Zimbabwe's ruling heavyweights gather for their
leadership congress - and a lavish meal or two
limousines, Mercedes-Benz Kompressors, Lexuses, BMWs, Jeep Cherokees and
other posh cars roll into the grounds of the luxurious five-star Sheraton
Hotel and Towers in Harare, creating a dazzling spectacle. Stepping out,
their occupants show off designer suits and latest-model cellphones. It is
an extravaganza worthy of any Hollywood gathering. But the spectacle is
spoilt by the thousands of hungry-looking people who make up the
rent-a-crowd hired to sing and dance to greet the delegates attending the
leadership congress of Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu PF party. The praise singers
represent the other face of Zimbabwe: a country where shortages of basics
like water, fuel and electricity are rife, where foreign currency is
difficult to get and inflation is running at 200%. This is a country
described last week by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as a virtual
basket case. But for the top brass of Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu PF - or "chefs"
as they are known locally - who arrived at their congress in such style this
week, that might as well be a continent away.
While thousands are
said to be starving in his country, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and
his entourage sit at VIP tables decorated with flowers and bearing drinks,
water and imported delicacies. Inside the venue, banners like "MDC: The
People's Enemies" or "2005 Anti-Blair Election" hang on the walls. The 10
000 delegates - some put up at the city's finest hotels - enjoy three hearty
meals a day, a far cry from some of their families starving back home. Some
of the delegates, ambassadors in particular, have been flown from all over
the world to attend. Altogether, about Z$20 billion is believed to have been
blown on the congress. Yet, despite the problems besetting his people,
Mugabe does not talk about poverty, unemployment and macroeconomic
fundamentals such as inflation, interest rates and the exchange rate in his
keynote address. Instead, he spends most of his time attacking real or
perceived enemies, especially the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
and British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Even points about the economy, land,
elections, the power struggle in his party and international relations are
punctuated throughout by vitriolic remarks about Blair.
the five-day conference - which ends today - is characterised by infighting
and a vicious power struggle between two factions, one led by Mugabe's
former heir-apparent Emmerson Mnangagwa and another by retired army general
Solomon Mujuru. Outside the conference, however, another Zimbabwe is evident
- one slated by the IMF, which has visited Zimbabwe three times this year in
a bid to pull the country out of the quagmire. In a report issued last
month, the organisation said Zimbabwe's social and economic conditions had
continued to deteriorate. In particular, it said the disorderly
implementation of the land reform programme had contributed to a sharp
reduction in agricultural production. "Concerns about governance, the rule
of law and human rights, and the continued lack of clarity about property
rights," it said, "have severely damaged confidence, discouraged investment,
and promoted capital flight and emigration.Unemployment is very high and
increasing, social indicators have worsened, and the HIV/ Aids pandemic
remains largely unchecked. Severe food shortages have necessitated massive
food imports and donor assistance," it said. But those inside the Sheraton
Hotel and Towers this week appeared blind to this reality, ignoring their
culpability as they plot their course - and that of Zimbabwe - for the next
Journalists celebrate Zimbabwean minister's
demotion Zimbabwe's privately-owned media is rejoicing at the apparent
demotion of the country's controversial Information Minister, Jonathan Moyo,
in the ruling ZANU-PF party hierarchy.
Mr Moyo is seen as the
architect of the country's restrictive media laws.
He has been left out
of the party's central committee and while he remains Information Minister,
there is widespread speculation that he may be dropped him in an upcoming
The Sunday Mirror and the Standard newspapers have
both run lead stories headlined "ZANU-PF ditches Moyo".
newspapers attributed this to his involvement in a suspected plot to scuttle
the nomination of party vice-president Joyce Mujuru.
"No true Zimbabwean
is likely to feel any remorse for Moyo because of the way he single-handedly
changed the country's political and media landscape," the Standard> said
in an editorial.
"Moyo may not be out but he is certainly down by all
Mr Moyo, whose abrasive and combative style has angered several
senior ZANU-PF officials since his appointment more than four years ago, is
credited with designing Zimbabwe's harsh media laws.
The laws bar
foreign journalists from operating in the country and require all media
practitioners to register with a state-appointed commission.
More than a
dozen journalists have been arrested under the Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act while a few of foreign journalists have been
deported from Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe's largest privately owned newspaper,
Daily News, was shut down in September 2003 for failing to register with the
media commission as required by the law and is fighting its closure in the
The weekly Tribune newspaper was also closed in June this year
for contravening media regulations.
"News of his (Moyo) misfortunes
was met with jubilation by some journalists with some promising to throw
impromptu parties," the Standard reported.
Msika blasts Made Farirai Machivenyika/ Kuda
MINISTER of Agriculture and Rural Development, Joseph Made, was
yesterday undressed by the Zanu PF presidium over the high level of interest
rates being charged on loans obtained by resettled farmers from
Vice President Joseph Msika fired a salvo at Joseph Made, while
President Robert Mugabe registered dismay after Made revealed that his
ministry and Agribank officials had agreed to increase the lending rates
from the agreed 20-percent to 120-percent.
"We sat as government and
cabinet and initially agreed that the interest rates would be 15 percent,
but after negotiations with Agribank we later agreed to levy 20 percent. We
therefore want Made and company to explain where the 30, 70 and 120 percent
are coming from," Msika said.
As Msika spoke, a visibly angry President
Mugabe shook his head in apparent dismay at the interest rate hikes, which
had been registered as a major concern by delegates at the
"Ndozvinotinetsa nevakomana vedu vatinoshanda navo (This is the
problem we have with these boys who we work with). I don't want to be unfair
to Made but money issues are difficult. If he sees problems with the
interest rates, let him come back to cabinet. Not to just come up with
120-percent, it is unacceptable," said Msika to the packed auditorium in
reference to an embarrassed Made who could only smile sheepishly as the
vice-president castigated him.
The concerns on the interest rate
hikes came to light when former Energy minister, Enos Chikowore, presented
his committee's report on Land Reform at the congress.
delegates that the one of the major setbacks for the beneficiaries of the
land reform programme was the hike in interest rates on Agribank
President Mugabe was seen whispering something to Msika, who
relayed the message to Nkomo.
As soon as Chikowore concluded
presentation of his report, Nkomo then summoned Made to the high table to
give an explanation on the high level of the interest rates, but Made was
nowhere to be found.
He later came in and was immediately called to give
an explanation on the contentious issue.
Nkomo had to rein in Made
who tried to skirt the issue by concentrating on gender equity in
distributing land and the involvement of the youths in the
During his explanation, a visibly agitated President Mugabe
shook his head in disbelief as Made announced that they had increased the
rates to 120-percent and was only saved from further embarrassment when vice
President took to the podium to explain the issue to the delegates. At the
end of Made's presentation, a stern faced President Mugabe then left
immediately, headed for the airport to see off Mozambican president Joachim
Chissano who was returning to Mozambique. Other Politburo members including
Cabinet ministers - notably Minister of Youth Development, Gender and
Employment Creation, Shuvai Mahofa and minister of Science and Technology,
Olivia Muchena - openly jeered at Made while he was giving his
Mahofa was overheard saying: "Ari kunyepa ini ndakatotora
chikwereti changu che irrigation nezuro chaiye ne 70 percent (He is lying,
yesterday I borrowed money for my irrigation project at a rate of
70-percent)." The committee's report was only adopted by the congress after
the section on the interest rates charged by Agribank was
Made has been criticized ever since taking over the helms of the
agricultural ministry. In 2001, Made deceived the nation on the state of
food supply in the country.
Made argued that he had taken a trip
around the country in a helicopter and had seen maize everywhere; proceeding
on to assure the public that Zimbabwe had adequate grain resources. However,
Zimbabweans suffered from acute food shortages and the country had to import
Vaughan disappointed by rebels' absence Sun Dec 5, 2004 06:44
PM GMT By Telford Vice BULAWAYO, Dec 5 (Reuters) - England captain Michael
Vaughan said he was disappointed, "baffled and saddened" by the absence of
the Zimbabwe rebels from the controversial one-day series that ended on
Arriving two days late after a row over the banning of 13 British
media members, England won all four matches against the lightweight
Zimbabweans, who have now lost 17 consecutive one-dayers.
Zimbabwe's experienced players have not turned out for their country since
April when they became embroiled in a dispute with the Zimbabwe cricket
Fifteen players refused to play after Heath Streak was
succeeded by Tatenda Taibu as captain. Streak was a spectator at Sunday's
match which England won by 74 runs.
"When you see Heath Streak
sitting watching you in the stands it is disappointing Zimbabwe aren't
putting their best team on the field," Vaughan told reporters.
baffled and saddened. I'd like to have played against the Flower brothers
(Andy and Grant), Heath Streak, and Stuart Carlisle, all of those
Streak told Reuters he felt Zimbabwean cricket would have been
in better shape if the rebels were still involved.
