Wed 7 December 2005
HARARE - Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU PF party will not discuss President
Robert Mugabe's succession at its annual conference beginning on Friday this
week, a top official of the party told ZimOnline last night.
ZANU PF secretary for administration Diydmus Mutasa said the issue of
Mugabe's successor - the cause of a silent but vicious power struggle in the
ruling party - was not on the agenda sheet because it was not an "issue at
this moment in time".
Mutasa, who plays a key role in compiling the agenda for the
conference, said: "It is not on the agenda because it is not an issue at
this moment in time."
Pressed further Mutasa, who is a close confidante of Mugabe and is
also State Security Minister, would only say: "We have our way of doing
The 81-year old Mugabe, in office since Zimbabwe's independence from
Britain 25 years ago, had in past years kept Zimbabweans guessing about when
he would retire.
But the ageing President has in the last two years made it clear he
wants to step down at the expiry of his current term in 2008, a development
that has ignited fierce jockeying between two rival camps in ZANU PF each
pushing to position its favoured candidate for the top job when and if
One camp is led by powerful former army general, Solomon Mujuru, while
the other is led by feared former parliamentary speaker Emmerson Mnangagwa.
The rivalry between the two camps spilled over last December when
former government information minister and propaganda chief Jonathan Moyo
and six provincial chairmen of ZANU PF supporting Mnangagwa attempted to
block the appointment of Joyce Mujuru (Solomon's wife) as party and state
The plot fell through with the chairmen suspended from ZANU PF for
four years each while Moyo was eventually fired from the party and the
Joyce was subsequently appointed ZANU PF and state vice president, a
development that not only brought her closer to the top job but that also
appeared to suggest that the battle for Mugabe's succession may have been
ZANU PF insiders say this is far from the truth with Mnangagwa's camp
said to be regrouping for one last onslaught which, if it fails to bring the
biggest prize, would see the man once touted as Mugabe's heir apparent
breaking away to form his own political party.
Mnangagwa has however repeatedly denied he plans to break away from
ZANU PF and has specifically said he is not linked to the new United
People's Movement party that is being formed by Moyo.
Meanwhile, Mujuru is said to have used his wife only as a decoy in a
sly bid to outmaneuver Mnangagwa but is otherwise backing former finance
minister Simba Makoni to take over as ZANU PF and possibly Zimbabwe's
president if Mugabe steps down.
"ZANU PF will not discuss the succession issue at Esigodini because we
never discuss such issues at such public platforms," a member of the party's
inner politburo cabinet said last night.
The politburo member, who did not want to be named, added: "But this
is not to say the succession issue has been resolved. Mnangagwa, who wants
to be the next president of Zimbabwe, is not finished yet while Mujuru still
has to push his real candidate, Makoni, to the fore."
ZANU PF will among other key issues discuss Zimbabwe's comatose
economy, the government's chaotic land reform programme and social service
provision in the country. - ZimOnline.
Wed 7 December 2005
HARARE - United Nations (UN) Emergency Relief Co-ordinator Jan Egeland
on Tuesday described Zimbabwe's humanitarian crisis as "very serious and
worrying" and said President Robert Mugabe's controversial home demolition
campaign that left thousands of people without shelter had worsened the
The UN envoy, who has visited families living in the open after their
homes were demolished by the government, said a burgeoning HIV/AIDS epidemic
was also compounding the crisis with millions of orphans needing urgent
Egeland told journalists in Harare: "The humanitarian situation in
Zimbabwe is very serious and prospects are also very worrying, the number of
people needing assistance is big and growing."
Turning onto Mugabe's urban slum clearing campaign, the UN envoy
called the exercise "the worst possible thing at the worst possible time
(that) created a lot of problems as far as humanitarian conditions are
The UN says the controversial urban renewal exercise left 700 000
people without shelter or means of livelihood after their homes and informal
business kiosks were demolished by the government.
But Egeland said he had received assurances during a meeting with
Mugabe earlier in the day that Harare would co-operate with the UN to assist
those in need of help.
The UN envoy, who also said the world body's secretary general Kofi
Annan was considering visiting Zimbabwe next year, said his meeting with
Mugabe had been frank and open, although there had been some disagreement on
how to help those needing assistance.
Zimbabwe initially rejected UN offers of assistance to build temporary
shelter for people affected by Murambatsvina, only to make an about-turn
last month. Subject to funding, the UN will construct 2 500 housing units
during the first phase of the programme.
