On the run: Things may get hairy when guerrilla Joyce
takes over from Nutball Bob December 7, 2004
There is a tremendous amount of unseemly arguing going on
in the country at the moment. Apart from the power-crazed race war brewing
in the judiciary and the battle between the church and the presidency for
the moral high ground, Brenda and I are having a terrible fight after she
accused me of gawping at the bare-breasted foxes who cavort and frolic on
the beach in front of our house.
I made the mistake of not
denying it. Instead, I stood there with a defiant smirk. With one tight
slap, Brenda made short work of my smirk, causing the foxes to snicker and
bray among themselves.
Even more worrying than Brenda's frightening
new role as top dog in the manger is the news that a woman is going to be
the next president of Zimbabwe. Robert Mugabe, behaving even more squirrelly
than usual, stood up at the Zanu-PF fawnfest and announced that Joyce Mujuru
was his new vice-president.
Amid spontaneous cheering and
dancing choreographed by the cultural wing of the Central Intelligence
Organisation, an enormous apparition in green took the stage.
The resemblance was startling. If Nutball Bob ate more staple foods and had
a sex-change operation, he would look just like his new VP.
Of course, urban voters won't be fooled. They will
recognise Joyce for what she is. Bob without balls. The huge rural
constituency will, however, vote for Joyce in the next election because by
then their brains will be even more shrivelled from hunger and general
I fear that militant feminists everywhere are
celebrating the appointment of a woman to such a powerful position. But
since feminazis can't even see when their legs need a damn good shaving,
they are unlikely to see that this is not so much a blow for women's rights
as it is a blow against it.
Having Joyce Mujuru in State House
will not mean a kinder, gentler Zimbabwe. Not merely because she is a woman
and genetically prone to irrational behaviour, but because at the age of 18
she had bunked school, adopted the nom de guerre "Teurai Ropa", and begun
shooting down Rhodesian army helicopters.
Fabulous. Just what
Zimbabwe needs right now. A president whose guerrilla name means "Spill
What's more, Joyce is not yet 50. You may think that young
is good, considering that senile dementia has long been a prerequisite for
election to high office in Zimbabwe.
In this case, young is
not good. Not good at all. Right slap bang in the middle of her second term,
Joyce is going to be chairing a politburo meeting and with no warning at all
she will begin displaying vasomotor symptoms.
She will flush
hotly, become anxious, forget important stuff and have difficulty in
concentrating. She will be even more irritable than usual and will, in all
likelihood, scrap the colonial boundaries and demand that Zambia be returned
Menopausal women cannot be trusted in positions of power.
They go mad. They start collecting shoes, like Imelda Marcos. Or, like
Benazir Bhutto, they help set up the Taliban while taking kickbacks from
Swiss companies. Or, like Golda Meir, they cosy up to uber-hawks like Moshe
Dayan. Or, like Indira Gandhi, they attract assassins like the untouchables
Comrade Bob pokes a stick at Britain as a nation of
limp-wristed neo-colonialist degenerates, but at least Britain will never
again make the mistake of appointing a woman to lead the
When Margaret Thatcher felt her oestrogen levels dropping,
she invaded the Falklands and struck up an unseemly relationship with Ronald
Maggie was forced out of office only when she began growing
clumps of unwanted hair, something that has always been the prerogative of
It is unlikely that Joyce Mujuru will suffer the same
fate. In Africa, we prefer our leaders to be hairy. I, for one, would never
consider voting for anyone who couldn't grow a moustache, at the very least.
Just as long as they weren't moody. I cannot stand moody people, even if
they have facial hair, and if there's one thing that menopause makes you,
I could be wrong. Maybe the time is right for southern
Africa's biggest basket case to have an ill-tempered, capricious leader
known as "Spill Blood". Perhaps Banzai Bob really believes that a woman is
the right man for the job.
As journalists who are too afraid to
predict the unpredictable are inclined to say, only time will
Foreign Minister Phil Goff has
demanded Zimbabwe release Opposition MP Roy Bennett, who has been jailed for
a year with hard labour for pushing a minister during a parliamentary
Zimbabwe's Parliament has the right to sit as a court and impose
penalties of up to two years in jail.
