Fri Dec 30, 2005 11:34 AM GMT
By Cris Chinaka
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe is likely to sink deeper into crisis in 2006 as
President Robert Mugabe continues hardline policies that have gutted the
economy and isolated his government, analysts say.
The southern African state is in the spotlight after plunging into a
political and economic crisis five years ago that many critics blame on
Mugabe, its only ruler since independence from Britain in 1980.
Analysts say although Mugabe has consolidated his power this year with a big
victory in parliamentary polls and the establishment of a new Senate
dominated by his ruling ZANU-PF party, he still feels insecure and has
renewed a crackdown on critics and opponents.
"I don't think anyone who is realistic is expecting an improvement in
Zimbabwe's political, social and economic environment in the coming year,"
said John Robertson, a private economic consultant and a leading
"We are expecting more of the same, more political rhetoric in place of
practical pragmatic policies to rescue the economy," he said. The economy
has shrunk by over 30 percent in the last five years.
Mugabe, who turns 82 in February, says his government is being undermined by
Western opponents led by former colonial power Britain, and has vowed to
stay the course against "colonialists" and "imperialists", a stance that has
won him some popularity in Africa.
But critics say he has ruined the once-prosperous nation through
mismanagement and controversial policies including the chaotic seizure of
white-owned farms, a move advertised as benefiting landless blacks but which
ended up giving farms mostly to supporters of his ZANU-PF party.
Agricultural output has fallen by over 60 percent since 2000 as an extended
drought exacerbated the effects of the land seizures, leaving millions
surviving on foreign food aid.
The veteran leader has over the years introduced tough media and security
laws that have hobbled the opposition, and analysts say he is showing signs
of getting tougher.
In the last month, officials seized and eventually released the passports of
three government critics under a new constitutional provision that allows
the state to impose travel sanctions on "traitors".
"I think Mugabe only feels secure when he is pursuing his opponents, and his
strategy is not to give them any breathing space to organise against him,"
said Eldred Masunungure, head of the University of Zimbabwe's political
"Unfortunately this strategy leaves little room for compromise ... and he is
not likely to yield any ground," he said.
ECONOMY IN TAILSPIN
International isolation and agricultural problems look likely to worsen an
economy already in a tailspin.
Unemployment is about 70 percent, inflation at over 500 percent among the
world's highest, and the country is struggling with shortages of food, fuel
and foreign currency.
The main opposition party, once seen as the chief hope for change, is in
disarray amid serious factional feuding.
Over the last two years, Mugabe's government has done just enough to avoid
Zimbabwe's expulsion from the International Monetary Fund over debt
But Australia, the United States and the European Union have imposed travel
and financial sanctions on Mugabe and his political associates over
accusations of human rights abuses and vote-rigging, while many Western
countries have quietly frozen aid to his government.
But this has not dissuaded Mugabe at home or abroad.
Earlier this year, Mugabe's government demolished shantytowns and "illegal
houses" in a drive that the United Nations says left 700,000 people homeless
in urban areas that are mostly opposition strongholds.
Mugabe, who denies charges of mismanagement, is expected to retire when his
term expires in 2008 but has kept both ordinary Zimbabweans and his
lieutenants guessing over his chosen heir.
Analysts say Mugabe has made strategic appointments to senior posts in party
and government to ensure that loyal cadres are in place to guarantee both
continuity and a smooth exit -- a hint that Zimbabwe's confrontation with
the West will drag on.
30 Dec 2005 09:54:00 GMT
Source: International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent
Societies (IFRC) - Switzerland
Tapiwa Gomo, Harare
There is no festive mood in many communities is southern Africa as the more
than 12 million people struggle to access food, a simple basic human right.
Drought has ravaged seven countries in southern Africa which left millions
of people qualifying for food assistance. Despite the appeals launched by
many humanitarian organisations, the response has not been satisfactory.
This comes on top of extremely high HIV and AIDS prevalence in the region
which been labelled as the epicentre of the pandemic. The prime generation
is been wiped away leaving the elderly and young children looking after
themselves. But in such difficult situations like the current drought, they
become even more exposed as young girls and boys help their guardians and
parents to raise money for food. "We can not think of the festive season
when we do not have enough basic food to feed our families," says Mr. Medi
Suwedi of Kaluunda Traditional Authority in Salima district in Malawi. Medi
and his wife have been living with the virus for the last four years.
