Christmas in jail for calling Mugabe
By Agencies Last updated: 12/15/2004 23:40:21 A
ZIMBABWEAN commuter will spend Christmas in jail for calling President
Robert Mugabe "thick-headed," the Herald newspaper reported on
Arnold Bunya, 29, was arrested on December 1 after an argument
with his brother on a bus during which he admonished his sibling by saying
"Do not be thick-headed like Mugabe."
Bunya was warned by a member of
the Central Intelligence Organisation traveling on the bus to stop insulting
the veteran leader but persisted and was then taken to a police station
where he was arrested.
A Harare court on Tuesday remanded Bunya in
custody until December 28.
Zimbabwe's strict Public Order and Security
Act (POSA) make it an offence to insult the head of state.
regular reports of people on buses being arrested for slandering Zimbabwe's
long-time president. Usually those found guilty receive light jail
sentences, fines or are ordered to do community service. AFP
Critics Call for End of "Peer Shielding"of President Robert Mugabe By
William Eagle Washington,DC 15 December
An international conflict prevention organization says the
Southern African Development Community should stop what it calls "peer
shielding" of Zimbabwe. The International Crisis Group, or ICG, wants more
pressure on Zimbabwe to guarantee that next year's parliamentary elections
will be free and fair.
Peter Kagwanja is the director of the ICG's
Southern Africa Project in Pretoria, South Africa. English to Africa
reporter William Eagle spoke with him about the elections and about how
African democrats can encourage change in Zimbabwe. Mr. Kagwanja, who is
originally from Kenya, says he sees a gradual change in the way African
leaders view Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe. For example, he notes that
in July, the African Union criticized Zimbabwe's human rights record; in
August, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) passed principles
and guidelines governing democratic elections; and, he says within Zimbabwe
itself, civil society is growing stronger in its calls for greater
democracy. He credits pressure from Zimbabwean civil society for a recent
ruling that found opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai not guilty of treason
- a charge made by the government. Meanwhile, in South Africa, two important
allies of the government - the COSATU labor movement and the Communist Party
-- have come out against President Tabo Mbeki's policy of quiet diplomacy
toward the oppressive human rights policies of Zimbabwean president Robert
There is also the beginning of electoral reforms in Zimbabwe. In
Harare, opposition and ruling party members are discussing such reforms as
extending polling hours and guaranteeing the right of the opposition to the
state media. Zimbabwe's Justice Minister has said he has already agreed to
use "translucent ballot boxes" for next March's parliamentary elections. But
Mr. Kagwanja of the International Crisis Group says electoral reforms must
be accompanied by political ones - such as the repeal of repressive laws
that make the electoral field uneven. He says electoral reforms "only
produce a "C- " election - one that appears to be fair but made fraudulent "
due to many months of repressive laws, attacks by ruling party militias, the
absence of media freedom, and the abuse of human rights.
Rotberg - the director of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government program on
intrastate conflict and president of the World Peace Foundations -- has
called for South African president Thabo Mbeki to offer President Mugabe
safe passage to Namibia ahead of elections in an effort to promote a smooth
transition to democracy. But Mr. Kagwanja of the ICG says that's not likely
to happen, nor is any military involvement in removing the Zimbabwean
leader. He notes that within Zimbabwe, the country's own military supports
him. Mr. Kagwanja says the best strategy is to use next year's parliamentary
elections as a stepping stone for electing the opposition in the
presidential elections two years later when he says many believe will not
include President Mugabe.
The government of Zimbabwe has been critical of
non-governmental organizations within Zimbabwe, and those on the outside
like the International Crisis Group. They are accused of being Western
funded efforts to destabilize a government whose legitimacy comes from
President Mugabe's role as a liberation fighter for independence from Great
Britain. News reports quote Zimbabwe's foreign minister as saying his
government "will not become gullible victims of ..'genetically modified
propaganda' .fanned..by reactionary forces to discredit [the]
But Peter Kagwanja says he and other Africans fighting for
change in Zimbabwe and other parts of Africa are not "reactionaries." He
concedes that his group is largely funded by international foundations, and
by Scandanavian countries, along with others. On the other hand, he says the
ICG has been equally vocal in calls for democratic change in countries like
Kenya. He notes that Zimbabwe also accepts Western funding from the
International Monetary Fund. Mr. Kagwanja says the important question to ask
is "are we doing the right thing ?"
CAPE TOWN -
Results of a study conducted by Research Surveys, a South African research
organisation, show that President Robert Mugabe is not doing a good job as
president of Zimbabwe and that his policies ignored basic human
Only 11 percent of the 2 000 adults from the
seven major metropolitan areas who were interviewed in their homes during
the study felt that Mugabe was doing a good job as president of Zimbabwe
compared with 59 percent who felt Thabo Mbeki was doing a good job as
president of South Africa.
