ZANU PF TO SEIZE REMAINING WHITE-OWNED LAND Mon 13 December
2004 HARARE - Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU PF party has resolved to seize all
land from the few white farmers still remaining in the country, according to
a confidential report of the party's key central committee leaked to
The central committee is ZANU PF's highest
decision-making body outside congress and its report, which was adopted by
the party's congress last week, forms the party's working plan, guiding its
actions and policies in government.
Noting "successes" already
scored under the government's chaotic and often violent land reforms, the
central committee resolved that "all whites that were left with farms must
vacate those farms including the (Roy) Bennetts."
Bennett is a
white Member of Parliament for the main opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) party. He is in jail after ZANU PF legislators used their
majority in Parliament to imprison him for 12 months for shoving Justice
Minister, Patrick Chinamasa, during debate last May.
committee resolution, which party insiders said was certain to be
implemented in coming months, will see about 500 white farmers still holding
on to farms lose their properties to the state.
According to the
2004 annual report of the Commercial Farmers Union that represents white
farmers, out of the 4 500 white farmers in Zimbabwe four years ago, only 500
were still fully or partially farming.
The central committee
resolution however contradicts claims by Mugabe and his government that they
have completed land reforms and there will be no more land seizures in
At least nine white farmers were murdered and thousands
of their black farm workers injured by marauding ZANU PF militants who
invaded and seized white-owned farms in the last four years.
Mugabe and his government refused to act against the farm invaders saying
the farm seizures were genuine demonstrations against land hunger.
Food production fell by 60 percent because of disruptions caused in the
agricultural sector by the farm invasions and Zimbabwe has escaped
starvation in the last three years only because donors chipped in with food.
The economy has also been in a painful freefall for the last four years. -
Zimbabwe's loneliest prisoner by Judi McLeod,
December 13, 2004
With Christmas nigh and the
international community looking the other way, Roy Bennett, the only white
farmer MP in Zimbabwe's opposition government, marks more than 40 days in
Sentenced to one year's hard labour, Bennett's already badly
blistered from sunburn and covered in lice. The MP's crime? Officially, it's
that he angrily pushed then apologized to Justice Minister Patrick
Chinamasa, who had most flagrantly insulted his family. Chinamasa had called
Bennett's father and grandfather "thieves and murderers" and told him he'd
never be allowed to return to his farm, taken by Robert Mugabe's treacherous
Fighting words, indeed for a former police
officer, whose English grandfather settled in what was then
Bennett's real crime? Being the only white farmer in parliament
who persistently stand up against the Mugabe regime, despite beatings,
arrests and threats.
As he languishes in Mutoko prison, the world
goes on without him.
The 20th wedding anniversary of Roy and Heather
Bennett passed as the courageous MP remained crammed with 17 other prisoners
in a cell meant to hold four.
The heartbroken and anxious Heather is
allowed to see her husband for only 10 minutes every two weeks.
I recently discovered FreeRoyBennett.com and read that Bennett subsists on
half a cup of gruel and cabbage stew twice a day, memories came flooding
back about my August 16, 2002 meeting with him, memories that brought me to
In August, the Canadian media was invited to meet with the
Zimbabwean MP at a downtown Toronto hotel. Two reporters, including myself,
turned up. A smorgasbord was part of the lunchtime media event, and Bennett
heartily tucked into the scalloped potatoes and poached salmon.
food is delicious," he told me as he returned to the table for
Noting he had paid dearly for his courage in speaking out
about starving Zimbabweans, I asked if ever considered giving up and leaving
his mother country for a safer life elsewhere.
"You can't run away
from everything. There are some things in life worth taking a stand for,"
Bennett told me, winning a place in my heart forever as a bona fide,
A farmer at heart, Bennett was never the type to cut and
run. In my column after our meeting, I wrote that he struck me as more of a
farmer, husband and father than a politician, a belief I carry to the
Caring for others is the lure that took him away from a
farming life and his family to the harsher world of politics.
home, Bennett became so popular among local people, he was dubbed with the
nickname, "Pachedu-"one of us". It was the local masses who convinced him to
stand in 2000 Zimbabwe elections. And that he did, winning an overwhelming
majority in what had been a stronghold of the ruling party.
heartbreak that came from his election will haunt supporters all the way to
their graves. It started only two months later when Charleswood, his coffee
farm was for the first time invaded by self-professed "war veterans".
Heather Bennett, who was almost four months pregnant, was held hostage at
knifepoint and made to dance and sing ZANU PF songs in the rain. Two of the
farm's workers were brutally killed in front of her. When she finally
managed to escape, she had miscarried what was never to be their third
Charleswood, which hired hundreds of blacks, was driven into
bankruptcy, when its animals were slaughtered wholesale and its tons of
coffee exported to Germany. The invasion of the coffee farm came within
months of the bank loans that started it having been paid off in
But, like so many things in Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe, Charleswood
is only a fading memory of a better day.
Disturbing pictures of black
workers raped and killed by human rights trampling ZANU-PF can be seen by
all on FreeRoyBennett.com.
In the bleak face of no one from the
international community coming to the MP's rescue, it was Heather, now
renting a house with her teenage daughter who came up with the idea to
launch the Free Roy Bennett campaign.
As the weeks wear on, Heather is
disappointed by the lack of interest and the lack of help from the British
government and others.
In her own words: "Everyone shouts about democracy
and when brave people like Roy stand up, they say this is the right thing to
do. But when he is arrested the international community turns their heads.
Canadafreepress.com, now rated by Alexa in the top one
percent of the Worldwide Internet, wants to show Heather that while members
of governments touting human rights are in Christmas mode, little people
everywhere do care.
Thanks to the Internet, an email of hope and
encouragement to Heather won't cost a penny, and the spirits of Zimbabwe's
loneliest prisoner could depend on it.
Meanwhile, may the Christmas
Christ Child protect and succor Zimbabwe MP Roy Bennett.