Availability of food has been giving them enough energy to work for their
children. "This year has been very difficult for us and I was bedridden for
several months owing to lack of food. We don't have enough and I can't go to
the field as I am and yet I am expected to work for the family." The
situation looks bleak and gloomy for many families in the region. As many
donors and media organizations focus their attention on the Asia disasters,
Sahel food crisis and many others elsewhere, another slow onset human
catastrophe is brewing in southern Africa. Over 30 people so far have been
reported to have died of hunger related cause in Malawi, while in Zambia
people are already resorting to poisonous wild fruits. The International
Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies launched an appeal for 39
million Swiss francs (? 25.3 million/US$ 30 million) to assist 1.5 million
people in seven countries in Southern Africa for nine months. The appeal
seeks to provide food, agricultural support and safe drinking water to
people in Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia and
Zimbabwe who are affected by widespread drought and a food crisis. "We need
to act immediately to avoid a tragic deterioration in an already alarming
situation," said Richard Hunlede, head of the Africa Department at the
International Federation. "Urgent humanitarian action is needed in Southern
Africa to assist people caught up in the triple threat of a rising HIV and
AIDS rate, erratic rainfall and weakened government capacity. With food
prices rising, many families are simply not coping." The most worrying
factor in the region is that, when there is a drought of this magnitude,
many young children withdraw from school, whilst others resort to unorthodox
means of accessing cash to buy food or food itself. This situation puts the
future of southern Africa into oblivion.
MacBain Kanongodza, the Food Security manager for the Red Cross says there
is usually high sexual activity in the boarders of many countries in the
region as families will have exhausted their coping mechanisms by selling
their household items. "It is in this view that we fear that young children
will end up engaging in prostitution activities in order to raise money for
food and when this happens, it only adds on to an already precarious
emergency situation. This is why we are appealing for immediate and adequate
support to stop this human catastrophe in southern Africa." He also added
that it is important to note that the Red Cross in its intervention is not
only addressing the food crisis in the region, but is making an attempt to
promote community resilience in order to enable them to cope with future
problems. An assessment by the International Federation in August 2005 found
that people in Southern Africa most vulnerable to food shortages are people
living with HIV and AIDS, households with orphans, female-headed households,
people with disabilities and households headed by older people. It is these
findings and the potential of HIV spreading more during drought period owing
to slow response to the food insecurity appeal that is worrying the Red
Cross in the region. The International Federation appeal aims to meet the
immediate food needs of 1.5 million people until the harvest of 2006, set up
food-for-work projects, restore self-reliance in agriculture, ensure access
to safe water, and train Red Cross staff in each country on livelihood and
food security. "We need to save lives now and do what is necessary to
protect livelihoods in the long term," said Françoise Le Goff, head of the
Southern Africa Regional Delegation in Harare.
Sat 31 December 2005
HARARE - The African Commission on Human and People's Rights (ACHPR)
has deferred to next year its ruling in a case in which an exiled Zimbabwean
lawyer is suing the Harare authorities for torture and other human rights
Gabriel Shumba appealed to the continental human rights watchdog after
being severely tortured by Zimbabwe's state security agents in 2003. He says
the torture violated the African charter on human and people's rights to
which Harare is a signatory.
Shumba was represented during the hearings held earlier this month at
the ACHPR headquarters in Banjul, The Gambia, by United States human rights
lawyer, David Padilla while Loice Matanda-Moyo defended the Zimbabwe
In a letter addressed to Shumba, who now lives in exile in South
Africa, Omari Holaki, a senior official at the ACHPR said his organisation
would make a ruling on the case next May.
"The Secretariat of the African Commission wishes to inform you that
at its 38th Ordinary Session held in Banjul, The Gambia, from 21st November
to 5th December 2005, the African Commission considered the above matter and
deferred further consideration on admissibility to its 39th Ordinary
Session," read Holaki's letter, shown to ZimOnline.