Although there was some
variations in the figures across race groups, Mugabe's approval ratings were
Fourteen percent of the black South
Africans felt Mugabe was doing a good job, eight coloureds thought so while
eight percent of whites and four percent of Indians also thought he was
doing a good job.
Seven out of 10 disagreed that Mugabe
was doing a good job and Zimbabwe had a positive future under him. A total
58 percent felt that current policies in Zimbabwe ignored basic human rights
while 13 disagreed with this view.
said South Africa must do more to intervene in Zimbabwe's politics but most
who said so were whites followed by blacks and coloureds. Forty percent were
against the idea.
The study showed that South Africans
think that President Mbeki spent too much time out of the country but they
still think that he is doing a good job as president.
Asked if Mbeki devoted too much time to Africa and too little to South
Africa, 62 percent agreed with 19 disagreeing and another 19 saying they did
THE unity whose anniversary is to be celebrated soon
was mostly political: Dissident elements of PF-Zapu were outgunned into a
merger with Zanu PF.
The TV footage of Robert Mugabe
and Joshua Nkomo hugging each other and raising their clasped hands in
victory is slightly deceptive.
According to many reports,
20 000 men, women and children were killed in Matabeleland and Midlands
before the two political parties hammered out the now much-ballyhooed Unity
Zanu PF saw it as a victory over PF-Zapu, whose
leader it accused of being the leader of the dissidents. For many PF-Zapu
members, proud of the separate identity of their party, the accord was a
But all this is of little consequence 17 years
after the signing. What Zimbabweans must reflect on deeply is the huge
falsehood, peddled by Zanu PF, that the unity of the people must translate
into unity under Zanu PF.
There must be a unity in
diversity. Zimbabweans must be united in safeguarding their independence,
their freedom from colonialism and from the dictatorship of any sort,
including the dictatorship of one political party.
People must now accept that political pluralism in an independent country
can only enhance democracy. The ancient theory that to strengthen its unity
against internal and external influences, the country must be a one-party
state has been proved to be fatally flawed.
is promoted only by autocratic leaders, people who cherish the idea of
running their countries as their own private properties, brooking no
criticism and bludgeoning into submission those who dare to challenge
Zimbabwe has become such a country under Zanu
Instead of taking to heart the platitudes being
spewed out by the government media on the meaning of unity, people must vow
not to allow Zimbabwe to degenerate into another African dictatorship with
an anaemic economy and an even more sickly political
Independence and unity must mean freedom to
choose their own leaders and freedom to reject those leaders and parties who
have proved over the years to be greedy, corrupt and selfish.
Chombo sought to bring down everything
good represented by the MDC
Date: 15-Dec, 2004
government, led by Local Government and National Housing Minister Ignatius
Chombo has been bungling the operations of Harare City council ever since an
MDC-led council came to power nearly three years ago.
one that the MDC council, led by Elias Mudzuri took office, the devious
Chombo went on a war path, shooting down everything progressive that the
council proposed to do.
In the end, Mudzuri was dismissed in a
flagrant defiance of all tenets of democratic practice and the operations of
council were ground to a halt.
Not so long ago, Chombo forced
most of the MDC councillors to step down on their own volition after they
found huge hurdles in their way. Today, Harare City Council is being run by
a team of hand-picked men and women, the so-called commission, which does
nothing but simply rubber stamps what Chombo says.
that is not enough of Chombo's bungling, we are now told that the government
owes council $7,9 billion.
This is one of the reasons why
council has failed to raise money to meet its salary obligations for the
nearly 10 000 workers it employs.
It is clear that council's
expenditure is much more than its income.
And the situation is
not made better by inflation, corruption and sheer mismanagement and
government interference. But what is more worrying than anything is the act
of silence and docility displayed by the rate payers.
all the rate payers saying it's alright, God will provide a miraculous
panacea? God only helps those who help themselves. In the end, our fate
depends on what we can do to determine it.
PRETORIA - Political
analysts said this week urged the main opposition party in Zimbabwe, the
Movement for Democratic Change to contest the 2005 parliamentary election
saying boycotting the poll would throw the opposition party into political
Speaking during a seminar on Zimbabwe organised by
the South African Institute for Security for Studies, the analysts said the
options were tough for the MDC.
The MDC has threatened to
boycott the election unless the government of President Robert Mugabe fully
implements the Southern African Development Community protocol of free and
fair elections adopted last August.
But International Crisis
Group director for the southern Africa project, Peter Kagwanja said a
boycott was not an option.
"Boycotting will deprive the MDC the
voice they have in parliament and space to question the legitimacy of the
Mugabe regime," Kagwanja said.
He said there was still a chance
for the MDC to do well in the poll if they start serious campaign. Kagwanja
said if the MDC boycotts the election, they run the risk of being irrelevant
on Zimbabwe's political map.
