|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
Enough is Enough
We have a fundamental right to freedom of expression!
On 17 August 2004, SADC leaders meeting in Mauritius adopted the SADC Protocol – Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections. Zimbabwe, as a member of SADC, also signed the Protocol and committed itself to implementing its standards.
“Mauritius Watch” provides a regular, objective and non-partisan assessment of Zimbabwe’s compliance with the Protocol. In the run-up to the 2005 Parliamentary Elections we note any significant failures to adhere to the SADC standards.
In honour of International Human Rights Day – 10 December 2004
“… Some Africans still view the concern for human rights as a rich man’s luxury for which Africa is not ready, or even as a conspiracy imposed by the industrialised West. I find these thoughts demeaning – demeaning of the yearning for human dignity that resides in every African heart. Do not mothers weep when their sons and daughters are killed or tortured by agents of oppressive rule? Do not African fathers suffer when their children are unjustly sent to jail? Is not Africa as a whole the poorer when just one of its voices is silenced? Human rights …. are African rights. They are Asian rights; they are European rights; they are American rights. They belong to no government; they are limited to no continent, for they are fundamental to humankind itself.”
(Statement by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan at the opening of the fifty-fourth session of the UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva on 16 March 1998).
SADC standards breached
CALL FOR UN HUMAN RIGHTS PROBE IN ZIMBABWE
African human rights and civic society groups have urged the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights to pressure Harare to accept a rapporteur from the Commission, and from United Nations secretary-general, Kofi Annan, to probe the abuse of human rights defenders in Zimbabwe.
In a submission at the Commission’s 36th session, which ended in Dakar last week, the groups also asked the continental human rights watchdog to mobilize African pressure on the Mugabe regime to restore judicial independence in Zimbabwe.
They said the Commission should call for an enquiry into the harassment and intimidation of lawyers and other human rights defenders by ZANU PF supporters.
(For further details refer to Zim Online – www.zimonline.co.za)
2.1.7 Independence of the Judiciary and impartiality of electoral institutions
4.1.1 Constitutional and legal guarantees of freedom and rights of the citizens
4.1.2 Conducive environment for free, fair and peaceful elections
ZANU PF HIT LIST FOR TOP NGOs
Events have proved that the ruling party indeed has a hit list of the Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) it most wants to close down under the NGO Bill. Top of that list are the country’s two biggest NGOs, which the ruling party alleges are working to unseat it from power.
Ministry of Justice permanent secretary, David Mangota, representing the Zimbabwean government at the 36th session of the Africa Commission on Human Rights, confirmed that the Mugabe regime intends to shut down the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) and Crisis Coalition of Zimbabwe (CCZ).
Mangota told the commission that Harare was prepared to work with civic society but said that action against the two NGOs was justified because they were “conduits of foreign policies, through which interference in governance is achieved.”
The NCA campaigns for a new and democratic constitution for Zimbabwe. Supporters of the group have often clashed with the police while demonstrating peacefully against the regime’s autocratic rule.
The CCZ is pushing for a negotiated and democratic settlement in Zimbabwe’s deepening economic and political crisis.
Under the Bill, NGOs are barred from carrying out voter education and those working on human rights and governance-related issues are barred from receiving foreign funding.
In a late-night sitting on 9 December, Parliament gave the NGO Bill a third reading. It now requires only the presidential signature and gazetting before acquiring the force of law.
(See the story on Zim Online –www.zimonline.co.za )
2.1.1. Full participation of citizens in the political process
2.1.8 Voter education
4.1.1 Constitutional and legal guarantees of freedom and rights of the citizens
7.4. (Government to) safeguard the human and civil liberties of all citizens including the freedom of movement, assembly, association, expression and campaigning … during the electoral process …
7.5 (Government to) take all necessary measures and precautions to prevent the perpetration of fraud, rigging or any other illegal practices throughout the whole electoral process .
ZIMBABWE LIBERATORS’ PLATFORM SLAMS BILL
The Zimbabwe Liberators’ Platform (ZLP), a non-partisan lobbying group for genuine war veterans, ex-detainees and war collaborators, has slammed the Mugabe regime for their authoritarian rule and refusal to either listen to dissenting voices or to compromise on their own agenda. The group issued a press statement entitled “NGO Bill: The Great Betrayal” in which they sharply condemned the regime’s intransigence over this draconian piece of legislation.
ZLP points out that they had called for dialogue leading to a compromise, but the regime “negotiated in bad faith”. “Its mind,” they said, “had already been made up.”