Shumba wants the ACHPR to censure President Robert Mugabe's government
for violating several sections of the African Charter on Human and People's
Rights which bar the use of torture. He also wants the Harare authorities to
compensate him for the pain that he went through.
The Zimbabwean lawyer also wants state security agents found guilty of
perpetrating the torture punished. Shumba was subjected to electric shocks
and forced to drink his own urine by Zimbabwe's feared state security agents
after he was detained for representing an opposition for Movement for
Democratic Change legislator Job Sikhala.
He fled to South Africa after failing to get justice in Zimbabwe.
If the human rights watchdog rules in Shumba's favour, the case might
result in more public humiliation for Mugabe and increase international
pressure for the veteran Zimbabwean leader to embrace democratic reforms.
If the Zimbabwean government is found guilty in the matter, the ACHPR,
the judicial arm of the African Union, will forward the matter to the
African Union heads of government to censure the Harare authorities.
But it is still to be seen whether the African Union can muster enough
courage to defend the rights of common citizenry after fiercely ganging up
to defend Mugabe at international fora.
Human rights groups accuse Mugabe of perpetrating serious human rights
abuses against his political opponents in a bid to hold on to power. But
Mugabe denies the charges insisting they are trumped up by Britain and the
MDC in a bid to tarnish his image. - ZimOnline
Sat 31 December 2005
BEITBRIDGE - Scanning equipment worth billions of dollars acquired
earlier this year from China is lying idle at Beitbridge border post after
it packed up creating chaos at the busy border post.
Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) employees have since November been
forced to physically inspect cross-border haulage trucks and buses crossing
into South Africa, one of Zimbabwe's biggest trading partners.
A strike by workers on the South African side which fizzled out last
week, had worsened the chaos at the border post as long distance truck
drivers battled to have their trucks cleared at one of Zimbabwe's busiest
exit and entry points.
A source at Zimra complained that the Chinese-made equipment had not
been serviced since it came into the country last July.
"The (scanning) equipment at Beitbridge has not been serviced ever
since it came into the country hence the faults. We have now resorted to
physically inspecting the trucks, which is very tedious.
"When the machine initially went down in November, we were told that
some experts would fly in from China but they have not come. It might be
that there is no foreign currency to pay them," said the source.
Contacted for comment, Zimra boss Gershom Pasi said: "I cannot be
expected to know every detail of what is happening at Zimra, it is not a
family company. In any case, if a machine is down would that be an issue?"
A cross-border bus driver told ZimOnline on Tuesday that they were now
spending more time at the border post waiting to be cleared. He said the
scanning equipment had helped speed up the clearing process.
"But of late that has not been the case, we can be here for up to six
hours waiting for our trucks to be inspected," he said.
President Robert Mugabe has over the past few years vigourously
pursued a "Look-East" policy focusing mainly on the Chinese after falling
out with traditional business partners in the West over his failure to
uphold democracy and human rights abuses. - ZimOnline
Sat 31 December 2005
BANKET - Zimbabwe police on Tuesday arrested and severely tortured a
senior member of the main opposition youth assembly, Nominate White, for
allegedly addressing an "illegal" political meeting in Banket.
White was detained for two nights in Banket, a small farming town
about 95km north-west of Harare, for allegedly addressing a political
meeting at Mazvikadei Resort.
The opposition activist is scheduled to appear in court on January 10
next year. He will be charged under the tough Public Order and Security Act
(POSA) which makes it an offence to address political meetings without first
seeking clearance from the police.
The spokesman for the MDC who is also the party's national youth
chairman, Nelson Chamisa, confirmed the incident and said his party had
already raised the matter with the police and human rights groups.
"White was arrested on Tuesday and subjected to incessant torture at
the hands of the police and ZANU PF militia. We are raising the matter with
the relevant government organs and human rights organisations locally and
internationally," said Chamisa.
Contacted for comment yesterday, police spokesperson Chief
Superintendent Oliver Mandipaka, said: "We have not received that
information but I will check with our Banket station. At this moment I
cannot comment until I check with the officers involved."
