|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
In Zimbabwe, police
have charged the editor and two employees of an
independent weekly newspaper with criminal defamation. Police also locked up
a magistrate and a ruling party member of parliament in separate cases.
The three journalists were charged at the Harare central police station with
defaming President Robert Mugabe for reporting that he had commandeered a
passenger plane from Air Zimbabwe while he was vacationing in Asia with his
The Independent claimed the presidential trip not only inconvenienced Air
Zimbabwe passengers, but cost the hard-pressed airline a substantial sum.
The editor of the weekly Independent newspaper, Iden Wetherell, news editor
Vincent Kahiya and reporter Dumisani Muleya are expected to appear in court
Their lawyer, Linda Cook, says the three journalists deny the charges.
The three were arrested Saturday, after the information minister, Jonathan
Moyo, said their article had defamed Mr. Mugabe.
In the deepening crisis in Zimbabwe's financial sector, police also arrested
a ruling ZANU-PF member of parliament, Philip Chiangwa.
He is accused of obstructing justice in connection with the fraud trial of
three directors of a financial management company. He allegedly intervened
to try to obtain bail for them.
At the same time, a lower court judge has been detained in Harare, accused
of improperly granting bail to a defendant in another bank fraud case.
Prison no holiday for journos
11/01/2004 16:53 - (SA)
Harare - The editor of Zimbabwe's leading independent weekly
two of his journalists remained in jail a second day on Sunday after their
arrest on allegations of insulting President Robert Mugabe, their lawyer
The three, arrested on Saturday, were accused of criminal defamation against
Mugabe after publishing a report that he commandeered one of the national
airline's wide-bodied jets to go on vacation in Asia with his family and a
small party of aides, said lawyer Linda Cook.
Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena said he was not aware of charges the
journalists faced. "We have them and we are still talking," he said.
Cook said Iden Wetherell, editor of the Zimbabwe Independent, news editor
Vincent Kahiya and reporter Dumisani Muleya were expected to appear in court
State radio said police were looking for Itai Dzamera, a fourth journalist
involved in the publication of the Mugabe vacation report.
Cook said family and friends were allowed to take food to Wetherell, Kahiya
and Muleya late on Saturday, but they were not allowed to bring food on
Headlined "Mugabe grabs plane for Far East holiday," the Independent's
report on Friday said many passengers booked on the Boeing 767's scheduled
flights to London were stranded in Harare while alternative flight
arrangements were made.
Zimbabwe Information Minister Jonathan Moyo on Saturday described the
Independent's report as "blasphemous" and said those responsible for it
faced up to two years' imprisonment for allegedly defaming Mugabe.
Moyo, who is also acting transport minister, denied Mugabe personally phoned
the debt-ridden Air Zimbabwe to demand the plane, as implied in the report,
but did not deny the airplane was diverted to Malaysia and Indonesia for
more than five days.
Moyo said "this was not the first time the paper has written lies that are
blasphemous and disrespectful of the president."
Last month, the paper reported Mugabe took an airliner for nine days for a
UN meeting in Geneva and a visit to Egypt, forcing the national airline to
charter another jet for more than $1m.
Mugabe, 79, has taken several vacations in Southeast Asia with his young
wife and children since he and other ruling party leaders were barred from
visiting Europe and the United States under visa restrictions imposed after
disputed presidential elections in 2002.
Independent election observers said the polls, narrowly won by Mugabe, were
swayed by political violence, corruption and vote rigging.
