International Herald Tribune
The Associated PressPublished: January 10, 2008
HARARE, Zimbabwe: Impoverished Zimbabwean farmers have to show they are
loyal members of the ruling party if they want free equipment the government
is offering, and opposition supporters have been threatened with dogs,
independent democracy monitors said Thursday.
Thursday's report by the Zimbabwe Election Support Network three months
ahead of planned national elections also outlined problem with voter
education and registration. The report underlined concerns by the main
opposition party about the fairness of the poll.
There was no immediate response from the government, which has insisted that
the elections will be open and democratic. Instead, a government newspaper
equated election monitors with U.S. spies.
The support network, in its latest election bulletin, said it deployed 120
observers throughout the country and based its findings on information from
members of the public attending its community workshops.
Zimbabwe Election Support Network observers reported in the Masvingo
district in southern Zimbabwe, ox-drawn plows being distributed by the
government were allocated only to people holding cards showing they were
dues-paying members of the ruling ZANU PF party and who could chant three
party slogans. The local governor said that donated plows would be taken
away in districts won by opposition candidates, the network reported.
In the central district of Gokwe, villagers were told they would not have to
pay for plows as long as the ruling party won the March polls, the report
The distributions were part of a Reserve Bank program begun in November to
get 120,000 plows, tens of thousands of donkey carts, seeds and other
equipment into farmers' hands to revive crop production and end acute food
shortages in the former regional breadbasket.
The election report said in Zaka in southeastern Zimbabwe, a ruling party
councilman threatened to set dogs on opposition supporters in his area. In
the southwestern community of Silobela, traditional leaders "indicated they
do not welcome opposition supporters in their areas."
The election support network reported that although campaigning was still
low key, observers reported cases of violence and of voters being forced to
attend a ruling party rally in December.
Observers reported in one recent incident in Harare, two police officers
failed to intervene when young people in ruling party regalia assaulted a
man who eventually managed to flee.
The support network reported voter education programs had still not been put
in place by the state Electoral Commission and irregularities were seen in
voter registration and the compiling of voters' lists by state election
The government says 5.6 million voters were registered by Dec. 6.
Network observers reported new registrations had come to a virtual
standstill in some areas and voter registration "risks becoming a cosmetic
exercise unless it is adequately resourced and given the prominence it
The state-controlled Herald newspaper said Thursday that the U.S. government
had "stepped up its anti-Zimbabwe campaign by clandestinely recruiting
undercover political officers." It said recruits were asked to compile
periodic reports on the political and economic situation and proffer advice
on how best to advance a regime change agenda. The U.S. Embassy dismissed
the allegations as untrue.
Thu 10 Jan 2008, 17:19 GMT
By Nelson Banya
HARARE, Jan 10 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe is generating only half the electricity
it needs, while its main Mozambican supplier has cut off supplies over
unpaid debts, the head of the southern African country's power utility said
Zimbabwe has been plagued by chronic electricity shortages that have cut
power to industry and households, adding to an economic crisis and raising
political tensions in the country, which has been ruled by President Robert
Mugabe for 27 years.
A year ago Zimbabwe was producing nearly two-thirds of its electricity needs
but supply has dropped sharply, worsening problems arising from the world's
highest inflation, rising poverty and food and fuel shortages.
Ben Rafemoyo, chief executive of state-owned power company Zesa Holdings,
said foreign currency shortages, unpaid debts and obsolete equipment had led
to a larger power deficit.
He said the Kariba hydro-electric plant, on the northeastern border with
Zambia, could generate around 730 megawatts daily, while the coal-fired
Hwange power station in western Zimbabwe generated an average of 250
"That gives a total of 980 megawatts, against (daily) demand of about 1,800
megawatts for the current summer season. Demand often rises to about 2,200
megawatts over the peak winter period," Rafemoyo told Reuters in an
He said, while Zimbabwe was importing some power from the Democratic
Republic of Congo's SNEL, it owed that company $5 million.
Its major supplier, Mozambique's Hydroelectrica de Cabora Bassa (HCB), had
cut supplies on Jan. 1 over a $26.5 million debt.
"We hope to resolve our issues with the supplier...and have recently paid
$10 million," he said. "We hope, sooner, rather than later, we'd be
restored," he said.
Rafemoyo said South Africa's Eskom, the biggest power utility in southern
Africa, had stopped supplying electricity to Zimbabwe last June, but this
was not because of unpaid debts.
"At the moment, they (Eskom) have their own challenges in their backyard and
haven't been able to supply since June, but we are current as far as our
account with them is concerned."
Rafemoyo said Zimbabwe would soon benefit from the refurbishment of its
plants in Hwange under a $40 million deal signed with Namibia's Nampower. As
part of the deal, Zesa would export power to Namibia at a subsidised price.
"Once we complete the refurbishment, all our six units at Hwange will have a
new lease of life and we expect generation capacity to improve from 250
megawatts to 780 megawatts," Rafemoyo said.
"We hope to achieve that level of production by August or September."
Long-term projects to expand power plants at Kariba and Hwange, to ensure
Zimbabwe's self sufficiency in electricity supplies, would require huge
investments, he added.
"The two projects would cost about $900 million ... it would be possible to
achieve significant savings because the two will be sharing infrastructure
with existing plants," he said.
But he conceded there was no immediate solution to the country's frequent
power cuts as the utility could not replace obsolete equipment due to
crippling foreign currency shortages. (Editing by Paul Simao and Anthony
Monsters and Critics
Jan 10, 2008, 9:38 GMT
Harare/Johannesburg - Zimbabwe's police chief has pleaded with his officers
not to strike over poor pay as reports said the poverty datum line in the
country had shot up to a staggering 100 million Zimbabwe dollars, reports
One hundred million dollars, worth more than 3,300 US dollars at the
official rate of exchange, is around four times an average policeman's
On the widely used black market for foreign currency, 100 million Zimbabwe
dollars is worth less than 20 US dollars.
'I am aware of the poor remuneration of (police) officers and the government
is also aware. Something will be done very soon, I assure you. Don't go on
strike. Let's persevere,' police commissioner Augustine Chihuri said in
comments carried by the official Herald daily.
Chihuri wants his men to be ready for crunch polls likely to be held in
The authorities have stopped releasing figures for Zimbabwe's poverty datum
line, just as they have stopped releasing embarrassing inflation figures.
The last time the poverty line was announced, it stood at 22 million
dollars. That was in September.
The Herald, generally seen to be the voice of longtime president Robert
Mugabe's government, admitted Thursday that the market says the figure has
hit upwards of 100 million dollars.
The paper attributed the rise to runaway inflation, now rumoured to be at
least 24,000 per cent.
Opponents of the 83-year-old Mugabe blame his controversial policies,
including the takeover of thousands of white-owned farms in the last seven
years, for Zimbabwe's spectacular economic meltdown.
Mugabe and his ministers blame Western sanctions.
© 2008 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur
January 10 2008 at 10:30AM
Johannesburg - President Thabo Mbeki has taken personal charge of
stalled negotiations between Zimbabwe's ruling party and the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to salvage them from collapse and save
his own reputation, sources said.
Mbeki, who was in March appointed by the Southern Africa Development
Community (SADC) to broker a settlement to Zimbabwe's long running crisis,
has hitherto delegated the chair to Local Government Minister Sydney
Mufamadi, and key aides, Mojanku Gumbi and Frank Chikane.
But, with the talks on the verge of collapse, Mbeki has informed the
parties that he will take charge personally.
Due to have been concluded in the middle of last year, the talks have
missed several deadlines and sources say Mbeki faces embarrassment after
having repeatedly assured the world they were going well.
