Commonwealth should expel Zimbabwe 'if elections not fair'
should be expelled from the Commonwealth if it fails to hold free and fair
presidential elections next year, says New Zealand's
Phil Goff says Robert Mugabe has brought Zimbabwe to
"the brink of self-destruction".
He claims the president's regime has
also broken a Commonwealth-backed agreement, aimed at finding a way through
Zimbabwe's land reform process.
"President Mugabe appears ready to do
anything to stay in power including destroying his country, formerly one of
the most promising economies in southern Africa," Mr Goff said.
very clear to me that if we do not have a free and fair election in Zimbabwe
before March 17, Zimbabwe no longer has any place within the Commonwealth,
should be suspended and expelled unless the current measures are reversed,"
Mr Goff says he will speak next week with Commonwealth
secretary-general Don McKinnon to emphasise the "critical importance" of
getting international observers into Zimbabwe before the
Probe fails to link ‘economic sabotage’ to white-run farms
Reporter 12/6/01 1:37:54 AM (GMT +2)
A GOVERNMENT investigation into
allegations of economic sabotage has failed to unearth proof that whites are
deliberately creating commodity shortages and other economic hardships,
although the probe linked some company closures to the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC), it was learnt this week.
the Indian Ocean Newsletter, published by Africa Intelligence, the
investigation was carried out by the National Economic Conduct Inspectorate
(NECI) earlier this year and has been kept secret until now.
investigation did not find any proof of economic sabotage
allegedly perpetrated by white-owned companies that have closed down or
downsized in the past year and which have been blamed by President Robert
Mugabe’s government of trying to push it out of power.
No comment was
available from NECI or Finance Minister Simba Makoni this week.
according to the Indian Ocean Newsletter, the paucity of evidence has been
the main reason why no one has so far been convicted and imprisoned
for trying to sabotage the economy.
"The Ministry of Finance’s
National Economic Conduct Inspectorate has not been able to find any proof of
economic sabotage allegedly perpetrated by hundreds of white-headed companies
having reduced operations or shut down entirely," the newsletter
The investigations however found that a small number of firms
had deliberately failed to repatriate foreign currency into the
In one of the cases, the United Tour Company (UTC) is alleged to
have failed to bring back to Zimbabwe about US$1.5 million ($82.5 million)
paid by foreign tourists.
UTC managing director Patrick McCosh
appeared in court in October facing charges of contravening a section of the
Exchange Control Act by allegedly allowing his company to give foreign
tourists petty cash locally for hard cash paid overseas.
the newsletter, the NECI probe also unearthed links between the MDC and some
of the companies that have closed down in Zimbabwe.
At least 600
Zimbabwean companies have closed since the beginning of last year due to the
country’s worsening economic crisis, dramatised by foreign currency and fuel
The problems are worse in the country’s second largest city,
Bulawayo, where 50 percent of industry is said to be under extreme pressure
and is threatened with closure, resulting in the government charging that
the private sector was engaged in acts of economic sabotage.
this week denied any links with the private sector in Zimbabwe or abroad and
said its main source of funds are its members in their
"In fact, we have received very little funding
from the corporate sector in the last two-and-half years," MDC economic
affairs secretary Eddie Cross told the Financial
Foreign funding of political parties was outlawed
earlier this year as part of efforts by the government to weaken the
opposition, which it believes has massive support from organisations
THE government has snubbed requests by the commercial farmers
organisation, the Zimbabwe Joint Resettlement Initiative (ZJRI), for a
meeting to discuss amendments made to the Land Acquisition Act last month, it
was learnt this week.
Agricultural industry sources said the
government had rejected a written plea by ZJRI last month asking for an
urgent meeting to discuss the amendments, under which farmers can be given 90
days notice to cease farming and vacate their properties and which also limit
the size of their properties.
In the letter written by ZJRI chairman
William Hughes, a copy of which was shown to the Financial Gazette this week,
the commercial farmers indicated to the government that the amendments, which
were gazetted last month, would adversely affect them.
potential impact of (Statutory Instrument) SI 338 in combination with the
proposed maximum size regulations, we urgently request a meeting with the
Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and the Minister of
Lands, Agriculture and Resettlement to clarify the government’s intentions
and the way forward for ZJRI," reads part of the letter.
"At least 85
percent of Commercial Farmers’ Union (CFU) members are immediately vulnerable
to the new legislation and those not subject to SI 338 are now vulnerable to
the proposed maximum farm size regulations."
There was no immediate
comment this week from the ministers of agriculture and justice, Joseph Made
and Patrick Chinamasa, on the government’s rejection of discussions with
ZJRI, which in the past has had a relatively warm relationship with the
The CFU has however warned of massive disinvestments from the
agricultural sector because of the amendments, while some analysts have
forecast that the measures requiring farmers to vacate their properties
within three months could lose the Zimbabwean economy more than 3 000 jobs
and $7 billion in revenue every month.
Farming sources said there was
a group of individuals in the government that was trying to scuttle ZJRI’s
efforts to find a lasting solution to the land issue.
They said the
gazetted statutes flew in the face of the government and ZJRI’ s joint
technical committee established to resolve the impasse over
"This process (land reform) is being derailed by some
individuals who do not want to see solution to the land problem in Zimbabwe,"
a senior CFU official said.
"At one time you hear the right signals
from some people but then you get a totally different response when you
engage some of them. It’s frustrating."
ZJRI is a partnership between
commercial farmers and the private sector which has offered the government an
initial tranche of one million ha of land to resettle more than 20 000
families, who would also benefit from a $1.3 billion revolving
Farmers this week said Monday’s ruling by the Supreme Court, which
legalised the government’s controversial fast-track land reform programme,
had dampened any hopes of successful talks with the government.
THE Zimbabwe government has given farmers until the
end of next week to destroy tobacco they might be holding on their farms as a
precaution against the spread of crop diseases, according to a recent
A notice in the Government Gazette last week
gives tobacco farmers until December 15 to destroy the current
"The effect of this is that anyone who has Virginia, Burley or
Oriental tobacco in his possession or under his control which has not been
sold by 15 December will have to destroy all such tobacco on or before that
date, unless he holds a permit issued by the Tobacco Industry and Marketing
Board (TIMB)," reads the notice.
Zimbabwe Tobacco Association
president Kobus Joubert said the move was meant to prevent farmers from
keeping their crop until the next selling season as this would result in the
spread of diseases.
