The ZIMBABWE Situation
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repair package may cost $5 billion
Fri Feb 20, 2009 3:57pm GMT
CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - Repairing Zimbabwe's economy could
cost as much as $5
billion (3.5 billion pounds) and foreign direct
investment would help, said
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe said international and regional
offered Zimbabwe $500 million in credit lines, but were
cautious because of
conflicting signals on policy.
government, formed between Tsvangirai's MDC party and President
Mugabe's ZANU-PF, must resolve an economic meltdown that has led to
hyperinflation and a virtually worthless local currency. Prices double every
After meeting South African President Kgalema Motlanthe and
Trevor Manuel to discuss a recovery strategy, Tsvangirai
planned to use a number of currencies but was not considering
rand as legal tender.
"As for the long-term economic
recovery it has not been assessed ... but I
think it would run into billions
of dollars, maybe as high as $5 billon,"
Tsvangirai said at a news
conference in Cape Town.
Tsvangirai, accompanied by Zimbabwean Finance
Minister Tendai Biti, said
Harare had to look at ways to encourage foreign
"Obviously as a country that is emerging from such a
dire situation, foreign
direct investment is one of the areas of focus ...
anything that is
inhibitive for foreign direct investment ... has to be
Reserve Bank is looking at currency options. It has repeatedly revalued
dollar and lopped another 12 zeros off the battered currency this
"Our currency is devalued almost to a point of non-use, so we are
use a multi-currency approach ... But a4 the moment there is no
the randification (of the economy). It is a multi-currency
facility we are
looking at," said Tsvangirai.
Motlanthe said earlier
this month Zimbabwe, which is grappling with
inflation of 200 million
percent, could adopt the rand, but he did not give
details. The rand is
widely used on Zimbabwe's black market, alongside the
Friday, Zimbabwe's central bank governor, Gideon Gono, said financiers
offered credit lines, but wanted clarification over reports suggesting
bank's recent monetary policy statement and the national budget
then acting Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa 7ould be
Media reports quoted Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara
business leaders to disregard both policy documents, and the new
minister, whose MDC party has been critical of Gono, told Reuters
he would present a new budget.
"As we work to stabilise the
national economy, we advise our principals in
the field of 0olitics to
carefully weigh their pronouncements, particularly
in technical areas such
as banking and finance, that risk destabilising the
economy," Gono told
reporters in Harare.
Zimbabwe's economic crisis has been worsened by the
international aid, mainly over policy differences with Mugabe,
since independence from Britain in 1980.
reporting by Nelson Banya in Harare)
offer Zimbabwe $500 million in credit lines
Fri Feb 20, 2009 3:13pm
HARARE (Reuters) - International and regional financiers have
Zimbabwe $500 million in credit lines to help repair its economy,
remain cautious over conflicting government signals on policy, the
bank said on Friday.
Central bank governor Gideon Gono told
reporters the funds would be used to
rescue the economy following moves to
liberalise the economy and the
formation of a unity government, which is
expected to ease political
in South Africa seeking bail out funds
By Lance Guma
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai met South African President Kgalema
Motlanthe in Cape Town on Friday, for meetings that focused on his request
for a financial aid package. The continued incarceration of political
prisoners such as Roy Bennet, Jestina Mukoko and 30 others, was also
expected to take centre stage in the discussions. On the back of a promise
to pay civil servants in foreign currency Tsvangirai is now under pressure
to raise the required funds. This follows unconfirmed reports that he made
the promise without first securing the money needed to meet the commitment.
Finance Minister Tendai Biti, and Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe
Mumbengegwi from ZANU PF, also traveled with Tsvangirai.
At a press
briefing soon after the meetings Tsvangirai said the country
would need as
much as US$5 billion to repair the battered economy. He said
looking at attracting direct foreign investment to help
economy. Tsvangirai also said they planned to use a number
of currencies in
the meantime, but ruled out adopting the Rand as legal
tender. 'Our currency
is devalued almost to a point of non-use, so we are
going to use a
multi-currency approach,' he said
The absence of Reserve Bank Governor
Gideon Gono from the meetings exposed
deep divisions between him and the new
Finance Minister. Biti is alleged to
have likened Gono to an 'Al-Qaeda' like
official, deserving to be put before
a firing squad for the mess he has
created as central bank governor. Biti
has already made several changes to
schemes which were introduced by Gono,
including the voucher payment scheme.
On Wednesday Biti directed that 'with
immediate effect, all vouchers issued
to civil servants as payment of
allowances will be redeemable into cash at
designated banks'. Gono sniped
back saying this had the potential of
creating an 'acute foreign currency
crisis' and chaos in banks, since
government was broke.
Little wonder Tsvangirai is hoping to get a R10
billion aid package from
South Africa to shore up the economy. He is also
approaching South Africa
because President Motlanthe pledged to rally
support for Zimbabwe, once a
coalition government was in place.
full extent of the lack of cash can be seen by the fact that staff at
Zimbabwean diplomatic missions around the world have been reduced to
destitution, after not being paid for months. And on Friday the country's
biggest building society, CABS, announced it was closing 37 branches, due to
what it called an 'unfavourable economic environment.'
relief for Tsvangirai has been the fact that the teachers union has
to get their members back to work on Monday, despite not being happy
the US$100 allowances.
unidentified suspicious looking men stalk human rights lawyer - ZLHR
February 20th, 2009
around 13 00hours today, two unidentified men stalked human rights lawyer Mr
Alec Muchadehama, who is representing detained human rights activists and some
members of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). The men started to stalk
Muchadehama as he was leaving Court 13, Rottenrow magistrate’s court.
The two unidentified men suspected to be state security agents, followed
Muchadehama to the main entrance of the court and stood within earshot as
Muchadehama briefed Dr Francis Lovemore, one of the doctors who examined the
detained political prisoners about proceedings in court, where Magistrate Gloria
Takundwa had just ordered the immediate and urgent medical examination of the
four detainees including Kisimusi Dhlamini, Regis Mujeyi, Mapfumo Garutsa and
Andrisson Manyere, who appeared in court on 20 February 2009.
The two unidentified men had been in court meticulously taking notes during
remand hearing proceedings, where Muchadehama successfully sought an order for
the examination and treatment of the four detainees. Muchadehama also
successfully obtained an order compelling the State to give a trial date for the
ZLHR is greatly worried about the rising incidences of harassment and attacks
against lawyers. This act of stalking was deliberately meant to spook
Muchadehama. ZLHR condemns such clandestine acts by the unidentified men who
distracted a legal practitioner who was executing his duties.