The UN's World Food Programme will have increased the number of
recipients of its food aid in Zimbabwe to 3.3 million by January up from 2.5
million expected to be fed by the organisation by end of this month. -
Wed 7 December 2005
HARARE - President Robert Mugabe on Tuesday told Zimbabwe's Parliament
that his government is embarking on a new Stalinist-style command
agriculture programme to boost farm output and end food shortages gripping
the country for the past five years.
The programme, first mentioned by Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor
Gideon Gono several months ago, would see selected farms required to produce
specific quantities of strategic crops such as maize, wheat and tobacco.
Mugabe said the new Operation Food Security (also known in vernacular
languages as Operation Maguta/Inala) would see at least 300 000 hectares of
irrigated land to produce the main staple maize while communities would be
mobilised to produce several more crops to ensure Zimbabwe is once again
able to feed itself as well as export excess food.
In a 35-minute long state of the nation address to Parliament, Mugabe
said: "To enhance agricultural production and meet national requirements of
1.8 million metric tonnes of cereals, targeted production has been
introduced through Operation Food Security/Maguta/ Inala by government.
"The major objectives of the programme are to boost the country's food
security and consolidate national strategic (food) reserves. Further,
government's strategy to ensure food security and surplus for export
(includes having) at least 300 000 hectares of maize put under irrigation."
Zimbabwe has grappled hunger since 2000 after Mugabe's controversial
seizure of productive farmland from whites for redistribution to blacks
destabilised the mainstay agricultural sector, knocking food output down by
about 60 percent.
For example, an estimated four million of the 12 million Zimbabweans
require more than a million tonnes of food aid between now and the next
harvest around March/April 2006 or they will starve.
But sceptical agricultural experts have warned that command
agriculture is not the solution to Zimbabwe's food problems, saying the
cash-strapped government did not have the financial resources or skills to
successfully manage crop fields across the country.
Mugabe - who denies his land reforms caused hunger in Zimbabwe - is
better served stopping a fresh wave of farm invasions by his supporters that
is disrupting farming operations on the few large-scale producing farms
still in white hands, the experts say.
The veteran President should also ensure that his government provides
inputs and skills training for black villagers resettled on former white
farms so that they could produce food for the country, they said.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe's bickering main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) party, in a surprise show of unity from the party
lately, boycotted Mugabe's address in Parliament.
A spokesman for the MDC, Nelson Chamisa, said the action was a
symbolic gesture to show that the party did not condone Mugabe's
controversial management of Zimbabwe.
Chamisa said: "We could not attend as Mugabe is a disputed leader of
Zimbabwe. He has been making fatal decisions for Zimbabweans such as the
re-introduction of the Senate which milks out the already over burdened
taxpayer. We could not associate with the dictator while the populace is
wallowing in abject poverty." - ZimOnline
Wed 7 December 2005
HARARE - The government has seized a farm used by SOS Children's
Villages Association of Zimbabwe to grow food for children at its various
orphanages across the country.
Arcadia farm near Bindura town, about 60km north of Harare, was also
used as a training school for orphans and abandoned children where they were
taught various self-help skills they could use to earn a living on leaving
the care of SOS.
There are about 14 tenant farmers at the farm all of them once
orphaned or abandoned children who were raised by the SOS and taught how to
farm. They have no alternative land if evicted from the 573.45-hectare farm.
State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa, who is also in charge of land
redistribution, was not available for comment on the matter yesterday.
But a senior member of the Trustees of SOS Children's Villages
Association, who declined to be named, told ZimOnline last night that they
were in talks with senior government officials in a bid to persuade them to
let the association keep the farm.
"Our farm which housed a training centre was taken over by the
government but senior officials are dealing with the issue at a higher
level. At the moment we do not want to scuttle negotiations with the
government," the official said.
The seizure of the SOS farm is sure to make it more difficult for the
organisation to look after Zimbabwe's orphans, who are increasing at an
alarming rate as a burgeoning HIV/AIDS epidemic kills at least 2 000 people
in the country every week.
AIDS experts estimate that about 1.3 million children in the country
under the age of 15 years have lost one or both parents while an estimated
12 000 children live on the streets in Harare and other cities. - ZimOnline
Wed 7 December 2005
HARARE - There was drama at Parliament Building in Harare on Tuesday
after over-zealous state secret agents barred Zimbabwe Foreign Affairs
Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi from entering the building for President
Robert Mugabe's state of the nation address saying they did not know him.
Mumbengegwi, who was appointed minister earlier this year, is not a
familiar face to most of Mugabe's feared secret agents after spending many
years outside the country serving in various diplomatic assignments.