Mbeki summoned Zanu-PF and MDC representatives to Pretoria this week
for a session that he had planned to chair himself. But Zanu-PF asked for a
While consensus has been reached over most of the issues, including
agreement on a "transitional constitution", the talks are stalled on
Zanu-PF has refused to postpone the elections due in March to a later
date "dictated by full implementation of all agreed things to ensure free
and fair elections", highly placed sources said.
The negotiations are also deadlocked over Zanu-PF's insistence on
hand-picking monitors and its refusal to start re-writing a new voters roll
as agreed in the talks.
This article was originally published on page 5 of Cape Times on
January 10, 2008
by Farisai Gonye Thursday 10 January 2008
HARARE – Zimbabwe’s main opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) party is planning mass demonstrations later this month to press for
the postponement of elections that President Robert Mugabe insists will be
held in March, sources told ZimOnline.
The MDC, that is in talks with Mugabe’s ruling ZANU PF party, wants
elections moved to June to allow democratic reforms and other legal changes
the two parties might agree at the talks to have effect on the ground before
voting can take place.
The demonstrations are planned for January 23 and could be the first
real test to Mugabe’s commitment – he has previously banned public protests
by the opposition - to opening up democratic space ahead of the key
presidential and parliamentary polls.
"The demonstrations are planned for 23 January in Harare. Mass
mobilization is on," said a source, who added that the MDC wrote to the
police on Tuesday this week requesting permission to hold the
Nelson Chamisa, spokesman of the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC that is
behind the protests, refused to comment on the matter. "We will hold a press
conference next week if we need to talk about any action," was all he would
Police spokesman Oliver Mandipaka said he was unable to comment on the
matter because he was yet to be briefed about the request by the MDC to hold
"But if their letter (requesting permission to protest) is with the
police, then no problem. We will treat it in the usual way," Mandipaka said.
The police have previously banned public protests by the MDC and other
government opponents under a harsh security law that requires Zimbabweans to
first seek permission from the police before holding demonstrations or
gathering in public in groups of more than three to discuss politics.
Tsvangirai and scores of MDC officials and civic society leaders were
last March severely assaulted by the police after they attempted to attend a
banned prayer rally in Harare.
But the government appears to have had a change of heart towards
opposition protests and last month began amending the security law as well
as media and electoral laws it had relied on to banish dissension and cling
The amendments to the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
Act (AIPPA), Broadcasting Services Act (BSA), Public Order and Security Act
(POSA) and the Electoral Act were last December fast-tracked through the
House of Assembly and are expected to be passed by Senate before being
signed into law by Mugabe this year.
The amendments were agreed between ZANU PF and the MDC at the talks
brokered by South Africa’s President Thabo Mbeki, although the negotiations
that are backed by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) remain
deadlocked over when a new constitution agreed by negotiators should take
effect and also the date for elections.
However, the MDC accuses Mugabe and ZANU PF of negotiating in bad
faith, saying political violence and human rights abuses have continued on
the ground despite dialogue between the two political parties.
A violent clampdown on protests could see the MDC pull out of the
talks. The opposition party has also hinted it could boycott elections if
Mugabe refuses to implement a new constitution and postpone the polls.
Zimbabwe is in the grip of a debilitating political and economic
crisis that is highlighted by hyperinflation, a rapidly contracting GDP, the
fastest for a country not at war according to the World Bank and shortages
of foreign currency, food and fuel.
Analysts say truly democratic elections are vital to any plan to
resuscitate Zimbabwe’s comatose economy. - ZimOnline
by Lizwe Sebatha Thursday 10 January 2008
BULAWAYO – Zimbabwe’s second biggest city of Bulawayo has run out of the
staple maize-meal amid claims that the state-controlled Grain Marketing
Board (GMB) has failed to deliver maize to millers over the past two months.
Maize-meal, the staple food for the majority of Zimbabweans, has been in
short supply over the past few years due to poor harvests and a
controversial land reform programme that saw white farmers chased away from
A survey in most shops in Bulawayo city centre and surrounding suburbs
showed that most shops had run out of maize-meal with the commodity only
available on the illegal black market where it was costing a fortune.
A 10kg bag of maize-meal was selling for anything between Z$8 million and
Z$10 million, almost half what the lowest paid teacher is earning per month.
Millers who spoke to ZimOnline yesterday said they last received maize
supplies from the GMB last November.
“We did not receive any maize from the GMB in December and the last stocks
we had have run out,” said one of the millers who refused to be named.
Thembinkosi Ndlovu, the chairman of the Grain Millers Association in
Bulawayo confirmed that his association had not received any maize supplies
from the GMB over the past two months.
“This must be the second month now since we last got deliveries. We are
failing to supply Bulawayo with mealie-meal due to grain shortages,” said
Ndlovu in an interview yesterday.
Lands Minister Didymus Mutasa, who is also in charge of the government’s
grain procurement committee, blamed logistical problems for the shortages of
maize in Bulawayo.
“The government is importing maize but logistical problems like
transportation are to blame for maize shortages. The government is looking
for private transporters to ferry maize from Zambia,” said Mutasa.
Harare last year said it was importing maize from neighbouring Zambia and
Malawi to cover a national shortfall amid concerns that the troubled
southern African country did not have enough cash to pay for the maize.
Zimbabwe has battled severe food shortages over the past seven years due to
drought and a controversial government land reform programme that saw
President Robert Mugabe parcel white farms to landless blacks.
The land reforms saw food production plummet resulting in about three
million Zimbabweans, a quarter of the country’s 12 million population,
requiring food handouts from international relief agencies. - ZimOnline
By Netsai Mlilo
10 January 2008
Some enterprising women in Zimbabwe’s second largest town of Bulawayo are
working to counter persistent shortages and high prices – by making their
own bread. The mothers make different types, depending on the ingredients
they have in their pantries. The housewives go to great lengths to find the
necessary ingredients to make homemade bread which children say they enjoy
eating because it's tasty and filling. From Bulawayo, Voice of America
Zimbabwe Service Reporter Netsai Mlilo says with a single loaf of bread
costing an average of 1.5 million Zimbabwe dollars, few families in Bulawayo
are able to buy the staple daily. Aside from high prices, finding the
commodity is a struggle since most bakeries have stopped baking, citing
unprofitable controlled prices.
There are various ways of making the loaves, called by various names
including amaqhebelengwane, chimupotohai or chifuturabvana.
Recipes differ according to ingredients available.
Praise Mlangeni lives in Nkulumane 12 with her three children. Through a
translator she says, "It’s very expensive in the shops so it makes sense to
bake your own bread. It helps you save. With the money you save on bread,
you can use to buy soap, mealie-meal or something that is needed in the
house. I won't buy bread from shops if I have wheat, because the bread I
make at home is just the same as long. As long I have flour, I won't buy
Mlangeni says she travels to farms in Nyamandlovu – about 30 kilometers
from home – to find wheat, which she buys from farm workers after
harvesting. Recently Mlangeni managed to get 10 kilograms of wheat in
exchange for 6 plastic plates. She says she used most of the flour to make
bread during Christmas.
Mlangeni explains that her mother, Belina Dewa, taught her how to make the
various types of homemade bread she prepares for her family.
Dewa says, in the past, she used to make amaqhebelengwane when she had no
money to buy bread. Now, however, she's doing so quite often.
"The mealie-meal bread, or white maize meal, is more filling that what they
are selling in the shops these days. The bread from the shops is light like
paper. A loaf, you can hold it in your hand. So mealie bread is best.
Children eat, get full and drink water. There's no food, no bread, no flour
so that’s what we are surviving on because we cannot cook [porridge made
from white maize] twice a day," she says.
Dewa's youngest daughter, Sipho, says she now prefers homemade bread.