He said growers could still apply to the TIMB for a
special permit to sell tobacco, Zimbabwe’s single largest foreign currency
earner, next year but under very stringent conditions.
"This law is
done for disease prevention," said Joubert. "You can apply to the TIMB for a
special permit to be allowed to sell your tobacco crop
Joubert said his association was however still not aware
of how much tobacco had not been sold to the auction floors by the farmers
There have been reports that some farmers could have withheld
their crop in protest over the current fast-track land reform plan that has
resulted in the government seizing commercial farms for the resettlement of
Zimbabwe’s tobacco selling season, which started on a
slow note in April, ended on October 26 with more than 202 million kg of
flue-cured tobacco worth more than $35 billion having been sold at the
About 236.9 million kg of flue-cured tobacco worth $19.3
billion was sold in the same period last year.
More than 4.5 million
kg of Burley tobacco worth $422.6 million was sold in the marketing season
this year, compared to 7.6 million kg worth $301.6 million last
Tobacco farmers have warned that they have reduced plantings this
season by more than 10 000 hectares because of the disruption of agricultural
activity on farms forcibly occupied by self-styled war veterans and other
ruling ZANU PF party supporters.
This could have disastrous effects
for Zimbabwe’s foreign currency generation and worsen already critical hard
Long-term, a reduction in tobacco production could
force some international tobacco merchants to strike Zimbabwe off their list
of reliable suppliers
ZIMBABWE’S agricultural input manufacturers and other service
providers involved in the land reform programme stand to lose more than $30
billion during the current season because of new government controls of
prices of key inputs and its offer of free services to resettled farmers,
analysts said this week.
The analysts told the Financial Gazette
that the fertiliser and maize seed manufacturers would be among the companies
severely affected by the government’s decision to freeze prices of the
Other organisations likely to be affected by the fast-track
land resettlement exercise include the District Development Fund which
is expected to provide free tillage to resettled farmers.
government last month introduced price controls on fertiliser and maize seed
in a move aimed at making the inputs affordable to the thousands of newly
resettled communal farmers.
"Given the number of families that have been
resettled so far, the government would have paid in excess of $30 billion if
it had decided to meet the full cost of some of the schemes under the
resettlement exercise. This is almost the same amount as the vote for
defence," said an analyst with a Harare-based commercial bank.
however, did not say how he arrived at the figure or give a breakdown of how
much the individual sectors would lose. The Ministry of Defence got $34.4
billion in the 2002 national budget.
Official statistics show that more
than 250 000 families have been resettled under President Robert Mugabe’s
controversial fast-track land reform programme.
John Robertson said the cash-strapped Zimbabwe government would be unable to
meet the additional cost of subsidising farmers because of the large numbers
of farmers involved.
"Doing so would cause more problems for the country,
given the already precarious situation we find ourselves in," he
A dark cloud has hung over Zimbabwe’s key agriculture industry
since last year due to uncertainty among white commercial farmers about the
land reform programme.
More than 4 000 largely white-owned commercial
farms have so far been designated for acquisition under the fast-track
resettlement programme, causing uncertainty over the future of an industry
that employs more than 350 000 workers.
Economists say commercial
agriculture directly and indirectly contributes about 50 percent of
Zimbabwe’s annual gross domestic product while over 60 percent of local
industry is agro-based.
The country’s agricultural output is estimated to
have declined by 25 percent during the 2000/01 season and the country faces
deficits of 593 000 tonnes for the staple maize, 150 000 tonnes for wheat
and 11 000 tonnes for rice.
By Basildon Peta Special Projects
Editor 12/6/01 2:47:28 AM (GMT +2)
THIS week’s ruling by the Supreme
Court, which allowed the government to press ahead with its controversial
land reforms, was a clear indication that the governing ZANU PF party has
finally managed to take over the bench, experts said this
The experts, including lawyers and constitutional law
lecturers, described as tragic the Supreme Court ruling that has finally
legalised the govern-ment’s controversial land reforms blamed for causing
anarchy in Zimbabwe.
The Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice Godfrey
Chidyausiku, ruled on Monday that the government had taken adequate steps to
deal with violence on commercial farms and so should therefore proceed with
its land reforms.
University of Zimbabwe (UZ) law lecturer Lovemore
Madhuku said the Supreme Court had now been virtually reduced to a political
organ of the governing ZANU PF party.
"I have read the judgment in
full. It has no legal reasoning, it is just a collection of political
statements," said Madhuku.
Another UZ lawyer Emmanuel Magade said he also
disagreed with the judgment, while constitutional law expert Greg Linington
said he was thoroughly disappointed with the judgment.
with the concurrence of three other judges of the Supreme Court, ruled the
Zimbabwe government had taken adequate steps to enforce the rule of law in
commercial farming areas and its controversial land reform programme was
Chidyausiku said to expect the Zimbabwe government to
bring about a total crime-free environment on commercial farms would be
"inconsistent with the concept of the rule of law and its practical
He said the rule of law meant that the government should
simply take adequate measures to enforce law and order.
Vernanda Ziyambi, Misheck Cheda and Luke Malaba concurred with Chidyausiku
while Justice Ahmed Ebrahim dissented.
Madhuku, the chairman of the
National Constitutional Assembly — a coalition of churches, human rights
groups and professional organisations agitating for a new Zimbabwean
constitution — said it was clear that the three newly appointed judges of the
Supreme Court did not understand the concept of rule of law.
have taken their political views on the land issue and translated them into
legal principles. That is wrong," Madhuku observed.
"This is a best
example of a political judgment. It is also disturbing that all the new
judges who were recently appointed to the Supreme Court in controversial
circumstances ruled in favour of the government," he added.
the violence that had ravaged the commercial farming sector was there for
everyone to see.
He said any judiciary that found something favourable
about what the government did against its citizens could not be described as
"Historically, the concept of an independent judiciary has
always meant a judiciary which is prepared to make judgments against a
powerful government. That is where the concept comes from and the Supreme
Court has effectively reversed that historical legal principle," he
Madhuku said the government had no rights in terms of the
jurisprudence of the Bill of Rights but people always had rights against the
government, so the Supreme Court should never grant the government rights
against its subjects.
Linington said he was very disappointed with the
judgment because it had reversed an earlier Supreme Court ruling that had
clearly stated the standards on which the land reform programme should be
Although he said he had not yet read the full judgment, Linington
said he disagreed with the reasoning of the Supreme Court, judging from
excerpts of the judgment that he had read so far.