In the statement, ZLP draws a comparison between the Smith regime’s unwillingness to listen to the black majority and the attitude of the present regime in Zimbabwe.
It mentions the NGO Bill in the context of such repressive legislation dating from the Colonial era as the Unlawful Organizations Act and the infamous Law and Order (Maintenance) Act.
The statement ends: “For the gallant liberation war fighters (the fallen heroes and heroines, the maimed and the living), this is a great betrayal of the noble ideals which they laid down their lives for. What has really gone wrong ?”
(The full text of the statement may be seen in the Zimbabwe Independent - www.theindependent.co.zw)
2.1.1 Full participation of citizens in the political process
2.1.3 Political tolerance
4.1.1. Constitutional and legal guarantees of freedom and rights of the citizens
4.1.2 Conducive environment for free, fair and peaceful elections
MDC ACTIVISTS INJURED IN BRUTAL ATTACK
At least four activists from the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) were injured in a brutal attack by a group of ZANU PF supporters in Mutare West during the last week of November. The four were accused of being “saboteurs”.
The MDC spokesman for Manicaland, Pishayi Muchauraya, said that ZANU PF had started a “purging exercise” in Mutare West, beating MDC supporters to force them into submission ahead of the parliamentary elections due in March 2005.
Muchauraya, who named the four injured supporters, said that arrangements were in hand for them to receive specialist medical attention in view of the danger of internal injuries. The mother of one of the victims said, “My son was tied to a tree and assaulted using bicycle chains. He has bruises all over his body … we have reported the matter to the police but nothing has happened.”
The MDC aspiring member of parliament for the constituency, Gabriel Chiwara, reported that he had been forced to resort to different and innovative campaign strategies in order to avoid both the police and ZANU PF thugs.
(See the report in The Standard – http://www.thestandard.co.zw/)
2.1.2 Freedom of association
2.1.3 Political tolerance
4.1. 2 Conducive environment for free, fair and peaceful elections
7.4 (Government to) safeguard the human and civil liberties of all citizens including the freedom of movement, assembly, association, expression and campaigning …
PROTEST AT FRESH BID TO GAG MEDIA
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has written to Robert Mugabe expressing its outrage at fresh moves by his regime to impose new and even more severe restrictions on the media.
In a letter dated 2 December, Ann Cooper, CPJ’s executive director, criticized Harare for tightening media laws at a time when other African countries were moving to relax controls.
“CPJ is outraged at your government’s continued clampdown on the independent media in Zimbabwe, including proposed new legislation that could be used to jail journalists for up to 20 years,” Cooper wrote.
Under the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Bill, journalists can be jailed for up to 20 years for publishing “false” information that could endanger public safety, damage the defence and economic interests of Zimbabwe, promote public disorder or undermine public confidence in state security forces.
Under existing law, Zimbabwean journalists already face a two-year jail term and can be banned from practicing for life for publishing “false” information. Even for publishing the verifiable truth they often suffer severe legal harassment, including unlawful arrest, imprisonment and torture.
At present the ruling party has exclusive control of the state media, while the opposition Movement for Democratic Change is denied access to state radio, television and newspapers.
(See the story on Zim Online – www.zimonline.co.za)
2.1.5 Equal opportunity for all political parties to access the state media
4.1.1 Constitutional and legal guarantees of freedom and rights of citizens
4.1.2 Conducive environment for free, fair and peaceful elections
7.4 (Government to) safeguard the human and civil liberties of all citizens including the freedom of … expression … as well as access to the media on the part of all stakeholders …
WARNING OF FOOD MANIPULATION AHEAD OF POLL
The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says the ruling party, ZANU PF, is seeking to establish a complete monopoly on food aid distribution in the run-up to the parliamentary elections of March 2005.
The MDC’s shadow minister for Lands and Agriculture, Renson Gasela, says that the government is secretly importing maize in order to facilitate its agenda.
“Inflating crop yields does not only provide a useful pretext for terminating food relief efforts by international NGOs,” he said, “but it also creates a convenient smokescreen behind which government can covertly import food to coerce a hungry electorate in the run-up to the elections.”
A recent investigation by the Parliamentary Committee on Lands and Agriculture found that instead of the predicted 1,2 million tonnes of maize being delivered to the Grain Marketing Board, only 351 810 tonnes had been delivered by October – equivalent to little more than two months’ supply for the whole country.