She explains it's not just the taste that she enjoys, "I drink tea with
homemade mealie bread. I love homemade bread. I don't like bread from the
shops because it's expensive and you don't get full. When we buy a loaf, I
only get one slice because there are many people at home."
18-year-old Buhlebenkosi Dlamini lives at Mandalay Farm in Nyamandlovu.
Dlamini says she too enjoys homemade bread, although it's hard work, "I went
to pick wheat for just two days. But I stopped when I failed to fill even a
five-kilogram packet in a day. Others were filling five- or 10-kilogram tins
because they are used to it. I was just starting and it was difficult. We
pick the wheat, thrash it and then take it to the grinding mill before we
can make bread."
Some housewives say they sometimes make 'vet koek'. This is traditionally an
Afrikaans delicacy. If cooking oil is available, small bundles of dough are
Some other lucky families are still enjoying bread for breakfast and for
sandwiches. These families say they import the bread from either Botswana or
South Africa. Others admit they have 'connections' at bakeries that keep
some bread for them the few times bread is baked.
By Blessing Zulu
09 January 2008
British Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Mark
Malloch-Brown has expressed serious concern at the lack of progress in talks
between Zimbabwe's ruling party and the opposition under South African
Malloch-Brown told the British House of Lords that the prospects for free
and fair general and presidential elections in Zimbabwe this March are dim
as a number of major issues have yet to be resolved with accords put into
effect on the ground.
"The clock is ticking, and we are moving towards the March elections without
reforms agreed, let alone implemented," Malloch-Brown told the British upper
house. "We are rapidly passing the point of no return in terms of what would
allow free and fair elections at that time.".
He said the European Union has sent an envoy to the region to push Southern
African leaders to become more involved in the resolution of the Zimbabwe
crisis. He said the EU mission has maintained a low-profile, as European
sources say they fear that the Zimbabwean government will try to scuttle the
initiative if it is publicized.
Malloch-Brown said British officials are also worried that the domestic
political woes of South African President Thabo Mbeki, who lost the
leadership of the African National Congress recently to Jacob Zuma, have
become in Malloch-Brown’s words “a distraction from getting to a point of
closure” in the Zimbabwe crisis talks.
He said London is thinking about extending and widening sanctions if Harare
does not institute reforms consistent with the mediation effort launched by
the Southern African Development Community, known in diplomatic shorthand as
the SADC process.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwean opposition officials and sources in Pretoria told VOA
that the ruling party of President Robert Mugabe has been dragging its feet
on picking up the talks, though Mr. Mbeki has indicated his readiness to
help conclude them.
The sources said ZANU-PF has indicated it is not ready to relaunch the
talks. A senior Zimbabwean official said they cannot resume until ZANU-PF's
primary negotiator, Justice Minister Patrick Chinimasa, returns from his
home in the rural areas.
National Constitutional Assembly National Director Earnest Mudzengi told
reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that there are no
signs of progress on the ground in Zimbabwe in terms of election conditions
despite the Pretoria talks.
January 10 2008 at 11:25AM
Harare/Johannesburg - Police in the Zimbabwe capital have summoned
Anglican church officials following skirmishes between rival factions, one
of them loyal to President Robert Mugabe, reports said on Thursday.
On Sunday police had to be called in to quell disturbances at several
Anglican church parishes around Harare, including at the main cathedral in
the city centre, reports said.
The church has been deeply divided since pro-Mugabe bishop Nolbert
Kunonga withdrew the church from the province of Central Africa, ostensibly
over his opposition to homosexuality.
The Church Province of Central Africa replaced Kunonga with another
bishop, Sebastian Bakare, but Kunonga has refused to step down.
Parishioners have been injured and property damaged in the skirmishes
about control of the church.
"As police we were concerned about the use of violence in the
resolution of their dispute. We told them to resolve their dispute
peacefully," police spokesperson James Sabau told the official Herald
newspaper after his meeting with church officials from both factions on
"We told them in no uncertain terms that we do not support any
faction," he added.
A spokesperson for Kunonga's faction told the Herald that they
expected Bakare, who is due to be formally installed as bishop of Harare
next month, to apply to use the cathedral.
"We from the Dr Kunonga side feel that those who want to use our
church should do so through an application to the bishop and the property
committee which considers such applications," said Morris Gwedegwe. -
By Tichaona Sibanda
10 January 2008
The MDC, led by its founding President Morgan Tsvangirai, is to hold 300
rallies across the country in the next few weeks. The majority are planned
for rural areas.
Party spokesman Nelson Chamisa said they would also launch a campaign on
Saturday, demanding free and fair elections and better living standards for
Parliamentary and presidential polls are scheduled for March, but the
opposition has still not said if it will definitely participate. Both
factions of the MDC are believed to be waiting for the conclusion of the
mediation talks before making concrete statements on the elections.
The Secretary-General of the Mutambara faction, Professor Welshman Ncube,
told us this week that both factions will meet soon to work out how they can
present a united front against Zanu-PF.
Sam Sipepa Nkomo, the secretary for Home Affairs for the Tsvangirai MDC
faction, said while they have alerted authorities about their planned
rallies, they could face problems as recent amendments to POSA and AIPPA
have not yet been signed into law.
As it stands, under Section 26 of POSA, police still have powers to prohibit
a public gathering – something they have done with most MDC rallies in the
past. Nkomo added that they are presently required to give seven days’
written notice of their gatherings to a senior police officer, designated as
the regulatory authority for the area concerned.
‘We are still wary of how the police will react to our requests. In the
spirit of the ongoing talks we hope the authorities won’t interfere with our
rallies, just like they don’t interfere with Zanu-PF rallies,’ Nkomo said.
When amendments to POSA sailed through parliament late last year, one of the
new requirements was for the police to enter into dialogue with the
organisers of a gathering, before prohibiting the meeting or rally from
taking place. But this will only apply once Mugabe signs the amended bills
An analyst said while both factions of the MDC have not clearly spelt out
their intentions on elections, he believes they are making preparations for
a full-scale campaign exercise.
Innocent Gonese, the MDC’s secretary for Legal and Parliamentary Affairs,
explained that through the Mbeki initiative his party has requested a
postponement of elections by six months. But it is still within Robert
Mugabe’s legal right to call for elections in March.
According to Zimbabwe’s laws, the President dissolves parliament 90 days
before a general election, which must be held within the designated period.
But this law also allows Mugabe to postpone the dissolution of parliament.
‘By law Mugabe can dissolve parliament 90 days before an election and as a
matter of practice, the same law also allows him to dissolve the institution
on the eve of the polls if there are urgent issues to be heard in
Parliament. I think common sense tells us the delay here is as a result of
the ongoing talks by Mbeki, because they are some outstanding resolutions
there that have to pass through parliament,’ Gonese said.
The SADC led talks between the MDC and Zanu-PF are deadlocked over two main
issues. The election date and the introduction of a transitional
constitution have to be agreed to by all parties before a deal can be
signed. Any resolutions from the talks have to go through parliament and
analyst say this is why Mugabe hasn’t yet dissolved it.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
10th Jan 2008 15:42 GMT
By David Baxter
HARARE - Diamonds being illegally extracted and smuggled from Chiadzwa,
Marange could be financing activities of international groups regarded as
terrorists by the United States Administration and European Union member
States, intelligence sources said this week.
The sources said suspicion that the gems’ final destination could be
international terror groups has caused alarm within Zimbabwe’s intelligence
and security establishment who fear this can have a serious bearing on how
the country is perceived by the United States and European countries that
are targets of terror attacks from radical Islamic groups such as Hezbollah,
the Lebanese-based Islamic militant group.