Human rights groups accuse Zimbabwe's police of torturing President
Robert Mugabe's political opponents. They also accuse the police of
selectively applying the country's tough security laws against the
opposition. - ZimOnline
Mayor Shoko of Chitungwiza was suspended today at 4pm our Zim time. He has been
in and out of hiding in the last few months. His very life has been
by the ruling party recent months. Like his colleagues, Harare and Mutare Mayors, Shoko had finally uncovered serious anomalies and corruption scams by ruling party and government officials which led to their Councils failing to build sewerage and other essential community services for the people.
Mayor Shoko MDC popularly elected, is a war veteran with a solid political activism record from an early age. He joins Mayor Elias Mudzuri of Harare and the other popularly elected mayors such as Mutare's, who have also been stripped of their posts by the ruling party.
For several months now, Mayor Shoko has been threatened with removal from his position by several ruling party leaders and lately by the president of Zimbabwe himself.
He has been arrested recently and kept in custody for several days for no apparent reason. Mayor Shoko was hamstrung by the state and failed to implement the people driven development project for Chitungwiza which he created with the people of Chitungwaza.
He will be sadly missed by his constituency in which he remains popular.
This act by the state exposes even more clearly the farce about participation in elections. The Mayors around Zimbabwe won their posts by a wide margin. They were popularly elected only to be denied the opportunity to work and later to be removed by the ruling party and government, one by one.
Jobert Mudzumwe, the MDC Secretary for Local Government was also organiser for the Commercial Workers Union (CWUZ) until he was sacked recently for failing to obey a lawful order and for several corruption charges. Mudzumwe was summoned to appear before the Union's disciplinary committee to answer these charges but failed to appear. His case was heard in his abscence as no apology was received from him by the date of hearing. He was found guilty as charged and sacked. Four days after the verdict was reached and communicated to him by the Union, Mudzumwe took his employers to court.
This morning the CWUZ leadership travelled to Masvingo for the hearing, as set. After the postponement of the case to a later date some of the Union leadership returned to their office to receive the keys from Mudzumwe as agreed. What followed was not the intended handover takeover exercise. Instead Jobert Mudzumwe viciously attacked Councillor Misheck Gapare, who is also the CWUZ Regional representative on the Union's Executive Committee. Mr Gapare was taken to a doctor for urgent treament. The matter has been reported to the Masvingo police.
This is not the first time that Jobert Mudzumwe has been involved in violence. On July 17 this year the CWUZ Secretary General Lucia Gladys Matibenga was attacked by a group of 20 of her Union's staff, who broke her left arm in two places. Councillor Gapare was also viciously attacked in the same incident by those men. Jobert Mudzumwe was one in that group of male attackers. The Masvingo province MDC structures on receiving that report at that time reported the incident as widely as they could. However these and other reports of violence were ignored by the MDC disciplinary committee, chaired at that time by the Vice President Gibson Sibanda, who always, protected those that commited violence in the party but he perceived to be in his camp. That is the situation today.
The pro senate group always talks about violence selectively. Jobert Mudzumwe threw his lot in with the pro senate group from the start. In their current dealings, he it is, they have in their disciplinary committee, which has twice attempted to expel the MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai. The MDC Disciplinary Committee approved by the National Council chaired by the Vice President always included Dr Tichaona Mudzingwa, Mrs Ena Chitsa who was seconded to that Committee by the Women's Assembly, Innocent Gonese and Jobert Mudzumwe. Ms Yvonne Mahlunge was also a member but is abroad at the moment. While Dr Mudzingwa was removed as Secretary for Security he remains a member of the Disciplinary Committee. For the pro senate group's urgent Court application to remove the MDC President, members of the party's Disciplinary Committee except Jobert Mudzumwe, wrote affidavits stating that they had not been invited to attend that Disciplinary Committee meeting which again according to that group, had been chaired by the Vice President to remove the party President.