“Despite the compelling evidence on the ground, the government continues to tell the people of Zimbabwe and the outside world that we have enough food and do not need outside assistance. The government is playing with our lives; we are fast running out of food,” said Gasela.
At the same time, Bulawayo City Council minutes reveal that another 10 people died as a result of malnutrition in November. The 10 comprised nine children under the age of four and a 70 year-old man. This brings to 180 the malnutrition death toll recorded in the city over the past year. The Executive Mayor of Bulawayo and the city’s Director of Health have in the past been subjected to threats and abuse from leading ZANU PF politicians for daring to publish the facts.
(For further details refer to the report in The Standard – http://www.thestandard.co.zw/)
4.1. 2 Conducive environment for free, fair and peaceful elections
7.5 (Government to) take all necessary measures and precautions to prevent the perpetration of fraud, rigging or any other illegal practices throughout the whole electoral process …
On the basis of these and numerous other daily breaches of the SADC Protocol on Democratic Elections, it can be seen that the Mugabe regime has yet to show any serious intent to change its ways or to begin to prepare for anything resembling fair and free elections. In fact a new raft of oppressive legislation rushed through Parliament will result in a situation even worse than that which prevailed during the Parliamentary Elections of 2000 and Presidential Election of 2002, both of which were heavily criticized by observer missions from the international community.
And the March 2005 Parliamentary Elections are now a matter of weeks away …..
MMCZ declares $488m dividend
Industrial index breaks record
From Reuters, 19 December
Zimbabwe opposition to decide on March poll in Jan
By Cris Chinaka
Harare - Zimbabwe's main opposition said on Sunday it would decide in early January whether to contest general parliamentary elections set for March, which it had previously threatened to boycott. In August, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) announced it was suspending participation in all elections until President Robert Mugabe's government implemented "real" electoral reforms in line with those agreed by the 14-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC). The MDC says reforms recently passed by the government will not guarantee free and fair parliamentary elections in March and has called on regional leaders to reject them. On Sunday, the MDC's national executive said it had reviewed Zimbabwe's political situation, and decided to continue consultations until early next year. "The MDC national executive resolved to convene a meeting of the national council soon thereafter in January 2005 so that a final decision on the question ... is made by the council," it said in a statement.
In early December Mugabe's ruling Zanu PF party used its majority in parliament to pass a set of electoral reforms, including setting up an independent election commission, a single day of voting instead of two, and counting of votes at polling centres. But the MDC said the reforms were not enough to guarantee a fair vote in a country where critics say an independent media has been under relentless attack and where the courts are seen as being in the pocket of the ruling party. Foreign critics ranging from Western governments to African churches have said Zimbabwe's ruling party rigged the last parliamentary elections in 2000 and the 2002 presidential poll and accuse the government of widespread human rights abuses. Mugabe, in power since independence from Britain in 1980, accuses Zimbabwe's former colonial ruler of leading a Western campaign to oust him over his government's seizure of white-owned farms for redistribution to landless blacks.
From The Mercury (SA), 20 December
MDC to decide on elections next month
Harare - Zimbabwe's opposition MDC will decide whether to participate in the March general election early next month. Party spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi said several districts had been unable to canvass views to present to its national executive's weekend retreat which ended yesterday because meetings had been broken up all over the country. "We reviewed the prevailing political situation... and recognised that the electoral reforms so far implemented are inadequate and do not comply fully with SADC principles and guidelines on the conduct of democratic elections." He said food and social welfare benefits were being used as a political weapon against party supporters in rural areas, and that arbitrary arrests and torture of supporters continued. Topping the list of MDC demands yesterday was the "immediate and unconditional release" of its popular MP Roy Bennett, and for all repressive security and media legislation to be repealed. However, the MDC national executive said it noted "the determination of the members of the party to continue with the struggle for democracy and to participate in a free and fair election." Party insiders said there was a strong call to take part in the elections. "We call upon the people of Zimbabwe and SADC leaders to continue exerting pressure on the Mugabe regime to bring its government to full compliance with the SADC protocol, and establish a constitutional and truly independent electoral commission." The MDC also said that recent legislation that proposed the banning of all non governmental organisations involved in human rights and governance should be abandoned.