The Zimbabwe government supports the war against international terrorism and
has put measures to stop the illegal trafficking of diamonds.
Relations between the Zimbabwean government and the US administration and
European Union member states have been frosty since the 2000 violent farm
This, the sources said, resulted in the government tightening security
around the diamond fields.
Heavily armed soldiers and police officers guard the diamond fields round
the clock. The fields have also been fenced off but it is believed the
diamonds cover a much wider area.
Despite the heavy security presence diamond leakages continue on a large
scale largely because deposits continue to be discovered in areas close to
Chiadzwa and other places such as Chimanimani and Hot Springs.
The heavy leakages have also been attributed to corruption within the
security agents who work hand in glove with illegal miners and foreign
Zimbabwean intelligence sources said there is an unprecedented influx into
Mutare and Marange of nationals from Arabic countries such as Lebanon, Saudi
Arabia and Syria.
They said the Arabs, just like other illegal international buyers could have
taken advantage of the haphazard manner in which the gems are being
“Most of the guys look very suspicious," said a senior Zimbabwean
intelligence officer. “We are worried because our diamonds could be funding
operations by international terror groups.”
He added: “We need to move in quickly and restore order but the problem is
that we have to involve the police who are very corrupt and may not be very
In May last year a six-member team from the international diamond
certification body was in Zimbabwe to assess whether the southern African
country was compliant with its regulations.
The Kimberly Process Committee (KPC) team visited Chiadzwa, the scene of
unprecedented looting of minerals after the government had cancelled a claim
by a British international mining company, Africa Resources Consolidation.
The visit by the KPC - which certifies that diamonds are not being used to
finance wars - followed an outcry by the chairman of the World Diamond
Council; Eli Izhakoff that Zimbabwe and Venezuela were not complying with
the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme.
Early his year Zimbabwe 's central bank governor Gideon Gono estimated the
cash-strapped economy had lost US$400 million worth of revenue due to
smuggling out of diamonds from Marange.
The country's security minister Dydmus Mutasa told journalists last year
that diamonds looted from Marange district had been sold in places as far
away as Israel.
Mutasa said the gems from Marange were awash in the streets of Tel Aviv.
Government officials have also been implicated in the smuggling, though
no-one has yet dared name any senior figure.
The Women's International Perspective
January 10, 2008
by Constance Manika
- Zimbabwe -
In Zimbabwe 2007 closed on a very sad note. December was a very eventful
month: it was President Mugabe’s busiest and most desperate month, as he
fought to stamp out the criticism of his leadership arising even from within
his own party, in order to cling to power.
In December, Robert Mugabe’s party, ZANU PF, “endorsed” him to stand as
their 2008 presidential candidate. Particularly interesting however, was the
intimidation, scheming and backbiting that went on before Mugabe was
eventually elected to stand unopposed in this election.
It required an “extraordinary special congress” in order for Mugabe to be
able to be chosen to stand in the March 2008 election; however some within
the party ranks were opposed to Mugabe’s re-election, while others supported
The majority of those jostling openly in support of Mugabe’s candidacy are
members of the faction led by Emmerson Mnangagwa - a ZANU PF heavyweight
said to have been very close to Mugabe during the war. These supporters were
clearly looking for favors.
People who belong to this faction are benefiting from the current chaos in
the country. By supporting Mugabe’s continued stay in power, they are
safeguarding their business interests and their own political careers. These
people know that on the day that Mugabe falls, they will not be spared
Those opposed to Mugabe’s re-endorsement belong to the faction led by
retired army general Solomon Mujuru, who believes that “the old man,”
Mugabe, should retire. Solomon Mujuru also happens to be the husband of the
country’s first female vice president, Joice Teurairopa Mujuru, a former war
veteran herself. This faction realizes that the political and economic
situation in the country is worsening rapidly, so the need for “new blood”
in the country’s leadership is urgent.
So way before this “special” congress, the mood was very clear: many people
in ZANU PF wanted Mugabe to step down. They did not want him to run in the
2008 election, but were afraid of the consequences of saying so openly. As
they were trying to overcome their fear and make an effective plan to bring
new leadership to the country, Mugabe and his loyalists were way ahead of
Sensing the rebellious mood of the Mujuru camp, Mugabe and his strategists
decided to move fast. First, by means of Constitutional Amendment Number 18,
they ensured that Mugabe could stand for another term in office.
Under the terms of this amendment, after winning the election Mugabe could
then resign and appoint his successor. His successor, who would be one of
his trusted lieutenants, could then guarantee him safety and impunity from
prosecution on charges of corruption or worse after leaving office.
After the amendment and Mugabe’s exit plan was finalized, the next hurdle
was how to get the ZANU PF party to back him as their presidential
candidate. To do that, Mugabe remembered he could use the war veterans who
had fought our British colonizers for the country’s liberation to manipulate
his party into supporting him. (For a long time now the war veterans
association has been the most abused body in the history of ZANU PF
politics. One has to wonder why they constantly agree to be used and then
get dumped over and over again.)
In 2000, after being given hefty war reparations packages, war veterans were
used to invade white-owned farms in the name of land seizures necessary to
fight “neo-colonialism” and return the land to the people.
At the end of the day, some war veterans failed to occupy or farm their
appropriated land. However rich and powerful ZANU PF politicians did manage
to take over productive farms and the expensive farm equipment abandoned
there by previous owners. Most of the veterans soon sunk into the poverty of
their former lives again, or had farms they could not make productive
because they had no money for maintenance or necessary improvements.)
But for some reason, the veterans keep coming back for more…
This time Mugabe wanted to use them as a show of force to his opponents. He
ordered the old vets to organize marches all over the country’s ten
provinces in support of his candidacy as ZANU PF’s candidate in the 2008
election. Mugabe wanted to make a statement through the marches that he had
“grassroots” support -- and so without having to use words, he dared anyone
to oppose him. He used controversial war veterans’ leader Jabulani Sibanda,
who was expelled from the ZANU PF party a few years ago, to head up the
After these “solidarity marches” had their desired success, Jabulani walked
away with billions of dollars and a posh car as a reward for his “good
On the other hand, the war veterans who took part in the march were given a
one-time payment of $15 million Zimbabwean dollars each, the equivalent of
$10 USD, and were treated to a hearty meal. All this was paid for by the tax
But unfortunately these marches did not quite do the trick. There were still
divisions within the party about backing Mugabe’s candidacy. The war
veterans were needed yet again.
Mugabe summoned Sibanda again. This time it was agreed that instead of small
marches in the provinces, there now had to be one national march showing
that the “masses” were in support of his re-lection.
Sibanda, the ever eager to please war veterans leader, quickly began
preparations for the “One Million Men” and—an addition almost forgotten—“Women
(When the march was first hyped in the state-controlled media, it was called
the “Million Men March.” Then later on the male chauvinists realized that
they had forgotten there were women war veterans, who had fought with them
on an equal footing during the war!)
Anyway, with the sudden realization of this omission, the march was renamed.
Should we have applauded?
Nonetheless, Sibanda set to work to make this march a success by stamping
out any disruptive criticism of Mugabe within the ranks of ZANU PF. The
“historic march” was scheduled for November 30th in the capital city of
Harare. The cost of this political act to taxpayers and to the nation proved
to be enormous. Seriously disrupting critical industrial and commercial
activities, Mugabe and his war veterans diverted and abused state resources
for this march.
Two days before, on November 28th, to make way for passenger trains to ferry
party supporters to Harare, the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) was
forced to suspend the transportation of coal and grain deliveries from
Hwange Thermal Power Station to various parts of the country. Mugabe’s
central intelligence operatives directed that locomotives for trains
carrying goods were also to be diverted, to haul passenger train coaches.