ZLHR Press Release
Bennett visits limited; no bail hearing set - MDC
MDC Press Release - In what is clearly a vindictive move and an attempt to
punish Roy Bennett, MDC Treasurer General and Deputy Minister of Agriculture
designate, wardens at Mutare Prison say they have been instructed to limit Roy
Bennett’s visits to one visit per week. Since yesterday, Roy Bennett lawyers
have attempted to lodge an urgent bail application in the High Court but have
been sent from pillar to post and told there was no judge to attend to their
The treatment of Roy Bennett is clearly vindictive, an attempt to punish him,
and pressure him into submission. Roy Bennett has consistently rejected to be
horse traded in any underlying political deal or negotiation. His commitment to
a just political settlement remains unchanged, and it is inconceivable that it
will change. He emphasized that there can never be a shortcut to national
healing. The healing process has to be fair, just, democratic and inspired by
the need to create a sustainable foundation for a democratic Zimbabwe. The
healing process must satisfy the ‘weak’ in voice, in the most remote part of the
country, and should be people driven rather than be an elite pact.
MDC Mutare Mayor Brian James saw Roy Bennett in the morning today. The
conditions in the prison are so deplorable that one person in Roy Bennett’s cell
died yesterday and the body is still to be removed. Prisoners are literally
starving to death. MDC Mutare Mayor Brian James will ask Red Cross to intervene
in the desperate situation.
We demand that the Inclusive government takes the issue of human rights
seriously and creates conditions for the restoration of people’s freedoms and
dignity. It can not be business as usual when political activists are in
detention for politically motivated charges. We demand that they be released
immediately and unharmed.
Via MDC Press Release
Gono, Mutambara lock horns
February 20, 2009
HARARE - Simmering tensions between Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
Gideon Gono and finance minister, Tendai Biti erupted
Gono accused the new minister of engaging in aimless power games
interfering with his own functions as central bank
Deputy Prime Minister, Arthur Mutambara also stocked fires
Thursday when he
told a high profile business forum in Harare that Gono's
measures would be reversed.
business to disregard the fiscal and monetary policies
recently announced by
the then acting finance minister, Patrick Chinamasa
base your planning on Chinamasa's or Gono's statements," Mutambara
roundtable of chief executives held in Harare, "There will be
reviews on these."
In the monetary policy statement, the central bank
also liberalized the
country's exchange rate regime, while allowing the free
multiple currencies in Zimbabwe.
Biti, a critic of
Zanu-PF's economic policies, also said changes would be
Following the pronunciations by the two MDC
officials, Gono said the central
bank was on Friday inundated with calls
from stakeholders seeking
clarification on the legal standing of his
"The reported nullification of the recent monetary
policy statement has
unfortunately unsettled the market, at a time when we
should be working for
the return of the macroeconomic stability," said
Gono was adamant his statement constituted the legitimate policy
the affairs of monetary policy management of the country. He
pronunciations by both Mutambara and Biti were "at variance with
dictates of the law".
"As a nation," said Gono, "let us,
therefore, discourage the temptation of
deliberately causing disruptive
confusions through breaking of the law, or
inadvertent abuse of our various
standings in society."
Gono, one of the closest allies of President
Robert Mugabe, was adamant he
had consulted widely to come up with his
monetary policy statement.
The central bank chief, who spoke in a
combative tone, declared he was by
law still in charge of the central
He urged bankers and business to stick by his statements and avoid
said was unnecessary panicking.
"As we work to stabilize the
national economy," Gono said, "We advise our
principals in the field of
politics to carefully weigh their pronouncements,
particularly in technical
areas such as banking and finance that risk
"Ordinarily, where there is room for policy enhancement, such
must be done in an orderly and professional manner, with the
objective of being constructive in the public interest, as opposed
deliberately engaging in destructive pronouncements."
continued, "Where past policies need improvement, let us work to
"Where recent policy measures brought relief to industry and
us support the positives and consolidate the gains from such
as opposed to the careless throwing of blanket statements that
"Above all, as Zimbabweans, let us speak
the language of nation healing,
unity of purpose and hard
"Engaging in needless brawls, either as a way of proving the
ourselves, or as a result of ill-advice from those around us
avoided in the national interest.
"Let us rise above
selfish, sectoral or political considerations in the
interest of the common
goal advancing the interest of our motherland,
Wednesday reversed a voucher system which had been introduced by
as payment towards civil servants' allowances.
He said the scheme was
inflexible and also limited the choices available to
"It has become necessary to review and modify this scheme,"
"With immediate effect, all vouchers issued to civil servants
as payment of
allowances will be redeemable into cash at designated
"With effect from March 2009, payment of allowances to civil
be made directly into their respective foreign currency
therefore the voucher payment scheme will cease
Biti also said banks were now putting in place arrangements
to open parallel
foreign currency accounts to the already existing Zimbabwe
He said the policy direction of licensing business to
sell goods and
services in foreign currency were an unnecessary and costly
exercise on the
part of the central bank which has been carrying out the
"Hence with immediate effect, the licensing requirement to
foreign currency is hereby set aside and all producers,
retailers and other
traders are now deemed licensed for purposes of
transacting in foreign
currency," he said.
government official backs Chihuri
February 20, 2009
MASVINGO - A senior government official David Mangota has
Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri over the dropping of all
charges committed during the run-up to last year's presidential
Mangota, who is the permanent secretary in the
Ministry of Justice Legal and
Parliamentary Affairs, also ordered personnel
in his ministry to effectively
grab farms from the remaining white
commercial farmers since they will not
have the opportunity to do so after
the inclusive government has taken full
servants among them magistrates and senior police and army
yesterday, Mangota said his ministry has already asked
Mugabe to pardon those found guilty of cases committed
during the campaign
for the June 27 presidential election run-off.
He said all murder cases
committed between March and June last year should
be dropped to ensure that
the nation starts operating on a new leaf.
"We are ordering you
magistrates and other judiciary personnel to drop all
committed during the run-up to the presidential election
"We are in the process of promoting national healing hence those
have not been finalised should be set free".
since asked president Mugabe to pardon all political prisoners
those with cases committed during the run to the polls."
On the issue of
land Mangota ordered personnel in his ministry to grab the
land from the
remaining white farmers arguing that they will not have the
chance to do so
when the inclusive government takes full control of
"We are saying those of you who have no land should grab it,"
"We are giving you until the end of this month to do
A wave of fresh farm occupations is reported to have swept across
of Masvingo during the past two weeks.