"The latest judgment
is totally inconsistent with the earlier judgment of the same court which
made it very clear that land acquisition should only be done through the
existence of a proper land reform programme instead of in the present chaotic
manner," said Linington.
He said he disagreed that the government had
managed to produce a proper and workable land reform programme.
disappointed with the approach of the Supreme Court. I disagree with the
reasoning and conclusion. I am in complete agreement with Judge Ebrahim’ s
dissenting opinion," said Linington.
Magade said he disagreed with the
judgment especially on the point that the government had taken adequate steps
to restore the rule of law.
"That is a very debatable point and I am not
sure whether even the ordinary man in the street will agree with the
observations of the Supreme Court," said Magade.
Union (CFU) president Colin Cloete said his union had expected the Supreme
Court to find that the current manner in which land acquisition was being
implemented was generally unlawful.
Several farmers interviewed said the
judgment was tragic for their future and had lost all hope that they could
expect fair treatment from President Robert Mugabe’s government.
my property and the farm house were destroyed by the government’s militias
and yet they say there is rule of law. The only thing I can now do is to pack
and go," said one farmer on condition of anonymity.
The CFU had asked
Chidyausiku to recuse himself, arguing that he had made political statements
supporting Mugabe’s land seizures before and that those statements had
compromised his neutrality.
Chidyausiku refused and in his ruling this
week said the presence of the rule of law did not mean a totally crime-free
"The test for the restoration of the rule of law in the
commercial farming areas is, in our view, not the number and gravity of the
criminal acts committed but rather all the measures, including policing and
prosecution adopted by the government in the land reform exercise," said
Chidyausiku, a member of Mugabe’s ruling ZANU PF party, said
the government had managed to produce a workable land reform exercise and
could therefore continue with its controversial land reforms.
By Abel Mutsakani Assistant News
Editor 12/6/01 2:49:08 AM (GMT +2)
REGIONAL superpower South Africa’s
new bare-knuckle tactic to nudge Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe off his
controversial policies could instead deal the killer-punch to the embattled
Mugabe administration, analysts said this week.
Mugabe more than before, the unspoken but most significant point under-scored
by South African President Thabo Mbeki’s new policy thrust, was that Pretoria
could easily flex its economic muscle if Harare continued defying
international calls to uphold the rule of law and hold a free and fair
presidential poll next year.
University of Zimbabwe (UZ) political
science professor Elphas Mukonoweshuro said Mbeki, who within a week has
become Mugabe’s most critical neighbour, was in fact telling the embattled
Zimbabwean leader that the game was up.
"Mbeki is saying Mugabe must
comply with the requirements of good governance or face the consequences,
much like in the 1970s when John Vorster pressured Rhodesian leader Ian Smith
into negotiating with the black nationalists," Mukonoweshuro said.
the height of Zimbabwe’s war of independence, Vorster — the then
South African who had firmly stood by Smith’s Rhodesia — successfully forced
the Rhodesian leader into talks with black nationalists after threatening
to withdraw his critical support.
Abandoning his quiet diplomacy that
has so dismally failed to move Mugabe, Mbeki openly blamed the ZANU PF leader
for ruining the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC)’s second largest
economy through two decades of wrong economic policies.
historic solidarity built between his African National Congress (ANC) party
and ZANU PF during the bitter years of anti-colonial struggle, Mbeki urged
other SADC governments to pressurise Mugabe to ensure a free and fair
presidential poll next year.
Political analysts say Mugabe loathes a free
and fair poll because the opposition Movement for Democratic (MDC) leader
Morgan Tsvangirai can easily defeat him.
The MDC braved unprecedented
political violence in which more than 30 people, most of them its supporters,
were killed to almost defeat ZANU PF by winning 57 seats against the
governing party’s 62.
Analysts said Mbeki’s remarks, that came as the US
legislature this week took measures to approve a Bill to impose sanctions on
Mugabe and his top lieutenants, were meant to tell the Zimbabwean leader that
he should not expect any more protection from Pretoria, which has rallied
behind him all along.
The European Union (EU) is also considering
imposing targeted sanctions against Mugabe, members of his family and top
officials of his government because of his controversial land reforms and
failure to uphold democracy and good governance.
While an oil deal
with Libya has to some extent reduced dependency on South Africa, UZ business
studies professor Tony Hawkins said Zimbabwe "remained on its feet" largely
because Mbeki allowed South African goods, especially from state-controlled
companies, to flow into the country despite Harare’s erratic
Zimbabwe imports additional electricity and oil requirements
from South Africa. About 30 percent of its imports are from its southern
neighbour while 10 percent of its exports are sold to that
The bulk of all of Zimbabwe’s other imports from the rest of the
world come through South African ports, according to Hawkins.
the South Africans wield a lot of economic influence which if they want to
use they could do so quite effectively," Hawkins said.
publisher and political analyst Ibbo Mandaza said Pretoria, the economic
engine of SADC, would still face immense difficulties in rallying southern
African states, let alone the rest of Africa, to back its get-tough policy on
Zimbabwe or support EU and US sanctions against Zimba-bwe.
said: "Many African states will not support sanctions against Zimbabwe not
because they support what is happening here. It has more to do with
self-interest. It has more to do with the fact that many of the
African states are vulnerable to such pressures and therefore are not likely
to easily accept such a precedent being set on Zimbabwe."
spokesman Bheki Khumalo was however quoted on South African radio saying
Pretoria opposed any form of sanctions against Harare and that
Mbeki preferred dealing with the Zimbabwean crisis in the context of
Mukonoweshuro said South Africa, which all along has defended
Mugabe and his government, was in fact also under immense pressure from
Brussels and Washington to take the lead in reigning in the Zimbabwean
Mukonoweshuro said Mugabe, well known for his love to swim
against the tide, might still defy Mbeki and SADC but the respected political
analyst said that would be a perilous course for Mugabe to
"South Africa alone has the economic power to bring Mugabe and
his government to their knees and what Mbeki is saying now is that Mugabe
must play ball or he will be clobbered," Mukono-weshuro observed.
By Sydney Masamvu Political Editor 12/6/01
2:17:47 AM (GMT +2)
A SHAKEN President Robert Mugabe is seeking an urgent
meeting with South African President Thabo Mbeki to try to mend the rift that
has developed between them following Mbeki’s scathing attack on Mugabe’s
policies, official sources said this week.
The Mbeki summit comes
hot on the heels of the Zimbabwean leader’s hurried departure for Spain on
Sunday to seek the support of Spanish authorities against pending European
Union (EU) sanctions.