For almost three days, from November 28th to December 2nd, the national
carrier lost billions of dollars as this state entity only carried party
supporters to Harare and then back home.
A few days before the march, NRZ spokesman Fanual Masikati was quoted in the
state media saying his organization would support the “historic event.” But
he offered no apology to the railroad’s paying customers for the
interruption of services.
"As the national rail transporter, we are geared for the event and we have
pooled together our resources to fully support this historic event," he
But not everyone came by train; over 150 buses from the Zimbabwe United
Passenger Company suspended their commercial routes to ferry party
supporters, plunging the public transport system into a crisis.
Major roads were closed down to ensure that motorists did not disturb the
Companies aligned to the government-controlled Zimbabwe Federation of Trade
Unions were ordered to release workers to join the march; some private
businesses closed shop for “security reasons” until after the march.
Based on past experiences, their fears were not unfounded: the war veterans
are known to be both violent and highly unpredictable. During the 2002
election, war veterans were instrumental in ZANU PF’s victory, as they
intimidated rural communities to vote for Mugabe.
There were still other costs: food and accommodation for the marchers also
had to be considered, and all this came at a big cost for taxpayers.
The march created a huge mess and was a gross and blatant abuse of public
funds by Mugabe. But for this despotic leader and his cronies, that was the
least of his worries. His scheme worked like a charm.
For Mugabe, the million people march succeeded in showing the “overwhelming
support” the president has from the grassroots people in the rural areas and
also within the ZANU PF party. Never mind how stage-managed it was. The
march was scary stuff for those against Mugabe’s candidacy. Many of those in
opposition suffered sleepless nights.
The fear was that if their “rebellion” and really nominated a different
candidate for ZANU PF in the 2008 election, this person would stand in
elections at the party congress with Mugabe.
After seeing the multitudes supporting Mugabe through the march, the
opposition was forced to rethink. What would their position in the party be
if the candidate they pitted against Mugabe lost? It was a Catch 22
situation. The plan worked because in effect, the march became the
unofficial launch for Mugabe as Zanu PF's 2008 candidate.
So on December 13th at a congress for the ruling Zanu PF party, Mugabe was
endorsed as the 2008 presidential candidate. Thousands of Zanu PF delegates
descended on Harare to rubber stamp a decision already secured outside party
structures. Mugabe as usual had bullied his challengers through the marches.
They say we are having elections in March. We Zimbabweans all know that this
is an election whose outcome is already determined by ZANU PF, which has
already begun oiling its election-rigging machinery. Among the signs of
tampering: the merging of some urban and rural constituencies to stamp out
the opposition’s dominance in the urban centers, and a voter’s roll that is
This endorsement of Mugabe is the depressing excess baggage that Zimbabweans
carry into the New Year. Unless the Lord almighty works a miracle for us, we
are stuck with this despotic leader.
If the opposition is to win the election and bring change to Zimbabwe, they
must first realize that they are dealing with a very shrewd manipulator and
step up their act.
But since there is now infighting among the opposition, it is unlikely that
they will be a strong challenge to Mugabe and his ZANU PF party. Many have
lost hope in the opposition in Zimbabwe; over the past year they have spent
more time fighting between themselves than working for real change for the
I will keep you updated on the run-up to the election, but as it stands
right now, Mugabe is ZANU PF’s presidential candidate and everyone knows
what that means: it’s going to be a dirty election. Almost everyone here is
now living in fear and uncertainty, trying to anticipate what blatant or
perhaps even violent moves the President will make to ensure his continued
About the Author
Constance Manika is a journalist who works for the independent press in
Zimbabwe. She writes under this pseudonym to escape prosecution from a
government whose onslaught and level of intolerance to journalists in the
independent press is well documented.
SW Radio Africa (London)
10 January 2008
Posted to the web 10 January 2008
The ruling Zanu PF party has requested the postponement of mediation talks
between itself and the MDC, because chief negotiator Patrick Chinamasa is on
holiday. Earlier in the week South African president Thabo Mbeki personally
took charge of the talks in an attempt to save them from collapse. Sources
say he intended to chair this weeks meeting in person and try to use his
influence to clear outstanding issues. Reports however say Chinamasa is on
an extended Christmas and New Year holiday in his rural homestead and
because of this Zanu PF claim they are not ready to resume negotiations.
Behind the scenes however there is a growing sense that Mugabe's party is
reluctant to implement some of the issues previously agreed to at the talks.
Opposition officials claim Zanu PF is refusing to put in place a new
'transitional constitution' and a new voters roll. Additionally the ruling
party insists on being in control of choosing election monitors, something
the MDC says is not acceptable. Zanu PF is also refusing to postpone the
March elections but the MDC say the talks should conclude before an election
date can be set, to enable the creation of a free and fair environment for
There had been concern that Jacob Zuma's defeat of Thabo Mbeki in the race
for the ANC leadership had undermined his authority and been a big
distraction. Other reports suggested the MDC made contact with Zuma on the
sidelines as they grew frustrated with the slow progress of the talks.
However the South African President seems to have rolled up his sleeves and
is battling to protect his faltering reputation. South African based
journalist Basildon Peta told us the talks have failed to meet all the
deadlines set and Mbeki is under real pressure to justify his initial
Analysts have slammed the talks as a backdoor attempt to legitimize Mugabe
and Zanu PF's continued reign in the country. Despite the MDC consenting to
several amendments, not much has come from Zanu PF in terms of concessions.
Minor amendments to security and media laws passed towards the end of last
year were described as more administrative than substantive. Last week
Thursday MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai warned that his party might boycott
the elections if the constitution is not overhauled. March is just 7 weeks
away, but the party is still to make this decision.
Thursday, 10 January 2008 14:08
HARARE, (Zimbabwe) - CITIES of Harare and Chitungwiza municipality councils
on Thursday failed to appear before the Environmental Management Board to
answer to charges of polluting the environment for dumping garbage at
The Harare City Council absconded whilst officials from Chitungwiza
municipality arrived two hours late prompting the board to postpone the
cases to the 22nd of January.Most local authorities in the country are
providing a shoddy service especially with regards to refuse collection and
dumping of garbage at designated places.This has prompted the Environmental
Management Board to conduct hearings to stop local authorities from
polluting the environment which has led to outbreaks of diseases such as
cholera and malaria as dumping sites are breeding grounds for mosquitoes and
flies. Harare City Council and Chitungwiza Municipality have come under fire
from various sectors for ignoring their mandate of keeping the cities clean
by failing to collect refuse on time. The local authorities were today
expected top appear before the Environmental Management board for a hearing
on allegations of negligence of duty.The board's Vice Chairperson Ms
Jennifer Tanyanyiwa said the failure by Hare city council to send
representative "can be interpreted as contempt of court as the city fathers
demonstrated that they do not respect the powers of statutory board".
Representatives from Chitungwiza municipality arrived at the hearing two
hours late and the board postponed the matter to the 22nd of this month.
Tanyanyiwa said: "Failure by the authorities to collect refuse regularly has
created illegal dumpsites in most parts of the country and this poses both
an environmental and health hazard."
Under the environmental management act the board has the authority to sit as
a court and in the event that those summoned to hearings fail to attend, it
has the authority to charge them with contempt of court. -CAJ News.