From The Sunday Mirror, 11 January
Innocent Chofamba-Sithole, Editor
It never rains but pours for beleaguered Harare businessman
legislator, Philip Chiyangwa. As news of his arrest and detention at Harare
Central Police station emerged yesterday, the Sunday Mirror also learnt of
an attempt by the boisterous politician to extort about $400 million from
FSI Agricom Holdings as annual rentals for a farm he was illegally leasing
to the company in Chinhoyi. Chiyangwa has also allegedly hired thugs to
assault FSI Agricom staff and stop them from removing their equipment from
the controversy-ridden farm. FSI Agricom’s group human resources director,
Edgar Mbwembwe on Friday informed the Sunday Mirror that earlier that day,
thugs from the dreaded "Top Six" gang in the town had descended on Old
Citrus and assaulted staff who were in the process of removing the company’s
equipment from the farm. "FSI Agricom has been in the process of removing
its equipment bought well before Mr. Chiyangwa was allocated the farm. The
process has been smooth until today 9th January 2004 when a mob violently
prevented us from removing our centre pivots," Mbwembwe said. In the ensuing
melee, Mbwembwe said, FSI staff, including the general manager, were
seriously assaulted. The company has since reported the case to Chinhoyi
police and a Superintendant Marisa is handling the matter, although no
arrests have been reported yet. "We are reliably informed that the
assailants were acting on instruction from Mr. Chiyangwa," Mbwembwe said.
Old Citrus farm formerly belonged to the Nicolle family.
Flexing his muscle
as Zanu PF provincial chairman in the farmland-rich Mashonaland West
province, Chiyangwa evicted the Nicolles in late 2002, notwithstanding the
fact that it was their last remaining property and not in line for
designation, in keeping with the one man, one farm policy. Also curiously
irregular is the fact that Chiyangwa had earlier taken possession of a
certain farm in the province but soon discarded it for Old Citrus towards
the end of 2002, by which time the farm was already being operated by FSI
Agricom under a lease from the Nicolle family. He allegedly told FSI that he
was the new landholder and as such, the company had to pay rentals to him.
"We paid him $50 million for the previous season. But we also lodged a
complaint with the President’s Office when he made these demands," FSI
managing director Ivan Savala told the Sunday Mirror on Friday. But
Chiyangwa, apparently unperturbed by the lawlessness of his demands, wrote
to the company requesting rentals of up to $400 million for the current
agricultural season, which FSI refused to pay.
was not available for comment as he was reported to be in
detention at Harare Central Police station yesterday. "VaChiyangwa vasungwa
shamwari, vakatovharirwa kutaura kuno (Mr. Chiyangwa has been arrested, he
is right now in police custody)," a man who answered the legislator’s mobile
phone said, without giving his identity. FSI has ceased operations on Old
Citrus farm and is in the process of relocating its equipment to its other
operations dotted across the country. "Our decision to move had to do with
the fact that it was not permissible under the laws of the country for a
beneficiary of land reform to lease a farm, which is state land acquired
free of charge," Savala explained. According to Savala, Chiyangwa was now
blocking FSI’s removal of its equipment from Old Citrus ostensibly on the
basis of the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Acquisition of Farm
Equipment or Material Regulations. The recently gazetted Statutory
Instrument is intended largely to bar former white commercial farmers from
either stashing away farm equipment or transporting it out of the country.
"Chiyangwa is using a convenient interpretation of the law to suit his own
interests," Savala charged. FSI bought the equipment from Clive Nicholle for
Clarifying the policy on leasing state land, Minister of
Special Affairs in
the Office of the President and chairman of the land implementation
committee, John Nkomo said no one was allowed to lease land acquired under
the land reform programme. "Once acquired, the land becomes state land. A
beneficiary is given a lease by the state, and there obviously are
conditions attached to it. But nobody is allowed to lease the land," Nkomo
explained. Nkomo would, however, not be drawn into commenting on whether his
committee had encountered such cases where beneficiaries of land reform were
apparently reaping super profits from leasing state land allocated to them.
"With regards such cases, the policy is again as I have explained," he said.
However, while the policy appears clearly pronounced, the reality on the
ground betrays a disturbing level of confusion and haphazardness. Concern
has been raised over the morality of beneficiaries of free land who, instead
of engaging in productive activities on the farms as reflected in their
applications for land, go on to lease them to third parties for extortionate
amounts. Influential politicians, some of whom were the chief authorities in
the allocation of land in the country’s provinces, apparently used their
political and bureaucratic authority and influence to grab choice farms for
themselves which they have gone on to lease to others.