"There are some
talented players in this team and we could have formed a strong combination
with them. You don't enjoy watching your country lose badly," he
After the match Streak lingered in the
Zimbabwe dressing room and chatted to some of his former team
"I still have a lot of friends in the changing room, I don't have
any issues with the players," Streak said. "My issues are with Zimbabwe
Cricket and the behaviour of some of the board members."
under pressure to pull out of the tour which was put in jeopardy when the
Zimbabwe government banned the 13 media representatives.
relented but the England squad arrived later than scheduled, playing four
games instead of five.
Vaughan felt the wider controversy that had dogged
the tour had taken its toll on his players early on.
"In the first
game in Harare I thought the guys were affected by what had gone on, but not
since then," Vaughan said, adding his relief that Zimbabwean president
Robert Mugabe had not attended any of the matches.
That might have meant
the England players would have had to shake Mugabe's hand. "I am relieved,
because I didn't want that to happen," Vaughan said.
Vaughan said he was
satisfied with England's performance in the series, though not without
"We've taken quite a few positives out of the four games.
We expected to win 4-0 and we did," he said.
"A lot of players have
given the selectors something to think about. But both times when we batted
first we've paced ourselves well until the latter stages of the
Mugabe's party faces strife ahead of Zimbabwe poll
05, 2004, 16:45
An internal power struggle over Zimbabwe President Robert
Mugabe's successor has weakened his Zanu-PF party's ranks ahead of
parliamentary elections next March and could split the party before he
retires, analysts say.
Mugabe is glossing over the cracks which emerged
after he bowed to pressure from a faction led by former army commander
General Solomon Mujuru to pick Mujuru's wife as second party vice president,
blocking the general's political rival. But political analyst and Mugabe
critic John Makumbe said the veteran Zimbabwean leader had damaged his
personal standing by supporting a move with regional and ethnic overtones,
and that this would weaken Zanu-PF in the coming months and
"Mugabe is putting up a brave face, a nice finish to this whole
saga. But the truth is that Zanu-PF is in deep trouble. There is a lot of
anger over how the whole succession question is being handled," Makumbe
said. "I think it is going to affect their campaign (for parliamentary
elections), and I don't think you can exclude outright splits towards
Mugabe's retirement if Zanu-PF has not found a fairer and smoother way of
handling who will take over."
First women deputy Joyce Mujuru,
water resources and infrastructure development minister, a politician in her
own right but who nobody expected to rise to the position which puts her on
course to succeed Mugabe, was elected and confirmed on Saturday night as
Mugabe's first woman deputy.
Analysts say Mugabe chose Mujuru over
parliament Emmerson Mnangagwa, regarded for years his heir apparent, because
he no longer trusted him.
This followed reports that his former state
security minister had once tried to lead Zanu-PF into a political deal with
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
maintained Mujuru was chosen in line with a 1999 resolution to elevate a
woman to the vice-presidency of the party, critics say he had bowed down to
a political faction bent on consolidating power in Zimbabwe's northern
Mugabe, Mujuru and the other co-vice-president,
81-year-old Joseph Msika, all come from Mashonaland, and Mnangagwa's bid was
largely driven by officials from the southern provinces.
Mujuru's election, Mugabe suspended seven top officials accused of plotting
to scuttle her rise in a purge Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation called "the
night of the long knives".
Opposition MDC still struggles The
80-year-old Mugabe himself was retained as Zanu-PF leader for another five
years at the congress, but has indicated he plans to retire as state
president at the end of his current six-year term in 2008.
appeared to be a conciliatory gesture and a hint that he is worried about
Zanu-PF's future, Mugabe retained in the party's 240-member policy-making
central committee dozens of lieutenants accused of siding with
Heneri Dzinotyiwei of the University of Zimbabwe said
although Zanu-PF has been rocked by the power struggles and will battle to
lift morale countrywide, the opposition MDC would still struggle to win the
March 2005 parliamentary elections.
"There are questions over the
MDC's organisational ability to take advantage of this, and there are
questions over the whole electoral framework which the government controls,"
Dzinotyiwei said. "There is a large feeling that they can only fight but
The MDC accuses Mugabe of rigging both the last
parliamentary elections four years ago and his own re-election in 2002 - a
charge he denies. Makumbe said Mugabe, in power since independence from
Britain 24 years ago, would try to maintain his ruling party movement by
co-opting some officials he has discarded in the past, enticing them with
"His problem is that he has played up his officials
against each other over too long a time and many are beginning to see
through his game," he said. - Reuters
Zanu PF ditches Moyo By Foster Dongozi and Valentine
... as the curtain comes down on its fourth National People's
Congress JONATHAN Moyo's two-year flirtation with the central committee of
the governing Zanu PF appeared to come to an end last night.
not feature in the new central committee announced last night. In the
outgoing Zanu PF central committee, Moyo was one of the 18 members drawn
from Matabeleland North province.
The Fourth Zanu PF's five-day National
People's Congress was meeting last night to elect the party's Presidium
members of the Central Committee. Members of the Politburo will be drawn
from the Central Committee.
The axe had been hovering above Moyo's head
all week after President Mugabe's patience ran out following an unauthorized
meeting Moyo organized for six Zanu PF provincial chairpersons, who have
since been suspended.
However, Moyo's fate remained undecided although
the threat of decisive action was pending and it appeared he was being set
up for the fall from grace, especially when Mugabe declared on Thursday: "We
want a new Central Committee and a new Politburo that will realize the unity
of the party." The suggestion was: its time to jettison some of the members.
Moyo's exclusion from the central committee last night appeared to herald
the beginning of the end of his romance with Zanu PF's upper echelons of
This is one congress that although Zanu PF sought to put up a
faŤade of a rejuvenated united party, the discordant murmurings over the
handling and suspensions of the six provincial chairpersons from Bulawayo,
Matabeleland North and South, the Midlands, Manicaland and Masvingo and the
fate of Mugabe's media czar seemed to hog the limelight.
against the six and the chairman of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War
Veterans Association, Jabulani Sibanda, Mugabe's position appeared secure
and unchallenged - at least on the surface.
During the day, a glum
looking Moyo spent the day holding his chin while political turncoat,
Sekesai Makwavarara, occasionally whispered in his ear.
of members of the Central Committee was supposed to start at 3.30PM but
Mugabe, vice president Joseph Msika and party chairman, John Nkomo, only
returned to the Harare Conference Centre after 5 PM as they were reportedly
locked in a meeting to veto and approve names nominated for the Central
This is where Moyo could have come unstuck as he has clashed
with both Msika and Nkomo, with newspapers under his control, routinely
pillorying the two. Moyo was one of the names, which had been submitted by
Matabeleland North after he defeated Bulawayo governor Cain Mathema 73-23
votes last week.
"We did a lot of vetting, others we vetted in, others we
vetted out," said Nkomo later.
Mugabe, who is believed to have always
admired Moyo as the ruling party's spin-doctor only became annoyed with the
junior minister after he invited six provincial chairpersons to Tsholotsho
for a meeting, which is believed to have come up with the so called 'The
Amid murmurings from the delegates that: "It was
a coup meeting," Mugabe blasted the gathering in Tsholotsho. "We don't want
party members who engage in secret and clandestine dealings. Things should
be done in the open and that is why we suspended the
"It was wrong for them to go to a secluded place, ngale
eTsholotsho to hold secret meetings."
He warned his supporters to
guard against people who bought their way into the party. "Those people who
use money to buy minds and hearts of the people are political prostitutes,"
thundered the 80 year-old president.
A distraught-looking Moyo stormed
out of the congress venue as soon as Mugabe finished his
During the elections he sat in the terraces together with
Matabeleland North delegates looking very distressed and
Smartly dressed in a beige suit, Moyo quietly walked out of the
conference hall accompanied by an aide who did all the talking while his
boss looked disinterested.
He declined to respond to questions asked
by The Standard.
Moyo usually jokes with fellow politicians after party
gatherings but yesterday it was a different story.
The aide stopped a
numbed Moyo when he tried to walk into the pouring rain in a bid to leave
the congress venue.
The aide borrowed an umbrella from a fellow delegate
before the two disappeared into the rain.
The congress also confirmed
the nomination of Joyce Mujuru as one of the Zanu PF vice
Also left out of the new central committee was Mashonaland
West Provincial chairman, Philip Chiyangwa and his Harare counterpart, Amos
The presidency also overhauled the nominations from Bulawayo,
which were reportedly aligned to Moyo and Speaker of Parliament, Emmerson
They retained Dumiso Dabengwa and Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, who had
been elbowed out by the Bulawayo leadership.
The congress, afraid of
chairpersons repeating a similar stunt, resolved that provincial executives
would not nominate members of the presidium alone.