Please organize and
mobilize to protest for the Diaspora Vote For those in North
America you are invited to
a Conference Call Wednesday January 9
Starting At 9 P.M. [East
Standard Time] See also http://www.zimaction.com/ZimDiaspora/index.htm FACTS Zimbabweans in Diaspora are not ignored when it
comes to remitting foreign exchange. We should not be ignored when it comes to
voting Conference call details will be distributed
later For more details please contact Canaan Mhlanga firstname.lastname@example.org Stanford Mukasa email@example.com This is a non partisan
mobilization. Please distribute this to
Please organize and mobilize to protest for the Diaspora Vote
For those in North America
you are invited to a
Wednesday January 9
Starting At 9 P.M. [East Standard Time]
See also http://www.zimaction.com/ZimDiaspora/index.htm
Zimbabweans in Diaspora are not ignored when it comes to remitting foreign exchange. We should not be ignored when it comes to voting
Conference call details will be distributed later
For more details please contact
Canaan Mhlanga firstname.lastname@example.org
Stanford Mukasa email@example.com
This is a non partisan mobilization.
Please distribute this to your networks.
By Elles van Gelder
BULAWAYO and HARARE, Jan 9 (IPS) - When you get out of your car at the Ascot
shopping mall in Bulawayo, southern Zimbabwe, it is almost certain that you
will soon be approached by a black market trader. Do you need soap? Are your
windscreen wipers worn down? The shops in the mall may have little for sale;
but, one of the traders can arrange for all your needs in a split second.
After President Robert Mugabe forced businesses to slash their prices
several months ago, shelves were largely bare: manufacturers and shopkeepers
did not want to operate at a loss. This scarcity provided opportunities for
the black market, with Zimbabweans buying goods in neighbouring countries or
directly from Zimbabwean manufacturers, and selling them on the streets.
All of this spelt further gloom for consumers, who were already struggling
to keep pace with Zimbabwe's mind-boggling inflation rate, now at 8,000
percent according to official figures -- but estimated by economists to be
around 100,000 percent. For those Zimbabweans who are out of work -- the CIA
World Factbook puts unemployment at over 80 percent -- the situation is
worse still. Some four million people in the Southern African country now
require food aid, says the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).
Alongside the economic difficulties, a years-long political crisis persists
despite efforts to mediate between the government and the two factions of
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Activists, journalists
and others have been the targets of human rights violations.
Rumbi*, a former nurse and mother of three, is one of those who have turned
to black market trading to make ends meet. Every week she travels by bus
from the capital, Harare, to the South African border town of Musina to
purchase stock. Lately, she has mainly bought cooking oil and soap, goods
that are trucked back to Zimbabwe to be sold from her garage.
While Rumbi sells to friends and neighbours, her biggest clients are other
traders. In the course of a month, she spends about 15,000 U.S. dollars on
goods, for a profit of some 2,300 U.S. dollars. This money enables her to
send her children to a private school -- in Zimbabwe public schools are
struggling to retain their poorly-paid teachers. "I can’t say that I have a
good life, but I am doing better than most," she says.
But, the profits come at a cost -- bribes, for instance, to ensure that the
police don't arrest her for illegal trading.
As soon as Rumbi has received Zimbabwe dollars for her goods, she changes
them for U.S. dollars or South African rands on the parallel market. Because
of hyper-inflation, local currency depreciates in value constantly, making
it imperative that U.S. dollars be bought immediately to get the best rate
of exchange for local money. Rumbi only sells foreign currency for Zimbabwe
dollars just before she needs to spend locally.
Rumbi would fare poorly if she tried to change money at a bank. The official
government exchange rate is 30,000 Zimbabwe dollars for one U.S. dollar.
That same U.S. dollar buys around 2.5 million Zimbabwe dollars on the black
market. At the beginning of the year, two kilogrammes of rice cost 323 U.S.
dollars at official rates, and not even four U.S. dollars at black market
Also, if Rumbi were to deposit her money in a bank account, it may prove
difficult to get the money back in cash. Zimbabwean banks suffer from a
chronic shortage of cash because most of the money is circulating in the
black market. Illegal money changing has become a full-time job for many.
Arthur* spends every day at a sprawling parking lot for minibuses along the
western border of Zimbabwe, near Plumtree, waiting for people entering from
Botswana. He changes their South African rands, Botswana pula, and U.S.
dollars into local currency. "This is much better than an office job,"
Arthur says, while counting out big piles of Zimbabwe dollars.
Arthur has been an illegal money-changer for three years. On average, he
takes home 20 million Zimbabwe dollars daily -- about eight U.S. dollars on
the black market.
According to Zimbabwean economist John Robertson, government is keeping the
official exchange rate unrealistically low to buy loyalty from ministers and
other officials. While foreign currency might be hard to come by for persons
buying at the government rate, it is available to those in powerful
positions, who are then able to get far more for Zimbabwe dollars than they
"If you are in a good position in the government you can claim foreign
currency with which you can import expensive goods and can go shopping in
Malaysia and China," says Robertson.
For ordinary Zimbabweans, meanwhile, Malaysia and China are just the stuff
of dreams -- as, in many cases, is shopping.
*Names have been changed to protect the safety of those concerned
From New Era (Nambia), 9 January
Windhoek - Namibia has started receiving the first 40 megawatts from Hwange
Power Station as part of a multi-million-dollar, 150 megawatts deal signed
last year between NamPower and Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa).
NamPower spokesperson, John Kaimu, yesterday told New Era that the power
started flowing from Zimbabwe on January 3. Last year, NamPower signed a
US$40 million (N$290 million) Power Purchase Agreement with Zesa. The money
was to be used for the resuscitation of four units at Hwange Power Station.
Under the agreement Namibia would receive 150 megawatts from the coal-fired
Hwange Power Station. It was agreed at the time of signing that the first 40
megawatts would be received by early this year. Managing Director of
NamPower, Paulinus Shilamba, described the flow of electricity from Zimbabwe
as a great relief. He said Namibia relies on South Africa for power imports.
However, of late Eskom, South Africa's power utility, has been struggling to
meet both domestic and regional demand. Shilamba said the 40 megawatts would
cushion Namibia when Eskom fails to supply the required amount of power.
Next week Friday Eskom will be involved in some upgrading work and it is
inevitable that Namibia will experience disruptions, Shilamba said. He was,
however, quick to point out that the country is ready to manage such
eventualities. Kaimu added that the power from Zimbabwe would reduce
Namibia's dependency on Eskom.
"It (40 MW) will make a difference in terms of the imports from South
Africa. We will cut 40 megawatts from Eskom," said Kaimu. So far, NamPower
has transferred more than half of the US$40 million to Zimbabwe. NamPower is
responsible for funding equipment procurement and labour costs, while Zesa
caters for local costs. Apart from the US$40 million to be transferred to
Zimbabwe for revamping the power station, NamPower in December announced it
would have to fork out an additional US$10 million for the same project.
Additional funding was found necessary after an inspection of the four units
to be revamped at the aging power station. NamPower said the additional
amount would be sourced from NamPower's internal sources. Yesterday Kaimu
said the US$10 million has not yet been released as the two parties
(NamPower and Zesa) were still negotiating additional power allocation.
"NamPower is still to sign an agreement with Zimbabwe, we are still
negotiating on maybe an extra 30 to 35 megawatts," Kaimu said. NamPower said
substantial progress has been made on the rehabilitation of the first unit
at the power station. "Structures have been put in place and most of the
spare parts have already arrived on the site. The bulk of the turbine spare
parts were received at Hwange in October," NamPower said. Electricity from
the Hwange Power Station is being routed to Namibia through South Africa
until NamPower's Caprivi Link Interconnector is operational.
Meanwhile, NamPower together with Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe are to
embark on a project that will ensure that Hwange Power Station is linked to
Victoria Falls via Botswana and Namibia. According to Kaimu, the project
known as Zizabona will complete the link and create a corridor for power
import and export to the four countries. "Zizabona will create the
alternative route for power import from neighbouring countries," said Kaimu.