The foreign minister was only saved from further embarrassment by
Mugabe's chief of protocol Munyaradzi Kajese, who chastised the feared
secret agents for holding up the minister.
In a similar incident involving Mugabe's secret police, another secret
agent on Tuesday caused a stir in the second biggest city of Bulawayo after
he tried to bulldoze his way into a private meeting held by visiting United
Nations (UN) envoy Jan Egeland with civic and church leaders.
The Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) officer pushed and shoved
a UN security officer who had refused to allow him to attend the meeting at
the Holiday Inn in the city to discuss the plight of thousands of people
displaced by the government's controversial housing demolitions last May.
"Church meetings should not be secret, why should you bar us from
getting in? We want to hear what is being said.
"We know there is Pius Ncube here, a man known for vilifying Zimbabwe
and our government and we know he is busy lying to the envoy, so open up
now," said the CIO agent pushing his way.
But the security officer refused to budge resulting in a mini-fracas
as the CIO agent pushed and shoved him.
Zimbabwe's dreaded secret agents, who are accused by human rights
groups and the opposition of unleashing terror on the government's
opponents, routinely barge into private meetings in a bid to intimidate
perceived opponents of the government.
ZimOnline could not immediately establish yesterday whether Pius
Ncube, a fierce critic of President Robert Mugabe's government, was part of
the delegation that met the UN envoy. The Zimbabwe government frequently
attacks Ncube accusing him of spearheading an anti-Mugabe crusade.
Addressing journalists after the meeting, Egeland said he was touched
by the plight of people he had had seen in Bulawayo following the housing
"There is a great challenge for us and what is most apparent is that
there is a crisis in so far as health and food provision is concerned. It is
my hope that we will work hand in hand with the government to address this
crisis," he said.
At least 700 000 people were rendered homeless after Mugabe sanctioned
the demolition of thousands of houses and backyard shacks in an operation he
said was necessary to restore order in urban areas. Another 2.4 million
people were also directly affected by the clean-up campaign, according to a
UN report. - ZimOnline
Zimbabweans protest on UN International Human Rights Day
Exiled Zimbabweans are to
demonstrate outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in
The UN Emergency Relief
Co-ordinator, Jan Egeland, has been visiting
Mr Egeland said “Conditions
are very bad, the needs are tremendous”.
He has promised UN assistance but the
The demonstration coincides
with the regular
10th December, outside the
Photo Opportunities: Drumming, singing, dancing.
Interview Opportunities with refugees, including torture victims.
Contacts: Rose Benton 07970 996 003
Ephraim Tapa 07940 793 090
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe. http://www.zimvigil.co.uk
By Peta Thornycroft
07 December 2005
U.N.'s top relief coordinator Jan Egeland says Zimbabwe's humanitarian
situation is very serious and the need for international assistance is big
and growing. Peta Thornycroft reports for VOA from Harare where Mr.
Egeland ended on Tuesday a three-day face-mending visit.
Mr. Egeland was on a mission to Zimbabwe on behalf of UN Secretary-General
President Robert Mugabe invited Mr. Annan to visit Zimbabwe following a
U.N. report, which condemned the government's mass eviction of people in
urban areas in May and June which affected about 2.4 million people.
Mr. Egeland said the United Nations needed a better relationship with the
government in order to help people overcome growing hardships.
"The humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe is very serious," Mr. Egeland said.
"The prospects are also very worrying. The need for international assistance
is big and growing. The people of Zimbabwe are suffering under several big
problems. The aids pandemic is taking three-thousand lives every week, there
is a million aids orphans, there is now chronic food insecurity, there is a
lack of social services including lack of health services."
Mr. Egeland said lack of housing was exacerbated by the government's forced
demolition of hundreds of thousands of homes in urban areas and the eviction
of their inhabitants.
Strained relations between the United Nations and Zimbabwe eased somewhat
when Harare agreed last week to accept food aid for millions of people
facing hunger. Zimbabwe also agreed to allow the United Nations to help
build some shelters for people displaced by the evictions..
Zimbawe is in a deep economic crisis, with seven out of 10 people
unemployed, inflation running at more than 400 percent and the agriculture
sector, once the source of the country's export wealth, unable to feed the
By Peta Thornycroft in Harare
Zimbabwe's high-living cricket administrators were arrested late on Monday
and will be charged under tough exchange control laws. After years of player
walkouts, race rows and allegations of massive corruption, the two men at
the centre of the disintegration of the game in Zimbabwe are finally behind
bars - for the moment.