In the wildlife-rich Sikumi Valley in Hwange district,
governor Obert Mpofu has occupied Railway Farms 40 and 41. Viable
billion-dollar investments have existed on these lands for years, conducting
non-consumptive safari operations which have raked in millions of foreign
currency for the country. But last week Mpofu summarily expelled one of
these, Touch the Wild safaris, a subsidiary of the Rainbow Tourism Group
(RTG), from Kanondo and Khatshana lodges on Farm 40 after the group refused
to pay him monthly rentals of up to US$1 500. Earlier, Mpofu had demanded a
similar amount from a crucial non-profit making wild dogs conservation
project operating on land between farms 39 and 41. The conservation project
is the only one of its kind in Zimbabwe and it caters for about 700 of the
world’s last remaining 3 500 wild dogs. According to the latest information
from Bulawayo, however, Mpofu has whittled down his demand from US$1500 to
$1.5 million for the wild dogs project.
Zim's Stalemate Must Be Broken
January 11, 2004
Posted to the web January 11, 2004
SOUTH African President Mbeki's recent visit to Harare, and his meetings
with President Robert Mugabe and opposition MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai
should be welcomed by all who wish the best for Zimbabwe.
This is the progressive intervention Zimbabwe needs. And we urge our leaders
in the region to strengthen this approach and apply everything possible in
this line to help resolve Zimbabwe's political and socio-economic crisis.
Our own President, Levy Mwanawasa, has been a consistent advocate of this
approach and we would like him to actively follow this path and help our
brothers and sisters in Zimbabwe overcome their crisis.
Contrary to much imperialist commentary, we believe that the post-Abuja
Commonwealth situation might, in fact, create more favourable conditions for
a Southern African-facilitated and Zimbabwean-driven negotiation process in
In our view, whatever their intention, Commonwealth-driven deadlines and
British-inspired roadmaps for Zimbabwe have not been helpful in breaking the
impasse. These externally generated agendas have too easily exposed the MDC
and other opposition forces to the allegation that they were being
manipulated when they raised their own legitimate perspectives. These
agendas have also focused the hopes of opposition forces too much on
external "rescuers" and have also tended to force the ruling party into a
laager which is suspicious of external engagement as inherently hostile.
The Zimbabwean government and the opposition democratic forces need
desperately and jointly to address the prevailing socio-economic crisis, and
they simultaneously need to contribute to more favourable, climate-creating
conditions for a political settlement.
These things need to be done for the sake of Zimbabwe, and not because there
is an externally imposed deadline. The primary purpose of democratisation
and normalisation measures should not be pleasing foreign donors.
For all of these reasons, we welcome President Mugabe's recently announced
commitment to serious negotiations with the MDC, and we welcome the focused
attention he gave, in his State of the Nation address earlier this month, to
the prevailing socio-economic crisis.
We also look forward to the outcome of MDC's national policy conference at
which, we believe, the organisation will reaffirm its social democratic
values, and commit itself to land reform that does not return the country to
the injustices of the pre-2000 reality.
The prevailing socio-economic crisis in Zimbabwe cries out for a collective
and patriotic response from the ruling party and from a wide range of
opposition forces. The current political stalemate must be broken so that
the underlying issues can be addressed in substance.
As for those of us in Zambia, we need to reject attempts by imperialist
forces, for instance, to turn Zimbabwe into an allegory for our own society.
That simply does not help the plight of Zimbabweans. We all have a
responsibility of fostering an effective resolution. The challenge
confronting progressive Zambians is a broad engagement with our Zimbabwean
colleagues across the political divide to assist Zimbabweans themselves to
find solutions to their own society's crisis.
ANZ May Not Resume Publishing: Lawyer
January 10, 2004
Posted to the web January 11, 2004
ACTING Attorney- General Mr Bharat Patel has instructed the Civil Division
of the AG's Office to appeal against a High Court decision which granted an
order barring police from interfering with the operations of Associated
Newspapers of Zimbabwe shut down for operating without a licence in
September last year.
Mr Patel said his office intended to appeal against the ruling by Justice
Tendayi Uchena ordering police to stop interfering with the paper's
"I have instructed the civil division to file the appeal at the Supreme
Court," Mr Patel said adding, "the appeal should be filed as soon as
By last night it was not clear whether the civil division filed a notice of
appeal, as the police referred all questions to the AG's Office.