Last month the four countries were scheduled to meet in Victoria Falls to
discuss the project. Only NamPower and Zambia have signed the Memorandum of
Understanding (MoU). Zimbabwe and Botswana did not attend the meeting due to
other pressing issues but the MoU documents were circulated for them to
sign, NamPower said. Zizabona is expected to run concurrently with the
rehabilitation of Hwange Power Station. Kaimu said the project is vital
because of the power situation in the region.
Thursday, 10 January 2008 14:15
The National Constitutional Assembly does acknowledge a wake up call by the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change for a need of a new constitution
The NCA applauds the MDC for realizing that a new democratic people driven
constitution is the only answer to free and fair elections.
Meanwhile MDC have warned President Mugabe who is accused of stealing the
past three elections that they would boycott elections if a new constitution
is not in place.
The NCA also notes that the MDC is also demanding an environment that does
not produce a contested government and this will be the taste for President
Thabo Mbeki’s mediation.
The Zimbabwean President, Robert Mugabe presiding over a country with above
24 000 per cent inflation and accused of sponsoring violence said elections
would go ahead as scheduled in March.
According to the Mbeki led talks under SADC mandate the election date was
part of the discussions on those talks but Mugabe has already declared March
as a month for election when no true reforms have been implemented.
The NCA urges President Thabo Mbeki not to dance to the whims of President
Mugabe and give a democratic process a chance. The NCA want to reiterate
that any leader who is elected under a flawed process will not be legitimate
to the people of Zimbabwe .
In the past months the Zimbabwe Election Support Network produced a report
on the progress on election which proved that the country was by far from
even reaching the SADC protocols on elections.
According to media reports the MDC negotiators are in South Africa meeting
President Mbeki’s team led by Sydney Mufamadi as last attempts top
resuscitate talks and the NCA would like to warn the MDC not to be cheated
again this time like what it did on the 18th amendment.
Any outcome that does not bring a new constitution will for sure prolong the
crisis in Zimbabwe and the sooner political parties realize that the better.
In conclusion the NCA wants to salute the people of Kenya for sacrificing
their life for a democratic process.
By Tom Stevenson
Last Updated: 1:27am GMT 10/01/2008
Fast-growing African conglomerate Lonrho is doubling the size of its Fly 540
low-cost airline fleet with the acquisition of eight new ATR turbo-prop
The $145m (£74m) order with the Franco-Italian plane maker will kick-start a
new operation in resource-rich Angola from March and expand Lonrho's
existing Kenyan business, where trade has remained strong despite the street
violence that followed the country's disputed election.
David Lenigas, chairman, said: "Last month was a record within Kenya and
this month should nearly match that despite the problems."
A year after Fly 540 began operations in the east African country, Lonrho
flies to eight destinations within Kenya, more than established rival Kenya
"When the problems started, we cancelled a few flights because people
couldn't get to the airports. Tourism fell off a bit but it has been
replaced by business trade."
Lonrho is tapping into strong demand for cheap and reliable air travel in
Africa as an alternative to long road trips on inadequate roads. Fly 540
charges about $50 for a one-hour flight from Nairobi to Kisumu, in the west
of Kenya, which would otherwise require a six-hour drive.
Lonrho has enjoyed a renaissance in Africa since 2003 when the current
chairman was brought in to revive the fortunes of a conglomerate that had
been Africa's biggest private sector employer under its former maverick
boss, Tiny Rowland.
Nine years ago the spin-off of its mining assets into Lonmin marked the
final breaking up of Rowland's once powerful business empire.
As well as low-cost airlines, Lonrho has built up a spread of businesses
focused on the development of Africa's infrastructure.
It owns a port in oil-rich Equatorial Guinea, freight air services, a hotel,
water bottling plants and an IT business.
Last year, the company courted controversy by raising £100m to invest in
Zimbabwe, the pariah state in which most of the population is out of work
and inflation has soared to stratospheric levels.
Mr Lenigas said yesterday that when the time was right, he planned to expand
the Fly 540 network in Zimbabwe too.
In the past two years, Lonrho's shares have trebled from 14p to 47p as
Africa has found favour with investors as an attractive frontier market.
The American Spectator
By Henry Gekonde
Published 1/10/2008 12:07:06 AM
It can't be easy being from Zimbabwe, that unfortunate, landlocked former
British colony in Southern Africa that inspires exasperated sighs, endless
clichés and colorful superlatives.
It's bad enough that the country has the highest inflation rate in the
world, 8,000 percent, as reported recently on BBC radio's website; that four
in five people are said to live in poverty; that life expectancy is among
the lowest in the world, if not the lowest; and that "there is virtually
nothing to buy in stores," according to Reuters.
With those mind-boggling statistics as a backdrop, a well-meaning effort to
help Zimbabweans by one do-gooder in wealthy, charitable America ends up
seeming like an insult.
I was driving south on Interstate 95 in Connecticut some weeks ago and
happened to catch a radio interview with a young American musician
championing a romantic charitable cause. The man announced with obvious
youthful enthusiasm that he was helping to collect shoes to send to the poor
THE ANNOUNCEMENT made me cringe. A country's economy is collapsing, its
infrastructure is in ruins, millions have no basic political freedoms, and
all one wants to offer is a pair of used sneakers? This kind of handout
strikes me as an improper, impractical and a counterproductive form of
charity -- a perversion of the core function of aid.
The poor of Zimbabwe, of course, need to protect their feet from disease and
the sharp thorns of acacia trees, and they'd gladly accept free shoes from
anybody. But handouts of shoes take the idea of aid a little too far.
What would a single pair of used Nikes do for a poor woman who can't find or
afford bread in a collapsing economy? At best, it would provide only a
couple of weeks of protection for the feet as she walks miles upon miles
every day in search of food and fuel.
In a region where tropical rainstorms drench denuded lands and turn many
rural roadways into impassable muddy tracks, a pair of shoes would last,
what, a week? And then what? Would the musician then hold another funds
drive to send another pair of shoes to replace the ruined pair?
Material aid of this kind betrays a major misunderstanding in the West about
the true needs of the poor in Africa, and we should do everything we can to
Unfortunately, the act of charitable giving, while reflecting a genuine
concern for the needy, is also a way for Westerners to soothe their own
souls -- a way to try to reduce the guilt they feel about having too much in
a world so full of needy people. Whether the charity actually helps seems to
be beside the point.
WHILE WE'RE ON the subject of charity, let me also add my voice to those who
have said that the whole enterprise of aid for Sub-Saharan Africa should be
re-examined. Some people have suggested an end to aid altogether, even
emergency or disaster aid.
As Kenyan economist James Shikwati told Germany's Der Spiegel in 2005, "Huge
bureaucracies are financed (with the aid money), corruption and complacency
are promoted, Africans are taught to be beggars and not to be independent.
In addition, development aid weakens the local markets everywhere and
dampens the spirit of entrepreneurship that we so desperately need. As
absurd as it may sound: Development aid is one of the reasons for Africa's
Opponents of aid for Africa cite instances of aid money that ended up in the
European bank accounts of wealthy, politically well-connected Africans, and
the sacks of grain intended for famine victims that ended up on sale at
African shops and open-air markets, some still in bags clearly labeled "Not
Some critics, including Shikwati, have said that charity groups are huge
self-perpetuating bureaucracies that promote dependency and provide
well-paying jobs for Westerners who enjoy life in the tropical sun and don't
want to become unemployed any time soon.
Zimbabwe is poor and its population is not free. Zimbabweans need our help,
and some charities provide services there that preserve lives and enrich
those lives in other ways. But the last thing the land of cliches needs from
us is our used shoes.