But Mr Goff said Mr Bennett's
sentence was harsh and raised concerns the Zimbabwe government was trying to
stifle and intimidate Opposition politicians.
He was also concerned
about reports the MP was being mistreated in custody.
reportedly charged at and pushed to the ground Justice Minister Patrick
Chinamasa after he called Mr Bennett's father and grandfather thieves and
murderers who deserved to lose their land because it was wrongfully taken
from black Zimbabweans in the first place.
Mr Chinamasa was not hurt and
Mr Bennett apologised at the time for his actions.
Mr Goff said in a
statement that while Mr Bennett's behaviour was against that parliament's
rules, his actions were the culmination of years of political persecution
aimed at the Opposition MDC Party, the MP, his family and
It had been reported Mr Bennett's family and his farm managers
were evicted from their land in April, and that many of his employees had
been killed, raped or shot. Mr Bennett had been assaulted three times and
jailed twice. Despite six court orders, the land had not been
Mr Goff said he had written to the Speaker of Zimbabwe's
Parliament Emmerson Mnangagwa raising New Zealand's concerns and urging the
Mugabe government to release Mr Bennett.
Cricket should hang its head in shame By Sue
Mott (Filed: 07/12/2004)
What a waste of transmission time. All
these sporting events going on in the world and BBC's Radio Five Live had to
tell us about the chronic non-happening that was Zimbabwe v England every 15
minutes on Sunday morning.
Who cared? Whether Michael Vaughan was on
14 not out was of no interest to us or to the 45 people in the ground. It
was such a meaningless and despicable contest, even some of the radio
station's own producers were amazed that it led the sporting bulletins.
Apparently, they had to. It was due to "contractual obligations". So we see
how Robert Mugabe's tentacles were everywhere, even setting the news agenda
in London. Newspapers must hold their hands up a bit, but not as
At least the matches didn't make the front page headlines. We
printed the scorecard as though it mattered and poor old Wisden on its
venerable pages will have to record the nominal facts and figures.
Presumably they would say, as did England coach (and Zimbabwean) Duncan
Fletcher: "We're just here for the cricket." What a poor excuse. As though
the noble sport should rise above all considerations of murder, deprivation
Sport is not best played in a vacuum. It needs a bit of air
and human context. It was absurd and faintly disgusting of cricket to
pretend it superseded life and death. It would have reflected better on us
all if the broadcasters had been silent, the sports pages blank and our
cricketers entirely absent from that ravaged dust-bowl a tyrant has created.
China seeks to strengthen cooperation links with
China has reiterated its support for the
government of Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe by dispatching a high level
official to attend the national conference of Mugabe's ruling
Jiang Yikang, a alternate member of the Communist Party of
China's (CPC) central committee, attended the five-day fourth national
conference of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF),
which ended Sunday, at the invitation of ZANU-PF.
Wednesday with Emmerson Mnangagwa, a top ZANU-PF official and speaker of the
Zimbabwe parliament, and Didymus Mutasa, ZANU-PF secretary of foreign
Both Mnangagwa and Mutasa thanked the Chinese government
for supporting ZANU-PF and reiterated their adherence to the one-China
policy. Zimbabwe hopes to deepen cooperation with China in agriculture,
mining and tourism, they said.
Jiang said China and Zimbabwe
respect, trust and support each other and have carried out effective
cooperation in various fields.
Jiang described China and Zimbabwe
as "all-weather friends" and added that the CPC values the cooperation with
ZANU-PF and stands ready to strengthen cooperation between the two
Jiang read out a congratulatory message from the CPC Central
Committee to ZANU-PF Thursday at the national conference and on Monday
conveyed Chinese President Hu Jintao's congratulatory message to Robert
Mugabe who was re-elected as ZANU-PF party leader at the conference.
FINANCE MINISTER ACCUSED OF COOKING UP FIGURES Tue 7
HARARE - Acting Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa used
inaccurate or completely fictitious figures and projections in his 2005
national budget tabled in parliament two weeks ago, independent economists
and the opposition said yesterday.