Free Press founding editor Judi McLeod is an award-winning journalist with
30 years experience in the media. A former Toronto Sun and Kingston Whig
Standard columnist, she has also appeared on Newsmax.com, the Drudge Report,
Foxnews.com, and World Net Daily. Judi can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
December 11, 2004 Posted to the web December 13,
THE Government has increased the salary and allowances
for the President or Acting President, which was effected from January this
According to a statutory instrument published in yesterday's
Government Gazette, the President or Acting President's salary is now $83
863 200 a year, up from the $73,7 million effected in March this
However, all the other allowances remained the same.
include a Cabinet allowance of $2,8 million a year, a general allowance of
$1,6 million and a housing allowance of $3,024 million a year.
increase means that the President or Acting President will now earn $95 555
800 a year including allowances and a bonus of $7 380 600.
increase, the President or Acting President earned $87 425 667 a year plus
allowances and a bonus.
This translated to $6 773 667 a month.
President's salary was last reviewed at the beginning of the year when it
was increased from $20,2 million to $73,7 million.
International and other civil society groups have launched regional protests
against human rights violations in Zimbabwe to increase pressure on the
government of President Robert Mugabe ahead of next year's
This is the first time that civil society groups in the
Southern African Development Community (SADC) region have collectively taken
up the issue of rights abuses in Zimbabwe.
The campaign began on
Friday with demonstrations outside Zimbabwean embassies and high commissions
in a number of SADC countries, including SA, to coincide with the United
Nations' international human rights day.
The demonstrators protested
against laws in Zimbabwe that severely hamper the ability of opposition
groups to hold public rallies and make it difficult for non-governmental
organisations to operate in the country.
In Pretoria, protestors had
planned to hand a petition to the Zimbabwean embassy, but found there was
nobody to whom they could give the document.
The groups are planning to
protest in mid-February, near border posts Zimbabwe shares with its neighbou
Dec 13 2004 07:44:39:000AM Jonathan Katzenellenbogen Business Day
HARARE - Most of the
graduates from the controversial national youth service, which was
introduced four years ago by the government, have been incorporated into the
country's security services, with a few joining the civil service, a senior
government official has revealed.
A total of 16 600 graduates
from the national youth service, have so far been absorbed by the
government's security organisations which include the police force, the army
and the dreaded secret service.
Critics say the programme,
seeks to prop up the ruling party's fading support among the country's
youths, who constitute more than 50 percent of the country's
A total of 22 000 youths have so far gone through
Reason Wafawarova, the director of technical
services in the youth ministry, recently told The Voice, a Zanu PF weekly
newspaper, that the government intended to provide money to those graduates
not absorbed by the security services for self-help
The youth programme is accused of churning out youths
who are not tolerant of divergent political ideas. The main opposition
Movement for Democratic Change has accused the ruling Zanu PF party of
unleashing the youth militia to crush political dissent in the run up to
The training programme, which was suspended by the
government due to lack of financial resources, is set to be resumed next
year after the government provided funding in the coming financial
THIS proposition is hard to sustain: that behind his
designer spectacles, his long forehead, his lanky frame, on which the
clothes seem to hang as if on a scarecrow, and the Comic Ali gestures,
Jonathan Moyo is an evil genius.
This proposition was being
actively pursued in the aftermath of Zanu PF's Day of the Long Knives: the
suspension of party provincial leaders who had attended a Moyo-inspired
confab in Tsholotsho before the congress in Harare.
meeting, held without the approval of the politburo, was to endorse someone
other than Joyce Mujuru, as second vice-president of the
The party president, Robert Mugabe, was livid, as
livid as he was when he vowed to crush Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo and his PF-Zapu
at the height of their falling out in the early 1980s.
Nkomo responded by describing Mugabe then as "very sly". Was Moyo the new
"dissident" leader, who would become the prime target of a relentless
campaign by another Enos Nkala?
It was hard to conceive of
this relatively young man, a green horn in the politics of Zimbabwe bearing
the deplorable baggage of a political turncoat, beating Mugabe at a game in
which he has become a master.
Those who dared to believe that
Moyo was a rebel leader, the standard-bearer of a revolution in Zanu PF
which could be described as a fight for democracy in the party, could not
themselves believe what they were saying.
This man has the
credentials of a Mugabe clone. He hates the free media, he hates all
countries which profess faith in a free media as a cornerstone of democracy,
including the United States, the Commonwealth, the European Union and all
countries which are waiting in the wings to join that
How would they be so blind? How would they
justify his transformation from this raving one-party, one-leader, one-media
fanatic into a crusader for freedom of expression, even in a dinosaur party
like Zanu PF?
The proposition that Moyo actually plotted the
ouster of Mugabe as president of Zanu PF is absurd in the extreme. Moyo's
style has always struck many analysts as that of a political commuter
driver. He will wait for an opportunity to profit from someone's
Which bring us to the crucial question about this current
plight: doesn't his record suggest an inveterate blunderer rather than an
A man possessed of a talent for subterfuge
would surely not have crafted the Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Act without recognising how it could not survive a thorough
examination by a legal mind as sharp as that of the late Eddison
The rumour was that Moyo and a lawyer friend sat down
one night and worked out the major ingredients of the Act. The lawyer - the
story goes - had never learnt much about drafting
So, when the Bill was presented to Parliament, in
its rawest form, it was a delight to hear Zvobgo tear it to pieces in the
presence of its chief author.
Zvobgo's indictment of the
Bill would have persuaded anybody with the malevolent subtlety of the real
evil genius that it needed to be tailored for the libertarians in the party
as well - it should appeal to proponents of press freedom without alienating
those who believed that in an African country whose government did not
depend on its performance for its popularity you needed a mailed fist to
deal with the media.
There are other examples of why Moyo, far
from being the owner of an evil intellect, has a rather mundane, almost
plebeian approach to most issues.