Peter Chingoka, 51, the long-serving chairman of Zimbabwe Cricket, and Ozias
Bvute, 34, whom he appointed as managing director in January, handed
themselves in to the Harare Central Police Station after a week on the run.
Chief Supt Oliver Mandikapa said: "They are under arrest and will be charged
under the exchange control act and should appear in court soon." The two
head men of Zimbabwe Cricket are accused by players and senior colleagues of
funding lavish lifestyles on the proceeds of international cricket receipts.
A month ago, Bvute, who knows nothing about cricket according to top
players, allegedly bought himself a ranch-style house close to where
President Robert Mugabe is building his palatial retirement home 15 miles
north of Harare.
Both men are accused by players and colleagues of hiring scores of relatives
and friends to work for Zimbabwe Cricket and of allegedly syphoning off
funds to import luxury vehicles for resale in Zimbabwe.
Chingoka, a familiar face at Harare's top bars and restaurants, had been
warned by associates for two years that cricket would collapse unless he
stopped manufacturing race rows and reined in expenditure.
The arrest of the two clears the way for Zimbabwe Cricket's vice-chairman,
retired judge Ahmed Ebrahim, to call a board meeting today to dismiss both
men and appoint a temporary management committee. He is also expected to
hire a forensic auditor to examine local and overseas bank accounts and the
Heath Streak, the former captain, was sacked last year when he criticised
Chingoka's administration and selection processes. This led to a walkout by
most of the top white players, heralding the start of Zimbabwe's dramatic
loss of form.
The team's new captain, Tatenda Taibu, who is 22, walked out last month and
was forthright when giving his reasons. "I will only play for Zimbabwe if Mr
Chingoka and Mr Bvute go," he said last weekend before leaving to take up a
month's contract in Bangladesh.
The players also rebelled when the popular West Indian coach Phil Simmons
was sacked in September. He will be reinstated today and scores of new
employees hired by Bvute will receive their marching orders.
"We don't know if salaries will be paid because we don't know if there is
any money in the Zimbabwe Cricket accounts," an official at the headquarters
Indications so far are that the two men will have to explain to the police
how about $22 million (£12.6 million) of Zimbabwe Cricket's income has been
spent since January.
7 December 2005
HARARE - A rebel group has outlined its bid to oust the Zimbabwean cricket
administration and secure funding for the national team.
About 40 people gathered at the Harare Sports Club on Monday in an emergency
meeting designed to overthrow Zimbabwe Cricket chairman Peter Chingoka and
managing director Osias Bvute.
"There was no sign of the two, but they might still appear on Wednesday for
our next meeting to try and stop it as we move forward" Justice Ahmed
Ebrahim told The Associated Press of Chingoka and Bvute.
Former captain Tatenda Taibu, dismissed national coach Phil Simmons, senior
players, six provincial chairmen or vice chairmen, and five national
directors were among those who attended the meeting.
The players reaffirmed their pledge to refuse to play for Zimbabwe if
Chingoka and Bvute stayed on.
Ebrahim said it was agreed to ask TV companies, sponsors and others
providing finance to trace any funds sent to ZC in recent years.
"I realise they won't do that immediately until they feel they can recognize
our authority," Ebrahim said. "But we are anxious to get a forensic audit
and at the same time to create goodwill with backers."
December 7, 2005 Edition 1
Disciplinary action awaits customs and immigration officials at Beit Bridge,
the Limpopo river border crossing between South Africa and Zimbabwe, SABC
radio news reported yesterday.
This week queues have built up at the checkpoint, reputedly Africa's most
busy road border, owing to a shortage of staff to process travellers'
Limpopo home affairs manager Victor Mabunda reportedly said those involved
in corruption, or absconding from their posts, would face disciplinary
National Home Affairs spokesman Monageng Mokgojwa said that at the weekend
four staffers had booked off sick and two were on leave. A normal shift
employed 15 people at a time. - Sapa
EDITOR'S MEMO: MDUDUZI MATHUTHU
Last updated: 12/07/2005 11:12:22
I HAVE watched the implosion of the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) with great sadness. It's enough to make one want to walk out and have
In the past six years, the MDC under Morgan Tsvangirai's leadership,
has put up a commendable fight to rescue Zimbabwe from Robert Mugabe's
The fight has not been easy. Scores of MDC supporters have been killed
in pursuit of a New Zimbabwe. Top MDC leaders have been arrested countless
times, and they have all been acquitted -- which explains something about
policing and the justice system in Zimbabwe.