Contributing during an
official post-budget analysis meeting hosted by Parliament's Budget and
Finance Portfolio Committee, economists and opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) party parliamentarians said for example, Murerwa's
calculation of inflation was inconsistent with current methods and trends of
calculating and projecting the key rate.
The budget review meeting
is held every two to three weeks after the Finance Minister tables his
budget in Parliament.
The government's Central Statistical Office,
on which Murerwa relied heavily for data, was using old systems to calculate
both Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and inflation, according to economic
Because CSO statistics used to calculate GDP and
inflation were themselves inaccurate, it was wrong to assume that inflation
will decrease to between 30 and 50 percent by next December, as projected by
Murerwa in his budget, they said.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
insists that it is now on top of the inflation scourge with the rate
dropping from a peak of 622.8 percent in January this year to 209 percent in
But ordinary Zimbabweans complain the central bank's
successes in fighting inflation are not visible on shop shelves where prices
continue on a steep rise.
University of Zimbabwe economist
Clever Mumbengegwi said: "We do not have accurate GDP and inflation figures
from the CSO and hence the figures we get are inconsistent with current
inflation rates on the ground."
Mumbengegwi said a budget deficit
of $4.5 trillion or 5 percent of GDP forecasted by Murerwa would increase
the government's domestic expenditure and eventually feed inflation
"The government will eventually print more money to finance
the deficit and this will push up money supply growth."
economic analyst with the local CFX Bank, Moses Chundu, told the meeting
that the absence of political statements in the budget statement undermined
its potential given that revival of Zimbabwe's crumbling economy also
largely depended on the government resolving its political differences with
the international community to unblock financial support and aid.
Chundu said: "The absence of political statement in the budget statement on
relations with the international financiers such as the International
Monetary Fund and the World Bank limits the budget from attaining its
objectives. How will it address issues of investor confidence if it is
silent on such important policies?"
The bank analyst also
questioned Murerwa's projected Z$23 trillion in revenue next year given the
dismal performance of corporate tax which contributed only 10 percent in the
last fiscal year.
"The bulk of the government's expected revenue is
from individual pay as you earn, which is not sustainable considering that
corporate tax has been performing dismally contributing only 10 percent of
revenue in the last fiscal year," Chundu said.
He said the
corporate tax rate of 30 percent was still far too high and worked as an
incentive on companies, most of them already on the ropes because of a harsh
operating environment, to evade paying tax.
Chundu accused Murerwa
of being economic with the truth by not revealing that some of the funds he
identified as savings from the 2004 budget where actually funds earmarked
for pending projects that government failed to implement.
of the funds identified as savings were originally funds actually earmarked
for pending projects which have not been undertaken," Chundu told the review
Farming expert and MDC shadow minister of agriculture,
Renson Gasela, described as bogus the 28 percent phenomenal growth
forecasted for agriculture in 2005 by Murerwa.
Gasela said the
key sector's state of near total collapse did not justify Murerwa's
Murerwa also predicted the mining sector,
which will record 11.6 growth this year, to grow by 7.5 percent next year.
GDP which has declined by 2.5 percent in 2004 will grow by between 3.5 and 5
percent next year, according to Murerwa.
He could not be
reached last night for his views on the charges by economists and the
opposition on his positive projections for 2005. - ZimOnline
Umguza villagers feel hard done by the government Tue 7
December 2004 TSHOLOTSHO - Although Umguza district lies less than 200
kilometres north of Zimbabwe's second biggest city of Bulawayo in
Matabeleland North province, the area looks like one of the forgotten
corners of the country's remotest districts.
after independence, villagers in Goldfields and Buda A and Buda B
resettlement areas, say development still eludes the area which has only two
primary schools. The nearest secondary school, Sawmills, is situated more
than 35km away in Igusi.
School children, some as young as 13, walk
35km to school. The school has a high dropout rate, as most fall by the
wayside after failing to cope with the rigorous trips.
students, the solution lies in erecting shacks near the school. Their new
homes resemble a mine compound.
But the "solution" has its
drawbacks. Away from the protective eyes of parents, schoolgirls have been
exposed to the vagaries of the harsh economic climate,prostituting
themselves in order to eke a living.