From The Sunday Argus (SA), 19 December
Opposition slams new voting laws as 'cosmetic, meaningless'
Zimbabwe has passed a second new electoral law which state media Friday praised as an overhaul of the country's electoral system but the opposition branded as cosmetic and meaningless. The Electoral Bill, which was passed on Thursday and replaces an earlier Electoral Act, has been hailed by state media and the government as progressive and in keeping with electoral standards in the region. It follows another law passed last week by parliament that aims to reform Zimbabwe's electoral system - the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) Bill. The electoral bill, among other things, allows for the setting up of an electoral court to settle disputes arising from elections, and creates a body to monitor the elections. "Zimbabwe is now compliant with the Southern African Development Community guidelines and principles governing democratic elections after parliament passed the electoral bill," Friday's edition of the state-run Herald reported.
But the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has challenged some of the bill's provisions. These include allowing government employees to work as poll monitors and only allowing government employees and their spouses to cast postal ballots. The opposition claims this will disenfranchise millions of Zimbabweans living in countries such as South Africa and Britain. People who have escaped Zimbabwe's economic hardships to look for work abroad are largely seen as being sympathetic to the opposition. During debate on the bill the ruling party threw out a recommendation by the MDC that opposition parties be given electronic copies of the voters' roll to guard against rigging. The opposition, which has threatened to boycott next year's elections if there is no meaningful electoral reform, says neither the electoral bill nor the ZEC bill go far enough in levelling Zimbabwe's political playing field. Opposition spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi said the MDC was still unconvinced as to the genuineness of the poll reforms. He said the opposition party's decision-making body, the national executive, would meet this weekend to discuss whether or not to contest next year's polls. "One way or another a decision will be reached on whether or not to contest," he said.
The MDC says although the ruling party conceded to some of its demands for changes to the electoral bill during a marathon debate this week, key concerns were not adopted. "They (the changes) don't deal with the fundamental issues," MDC legal secretary David Coltart told AFP. However, the ruling party did adopt some of the opposition's demands. These included allowing polling stations to remain open for 12 consecutive hours instead of eight, and for indelible ink to be used during voting. The bill now needs President Robert Mugabe's signature to take effect. The ZEC bill, which was strongly opposed by the MDC, bars outside funding for voter education unless it is channelled through the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, which also gets to approve which organisations conduct voter education.
From Business Day (SA), 20 December
Desperate scenes as Zimbabwe bank shuts
Zimbabwe’s central bank move to shut the seventh commercial bank in the country on Saturday shows that the banking crisis gripping the troubled country is far from over. The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe put CFX Bank under the management of a curator for six months after it suffered a staggering Z$115bn loss in October. The loss prompted a severe liquidity crisis at the bank. Auditors revealed that the bank, the result of a merger between CFX and Century Bank, was in a trouble and needed an urgent bale-out. Efforts by CFX , whose chairman is former Barclays SA CEO Isaac Takawira, to secure a lifeline from the central bank failed after the central bank refused to release the bank's statutory reserves. Takawira, who is also former CEO of Barclays Zimbabwe and Barclays Kenya, indicated in internal reports that the problem was largely caused by Century Bank's failure to provide crucial information during the merger completed in July.
CFX was besieged by depositors on Friday. A manager at the CFX main office in central Harare was almost manhandled by angry clients who stormed the bank demanding their money. Riot police had to be called in to drive away the depositors who invaded the bank. Some depositors jumped on the bank tellers' desks and threatened to "attach" computers and other properties if their funds were not released. The central bank moved in on Saturday to close the bank, bringing to seven the number of banks closed since early this year. Trust, Barbican, Royal, Intermarket, Time and FNBS were among the banks closed to due liquidity problems. The central bank has said the collapsed banks would be merged to form the Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group (ZABG), which is expected to start operating in January. ZABG is expected to need at least Z2-trillion for capitalisation. The central bank said CFX was experiencing a "serious solvency crisis". It said that apart from severe liquidity problems and undercapitalisation CFX Bank was affected by extended periods of "mismanagement, poor corporate governance and imprudent banking practices". Zimbabwe's banking crisis has been caused largely by a difficult operating environment and the stringent monetary policy regime enforced in December last year.