Mbeki, in his first public rebuke of Mugabe, over
the weekend said the Zimbabwean leader’s policies had destroyed southern
Africa’s second largest economy and that the country’s presidential election
next year was unlikely to be free and fair.
According to some Cabinet
ministers, the idea of a fire-dousing meeting with Mbeki was being actively
pursued but the dates had not been finalised by yesterday.
Mugabe has been advised to have a meeting with President Mbeki so that the
two can have a frank talk about the events in Zimbabwe and try to bridge a
rift which is developing between the two countries," one Cabinet minister,
who preferred not to be named, told the Financial
Other sources confir-med that Zimbabwean diplomats
were in a flurry of activity this week trying to damage-control and limit the
impact of Mbeki’s outburst on future relations between southern Africa’s two
In his first public criticism of how Zimbabwean
authorities were mishand-ling the deteriorating political and economic
situation in the country, Mbeki warned that Mugabe should no longer expect
any more protection from South Africa.
Mbeki’s remarks come at a time
when international pressure is mounting against the Mugabe
The US Congress yesterday passed the Zimbabwe Democracy
and Economic Recovery Bill which, among other penalties, places travel bans
on Mugabe, his Cabinet and senior ZANU PF officials.
The US measures,
which now await President George W Bush’s signature, will also freeze the
assets of the Zimbabwean leader and those of his
The EU is also considering slapping "smart
sanctions on Zimbabwe" while a Commonwealth ministerial team meets next month
to review the worsening situation in Zimbabwe.
Government sources said
Mugabe hurriedly boarded an Air Zimbabwe plane bound for London on Sunday and
diverted it to Madrid where he is seeking audience with Spanish authorities
to mediate for him against the pending EU sanctions.
Spain, which has
been sympathetic to the beleaguered Zimbabwean leader in the past, assumes
the six-month presidency of the EU early next year.
The sources said
Mugabe’s trip to Madrid was also meant to repair the damage between Harare
and Brussels caused by his antics such as storming from a meeting between him
and senior EU officials recently.
According to the sources, major
differences are also emerging within ZANU PF on how to react to Mbeki’s
attack and the future of relations with Pretoria.
They said panic had set
in after the weekend attack and debate was raging within ZANU PF with the
hawks advocating for a "go it alone" approach while others viewed South
Africa’s support as critical if Zimbabwe was to weather pending international
"Some leaders are for the hardline approach of fighting our
own battle saying it is a matter of time before South Africa experiences the
same type of problems, while others think the issue is too delicate and
should be handled with utmost care," another Cabinet minister
The sources said some of the ministers were concerned that an
attack this week on Mbeki by the government’s Herald newspaper, which
described the South African leader as "a Judas Iscariot", would make their
fire-fighting attempt even more difficult.
Thabo Mabaso December
06 2001 at 06:44AM Johannesburg - Southern African trade union federations
yesterday called for greater worker unity to end political upheavals
threatening the region's social and economic balance.
Speaking after a
three-day executive council meeting of the Southern African Trade Union
Co-ordinating Council (Satucc), the body's president, Zwelinzima Vavi, said
the region was facing daunting challenges.
"Southern Africa faces the
challenges of high unemployment, poverty, HIV/Aids, and, in some countries,
continued repressive regimes and conflict," said Vavi, who is also the
general secretary of Cosatu. "Labour must unite to end these
Satucc is the umbrella body for all trade federations in the
Southern African Development Community (SADC) except Mauritius and the
Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Satucc executive singled out
Zimbabwe and Swaziland for criticism.
Vavi said these two countries,
especially Zimbabwe, had degenerated into anarchy over the past
In Zimbabwe, farms owned by whites have been occupied by so-called
veterans of the 1970s liberation struggle.
The economy has
deteriorated considerably, causing prices of basic goods to rise
Activists opposed to President Robert Mugabe's 21-year rule have
embarked on sustained mass mobilisation campaigns against his
Zimbabwe is scheduled to hold an election early next
Swaziland, ruled by a monarch, has also been engulfed by civil
unrest following a crackdown by the government on opposition politics and
trade union activism.
Vavi said the situation in Zimbabwe had reached
"We are going to write a letter to President Mugabe
to call on him to make a positive contribution E to ensure law and order
"We are also going to appeal to him that we be part of the
observers during the elections."
Vavi urged political leaders within
the SADC to combine their efforts in the fight against tyrannical regimes in
He added that the next meeting of Satucc's executive council
would decide on a programme of action against governments deemed to be
Two years ago, Cosatu members mounted a blockade of the
border crossing between South Africa and Swaziland, as a protest against the
tiny kingdom's alleged abuses of human rights.
EU gives Zimbabwe $63bn despite diplomatic
12/6/01 2:24:12 AM (GMT +2)
By Ngoni Chanakira
DESPITE the diplomatic stand-off between economically
embattled Zimbabwe and the European Union (EU), the European Commission (EC),
the executive arm of the EU, is going ahead with disbursing financial aid to
the country to the tune of Euro 133,2 million (more than Z$63
While the debate continues about whether the EU will
send election monitors and observers to Zimbabwe, the EC has earmarked Euro 1
million (about Z$48 million) for various programmes dealing with elections.
In its bid for “good governance” and to stamp out “corruption”, the
Commission has set aside Euro 200 000 for supporting the Legal Resources
Foundation, Euro 600 000 for “stamping out and fighting corruption”, and Euro
200 000 for the election monitoring programme. The money, most of which is
for social services, however, is for the period ending 31 December this
There are questionable prospects of further funding next year as
the EU, to whom the Commission accounts, and Zimbabwe, are embroiled in tough
talks on the economic and political situation bedevilling the nation. The EU
and Zimbabwe are engaged in tense discussions over the country’s
Presidential election set for early next year, which pits President Mugabe
and MDC president, Morgan Tsvangirai.
The EU has said it intends to
send observers or monitors to Zimbabwe for the poll. However, Zimbabwe, on
the other hand, has maintained that the EU should not get involved in its
internal affairs because it is a sovereign state. Mugabe has also told the
United States of America as well as the Commonwealth to keep their hands off
Zimbabwe. Most of the money, Euro 33 million (about Z$158,4 million), has
been set aside for the country’s HIV/Aids programme.
pandemic is debilitating the nation, killing about 2 500 people weekly. About
one in every four Zimbabweans is said to be carrying the deadly virus.