Provincial Co-ordinating Committees, which include members of the Central
Committee and Politburo, the provincial leadership and district and branch
executives would participate in nominating the presidium.
presided over the formulation of repressive media laws, which has led to the
closure of newspapers and the arrest of journalists. News of his misfortunes
were met with jubilation by journalists with some promising to throw
assets of Time Bank will be sold and its investments liquidated, as the
bank's curator races to repair the bank's badly damaged balance sheet before
The assets include land at the centre of allegedly
improper dealings between Time Bank and property company Watermount Estates,
which began in March this year, sources said last week. Time Bank is also
believed to have made considerable investments on the money market, which
the curator is now seeking to liquidate to raise cash for the bank. "Work
to convert medium and long term assets of the bank to cash as quickly as
possible is continuing. I will keep stakeholders informed of significant
developments," curator of Time Bank, Tinashe Rwodzi of PriceWaterhouse
Coopers, said Friday.
Properties owned by Time - including some land
registered to directors - are already being sold, a source said. The bank's
holdings in treasury instruments and stocks will also be liquidated to shore
up the bank's liquid assets.
Rwodzi said an investigation into the
state of the bank had found that executives had run the bank's debts well
above its assets, leaving the bank in what he said was "a severe liquidity
"My work to date has, among other things, established that the
bank has a severe liquidity crunch. The current liabilities of the bank far
exceed its current assets," Rwodzi said.
The curator said the depth
of the bank's liquidity crisis was such that the it was unable to pay out
October salaries trapped in the bank or support any other outflows of cash
to depositors. The curators of other banks that have been under curatorship,
such as Trust bank and Royal, have made such concessions to
"Unfortunately, due to the bank's negative liquidity, I am
unable to make any payments in this regard any time soon," Rwodzi
It is understood that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe wants to find a
resolution to the problems at Time Bank before it can launch its ambitious
project of amalgamated failed banks, the Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group
"The events at Time were unforeseen," a central bank source
said last week. "It is a major distraction now and the RBZ had not planned
to bring it into ZABG. This means they (curator) have to be quick in
stabilising matters there. It's no easy task, but we want to start the New
Year on a whole new plane."
Time Bank was placed under Rwodzi's
management on October 27, only weeks after the bank assured both central
bank and the public that it was solvent and that it had capital well in
excess of the $10 billion minimum capital
StandardBusiness revealed last Sunday how Time Bank laid
out $120 billion for a land deal with Watermount within a month. Authorities
however say up to $440 billion in depositor funds have gone missing at Time,
a charge that led to the arrest of founder and CEO Christopher Tande and six
other current and former directors and associates of the bank.
Watermount payments were made for on-lending to 12 applicants for pieces of
land at Rheimer Farm, a property along Mutoko Road.
Murerwa sticks to old traditions By Rangarirai
HERBERT Murerwa stuck to all the old traditions of past Budget Days
last Thursday - the pose for the cameras with the briefcase, the swagger
towards the podium, and the introduction heavy on optimism.
by the time he had read through his 66 pages last week, the acting Minister
of Finance had given the country only the latest confirmation that overall
command of the economy has now been prised from his Ministry and handed to
central bank. This is a suggestion that government, and the RBZ itself, has
always strongly denied. In March, Chris Kuruneri shot down suggestions that
the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe had usurped the authority of the Finance
Ministry - and indeed the responsibilities of several other
"The (Finance) Ministry is not dead. We work in close
consultation with the RBZ," Kuruneri said. This was, of course, only days
before he was famously arrested on foreign currency-related
But Murerwa's Budget gave scant evidence that the Finance
Ministry is indeed still as relevant to current economic management as it
would claim. The greater part of the Budget was devoted to mere support of
the monetary policies of RBZ Governor Gideon Gono.
"The Budget I have
just announced is designed to consolidate this turn-around process and to
usher in a period of sustainable economic growth and development," Murerwa
The decline in the influence of the Ministry of Finance began last
year, when Murerwa referred all the important stuff to RBZ's maiden monetary
policy statement of December 18. Since then, the Ministry has taken a firm
position in the back seat, showing neither the hope nor willingness to ever
return to the steering wheel.
The hard decisions that characterised
past Budget statements now seem lost. In the past, the days leading up to
Budget day would be tense with expectation. That was a time when business
put key decisions on ice, brokers on the stock market held their positions
and even the usual assortment of shady dealers also huddled in dark corners,
waiting. Not this time.
There appeared to be a strong feeling, not only
among the bureaucrats and economists, but even among the general population,
that someone else had already served the big meal; that what Murerwa would
give would be just the leftovers.
Members of Parliament have
religiously slept through every Budget over the years, even while everyone
else across the nation listened attentively. However, this year, the MPs'
napping bug must surely have spread.
Whereas in the past, policy on the
exchange rate was the main highlight of the national budget statement, this
key part of economic policy was missing. Since last year, this duty has been
handed to central bank, especially after Gono opened his foreign currency
Since his appointment, Gono has also assumed administration of
parastatals, leveraging that control on a large kitty of cheap funds he can
use to keep cash-hungry companies closely at his heel.
of Finance has also lost its former authority in the licensing of banking
institutions to the RBZ. The only reference to the financial sector was a
congratulatory message to RBZ for "fostering future stability of the banking
sector" and sounding support for the Zimbabwe Allied Banking
With the big stuff stripped out of his list of duties, there
was very little left for Murerwa to work and play with.
has not been collected for nearly a month in areas of Harare, because of a
dispute over proposed new refuse collection charges. Residents are furious
arguing that the non-collection of domestic waste was posing a major health
The Standard has established that refuse collection companies and
the financially troubled Harare City Council (HCC) are locked in a dispute
over payments that have paralysed refuse collection operations. Sources
in the council said yesterday the companies were demanding a review of their
payments from $5 to about $10 a bag to enable them to break even under the
current harsh economic environment.
The city council has refused to
review the payments insisting that it had no money resulting in the
companies, Cleansing Environmental Services, Encore Consolidated Private
Limited and Broadway Services, embarking on a "go-slow".
functionaries Joel Biggie Matiza, Oliver Chidhawu and Tony Gara, who could
not be reached for comment as they were attending the party's fourth
national congress, own the three refuse collection companies.
attempt to normalize the situation, the city council is using tractors in
some suburbs to collect garbage but that has not helped much.
Some of the
seriously affected areas are Warren Park, Kambuzuma, Highfield, Glen View,
Bluff Hill, Marlborough, Sunridge, Kuwadzana and Budiriro.
As loads of
refuse pile up at home, some residents are dumping their rubbish in storm
drains, blocking them in the process.
Harare residents last week said the
non-collection of refuse exposed them to diseases.
"They have not
collected refuse from here for four weeks now and it's garbage all over. We
fear an outbreak of diseases," said Viola Mlambo of Kuwadzana.
Zimpost warns against undeclared parcels By our own
ZIMBABWEANS in the Diaspora who try to evade customs duty by not
declaring exact contents of parcels and letters mailed to relatives and
friends risk losing their valued goods, Bekhitemba Ncomanzi, the manager for
Harare central sorting office, has said.
Ncomanzi said the practice
had resulted in valuable goods being lost or customers approaching ZIMPOST
to claim goods that were never posted in the first place. "If the
undeclared goods are lost, it is very difficult to trace them. Even when a
customer can prove that the goods were there," Ncomanzi said.
parcel that had been declared as containing a pair of sneakers and
photographs, when opened by customs officials, was discovered to be
containing two cellphones tucked in one of the sneakers.
said the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) were based at the sorting
"When ZIMPOST officials collect international mail from the air
port, they are accompanied by ZIMRA officials. Once the mail is loaded onto
a vehicle for transportation to this sorting office, ZIMRA officials seal
the vehicle to ensure that no one will temper with the mail, said the
"Upon arrival, the ZIMRA officials open the sealed vehicle and
check if the parcels contain anything that might attract customs duty. So it
becomes very difficult for a falsely declared parcel to go unnoticed or for
any received mail to get lost as there is tight security" explained
When asked why, despite the "tight security", customers
continued to lose their mail or receive them after considerable delays,
Douglas Zimbango, ZIMPOST director of sales and marketing, attributed the
problems to other post offices around the world that would have misdirected
He produced letters that were destined for Europe, which for
some reasons ended up in Harare.
"We keep records of all
international mail we receive, so if our customers have any complaints they
can approach ZIMPOST and we will be able to trace the mail in question,"
'Free Bennett' campaign goes international By our own
BULAWAYO - A movement fighting for the release of jailed
Chimanimani Member of Parliament, Roy Bennett, has launched a website to
publicise his plight while efforts to engage the international community in
support of his freedom intensify.