Mhlupheki Sibanda, the headman
of Buda B resettlement area, says while he deplores the decision by the
students to erect shacks and stay on their own, he doesn't expect anything
else from youths who are forced to cope without parental supervision for as
long as three months.
He told ZimOnline that it is very difficult
for parents to keep tabs on their children.
Like the secondary
school, the nearest clinic is also situated at Igusi, 35km away. In
emergency cases, patients have to walk 10km to the railway station, where
they wait overnight for another train to take them to the
The only other alternative, is for patients to take a
scotchcart directly to Igusi. Much more serious cases, are referred to
Nyamandlovu hospital, about 150 kilometers away.
A teacher at
Umguza school, Sindiso Sibanda, said a number of villagers have died in the
area because of delays in accessing treatment, due to lack of
A traditional leader in the area, Chief Deli blames the
area's lack of development on politicians. He said: "I don't think other
areas are as under-developed as Umguza. To be honest, I think we're still
being punished for supporting Joshua Nkomo. They (ZANU PF government) still
consider us dissidents."
Shortly after independence, former
freedom fighters loyal to Nkomo, the then leader of the PF ZAPU opposition
party, led a rebellion against the government of President Robert Mugabe.
Mugabe sent in a crack army battalion which crushed the rebellion, leaving
about 20 000 civilians dead.
Former Matabeleland North Governor,
Welshman Mabhena, accused the government of deliberately turning a blind eye
to the plight of people in Matabeleland province.
resource that should be poured in Matabeleland is re-directed elsewhere.
That is why there is no development in this area," said Mabhena. "When I was
governor, I always ran into trouble with top politicians because I didn't
hesitate to point this out."
But the current Matabeleland North
Governor, Obert Mpofu, says the authorities are doing "a lot" for the Umguza
"Much is being done, and will still be done, for rural
areas because the government is trying to improve the lives of people living
in those areas. The rural electrification programme is one of them," says
"It is not Umguza alone that feels left behind, but a lot of
other rural communities," says Mpofu. - ZimOnline
Committee to Protect Journalists attacks fresh bid to gag
media Tue 7 December 2004 HARARE - The Committee to Protect Journalists
(CPJ) has written to President Robert Mugabe expressing outrage at fresh
moves by the government to impose new and more severe legislation against
In a letter dated December 2, 2004 CPJ executive
director, Ann Cooper, criticised Harare for tightening media laws at a time
when some African countries were moving to relax media
"CPJ is outraged at your government's continued clampdown
on independent media in Zimbabwe, including proposed new legislation that
could be used to jail journalists for up to 20 years," Cooper
Under the draft Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Bill
before Parliament, journalists could be jailed for up to 20 years for
publishing "false" information that could endanger public safety, damage the
defence and economic interests of Zimbabwe, promote public disorder or
undermine public confidence in state security forces.
government is expected to use its majority in Parliament to push the Bill
through the House before year-end.
Under existing law, Zimbabwean
journalists already face a two-year jail term and could be banned from
practising for life for publishing false information.
said: "Other African countries are lifting criminal sanctions for press
offense, bringing their laws in line with international standards, your
government is preparing to introduce penalties that are among the harshest
on the continent."
The CPJ official urged Mugabe to drop the
proposed law and also order the re-opening of the country's biggest daily
paper the Daily News and two other newspapers forcibly shut down by the
state for breaching its tough media laws. - ZimOnline
Women elbowed out of AIDS Day commemorations Tue 7 December
BULAWAYO - Women and girls were officially the focus of World
AIDS Day commemorations but in Zimbabwe's second biggest city, they were
almost out of the picture.
In Bulawayo, several activities to
mark World AIDS Day were held belatedly over the weekend. Highly publicised
national commemorations were held in the capital last Wednesday under the
theme "Women, girls, HIV and AIDS."
Sukoluhle Ndlovu is HIV
positive. She lives in the low-income suburb of Entumbane where she is
actively involved in HIV and AIDS awareness campaigns and
Ndlovu was among 300 residents who attended activities
to mark the day held in downtown Bulawayo on Saturday morning. The
commemorations were organised by a group of civic organisations known as
Bulawayo join hands projects.
