Zimbabweans, respected for their natural ability to win struggles,
fine mannered etiquette and honesty, have of late become a laughing stock
in southern Africa.
A visit to any of our neighbours will show how
lowly we are now regarded as thinkers, progressive fighters, ordinary
nationals or simply as a people.
At home, many are confused by the goings
on to a level where it is difficult, entirely impossible, to forecast and
plan for a new generation.
Faced with a crucial presidential election,
the majority is unclear about their choices, if there are any. What would
drive any voter to cast a ballot in favour of the ruling Zanu PF party, given
the position that person is in at the moment? Or the opposition MDC? What
change will that bring to the quality of life, respect in the community of
nations or to our lost pride and credibility?
Countrywide, there are
serious questions being asked about the calibre of our presidential
candidates and how any of them might turn Zimbabwe's fortunes around.
President Mugabe has far less chances of pulling the country out of this mess
than Morgan Tsvangirai or any other candidate.
He is entering the
election on a point of extreme disadvantage, being blamed for the morass and
loss of stature that has befallen us. He has lost all the credibility he had
internationally, especially in Sadc and in the West, and that is a big dent
to our attempt at meaningful economic recovery. We desperately need the
world, especially the countries nearer home, to spearhead the formation of
some kind of Marshall Plan to rehabilitate and reconstruct
These countries are probably home to about half a million of
Zimbabwe's elite scrounging with trinkets or doing menial jobs to supplement
meagre incomes at their original base.
Mugabe - given his experience
and ruthlessness - may be able to turn the situation around. But the
institution he has created around himself within the government and his party
is his biggest enemy and main saboteur. That institution is feeding on his
mistakes. In fact, it's very survival is dependent on his weaknesses,
ignorance of a changing world, intolerance and sometimes outright
carelessness in policy formulation.
Zimbabwe has lost the bulk of the
gains it amassed in the past 21 years. Zambians, Malawians and Mozambicans
who used to flock here for our excellent health services are now better off
staying at home. The Batswana and Namibians who used to enroll their children
in our schools in Harare and Bulawayo because of our fantastic education
system, have stopped. Even Nigerians, for whatever reasons, felt proud to
hold a Zimbabwean passport, if they could get one. At international
conferences, Zimbabwe was seen as the voice of wisdom. Things have changed,
drastically. Recently after Mugabe explained the "success" of his land
programme to his Sadc counterparts, they insisted that they wanted to come
here to see it for themselves.
They called him to a meeting, together
with Tsvangirai, Tendai Biti, Collin Cloete, David Hasluck and many others.
After three to four days or listening to heated arguments about that
"success" story, Presidents Bakili Muluzi, Thabo Mbeki, Fetsus Mogae and
Joachim Chissano ordered the government to behave. They even set targets of
what should be done and how. They further, much to our embarrassment, advised
Mugabe to talk to Tsvangirai for Zimbabwe's sake.
and policy shortcomings are endless, making it extremely difficult for Mugabe
to present himself as a national saviour after 2002.
His advanced age,
plus the abnormally long service at State House, further complicates the
That brings in Tsvangirai into the equation. The dapper,
dimunitive political new-comer has a tall order. Little is known about this
former trade unionist in as far as what he is capable of doing as a
national leader, especially for the majority in the rural areas. Those in
urban areas have no problem with him. In fact, he did the unthinkable:
challenging Mugabe in a direct and significant way.
organisation, the MDC, is terribly weak - both at the ideological level and
structurally. It is a loose coalition of disgruntled anti-Mugabe forces
without a common national plan. It is simply a movement. By the way, you
can't be fired from a movement. It represents such a diverse set of interest
groups which are likely to disintegrate as soon as Mugabe is out of the
Think of Nelson Chamisa, that nice student, sitting in a Cabinet
with Professor Welshman Ncube, an advocate and senior counsel; or Gilbert
Shoko, former secretary of the Zimbabwe Domestic and Allied Workers' Union
and now an MP, working with businessman Eddie Cross or lawyer David
The MDC is coming in after an impressive start in the June
parliamentary election where they scooped 57 out of the 120 elected seats.
That margin, for a party that was barely nine months old, unfortunately has
thrown many of its leaders into a siesta.