We can help, not by offering old shoes, but by exerting more pressure on
dictator Robert Mugabe to loosen his grip on power and exit the political
stage, by encouraging more foreign investment to boost the country's
economy, and by supporting Zimbabwe's independent media.
Henry Gekonde is a writer living in College Park, Maryland.
Please send any job opportunities for publication in this newsletter to: JAG
Job Opportunities; firstname.lastname@example.org
Ad inserted (9th January 2008)
Vacancy exists for a highly motivated, pedantic manager for a large mixed
farming enterprise located 70 km N of Lusaka. This self motivated manager is
expected to work with minimal supervision as part of a team in a corporate
environment answerable to a MD. The manager must have experience in seed
production with processing experience. Preference will be given to Zambian
Salary is commensurate with experience. Please email CV to the address below
with at least 3 contactable referee’s . The following crops are currently
grown but expansion is on-going. Experience in precision farming & reduced
tillage is an advantage. To start soonest.
- Seedmaize 200 ha
- Commercial maize 400 ha
- Soyabeans 300 ha
- Tobacco 20 ha
- Onions / potatoes 20 ha
- Wheat 200 ha
- Green manure crops
CONTACT ; email@example.com
Phone # 00 260 211 214 323 / 00 260 966 860 531
Ad inserted (7th January, 2008)
Position available: General Manager
A General Manager is required for a distribution company. The
successful applicant will report to the directors and will manage up
to 30 staff, 5 of whom are in junior management positions. The
applicant should be dynamic and willing to continually improve the
operations of the company.
They should have a good understanding of accounts and finance and
stock management and should be able to work under pressure to tight
budgets and deadlines. An attractive package will be offered to the
If you are interested in this position, please forward your CV to:
Position available: Administrator
An Administrator is required for a distribution company. The successful
applicant will report to the Financial Director. The applicant should have
a strong book keeping/accounting background and be able to run a set of
accounts on Pastel. They should be able to work under pressure and to tight
budgets and deadlines. An attractive package will be offered to the
If you are interested in this position, please forward your CV to:
firstname.lastname@example.org Or phone: 336073/335317
Temporary Position available: Personal Assistant to Director
A personal assistant is required on a temporary basis to help a director run
a busy office. This person should be computer literate, have a drivers
license and ideally have some book keeping experience. They should be
flexible with their time and be able to work under pressure. The opportunity
may rise for a permanent post if the applicant has the ability to multi-task
from PA to procurement and tourism.
If you are interested in this position, please forward your CV to:
Ad inserted (10 December 2007)
Fantastic job opportunity for mature couple.
I require a husband and wife team to run and manage all responsibilities to
operate a cashew nut orchard and a few holiday lodges for guests.Aprox.380
km. north of Maputo.
The successful applicants must have some farming experience to continue
existing operations incl. nursery.
The position also entails basic farm maintenance and administration.
The lodges require attention to guests ,laundry,staff and general
service,they are self catering units.
Some command of the Portugese language would be an advantage.
Package entails:A home,a farm vehicle,electricity,water,domestic help,phone
plus R120 000.00 per anum. after tax. plus medical aid of your choice.
Mail C.V. to email@example.com
Successful applicant required to begin Jan.2008
Also check the website. cajuafrique.com
Ad inserted (10 December 2007)
Husband and wife duo, husband to work in garden and help with horses, the
wife to work in the house. Nice accommodation offered in Umwinsidale.
Possibility of 2 children allowed. Fair salary offered as well as growing of
own vegetables allowed. Contact 011207930 or 011416734 or 0912264857
Ad inserted (30 November, 2007)
A company which specialises in Website Development and Design is looking for
a programmer who has the following requirements.
PHP OR COLDFUSION
ABILITY TO BUILD WEBSITES USING CSS
ABLE TO HANDCODE HTML
EXPERIENCE IN SEQUEL SERVER
MYSQL AND ACCESS
ABILITY TO USE ADOBE PHOTOSHOP
APPLICANT TO PROVIDE PORTFOLIO
SALARY DEPENDENT ON ABILITY AND EXPERIENCE
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0912 396633
Ad inserted (29 November, 2007)
Anti poaching coordinator is needed.
To run and operate an anti poaching team in the Zambezi escarpment.
Real value competitive salary on offer.
Please reply to email@example.com
Ad inserted (28 November 2007)
Farm Manager and Farm Administrator: Applications invited from experienced
and energetic married couple. Farm located in the Beit Bridge District.
Mainly Citrus Export production with mango's for local market as well as
various horticultural cash crops. Required is the complete Farmer who will
attend to detail with a good knowledge of irrigation systems,mechanics and a
good grasp of electricity. Must have hands on experience of Field Cropping
and be prepared to get involved in the marketing of the produce as well as
the supervision of the Citrus Export Packhouse and all it entails. Must
be prepared to do regular leg work to personally check on systems and be
prepared to go the extra mile with the attitude that the BUCK stops with
him. Must have good labour relations and motivatational skills. Spouse to
run office admin and assist in the Citrus Export packhouse for up to 5
months of the year. Comfortable 3 bedroomed farm house and vehicle and motor
cycle provided f!
farm use. Basic living wage with the emphasis on a generous production
bonus and a possibility of share options on proven success. Successful
Applicant to start emediately. Applicant to give indication of minimum
remuneration expectations. Contacts: email: firstname.lastname@example.org or
email@example.com Telephone 08622612 or 3
Ad inserted (26 November 2007)
Looking for a stable individual to oversee/manage/run a fresh produce
packing facility located in the airport vicinity. The incumbent needs to be
practical, hands on and responsible.
A fair knowledge on maintenance, mechanics, stock control, security and
logistical management is required, and knowledge on fresh produce packing
and food hygiene would be a bonus.
Please send through CVs to HYPERLINK
"mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org"email@example.com or phone on below
Tel: +263 (0)912 234 941
Tel/Fax: +263 (0)4 575 133
inserted (22 November 2007)
Looking for a stable individual to oversee/manage/run a fresh produce
packing facility located in the airport vicinity. The incumbent needs to be
practical, hands on and responsible.
A fair knowledge on maintenance, mechanics, stock control, security and
logistical management is required, and knowledge on fresh produce packing
and food hygiene would be a bonus.
Please send through CVs to Mr Andrew Fox:
0912 234 941
Ad inserted (21 November 2007)
WANTED: ENERGETIC PERSON TO TEACH AT SMALL, PRIVATE SCHOOL UP TO IGCSE
· Alternative schooling catering for learners not suited to
· Ability to teach up to IGCSE Mathematics
· Must be able to relate to and motivate teenagers
· Start date : 15th January 2008
Contact: 0912245292 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ad inserted (21 November 2007)
PRE-SCHOOL TEACHERS WANTED
A Christian Pre-School in Chisipite is looking for two born-again Christian
Teachers. A perfect opportunity to train “on the job”. Contact: Tel:
495750 to 481903 am or email@example.com
Ad inserted (21 November 2007)
VACANCIES: Infants Teacher, Bursar and Secretary
The following posts fall vacant at the end of this term.
Barwick School is looking for professional qualified individuals for the
posts, with at least 5 years minimum experience in the relevant fields.
For more information with regards to the above please contact the School
Office soonest by email: BarwickTrust@mango.zw or telephone 091 2 242 574 /
091 2 345 352 or 066 - 8 285 .
Please reply by the 30th of November
Ad inserted (15 November 2007)
Harare SPCA has the following 2 vacancies
1. Animal Welfare Officer-
Ideally this would suit a retired Vet or SRN, or anyone with animal care /
2. Manager for Harare branch
Ideally with a wife who can help with the books. Can offer fuel.
Please contact Mrs Rose Nurse 073-2689 after 6pm