From Zim Online (SA), 20 December
Zanu PF propaganda chief's blue-eyed boys shake in their boots
Harare - Panic has gripped senior editors of the state's sprawling media empire who fear they could lose their jobs if information minister and government propaganda chief, Jonathan Moyo, is sacked. When Moyo was appointed information minister four years ago he immediately purged all senior editors and journalists at the government's Zimpapers newspaper company and at the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings, whom he accused of being too soft on the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party. Moyo bypassed management of state media companies handpicking his own editors for the state's flagship title, The Herald newspaper, other government titles and for ZBH's television and radio stations. But Moyo, a former arch-critic of the government who changed sides in 1999 to become its most zealous defender, bitterly fell out with President Robert Mugabe after secretly attempting to scuttle plans by Mugabe to appoint Joyce Mujuru as one of his vice presidents and possible successor. Mugabe two weeks ago blocked Moyo from being appointed to Zanu PF's central committee and last Friday fired him from the party's inner politburo cabinet strongly indicating he might also sack him from the government. "We are out of jobs," an editor at the state-run Sunday Mail newspaper told Zim Online. The anxious journalist, who did not want to be named, added: "There is uncertainty over our future in the government media. If a new person comes, he or she will certainly appoint his own people he will be comfortable with." The editor said their situation was further worsened by the fact that Moyo had used them to fight his personal wars with fellow Zanu PF politicians. Those likely to fall with Moyo include editor-in-chief of ZBH's Newsnet news service, Tazzen Mandizvidza; Herald editor, Pikirayi Deketeke; Sunday Mail editor, William Chikoto and Chronicle editor, Stephen Ndlovu.
From News24 (SA), 19 December
Zim miners die in shaft flood
Harare - Four gold miners were killed when a stream burst its banks and flooded the underground shaft where they were working, state media reported on Sunday. The miners were digging for alluvial gold in a riverbank shaft near the provincial town of Chegutu, 110km west of Harare, during heavy seasonal rain, the Sunday Mail newspaper reported. Continued flooding was preventing police rescue teams from retrieving the men's bodies more than a week after the shaft was swamped. Zimbabwe's worst economic crisis since independence in 1980 has spurred panning for gold in river beds across the country. Relatives of one of the dead miners said he turned to gold panning to boost his meagre earnings from selling vegetables in Harare, the Sunday Mail reported. Accidents in makeshift shafts are common. Zimbabweans face soaring prices and record unemployment of about 70%. Acute shortages of food, petrol and other imports are routine.
From Zim Online (SA), 18 December
Villagers survive on leaves in Mudzi amid government claims of food sufficiency
Mutoko - At Masikochi village in the poverty-stricken Mudzi district, about 200km north-east of Harare, Chipo Rwizi despairs. "We are certainly going to die," Rwizi, a 43-year-old widow, who looks emaciated and much older than her age, told a Zim Online news crew that toured Mudzi and the surrounding areas this week. She added: "Unless someone donates food to us now then the government might as well start preparing for mass burials, there is simply no way we can survive." Poor rains in the last three years coupled with high cost of farm inputs have cut food production here in Mudzi. In previous years of shortages, Rwizi and her fellow villagers had always relied on formerly white-owned commercial farms, not far from here, where they would go to work in exchange for maize most of it produced by the well-resourced farmers through irrigation. Not much can be found at the farms anymore after President Robert Mugabe seized the farms and parceled them out to poor landless black families whom he did not give inputs or skills training to maintain production. And for Rwizi, the cruel HIV/AIDS epidemic has been on hand to compound her problems, claiming her elder sister and her husband. Now she must single-handedly find enough to feed her own eight children plus the seven orphans left by her sister. "The burden is just too much for me," said Rwizi, fighting hard to hold back the tears welling up in her eyes. She continued: "When we run out of food, I ask the children to go out into the mountains to scrounge for wild fruits." Sometimes the children do not find much in the mountains and they bring back baobab tree leaves which Rwizi said she grounds into an okra-like liquid for them to eat. Two of her younger children have since dropped out of school because, she said: "They were no longer able to keep walking the five-kilometre journey to and from school everyday on empty stomachs."
But Rwizi is not alone in her plight. Varying only in detail, Rwizi's story is the story of over 2.3 million Zimbabweans across the country, who contrary to claims by the government that the country harvested enough to feed itself, require emergency food aid or will starve. Mugabe, blamed for plunging the country into a food crisis through his chaotic and often violent land reforms, told international food aid groups that fed Zimbabwe for the last three years to pack and go because the country had produced more than enough to feed itself. Critics have dismissed Mugabe's claims of food sufficiency as dangerous politicking meant to portray government land reforms as successful. And a probe by Parliament last month into Zimbabwe's food security appeared to prove the critics right revealing that the country would have at most 600 000 tonnes of the staple maize in stock by year-end - which is not enough to ensure that all hungry families here in Mudzi and elsewhere across Zimbabwe have something to eat. "We have also heard on national radio these claims by the government that there is enough food. But you can see for yourself the situation here," was Constance Chayambuka's reply when asked for her views on Mugabe's claims that Zimbabwe had a bountiful season last year. Chayambuka, who lives at Kanzara village a few kilometres from Masikochi, added: "Where it not for the food brought to us by the World Food Programme, how would we have survived?" The government appears to be finally backtracking on its claims that Zimbabwe does not require food aid and last month allowed donor groups to resume aid. But international food relief experts say unless Harare officially appealed for help, not much food would come its way.