"May be they can pull out and go
back to the drawing board but it will be a very difficult option," said
Professor Brian Raftopolous of the University of
Zimbabwe's Institute for Development Studies said there was no way any other
party except Zanu PF could win the 2005 elections.
the conditions were very discouraging and it was disturbing that Southern
African leaders continued to shield Mugabe despite massive human rights
abuses and lack of significant electoral reform to pave way for a free and
Raftopolous said because of the cosmetic
electoral changes that the Mugabe regime was undertaking, "it is going to
get some kind of legitimation from regional leaders."
said the quiet diplomacy stance adopted by South Africa clearly indicated
that the regional leaders would support Mugabe and his ruling Zanu PF even
if he did not fully implement the SADC protocol.
held under the theme "Zimbabwe: Imagining the future" was attended by
political analysts from Zimbabwe and South Africa.
NB: This is the first of a three part series from an article
by Bill Saidi which is in the book: Visions of Zimbabwe.
The book, published by Manchester Gallery in the UK earlier this month, was
part of a pioneering exhibition at the Manchester Gallery in November this
year which brought 10 contemporary artists and three writers from
IN September 2003, about a dozen policemen and women
stormed the editorial offices of the Daily News in Harare, to shut down the
As they rampaged through the offices, I was assailed
by the most bizarre sensation of deja vu.
First, there came
into focus in my mind's eye the dingy office of the Zimbabwe African
National Union - Zanu in downtown Lusaka, in Zambia, in the mid
There I was, in my mid 20s, being harangued by a
fiery-eyed Zanu official, Peter Mutandwa. He demanded a confession from me
for what to him seemed a heinous crime of political betrayal: it was I,
wasn't it, who had written a story in The Central African Mail, praising the
leader of the Zimbabwe African People's Union - Zapu in
Didn't I know that Zanu was the only genuinely
nationalist movement fighting colonialism in southern Rhodesia? Zanu had
split from Zapu in 1963. It was now led by Ndabaningi
Zapu was still led by Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo, revered
until his death in 1999 as Father Zimbabwe. I refused to confess. I was only
the production editor of the brazenly pro-African nationalist and
It supported the struggle against the
British-imposed federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. As far as I knew, it
reported on both Zapu and Zanu, who were now operating in Zambia in exile
with remarkable balance.
Its editor was Richard Hall, an
Englishman formerly of the British paper, The Daily Mail, before coming to
Africa. Mutandwa was adamant:
I must confess, he demanded, shaking
a huge fist in my face. He eventually relented, letting me go with the
warning that there would be hell to pay if I repeated that
I was almost delirious with relief when I left the
office. Mutandwa was fiercely nationalistic. I had known him back home as a
very loud and acerbic critic of the settler regime before the parties moved
to Zambia after the 1962 elections brought in an ultra-rightwing government
in southern Rhodesia.
Mutandwa died of natural causes
before independence in 1980. He, among others, helped me create a vision of
the future of a press in an independent Zimbabwe that filled me with
Back in The Daily News offices in 2003, a second
picture sprouted in my mind as I watched a heavily-built Law and Order
detective interrogate Samuel Sipepa Nkomo, the small-bodied chief executive
officer of our publishing company, Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe
Nkomo was being threatened with jail if he did not
co-operate with the police. He calmly said he had spent 15 years in jail
during the armed struggle.
This time I was back in the
1970s, facing Willie Musarurwa, in my hotel room in Lusaka. I had flown in
from Ndola, where I was deputy editor-in-chief of Times Newspapers,
publishers of the largest selling newspaper in Zambia, The Times of Zambia
and the Sunday Times of Zambia, for which I wrote The Sunday Times
Musarurwa and I had worked at African Newspapers,
publishers of The African Daily News in Salisbury (now Harare) in the mid
But in Lusaka he was with the Zapu mission to launch the
war against the settler regime. Musarurwa berated me for what he alleged was
the pro-Zanu slant in the Times newspapers.
he would not accept my denials. He was, unlike Mutandwa, accompanied by a
beefy body guard who stared at me balefully throughout the
These two parties, Zanu and Zapu, as the merged
Zanu PF, became the government of Zimbabwe at independence in 1980. The two
officials had advocated nationalist journalism.
they would accept a free press only on condition it supported them.
Musarurwa became the first black editor of the Sunday Mail in Zimbabwe after
independence. We worked for the same government newspaper conglomerate,
Zimbabwe Newspapers. I often chided him for his earlier Stalinist stance on
the role of the free press. I believe that Musarurwa was aware of my own
personal view of the struggle. Like most Zimbabweans, I was furious with the
British government for not acting against the white supremacist regime of
Ian Smith when it declared its illegal independence from the British Crown
in 1965. Harold Wilson's spineless reaction to the threat of Ian Smith's UDI
precipitated one of the bloodiest wars in the history of a continent already
bathed in the carnage of the Scramble for Africa. (To be continued on
Thursday, December 16)
ZANU PF WANTS HUGE CHUNK OF STATE GRANT Thur 16 December
2004 HARARE - The ruling ZANU PF party plans to amend the Political Parties
(Finance) Act to give itself a bigger share of state financial grants
leaving little for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
party, ZimOnline has learnt.