How did Alum Mpofu end up
as head of broadcasting if his background had been thoroughly probed by
Moyo's people? The ease with which Mpofu betrayed his sexual proclivities
suggested there had been a cynical disregard for the probability of a hue
and cry once Mpofu exposed himself as being openly gay.
evil genius would have connived to have people - his employers and the
general public - believing that their radio and television networks were
being supervised by a man of such impeccable cultural credentials, all the
bishops and imams in the land would be falling over each others' robes to
invite him to dinner.
So, apart from forecasting, with
understandable glee, the demise of Moyo's spectacular rise to power,
journalists of the independent media should also know that Moyo was not
their most formidable enemy.
He was not this evil genius, in
the mould of Goebbels or any of those Soviet apparatchiks who propounded
their theories of thought control in language which challenged the
intellectual capacities of many ordinary citizens. Mugabe was and remains
the political genius - evil or otherwise. Those who have always believed
Mugabe was railroaded into accepting the Lancaster House constitution by
none other than Samora Machel would say the latest events have vindicated
them. He dreamed of marching into Harare, as Fidel Castro marched into
Havana from the Sierra Maestra mountains. He felt humiliated to be sitting
at a round table in London with Ian Smith and Bishop Abel Muzorewa, "the
enemy". Mugabe's political make-up was never one to accommodate real
consensus. If there were party members who believed that Mugabe was a true
disciple of real democracy, the latest developments must have disabused them
of that notion, once and for all. The latest events will naturally spur the
delicious speculation that they presage the implosion in Zanu PF predicted
by many neutral analysts of the political scene in Zimbabwe. What may be
more certain is that Zanu PF may never be the same again, if only because,
as this decidedly male chauvinist party it must learn to live with a woman
as Number Three leader. The spotlight is now likely to focus on Joyce
Mujuru, perhaps to go down in political history as The Woman Who Almost
Killed Zanu PF. - Loving It Always
Mugabe can still be hauled to face justice in future, says
IBA Mon 13 December 2004 HARARE - President Robert Mugabe could still be
indicted at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against
humanity even if Zimbabwe had not accepted the court's jurisdiction,
according to the International Bar Association (IBA).
commentary on Zimbabwe published by the Human Rights Institute journal to
mark the International Human Rights Day, IBA executive director, Mark Ellis,
said a post-Mugabe government could simply declare its acceptance of ICC
jurisdiction and in the process open way for his indictment.
Ellis wrote: "A state which is not yet a party to the (ICC) Statute may, by
declaration lodged with the Registrar, accept the exercise of jurisdiction
by the Court with respect to the crime in question.
post-Mugabe government could immediately accept the jurisdiction of the ICC
and so sanction a full investigation and indictment of Mugabe for crimes he
has committed since July 2002.
"Under the ICC Statute, the UN
Security Council could already authorise the court immediately to
investigate crimes committed by Mugabe. Such an investigation can occur even
though Zimbabwe has yet to accept the jurisdiction of the
Zimbabwe's army, police and militant supporters of Mugabe
and his ruling ZANU PF party have in the last four years committed political
violence and human rights abuses against the government's political
None of the culprits have been arrested or
prosecuted to date with the police on several occasions instead arresting
the victims of violence and abuse.
Ellis also criticised
continental powerhouse, South Africa and other African nations for
consistently shielding Mugabe from censure by the international
The IBA official called for more resolute action by the
UN Security Council and the ICC to ensure the Zimbabwean leader did not
elude international justice.
"Those who have been victimised by
Mugabe deserve better. If Mugabe can manipulate and evade domestic and
regional justice, he should not be able to elude international justice,"
wrote Ellis. - ZimOnline
EU beef ban costs Zimbabwe US$38 million annually Mon 13
December 2004 HARARE - Hard cash-strapped Zimbabwe is losing US$38 million
annually in potential earnings from beef exports to the European Union (EU)
because it has not implemented animal disease control measures to entice the
EU to lift a ban on the country's beef.
The EU banned
Zimbabwean beef products in 2001 following an outbreak of the deadly
foot-and-mouth cattle disease in the country.
Head of the EU
delegation in Harare, Francesca Mosca, said three years after the ban,
Zimbabwe had not yet invited Brussels to come and verify whether Harare had
implemented EU-recommended disease control measures that could see the ban
Mosca said: "If the country wants the ban to be lifted, it
has to come to the EU and say that it has done some progress in containing
the disease such that inspectors can come and assess, which Zimbabwe hasn't
"Zimbabwe had the potential to increase its export since at
one stage they applied to do that, but it must first of all comply with
certain (veterinary) regulations of the EU," Mosca said.
Zimbabwe's veterinary services director Stuart Hargreaves could not be
reached yesterday to establish why Harare had so far not moved to have the
beef exports to the EU resumed.
Zimbabwe, which had a quota of
9 100 tonnes of beef to the EU, four years ago generated four percent of its
total foreign currency earnings from beef exports mostly to
Besides the government's apparent inaction over disease
control, Zimbabwe's herd has declined by a massive 82 percent from 1.4
million cattle before the government's chaotic land reforms to about 250 000
at present and would be hard-pressed to meet its quota to the EU. -
Three cricket officials suspended for extortion Mon 13
December 2004 HARARE - Zimbabwe Cricket has suspended national team
selector Stephen Mangongo and a provincial administrator pending dismissal
after the two were last week implicated in an extortion scandal at the
all-black Takashinga cricket club.
Mangongo, who is one of four
national selectors, Mashonaland Cricket Association (MCA) general manager
Givemore Makoni, and another official, Elvis Sembezeya, face charges of
bringing the game into disrepute after Takashinga players accused them of
making them surrender 10 percent of their earnings in order to be selected
for national and provincial representative sides.
cricket officials make up the executive at Takashinga, which is based in
Harare's low-income suburb of Highfield.