|Mugabe clips Mnangagwa's wings|
Date: 20-Dec, 2004
EMMERSON Mnangagwa, one-time presidential hopeful and one of the most powerful men in the ruling Zanu PF party, had his wings clipped after President Robert Mugabe relegated him to the obscure post of party legal affairs secretary – a huge fall from the powerful secretary for administration position.
Mugabe announced his 25 member politburo – the ruling party’s supreme law making body outside of congress – from which body he normally chooses his cabinet.
The announcements were made at Zanu PF’s extra-ordinary central committee meeting called by Mugabe in the capital on Friday. The central committee comprises 245 senior Zanu PF functionaries whose duty is to set policy for the party and administer its affairs.
Mnangagwa, once touted as the heir apparent to the ageing Mugabe, has seen his fortunes tumble following his association with a group of party members who supported his vice-presidential ambitions.
The group, which Mugabe referred to as “rebels”, have all drowned in Zimbabwe’s turbulent political waters.
The grouping of six provincial chairmen – who have been suspended from the party for six months – and four cabinet ministers was found guilty of convening an “illegal” meeting to challenge decisions made by the supreme party organ, the politburo.
Mugabe instead turned back the clock and appointed long-time disciple and Minister of State for Anti-Corruption, Didymus Mutasa as his party’s secretary for administration. The post is the fifth most powerful in the party which has ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980.
Information deputy secretary Jonathan Moyo was not included in the politburo, a move analysts said was seen coming as he had been struck off the central committee list by Mugabe himself.
Members of the politburo have of necessity to be members of the central committee. The minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Patrick Chinamasa, who was in Mnangagwa’s camp, was also dropped from the powerful body, finding himself a party commoner.
“Chinamasa is certainly going to lose his Cabinet post for Mugabe rarely appoints anyone to Cabinet who is not in the politburo. Otherwise how will that person know what party policy is in order to implement it at government level,” said political analyst Mguni
Also finding himself in the cold is Agriculture Minister Joseph Made, once seen as part of Zanu PF’s “Young Turks” but whose association with Moyo and Mnangagwa has seen his fortunes take a tumble.
“Mugabe is moving swiftly to bring sanity back into Zanu PF following the divisions which nearly split the party along tribal lines just before the party congress in early December,” said Maenzanise.
Mugabe appointed three former military supremos into the politburo, with the specific task of “bringing sanity back to the war veterans association”.
Of late, in what appears to be open defiance of Mugabe’s orders, war veterans in the three Matabeleland provinces have said they do not recognise the interim chairman Andrew Ndlovu and his organising committee, insisting that dismissed chairperson Jabulani Sibanda is still their leader.
Ndlovu this week claimed that he was tasked by Mugabe to re-organise the Zimbabwe National War Veterans Association, a claim that was dismissed by war veterans’ leaders as “nonsense”.
“We do not know Andrew Ndlovu,” one district leader said. “What is he reforming in the war veterans association and on whose behalf is he doing that? He should go back to those that sent him and tell them that we do not want him to intervene in our affairs.”
There were no notable changes to the politburo, with information guru Nathan Shamuyarira retaining his post, deputised by Ephraim Masawi.
|Chinamasa, Moyo kicked out of Zanu PF politburo|
Date: 20-Dec, 2004
EMMERSON Mnangagwa, the Speaker of Parliament and secretary for administration in the ruling Zanu PF was yesterday moved to a lesser important portfolio of legal affairs in the new-look politburo announced by President Robert Mugabe.
Didymus Mutasa, the secretary for external affairs becomes the new secretary for administration, a position he held before Mnangagwa’s appointment.
Also left out was firebrand Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and leader of the House Patrick Chinamasa.
Unelected junior Minister of Information and Publicity Jonathan Moyo, who had been in the politburo for the past four years as deputy secretary for information and publicity was also left out.
Moyo’s nightmare in the high echelons of Zanu PF began after he convened an unsanctioned meeting in Tsholotstho at which six now suspended Zanu PF chairmen attended.