Well-placed sources said the move,
expected to be implemented early next year, was meant to financially cripple
the MDC which can no longer get funds from foreign donors and Zimbabweans
living and working abroad after the government banned foreign-sourced funds
for political parties.
"ZANU PF wants the grant allocation to be
changed in its favour. This would help hurt the MDC's pocket besides
obviously meaning more cash for ZANU PF," said an official of the party, who
did not want to be named for fear of victimisation.
finance secretary David Karimanzira said his party was entitled to a bigger
share of state grants but referred questions on plans to change the law to
party legal secretary Patrick Chinamasa.
Karimanzira said: "As the
ruling party, we are obviously entitled to more but if you can talk to legal
secretary Patrick Chinamasa about changing the share ratio."
Chinamasa could not be reached for comment on the matter last
According to sources, ZANU PF, which political analysts tip
to win next year's general election, wants to be given 65 percent of the
Z$6.5 billion granted political parties under the 2005 national budget
regardless of the percentage of votes it garners in the March
If the MDC finally decides to contest the election and
emerges the second biggest winner as it did in the 2000 poll, it would get
35 percent of the money.
At present, political parties are
allocated their portion of state funds according to the percentage of votes
they receive in a general election. ZANU PF has been getting 51 percent of
the yearly state grant for the last four years since the 2000
The MDC has been getting 49 percent with the other smaller
opposition parties getting nothing because they failed to garner the minimum
15 percent of votes parties must win to qualify for state
MDC secretary general Welshman Ncube said: "The current
(state grant) allocation ratio is determined by the 2000 general election
and ZANU PF can only change the ratio after the March 2005 election provided
they get 65 percent votes in the election." - ZimOnline
MDC meeting banned to pave way for ZANU PF Thur 16 December
2004 HARARE - The police have banned two meetings by the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party, one to pave way for a ruling
ZANU PF party meeting and the other because the police did not want the MDC
meeting at night.
The two meetings that were scheduled for
tonight in the MDC strongholds of Harare and Chitungwiza were part of about
5 000 meetings the party wants to hold across the country to conclude
discussions with rank and file members on whether to participate in next
year's general election.
MDC secretary general Welshman Ncube was
unsure last night whether the police, accused by human rights and
pro-democracy groups of using the law to suppress the opposition, would not
also ban the remaining meetings.
He said: "The police have refused
us permission for our meetings in Harare and Chitungwiza. We are not sure
what they will do with the other meetings."
A police spokesman,
Oliver Mandipaka, confirmed to ZimOnline yesterday that the police had
barred the two meetings but said he could not give the reasons why the
meetings had been banned.
However, in letters written to the MDC
banning the meetings, copies of which were shown to ZimOnline, the police
said they were barring the opposition party from meeting its supporters at
Harare's Stodart Hall to allow a ZANU PF meeting to take place near the
On the Chitungwiza meeting, the police, who under tough state
security laws must authorise all political gatherings, said they were
banning the meeting because they did not want "the MDC to hold a meeting at
night in the town."
The MDC leadership wants to use the
meetings to gauge the mood of ordinary supporters before deciding in early
January next year whether to stick to the decision to boycott the March
The opposition party last August said it was suspending
participation in all elections until the government fully implemented
Southern African Development Community (SADC) standards and recommendations
for free and fair elections. The party also wants political violence ended
before it can take part in elections.
The SADC electoral
guidelines, among other key conditions, require that independent commissions
run elections. The political playing field should be fair and violence-free
under the regional guidelines. - ZimOnline
Labour demands quarterly wage increments Thur 16 December
2004 HARARE - The labour movement says it will demand quarterly wage
increases for workers, a position that could scuttle social contract talks
with the government and business.
The Zimbabwe Congress of
Trade Unions (ZCTU), Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe and the government
yesterday resumed dialogue to find a common approach to resolving the
country's worsening crisis.
Talks between the three parties
collapsed 21 months ago after workers and employers accused the government
of hiking the price of fuel without consulting them.
Sign-posting the government's position earlier this week, Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe governor, Gideon Gono, said the three parties should agree on a
social contract that supported government attempts to bring down inflation
by abolishing quarterly wage increases.
ZCTU secretary general
Wellington Chibhebhe told ZimOnline that the union was going to insist on,
"quarterly increase in wages as long as workers' wages fall below the
poverty datum line."
According to the ZCTU, the poverty datum line
or the minimum amount of money an average family of two parents and four
children needs per month is Z$1.5 million. An average Zimbabwean worker
takes home between $500 000 and $1 million.