In the six years that the MDC has existed, Zimbabweans of all tribal
backgrounds appeared ready to turn the clock on Zanu PF's divisive,
faction-driven politics which had for two decades restrained the nation's
march towards a one-nation agenda.
While reporting for The Daily News, I had the opportunity to meet and
travel with Tsvangirai in rural Matabeleland. He struck me as a "people's
man", a man who understood and appreciated the suffering of Zimbabwe's rural
poor. He spoke in ordinary language on ordinary subjects to ordinary
audiences. They loved him.
While seeking to unite the nation, Tsvangirai appeared not to have
lost a sense of the past. I remember after a rally in Tsholotsho, Tsvangirai
stopped at the site of a mass grave where 12 members of the same family were
executed by Mugabe's North Korean-trained Five Brigade. Tsvangirai spoke
movingly and vowed that such scenes should never be repeated in a New
For someone who witnessed the MDC campaign juggernaut so close and
knew the principals very well, current events in the MDC are just
What happened to the dream of a New Zimbabwe? What happened to the
MDC's promise to "Chinja Maitiro/Guqula Izenzo"? What happened to the unity,
and democratic purpose of the party?
Trying to pick the warring MDC factions apart and apportioning blame
to one group or the other has been the political game so far. There has been
a discomforting nurturing of extremist views. The middle ground has all been
obliterated. The principle is now a simple "it's either you are with us or
with them", or rather more accurately, "it's either you are with us or with
Instead of seeing a change in "maitiro/izenzo", the MDC seems to have
plagiarised wholesale from Zanu PF's political handbook. Members of
Parliament can now be assaulted at MDC meetings, constituency T-Shirts for
MDC MPs can be set on fire by toyi-toying youths in front of the leader of
the opposition. Slogans like "Job Sikhala - mudenga - roverai pasi - hezo
vo - Bgwa!" pose a chilling reminder of "pasi naTsvangirai" slogans which
only yesterday were being chanted by Mugabe and his supporters.
The level of intolerance and rejection of opposing views in the MDC is
shocking. What is even heart-breaking is that this "black and white" view of
Zimbabwean politics has now percolated down to ordinary Zimbabweans who are
in fact victims of their leaders' short comings.
Internet chatrooms have become mini-war zones where ideas are killed
with chilling vulgarities and tribal slurs. A once united block of
opposition supporters is now dangerously divided. Friendships have broken
down, partnerships abandoned and reason discarded. It's all a cocktail that
looks set to prolong Zanu PF's hold on power.
Yet one thing is inescapable. The entire MDC leadership has betrayed
the people, the living and those who died in its name. After six years
during which one presidential and two parliamentary elections were lost, the
evidence suggests there is nothing particularly exceptional about the
current leadership of the opposition.
The childish and "schoolboy-in-playground with ball-in-hand" manner in
which the MDC leaders have all acted over this affair raises profound
questions about the leadership we have.
Whatever faction emerges triumphant from this messy affair, people
should not lose perspective. Winning factional politics and winning national
politics is like day and night.
What Zimbabweans must demand from their leaders is quality and
delivery. The Conservative party in the UK has just elected its fourth
leader in eight years. Because they are not in power, they are perpetually
searching for the best leader, and the party's supporters are not scared to
ring the changes because they are not married to any one leader but
Conservative politics, principles and systems.
Taking the MDC -- whatever faction wins the internal power game --
into an election with a reformed Zanu PF has the danger of placing a change
of government beyond this generation.
What the MDC supporters should be demanding is leadership renewal. The
party needs a clean break. New leadership, untainted by the current
politics, should be something that the party's supporters up and down the
country should be seriously considering. There are principled Zimbabweans at
home and abroad who can take the mettle of bringing a New Zimbabwe, Strive
Masiyiwa being a brilliant example.
Opposition supporters and pro-democracy activists should also be
asking themselves if the daily mudslinging and tribal slurs is good for
opposition politics. They should be much more demanding of their leaders and
much more open minded or they would indefinitely postpone the arrival of the
The struggle for democratic change - which we thought was at the heart
of the MDC agenda - is suffering quick retrogression. Mugabe is smiling.
New Zimbabwe.com will support, as we have done over the last two
years, a progressive opposition movement. But we will not back a shambles
and fail to ask questions -- simply because a majority appears to be caught
up in that shambles.
Zimbabwean voters must raise their standards of leaders to beat
authoritarianism, both in government and the opposition.