By Tererai Karimakwenda
30 December 2005
The African Commission on Human and People's Rights adopted a
resolution on Zimbabwe at their 38th Ordinary Session which met in Banjul,
the Gambia from November to December 2005. Intense lobbying by human rights
organizations and individuals who attended the session seems to have paid
off. The resolution calls on the Zimbabwe government to comply with
recommendations made by the African Commission itself in 2002, as well as
those included in reports by the United Nations special envoys who condemned
the demolitions of Operation Murambatsvina in 2005. It also calls on the
government to allow access to organizations wishing to assist the victims of
this operation, and to prosecute those responsible immediately.
Arnold Tsunga, Executive Director of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human
Rights described it as one of the most critical resolutions on Zimbabwe by
an African institution set up by African Heads of State. And he wondered
whether Zimbabwe might be turning the corner. Tsunga assigned much
importance to this particular resolution because it came from a group of
independent experts who were appointed by the heads of state to make sure
member states adhere to standards defined in the African Charter on Human
and People's Rights. He told us on Friday that if the heads of state appear
to be weak or impotent, they could jeopardize their bargaining power with
other international institutions.
The Commission said it was deeply concerned by the continued
undermining of the independence of the judiciary through defiance of court
orders, harassment and intimidation of independent judges and the executive
ouster of the jurisdiction of the courts.
Regarding operation Murambatsvina, the Commission was alarmed by the
number of internally displaced persons and the violations of fundamental
individual and collective rights resulting from the forced evictions being
carried out by the government of Zimbabwe.
The African Union was urged to renew the mandate of the African Union
Envoy to Zimbabwe to investigate the human rights implications and
humanitarian consequences of the mass evictions and demolitions.
As for what's next, Tsunga said procedurally, the heads of state will
have to adopt The Commission's resolution as their own at the next meeting
which is scheduled for the end of January or early February 2006. Once they
adopt it, the heads of state will then have to act to pressure Zimbabwe to
comply. Asked what options they have, Tsunga said the problem with
multilateral institutions is that they don't have the mandate to force
member states to cooperate. They can only rely on the deviant members to
accept these resolutions. Tsunga is optimistic that this time the heads of
state will act on Zimbabwe as they do not want to be seen as being
ineffective and unable to rein in one of their own. The excuse that African
states should deal with African problems no longer applies in this case.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
By Lance Guma
30 December 2005
Zimbabwe's opposition has called on its supporters to confront Robert
Mugabe's regime in the New Year arguing this was the only feasible way of
removing him from power. That call has found resonance with civic society
leaders in the country who also firmly believe the economic crisis and Zanu
PF's own infighting are an ideal opportunity to effect democratic change.
An Advocacy Officer for the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, Itayi
Zimunya says it is now generally accepted elections only create an
opportunity for Mugabe to claim legitimacy when in fact he is rigging them.
Although he conceded that the infighting in the opposition ranks would make
the task a bit harder, there was room for both parties to make up and fight
He cited the fact that civil servants are living below the poverty
datum line as one of the key reasons the regime might not be able to last
the year. Zimunya urged all civic society and opposition groups to put up a
united front in fighting for change.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
30/12/2005 20:00 - (SA)
Harare - Seven people have died from an outbreak of cholera in southern
Zimbabwe, with more than 100 others sick from the water-borne disease, the
health minister said on Friday.
Speaking on state radio, Health Minister David Parirenyatwa advised
residents suffering from symptoms of cholera against travelling outside the
Chikomba area, about 180km south of Harare.
Chikomba and surrounding "areas have had a cholera outbreak with 114 people
being affected by cholera and we have registered seven deaths so far," the
"We are setting up two camps in Chikomba to make sure people who have had
watery diarrhoea, sometimes with vomiting, very severe diarrhoea ... not
travel outside that district," he said.
Zimbabwe has had almost annual cholera outbreaks, from around November
through March during the country's peak rainfall season.
A highly contagious and potentially fatal disease, cholera thrives in
conditions of poor hygiene and inadequate water supplies. It is generally
caused by using dirty water for drinking and cooking.
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Dec-31
PARENTS have voiced their concerns over an impending rise in school fees for
2006 that is coupled with high prices of school uniforms and stationery.