"To suggest that we should not demand a living wage when the poverty datum
line is over $1.5 million per month is hypocrisy at its worst." -
More protests at Zimbabwe embassy Thur 16 December
PRETORIA - About 50 protesters yesterday demonstrated at the
Zimbabwe embassy in Pretoria against President Robert Mugabe's human rights
abuses in the country.
The demonstration was led by the South
African Congress of Trade Unions (COSATU), Amnesty International and a group
called Concerned Zimbabweans Abroad.
A spokesman for COSATU
said the protests were meant to highlight human rights violations in South
Africa's troubled northern neighbour.
The demonstration at the
embassy is the second in a week by civic groups over the human rights abuses
in the country. Last Friday, about a hundred protesters demonstrated at the
embassy demanding a stop to human rights violations by Mugabe's
Critics accuse Mugabe of unleashing violence on his
perceived opponents during every election since 2000 to maintain a tight
grip on power. Mugabe however denies the charge, saying the allegations of
human rights violations are from the West bent on ousting him from power for
seizing land from the minority whites for redistribution to landless
blacks. - ZimOnline
HARARE, Dec. 15 (Xinhuanet) --
Zimbabwe's fresh electoral bill was still been dragged on in Parliament till
Wednesday morning, as the legislative body debated on amending the bill for
a whole night.
The bill, seeking for an electoral reform in the
southern African country, has involved parliamentarians from the ruling
Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front, and lawmakers from the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party in an eight-hour
debate on amendments proposed by the MDC.
The House was
divided on whether to allow posters, pamphlets, circulars or other printed
material having reference to election bear the name of the
Members of the MDC also opposed the idea of members of
the uniformed forces to work with the commission, saying their presence
would intimidate voters.
The electoral bill is set to
establish the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to administer all elections in
the country, overhaulingthe Electoral Act and setting up an electoral
According to the bill, the proposed independent
electoral body will direct and control the registration of voters and ensure
proper custody and maintenance of voters' rolls. Enditem
Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF and the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) have agreed to reform some of that country's
electoral laws, but the opposition said it is "dissatisfied" by the state's
attempts to portray absolute agreement.
"The state press is trying to
imply that the changes to the electoral laws have our blessing," MDC chief
whip Innocent Gonese said on Wednesday. "Actually, we're anything but
A parliamentary committee made up of MPs from both parties
said polls will be open for 12 hours in next year's
Observers of Zimbabwe's 2000 and 2002 elections slated the
Zanu-PF government for closing polling booths and denying thousands the
right to vote.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe's Justice Minister, Patrick
Chinamasa, said he has already agreed that "translucent ballot boxes" will
be used in the poll, expected in March next year.
But the MDC said it
is "bitterly disappointed" that civil and church leaders will not be
appointed as election supervisors.
Chinamasa told state radio: "You can't
just pick up people in the streets, as no one would be prepared to take
responsibility if anything goes wrong."
Gonese said: "We're not
suggesting people should be picked from the street. We suggested eminent
citizens should be trained as electoral supervisors.
"The opposition is
far from satisfied and far from happy with the way the Electoral Act is
being drafted, but negations are over, they're finished and what is in the
new law will mainly be what Zanu-PF wants in the law," he said in a
telephone interview. -- Sapa
Zimbabwe protesters petition Blair over asylum
By Staff Reporter Last updated: 12/16/2004 01:34:11 THE
United Nations Refugee Agency on Wednesday joined the chorus of calls for
the cessation of all deportations of Zimbabwean asylum seekers as protesters
marched on 10 Downing Street and the houses of Parliament.
opinion is that in security and protection terms the situation on the ground
in Zimbabwe continues to be of serious concern," it said in a
"Under the current circumstances, the UNHCR's
recommendation for States to suspend all removals to Zimbabwe (initially
made by UNHCR in March 2002) is maintained and remains current and
Tens of Zimbabweans marched through the streets of London and
massed outside Prime Minister Tony Blair's No 10 Downing Offices where they
handed over a petition calling on the British government to stop all
deportations of failed asylum seekers.
The vocal National Coalition
of Anti-Deportation Campaigns also joined in the fray, launching a campaign
for Zimbabweans to flood Immigration Minister Des Browne with letters
protesting last month's resumption of deportations which had been suspended
for two years.
NCADC said: "Since November 16, we have been inundated
with calls from 'snatched' Zimbabweans in detention and relatives/friends of
Zimbabweans, all who are deeply distressed at the thought of being returned
or someone they know being returned to Zimbabwe. As the UNHCR has made its
advice on suspension of removals to Zimbabwe clear, we are asking all
recipients of this message to campaign to ask the Home Office to reinstate
the 'suspension of removals' to Zimbabwe."