However, a decision is yet to be finalised on how the money will be
distributed nationally. This money is being made available in the Health
Sector Support Programme II. The National Aids Council has been accused of
abusing money which it receives monthly from taxpayers for Aids support
projects The Commission is earmarking Euro 24,5 million (Z$120 million) for
the Health Sector Support Programme I and Euro 11,4 million (Z$576 million)
for the Education Transition and Reform Programme.
Under a programme
meant to improve the livelihoods of “vulnerable and poorest” individuals, the
government will receive Euro 14 million for small-scale irrigation projects,
Euro 25 million for various micro-projects and Euro 100 000 for tool-making
and repair at Mwenezi. Other projects to be funded by the EC include capacity
building programmes countrywide.
the 1960s, we took up arms against an obstinate government that refused to
grant the majority of blacks the right to vote. Twenty-one years from
our Independence Day in 1980, the events of that dark period in our history
have failed to serve as a stark reminder of the folly of denying a people
their democratic right.
The last few weeks saw Zanu PF, in a bid
to tip the political field in its favour, make calculated changes to the
electoral laws, aimed at limiting the disgruntled vote.
will now be confined to those overseas and abroad manning diplomatic missions
and soldiers in active duty in foreign lands. Even if those who want to vote
make every effort to come back home for the election, they will still have to
satisfy stipulated conditions; for example, they will be required to provide
proof they have been paying rates for the past 12 months. As for bookworms
studying abroad who want to come back to a beautiful and prosperous Zimbabwe
after their studies, they will not be given a chance to express their
democratic right - they present a great danger to the ruling party and their
exclusion is meant to maintain the status quo.
This move by the ruling
party, although clearly unconstitutional, will reduce the potential threat
substantially and leave Zanu PF to focus on the internal threat. We all know
how Zanu PF has always dealt with opposition: beat them blue and leave them
cowed. And what has Zanu PF done to see to it that they win the
election? Nine-hundred and sixty youths have been trained in all those things
that the party deems fit to inculcate in our youth, ostensibly to ensure
victory for the party through violence.
It has fast-tracked the land
reform programme in a bid to woo the rural vote; it has denied opposition
parties access to international funding; and it has threatened commercial
farmers and local business against associating with opposition
parties. Violence has already reared its ugly head in Matabeleland North. In
Lupane, Limukani Luphahla was brutally murdered. Then we lost Cain Nkala, a
very ambitious man, who had been identified as the last person to see
Patrick Nabanyama - the polling agent for the now MP for Bulawayo South,
David Coltart (MDC) - alive.
Now the success of the people will depend
on whether the electorate has nerves of steel, or whether they can stand the
pressure. Put above all this, success will depend entirely on all of us
sacrificing our resources to push through the struggle. There is
definitely nothing that Zanu PF can do for this country; and those who will
be voting for the MDC candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai, are not doing so because
he is the best candidate to turn the country’s economy around and create jobs
for the unemployed. No, they are doing so because he is the only man so far
who has put his life on the line and challenged President Mugabe in the 2002
ballot in order to allow people to do what they want to do for their own
country. People want change and Tsvangirai is expected to provide the basis
for this change.
It is important to go back to the period of the
Constitutional Commission last year and listen to the common feeling that
people were more concerned about the Presidency than anything else. Actually
in their limited understanding of the whole exercise they did mention
something about changing people in positions of power instead of having one
set only. And these were people from our villages - dotted as wide as Mutoko,
Tsholotsho and Chipinge - and not those of us who have been forced to become
economic exiles. These are the people who wanted change, people who have
always been denied this change and now they see it in Tsvangirai. Nothing can
save Zanu PF, the people alone know what they want. No amount of force or
election rigging will stop them from doing what they want to do.
Bulawayo, in the face of Zanu PF’s orchestrated orgy of violence people were
heard to remark they had made up their minds about who they want to vote for.
They emphasised Zanu PF’s violent campaign tactics will not do anything to
endear them to the ruling party. The real reason why the government is so
jittery and has come up with these repressive laws is that it knows who the
millions of Zimbabweans in the diaspora will vote for, and this is a
deliberate attempt to bar them from adding to the ever-increasing disgruntled
As for the disenfranchised Zimbabweans abroad, there is still a
chance of joining in the fight against this despotic rule. Channel more
resources to your relatives who will be your hope in this fight. The inside
vote is enough to bring about meaningful change.
THE British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC),
has dismissed as untrue, a report which appeared in The Herald on 30 November
which stated that the British government intended to mount a blitz against
Zimbabwe by broadcasting in Shona and Ndebele to incite the people against
the government of President Mugabe.
In a letter to Pikirayi
Deketeke, the editor of the government-controlled Herald newspaper, Kari
Blackburn, the head of African services, said the BBC did not have any plans
to broadcast in Shona and Ndebele. Blackburn wrote: “The BBC does not
broadcast in Shona and Ndebele and we have no plans to do so, either on our
own or in partnership with any other organisation.” Quoting alleged unnamed
sources in London, The Herald reported that the BBC was recruiting
Zimbabweans to do the broadcasts, which, according to the paper, are expected
to start this month.
The Herald stated: “The sources said the recruits,
some of whom were involved in the unsuccessful bid to illegally establish
Capital Radio last year, were presently doing rehearsals in London.”
Dismissing the story, Blackburn said it was incorrect to refer to the BBC as
a state-run broadcaster. “The BBC is a public service broadcaster, not a
government mouthpiece,” said Blackburn. He said the corporation was
regulated by an independent group of BBC governors who are responsible for
ensuring the corporation’s independence from the British government, as well
as ensuring that BBC programmes maintain the highest standards and values,
including editorial independence, accuracy, fairness and
“These values prevent us from producing programming aimed
at inciting people to revolt against governments as suggested in your piece.
Impartiality lies at the heart of the BBC, it is a core value for us, and no
area of programming is exempt from it,” said Blackburn. Deketeke could not
be reached for comment on Tuesday.
The trial of
Kwekwe Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) boss, George Valentine Makombe
and his co-accused Gilbert Bhebhe, on charges of armed robbery and stocktheft
was cancelled at the last minute on Tuesday after the complainant, a
commercial farmer, withdrew the case before plea.
Instead, the farmer
Andreas Raft told Gweru regional magistrate, Garainesu Mawadze, he preferred
to have the matter settled out of court. Makombe, 45, and Bhebhe, 54, were
facing charges of armed robbery and stocktheft involving Raft’s 34 head of
cattle valued at $750 000.