Some of the farms
that have been occupied include Quagga Pen Ranch in
Mwenezi, Iris farm owned
by Digby Nesbit in Chiredzi, and Chidza farm owned
During the run up to president Mugabe's controversial victory
Zanu PF supporters among them youths war veterans and senior Zanu
officials including former cabinet ministers unleashed a reign of terror
the countryside beating, torturing and killing people.
former ministers named in connection with political violence is
Minister of Finance, Samuel Mumbengegwi and his wife, the late
without portfolio, Elliot Manyika, and former Minister of Energy
development retired colonel Mike Nyambuya and former Minister of
While the MDC has called for the prosecution of all
perpetrators of violence
Zanu PF remains adamant that they should go
Commissioner General Chihuri last week ordered provincial
officers to drop all murder charges committed between April and
Zimbabwe Cabinet costs 'could feed half
February 2009 09:37 GMT
Zimbabwe's new unity 46-member Cabinet will cost $2 million a month
salaries and allowances, a figure enough to feed about half of the
The Cabinet, the most expensive in Zimbabwe's
history, was sworn in Friday,
charged with a tough job of lifting the
troubled country where foreign
investment is non-existent.
country's joint transitional government has 31 ministers and 15
President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party is allocated 15
while prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai's opposition
Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) has 13 in line with last years' power
The three remaining Cabinet posts belong to a smaller MDC
faction led by
Arthur Mutambara. Of the 15 deputy cabinet posts, eight go to
Mr Tsvangirai's MDC and Mr Mutambara's MDC get six and one
According to the salary schedule of the new cabinet,
ministers will be
getting over $1,300 each month with deputies earning a bit
secretaries will be earning just below $1,000 a
On top of the salaries, Cabinet ministers and their deputies are
various fat allowances that in a month add to $2,000 each. They
get about two Mercedes Benz S-Class vehicles and two luxury
President Mugabe's annual salary has been put
at about $21,000 with Mr
Tsvangirai and his two deputies earning slightly
below. They are all
entitled to various plump allowances.
Mugabe, Mr Tsvangirai and the two deputy prime ministers' staff
earning salaries slightly below $1,000 among other various perks,
back troubled Zimbabwe by over $2 million a month.
international aid agencies, the figure is enough to feed about
population that urgently requires food aid. With Zimbabwe's economy
terminal decline and most fingers pointing at Mugabe for the mess,
wondered where the money will come from.
Jethro Mpofu told
inthenews.co.uk that the country cannot afford the huge
cost of the new
Cabinet since the nation is hard pressed for foreign
"Instead of the country looking for foreign currency to
bring back our
industries, health and education to their feet, we would be
currency which we do not have to meet the government
expenditure," Mr Mpofu
"The government expenditure is huge for
a small country like ours and should
Max Mnkandla added:
"Where is money going to come from? The country has no
money; it is broke
for such expenditure. The cost of the Cabinet can go a
long way in solving
the humanitarian crisis."
Zimbabwe's costly MDC-Zanu-PF unity Cabinet had
its inaugural meeting on
Tuesday. It is charged with providing a quick fix
to the nation's comatose
Teachers, doctors and nurses are on
strike over pay since last year. Mr
Tsvangirai has promised to pay them and
other key professionals and soldiers
in foreign currency from the end of
Western countries and donor agencies say they will only
assist the new
government after "political prisoners are released, there is
political violence, "repressive legislation is repealed, a credible
financial team and the production of a credible economic plan is put in
place and when a clear road map to the national elections, with guarantees
that they will be conducted freely and fairly, in full view of the
international community" is put in place.
planned for Mugabe's 85th in hunger-ravaged Zimbabwe
2009, 11:52 GMT
Johannesburg/Harare - More than 100,000 US
dollars is expected to be spent
on Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe's 85th
birthday party next week -
while more than half his country's population
lives in dire poverty.
Africa's oldest leader turns 85 this Saturday,
with a lavish party to follow
on February 28.
Earlier this month a
fund raising event was organized by Mugabe's Zanu PF's
youth wing and
pledges of 110,000 US dollars were made for the birthday
Others promised rice, cattle, goats, pigs, bread, tomatoes,
for the birthday party, despite much of the country's
The party is due to take place in a
farming town of Chinhoyi, the capital
town of his rural home province of
Speaking on national radio earlier this week, Absolom
Sikhosana, Zanu PF's
youth leader, admitted raising funds for this year
celebrations have been
'We are appealing to those who
have pledged for the 21st February Movement
(Mugabe's birthday) celebrations
to make good their promises,' said
Sikhosana on Tuesday.
things are tough, but it would be nice to honour the pledges you
Another fund-raising dinner dance is scheduled for the eve of
birthday. Patrick Zhuwawo, Mugabe's nephew, told the state media
this month that the youth wing hoped to raise a total of 300,000 US
for the event.
Once a hero to many Zimbabweans and Africans,
Mugabe has seen his domestic
popularity wane over the past decade, and his
international reputation hit
Last year he lost a
presidential election to opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai. However, the
electoral commission said Tsvangirai had failed to
garner the required
A second poll won by Mugabe was not recognized after being
killings and violence by his supporters.
Tsvangirai have since formed a coalition government.
'I think Mugabe is
misguided - maybe it is age - he must not have this kind
of a party when the
people he claims to be ruling are suffering,' said
Lovemore Madhuku, a human
rights activist and political commentator.
Zimbabwe is facing its worst
ever economic and humanitarian crisis. A raging
cholera epidemic has claimed
close to 4 000 lives since August last year,
whilst hyper-inflation has
rendered the national currency effectively
The UN says
more than five million Zimbabweans need food aid.
'I have not seen a
person who has become a shadow of himself like Mugabe,'
Majongwe, a political analyst and trade unionist. 'I am sure he
ill-advised. His family shops abroad but it forgets that they are
money. The tax payers can not afford to fly to go shopping.'
married to Grace - his second wife about 40 years his junior.
called her the 'first shopper' of Zimbabwe instead of the First
Recent western media reports claim Mugabe has bought himself a
dollar house in Hong Kong.
Grace Mugabe last month
grabbed the headlines for attacking a photographer
in Hong Kong, where she
was on a shopping spree.
Mugabe has been at the helm of Zimbabwe since
independence 29 years ago.
Makes no sense to celebrate in a sea of poverty, Mugabe told
February 2009 18:08
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's 85th
birthday this weekend is
nothing to celebrate for youngsters living in
wretched conditions under his
rule, British-based charity Save the Children
The charity said 10 percent of children would not live
to the age of
five in Mugabe's Zimbabwe, while millions who survive were
live, let alone get an education.
throws parties in Zimbabwe for his 85th birthday, one in 10
children in his
country are destined to die before their fifth birthday,"
"Most of their mothers won't even live to half the
Mugabe, who has just sworn in a new unity
government with former rival
Morgan Tsvangirai as premier, has led Zimbabwe
to absolute ruin during his
29 years in power, while he and his family have
led lives of comparative
"There's nothing for children
to celebrate in Zimbabwe," said Jacobs.
"As thousands of pounds are
spent on birthday food and drink, millions
of children struggle to survive
on basic food aid rations, often with no way
of getting clean
And she added: "The birthday wish for many children here is
their education, but with most schools closed and fewer than one in
children now in class, there's little chance of that."