The trio are also believed
to be behind efforts by clubs affiliated to the powerful MCA to oust the
12-strong Zimbabwe Cricket board led by Peter Chingoka.
clubs bypassed their own board and announced last Thursday that they would
disassociate themselves from Zimbabwe Cricket because they were not happy
the national association had rebranded without consulting them, forcing the
abandonment of all national league action at the weekend.
national cricket body was formerly known as the Zimbabwe Cricket Union
before changing its name and logo last month.
The MCA said the
rebranding was unconstitutional and had been done unilaterally, hence the
province would cut ties with the national body as the province was
affiliated to the "old" Zimbabwe Cricket Union.
The apparent coup
has sparked off a fresh round of controversy for Chingoka and his
beleaguered board after a bitter row with 15 white rebel players that forced
the International Cricket Council to suspend Zimbabwe's Tests for the past
seven months had seemed to be dying down.
Rebel players Stuart
Carlisle and Trevor Gripper and his father Ray have joined hands with Makoni
in their efforts to oust Chingoka, also basing their rebellion on the fact
that Zimbabwe Cricket had used a whopping $600 million on the rebranding at
a time the union had said it had no money to assist struggling
Zimbabwe Cricket dismissed the rebellion by the MCA, with a
senior board member saying a group of power-hungry people were leaving no
stone unturned in tarnishing their image. - ZimOnline
HARARE, Dec. 13 (Xinhuanet) -- The
Zimbabwean Ministry of Transport and Communication is considering making
defensive driving a compulsory course to cut down on the number of traffic
In his remarks at the official launch of the 2004
Festive Season Road Safety Campaign on Monday, Transport and Communications
Minister, Chris Mushowe, said the introduction of acompulsory course for
drivers of public service vehicles had seen a decrease in the number of
"We are saddened to note that the bulk of accident
statistics are attributed to private motorists. My ministry is actively
considering making the defensive driving course a national
Figures provided by the Central Computing Services
show that a total of 46,759 accidents were reported between January and May
this year, resulting in 1,676 deaths and 21,014 injuries.
"Consequences of these accidents are far-reaching. It is estimated that they
cost the country about one percent of the Gross Domestic Product and much of
it is in scarce foreign currency," said Mushowe.
percent of national health care went to injuries and disabilities of victims
of road traffic accidents while the loss of limbs, material and financial
resources was enormous, he said.
The festive season is usually
characterized by a high mobility of both human and vehicular traffic, which
is a contributor to annual accident statistics.
statistics show that a total of 62 people were killed in 669 accidents that
occurred during the festive period while 517 were injured. Enditem
Sekeramayi could rise to the top as Mugabe blocks
On the surface, the big
winner at last week's annual congress of the ruling Zanu-PF party was the
country's new vice-president Joyce Mujuru, but few political analysts see
her as a credible successor to President Robert Mugabe. The race for the top
spot remains as open as before, though there is now a new frontrunner - and
it's not Mujuru.
Her election as Zanu-PF second vice-president
means she becomes junior vice-president of Zimbabwe, with the elderly Joseph
Msika - also not presidential material, on age grounds - as senior
Mujuru, an undistinguished member of the
government since independence in 1980, is unlikely to feature in the
succession stakes when the time comes for Mugabe to step down - possibly,
though not definitely, at the next presidential election in 2008. Despite
that, her victory last week could have marked the end of the road for the
former frontrunner, parliamentary speaker Emmerson
His failure to win the number three post in the
party hierarchy is not necessarily the end of his presidential ambitions.
But party insiders believe that the quiet man, defence minister Sydney
Sekeramayi (60), who, unlike Mnangagwa, has never declared his intention of
running for the top spot, is now heir presumptive.
Sekeramayi is a central figure in the Zezuru faction, though arguably its
most powerful member excluding Mugabe himself is retired General Solomon
Mujuru, the new vice-president's husband.
Gen Mujuru shuns the limelight. He is a power broker and kingmaker, the man
best placed to deliver the presidency to Sekeramayi, a long-time Mugabe
loyalist who, like Joyce Mujuru, has served in numerous ministerial posts
for a quarter of a century.
It is too early to say that
Mnangagwa is finished. Three years is a long time in politics, especially in
Zimbabwe where despite all the exaggerated official claims of impending
economic recovery, the imminent return of lending by the International
Monetary Fund and post-election recognition by the West, the ruling party
remains unpopular. But the man who was the acknowledged frontrunner just
three months ago may well have fluffed his chance.
or hate him, Mugabe is the supreme manager of his party. He had party
members - who five years ago, after Zanu's defeat in the constitutional
referendum were urging him to go - eating out of his hand at last week's
congress. He dominated proceedings, saying nothing new, while he hammered
the West, UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, US President George W Bush and, of
course, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
just what the doctor ordered for the party faithful, demonstrating beyond
doubt just how vigorous and healthy he is, while underlining that he is
Zanu-PF. Take Mugabe away and the party is rudderless with no single
personality capable of leading from the front.
of the so-called "Gang of Eight" - the six party provincial chairmen,
information minister Jonathan Moyo and War Veterans Association chairman
Jabulani Sibanda - was consummate.
The eight had arranged and
attended an "unsanctioned" party meeting at Tsholotsho in rural
Matabeleland, ostensibly to build a support base at the congress for
Mnangagwa. Because the meeting had not been authorised by the party
hierarchy, its decisions were overruled, contributing to Mnangagwa's failure
to become party vice-president. And seven of the eight participants and
organisers were suspended from the party for six months pending possibly
more severe disciplinary action.
The eighth - Moyo - was
reprimanded by Zanu's most powerful body, the politburo. He was further
humiliated at congress when he was not elected to the 240-strong central
Despite these setbacks to one of the country's most
feared (and hated) politicians, it is premature to suggest that Moyo's
political career is over.