The Free Roy Bennett Campaign
website: http://www.freeroybennett.com started
operating last week and provides a history of his struggle with the local
authorities over Charleswood Estate in Chimanimani. It also carries
information on latest petitions aimed at securing his release. The
campaign is also collecting signatures for a petition to be presented to
organisations such as the SADC Parliamentary Forum, Inter Parliamentary
Union (IPU), and Parliamentarians for Global Action.
SEVERAL business concerns with offices at the Harare International
Conference Centre were ordered by Zanu PF officials to stop operations for
the duration of the ruling party's Congress.
Angry proprietors told
The Standard they stood to make losses running into hundreds of millions of
dollars due to lost business. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the
entrepreneurs, most of who are black, said unidentified people told them
they would compromise security during the congress if they were allowed to
"We find it strange that a political party which claims
to champion the policy of indigenisation should force emerging black-owned
businesses to close," complained one of the affected traders.
congress started on Tuesday and ends today (5 December).
organizations linked to Zanu PF were peddling copies of the ruling party's
constitution and other pamphlets while another organisation was selling
Destiny of Africa Network, which has offices at the Sheraton Hotel
and Towers grounds was not affected by the directive for the closure of the
offices. Reverend Obadiah Msindo, a Zanu PF stalwart leads
The fist-waving pastor, who prayed for a successful congress
while chanting ruling party slogans, claimed he had blessed the
The businesspersons said they were told to vacate their
premises last Saturday and to return only tomorrow.
"I have lost
business worth tens of millions of dollars because of the closure of our
offices. I don't know how I will recover from the unplanned loss," said a
Divisions rock Byo war veterans' body By Loughty
BULAWAYO - Divisions are threatening to tear apart the Zimbabwe
National War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) after one senior war veteran
announced last week the "suspension" of a Bulawayo war veterans' provincial
executive member for taking part in the controversial Tsholotshoail
War veterans in Matabeleland are divided into two camps with
one group backing the national chairman, Jabulani Sibanda, while the other
group is now supporting Andrew Ndlovu, the former secretary for project who
wants to take over running the association.
Speaking at a function in
Ntabazinduna last week, President Mugabe personally asked Andrew Ndlovu to
sort out the mess in the war veterans body in the provinces. Mugabe is the
patron of the war veterans association.
Ndlovu on Sunday convened a
meeting at the Bulawayo provincial offices in Entumbane where he announced
that the Bulawayo executive has been suspended for attending the Tsholotsho
meeting whose agenda, it is believed, was to scuttle the nomination of Joyce
Mujuru for the post of vice president.
Ndlovu also took a swipe at
Sibanda's leadership saying they would also deal with ZNLWVA vice-chairman,
Joseph Chinotimba, who attended the unsanctioned Tsholotsho
An interim executive, led by former ZNLWVA chairman, Stanley
Donga, was elected into office to replace the suspended Bulawayo
Ndlovu confirmed to The Standard that he was tasked by President
Mugabe to re-organise the war veterans leadership.
"We are in the
process of re-organising the war veterans leadership and we have suspended
the Bulawayo executive and, after the congress, we will move to Matabeleland
North and South because we understand the leadership in those two provinces
also attended the Tsholotsho meeting," Ndlovu said.
He said once the
re-organisation exercise was complete the results would be sent to President
"What the war veteran leaders in the provinces did is tantamount
to plotting a coup, because they defied the decisions of the presidium and
the politburo and, as trained soldiers, we see this move as treasonous,"
The "suspension" of the Bulawayo executive by Ndlovu, has
stirred a hornet's nest with the national executive dismissing the
suspension as the work of a "madman".
"Andrew Ndlovu and his clique
are not even active members of war veterans but they are criminals who are
trying to raise dust in a rainy season but there will be no dust because the
scandal-ridden Zexcom and Zankorp are still being investigated,"Sibanda
MDC predicts more violence after Zanu PF congress By our
THE Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says the just-ended
Zanu PF Fourth National People's Congress was an opportunity used to whip up
anti- MDC emotions and set the stage for what may turn out to be violent
general elections in March next year.
President Robert Mugabe and
other senior Zanu PF officials including Vice President Joseph Msika and
Speaker of Parliament, Emmerson Mnangagwa persistently chanted the slogan
of: "Pasi neMDC!" (Down with MDC) during the five-day congress. The
Harare International Conference Centre (HICC), venue of the congress, was
festooned with posters carrying messages such as MDC: Enemies of the People,
MDC: Blair's Running Dogs.
Paul Themba Nyathi, the MDC spokesperson said:
"We all know that by its nature, Zanu PF is a violent party and that is why
they have slogans like Zanu ndeyeropa. The congress was used as an occasion
to whip up emotions and incite their supporters to engage in violent acts
against MDC members."
He said it was unfortunate that Mnangagwa also
chanted slogans against the opposition.
"For Mnangagwa, who is the
Speaker of Parliament, to chant anti-MDC slogans when the party is the
official opposition party is the most despicable thing to do."
added: "We appreciate that Mnangagwa has to ingratiate himself with the Zanu
PF leadership after losing the race for the vice presidency. But for the
Speaker of Parliament to use such inflammatory language ahead of a general
election is a very unfortunate development. But then, such is the level of
intolerance of different views in Zanu PF."
Zanu PF national chairman,
John Nkomo, preferred to say: " Phansi lesitha." (Down with the
Nyathi scoffed at the attack on British prime minister, Tony
Blair by President Mugabe in his opening address.
"If Blair is such a
bad person, why have hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans fled to his
country? Attacking Blair is a ploy to divert Zimbabweans from real issues
like hunger, lack of jobs, poor health delivery, high cost of living and bad
Commenting on Mugabe's statement that MDC president Morgan
Tsvangirai should concentrate on meeting the Zimbabwean electorate and not
foreign heads of State, Nyathi retorted: "Tsvangirai has been unable to
travel for more than two years and he is explaining the MDC position to
other leaders. That is a statement by a jealous person who is no longer able
to travel at will. In any case, Mugabe says we should hold meetings locally
but his officials are barring us from holding rallies."
MDC rallies set for last week were barred on allegations that police
officers would be providing security at the Zanu PF Congress.
the MDC has defended international forays into Africa and Europe by
Tsvangirai, saying its leadership has not abandoned its support base at home
but was consulting the international community on various issues.
collecting his passport from the courts two months ago, Tsvngirai has been
on a whirlwind tour that has taken him to Mauritius, Botswana, Burkina Faso,
Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, France and
Nyathi said it was evident Zanu PF was taken aback by the
support Tsvangirai received especially among African leaders.
way Tsvangirai was being feted in Africa and in Europe did not please people
in Zanu PF because Mugabe now does not enjoy the same treatment and that is
why they are creating stories that Tsvangirai has abandoned campaigning
Nyathi said during the past two years Tsvangirai
had focused on meeting people at grassroots level since he did not have a
passport to travel abroad.
Hunger claims 10 more in Bulawayo By our own
BULAWAYO - Ten more people have died of hunger in the country's
second largest city of Bulawayo, bringing the malnutrition death toll
recorded in the city to more than 180 over the past year, official council
Bulawayo city council minutes on health, housing and
education for November, reveal that nine children under the age of four and
a 70-year-old man died as a result of malnutrition last month. The
deceased were from Bulawayo's wards 2, 4, 7, 9, 14, 15, 19 and 22.
Ndabeni-Ncube, the executive mayor of Bulawayo, refused to comment on the
The mayor has in past provoked the ire of Zanu PF government
officials for revealing that people were dying of malnutrition in
"At the moment, the Bulawayo city council is feeding over 13
000 children at council clinics but the number of these desperate children
is increasing each day," said one councillor, who asked to remain
Archbishop Pius Ncube, the head of the Roman Catholic
Archdiocese of Bulawayo, said the deaths were a cause for concern. "It is a
shame that the latest 10 deaths have come at a time when the governing Zanu
PF party is spending billions of dollars feasting at its congress," he
Zanu PF in-fighting could prove costly By Savious
BULAWAYO - A senior politician in Matabeleland has predicted a
tough time for Zanu PF in its bid to win back parliamentary seats lost to
the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) five years ago.
"Hate me or
not but the truth is that the Politburo does not learn from past mistakes.
It imposed George Mlilo on Bulawayo residents during the 2002 mayoral
election and Zanu PF lost dismally to MDC," provincial chairman Themba Ncube
told a stunned audience that included President Mugabe at Elangeni Training
centre in Bulawayo last week. "People responded by not voting and this time
around we are repeating the same mistake by imposing central committee
members who were initially rejected by people and expect to win elections in
Matabeleland region. This is a recipe for disaster," he said.
added that even if the opposition was not as strong as it used to be, he
could foresee the ruling party suffering yet another defeat in the 2005
parliamentary election as a result.