Cholera infection exceeds 80 000 - WHO
Friday, 20 February
THE number of cases in Zimbabwe's cholera outbreak has exceeded
80,000 mark, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said today (Friday 20
The death toll since the outbreak began last August
reached 3 759 out
of a total of 80 250 cases on February 19, according to
the latest update by
the WHO and Zimbabwe's Health Ministry.
compared with 78 882 cases and 3 712 deaths recorded on Tuesday.
spokeswoman Fadela Chaib said there were still problems with the
system in Zimbabwe, where the country's ravaged economy and
inflation has especially hit the wages of health workers.
The WHO is
continuing talks with partners to find ways of providing
encouragement for local health staff, she told journalists.
this week, the medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF)
Zimbabwe's authorities to lift restrictions on humanitarian
criticised the state of the health system.
Widespread cholera outbreak,
under-resourced and under-staffed health
system, and inadequate access to
safe drinking water and hygiene are
threatening the wellbeing of thousands
So bad is the situation that the World Health
Organisation (WHO) has
established a cholera control and command centre, in
conjunction with the
Ministry of Health and Child Welfare and other health
partners, to respond
in a coordinated manner to Zimbabwe's health
challenges. WHO said it was
seeking donor support its cholera response
Approximately half of cholera cases have been recorded in
Glen Norah and Glen View, heavily populated suburbs in the
outskirts of the capital, Harare. Other major concentrations of
cases include Beitbridge, on the South African border, and Mudzi,
border with Mozambique.
The outbreak could surpass 100 000
cases, according to an estimate by
the Zimbabwe Health Cluster, which is a
group coordinated by WHO and
comprising health providers, non-governmental
organizations and the MoHCW.
The estimate is based on six million
people, or half of Zimbabwe's 12
million population, potentially being at
risk of contracting cholera, with
an estimated 1% of those at risk of
actually suffering from cholera.
With the current rainy season there
are risks for further spread of
cholera if strong measures are not
To make matters worse, panic has set in. Many Zimbabweans are
their country, bringing cholera to their neighbors in Botswana,
There are also serious regional
implications, with cholera cases
crossing into South Africa and
In December, South African health authorities said the
recorded 460 cholera cases and nine related deaths, mostly in
near Zimbabwe. Botswana said it recorded 234 and eight related
What has been done? The Zimbabwe health ministry's answer to
cholera outbreak was to shut off the public water supply in Harare,
did not have the foreign currency to buy chemicals to ensure that
supply was clean. Aid groups such as World Vision and Oxfam, and
such as UNICEF have taken up some of the slack by distributing
water purification tablets, but these are stop-gap measures at
best. This is
a very sad state of affairs, particularly in light of the lack
of food and
sometimes shelter for the people of this impoverished
Most persons infected with the bacteria that cause cholera
diarrhea or no symptoms. Less than 10% of persons infected with
the El Tor
biotype of Vibrio cholerae O1 have illness requiring treatment at
center if they are adequately hydrated. However, if full blown
strikes in geographies where medical personnel are not acquainted
modern treatment methods, many people might die.
causes profound diarrhea and fluid loss. It has been
characterized as a
violent gastroenteric illness. Cholera patients should be
treated quickly. With proper treatment, mostly consisting of
even severely ill persons can be saved. Prompt restoration of
lost fluid and
salts is the primary goal of treatment. Delay to therapy can
The symptoms of moderate to severe cholera are the hallmark
watery diarrhea (sometimes referred to as "rice water stool")
dehydration, nausea and vomiting, muscle (particularly the legs)
restlessness, irritability, signs of severe dehydration (such as dry
and tongue, thirst, "tenting" of loose skin, and altered mental status
The major cause of the cholera outbreak is
the inadequate supply of
clean drinking water and poor levels of hygiene.
Shortages of medicines,
equipment and staff at health facilities throughout
the country are
compounding the health challenges.
advocating for improved access to oral rehydration salts for
moderate dehydration, which is a symptom of cholera. This could
reduce sickness and deaths.
photojournalist and others further remanded in custody
20 February 2009
Photojournalist Anderson Shadreck Manyere and six MDC
activists accused of
organising a series of bombings of police stations and
railway lines, were
further remanded in custody on Friday.
lawyer Alex Muchadehama said they had appeared for a routine remand
at the Magistrates' court to be advised for a trial date, but the
failed to provide one. The defence lawyer said as usual the State is
delaying tactics, because "it has no evidence against the accused
and have been providing just excuses."
There are about 30 civic and
political detainees in detention or missing,
some for almost 4 months now.
Muchadehama said currently five are detained
in hospital at the Avenues
Clinic, 11 are being held at Chikurubi Prison,
three are in protective
custody (the State claims they are wanted as State
witnesses). He said the
whereabouts of the rest are unknown. All the
accused persons are linked to
alleged plots to destabilise the former ZANU
who appeared in court on Friday were the same group who had
appeared in the
High Court the previous day, for a bail hearing. Four
individuals had been
granted bail by High Court Justice Yunus Omerjee, but
that order was
immediately suspended by the Attorney Generals office, who
said they would
be making an appeal in the Supreme Court.
The farce continued Friday when
State prosecutor Florence Ziyambi said a
trial date would be set when police
investigations on allegations of torture
had been completed. But the lawyers
say the police report on torture
allegations cannot be credible, as the
court is basically asking the
perpetrators to investigate themselves.
Muchadehama said: "But the report
was actually an attempt by the police to
exonerate themselves because they
are totally denying that they did anything
untoward against the accused
He said the police did not ask
the doctors of the accused for their findings
and they did not even
interview the political detainees on the matter. "They
never did anything to
try and go to the roots of the complaints."
The seven have now been
remanded to March 6th and it is hoped that then a
trial date will finally be
set. But the State prosecutor said it was
difficult to set a trial date
before the end of March, as the first term of
the High Court ends in March,
and that term is full - an indication of more
the seven who appeared in court on Friday, three were remanded in
because they are in hospital. The State has so far disobeyed
orders for all the political detainees to receive proper
in a private hospital. So far only Chinoto Zulu, Zachariah
Mukoko, Fidelis Chiramba and Ghandi Mudzingwa, are
hospitalised at the
Meanwhile, lawyers representing MDC Treasurer General and
Deputy Minister of
Agriculture designate Roy Bennett, filed an urgent bail
application in the
High Court on Thursday. His Lawyer Trust Maanda said the
matter would be
heard on Tuesday. Bennett was slapped with terrorism charges
this week and
remanded in custody until 4th March.
The MDC issued a
statement on Friday saying wardens at Mutare Prison were
and attempting to punish the MDC official by limiting his
visits to one per
The party said Mutare Mayor Brian James visited Bennett on Friday
"The conditions in the prison are so deplorable that one person in
Bennett's cell died yesterday and the body is still to be removed.
are literally starving to death."