The marchers carried
placards with the message "Zimbabwe Elections Mean Violence", "Don't Send Us
Back To Die", "Blair Don't Help Mugabe" and "Blair And Mugabe You Are Both
The United Nations Refugee Agency said: "The UNHCR
has kept the situation in Zimbabwe under constant review. There has been no
detectable abatement of political violence against the opposition,
particularly the Movement for Democratic Change, despite pressure from the
international community. Indeed, it is clearly apparent that instances of
violence have continued to occur. Members and supporters - real or perceived
- of the MDC or any other opposition party or movement continue to be the
target of human rights violations, including ill-treatment, torture,
arbitrary arrest and detention."
Funds Set Aside for Education Inadequate: Committee
December 15, 2004 Posted to the web December 15,
THE parliamentary portfolio Committee on Education,
Sport and Culture yesterday said the $5,5 trillion allocated to the ministry
for the 2005 financial year falls way below the $13 trillion the ministry
had asked for, the chairman of the committee Mr Fidelis Mhashu said
He told Parliament the allocation comes amid problems that
included increased brain drain in the sector, a high HIV and Aids rate among
teachers, poorly equipped rural schools and poor access to education in
"While Zimbabwe is regarded highly in making
significant strides in education, the standards are going down," said Mr
Mhashu, who is MP for Chitungwiza (MDC).
He said the committee was
concerned that teachers, who made the majority of civil servants in the
country, had very low salaries compared to other civil servants.
Mr Mhashu: "The raw deal that teachers are getting has further fuelled the
brain drain, and your committee calls upon authorities to address and
resolve this issue as a matter of urgency."
He said rural schools
should be subsidised and there should be free education for the poor and the
localisation of examinations should be adequately funded.
chairman of the portfolio committee on Health and Child Welfare Mr Blessing
Chebundo said the high rate of HIV/Aids prevalence in the country and
unfavourable working conditions were worsening the health sector's already
He said the problems have resulted in the
country suffering serious brain drain as health professionals leave the
country in search for "greener pastures".
Mr Chebundo, who is MP for
Kwekwe (MDC), said the health ministry, which was allocated $3 trillion for
the 2005 year compared to $801 billion this year, could have been allocated
15 percent of the $28 trillion they had requested for in the national budget
The chairman of the portfolio committee on Lands, Agriculture,
Water Resources and Resettlement Cde Daniel Ncube told Parliament that more
funds were needed for the agricultural sector which contributed about 16
percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employs a
significant number of people.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural
Development was allocated $1 trillion for the year 2005 compared to $497
billion this year.
"The allocation should be reviewed because there are
things like the sorry state of the District Development Fund (DDF)'s
equipment. The budget should have made an allocation to the fund," said Cde
Ncube, who is MP for Zhombe (Zanu-PF).
The chairman of the Finance
Committee Cde Ray Kaukonde said ministries should strive to operate within
their budgets as they have been doing.
He said there was need for the
Ministry of Finance and Economic Development to look at the high interest
rates of about 200 percent and do something about it.
exchange rate, the committee also wants a single exchange rate," he
Cde Kaukonde, who is MP for Mudzi (Zanu-PF), said more
resources should be channelled to the agricultural sector which was the
backbone of the country's economy and had the potential of earning the
country the much needed foreign currency.
However, Cde Kaukonde said,
his committee had found out that there was very little accountability in
parastatals and the attitude should change.
The Acting Minister of
Finance and Economic Development Cde Herbert Murerwa, in his 2005 budget
presentation, said the budget was crafted and presented against a background
of economic challenges that demanded significant sacrifices and perseverance
from all citizens. He said a lot of discipline and accountability was
required across the various sectors of the economy.
Millers Stop Processing of Price-Controlled Roller Meal
December 15, 2004 Posted to the web December 15,
MILLERS have allegedly stopped the processing of
roller meal for the more profitable refined mealie-meal whose price is not
Government controls the price of roller meal and any increase
is subject to State approval.
As millers are concentrating on the
production of refined mealie-meal, roller meal is reportedly no longer
readily available in retail outlets as only negligible supplies are finding
their way on to the market.
The development has allegedly hit hardest the
average consumer in the low-income bracket.
"Our findings show that
major millers have all but abandoned milling roller meal with negligible
supplies of the commodity found on the market.
"Most retail outlets
interviewed by the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) said they were not
receiving enough deliveries from the major millers," said CCZ.
Consumer Council of Zimbabwe is dismayed by an unexplained unavailability of
roller meal in most retail outlets.
"This situation has hit the average
consumer the hardest as roller meal is the most affordable brand of
mealie-meal," remarked the consumer watchdog.
What is baffling, however,
CCZ said, is that refined mealie-meal is found on the market in large
quantities, raising suspicions that major millers have either stopped
producing roller meal or have scaled it down to concentrate on the more
lucrative refined mealie-meal.