Like Mnangagwa's, it may have
been shunted into the slow lane, but Moyo has served the president well. He
has emasculated independent and international media coverage of Zimbabwe. He
has secured the closure of two critical newspapers and set up a media
commission to control media coverage as far as possible.
has acted as a lightning rod for Mugabe. Though he is not a team player and
- as the recent failed attempt to ban English cricket writers from
accompanying the English tour shows - a loose cannon who can do the
government more harm than good, Mugabe may well keep him for the time
Now that Mugabe has clipped Moyo's wings, he may well
feel that it is better to have the mercurial "professor" inside government
attacking the "West", whites and the opposition, than challenging it from
the outside. After the March 2005 election, it could be a different story,
however. Moyo has made so many enemies that few will shed any tears if he
With the succession on the back burner for now, Zanu will
focus on the March parliamentary elections. It is in pole position to win
easily, whether or not the MDC decides to contest.
recent travels MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai was advised by leaders in Africa
and Europe to fight the poll, even with a thoroughly one-sided playing
African leaders want him to validate the poll so that
this time election observers can declare it to have been free and fair and
bring the whole sorry saga to an end.
The West lives in the
(misguided) hope that after all they have been through, the voters will turn
against Mugabe, which would end the crisis from its
Both sides are misjudging the situation. The West
will not recognise another flawed Zanu victory, while Zimbabwe's voters lack
the organisation - and indeed the stomach - to "do a Ukraine" by insisting
an unpopular leader step down.
Mugabe is not the first dictator to take refuge in that injunction dictators
find so comforting: If you don't like the message, kill the
messenger. His tame parliament has approved legislation outlawing foreign
and foreign-supported groups that promote human rights and good
You can see why Mugabe might feel that way. Last week, the
International Bar Association, meeting in South Africa, said Mugabe should
be brought to justice for the criminal way he has run his
According to the Associated Press account of the meeting, "In
some of the harshest criticism of Mugabe to date, the association said there
was staggering and well-documented evidence that his government has
committed murder, rape, abduction and enslavement."
mineral-rich, Zimbabwe was once one of the most prosperous nations in
Africa. After 24 years of appalling misrule, it is impoverished, isolated
and the one-time breadbasket and food exporter is dependent on international
charity to feed its people. And Mugabe directs that food aid to his
supporters and denies it to people he suspects of opposing him.
as Mugabe stays holed up in Zimbabwe, protected by his well-rewarded
security services, he's safe from international justice. However, the bar
association did highlight another distressing issue: The "woeful response"
of fellow African countries that have refused to denounce Mugabe's wretched
human-rights record and indeed have been complicit in propping up his
But the simple fact that he had to take the grotesque step of
outlawing human-rights organizations shows that he may sense his hold on
power is becoming increasingly tenuous. The Zimbabweans can only
WASHINGTON, Dec 13 (IPS) - Victims of human rights abuses
receiving medical treatment or legal advice from dozens of non-profit groups
in Zimbabwe could be among those cut off if the government authorises a
proposed law that bans foreign rights organisations from working in the
country, as well as foreign funding of local groups.
"The law is a
direct attack on human rights in Zimbabwe and should be immediately
repealed," said Kolawole Olaniyan, the director of Amnesty International's
New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) also strongly
denounced the bill, which must still be signed by President Robert Mugabe,
whose increasingly autocratic rule has drawn strong condemnation from the
West and disapproval from African governments, as well.
would enable the government to intervene in the reasonable activities of
civil society organisations and possibly force many of them to close," said
Georgette Gagnon, deputy director of HRW's Africa division. "It would
undermine the fundamental freedoms of association and expression in
Zimbabwe," she added Friday, international Human Rights Day.
southern African country, which served through much of Mugabe's rule as a
major bulwark against apartheid in neighbouring South Africa, has long had a
vibrant civil society, but as Mugabe -- who has served as president since
independence in 1980 -- has felt threatened by growing opposition to his
rule, his government has periodically clamped down hard against critics,
including independent newspapers and foreign media organisations, opposition
political parties and non-governmental organisations
Observers have charged that the government resorted to
intimidation and fraud in elections in 2000 and 2002 in order to ensure its
victory over the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
for the succession within his ZANU-Patriotic Front party and new
parliamentary elections scheduled to take place in March, the
Non-Governmental Organisations Act (NGO Act) appears designed to set the
stage for a new crackdown that will make it much harder for local NGOs to
continue their work and for foreign groups to report on the human rights
situation to the rest of the world.
The U.S. State Department
suggested Friday that the bill, as well as a new electoral law passed on the
same day, could well jeopardise prospects for "free and fair elections" in
March. It called on Mugabe not to sign either law.
The NGO Act
specifically targets organisations that "promote and protect human rights,"
but it also gives the government sweeping powers to interfere with the
operations of any body in Zimbabwe through the creation of a
government-appointed NGO Council with which all groups must officially
HRW said it was particularly concerned about the
limitations the proposed law would place on NGOs active on a whole range of
issues that may well go beyond human rights. The bill states that no foreign
NGO will be registered if "its sole or principal objects involve or include
issues of governance," which includes the protection of human
Similarly, local organisations working on governance issues,
which could include corruption or even certain kinds of development
assistance, would be barred from receiving "any foreign funding or
Moreover, the bill broadly defines as "foreign" anyone who is
not "a permanent resident of Zimbabwe or a citizen of Zimbabwe domiciled in
Thus, any Zimbabwean NGO with membership that includes
expatriate Zimbabweans could be considered "foreign" under the Act. HRW
pointed out that many civil-society groups in Zimbabwe depend on foreign and
expatriate funding to carry out their activities.
NGOs from receiving foreign funding for human rights work would effectively
mean the end of many vital human rights programmes, as there is so little
local funding available," said Amnesty's Olaniyan in a statement.
Zimbabwe National Association of NGOs (NANGO), which represents more than
1,000 civic and rights groups, called the bill "unacceptable" stressing that
it could "result in the shutting down of the majority of NGOs in the
country. It estimated the total number of groups that could be affected at
"Coming as it does on the international day for human
rights, the bill can only buttress the perception that the government is
probably not committed to the promotion and protection of human rights," a
NANGO spokesperson said, noting as well that churches and electoral monitors
may well be affected.