Ndlovu told ZimOnline this week
that when she postponed her Saturday household chores to attend the AIDS
commemorations, she had high hopes of meeting other women living with
HIV/AIDS and sharing experiences.
"I hoped that people would be
focusing on the proclaimed theme. I expected to hear other women talk about
our situation and that of girls in the face of this cruel pandemic," she
said in an interview.
But Ndlovu's expectations and those of scores
of other women at the commemorations were dashed.
Out of 14
speakers and presenters, only five were women. Organisers attributed the low
number of women on the programme to last minute cancellations.
This is despite the fact that in Zimbabwe, as elsewhere across Africa and
the developing world, women bear the brunt of the HIV/AIDS scourge.
Traditionally and culturally, women nurse and care for their sick spouses,
children or relatives - even if they themselves are also sick.
But with HIV/AIDS, the burden is doubled in that more often women must care
for the sick husband who may have also infected them with the
And girl-children find themselves exposed to the disease
at an early age as many are often abused by older men or are forced into
prostitution to get money for food or school fees for their siblings after
their parents die of AIDS or because they are too poor.
said she was also not happy too that the organisers of the commemorations
had not included feminine materials and other HIV/AIDS awareness materials
and literature specifically designed to highlight the difficult role women
are called to play in the fight against the disease.
"This year is
different. You cannot tell its National AIDS Week at all. There is little
going on. I had hoped there would be ntsaru and qhiye (cloth wrappers and
head scarves) for women to wear and think about what they can do, not the
usual T-shirts," she said.
"The men always end up taking the
T-shirts from us anyway," complained another woman." - ZimOnline
Chipunza Last updated: 12/07/2004 09:24:35 DARING thieves stole 10
state-of-the-art computers worth millions recently donated by President
Robert Mugabe to Mavhudzi Secondary School in Nyazura,
Police in Nyazura confirmed the theft, saying
investigations were underway.
Two more computers belonging to the same
school were also stolen when the thieves pounced on the school on November
11, a fortnight after the President's donation.
President Mugabe, as
part of his nationwide programme to equip rural high schools with
information technology, donated the computers worth more than $40 million to
the school on October 28.
A school employee, who spoke on condition of
anonymity, also confirmed the theft.
Nyazura police officer-in-charge
(crime), Assistant Inspector Muguro, said investigations into the thefts
were in progress.
At first, Muguro referred this reporter to the
school head, but after being pressed to either substantiate or deny the
allegations, Muguro confirmed the theft, saying: "The computers were stolen
and we are investigating the matter."
He refused to give further details
and referred further questions to the Police General Headquarters in Harare.
Police spokesperson, Oliver Mandipaka last week said he was yet to get a
report on the matter.
Contacted again on Sunday, Mandipaka maintained he
still had not received the report.
"I tried to look for that
information, but there is nothing like that," Mandipaka said.
continue trying looking for the information."
Efforts to get the latest
developments on the issue from Muguro proved fruitless yesterday as his home
telephone number given to this newspaper by his colleagues went unanswered
and remained so until the time of going to print. Daily Mirror
Mhlanga Last updated: 12/07/2004 13:08:36 IN MY native Ndebele language,
there is saying that akuqili lazikhotha emhlane. Loosely translated this
means one cannot have his cake and eat it. That indeed appears to have been
the case with Jonathan Moyo.
Up until last week, Moyo had achieved a
demi-god status within Zanu (PF) circles. He who could do no wrong, the wise
men, one from whom intelligence flows 24-7.
To the outsiders he was
the feared one, with connections at the top and one who could not be matched
in tongue-lashing matches.
What will puzzle many is how the Professor
despite his created image and intellect would organise this meeting in
Tsholotsho to plot against Mugabe in such a poor fashion.
thing looks worse than a dog's breakfast and certainly more poorly organised
than Simon Mann's expedition to Equatorial Guinea. Moyo may not end up in
Chikurubi but his journey towards the political dustbin is now in
The Tsholotsho debacle, for lack of a better word, is not out
character in leadership change within Zanu (PF) and in this case one must
read this as the original Zanu (PF).