Media and Information Commission lawyer Mr Johannes Tomana said the order
granted yesterday did not say the paper should resume operations.
"It's a question of looking at the order itself. Nothing in the order says
it should resume operations. It's about the police being asked to vacate ANZ
premises," said Mr Tomana.
He said the Supreme Court would determine whether ANZ had complied with its
judgment, which said it should not operate outside the law.
"The question of compliance is still to be determined by the Supreme Court.
The position of MIC could not be interfered with," he said.
"Our position remains. As long as the appeal against the exercise of the
jurisdiction which led to the order of which is still pending they (ANZ)
Mr Tomana said if the ANZ proceed to publish on the basis of Justice
Uchena's ruling they would find themselves on the wrong side of the law.
In his ruling yesterday, Justice Uchena granted ANZ an order stopping the
police from interfering with its operations and end their occupation at the
newspaper group's premises in the city centre and the industrial site.
He said the court found that the police had no reasonable grounds to
blockade the premises of the troubled newspaper group.
In an urgent chamber application yesterday, ANZ wanted the police to be
barred from its premises and interfering with the normal business activities
of the media house and its employees.
Through their lawyer Advocate Eric Matinenga, ANZ argued that police
occupation of its premises was clear act of spoliation, which was unlawful.
Adv Matinenga said the ANZ was simply denied the right to exercise its
rights in terms of the judgment lawfully obtained in October last year to
have it resume operations.
The police, he said, had shown an open defiance to the order granted by the
Mrs Fatima Maxwell who represented the police had denied that the action
taken by her clients was unlawful.
Mrs Maxwell said police were deployed at the ANZ premises after receiving a
complaint from the MIC, which feared the newspaper group, would breach the
law and publish.
In her submissions, Mrs Maxwell echoed the sentiments of the MIC Chairman Dr
Tafataona Mahoso that "it is a common law position that an appeal suspends a
judgment appealed against."
The police in their papers filed in court said the deployment of the police
force at the ANZ premises was meant to ensure that the Daily News was not
printed and not to prevent its employees from entering the building.
"Police has a constitutional obligation to deal with, by taking the action
being challenged," read one of the affidavits filed in the record of
The ANZ, police argued, had not founded its claim on a clear legal right.
Last month Bulawayo- based Administrative Court president Mr Selo Nare gave
ANZ leave to execute a judgment, which allowed them to publish.
Mr Nare allowed the ANZ to carry into effect the judgment of the
Administrative Court sitting in Harare on October 24 last year, pending the
appeal by the MIC at the Supreme Court.
In his ruling, Mr Nare said, the order should remain in force and effect
notwithstanding the filing of any notice of appeal against it by MIC.
But the Government said the ruling by the Administrative Court to allow the
paper to resume publishing did not mean the paper could resume operations
because the ruling was academic and could not be enforced.
MIC immediately, appealed at the Supreme Court against Mr Nare's judgment
saying he had erred in holding that its appeal over the jurisdiction of the
Administrative Court had no prospect of success.
Invalidation of Medical Insurance Costly
January 10, 2004
Posted to the web January 11, 2004
ON Christmas Day Joseph Makwara (not his real name) was a happy man, he had
just finished his direct observed treatment short course (Dots) TB treatment
On New Years' Day he made a resolution to work hard in his business venture
to meet the astronomical fees for his 14-year-old daughter who is going to
Form One this year.
Two days later, he was dead.
Joseph had a sudden attack of migraine.
When his wife called an ambulance, she was asked to pay $35 000 cash before
they could ferry her husband since they were no longer accepting medical aid
The family did not have the money and frantically ran around.
They managed to raise the sum the next day but by then the fee had gone up
to $120 000.
Thus they had to hire a car and forked out $40 000, on arrival at the
hospital they had the shock of their lives when they were asked to pay $400
000 cash before Joseph could be admitted.
They sullenly returned home to watch him die.
They could not take him to the only government hospital in Chitungwiza since
doctors and nurses were on strike.