Investigations by The Daily Mirror yesterday revealed that most boarding
secondary schools would be charging at least $13 million from about $4
million while day scholars at public institutions would pay over $2 million
up from under $1 million per term next year, representing hikes upward of
Most of the parents who spoke to this newspaper expressed disappointment
over the school fees hikes and called on the Ministry of Education to
intervene and cushion them.
The parents also bemoaned the increase in school uniform prices as being
equally exorbitant, making education an extremely expensive investment.
"This is just too much. You cannot imagine how a parent will cope if he or
she has more than one child at a boarding school. How much would the parent
be earning anyway?" queried Tonderai Nyakujara from Marimba who said he
would have to pay $12 million for his daughter going into first grade at
Tynwald Primary School.
Another parent who identified himself only as Diego from Avondale said he
had been asked to pay $15,8 million up from about $4 million for his child
at Waddilove Primary School in Marondera.
Boarding scholars at Chaplin and Thornhill High schools in Gweru would be
expected to pay $12,8 million, up from $4 million. Day scholars at the same
schools would have to fork out $5,8 million up from $2,8 million last year.
Regina Mundi High boarding scholars in Gweru would have to pay over $12
million up from about $3 million while those at David Livingstone Primary
school in Harare are expected to pay $1,6 million, up from $400 000.
Arundel Girls High boarding scholars will have to pay $80 million while
weekly boarders at the same school would have to part with $60 million up
from just over $10 million. Day scholars would be expected to churn out
Another disgruntled parent who refused to be named said the high boarding
and private school fees coupled with expensive uniforms would force many
parents to transfer their children to less fashionable public schools which
were perceived as having low pass rates.
"The school authorities say the prices of food and other basics for the
scholars have also gone up, but they should also understand
that our income has not changed and if it changes, the margin will be very
The minister should a least say something, otherwise we will have to
transfer our children to public schools," she said.
The parent, whose child is a primary scholar, listed down the value of items
she required for the new term beginning January 10.
According to the list, a uniform dress costs $1 million, a pair of
conventional school shoes $1,2 million; a pair of stockings; $250 000, a
satchel; $200 000, four A4 exercise books valued at $30 000 each, a pen for
Besides those items, a scholar could also require a hat, a jersey, a blazer,
a tie and a set of sportswear.
Although efforts to contact either Education minister Aenias Chigwedere or
his Permanent Secretary Stephen Mahere were fruitless, the government is not
legally empowered to determine fees charged in private education
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Dec-31
THREE police officers allegedly solicited for a $700 000 bribe from two
rural bus conductors at Mbare Musika Bus Terminus who they had arrested for
The conductors blew the whistle on police officers Douglas Chiripanyanga,
James Chimombe and Daniel Mumba who had demanded the bribe to allow the
concerned buses to exit the country's biggest rank. The cops were arrested
for corruption and spent Christmas in custody before they appeared before
Harare magistrate Sandra Makweche who granted them $500 000 bail each on
Wednesday. Mumba was arrested separately, but on similar charges of graft.
Prosecutor Partson Nyazamba alleged that last Thursday, Chiripanyanga and
Chimombe, attached to the Mbare traffic police section, were on patrol at
the bus terminus.
They allegedly stopped a Musanhu Company bus that was about to leave for its
destination. The cops then discovered that conductor Brian Zvidzai was
overcharging. They allegedly took him to the guardroom that is used for
paying fines and issuing of receipts.
The law enforcers allegedly demanded $400 000 from Zvidzai whom they also
ordered to leave without issuing him a receipt.
Feeling shortchanged, Zvidzai informed one Sergeant Chindito and Makonese
who then confronted Chiripanyanga and Chimombe. They carried out a body
search on the two suspects and Chiripanyanga was found with $6,2 million and
Chimombe had $815 000. Both failed to account for that money.
According to standing rules, whenever a police detail is deployed anywhere,
he must declare all the money in his or her possession before going out.
Zakaria Magogo of the Police Internal and Security Intelligence (PISI) later
arrested Mumba after observing Farai Mharakurwa, a conductor with Vazungu
Bus Company, exiting the guardroom.
Mharakurwa should have paid a $1,5 million fine for overcharging, but when
he failed to raise the required amount Mumba allegedly demanded $300 000 to
enable the bus to leave the terminus.