That snooze has taken with
it the 2002 enthusiasm and made the party a complacent lot. Power struggles
are creeping in and the mood is that they have already captured State House.
Really? Tsvangirai is being denied access to the public media, especially
radio which reaches about five to six million people daily. So his thoughts,
views and policies remain distorted in the eyes of the majority consumers of
If you are a simple, patriotic Zimbabwean voter, relying
on your valued 1950 wireless set for your news, you will be expected to know
Tsvangirai as a terrorist, a puppet of Rhodesians and a confused challenger.
He cannot work freely in the rural areas, nor does he possess the resources
to repair damaged clinics or school buildings or do any projects. Even if he
gets the money, the government, war veterans and Zanu PF won't let him do
Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, the MP for Glen Norah, failed to get
access to public officials, council schools, clinics and creches in
her constituency. A directive was issued from some head office barring
civil servants from showing her any records or merely discussing their
problems with her.
The government has refused to recognise the MDC,
even in Parliament. MPs are brutalised by known criminals. They are raided at
dawn or midnight and attacked by thugs in army or police uniforms as in the
case of Justin Mutendadzamera in Mabvuku. Voters do not need all this. They
want jobs, a good education for their children, a sound health service,
peace, prosperity and the Zimbabwe they once knew. They require leaders who
can lift the country from the mud, nothing else. Will Zimbabwe manage to
regain its lost self?
With these two candidates, what choices do our
voters have? Retain Mugabe, warts and all? Or change and test new
GREGORY Simpkins, the vice-president of the
United States-based Foundation for Democracy in Africa, yesterday said the
imminent sanctions against Zimbabwe were targeted at President Mugabe, his
family and other senior government officials, whose attention is needed in
ensuring a transition to democracy, peace, good governance and economic
Simpkins, who is visiting Zimbabwe said: "We are trying
to target sanctions against those whose attention is critical in bringing
Zimbabwe back to its feet again. This is a cry for dialogue. The sanctions
are not meant to ruin the economy because we know that it is easier to ruin
the economy than to build it." Simpkins, an expert on African policy matters,
spoke as the US Congress is today expected to pass the Zimbabwe Democracy and
Economic Recovery Bill into law. The Bill will pave the way for a travel
ban on Mugabe and members of the government.
He said the US government
asked him to come to Zimbabwe to talk about the Bill and the Africa Growth
and Opportunity Act, which seeks to stimulate trade among African countries
and to ensure that developing countries become self-dependent and not
THE National Association of
Social Workers has expressed concern over the take-over of major hospitals by
management boards. Douglas Machiridza, the publicity secretary, said the move
would result in the further deterioration of the health delivery services.
Machiridza said: "We are going to see an increase in the number of deaths
because of ill health."
An adult patient at Parirenyatwa Group of
Hospitals pays about $21 000 and children $10 600 as deposit before
admission. "Where do you really expect retrenched people and vulnerable
groups to get that amount of money for medical treatment?" asked Machiridza.
He said his association wanted to know the intervention strategies that would
be enforced to protect and ensure that patients without money would not
be dumped because they could not to afford the treatment costs.
THE medical report on
Khethani Sibanda, a suspect in the Cain Nkala murder, has revealed that the
scar on his wrist was caused by a sharp instrument, not Nkala's
Bulawayo police took Sibanda to Mpilo Hospital last Wednesday,
a day after he told the Bulawayo High Court that he was bitten by the late
war veteran leader, as "they" abducted him. The report said the scar, a
solid semi-circular line "slightly bigger" than a one dollar coin with small
marks underneath, was not consistent with teeth bites.
development is likely to affect the course of the bail application of one of
the defendants in the case, Simon Daren Spooner, when it resumes in Bulawayo
this week. The report says the scar was caused by a sharp instrument. In
forensic medical terminology, teeth are considered to be
blunt instruments. Giving evidence in the bail application for Spooner,
Sibanda, 25, said he was bitten by Nkala during a struggle while "they" were
Justice Lawrence Kamocha postponed judgment on the ball
application indefinitely to this week. The judge is expected to go through
all the evidence that was given by Sibanda and his co-accused, Remember Moyo,
27, and Spooner's defence counsel, led by Advocate Tim Cherry nstructed by
Ndabezinhle Mazibisi of Calderwood, Brice and Hendrie. On his first
appearance last Monday, Sibanda told the court he had been forced to confess
that he was involved in the Nkala murder.