There has been an
outpouring of support for Roy Bennett, with a USA Senator
the arrest. Senator Russ Feingold, Chairman of the Senate
Subcommittee on African Affairs said: "I am deeply
concerned by the arrest
of Roy Bennett. This appears to have been a
deliberate attempt to keep him
from being sworn in with other cabinet
members last week and to undermine
the newly formed unity government."
"If so, this calls into question
Robert Mugabe and his allies' commitment to
genuinely share power and
implement democratic reforms. I will continue to
monitor the situation in
Zimbabwe and Mr. Mugabe's actions closely. I urge
the Obama administration
to do all it can to ensure that Mr. Bennett is not
tortured and to press for
his immediate release."
However Robert Mugabe has played down the arrest
and told reporters on
Thursday he doesn't see why the arrest has made news
around the world. He
said: "The issue of Roy Bennett is making headlines
worldwide. I wonder why?
This is a court case. Let the courts decide for
Deputy Minister promises media reform
By Tichaona Sibanda
A day after being sworn into office, Jameson Timba, the Deputy
Media, Information and Publicity says his immediate task will be
media freedom in the country.
He said this will include
working on the immediate return of closed
publications and the freeing of
the airwaves. Timba will work alongside ZANU
PF Minister Webster Shamu, who
has reportedly ordered the state media to
start reforming by toning down
it's inflammatory language against the MDC.
It is understood Timba, the
outgoing chairman of the Association of Private
Schools and a media
columnist, has laid out a plan that he has already
presented to Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai that will involve asking
Parliament to repeal the
government's tough media legislation. He has also
promised to look into the
issue of banned international news organisations
such as the BBC and CNN. He
has pointed out that the Global Political
Agreement, signed by all parties
to the inclusive government, calls for the
country's tough media laws to be
changed and to allow private radio,
television and daily newspapers to
operate under a unity government.
Zimbabwe's Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), is
currently one of the harshest media
laws in the world, under which
journalists can be jailed for two years for
working without a licence from
the state Media and Information
The Criminal Codification Act imposes sentences of up to 20
years in jail on
journalists or other citizens, convicted of publishing
false information or
statements that are prejudicial to the state.
source told us the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists was preparing to make its
representations to the new ministers, on the need to speed up the process
and ensure they start work on the deregulation of the draconian media
Sunsley Chamunorwa, a former editor of the Financial Gazette, said;
state media can criticise the government and report things as they
allow other media players to operate, only then can we say there
seems to be
some kind of reform in the country.'
Robert Mugabe's ZANU
PF government, which has in the last five years banned
including the country's biggest daily paper, The Daily
News, is regarded as
one of the most media repressive regimes in the world.
regulations ensure that no one is able to set up an independent
The country has two daily papers, both of them owned by the
The government-owned Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings operates four
one television station, all tightly controlled by the Ministry of
The media sub-committee of the Joint Monitoring and
(JOMIC) told us last week it would meet with the
new information minister as
soon as he was appointed, to start working on
the reforms. But many
observers are concerned that the appointment of
Webster Shamu as Information
Minister, the government has no real intention
of reform and it will be
extremely difficult to enforce
JOMIC is a special multi-party taskforce mandated with
implementation of the inclusive government. In theory this
to ensure the immediate processing by the appropriate
authorities of all
applications for re-registration and registration, in
terms of both the
Broadcasting Services Act as well as the Access to
Protection of Privacy Act.
value of Zim dollar -rural folk plead
communities have called on the new inclusive Government to restore the
of the local currency because they are failing to access the foreign
Many people still have piles of local currency, which have
useless, as most traders were not accepting it as a legal
to sell their products and services in United States of
South African rand, British pound and Botswana pula.
rural communities' concerns follow the presentation of the first quarter
the 2009 Monetary Policy, in which the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor,
Gideon Gono, presented that the new measures were meant to liberalise the
Since the announcement, virtually all services and goods
charging in hard currency without accepting the local
currency as a legal
tender. This has had a telling effect on the rural
communities, who are
struggling to come to terms with raising the required
hence, the latest call to Government to have the local
currency - which they
have ready access - to retain its legal tender
"Tiri kufa nenzara apa tiine mazakwatira emari yemun,o asi mashops
kuiramba. Deno Hurumende itsva yadzorera mari yedu yakare. Hatina nzira
yekuwana nayo mari iyi yekunze. Ini ndichitaura kudai, handisati ndambowana
chinonzi foreign currency chacho.
(We are dying here, but we have wads of
local currency, which all shops are
not accepting. Our only call for the new
Government is to restore the value
of the local unit. We have no way of
accessing the foreign currency and as I
am speaking, I have never seen how
this 'foreign currency' looks like),"
said one elderly farmer from Himalaya
in Mpudzi Resettlement Scheme in
A Zimunya woman, Mrs Jane
Madove, urged the business community not to take
advantage of the current
economic crisis to rip off consumers.
"We might be in a crisis, but at times
our business people are becoming
greedy and exploiting rural communities. We
are calling on the new
Government to address the plight of the rural
We do not have any way of getting foreign currency, and while
shops in rural areas do not have foreign currency trading
licences, they are
charging all their goods in forex. We hope the new
Government will give back
value to our dollar," she said.
new Finance Minister, Mr Tendai Biti, was quoted in the Press
adopting the rand currency would not resolve the country's
a package of economic reforms.
"Using the rand without addressing
fundamentals that have led to this
economy where we are will not work. It
doesn't benefit Zimbabwe or South
Africa," said Mr Biti.
Minister said he would engage Western donors, who were sceptical
power-sharing Government with President Mugabe and have set
the release of aid.
State security minister, dark horse of Zimbabwe politics
(Zimbabwe) Sydney Sekeramayi holds the record as the only
minister to have
survived the chop in all cabinet reshuffles since Zimbabwe's
He is the only member of successive cabinets in Zimbabwe's 28-year
as an independent state.
Other senior members of President
Robert Mugabe's ZANU PF - until February
13 the only party in power since
1980 - have had an on-and-off relationship
with the cabinet, characterised
by eras of domination followed by long
periods in the political
Quiet and reserved, Sekeramayi was Zimbabwe's Minister of
Defence from 2001
to 13 February 2009 when he was appointed Minister of
State Security in a
unity government between Mugabe's ZANU PF and the
Movement for Democratic
A Swedish-trained medical doctor,
Sekeramayi was born on 30 March 1946 and
served as Zimbabwe's first
post-independence Minister of Transport.
During Zimbabwe's 1970s
independence war, he served as ZANU PF's
Sekeramayi owes his decision to pursue a medical career to
Rupiah Banda who facilitated a scholarship for him to
Czechoslovakia in 1964.