Magogo and one Constable Marufu then reportedly searched Mumba and found $1
080 000 on him. He also failed to satisfactorily explain the origin of
Mumba also had $1,6 million that was receipted. According to court papers,
some police details were deployed at the bus terminus to clamp down on
alleged rampant corrupt activities there by people including cops.
Last week the officer-in-charge of Highfield Police Camp clinic was arrested
on allegations of stealing drugs and equipment worth $50 million.
Webson Wadawo has since been granted $1,5 million bail and was ordered back
to court on January 13 for routine remand hearing. At the beginning of the
month, two police officers were arrested and charged with corruption after
allegedly confiscating 54 pirated CDs valued at $2,5 million from a suspect.
Clotty Nhema and Saul Chipuriro based at Milton Park and Central Police
Stations, were granted $2 million bail each.
Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri recently blasted corrupt officers
saying the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) would deal accordingly with the
I like watching those end-of-year reviews on the various news channels.
Invariably it is the bad news of disasters, man made such as the London
Bombings or natural such as the earthquake in Pakistan and India that make
for the bulk of the defining moments. Speaking of defining moments, I
remember walking into a concert at HIFA last year with a group of friends
and one of them said: "I have a feeling this will be a defining moment but
the problem with defining moments is they rarely announce themselves." I
have always wanted to use that quote.
Back to the disasters, one disaster that came late in the previous year and
whose effects were carried on into the New Year was the Boxing Day tsunami
that swept away the lives of just over two hundred and fifty thousand
people. My take on disasters is not only to learn from them once the
grieving is done but, in addition, to look for the triumph of the human
spirit in them. I think I learnt to appreciate this in a deeper sense after
finally making my pilgrimage to Robben island years ago but I am beginning
So there I was switching between CNN and SKY (it is difficult to tear one's
eyes away from Andrea Koppel) when I settled on a piece that was relieving
the Tsunami on SKY. I listened and watched in admiration to the story of the
Doctor and his assistant who stayed the course and delivered a baby by
caesarian section, complete with sewing up the operation wound of the mother
before snatching up mother and daughter and fleeing the killer waves. All
this was accomplished while people ran in and out of the operating theatre
screaming that the sea had gone crazy and was coming, urging them to flee
and in the midst of a total blackout that would make ZESA look like angels.
The Doctor simply found a flashlight and with his loyal assistant by his
side telling the patient not to be afraid, delivered a baby girl named
Simply incredible. Not really when you really come to think of it. That is
the way it should be. Throughout history, we have heard of heroic efforts by
mankind. At a time when fleeing the scene and escaping is forgivable,
exceptional men and women have stayed the course and have lit candles
instead of cursing the darkness of prejudice (Rosa Parks and Jesse Owens),
oppression (Nelson Mandela), violence (Ghandi), collaboration (Schindler),
poverty (Pele), destruction (Masaru Ibuka and Akio Morita) and a millennium
of other examples.
There is nothing incredible about these people except that they had the back
bone to face their circumstances and face them head on. Their backgrounds
were in most likelihood much worse than ours, the challenges fiercer and
more daunting and yet they did not shirk from responsibility.
It is easy to say, I know, for whom among us does not get tempted to leave
on a daily basis? But somebody has to stay and help lift this great country,
help to deliver a new baby economy as the good Sri Lankan Doctor did on
Serendipity Island. I was too stunned and impressed by his work, I could not
leave the room to fetch a pen and take his name down. It was something close
to Surasinghe and I am embarrassed not to have to give you his full name for
he is an unassuming man. According to SKY, his colleagues did not know the
full story of his and his assistant's heroic feat until the day of the
There are plenty of unassuming people in Zimbabwe doing great work for the
future of this country. Great work that must be shared to encourage others
and I hope you are one of them and that you are helping to light a flaming
torch, instead of cursing the darkness. Bring on 2006!
Life rewards action.
28 December 2005.
By Tererai Karimakwenda
30 December 2005
Zimbabweans have been acquiring passports from Malawi for a long time
now because the process was simple and success was almost always guaranteed.