Ironically, Joseph was only allowed into the hospital when police took his
body to the mortuary.
The Makwara family's ordeal is a tragic reflection of the agony faced by
many families during the doctors and nurses strike of the past two and a
half months, and ever since private doctors stopped accepting medical aid
cards in favour of cash payments.
The standoff between the National Association of Medical Aid Societies
(Namas) and the Zimbabwe Medical Association (Zima) over both consultation
fees and time of payment is the latest crisis to hit the medical fraternity
to the detriment of patients.
This comes hard on the heels of the doctor's strike, which is fortunately
over, at least for the next two months.
The Public Service Commission (PSC) must fulfil the promises they made to
the Hospital Doctors Association (HDA) for the nation should not be made to
endure another period of grief.
The HDA executive and its members must remember that medical practice is a
calling where ethics prevail over financial considerations. They must take a
leaf from Cuban doctors who selflessly serve patients without regard for
The HDA and Zima must however be commended for finally seeing the error of
Invalidation of medical insurance deprives patients of their basic right to
health care. Very few Zimbabweans have the disposable income to enable them
to pay cash every time they visit a doctor or hospital.
Zima members are charging a consultation fee of $46 000 up from $20 000.
Patients then have to pay for treatment and all medication prescribed.
The consultation fee increase is slightly over 100 percent.
Interestingly Ms Florence Kazhanje, the chairperson of Namas maintains that
her organisation has offered Zima a 200 percent increase on all consultation
fees. 200 percent of $20 000 translates to $60 000, a figure much higher
than the $46 000 Zima members are charging.
Moreso, Mr. Cuthbert Dube of the Premier Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS)
argues that his organisation, which is not a member of Namas, agreed to pay
Zima the $46 000 way back on November 20 last year.
So what is the problem?
A look at the statements made by Zima Secretary General, Dr Paul Chimedza,
may give an insight into what is really happening beneath the surface.
Speaking on the live Newsnet programme, Face the Nation on ZTV, last year Dr
Chimedza said Zima would try to eliminate the middle-man, Namas, so as to
deal directly with patients as his association believes that Namas is making
a killing at the doctors expense.
He reiterated this sentiment in an interview quoted in The Herald (Tuesday 6
January 2004) and again in his letter to The Herald (Wednesday 7 January)
when he said," . . . some systems which used to work on a normal basis are
no longer sustainable. A case to consider is the medical aid system of a
patient simply filling in a form and the doctor being paid between 30 days
to 2 years."
He further held that the executives of medical aid societies move around in
the latest Mercedes Benz cars and pay each other obscene salaries.
What is really obscene, however, is the mercenary culture that has crept
into our medical fraternity.
The just ended doctors strike and the recent Zima-Namas crisis are all
motivated by the need to profiteer.
The doctors behave as if they are really dispensing proper services but
their time is split between the hospital and several locums such that it is
a lucky patient, if any, who spends more than 5 minutes consulting with a
doctor, as a few probing questions are begrudged and a prescription thrust
in the patient's face.
The very illegible spidery scrawling on the prescription forms is a
testimony to the hurry the doctor will be in.
Wrong diagnosis and medication is thus not rare.
Is all that worth $46 000?
At the rate of a patient every 5 minutes, a doctor realises an average of
$552 000 per hour. Multiply that by the hours in a normal working day and
you will know what a killing means in financial terms.
Even at the old rate of $20 000, the amounts are still unbelievable.
In spite of all this, Zima maintains the $46 000 is a compromise figure and
would have the nation believe that doctors are failing to make ends meet?
They should give us a break.
It is however, improper for Namas to hold on to doctors payments, as
patients pay their subscriptions on time. It is criminal for Namas to take
up to 6 months to pay doctors, let alone the 2 years alleged by Dr Chimedza.
This is the age of information technology; at best payments should take no
more than a day, at worst a week.
Dr Chimedza levelled a lot of allegations against Namas if these are found
to be true then Namas has no place in our medical fraternity.
At the same time, it is apparent Zima is determined to do away with the
medical aid system so that they can reap the maximum rewards from patients.