Raft said in his sworn affidavit submitted to
the court: “I reckon that the nature of the relationship between myself and
my family on one hand and Mr Bhebhe and his family on the other, is such that
I do not feel comfortable giving evidence against him, let alone to try and
place him in an embarrassing position as a person who transgressed from the
law. “I believe Mr Bhebhe is well able to make good the loss that was
occasioned by the conduct for which he and the co-accused are alleged to have
done,” he said. Bhebhe was represented by Dumisani Kufaruwenga, while
Makombe was represented by Christopher Dube. The state allegations were that
on 23 January this year, Makombe and Bhebhe connived to rob Raft of his
cattle. Makombe, then a senior CIO official based at the agency’s Kwekwe
offices and Zanu PF chairman for Kwekwe district, is alleged to have hired
three party youths to facilitate the racket.
The youths were
identified as Thulani Mpofu, 22, Nokuthula Mpofu, 18, and Farai Kwangwari
(age not given). Bhebhe, a prominent Kwekwe businessman, allegedly provided
five trucks and a cattle movement permit. At about 10:30am that same day, the
accused drove to Raft’s Andrew Estate along the Kwekwe-Gweru road armed with
knobkerries, sticks and iron bars. On arrival at the farm, the hired Zanu PF
youths allegedly ordered the farm workers to produce Zanu PF
After they failed to produce the cards the farm workers were
threatened and ordered to drive all the cattle to the loading ramp where 34
were immediately loaded onto the trucks. The other cattle bolted out of the
ramp and escaped. Thirty one of the 34 stolen cattle were sold at the
Cold Storage Company abattoir in Masvingo, but the state failed to account
for the other three cattle.
Bhebhe received a cheque payment for $434
361,17 which he cashed and shared the money with Makombe. The hides of the
slaughtered beasts were recovered at the CSC Masvingo abattoir. They were all
positively identified by the farm owner.
Well, Al made good progress since my last update and was really
pleased. We have had a set-back today though which has upset him a lot.
They removed the drain from the lung today and he was so relieved - there was
much less pain and he was free to move about without lugging his "bucket"
along. Any-way this feeling was short-lived when he was told this evening
that they will have to put it back! There is fluid collecting again and as a
result of this he has a temperature. He was very disappointed because the
drain really does cause him a lot of pain but he resolved to get used to the
idea and I feel sure he will be more positive tomorrow. He is still very
tired and they still fear the risk of infection. I collect the boys tomorrow
for the holidays and am really looking forward to that - Alan really wants to
see them so hope we can make a plan. Thanks for all your thoughts - keep
those prayers up. Take good care. The Bradleys
32 killed, thousands displaced in Zimbabwe:
report HARARE, Dec 6 AFP|Published: Friday December 7, 3:26
Thirty-two people have been killed in political violence in
Zimbabwe so far this year, and thousands of others have been displaced, a
local human rights group has claimed.
Most of the violence was
committed by supporters of the governing Zimbabwe African National Union -
Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), but the main opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) was also to blame, the Human Rights Forum (HRF) said in its
report, obtained by AFP Thursday.
"The violence, which has mainly
implicated ZANU-PF supporters... has also implicated some MDC supporters,"
the report said.
The HRF claimed that violence arose following challenges
the MDC mounted in the country's courts against ruling party victories in
last year's parliamentary elections.
"Human rights abuses have been
reported in all cases that have appeared before the High Court," the report
The opposition MDC alleges that ruling party victories were secured
through violence and intimidation ahead of the poll.
The MDC has filed
electoral challenges to results in at least 37 constituencies.
said displacements were due to "extreme fear of victimisation and repeated
"There may be as many as 42,711 internally displaced
persons since January 2001," the report said.
"Victims are often
forced to look for alternative housing and many are forced to live with
family or friends elsewhere in the country."
The HRF -- which used
medical assessments, legal statements and newspaper reports to compile its
tally -- also cited 2,011 cases of torture (including rape), 992 cases of
unlawful detention or arrest by police, and 299 disappearances or
The HRF groups non-governmental organisations in the country
who assist victims of organised violence.
Zimbabwe accuses US of interfering in its domestic
affairs Angus Shaw (AP) Harare, December
---------------------------------------------------------------------------- ---- A
US threat to impose sanctions against Zimbabwe to protest democratic
and human rights abuses amounts to unwarranted interference in the
southern African nation, a Zimbabwean diplomat said Thursday. In the first
official response to a bill passed overwhelmingly by the US House of
Representatives Tuesday, Zimbabwe's ambassador to the United States, Simbi
Mubako, told state radio US lawmakers were impinging on Zimbabwe's
"It is direct interference in the country's internal
affairs," he said.
The Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Bill
proposes a package of measures that would freeze new investment in Zimbabwe
and compel US representatives to international financial institutions to try
to block aid or debt relief.
The bill, which has not yet been signed
by President George W. Bush, demands Zimbabwe restore the rule of law and an
orderly land reform program and ensure presidential elections scheduled for
early next year are free and fair.
Other measures, described by
officials as "smart sanctions," could bar members of the government and
President Robert Mugabe's ruling party from entering the United States and
clamp down on any of their US-held assets.
If the bill's conditions are
met, the US Treasury Department could help find debt relief for the country.
It would also allow the release of dlrs 20 million to help fund land reform
and dlrs 6 million for election monitoring.
The state-controlled Herald
newspaper said Thursday the government in Harare was studying the bill and
would comment on it "should it be necessary."
It quoted Mubako as saying
the legislation was not expected to have an immediate impact.
long run, the impact would be felt on the economy but it is the ordinary
workers who will suffer," he said.
Most Western investment, aid and loans
have dried up as political violence convulsed the country after March 2000,
when armed ruling party militants began occupying more than 1,700 white-owned
farms, demanding they be redistributed to landless blacks.
government has listed some 4,500 properties - about 95 percent of farmland
owned by whites - for nationalization without compensation. Last month it
warned about 800 farmers they had three months to vacate
The government insists it has complied with its land
reform laws and continuing incidents of violence are isolated and criminally
Zimbabwe's highest court Monday upheld the government plan to
seize the farms in a ruling by four recently appointed judges accused by
landowners of political bias.
The opposition Movement for Democratic
Change accuses the government of orchestrating the violent land seizures to
shore up its support in rural districts ahead of presidential
The opposition, the biggest challenge to Mugabe's 21-year
rule, narrowly lost parliamentary elections in June 2000.
spokesman Learnmore Jongwe said ruling party officials "have asked for the
(US) legislation" through their conduct.