And as the economic and political crisis in Zimbabwe has dragged on for
years now, the Malawi route had become an oasis for many trying to escape to
South Africa or across the oceans to Europe and America. The current prime
minister is not having it though. Bingu Wa Mutharika has turned out to be an
important ally of Robert Mugabe in many ways. Not only did Zimbabwe provide
him with his wife Ethel, but security at Malawi's state house as well as
food preparation is now in the hands of Zimbabweans. The 2 countries are
reported to be sharing intelligence information now regarding the flow of
refugees between them and monitoring the activities of various
Our correspondent Simon Muchemwa has crossed the border a few times
over the Christmas holidays and he reports that it is now more difficult for
Zimbabweans to get Malawian passports. He said many asylum seekers had been
deported in the last few weeks and some immigration officials at Mwanza
border post were fired this month for corruption involving Zimbabwean
refugees. Muchemwa said it is largely believed that Mutharika has introduced
more stringent measures at the border aimed at keeping out Zimbabweans
attempting to cross over. There has been an increase in interrogations and
deportations at the border.
The Malawian prime minister is currently in Zimbabwe on his way back
from Tanzania. Muchemwa speculates the visit was intended to further
strengthen his bond with Mugabe. He added that it is a well-known fact
several Zimbabwean state agents had changed their names and acquired
Malawian passports. As we reported earlier this month, agents from Malawi
are also being trained in Zimbabwe by intelligence officials and the army.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
By Tererai Karimakwenda
30 December 2005
Activist, poet and secretary general of the Progressive Teachers Union
of Zimbabwe, Raymond Majongwe is still without a passport after state agents
seized it from him at Harare Airport earlier this month. He has made one
attempt to get it back and he told us on Friday that it was a fruitless
mission that led him to decide not to try again. Majongwe said he visited
the immigration office last week and was told to go get his passport from
officials at Harare Airport. But these officials were not present when he
arrived at the airport, and he was told to go back to immigration. This
Majongwe refuses to do. He said he does not need the seized documents
urgently and will not lose sleep over them.
Majongwe is considered a threat by the government having led several
demonstrations and produced numerous protest music and poetry albums. He
told reporters just after the incident that he was not intimidated by all
this and was in fact inspired by the fact that the government regards him as
an influential figure in the democratisation process. And he told us the
passport is not his voice and he does not need it for survival. Majongwe
also laughed at the whole affair, saying he will still be able to eat his
sadza with the expensive meat now available and go to sleep with a clean
conscience because he has not committed any crime.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
The Trumpet, UK
WORLDWATCH: AFRICA February 2006
Many worry that South Africa is traveling the same destructive path as
its northern neighbor Zimbabwe. Having long suffered from problems similar
to those in Zimbabwe-including crime, corruption and economic woes-South
Africa now appears intent on following in its footsteps politically. In late
November 2005, those concerns rose another notch as South Africa and
Zimbabwe strengthened defense and intelligence ties.
South African Intelligence Minister Ronnie Kasrils "praised Zimbabwe's
'advances and successes' in the 25 years since its independence from
Britain. He said the two countries shared a 'common world view' and would
'march forward shoulder to shoulder'" (cnn, Nov. 17, 2005).
Zimbabwe has "advanced" in many ways: for instance, its land seizure
program has advanced to the stage where there is virtually no white
ownership of farms in Zimbabwe. Consequently, its food-shortage issue has
also reached the advanced stage-nearly one third of the population is
severely short on food. Last year, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was
able to use "advanced" technology to block his political opponents from
broadcasting their speeches in the lead-up to elections. Official returns
showed that the number of votes received had advanced past the number cast,
something that could never be accomplished in a fair election. Inflation is
currently over 400 percent, far more "advanced" than most nations.
When questioned about South Africa's support of a country so obviously
opposed to human rights, Minister Kasrils responded: "[W]e are indebted to
our neighbor for achieving freedom and liberty. This will never ever be
forgotten by the people of South Africa" (ibid.). Zimbabwe has South Africa's
unapologetic support, and Robert Mugabe is considered a hero by many in
Human rights abuses, unfair elections and land seizures seem destined
to become the norm in South Africa next.