Although he initially studied
genetics at a university in Czechoslovakia, he
later moved to Sweden to
Banda was then the international secretary of the Zambian
As state security minister Sekeramayi is in charge of the
Intelligence Organisation, the dreaded spy agency accused of
attacks on opposition supporters ahead of Zimbabwe's
presidential election run-off last June.
considered to be a neutral figure in the faction-ridden ZANU PF, a
ally of both Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and retired army
Solomon Mujuru who is husband to Vice President Joice Mujuru.
Seen as the
dark horse of Zimbabwean politics, he is often mentioned as a
successor to President Mugabe when he retires.
Remittances saved the country from
HARARE, 20 February 2009 (IRIN) - The official
sanctioning of foreign currency as legal tender in Zimbabwe to tackle
hyperinflation is bringing into sharp relief how remittances have staved off the
country's complete collapse in recent years. [ENDS]
Before Robert Mugabe's
government officially endorsed foreign currency, long queues would form outside
banking halls to exchange foreign bank notes for Zimbabwean dollars, but since
the use of foreign currency has been permitted the queues have shifted to
commercial banks, where money transfers are processed.
An executive at a
commercial bank in the capital, Harare, who declined to be named, told IRIN that
the bank had opened two additional counters specifically to deal with money
"We would not have survived these harsh times had it not been
for our son and daughter in England," Zodwa Nyathi, 58, of Cowdray Park, a
working-class city suburb, told IRIN as she waited in a queue outside a
commercial bank. Both her son and daughter pursued tertiary education and
decided to remain in the UK after they had completed their studies.
Money in the pocket
Foreign currency remittances
from Zimbabweans living outside of the country - excluding hand-to-hand
transfers - were expected to double in 2009 from an estimated US$361 million in
2008, according to projections by the International Fund for Agricultural
Development, a UN agency dedicated to eradicating rural poverty.
estimates have put all remittances from expatriates in Britain to Zimbabwe at
about US$1 billion annually.
"If this is true, it puts a new dimension
on this issue - it shows that the actual Zimbabwe-origin population in the UK is
much bigger than estimated, and that they are sending much more money home than
we ever imagined," Eddie Cross, a prominent member of the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), told IRIN.
"This would explain where all the
foreign currency that keeps this country going, is coming from; it explains why
many more people are not actually dying from the present crisis in terms of
hunger, malnutrition and neglect."
About seven million of Zimbabwe's official
population of 12 million, or more than half the people, are receiving food aid,
although this does not factor in the millions thought to have left the country
in recent years.
|This would explain where all the
foreign currency that keeps this country going, is coming from; it explains why
many more people are not actually dying from the present crisis in terms of
hunger, malnutrition and neglect |
Cross said the
remittances explained the government policy of printing money, which fuelled
hyperinflation and enabled the ruling ZANU-PF elite to access hard currency and
fund their lifestyle.
Zimbabwe's central bank estimated in 2008 that
locals were spending an estimated US$950 million annually on basic commodities
in neighbouring states, a trend believed to have precipitated ZANU-PF's decision
to dollarize after the local currency collapsed under the weight of
hyperinflation, officially estimated in July 2008 at 231 million percent.
Steve Hanke, professor of applied economics at the Johns Hopkins
University, Baltimore, US, and hyperinflation specialist, estimated inflation in
Zimbabwe at 89.7 sextillion percent in November 2008.
It is thought that
more than three million people - at least a quarter of the population - have
left for neighbouring states and further afield to Britain, the US and
Australia, to escape 94 percent unemployment, hyperinflation and a humanitarian
crisis at home.
[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United
Mugabe brushes off MDC
From The Cape Argus (SA), 20 february
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe says he doesn't see why
a terrorism case
against a longtime rival has made news around the world.
public comments on the charges faced by Roy Bennett show the
his Zanu PF party and the Movement for Democratic Change, two
opponents now trying to work together in a unity government. "The
Roy Bennett is making headlines worldwide. I wonder why?" Mugabe
yesterday. "This is a court case. Let the courts decide for
Movement for Democratic Change, the former opposition
party, says Bennett's
arrest a week ago is part of a plot by Zanu PF
hard-liners to wreck
Zimbabwe's unity government. On Wednesday a judge
ordered that Bennett be
held for at least two more weeks pending trial on
terrorism and weapons
charges linked to long-discredited accusations that
his party had plotted
Mugabe's overthrow. While Mugabe refuses, at least in
public, to acknowledge
the seriousness of the case, MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai has raised it with
him in private. The detention of Bennett and
other opposition figures and
human rights advocates raises the pressure on
Tsvangirai to convince
supporters that joining a government with Mugabe and
his Zanu PF party was
not a mistake. Mugabe has called the unity government
a "temporary measure"
to stabilize the country so that new elections can be
Tsvangirai had nominated Bennett to be deputy agriculture minister.
other deputies and junior ministers were sworn in yesterday, among them
Zanu PF politicians Mugabe had at the proposed last minute . Mugabe
extra five would serve as advisers to the president and the prime
The main cabinet consists of 32 ministers sworn in last week.
Mugabe has 15
ministers, one of whom shares control of the police ministry
with one of
Tsvangirai's ministers; Tsvangirai has 14; and Arthur Mutambara,
of a MDC breakaway faction, has three. This week a High Court
bail under harsh conditions to four political prisoners in
Zimbabwe but the
prosecutor immediately succeeded in getting their detention
arrests also continued. Harare car dealer "Jumbo" Davidson was
is being held in Harare Central Police Station, accused of
Bennett to the airport last Friday. Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human
called for "urgent intervention" in the continued detention of
supporters and other civil rights activists and a photo journalist. High
Court Judge Yunus Omerjee granted bail to four MDC members accused of
organising a series of two minor explosions bombings of police stations and
railway lines. But his order was immediately suspended, following the
invocation of the state's appeal to the Supreme Court.
evidence linking any of the detainees to any acts of violence by the
has yet been presented to any court. Judge Omerjee granted bail to
Chinoto Zulu, Zach-ariah Nkomo, Mapfumo Garut-sa and Regis Mujeyi,
their lawyers applied for bail at the High Court. The bail
three more, Kisimusi Dhlam-ini, Gandi Mudzingwa, prime
Tsvangirai's former personal assistant, and freelance photo
Andrison Manyere, were denied. Judge Omerjee said the state had
any progress in investigations nor provided further evidence in
South Africa Unrepentant Over UN Security Council
South Africa's two year term on the UN Security
Council, which ended on December 31, was colored by controversy. Its votes on
Zimbabwe, Burma and Iran drew criticism from the United States and other
countries, as well as from human rights groups disappointed over its positions.
At the United
Nations last July, there was uncharacteristically undiplomatic language directed
at South Africa.
|U.S. Ambassador Zalmay
"I think he is out of touch with trends in his own
country," U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad said, referring to then South African
President Thabo Mbeki, after South Africa had helped block a sanctions
resolution against Zimbabwe's rulers.