Mashonaland West provincial governor and resident minister Ephraim Masawi took over Moyo’s politburo post.
Women’s league boss Thenjiwe Lesabe was replaced by former Manicaland governor Oppah Muchinguri.
Other appointments included the retaining of Elliot Manyika as political commissar, Nathan Shamuyarira as information and publicity secretary, Nicholas Goche as security among other senior Zanu PF heavyweights.
Former Zipra commander Dumiso Dabengwa returned to the politburo while Matabeleland North governor Obert Mpofu entered for the first time.
Bleak view of Zimbabwe's decline
|Edmore Tobaiwa left
Zimbabwe to work in the UK four years ago. Here, on his first visit since
emigrating, he describes the dramatic changes that have taken place.
It was a warm cloudy day, with temperatures oscillating around 25C- paradise compared to the 7C I had left in London.
"The design is clearly Zimbabwean in inspiration and execution, inspired by concepts and designs embodied in the timeless monument, the Great Zimbabwe Ruins, an image that will be a lasting memory of Zimbabwe for world's travellers," read an advert I developed.
With only an Air Zimbabwe plane parked at the airport as well as the arriving BA full of the Zimbabwean diaspora, visiting family and friends at Christmas, today the advert's optimism rings hollow.
The number of airlines landing at the state-of-the-art airport has drastically dwindled from more than 23 a day to less than 10 in the last few years.
Zimbabwe has become a rogue state during the past four years, with the international community imposing targeted sanctions on President Robert Mugabe's government.
The country was once one of the world's largest tobacco exporters, until the turn of the millennium.
All this was turned on its head when the Zanu PF-government, in power for the past 23 years, embarked on a reckless and economically suicidal land redistribution programme.
Going through the immigration formalities, I felt good to be home - I was speaking in my local Shona language with so much zest.
The officials were smartly dressed, professional and very friendly.
I was picked up by Peter Zimuto (not his real name), an ex-employee of the now defunct Daily News, the country's only independent daily newspaper closed by the government.
Survival of the fittest
Mr Zimuto, like millions of unemployed Zimbabweans, has become a professional products and services dealer.
The job involves finding a product in demand which can hold its value long enough for the deal to go through on the open market.
A day in Harare felt like a throwback to some sort of Darwinist pre-history, where only the fittest survived, something I had only read about at A-level biology.
In 1999, I was commissioned by the Italian government to carry out a study on a number of countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
It gave me an opportunity to study the collapse and attempts to revive the economies of several African states.
At the time Zambia, Uganda and Mozambique looked in real bad shape but not beyond hope.
With virtually all international credit lines cancelled or in limbo and debt mounting, Zimbabwe resembles the tragic, yet arrogant, Titanic on that fateful icy day when the unthinkable happened - it sunk.
The stand-off between Mr Mugabe and the West has prompted Harare to look to Asia for investment and development support.
In 2000, I was commissioned by ZimTrade, the national export promotion agency, to study trade opportunities between Zimbabwe and Malaysia.
The realisation that Asia is the future partner for an increasingly anti-West Zimbabwe has gained ground ever since.
A pro-Asia media campaign is underway in Zimbabwe and potential Chinese and other Asian tourists have been targeted - in an effort to boost foreign currency reserves.
However, on the ground the fall-out between the West and Mugabe is causing untold suffering.
As I drove through the rural areas of Nhema in the Midlands province, resettlement schemes in the Shurugwi district, and suburbs of Gweru and Harare, I sensed how ordinary Zimbabweans were the ones being punished by Mr Mugabe's stand-off with UK Prime Minister Tony Blair et al.
Mr Mugabe lives well in his official state-house sanctuary with his young family, poles apart from the maddening crowds of the resettlement districts I drove through, where the infrastructure is some of the worst I have seen.
During my stay I received a call from Mr Zimuto.
After driving him to Parerenyatwa General Hospital - Zimbabwe's largest public hospital - he was told Terence could not be x-rayed because the film had run out.
For three days, the boy wreathed in pain as Mr Zimuto performed financial gymnastics to raise $200 needed by a private clinic for x-rays.
Mr Zimuto's monthly salary is well below that amount, with average working Zimbabweans living on less than $80 a month.
It costs $100 to fill a Toyota 4x4 Landcruiser petrol tank, the car of choice for well-off Zimbabweans, including Mr Mugabe's government officials.
For a basket of groceries with just basic necessities, one would need at least $35 a month.
