from the Zanu PF meeting in Masvingo last week. Bosha was now allowed to use my equipment on a hire basis until it was paid for by our minister of Lands, Dr. Made. I was informed that our High Court hearing would be at 10.00am on Friday 12/12/03 and that the police could do nothing until there was a result from the High Court.
I decided to go to the farm as I needed to see what was happening on the ground. When I arrived, I found the maize to be dying due to no irrigation, I have lost the bottom 6 leaves of the tobacco crop as they have not been reaped, the remainder of the tobacco crop is badly affected by worms, suckers and general lack of management in my absence due to the illegal eviction. A huge amount of money has been lost during the last 2 weeks.