And early in its two year term,
South Africa voted against a resolution demanding an end to human rights abuses
in Burma, much to the dismay of the human rights community.
which in many respects embodied so much hope in so many different ways, and
interestingly at home still has a pretty good track record of democratic
behavior," Steve Crawshaw of Human Rights Watch said. "And yet when it looks
outward it refuses to address these things or wish the Security Council or the
international community to do these things."
South Africa says its
positions have been misrepresented.
Outgoing Ambassador to the United Nations Dumisani Kumalo maintains that
dissenting votes on Zimbabwe and Burma were simply votes against considering
these issues in the UN Security Council.
|Outgoing Ambassador to the United
Nations Dumisani Kumalo|
He says they should not be interpreted as blocking a
human rights agenda. "We didn't want human rights to be used as a tool: 'If I
don't like you I trot out human rights violations that you may have' but when it
is Guantanamo Bay," Kumalo said. "They keep quiet and you know when it is Gaza
they keep quiet."
He says the US and others willfully mischaracterized
South Africa's policies.
"We didn't do things the way the British and the
Americans wanted us to do them and if you don't do it like the big ones, the
French and the Americans and the British, the way they want to do them, then you
are a cheeky African, well I am happy being a cheeky African," Kumalo
his comments, Britain's UN ambassador, Sir John Sawyers said in a statement that
Ambassador Kumalo is an "outstanding public servant" and "personal friend" but
also described him as a "bit of a maverick."
|Britian's UN Ambassador Sir John
Even though South Africa's
Security Council's term is now over, Ambassador Kumalo says he hopes his country
will continue to play an increasingly important role in global
Zimbabwe sports minister urges
New Zealand to tour
From The Associated press, 19 February
Harare - Zimbabwe's new sports minister, David
Coltart, said Thursday the
New Zealand cricket team has an obligation to
tour the troubled African
country in July. Movement for Democratic Change
member Coltart, a white
elected senator from Bulawayo, said he would
vigorously lobby the New
Zealand government to allow the team to tour. "My
call to the New Zealanders
is clear and unequivocal," Coltart told The
Associated Press. "People have
to give this coalition government a chance,
and that applies to all levels,
cricket included. I would like to see the
New Zealand team touring Zimbabwe.
If it need be I will go to New Zealand to
persuade them to come." New
Zealand Prime Minister John Key said earlier
this week he was prepared to
order the players not to tour Zimbabwe on
safety and health grounds and had
previously said the team should boycott
the tour on moral grounds. "I'd be
deeply sceptical about whether they would
be going," Key said. "We don't
support that regime. We don't support what's
happening in that country, and
we don't want to give a signal that we do."
But Coltart, who became sports
minister as part of the new coalition
government which has MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai as prime minister, said
the tour was in the best interests of the
people of Zimbabwe and its
cricketers and could help promote positive change
in the country.
am not turning a blind eye to the inadequacies in our cricket and our
country," Coltart said. "My call must not be interpreted that way. My call
is in the interest of the public, the players and cricket in Zimbabwe. My
call is in terms of sportsmanship." However, Coltart conceded that political
repression in the country made it difficult for touring teams to come. "It
also applies to the broader context of political sanctions. We need to build
measures. For as long as people are in detention it's hard to lift
sanctions," he said. "The same applies to cricket. For as long as there are
concerns in the game here then my words will fall on deaf ears. If the whole
political situation has not changed it will be hard for them to come." He
said he was confident that the new unity government would lead to
improvements in the political situation. "We will look at the wider
political issues seriously. My wish is that by the time they (New Zealand)
are scheduled to come in July these issues would have been addressed,"
Coltart said. After nearly 30 years of one party rule by President Robert
Mugabe's Zanu PF party, Zimbabwe's economy has collapsed, with a widening
cholera epidemic and spiralling prices. Last year, official inflation based
on the tumbling local Zimbabwe dollar was given at 231 million percent but
the state statistics office is no longer able to calculate the inflation
rate because of acute shortages of gasoline, food and most goods.
Offer of help
Hi - I am a Telecom professional Project Manager
formerly with Cable &
Wireless and PA Consulting Group. I have 30 years
experience and am
unemployed. I would like to donate my time to come to Zim
and work with or
run any projects to restore the infrastructure. I just need
I can use my contacts and experience to help make projects
Telecomm/IT/electricity generation and distribution.
I do this and who do I speak with? Tried emailing the MDC and the Zim
I am in the USA but a UK Citizen
Duffy MBCS CITP
Cell: 307 220 0071
[We have email address for anyone
who has a genuine reason for contacting
ZESA, TELONE, RATES Bills
- at a meeting yesterday John Robertson, the Economist, stated that the
exorbitant bills being sent out by utilities must not be paid- the budget does
not balance and apparently it is an attempt to recoup losses incurred over many
years, in one month!! You will be cut off but they will have no income and will
be forced to take action. Also Biti still has to come out with a new budget so
do not be "ripped off" in the meantime - just advise the authority that you are
not able to pay owing to the cost.
you agree - pse pass on.
TELONE IS CHARGING FOREX FOR CALLS MADE WHEN ZIM DOLLAR WAS LEGAL TENDER I.E.
BEFORE 1ST FEB 2009!!! CALL FOR CLASS ACTION!!
Dzivarasekwa residents resolve not to pay Foreign Currency rates!
Harare residents in
Dzivarasekwa and Kuwadzana areas have declared their commitment to take the city
Council through the paces of non-cosmetic consultation of residents over rates
and the city budget as they, unequivocally resolved not to pay any rates charged
in foreign currency. Speaking at a highly charged ‘Meet your councilor’ public
meeting organized by the Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA), residents
from wards 39,40 and 45 settled for rate boycotts among other resolutions on
The residents in these and other high
density areas have been directed, by the City Council and Zinwa (amidst the
hand-over-take-over confusion), to pay as much as US$ 34-00 (thirty five United
States dollars) for rentals, water and sewer reticulation. The rates are not
only prohibitively high but unjustifiably farcical as residents are already
burdened with the skyrocketing cost of living, with the bread basket currently
above US$ 80-00 (eighty United States dollars) per week. The charges are also
not derived from a budget as the city budget is still pending; the charges are
allegedly drawn from the elite, quasi-budgetary activities of a clique of
technocrats and special interests, non-progressives at the Town House.
The residents out-rightly and rightfully
reject to pay the rates and demand that the City Council follow the partipatory
Budgeting path as per the Urban Councils Act (Chapter 29:15), Section 219(2) and
(3), which clearly provides for the residents’ participation. CHRA will
continuously create platforms for the residents to engage with their Councilors
and other leaders.