A 10 kg packet of refined mealie-meal is
selling for about $29 000 while 20 kg of roller meal costs about $25 000.
The Grain Marketing Board, the only authorised buyer of maize, which has
also turned miller in efforts to protect consumers against exploitation by
unscrupulous millers, has also allegedly failed to sustain demand for roller
Some of the major millers have attributed the shortage of roller
meal to inadequate maize supplies from GMB.
Despite holding the GMB
responsible for their failure to produce enough roller meal, the millers
cannot explain why at the same time they are able to produce refined mealie
meal in abundance.
Others, said the CCZ, maintained that they were still
milling roller meal, but the commodity ran out as soon as it was
A manager with a leading retail outlet in the city centre
confirmed the shortage, but said it was not confined to just roller meal.
Even deliveries of refined mealie-meal and rice had been erratic, he
"We have not had supplies for a number of weeks now and do we are
not getting any satisfactory reasons for the hitches.
"Most of the
major suppliers have not been delivering mealie, both roller and refined,
and at the moment we getting mealie-meal supplies from some indigenous
millers," said the manager who preferred anonymity.
He added that they
were battling to get even cereals like rice.
Said CCZ: "The CCZ would
like to condemn this unfair business practice on the part of some millers as
indications are that they are simply allocating more maize to the production
of refined mealie-meal at the expense of roller meal."
The CCZ is a
Government-supported consumer rights watchdog.
Caught in the grip of an Aids pandemic and a
crippling drought, Zimbabwe's orphans look to their
Until a week ago, elderly Hannah Dube and her five
grandchildren living in the dusty village of Kezi in southwestern Zimbabwe
had been surviving on small portions of dried white melon.
Zimbabwe's social services stepped in, handing the 75-year-old Dube
emergency aid of the staple corn grain to feed her family caught in the grip
of an Aids pandemic and a crippling drought.
plight in this remote corner of Zimbabwe tells the story of the burden of
many other pensioners in a country where Aids has turned a million children
The UN children's organisation, Unicef, estimates
that more than one in five children will be orphaned in Zimbabwe by 2010,
with more than 80% of those orphaned by Aids which kills 3 000 people a
Nine of her grandchildren are orphaned - she is looking after
five children between the ages of five and 13.
years of drought have exacerbated food shortages.
"We only eat one
meal a day," said Dube. "We are used to it now and there is nothing unusual
about it," she said.
While food is available in the shops, people
like Dube and her family, who have no source of income, cannot even dream of
Driving up to Dube's home along a narrow dust road,
hundreds of people, carrying empty sacks, were seen walking back home,
looking tired, hungry and dejected.
They are coming from the
local business centre where they had gone to register their names for food
aid to be handed out three days later.
"We were told (by an
international aid organisation) to come and register our names for food
coming next week. But now they say only those on the old list will be given
food," Dube said.
The Zimbabwean government this year turned away
foreign food aid saying the country produced enough to feed its
But Harare has recently allowed the UN World Food
Programme to undertake a one-off free food distribution to get rid of
its stock left over from April when the government stopped general food
Volunteer workers confirm the hunger in the area.
"It is depressing to go out there visiting the sick, handing out soap,
diapers, some antiseptic solutions but seeing that what is urgently needed
is food," said volunteer Georgina Tshabalala.
Dube is not only
struggling to provide food for her orphaned grandchildren, but also
She cleans up grass that fell while she was thatching the
roof of her new mud and pole hut in this remote rural area of
With nobody to help her build or maintain their home,
Dube has to risk climbing on to the roof to patch it up before the rains
bring it down.
The elderly woman told AFP she had no choice but to
look after some of her grandchildren.
Those who are not under
her wing are probably involved in illegal gold mining, rife in the
"I don't know how they are surviving, but no one helps me
"The chickens and the goats you see outside I
sell to send these children to school," she said.
difficult living conditions and lack of food, one of her grandchildren,
seven-year-old Dan, passed his year-end school examinations with A grades. -
Harare - President Robert Mugabe's government on Tuesday
claimed it had met its target of bringing inflation down below 150% before
the year end, releasing figures showing the rate for the 12 months to
November had fallen to 149.3%. State radio said this was in line with
predictions made in December 2003 by the then newly appointed governor of
the Zimbabwe Reserve Bank, Gideon Gono. The inflation rate in October stood
at 209%, down from an all-time high of over 600% at the beginning of the
year, according to the Government's Central Statistical Office. The official
figures are, however, widely disbelieved, with the Zimbabwean dollar
continuing to fall against all major currencies on the black market and
soaring prices for fuel, postage and telecommunications, transport,
medicines, and many basics. On the official market, the Zimbabwe dollar now
stands at Z$6200/US$ and Z$8212/E. Mugabe claimed last week that the economy
is in the midst of a "dramatic" recovery following redistribution of 5 000
seized white owned farms to black Zimbabweans, a policy which saw a massive
slump in agricultural and manufacturing production, and near collapse of
tourism, another traditional money-spinner.