Ncube, alongside five other
provincial chairmen, was last week suspended from the party for six months
for attending a secret meeting convened by the Minister of State for
Information and Publicity, Professor Jonathan Moyo, in Tsholotsho three
In a clear demonstration of Zanu PF's "dictatorial
tendencies", President Mugabe and the politburo reversed recent nomination
outcomes for Matabeleland region to reinstate former PF Zapu military
supremo, Dumiso Dabengwa and educationist Sikhanyiso Ndlovu who had lost
Dabengwa and Ndlovu, who were members of parliament
(MPs) for Nkulumane and Mpopoma respectively, fell by the wayside during the
2000 parliamentary election when Bulawayo residents voted for the
Justifying the move, Mugabe said voting for new blood was not bad
but the party would not want to see Dabengwa and Ndlovu out.
are other people with a good record in the party and we are going to include
them even if they were voted out," Mugabe said.
intensified in the region with upcoming party cadres accusing the old guard
of violating rules and regulations and getting away with it. It is these
divisions that are likely to see the MDC dominating Matabeleland again,
Mavis Ncube, a staunch Zanu PF cadre based in Nkulumane,
said the entire community had rejected Dabengwa and Ndlovu but the "powers
that be" found it necessary to impose them once more.
MDC warns of food manipulation ahead of poll By our own
THE Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says the ruling party,
Zanu PF, is fighting to have a complete monopoly on food aid distribution in
the run up to the next year's parliamentary elections.
during a press conference in Harare on Friday, Renson Gasela, the MDC's
shadow minister for Lands and Agriculture, said that the government was
secretly importing maize in order to facilitate its agenda. "Inflating crop
yields does not only provide for a useful pretext for terminating food
relief efforts by international NGOs but it also creates a convenient
smokescreen behind which the government can covertly import food to coerce a
hungry electorate in the run-up to the elections," Gasela said.
investigation by the Parliamentary Committee on Lands and Agriculture found
out 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.
Gasela said with the consumption rate of 158 000
tonnes a month, the country would have run out of food by early next
"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," he said.
also said another reason why the government was "lying" about the food
situation was to portray the chaotic land reform programme as
Gasela said that an MDC government would ensure that
communal and re-settled farmers receive adequate inputs and financial
support so that Zimbabweans could see a revival of food production to levels
that guarantee food security.
Opposition activists injured in attack By our own
AT least four activists from the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) were injured during a brutal attack by a group of war veterans and
Zanu PF supporters in Mutare West last week. The four were accused of being
"saboteurs", the party's provincial spokesperson for Manicaland has
Pishayi Muchauraya last week alleged that Zanu PF had started "a
purging exercise" in Mutare West, beating MDC supporters to force them into
submission ahead of next year's parliamentary elections slated for
March. "They have a list of MDC activists and supporters whom they are
targeting. Last week, a group of Zanu PF supporters led by a well known war
veteran beat up suspected MDC supporters, injuring four people," Muchauraya
Among those assaulted are Abel Mukamba, Tendai Jakachira, Spenser
Gwizo and Walter Marange, who were treated at Marange Clinic before being
"We are arranging so that the four can go to Mutare to seek
specialist medical attention because they might have suffered internal
injuries," Muchauraya said.
Walter's mother, Mrs Emmilia Marange,
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 said the matter was reported at Chipfatura
Police Station but the suspects had not been arrested.
increased violence, it is nearly impossible for the opposition party to
campaign freely in the constituency. MDC aspiring MP for Mutare West,
Gabriel Chiwara, said he had resorted to different strategies to avoid the
police and Zanu PF activists.
"We have devised a strategy whereby we
hold planning meetings because if our supporters attend public meetings they
risk being victimised," Chiwara said.
Mutare West Member of Parliament,
Christopher Mushowe, who is the Minister of Transport and Communications,
could not be reached for a comment.
Police Spokesperson Oliver Mandipaka
said he was not aware of reports of violence in Mutare West.
More urban families succumb to poverty By Caiphas
WHILE other children of her age are playing various games in the
dusty roads of Unit 'H' in Chitungwiza, seven-year- old Yemurai just stares
from a distance.
She has neither the energy nor zeal to be part of
her joyous peers. Nearby her mother, 24-year-old Monica Murambi, is selling
tomatoes and vegetables to raise money for food for her skinny-looking
"She has not eaten anything since day-break. I hope I
will get a few customers before mid-day so that I can prepare her something
to eat," Murambi said.
Her other child, 10-year-old Prince, has gone
to school on an empty stomach. On good days, her two children would eat
porridge with salt in the morning.
Murambi, together with her unemployed
husband, Mike, say it is becoming increasingly difficult for them to provide
for the family.
"If I can't afford a decent meal in the morning. Do you
think I will be able to send my child to hospital if she falls ill?" she
says as she looks at frail-looking Yemurai.
The Murambi family's
predicament is reflective of an increasing number of families in Zimbabwe's
towns and cities as poverty takes its toll on the urban poor. More and more
urban families, like rural households, are failing to access food, health
and education as the economy continues to shrink. The most vulnerable are
those who live in high-density areas.
The second vice-president of the
Urban Council's Association of Zimbabwe (UCAZ), Alois Chaimiti estimates
that about 80 percent of urban dwellers countrywide live below the poverty
datum line, now pegged at around $1,5 million.
Chaimiti who is also,
the executive mayor of Masvingo attributes increasing poverty to
unemployment, retrenchments, closures of companies and the Aids pandemic
which reportedly claims about 3 800 people weekly.
"In the past few
years, scores of workershave been retrenched as firms closed down while Aids
continues to kill breadwinners, leaving children and dependants vulnerable,"
Chitungwiza mayor Misheck Shoko believes his town is the
hardest hit urban area in Zimbabwe because of its historical background. He
estimates as much as 90 percent of the town's one million people could be
classified as "very poor".
Unlike Harare, Bulawayo, Masvingo and
Gweru, he said, Chitungwiza was established as a dormitory town to provide
labour to the capital city.
The town has no proper industries and people
live in large numbers in small rooms due to shortage of accommodation,
exposing themselves to a host of health hazards.
"Most of people in
the town are poor because they are unemployed and those that work spend
their money on food and transport to Harare. As a result, they are left with
little money for their families," Shoko said.
He said proceeds from the
Christmas Cheer Fund, which used to help the needy, could no longer cope
with the rising demand for handouts.
Shoko has proposed the 'Zunde
raMayor', a project designed to assist the poor, especially children
orphaned by HIV/Aids.
"Through this project, we would be able to grow
maize and vegetables to feed the growing number of vulnerable people in the
town," Shoko said.
Just like Harare, Makoni and Chitungwiza Town Centres
have been invaded by street children and the destitute, who roam and beg for
money and food.
Chegutu mayor Blessing Dhlakama, who estimated that over
85 percent of the town's population is poor, said most people had turned to
street vending for a living.
"Because of poverty they are failing to
pay rates and as a result, as a council, we are also failing to break even,"
Bulawayo, the country's second largest town, has recorded
nearly 200 poverty related deaths. The city's mayor, Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube,
said there was need to put "safety nets" for the urban poor in
Aids activists note poverty in the urban areas has also fuelled
the spread of Aids as poor women and girls turn to prostitution for a
living. The poor, because of their condition, are more concerned with
"eating and living for the day".
Davies Chiweza, the executive
director of the Citizen Aids Survival Trust (Cast), an Aids crisis response
initiative, said Aids was rampant among the poor because they have little
choice on their destiny.
"Poverty is a catalyst to the increase of Aids
because people who are poor are desperate. Their decisions are based on the
needs of that moment and so they are more vulnerable," Chiweza
Over the years, the urban poor have been largely overlooked in
Zimbabwe food emergency needs because town dwellers were better off and used
to support relatives in the rural areas.
"The overall answer to
poverty, not only in Chitungwiza but countrywide, is addressing
macro-economic fundamentals. We have to achieve political harmony so that we
can have donors because without doing this we will just be addressing the
symptoms not the causes," Shoko said.
'only to win elusive Matabeleland votes,' critics
BULAWAYO - President Robert Mugabe's recent whistle-stop tour of
rural high schools in Matabeleland has brought to life the kingpin role
played by the late Vice president Joshua Nkomo in rallying support for Zanu
PF in the region.
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
won most of the seats in the 2000 general elections. The tour has,
however, exposed Mugabe's dilemma in attempting to convince the electorate
to support his party without evoking the name of the late Vice president. He
has to temporarily live in Nkomo's shadow - the man he harassed and accused
of sponsoring anti-government insurgents - to get the electorate's
Addressing villagers in Matobo at Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo High
School, Mugabe implored the people to keep the spirit of Joshua Nkomo alive
by remaining united. "You gave the school his name. On the other hand you
say you want MDC. What contradiction is that?" he asked.