CHRA remains committed to advocating for
effective, professional, affordable and accessible service delivery and to
principles of democratic local and central governance.
Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA)
145 Robert Mugabe
Exploration House, Third Floor
Landline: 00263- 4-
The problem of
Patience Mambo submitted the following piece to Kubatana recently on the
subject of expectations in regard to the new Unity Government. She believes that
its good to have hope and faith, but within the bounds of reason and realism . .
The political crisis in Zimbabwe since 1999 has led to a rise in the cost of
living, an unlivable economic climate, despair, unrest and socio-psychological
turmoil. That the two political rivals should finally agree to work together
presented a thin thread of hope millions of Zimbabweans were desperate to clutch
at. But are they placing their eggs in one basket? Are they being too hopeful
for solutions in a scenario that may or may not work?
In 1980, Zimbabwe gained independence from white colonial rule. Suddenly
blacks were free to walk in Salisbury’s First Street, they could stay “kumayard”
such as Highlands, and they could ride in first class public transport and so
on. Most (many of whom were poor and impoverished) dreamt that independence
meant an instant change in their social position. They dreamt that suddenly they
were in a land of milk and honey and when they realized that they still had to
work for every bread crumb they ate, they got a rude awakening.
The story is the same for black South Africa. Independence from White
apartheid rule in 1994 carried a huge wave of expectation. Many black South
Africans thought independence would usher in a lightning bolt of social
transformation. Suddenely they saw themselves rising from shacks (mikuku) to
brick houses; they saw their pockets filled with the much coveted Rand;
education for their children in the plushest of schools formerly meant for white
South African children; the list is endless. But this was not to be and today,
the majority of black South Africans are still to realize those dreams.
11 February 2009 marked a great and historic event in the Zimbabwe’s, and
indeed the Southern African Development Community’s calendar. Three major
political rivals formed a joint government in perceived to be impossible
circumstances. Zimbabwe has had the same president for close to 30 years. The
ruling party has been battling with a stubborn and headstrong opposition for the
past 10 years. So it becomes not only exciting and intriguing that they should
finally come together to form a much awaited and long overdue government.
The majority of the people are looking to this new political dispensation to
dilute (if not erase completely) their suffering and magically transform their
lives from Egypt and lead them to the New Canaan.
People should be informed that manna will not simply fall down from the sky
to pick up and eat at free will. People will still have to work hard to produce
and henceforth generate much needed foreign currency. If you are uneducated you
will not wake up a general manager, if you are lazy, you still won’t have bread
to feed your children. Those willing to give the new leaders a chance, while
working hard for themselves stand a better chance. Those who think things will
automatically improve have a bitter pill to swallow. It’s good to have hope and
faith, I think, within the boundaries of reason and realism!
A letter from the diaspora
be an Inclusive Government but nothing much changes in Zimbabwe. I
reminded of that this week when I saw that Augustine Chihuri, the Police
Commissioner, has issued a directive that all investigations into murders
committed before, during and after the June elections of 2008 should cease.
Just before the 2000 General Election, there was a similar order from the
top. The whole country had suffered a paroxysm of violence carried out by
the militia, the CIO, the police and military. I had first-hand experience
of just how that order was carried out on the ground. I was living and
working in Murehwa, Mash East at the time and a good friend of mine was a
policeman. He had been hastily transferred from Murehwa to Mudzi, the
epicentre of the violence in the province and I remember him telling me that
the police actually had the suspects in the cells when the order came from
Police HQ that the men were to be released. All charges were to be dropped;
there would be no prosecutions. My friend had been a cop for twenty years,
proud to wear the uniform of the ZRP. Now he was deeply ashamed to be part
of this patent travesty of justice. Three months later he left the police
and began the long hard slog to survive and keep his family together. He
could not, he said, any longer live with his conscience and continue to be
part of the forces of so-called law and order. Inspired by the example of
this honourable man, I began to write a series of detective stories designed
to show how impossible it is for an honest policeman to operate in a country
where the police have become nothing more than a political arm of the ruling
party. The Dube books are fiction but they were born out of the reality of
what was happening - and is still happening - in Zimbabwe.
latest directive to drop all investigations into the murders
during before and after the June 2009 elections illustrates only
that nothing has changed. With sickening hypocrisy, Chihuri's
concludes with the following sentence, "The decision has been made
spirit of promoting national healing in view of the inclusive
The Zimbabwean 19-25 February 2009). I fail to see how the
release of men
accused of murder, rape, mutilation and torture can possibly
be seen as
promoting anything other than the culture of impunity that has
Zimbabwean society for the past nine years. If 'national
healing' is indeed
the motive then how does the arrest of Roy Bennett fit
into that 'noble'
aim? And what of the continued detention of all the other
activists held on
spurious charges of banditry and possessing weapons of
war? Just yesterday,
19.02.09, a High Court judge ordered that one group of
detainees be granted
bail only to have the order immediately revoked by the
Office on the grounds that the judge's order was in
contravention of the
Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act. The accused are
back in gaol again and
Roy Bennett will also be incarcerated until March
when his trial
"The issue of Roy Bennett is making headlines worldwide. I wonder
Robert Mugabe. "This is a court case. Let the courts decide for
This from the man who has more than once affirmed that court
no validity if they go against his government's policies, the
government which has ignored the SADC Tribunal's ruling on white
farmers' right to stay on their farms. Even now those farmers are
harassed and intimidated to quit their properties; rumours are that
must all be off their farms in time for Mugabe's 85th birthday. Another
lavish gift for the old man, no doubt, so that he can boast yet again that
his 'land reform' programme is successfully completed. The new Minister of
Agriculture is none other than, Joseph Made, he of the eagle vision who
claimed he could see flourishing maize crops where there were none when he
flew over the country in a helicopter back at the height of the land
invasions. Little or nothing has changed in Mugabe's Zimbabwe.
MDC will hold a rally in Gweru tomorrow, February 21st and Mugabe's
birthday, to 'celebrate' their progess along the road to democracy.
Thousands are predicted to attend but looking in from the outside I do not
see much cause for celebration. Yes, the MDC are now in government but
Robert Mugabe and/or his generals will see to it that they have no real
power. The fact that hundreds of MDC supporters are dead or rotting in gaol
while their killers and torturers walk free is evidence of that. I am sure
that Morgan Tsvangirai is a man worthy of respect but if he is not very
careful, he will be seen as 'Guilty by association' with Mugabe's murderous
regime. The question has to be asked, how far will Tsvangirai and his party
go before they stand up and say Enough is Enough to Robert Mugabe? How many
more arrests of MDC people will be tolerated? Inclusive Government is a sham
if it cannot protect the rights of all Zimbabwe's citizens.
the (continuing) struggle PH. aka Pauline Henson author of
political detective story set in Zimbabwe and available on