Poverty has risen to astronomical levels over the past four years.
As Mr Zimuto drove me to the airport on a blue-sky morning for my flight to London, I could not help but think what the future had in store for Zimbabwe.
Unless something drastic happens on the political scene, Zimbabwe's future looks bleak.
The Asia initiative will one day work, but it is too far-off for it to bring food onto the tables of Zimbabweans in 2005.
The rest of the world will hold its breath as Zimbabweans go to the polls for the 2005 general elections.
But, I ask myself, will they have the courage to vote for change?
HARARE - A top-ranking civil servant of President Robert Mugabe’s government was arrested after giving written reprieves to white farmers under imminent threat of having their land confiscated, state radio said Monday.
radio said the official was being charged with theft and vandalism of farm
equipment on already commandeered farms “running into billions of dollars”.
However, the move was widely seen as political. Simon
Pazvakavambwa, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Lands, Land Reform and
Resettlement, earlier this year came under attack for writing letters on behalf
of several white farmers in the Karoi area, 300 kilometres north-west of Harare,
confirming that attempts to give their land to government-selected black
Zimbabweans had been put on hold. The
farmers had faced continuous harassment from ruling Zanu-PF party militants
since Mugabe launched his “fast track land reform” in the wake of his February
2000 constitutional referendum defeat. A
government minister tried to disown responsibility, claiming the letters from
the ministry were fakes. Pazvakavambwa
also came under fire for allegedly “sabotaging” a scheme many farming experts
considered impractical - growing a maize crop under irrigation in the Zimbabwean
winter months. Police
spokesman Oliver Mandipaka said the civil servant was arrested on Friday on
allegations of stealing irrigation and other equipment that became government
property under new seizure laws, forbidding evicted whites from removing their
farm infrastructure. He was
alleged not to have utilised a 200 hectare (300 acre) farm he himself received
under Mugabe’s redistribution plan, but left workers unpaid and took away
irrigation pipes, pumps and building material. Mugabe
began seizure of 5,000 white owned farms when defeat appeared imminent in June
2000 parliamentary elections. His ruling party claimed victory in 62 of the 120
elected seats despite widespread allegations of intimidation and rigging, which
recurred during March 2002 presidential polls. After
the farm seizures Zimbabwe’s agricultural industry suffered a crash in
production felt throughout the economy, with inflation reaching 622 per cent and
90 per cent of Zimbabweans living below the bread line, according to United
Nations’ statistics. Fresh
parliamentary elections are scheduled for March. The main opposition party, the
Movement for Democratic Change, at the weekend deferred a decision on whether to
boycott the polls in protest at gross irregularities.
State radio said the official was being charged with theft and vandalism of farm equipment on already commandeered farms “running into billions of dollars”. However, the move was widely seen as political.
Simon Pazvakavambwa, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement, earlier this year came under attack for writing letters on behalf of several white farmers in the Karoi area, 300 kilometres north-west of Harare, confirming that attempts to give their land to government-selected black Zimbabweans had been put on hold.
The farmers had faced continuous harassment from ruling Zanu-PF party militants since Mugabe launched his “fast track land reform” in the wake of his February 2000 constitutional referendum defeat.
A government minister tried to disown responsibility, claiming the letters from the ministry were fakes.
Pazvakavambwa also came under fire for allegedly “sabotaging” a scheme many farming experts considered impractical - growing a maize crop under irrigation in the Zimbabwean winter months.
Police spokesman Oliver Mandipaka said the civil servant was arrested on Friday on allegations of stealing irrigation and other equipment that became government property under new seizure laws, forbidding evicted whites from removing their farm infrastructure.
He was alleged not to have utilised a 200 hectare (300 acre) farm he himself received under Mugabe’s redistribution plan, but left workers unpaid and took away irrigation pipes, pumps and building material.
Mugabe began seizure of 5,000 white owned farms when defeat appeared imminent in June 2000 parliamentary elections. His ruling party claimed victory in 62 of the 120 elected seats despite widespread allegations of intimidation and rigging, which recurred during March 2002 presidential polls.
After the farm seizures Zimbabwe’s agricultural industry suffered a crash in production felt throughout the economy, with inflation reaching 622 per cent and 90 per cent of Zimbabweans living below the bread line, according to United Nations’ statistics.
Fresh parliamentary elections are scheduled for March. The main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, at the weekend deferred a decision on whether to boycott the polls in protest at gross irregularities.