Amnesty said it expects the law to be enforced
selectively, as has been the case for other repressive legislation approved
over the past four years. It noted that the Media Information Commission
that was established in 2002 -- apparently a model for the proposed NGO
Council -- has been used to harass and, in some cases, close down
"If the NGOS Act is enforced across the board," said
Olaniyan, "tens of thousands of people being assisted by NGO programmes
could suffer. Reputable and dedicated human rights organisations in Zimbabwe
provide vital medical and psychological care and legal advice to victims of
human rights violations."
"Most victims have nowhere else to turn in
a country where unemployment is above 70 percent and the health service has
been severely eroded," he added.
Both Amnesty and HRW pointed out that
the bill's terms violate a number of international human rights agreements
ratified by Zimbabwe, among them the Principles and Guidelines Governing
Democratic Elections that was recently agreed by the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) of which Zimbabwe is a founding member.
Last updated: 12/13/2004
23:22:22 HISTORY was made this week when almost unexpectedly, Mrs.
Joyce Mujuru was sworn in as the fourth ever Vice President of post
independence Zimbabwe. This was hardly a day or two after she had been
elected the first ever female member of the Presidium in Zanu-PF, the
nation's ruling party.
In so doing, Mujuru also made another
masterpiece of history. She became the first ever female Vice President in
the entire history of Southern Africa. And if what I heard from Robert
Mugabe over the weekend is anything to go by, then another piece of history
Mujuru is in line to be the first ever female President
in the entire African history!
However, a closer look at
Mujuru's life will reveal beyond any reasonable doubt that she is no
stranger in making history. In fact, it appears she was destined by fate to
be a history maker by nature!
Included in his impressive profile
are the following history making achievements. Mujuru is the youngest ever
female MP in the history of Zimbabwe. She was also the youngest MP ever in
Zimbabwean history until her record was overtaken by Tafadzwa Musekiwa in
the aftermath of the 2000 elections.
Added to that, she is one
of the few MPs that have sat in all successive Parliaments for 25 years. And
as MP for Mount Darwin, she is already cruising to another five year term
baring a miracle on the part of the fortunes of the MDC in her
Mujuru is also the youngest ever cabinet minister in
the history of Zimbabwe. She was appointed a minister in 1980, shortly after
her 25th birthday. Added to that, she is one of the few politicians who have
served in all of Mugabe's cabinet since independence in 1980.
Let me hasten to mention that among the ministerial roles she has played, is
the fact that she was the first ever female Acting minister of Defence in
the aftermath of Moven Mahachi's untimely death. Mujuru has also doubled up
as Governor of Mashonaland Central at some various stages of her political
But Mujuru has another critical trump card on her sleeves.
She is regarded as an affable and soft spoken politician. It thus comes as
no shock that in her life long political career she has made more friends
than enemies. Even the opposition MDC MPs will find it difficult to pinpoint
any issues against her, unlike other aspirants such as Jonathan Moyo and
Mugabe has hinted that Mujuru is destined
for great things. He even had the temerity to ask the Congress delegates
whether they had elected her to remain in that seat only or expected her to
move further up later to the presidency.
Judging by the
overwhelming response the delegates gave to the freak question, I would not
be surprised if we are not forced by circumstances beyond our control to
face another ghastly reality. Sooner than later, we might be forced to
salute Mujuru as our 'Madam President'.
It is my submission that
all the pro-democracy movement elements in the crisis in Zimbabwe should
start to appreciate the reality of Zimbabwean politics from that critical
point of view.
To dismiss Mujuru as a worm in a pond is an
abdication of political analysis and exercise in strategic thinking
negligence. We need to prepare to face the reality of a Mujuru presidency in
Zimbabwe or else Zanu-PF will continue to outwit us and remain in power ad
We need to learn from history. Political history is full
of examples of people who were underestimated and dismissed as clowns and
pawns until they stormed into power. The lives of the likes of Fredrick
Chiluba, Daniel Moi, Levy Mwanawasa, Bingu wa Mutharika and Hifikepunye
Pohamba are a strong case in point.
Adolf Hitler was also taken
for granted by many until he turned the world upside down. The tragedy of
the Jewish holocaust and the Second World War would have been averted had
the world listened to the prophetic warnings of Winston Churchill, among
But to bring the point closer home. Mugabe is a
classic example of one person who was taken for granted by his peers only to
shock them by becoming the undisputed leader of Zanu-PF. He then went on to
pip the likes of Joshua Nkomo and Ndabaningi Sithole in becoming the first
ever leader of post independence Zimbabwe.
I am confident that
in the 1950s, if someone had suggested that the herd boy from Zvimba would
be the longest serving leader in Zimbabwean politics, that analyst would
have been scoffed at and dismissed as a big joke and clown.
as fate would have it, Mugabe did not only storm into power but has also
stood the test of time. As I write, he is one of the world's longest serving
head of state. And as things stand, we still do not have a guaranteed date
of the end of his grip on the presidency. In fact it would be more realistic
to call him a life President!
But what then is my point? The point
I want to drive home is that we should all accept the possible reality of
Mujuru becoming our next President. She has already surprised us by becoming
our Vice President. We need to honestly admit that we never thought she
would achieve that feat. We all know that her name never cropped up every
time we had a debate on the succession issue.
We need to avoid
the danger of the ostrich mentality of political avoidance by wishing Mujuru
away. Mujuru is a political reality we all need to take seriously. To try to
ignore her reality will be the worst of our political strategic blunders and
history will judge us harshly for that.