Enos Nkala, wherever he is
today, will probable agree that what happened in Tsholotsho is not much
different from what happened when the original Zanu (PF) was formed. Indeed
the common factor being the presence of a rural boy from matebeleland
involved in the whole shenanigan.
Ndabaningi Sithole is probable turning
in his grave with a bid smile for he could tell a similar story about the
party goes about effecting a leadership change.
Even the war veterans
will tell you about the Narira rebellion that was brutally crushed in
Mozambique following similar plots, night meetings and clandestine
In all these events the central man, a silent agitator,
emerging leader or the threatened has always been Robert Mugabe. How this
could have escaped the Professor is beyond comprehension.
Mugabe is tantamount to dealing with the entire coterie of the establishment
that has been at the feeding trough since Mugabe assumed the helm of Zanu
(PF). Even the so called then anointed successor, Emmerson Munangagwa
admitted so much recently - conceiving the exit of Mugabe is treason.
Treason in Zimbabwe carries the death sentence.
A few years ago Robert
Mugabe expressed in public his views on people who conceived of his exit
when Dzikamayi Mavhaire made the famous statement that Mugabe must
At that point Mavhaire and his ilk were described as witches
spreading noxious mixtures within the party. The luminous political carriers
of Mavhaire began an accelerated decline from that day.
In as much as
the knaves have been found out Jonathan Moyo has learnt much to his chagrin
that you cannot do a deal with Mugabe. The askari has been found out and
found out big time.
The epitaph on Jonathan Moyo's political grave though
will make for some sad reading. Here lies the political career of a man who
personally fought back a nation's march towards change and democracy for
five years, dragged a nation's media kicking and screaming to the grave and
elevated public humiliation of individuals to a national pass time
status. Mhlanga is a Zimbabwean journalist
Ban Zimbabwe: Stewart From correspondents in
London December 07, 2004 FORMER England skipper Alec Stewart today called
for Zimbabwe to be banned from all forms of international cricket until they
field a full-strength side.
Zimbabwe have not beaten a leading team
in a one-day international since consecutive victories against the West
Indies in November 2003, their only wins since against Bangladesh earlier
"They are not good enough to play international cricket. They
shouldn't be playing international cricket purely on the fact they are not
good enough," said Stewart. Meanwhuile, Britain's sports minister, Richard
Caborn, wants to meet with the International Cricket Council in a bid to
help resolve the sport's crisis in Zimbabwe. England completed a 4-0 one-day
series whitewash of Zimbabwe on Sunday as their controversial trip to the
troubled African state passed off without incident.
But, having come
under political and public pressure to pull out of the tour in protest at
the policies of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, it was only the threat of
an ICC fine and suspension that saw England go ahead with the first half of
their winter program.
Even then there were problems, the hold-up in
granting entry visas to 13 British journalists delaying England's arrival in
Zimbabwe and causing the abandonment of the first match of what should have
been a five-game series.
And whey they did get to Zimbabwe, England found
they were not playing their hosts strongest side, with former captain Heath
Streak among 15 white players still out in the cold following a row over
alleged racial bias in selection earlier this year.
Michael Vaughan made no attempt to hide his anger at being duty-bound to
lead the team to Zimbabwe just a year after the side forfeited a World Cup
match in Harare on security grounds and Caborn said the tour had been an
"I think we should set up a dialogue and I would
like that dialogue with the ICC as soon as possible so we don't have another
Zimbabwe situation," said Caborn today.
But he insisted imposing a
ban on sports teams, as Britain's main opposition Conservative party said
the Government should do in the case of the England tour of Zimbabwe, is
"If the Government say 'don't go' and some decide to go,
what do you do? Do you go to parliament and say 'I want prime legislation so
I can take passports off sports people'? Because that is what it would
"I don't want to get to that situation. I think we ought to be able
to work out a sensible arrangement with international governing bodies so we
don't have the problems of Zimbabwe arising again."
As England headed
off for the second half of the tour, a Test and one-day series in South
Africa, Vaughan said he was "very sad" that Zimbabwe had failed to pick the
Zimbabwe, who were suspended from Test cricket after two
crushing defeats at home to Sri Lanka in May, are due to return to the
five-day game next month with a series away to fellow strugglers