Member of Parliament represents Matobo constituency, while the area has an
Mugabe appeared exasperated by the fickle nature of the
electorate in Matabeleland region, despite his party's victory in the Insiza
and Lupane by-elections. "Do you still have Nkomo in your mind? Do you have
him in your heart?" he asked saying the people of Matabeleland should show
Nkomo is still alive in their hearts, minds and whole lives.
among the region's surviving veteran politicians seems to have the charisma
and political stature of the late Vice president, resulting in small groups
trying to dominate the political landscape in both Matabeleland South and
Even Zanu PF national chairman, John Nkomo has been
entrapped in the same mindset; evoke Nkomo's magic wand and the political
mentality of the people in Matabeleland will turn around.
happening in the Matabeleland region is a sad and disappointing thing. As
orphans following the death of Joshua Nkomo we can ill-afford to be fighting
each other. We cannot be seen to be disunited as a people of this region,"
Nkomo told party provincial executives in Gwanda last week at a meeting to
realign the party following a spat with the Soviet-style
Recent events in which party provincial chairman for
Matabeleland South, Lloyd Siyoka was suspended from his post for failing to
follow a directive from the Presidium have jolted members out of ideological
ignorance - which the party operates on "guided democracy".
electorate in Matabeleland can be forgiven for taking a defiant stance and
providing Mugabe lukewarm reception that appear to question why recent
promises made during bye-elections in Inzisa and Lupane have not been
Still fresh in their minds is the proposed Lupane State
University that failed to register its first intake in September as
promised. The site is still scrubland without any sign that a university
will, one-day, rise from designated patch. The Gwayi - Shangani dam remains
largely at the drawing board stage while the electorate finds it hard to
believe that the flurry of development activity, which included road repair
and tarring, that preceded the two by-elections has almost
More importantly, the crackdown on dissenting voices in the
choice of party members who demanded change of leadership has done little to
assuage suspicions that the Unity Accord only benefits those in government.
Younger members want party executives that agitate for government to honour
"We have had a leadership that is bereft of ideas. The
party cannot be rejuvenated by the old guard who seem contented with
securing their positions than acting for the benefit of party members,"
complained Jabulani Sibanda, the war veterans' national chairman, who was
slapped with a four-year suspension from the ruling party for
Rank and file party members say the problems in
Matabeleland stemmed from factionalism fanned by senior members of the party
trying to take over Nkomo's role.
Not many party members bothered
when former Zanu PF national commissar, the late Moven Mahachi, emerged from
a crucial Politburo meeting convened to discuss widespread factionalism and
intra-party fighting and told a television interviewer: "We have adopted
'guided democracy' as a guiding principle."
Now that lapse of
concentration has come back to haunt the ruling party in Matabeleland,
particularly among former PF Zapu members.
After the People's Congress,
Mugabe could begin thrashing his hands about in frustration, desperate to
find a solution to the emerging divisions in the region which could threaten
the Unity Accord, something he always turns to when he wants to court the
Increasing demand for Zim commercial farmers in SADC By
our own Staff
MUTARE - THERE is great demand in the SADC region for
former Zimbabwean commercial farmers who lost their land and property during
the chaotic fast track land reform exercise, The Standard
A number of the farmers have moved to Mozambique and Zambia
where they were offered huge tracks of land. Others have travelled North to
Nigeria where they have found land in abundance in Kwara state, which has
spearheaded a campaign to lure the productive farmers. Acting Malawian
ambassador to Zimbabwe, Bill Itaye, last week made a passionate appeal,
during a meeting, for Zimbabwean farmers to invest in his
Itaye, who was in Mutare, said there were vast opportunities
for interested Zimbabwean farmers as well as businesspeople.
meeting, organised by the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce, (ZNCC) was
aimed at highlighting business opportunities between Zimbabwe, Malawi and
He said his country needed wheat farmers and those that could
"The country does not produce wheat and it is in
great demand. We offer duty-free and tax-free for businesses that already
pay tax in Zimbabwe when they open branches in Malawi," Itaye
In the last 10 years, he said, Zimbabwe exported up to US$95
million worth of goods to the country while Malawians exported between
US$9-10 million worth of goods.
"Malawi has been largely dependent on
Zimbabwe for footwear, cooking oil and margarine and we are happy Cottco
(Cotton Company of Zimbabwe) has moved into the country," he
Speaking at the same occasion, the Mozambican Consul-General,
Americo Chicolete, who is based in Mutare told the gathering that his
country needed Zimbabwean farmers and business people.
Portuguese, he said: "You mean a lot to Mozambique, we have rich soils for
"There are no land problems in the country as we
nationalised it soon after independence and has remained state land. There
are no fears of land invasions and there is security in the
Chicolete said his country was in dire need of foreign
investors, adding international investors would have to have at least US$50
000 while smaller businesses would require US$5 000 to set up businesses in
we gauged correctly the current mood in the ruling Zanu PF party as it
concluded its congress, some form of sanction is at hand to admonish
Jonathan Moyo, the junior Minister of Information and Publicity in the
Office of the President and Cabinet.
No true Zimbabwean is likely to
feel any remorse for Moyo because of the way he has single-handedly changed
the country's political and media landscape. Moyo himself must have known
that his day of reckoning would come some day, surely as night follows
day, Moyo may not be out yet, but he is certainly down by all accounts. And
barring any miracles, we dare say he will be out very soon.
whom many within and outside Zanu PF regard as mafikizolo may have thought
that he knows everything about power but alas - No. What's worse for him is
his failure to understand the nature of the beast that is Zanu PF. He did
not know that like a wounded animal, when cornered, Zanu PF can be vicious
in its treatment of those that dare cross its path. One has only to look at
the party's history - past and present - to confirm this.
predictable that sooner rather than later Jonathan Moyo would begin to pay
the price for his delinquent behaviour not only within the ruling party but
also within the Zimbabwean society at large. He symbolised the worst in
humanity i.e. destruction of freedom and democracy in this country as well
as wickedness, evil, racism and lies.
Today in Zimbabwe no name moves men
and women more quickly to anger and disgust than that of Jonathan Moyo. He
became in the year 2000 the greatest threatening force that the democratic
and freedom-loving Zimbabwe faces today. Moyo's repressive laws have had a
devastating effect on the lives of many Zimbabweans.
been closed down rendering many people jobless. Editors and journalists have
been fired from the State-owned media for no apparent reason other than that
this giver of evil gifts merely wanted to settle personal
Many a journalists have been arrested and harassed for no
justifiable reasons. A good number have fled the country literally killing
the media sector in the country.
Zimbabwe has become a pariah State
in the eyes of the international community largely because of this man's
recklessness and foul mouth. For four solid years, this mafikizolo of all
mafikizolos in Zanu PF has been beating on the independent media sector
mercilessly. He has been pursuing his wayward path with impunity knowing
full well that his only constituency i.e. President Robert Mugabe would
protect him come rain or sunshine.
But chickens have now come home to
roost. Jonathan Moyo had gambled with people's lives for far too long.
Ambition, abiding certitude, bristling self-assurance - all this has now
come to nothing. Moyo should have downsized his expectations. The crunch has
come with the 'Tsholotsho Declaration' resulting in the suspension of six
senior Zanu PF provincial officials.
As experiments do, some end in
disaster and the Tsholotsho experiment clearly ended in disaster. As the
convener of the Tsholotsho meeting, there is no way Jonathan Moyo can escape
the noose this time around unless he has a strange protector in the form of
a tokoloshi from another planet. As we write, Moyo must be a man staggering
around like a man who suddenly realises that he has lost his script and is
really reading some old sides from King of Kings.
We have said it on
numerous occasions and we say it again: We know of no government in the
whole wide world which has benefited from a repressive media environment.
Sooner or later such a government and its architect will come to
You cannot fight against the tide of democracy and hope to win for
all time. In the nick of time, you will be swept aside. Totalitarian
governments do not last forever. And what we in Zimbabwe have been subjected
to under the tutelage of this junior Minister of Information and Publicity
can only be described as the ultimate uroyi from this man.
Moyo's driving passion has been to change things from fairly good to very
bad. In this, he has succeeded - only temporarily. His evangelism against
the media both local and foreign can never be sustained. The triumphant
march of freedom can never be stopped.
The demise of the Smith regime
should have provided a salutary lesson to Jonathan Moyo: that repression and
crude media propaganda does not work in the long run. God has his own way of
punishing such people. At some point, God will proclaim: Let my people
Foolhardy and arrogant as this man has been, we still feel that we
must be magnanimous enough to wish him well as he nears the end of his
career and restlessly prepares for his retirement from the bumpy and
turbulent world of politics.
Covering over the cracks overthetop By Brian
SEVERAL troubled Central Africans have asked Over The Top why the
misinformation minister was sitting up in the gallery on the opening day of
the Zany Party Congress.