We need to admit that the
mere fact that Mugabe now seems to favour her is not by chance but by
design. Mugabe is busy thinking ahead of us, planning our democratic future
and all we do in response is to laugh and scorn his now preferred
We need to realize that there are serious reasons why
Mugabe has chosen Mujuru and in the process we need to analyze them and
respond accordingly. The failure to do so will leave us not ready to face
the worst of all realities, a Mujuru presidency in Zimbabwe by 2008! -
Daniel Molokela is the National Co-ordinator of the Peace and Democracy
Project Johannesburg, South Africa. His column appears here every
Reporter Last updated: 12/14/2004 03:41:18 IN A surprise move, the
stated-run Chronicle newspaper which recently came under fire for being used
to prop-up Information Minister Jonathan Moyo's waning political fortunes has
made a sudden U-turn and attacked the beleaguered information czar.
its weekly gossip column, Busy Body, the paper which has prodigiously
pandered to Moyo's whims, hinted that the motor-mouthed Minister was on his
The paper suggested that Zimbabwe's biggest
daily newspaper, The Daily News, which was closed under a draconian law
crafted by the professor, the infamous Access to Information and Protection
of Privacy Act might bounce back.
Said the paper: "Hopes are high
that the paper (Daily News) might come back following the alleged fall of
seka Isaac (Isaac's father) of the so-called Tsholotsho
Moyo -- a former arch-critic of Mugabe -- together with
several Zanu PF officials are in trouble over a meeting they held in
Tsholotsho ostensibly to defy President Mugabe's directive that the ruling
Zanu PF party must nominate a woman as his deputy. The meeting is said to
have come up with the so called Tsholotsho Declaration, which supported
Speaker of Parliament, Emmerson Mnangagwa instead of Joyce Mujuru who was
eventually chosen at the party's congress three weeks ago.
year, a young boy named Isaac who is from Tsholotsho, came out in a story
originated by Chronicle claiming to be the forsaken son of Moyo. The junior
minister, however, claimed that the boy was not his son and was only "a
figment of the imagination of his political opponents".
Nothing has been
heard about the boy except that his mother died in unexplained circumstances
a few months ago.
The Busy Body column is believed to be written by
Chronicle editor Steven Ndlovu, Moyo's stooge, who was last week summoned to
Harare to explain why the paper was being used by Moyo to exonerate himself
and attack other members of the party.
This was after the paper
dedicated its entire front page to stories exonerating Moyo and attacking
his opponents within the ruling party. One of the stories is believed to
have agitated Mugabe because it contained confidential information which
Moyo had used to defend himself when he appeared before the party's highest
decision-making body, the politburo, over the "Tsholotsho
The Chronicle, which has been nicknamed the Tsholotsho
Bullentin, used to sell more than 35 000 copies per day but has drastically
lost readership and sells less than 12 000 copies a day despite the closure
of The Daily News.
A splinter group
of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans' Association (ZNLWVA), led
by Andrew Ndlovu and his secretary general Endy Mhlanga, wants President
Robert Mugabe to axe Information Minister Jonathan Moyo from Zanu PF. Apart
from Moyo, the Mhlanga group said it had also asked Mugabe to fire "every
party leader" who attended the infamous Tsholotsho meeting at the behest of
the minister. The meeting was allegedly convened to stage a coup against the
Zanu PF leadership led by President Mugabe. The meeting also allegedly
plotted to sideline from the party's central committee some of Zanu PF's
revolutionary cadres, such as former Home Affairs Minister Dumiso Dabengwa,
deputy political commissar Sikhanyiso Ndlovu and Minister of State for
Policy Implementation Webster Shamu, among others. Dabengwa, Ndlovu and
Shamu were retained into the central committee through a Presidential
nomination during the party's people's Congress that ended last Sunday.As a
result of the Tsholotsho meeting, Moyo has since lost his central committee
seat after the presidium vetoed his nomination by Zanu PF Matabeleland North
"We told President Mugabe during last week's congress that
Moyo and all those who attended the Tsholotsho meeting must be expelled from
the party, no matter their positions," Mhlanga told The Daily Mirror
yesterday soon after addressing a press conference in the capital. Mhlanga
said apart from meeting President Mugabe, they were still lobbying him to
seriously consider their request. "We are urging our patron (President
Mugabe), who is the only one who promoted Moyo and has got the powers to
deal with him, to do like wise. Furthermore, we are saying it must not only
be Moyo, but all others who might be holding high offices who attended the
Tsholotsho meeting to plot a coup," Mhlanga added. The war veterans' leader
said the Tsholotsho meeting had exposed Moyo and his colleagues' true
colours. "The rebels were of the opinion that if you cannot beat them (Zanu
PF), join them and destroy them from within. The rebels are the real agents
of imperialism," Mhlanga claimed. Asked what the war veterans would do if
President Mugabe did not heed their call, Mhlanga said: "He has been
listening to us. He has never ignored the war veterans before. We are simply
saying to him: how can we continue to share the same meal with people bent
on destroying the party?"
Moyo's political career is waning, amid
reports that President Mugabe will drop him from the party's Politburo where
he is deputy secretary for information and publicity. Zanu PF has since
suspended its of its provincial chairmen over the Tsholotsho debacle for six
months, while ZNLWVA chairman Jabulani Sibanda was slapped with a four-year
suspension.Observers said there was indeed incontrovertible evidence that
the six provincial chairpersons committed a serious offence in terms of the
party's statutes. In political terms, the observers argued, the chairpersons
violated provisions of the party's code of conduct pertaining to clear
dereliction of duty as instructed by superior structures of Zanu PF, and for
bringing the good name of the party into disrepute through divisionist
machinations. "The Tsholotsho meeting that was attended also by the
suspended six provincial chairpersons is an open manifestation of a
structured conspiracy to undermine the authority of both the party and
government," one observer said. "It has both political and security
undertones. While the party will address the political aspects, it is hoped
that the appropriate government structures will resolutely attend to the
The observer added: "For example, on what basis
were the 'conspirators' promising fellow collaborators senior positions
within the hierarchy of the party and the government, when it is patently
known that such authority to appoint rests with the President? Why was the
President 'missing' in their political permutations? It is not far-fetched
to consider these actions as a precursor to a palace coup. This issue and
its various connotations need to be addressed expeditiously." The suspension
of Sibanda led Ndlovu, Mhlanga and other war veterans into passing a vote of
no-confidence in him and his vice-chairman, Joseph Chinotimba. Chinotimba
and Sibanda have since declared the move unconstitutional and are adamant
that they are still at the helm of the association. But Mhlanga yesterday
insisted that their action to boot out Sibanda's leadership was
constitutional and that there was no going back. "The association is a
social welfare organisation controlled by the Ministry of Defence and how do
you reconcile a situation where Sibanda and Chinotimba are now fighting the
ruling party and continue to expect government to support them? We are just
an interim leadership of the association and all this is above board," he
said. Sibanda, in an interview with The Daily Mirror, said: "All we
understand is that Mhlanga is moving around saying he has been sent by the
President to take over the leadership of the association. If the President
sent him, we want to know in what capacity." He added: "Whatever Mhlanga is
doing is totally in contravention of the principles and constitution of the
association. So far nothing has changed regarding the association's
leadership". Sibanda said unlike other people, he respected the
association's constitution and the rule of law and had total disrespect for
those who circumvented the supreme law to suit their needs.