No comment was immediately
available from Mugabe. Officials said he was out of the country on a visit to
Zimbabwe denounces Washington over sanctions
HARARE, Dec. 6 — The Zimbabwean government slammed the United
States on Thursday for a bill threatening sanctions against President Robert
Mugabe and his associates, and accused the opposition of sponsoring
the legislation. Information Minister Jonathan Moyo said on state
television the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and its
''racist supporters'' had campaigned for the punitive bill, which was
approved by the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday. After
silence on Wednesday over what many see as the most serious diplomatic move
yet in isolating Mugabe, senior government officials accused Washington of
interfering in Zimbabwe's internal affairs, and the MDC
of treachery. ''The so-called Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic
Recovery Bill containing sanctions against Zimbabwe is the clearest statement
that the U.S., Britain and some countries are interfering in our internal
affairs, and are desperate to see a puppet movement like the MDC come to
power here,'' Moyo said. ''We denounce this interference, but more
so we denounce the MDC, and its Rhodesian and Selous Scouts supporters who
are responsible for championing this evil bill,'' Moyo said.
Rhodesians refer to Zimbabwean whites who allegedly hanker
for pre-independence white minority rule. The Selous Scouts were a
notorious commando unit of former Premier Ian Smith's Rhodesia government
during Zimbabwe's 1970s independence war. Moyo said by championing
the sanctions bill, the MDC had ''proved beyond doubt that it was a sell-out
organisation'' prepared to see Zimbabweans suffer in its bid for
power. Mugabe's spokesman George Charamba said the sanctions would not
force the government to change its policies.
CALL Felix Schmidt, Harare director of the German non-governmental
agency Friederich Ebert Foundation said he had received an anonymous
threatening phone call over the sanctions, even though his organisation had
nothing to do with the bill. ''Someone phoned my office and said,
'It's you whites behind the U.S. sanctions bill. Watch out','' he said,
adding he took the threat seriously, but would not be closing the
office. The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday endorsed the
Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Bill -- a stick and carrot approach
-- to press Mugabe to ensure free elections and establish land
ownership protections in his country. On a 396-11 vote, the House
approved the bill, which was passed by the Senate in August, offering
Zimbabwe a broad package of aid and economic enticements on condition it
ended its sponsorship of violence and committed to an equitable land reform
programme. The bill urges President George W. Bush to consult with
European Union countries, Canada and other nations on possible actions to be
taken against those responsible for violence in Zimbabwe, including
Mugabe. On Wednesday, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said
Commonwealth ministers would meet in London in the week starting December 17
to also discuss possible sanctions against Zimbabwe. Mugabe has
vowed to continue his controversial land seizure drive ''with or without
sanctions'' and says he will win next year's presidential vote due in
April. Mugabe, 77, has held power since the former Rhodesia
gained independence from Britain in 1980 but is expected to face the
stiffest challenge of his career in elections from MDC leader Morgan
By Basildon Peta
in Harare 07 December 2001 President Robert Mugabe has flown to Spain for
urgent medical attention, amid indications that the health of the 77-year-old
Zimbabwean leader is failing.
The President's medical condition is a
closely guarded secret, but doctors will be flown from France to treat him
after he ordered a London-bound Air Zimbabwe flight to drop him and his
entourage in Madrid last Sunday.
Forty paid-up passengers were left
standing at Harare airport to make room for the presidential party. When he
will return is not clear.
Sources say the country's leader of 21 years is
determined to stay on and contest elections next April despite suffering a
number of fits in recent months and collapsing at State House. "He is
prepared to contest them from his deathbed," one official said.
understood to have travelled without an invitation from Spain, but there is
speculation his aides will lobby the next holders of the European Union
presidency to resist sanctions while he is there.
The United States fell
into line this week with a sanctions mechanism already launched by the
European Union and backed by the Commonwealth. President Mugabe's cabinet
announced that he wanted to meet Thabo Mbeki, the South African President,
over his hardening stance on Zimbabwe.
Angela Neustatter Tuesday December 4,
2001 The Guardian
Hilton Matiza and Gerald Muketiwa must be wondering
what the British government's condemnation of Robert Mugabe's regime for
human rights abuses really means. It clearly doesn't mean that even when
regimes are held up as tyrannical and brutal, Britain will provide a safe
haven to people fleeing them. Matiza and Muketiwa left Zimbabwe after alleged
brutality, torture and death threats, but they are facing deportation this
week after their applications for asylum were refused. Press coverage of
events in Zimbabwe has vividly shown the treatment meted out to anyone Mugabe
deems a suitable target. Nobody is more at risk than members of the Movement
for Democratic Change, like Matiza and Muketiwa.
The number of black
Zimbabweans seeking asylum in Britain has risen so rapidly that Zimbabwe is
among the three countries making up the biggest increase in asylum
applications. But their treatment shows how meaningless all the speaking-out
against tyrannical regimes and the hand-wringing over human rights really is.
Zimbabweans are not uniquely badly treated. They are simply the latest to
suffer a neat volte-face in compassion that has become even more pronounced
since the Home Office's decision to cut back those granted asylum still
It has already happened to Iraqis. The immigration lawyer Louise
Christian has an ever-growing caseload of desperate refugees, but they had
always been allowed to remain "in whatever capacity" because it was accepted
that their circumstances were bad. In November last year she and other
immigration lawyers representing more than 250 Iraqi asylum seekers wrote to
the then home officer minister, Barbara Roche, to protest that their clients
were suddenly getting letters refusing their claims without even
exceptional leave to remain. There has been no conspicuous change in Saddam
Hussein's treatment of his people, but that does not seem to
Nor were Afghans who hijacked a plane and flew it to Britain
seeking asylum welcomed warmly, even though their Taliban rulers were not
recognised as a government and much was made of the human rights abuses they
East European Romas are rarely granted asylum, according to
the Refugee Council, even though some live with the ever-present possibility
of seeing their homes burnt or of being beaten up while the police look the
Tim Baster, of Bail for Immigration Detainees, has seen
Zimbabweans put into detention or even maximum-security prisons while they
await their hearings, even though some have relatives and friends here who
could put them up. It is a breach of the European convention to detain people
on the basis of nationality, he says, but he is sure this is what is
This treatment contrasts with the concern Jack Straw expressed
when, as home secretary, he talked about how Zimbabweans who had a relative
in Britain would be given long-term permission to stay without having to go
through the new asylum system. That does not seem to be the case with the
black Zimbabweans described by Tim Baster.