He looked lonely up there, people said, when
hoardes of ministers and chefs were grinning, clapping and sleeping down in
the front rows. Well, in truth Over The Top has no idea why the
misinformation minister was sitting up in the gallery, distanced from the
dignitaries down below. Perhaps he thought he'd have the moral high ground
Just days before, OTT noticed that the misinformation minister
was reportedly reprimanded by the Zany Party's politburo for holding an
unauthorised meeting down in the dry west, where few Zany people venture on
account of the overwhelming popularity of the More Drink Coming Party in
those arid regions.
And not only was the misinformation minister
reportedly reprimanded, the news was carried in his own Daily Horrid
newspaper - a paper where the minister takes time to write much of the copy
It was an interesting development, but troubled central Africans
shouldn't clutch at straws. The Most Equal of All Comrades personally took
time to congratulate the misinformation minister for countering imperialists
and malign influences that criticise the Zany Party. Such enemies of the
state, he said, had been thwarted by the misinformation minister's
Over The Top doesn't feel particularly thwarted except when
visiting supermarkets and filling stations where Zany economics have left
havoc and shortages, but never mind.
Still, despite the best efforts
to paper over the divisions, the Zany congress couldn't hide the fact that
all is not well within the party. Claims of 9,000 delegates were somewhat
belied by pictures of empty seats in the conference centre.
endless talk of discipline suggested that some chefs have been straying from
the straight and narrow - and it was interesting to see who was smiling and
who was not. Glum faces and weary applause seemed to suggest a certain
dissatisfaction in the ranks.
The Most Equal of all Comrades is said to
be extremely displeased that some provinces didn't vote for the vice
president they were told to vote for. About all this told
central Africans was that voting for people of one's choice was an alien
philosophy for the Zany Party. Mind you, if two violent elections haven't
taught the people what the Zany hierarchy thinks about free votes, nothing
Of course, one of the issues is that the Most Equal of all
Comrade's choice of a veepee happens to be a woman, sparking comments about
a man's place being on top - not to mention a certain amount of alarm among
more traditional members about redundancy.
Still, the question
troubled central Africans have been asking is whether the Most Equal of all
Comrades can afford to fire his chief spin doctor four months before an
election. Based on the assumption that "it was good while it lasted" - but
it hasn't lasted long enough, he probably can.
In the meantime, the
succession debate has been stymied, because the latest move has put an end
to it and there is no one in the sidelines to step into the
Perhaps the biggest irony, though, was the arrival of the
guest-in-chief, the president of a neighbouring country who is, strangely,
stepping down after 18 years at the helm. Odd that, when Zany officials
called on the troubled central African leader to stay in place until he
needs a walking stick to get from one place to another. Such calls should be
It's more likely the walking stick will be used to
beat recalcitrant and disobedient chefs over the head.
TIMES are hard but Zimbabweans just accept what's put in front of
them without question. This is what we have been reduced to by our pathetic
government. We are now cowards who just cannot stand up for themselves
The new ID scheme is yet another of government's under-hand
schemes to hoodwink us into voting for it. There is no doubt this is the
beginning of rigging of the March 2005 elections, but we will just accept
the results without question as we did before. Would we go out on the
streets as they did in the Ukraine? - no sir, not a chance! Otherwise why
didn't we show this "people power" two years ago, when it was obvious
elections had been rigged.
Historically, corruption was never part of our
society but today greed rules our hearts and we openly show our children how
corrupt we are. The cancer is growing and it will take some doing for any
new government to stop it.
How can we be true Africans and be proud of
our country, never mind continent, when we have allowed power and corruption
to take over our lives! Zimbabwe is burning and we have allowed it to
happen. We have never learned from our brothers up north who are now
enjoying the fruits of democracy.
One Zambian laughed in my face recently
saying: "You did not learn from our mistakes brothers. We thought you
Zimbabweans were more educated than us!"
After my father has raped the
farm he was given and there is nothing left anymore and he has spent his
money on wine, women and song, he is back in his little hut no better a
person than he was before. But he still wants the rest of the family to
continue toiling on the land. We tell him we are not farmers, and guess
what; we will lose the land to some other corrupt person! Has my father seen
the light; yes and he regrets his forced move in 2000.
They called the
recent Budget "the People's Budget;" - believe that and you will believe
anything. Does The Herald think we are that stupid to swallow this hogwash.
The truth is it was a rich man's budget and we, the peasants will continue
to live from hand to mouth!
I feel very hurt and want to chant and show
my feelings, but I fear I could land in prison and my family will suffer.
But if we do it collectively, we have a chance of changing the
ALLOW me space in your widely read newspaper to air my
grievances on the treatment of commuters by soldiers at the Rezende Zupco
Officers from the army are terrorising commuters at the
terminus especially during the evening rush hours. It is common knowledge
that there are transport problems but there is no excuse for the soldiers to
treat commuters in such a way. Often commuters are beaten up for no apparent
reason . To make matters worse the soldiers sometimes use electric cables
to beat harmless travellers - this is uncalled for. An educated person can
not do such an evil thing.
Recently a soldier harassed an innocent
student shocking nearly everyone at the terminus.
Please, may the
responsible authorities do something before these monsters cause much
suffering to innocent commuters.
Cultural revival or political posturing? Sundayopinion By
MY 10 year old daughter could not conceal her
exasperation when I failed to help her with her homework.
instructions from her class teacher were to list out 10 Shona proverbs, and
I could scarcely scrap two out of the 10. My pleas that having spent the
best part of my adolescence and adulthood outside Zimbabwe, I missed out on
some of the folklore tutoring that one gleans from a rural upbringing in
Zimbabwe, sounded like a lame excuse. In olden days, my sort were
derisively referred to as "bon-rukisheni" (born location), which meant
city-born and bred and therefore deprived of the wisdom that comes from
being mentored by village elders.
Apart from well grounded respect for
the elders, those raised "properly" in the village had other remarkable
attributes: they could yoke cattle blindfolded and use the the crude
implements in the village with consummate ease - a distinct advantage over
the "bon-rukisheni" when it came to finding a bride.
One of the ZTV's
mediocre so called local drama series, Nzungu Muriva, attempted to poke fun
at city life by exposing a young city girl to the vagaries of village life.
The girl, left by her parents to ostensibly get a taste of rural life,
showed discomfort in a soot-blackened smokey kitchen, provoking derisive
contempt from her more seasoned village hosts.
She was afraid of oxen;
had little knowledge of the routine chores in the village such as sifting
grain and was generally ignorant of how to behave in a village setting.
Protagonists of Zimbabwean culture frown down on people who do not know
their cultural roots or have no totems to identify them with their
Setting the cue for national intolerance of those perceived to
be less Zimbabwean, President Robert Mugabe raised the ire of foreign
nationals resident in the sprawling Mbare suburb when he chided them as
"totemless;" a profound insult to an African traditionalist!
foreigners, mostly Malawians and Mozambicans, more willing than the locals
to take on menial jobs like cleaning toilets or manning waste disposal
trucks, found a niche in the pre-colonial urban employment structures, and
invariably found themselves accommodated in what was then called Harare
township (Mbare) within walking distance of the Harare Central Business
While cultural practices are generally very loosely followed
and vary from one ethnic group to the other, more complex are
interpretations and levels of adherence to these practices, leaving them
open to exploitation by unscrupulous politicians who are invariably inclined
to use them as tools of political coercion.
Many people in Zimbabwe
are unconvinced of Jonathan Moyo, the junior Minister of Information and
Publicity's new role as advocate of the country's cultural revival. Moyo's
attempts to peddle the cultural agenda as the quid pro quo for his meddling
in the local entertainment industry has sought to foist on the public his
own interpretation of the country's cultural priorities.
instance, while Moyo has virtually banned foreign music from the local radio
and television, it is doubtful that his own musical compositions performed
by the band, PaxAfro, carry any significant cultural message. While most
Zimbabweans readily identify with traditional music genres like "Mbakumba",
"Muchongoyo," "Jerusalema" and lately "Sungura", Moyo's compositions can
scarcely be said to conform to these musical types.
The Kongonya dance,
being vociferously defended and promoted by those who seek to benefit
politically by identifying with cultural blandishments of the liberation war
period, is patently a silly dance with no artistic merit whatsoever beyond
its implicitly vulgar connotations. Kongonya has certainly no place among
such refined traditional dances as Mbakumba, Muchongoyo and Jerusalema which
are easily traceable to Zimbabwe's traditional culture.
Yet even these
fine traditional dances, though popular and regularly performed at the
Harare International Airport when the government welcomes visiting
dignitaries and at many other formal functions by "traditional dancers" they
can hardly be said to constitute the mainstay of the country's entertainment
By the same token, while it is also doubtful that PaxAfro would be
invited to perform at the Harare International Airport to welcome visiting
heads of State for the precise reason that their music can hardly be
described as local or traditional, Moyo has looked decidedly ludicrous the
few times he has tried to be "with the people" by joining in the kongonya
Over the past few years, musicians such as Aleck Macheso, Leonard
Zhakhata, Simon Chimbetu and scores of others have drawn impressive
audiences at their performances with music that combines the Sungura genre
with a great deal of influence from the ubiquitous and hugely popular "Kwasa
kwasa" or Rhumba music from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and West
Africa. But pop music, American soul, rhythm and blues, and lately rap and
so called hi-hop music remain, arguably, still dominant as the preferred
type of entertainment music.