"ANC endorses Mugabe's party to the hilt at congress" read a
news headline in The Star during Zanu-PF's recent congress in
Now we know where the ANC stands; all this "quiet
diplomacy" was never meant to change anything in Zimbabwe.
Henry Makgothi said South Africa had great confidence in the Zanu-PF
government, of course, ignoring human rights abuses, poverty, unemployment,
land grabbing, a 200% inflation rate ... do all those hardships mean
everything is fine?
The three-day congress at the five-star
Sheraton, attended by 10 000 delegates, cost Z$20-billion.
wonder the world questions our "quiet diplomacy".
and different assumptions out of the picture
There is little for
business to either cheer or complain about in acting finance minister
Herbert Murerwa's patently political 2005 budget. With Zimbabwe's
parliamentary elections just four months away (March 2005), Murerwa pulled
out all the stops, pumping Z$5 trillion (US$90m) into consumer spending, but
raising the tax threshold to Z$12m (R12 600) a year. Despite this largesse,
no meaningful tax hikes were needed to maintain an unchanged budget deficit
of 5% of GDP (Z$4,5 trillion). So business is expected to believe that the
economy is so strong that it can afford to slash taxes and treble public
spending simultaneously. There has to be a catch somewhere and, in fact,
there are two. One is the exclusion of known expenditures such as the
estimated Z$2 trillion (8,5% of GDP) to recapitalise failed banks, and the
omission of payments to parastatals to cover losses of at least Z$750bn. In
recent weeks, the state-owned Grain Marketing Board has reported losses of
around Z$300bn and the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority another
Z$190bn. If these are added to the budget, then the budget deficit rises to
7,5% of GDP from Murerwa's 5%.
But more important is the basis of the
finance ministry's calculations of both output and revenue growth in 2005.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and Murerwa both predict that inflation will
fall from 209% in October to between 35% and 50% by the end of 2005. This
implies an average annual inflation rate next year of 100% since inflation
will fall to 150% this month (December). But the treasury's forecast of GDP
growth in 2005 and its revenue projections assume average inflation of
nearly three times that - about 285%. If the central bank is right, the
budget deficit will be much larger, partly because GDP in 2005 would be
nearer to Z$50 trillion than the Z$90 trillion budget estimate. In this
case, the budget deficit (assuming unchanged revenue) would be 9% of GDP.
However, with a slower inflation rate, revenue inflows would be lower than
projected. As a result, the budget deficit would be around Z$10 trillion or
20% of GDP.
Private-sector economists question both inflation
forecasts. Some expect inflation to continue to fall for a few more months
and then pick up again in the first quarter of 2005. But few expect it to
average anything like the 285% implicit in the budget. Time will tell
whether the budget numbers are just a gaffe or whether the finance ministry
really does expect inflation to be nearly three times as rapid as that
predicted by the central bank. Whatever the explanation, there are some
serious holes in the budget which, if left unplugged, will spill over into
much higher inflation in 2005/2006. Murerwa is upbeat on economic prospects.
Real GDP growth will turn positive in 2005, at between 3,5% and 5% - the
first since 1998. He expects 2004 GDP to decline only 2,5% - much less than
earlier forecasts of between 5% and 7,5%. Agriculture is the key to economic
recovery: the minister forecasts a 28% jump in farm output next year, with
tobacco production up 140%. Tobacco industry sources are sceptical,
predicting the 2005 crop will be marginally greater than the 65m kg grown
this year. Mining production, which rose 11,6% in 2004, is projected to slow
to 7,5% in 2005. But manufacturing continues to slide, declining 8,5% this
The balance of payments deteriorated again in 2004, with the
overall deficit widening to US$523m from US$335m last year. Murerwa expects
a recovery in 2005, however, on the back of stronger exports and some
recovery in tourism, based largely on Zimbabwe having been accorded
"approved destination status" by China. But Murerwa was silent on two
crucial aspects of foreign payments: the build-up of unpaid foreign arrears
estimated by the International Monetary Fund at US$2,6bn, and the yawning
US$500m gap between foreign currency inflows and outflows. The solution to
both problems is out of Murerwa's hands, dependent on a change of heart in
the international community that would open the door to resumed foreign
lending and eventually to debt relief. The government hopes that this will
come after it has won another term in office when the country goes to the
polls next March. In a BBC interview in London last week, the opposition
leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, did not rule out participation in the polls, but
did make it clear that unless Southern African Development Community (SADC)
leaders put pressure on President Robert Mugabe to implement the SADC
election guidelines, his Movement for Democratic Change would not
participate. Mugabe's problem is that an uncontested poll is unlikely to
convince the donor community to come to his aid. So, unless he starts to
implement the SADC rules soon, the stalemate will continue and Murerwa's
budget will unravel.