He said he was told by the
police what to say in court. If he betrayed them his parents would be killed,
he told the court. He said he believed the threat because the police gave him
convincing details about his mother. They also gave him information about his
movements in the two days before his arrest, allegedly to intimidate
him. He described to the court how police had allegedly tortured him and
written him a statement which he was forced to memorise as if he had written
The following day Sibanda, who had denied under oath that
he knew Nkala, stunned the court when he said he had been bitten by Nkala. He
showed the court the alleged wound. Some doctors, asked to give a medical
opinion on the alleged tooth bite, said such wounds were likely to get
infectious and take a longer time to heal.
Sibanda was arrested on 12
November and by the time he appeared in court two weeks later the wound
appeared to have healed. He was not asked to elaborate on how he sustained
the wound because the hearing centred on Spooner's ball application. The
State counsel, led by Mercy Moya-Matshanga, had requested that only details
which could be used to grant or deny Spooner's bail were to be
Sibanda, however, maintained that most of the MDC members who
have been arrested in connection with the murder were innocent. Moyo, who
was alleged to have been driving the car used in the abduction of Nkala, told
the court he too was forced to admit involvement in the murder. Sikhumbuzo,
Nkala's wife who, according to the police, was the only person to have seen
the kidnap car, was not called to testify in court.
HARARE, December 4 (Xinhuanet) -- The Zimbabwe
Congress of Trade Union (ZCTU) has expressed concern over the escalation of
violencetargeted at farm workers in the west of little town of Blackmorevale,
local media reported on Tuesday.
The ZCTU said in a statement
Monday that they were concerned that farm workers had become ready targets
for torture and harassment, losing property worth thousands of Zimbabwean
dollars in the process.
The weekend attacks at Blackmorevale farm in
Chegutu, where 20 workers sustained burns after their homes were torched by
alleged war veterans, was an affront to the Abuja agreement.
Abuja agreement brokered by Nigeria on September 6 this year compelled
Britain to avail funds for the land resettlement program being undertaken by
Britain has reaffirmed its commitment to the success
of the pact within the framework of the blueprint of the United Nations
"It is unfortunate that workers are being
persecuted for their political beliefs which they have under the constitution
of Zimbabwe," said the ZCTU.
The ZCTU urged the government to restore
the rule of law, ensuring that civilians were not subjected to inhuman
treatment and torture, especially at the time towards
The police were urged to do their job by protecting farm
workers and prosecuting perpetrators of violence irrespective of their
positions in society.
It was reported that about 300 war veterans
stormed the farm last Friday and burnt 42 houses, accusing the owners of
supportingthe opposition party of the Movement for Democratic
The workers were ordered to leave their homes because most of
the farm in now occupied by the war veterans.
A farm owner in the
area said the invasion of Blackmorevale wasintended to flush out all white
people in the Chakari, and the matter was reported to the Chegutu police but
no arrest was made.
The farm owner said the displaced workers were
now in dire needof food and shelter, adding that the 4,000 hectares of farm
has been occupied by invaders since February last year.
HARARE, December 4 (Xinhuanet) -- Joseph Malaba,
consultant of Zimbabwe's International Consultative Division of the BeB
Management Training, has said that Zimbabwean companies need to make more
efforts to achieve sustainable export success, local media reported
Noting that most local organizations had not put in the
required effort to achieve set export objectives, he said Monday:"Market
research and information gathering are the key building blocs for any
successful marketing plan. Companies need a clear strategy to adopt, and need
a vision of what they want to attain in a chosen export
Local companies, especially big ones, need to have an export
ofmarketing department and the staff need to be aware of the variousmarkets
the company operated in.
Malaba said continuous monitoring and
evaluation of markets andthe companies had to contact with various
institutions like the Export Credit Guarantee Corporation and Zimbabwe Trade
Union on available program for exporters.
Local companies need to
do their own company profiles as buyersneed to know who they are, he
"Zimbabwean products have been accepted in the countries on
theregion of Southern Africa, however, many of our organizations failin
packaging, which ensures that the product is attractively displayed," Malaba
Zimbabwean companies have long been accused of lacking
aggression, especially in exploiting the regional marketing.