Last summer British and
European diplomats in Harare were putting in place a contingency plan to
evacuate up to 25,000 UK nationals if things got too dangerous. Why should
the quality of mercy be so constrained? Why are black Zimbabweans brave
enough to oppose the regime considered to be in less danger, or their
suffering to be less important, than white farmers? Why are we prepared to
murmur about support for an American attack on Iraq because Saddam Hussein is
such an intolerable leader, yet turn away people who will return to torture,
if not death?
Nick Hardwick, director of the Refugee Council, puts
forward a particularly chilling theory. He believes that countries with the
worst human rights abuses threaten Britain with the largest number of asylum
seekers at a time when the government is bent on cutting the numbers of
people granted the right to stay.
Detaining them in grim conditions
and then deporting them is a way of deterring others who might think it is
worth coming here in the hope that caring, sharing Britain just might protect
them from fates that may be worse than death but all too often end that way
Victoria Falls Hotels Win Lucrative Political Conference
African Eye News
December 6, 2001 Posted to the web December 6,
Marvelous Mpofu Victoria Falls
Victoria Falls' embattled
hotel and conference industry won a crucial lifeline this week with the
announcement that Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF party will convene its annual
The congress of December 13 to 16 will see over 700
delegates book into local hotels, spending an estimated R4,6 million just on
accommodation in the holiday town.
The four-day boom will help
struggling Victoria Falls hotels and support industries offset losses from a
crippling two-year recession sparked by Zimbabwe's contentious land reform
programme and resulting political and economic turmoil.
has seen a 12% drop in international tourist numbers to Zimbabwe, and
resulting 40% drop in hotel occupancy rates.
Victoria Falls Publicity
Association spokesman Tariro Samkange said the congress represented the first
major ZANU-PF function in the town since independence in 1980, and appeared
to be an attempt to bring relief to the struggling tourism
The congress will be addressed by 77-year-old Zimbabwean
president Robert Mugabe, who will seek endorsement for his 2002 presidential
re-election bid. - African Eye News Service
OPINION December 7, 2001 Posted to the web December
Over the last six months or so, SABC
television's current affairs programmes have been showing encouraging signs
of independent thought. This perception was smashed into dust last Sunday
when on SABC2's Newsmaker programme we had to grit our teeth and put up with
15 minutes of Mr McCaps Motimele, the Unisa senior something-or-other who,
according to charges, has been emptying hefty sums of the university's cash
into his own and other pockets. Motimele came across as self-righteous and
pompous, the embodiment of every tin-pot bureaucrat suddenly hoisted into a
position of power.
All of which guaranteed he got the most comfortable
and relaxing ride Vuyo Mbuli could give him. He began by licking diligently
at Motimele's academic background, allowing his guest to wallow lengthily in
his inflated opinion of himself and his career. When it came to questioning
Motimele about the bizarre goings-on at Unisa, Mbuli let Motimele get away
with some outrageous evasions, some truly Orwelllian doublespeak. As to the
charges of gross sexual harassment against Motimele - going back all of two
years and as yet unresolved - Mbuli let his valued guest flick away the
questions as being of no substance and, oh, yes, racist to boot. It was a
disgraceful interview and showed a gutless SABC in yet another display of
shameless political sycophancy. And where was the great Kader Asmal? Nowhere
to be seen. Robert Mugabe would have loved this one.
Next up was
Professor Jerry Coovadia, who, despite Mbuli's sterling efforts at putting
across the official line, should be credited with having given the clearest
and most unequivocal interview on the subject of the use of the drug
nevirapine in helping to inhibit mother-to-baby transmission of HIV. How
refreshing to hear someone so articulate, so unshackled in his thinking. Here
was none of the free-range bullshit that is the pathetic currency of the
government Department of Health. As Coovadia said, the single dose
of nevirapine given to mother and baby is about as toxic as a Panado. Yet
South Africa boasts a central government health minister saying that
this treatment can't be safely administered because there might be some
effect on the baby 20 years hence.
We all know what happens when the
same baby does not get the nevirapine. Freed from the peril of nevirapine's
"toxic side-effects" the baby is left to die a terrible suffocating death -
usually within 18 months. This newspaper has described the AfricanNational
Congress government policy on the withholding of this particular treatment as
being a form of genocide, which is exactly what it is.
For the first
time I had a peep at the British series Vice, occasionally being broadcast in
the small hours. It's a curiously intense look into the working of a small
group of vice-division detectives in the London Met. Headed by a short,
short-tempered detective inspector called Pat Chappell, the series consists
of independent episodes that carry longer background plots along with them.
The subject in the first episode I saw was the recruitment by a pimp of young
girls "in care".
The casting in the series is superb, the direction and
script economical and refreshingly free of the current vogue among British
television directors where "cleverness" of production supersedes all - and
usually gets in the way of the story. For the first time in a long time I was
completely engrossed, taken along with the fury of Chappell's emotions,
enraged by the complacency of his senior officers. It is so rewarding to
enjoy a script that awards three dimensions to its villains, not the plastic
stereotypes of United States cop shows. The pimp, as hateful as he was,
preying on 15-year-olds, had a history and a human side.
entertainment with one depressing blip. Towards the end of the first story a
very troubled young man tries to hang himself. He is rescued, brought down
just in time and a man holds his near-lifeless body. In panic he cries out,
"For God's sake call an ambulance."
The word "God" had been censored by
M-Net. Can you believe it? Someone on the M-Net staff, on instructions from
on high, sits patiently hour after hour, day after day, week after week,
listening to soundtracks and carefully excising what the lofty Christian
guarantors of the M-Net board deem to be blasphemies too terrible to be
heard. One wonders how God has survived all these millennia without the piety
of the M-Net board to help him along. There can be as many "motherfuckers"
and "shits" and "suck my dicks" as can be crammed in, but let one solitary
"God" slip past and we sink to perdition. What hypocrites.
is high time that MultiChoice/DStv kicked their final presentation into some
sort of order. Their annoying little signal blackouts are back again and
going strong - and I've got my new smart card - and what is becoming more and
more difficult to accept are the varying sound levels in the bouquet. Surely
MultiChoice can sort this out, get them all more or less the same. BBC World
sound is invariably at a far lower level than the other news channels. You
never know what to expect on others. Sometimes they blare at you, sometimes
they're almost inaudible.
Another case of you pays your money and you
takes your MultiChoice.