Harare's anarchy has gone too far December 15,
Cosatu, in its attempt to discover what is happening north of
our border, deserves praise for an achievement - getting Zimbabwe on the
Well documented is our neighbour's fall into
economic decline with 80% unemployment and poverty among the black
population, forex and petrol shortages, mind-boggling inflation, the threat
of hunger - with food aid used as a political weapon - not to mention
rampaging youth squads known in Zimbabwe as "green bombers".
With the independant Daily News and other papers banned and state media off
limits to the opposition MDC - except to be vilified - plus Draconian
legislation against the media, free speech and human rights NGOs, anyone who
believes there's a chance of free and fair elections next March is being, to
say the least, unreal.
Perhaps a good idea would be for an
all-party South African delegation to visit Harare, before the elections, to
monitor whether the regime has adopted the SADC election
When a human being is brutally persecuted, I don't give
a hoot what colour God gave him/her. I hope most readers are of the same
Roy Bennett, the opposition MDC MP, was voted in
overwhelmingly by his African constituents in Chimanimani at the last
Zimbabwe elections. They gave him a Shona name, Pachedu or
Let's-all-pull-together (like Kenyatta's Harambay).
from Mugabe's viewpoint: How dare the voters of Chimanimani elect a white
Following severe provocation and a scuffle with a
minister in parliament last year (no one was hurt), parliament, acting like
a medieval Star Chamber, sentenced him to 15 months in prison with hard
This avoided involving the police and the
inconvenience of bringing Bennett to court. He made a full public
apology for his part in the fracas but to no avail.
This is a
denial of basic, and parliamentary, human rights and in no way does the
punishment begin to fit the crime. Could it be the regime's method of
ensuring that Roy Bennett won't stand in Chimanimani for the MDC next time
round? He has been locked up at Mutoko, about 160km from Harare, and I am
sure Amnesty and others are doing what they can to help him.
understand his wife is allowed to see him for 10 minutes every fortnight.
Bennett should be released immediately or brought to court.
Parliaments around the world, including South Africa, should protest this
grave human rights violation before Harare's ploy becomes a new tendency in
despotic states wishing to bypass the judiciary.
THE Harare City Council is now
funding its operations, including paying salaries, from its capital account
at Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe (CBZ), a move that is likely to affect
socio-developmental projects for the capital and collapse the
This was revealed yesterday by the acting city treasurer,
Cosmas Zvikaramba, in an executive summary on the perennial financial
problems faced by the city presented during the first meeting of a
commission recently appointed to run the city's affairs a week ago. The
commission is chaired by former acting executive mayor Sekesai Makwavarara
and was appointed by Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo following a
spate of resignations and suspensions of MDC councillors by the parent
ministry. Zvakaramba said: "The problems articulated above have led to an
accumulation of creditors inclusive of salary deductions. Currently, the
Standard Chartered accounts have been garnished by the Zimbabwe Revenue
Authority (Zimra) leaving the CBZ capital account for the funding of all
operational expenditures including salaries. The current account is in
overdraft of $12 billion." The situation was worsened by the government
debt to the troubled council that now stands close to $8 billion. The
chairman of the Combined Harare Ratepayers' Association (CHRA), Mike Davies,
was quick to castigate the move, saying it would obviously compromise
service delivery to residents. He said: "The legality of the move is
questionable, but it is reflective of the total disregard of the law by the
government. It is also a sign of lack of confidence the residents have in
the council and the commission and until such a time democratic local
government institutions are restored, the problems facing the council would
not end." Davies urged residents to boycott paying rates as a sign of protest
against the government's interference in Harare's affairs. Zvakaramba
recommended that Harare's service delivery could be improved if the
government paid up its debt. He said: "In view of the myriad challenges
engulfing the council, it is imperative that management and council seek the
assistance of the minister in the recovery of government debt, as well as
debts owed by satellite towns." Zvakaramba added: "Government must be
requested to urgently settle the outstanding debt of Z$7,9 billion no later
than 15th December 2004." He also recommended that the government finance
operations, especially in the health department, and also allow council to
implement the frozen 2004 second to fourth quarter rate increases in 2005 as
a stop- gap measure. Zvikaramba said the funding gap between the revenues and
outflows was widening and this had made payment of salaries, procurement of
chemicals and settling of debts difficult. Another recommendation that is
also likely to set the council on a collision course with its employees is
the staggering of December salaries due to the low cash inflows. "It is
hereby recommended that the salary for December be staggered in light of the
envisaged low inflows exacerbated by the garnishee order placed on SCBZ
accounts," Zvikaramba said. During the past four months, the council has been
failing to pay its workers and remit their contributions to their union on
time and this has seen the workers seeking redress in the courts of law.