It is a fascinating phenomenon that
music played by musicians like, for instance, the late Jimi Hendrix still
captures the imagination of fledgling musicians in Zimbabwe who seem to
believe the epitome of mastering the guitar is the ability to reproduce as
perfectly as possible the British rocker's "Hey Joe" classic.
is also no denying that a great majority of so called "rappers" in Zimbabwe
are undisguised copycats of American rap music with names like the late
Tupac Shakur, P Diddy, Snoop Dogg and scores of others with similarly
intriguing names immediately coming to mind.
To be fair, Moyo's
attempts to foist his music on the listening public for no better reason
than that it is performed by Zimbabwean musicians, has succeeded in one
respect only. That is in diverting financial resources towards propping up
young novices trying to find their feet in a brutally competitive field
where determinants of success can be just as fickle as those of failure. For
that, he should be applauded.
Beyond that, Moyo's foray into the music
industry has virtually placed Zimbabwe entertainment industry under siege.
Without the more refined international music to use as a yardstick to gauge
our own performance, mediocrity now rules supreme. Any one who thinks they
can sing can just rush off to the studio in the hope that in the absence of
anything better, their offering will find takers.
Indeed, it is
doubtful that under normal circumstances, any recording company that has its
eye on a good return on its musical product would be persuaded to record the
music of PaxAfro, a band of musicians who perhaps, with more practice and
grooming, would probably have some potential. This is a typical case of a
one eyed man among the blind, where Zimbabweans are being told it is
patriotic to support local mediocrity and treacherous to enjoy wholesome and
professionally produced music from the west.
In Moyo's deleterious hands,
music has been turned into an instrument of coercion being used ruthlessly
to marshall support for the ruling Zanu PF in much the same way that
fundamental distortions have been applied to the concept of culture so that
recognition and reverence of the country's liberation war heroes is viewed
as the epitome to cultural enlightenment.
Much as people are exhorted to
pay homage to fallen heroes of the liberation struggle, there seems to be a
thin line between genuine hero-worshiping and deceptive posturing by the
politicians. While paying tribute to declared heroes and prominent
personalities in society is a recognised global phenomenon, it is the
blatant exploitation of their names, evidently with little compunction, that
many find objectionable.
Lately, much disquiet has been expressed over
the musical concerts being held ostensibly to honour political icons like
the late Vice Presidents, Joshua Nkomo and Simon Muzenda, with critics of
the events saying their names are being exploited for political gain in the
same way, some would say, politicians exploit adherence to cultural norms
Something positive in Zanu PF Sundaytalk with Pius
BELIEVE it or not, I still have personal friends who are ardent
Zanu PF supporters with whom I socialize now and then. With one of them
however, our political differences were beginning to affect our personal
The last time we got together, he said to me: "Pius, you
are so biased. Your articles in The Standard are not balanced. You never
write anything positive about Zanu PF. You are always denigrating us and
praising the MDC." I told him that I would very much love to say something
positive about Zanu PF even if it is just so I can please my Zanu PF
friends. However, I find very little positive in that party since it is
responsible for the social, economic and political mess that we are in
today. After a rather heated conversation, we parted company on a rather
I value the friendship with all my Zanu PF friends,
especially those I grew up with, am related to, or worked with. They are all
good people trying to do their best under the circumstances.
to tell some of them that they would never be able to really serve Zimbabwe
under Zanu PF but they remain loyal to their party. It was their political
home since they were young and for them to leave is out of the question.
This was the case with the late Eddison Zvobgo and his partner Dzikamai
Mavhaire. They remained loyal even though the party gave them a rough
War veterans like Edgar Tekere and Margaret Dongo were made of
different stuff. They smelt the rat and protested. When their warnings and
protests were ignored, they chose to leave than be tainted.
can, therefore, understand my joy because today I have something positive to
say about Zanu PF. The nomination of Mai Joyce Mujuru for the Vice
Presidency is a very positive move. She deserves that post for she really is
a woman and a half.
I will not say anything about her history because
much has been said in the Press about that. I am writing as one who knows
her as a human being and a Zimbabwean who loves the people and her God. She
does not wear the Salvation Army uniform, as a political public relations
exercise as some are wont to do. Her faith in Christ and the teachings of
the Bible is real.
Mai Mujuru is a devoted Shona wife, doting mother and
real pillar of strength to her extended family and relatives. She is a real
role model for our young women. As Vice President she will be a real mother
to the nation in the same grain as Mai Sally Mugabe. President Mugabe must
be congratulated for nominating her. Apa magonawo Gushungo.
Mujuru is a tolerant politician who is loved across the party political
divide. If a relative or friend of hers who belongs to the opposition is
sick or bereaved she will go to visit or attend the funeral. Political
pretenders will not do this. This is why I believe that if she were to stand
for President of Zimbabwe many in the opposition camp would vote for her.
Such is her character.
The idea that public political office has
nothing to do with one's private and personal life is hogwash. True
political leaders are also leaders in moral and ethical uprightness. Mai
Mujuru is such a leader. She is so different from a good number of Zanu PF
women who are social rejects. They are in politics only for what they can
get and don't have the respect of our society.
These can't be role
models for our girls or young women because they change husbands as often as
they change their panties. Some of their "husbands" are actually younger
than their firstborn children. They are indeed the ones who are tarnishing
the image of Zanu PF, not the MDC.
A positive by-product of Mai Mujuru's
nomination is the unmasking of bad apples in the party who had their own
self-seeking agendas. I am talking about the six Zanu PF leaders who were
suspended from the party for their machinations against Mai Mujuru's
nomination and their disrespect of senior party members.
alleluia, when I heard that President Mugabe had finally discovered that
Jonathan Moyo is a snake in the grass. However, many people are puzzled by
the gullibility of our president. How could Moyo fool him for so long? Many
especially Vice-President Joseph Msika tried to warn him but he would not
The only answer is that President Mugabe is so desperate to cling
onto power that he has surrounded himself with sycophants who tell him what
he wants to hear and who seem to be protecting him from enemies who are, in
fact, creations of their own fertile imaginations.
The opposition MDC
must be disappointed and worried. Their inside man, Moyo has been unmasked.
After trying to destroy Zanu PF by his writings without success he followed
the wise adage, "If you can't beat them, join them."
He decided to join
Zanu PF in order to destroy it from within. Without being elected, he wormed
his way into the ruling party like a weevil until he became a powerful
member of the Politburo and a Cabinet minister. From that vantage position
he has done a commendable job of destroying what was left of Zanu PF's good
image. He also created confusion and lack of trust among the previously
united Zanu PF.
On 23 December 2002, I wrote about Moyo in The Daily
News. I said: "He took note of Mugabe's vanity, egoism and egotism and used
that to catapult himself to the highest echelons of power. This was not
difficult because Jongwe is terribly susceptible to praise and adoration.
He, therefore, started to sing the President's praises and in no time, his
soft purring voice put the mighty Gushungo in a trance and had him literally
eating out of his hands."
When the opposition gives its vote of
thanks to Moyo for throwing Zanu PF into disarray they must not forget to
mention his fellow unelected ministers, namely Minister of Justice, Patrick
Chinamasa, who has turned his ministry into the Ministry of
He fought hard for unjust and unconstitutional laws to be
passed by a docile and rather bemused Zanu PF parliament of hand clappers.
Nor should they forget the comical Minister of Agriculture, Joseph Made, and
his "bumper harvest" buffoonery. Life is hard in Zimbabwe. His buffoonery
helped us all to forget our misery and laugh for a while.
Mahoso, the conspiracy theorist, deserves special mention. His "western
conspiracy" theories against Zimbabwe helped many to regard Zanu PF as a
part of the world theatre of the absurd, totally incapable of solving
The three above-mentioned musketeers did a
splendid job in destroying Zanu PF's as a serious political
Many are baffled by the fact that Moyo, the convener of the
treacherous Tsholotsho meeting only got a reprimand while those he invited
were suspended from the party. The reason is simple. He is not even a
card-carrying member of Zanu PF and therefore cannot be suspended from a
party of which he is not a member. He is simply at the mercy of the
President who appointed him and has now angered. Didn't Zanu PF Secretary
for Information and Publicity, Nathan Shamuyarira, say that his (Moyo's)
fate would be decided upon later?
Impeccable sources say that he has
already approached the University of Zimbabwe for a teaching