Ironically fees are supposed to come down if a middleman is eliminated from
a chain of supply, with Zima the converse seems to hold true.
As it is not clear who is speaking with the proverbial forked tongue, the
calls by various stakeholders for a commission of inquiry to bring out the
truth must be heeded.
If the allegations made by Zima are found to be credible then medical aid
societies must put their act together and put their members' welfare first
before their huge perks.
If the problem is avarice on the part of Zima, then the only way out for
medical aid societies is to call for Government intervention in the setting
of consultation fees to protect its members.
Already there are reports that some doctors are defying Zima's directive and
are accepting medical aid cards as reported in the Herald (Thursday January
Zima and Namas must resolve their problems without dragging patients into a
Of course it is said when elephants fight it's the grass that suffers, but
it is equally true that without the grass there would be no elephants.
Zimbabwe introducing forex
[11 Jan 2004]
Foreign currencies will be traded in Zimbabwe from
Monday in a
controlled auction system set up by the central bank in a bid to narrow
extreme differences between the official and parallel rates.
The auctions are aimed at bolstering foreign exchange inflows to
the official market and eradicating the parallel market, which had been
blamed in part for skyrocketing inflation, currently over 600 percent.
The US dollar is currently worth some 6,000 Zimbabwe dollars on
the parallel market but just 800 at the official rate.
The run-up to the auction saw the US dollar parallel market
rates tumble by about 50 percent as nervous dealers flooded the market with
foreign cash they had been hoarding in anticipation of high demand in the
Under the new system, exporters will be allowed to trade 25
percent of their foreign currency earnings at an auction supervised by the
Another 25 percent will be "surrendered to the Reserve Bank, at
the current (official) exchange rate of 824 per US dollar for critical
imports and other government requirements", the Reserve Bank said.
The remaining 50 percent will be retained in the exporter's
account but for a maximum of just 21 days.
Zimbabwe has long been experiencing a shortage of foreign
currency as external debts have accumulated, while the government has failed
to import adequate vital commodities such as fuel, food and medicines.
Traditional top foreign currency earners such as tobacco and
tourism have nose-dived in recent years due to a controversial land reform
programme and political tensions.
Zimbabwe is currently in the throes of its worst economic crisis
since independence from Britain in 1980, with unemployment standing at 70
Mugabe will leave a terrible legacy
By Michael Hartnack
An account of a meeting last week between Zimbabwe Health Minister
David Parirenyatwa and representatives of 700 striking hospital doctors who
are demanding the same pay as Cuban expatriates made gloomy reading. The
doctors were astonished when the newly-promoted commander of the Zimbabwe
Defence Force, Gen. Constantine Chiwenga, not only arrived at Parirenyatwa's
office but took the chair. He then harangued them with a mixture of threats
and declarations that Robert Mugabe’s regime would ignore a court ruling
that had been made in the doctors’ favour.
Chiwenga’s tirade reflected the endemic lawlessness which lies at the
root of Zimbabwe’s current crises, including in the banking sector and
agriculture. And beyond Mugabe there will be the long-term problem of
restoring respect for law, for the sanctity of human life. ``If you refuse
to co-operate we can take you to the army barracks and detain you, and you
will see what will happen," Chiwenga was quoted as telling the doctors. "I
have fought 45 battles since I was 17 years old and I have never lost. This
one is just a cup of tea and we can solve it within a couple of minutes." He
reportedly also told the doctors’ leaders, who had been acquitted on charges
of disrupting an essential service: "You are going to town over a court
decision. I am sorry to tell you that we do not respect the ruling. We are
the ones who are in power and we can choose to ignore that ruling. The court
order or not, we rule this country."
He gave the doctors an ultimatum to get their members - those who have
not yet emigrated -- back to work in 24 hours. They failed to comply, but
Chiwenga's words cannot be taken lightly. He was army commander in 1999 when
military security men abducted and tortured journalists Ray Choto and Mark
Chavunduka, defying High Court injunctions. Under his command, the army has
been heavily implicated in terrorising suspected opposition voters and
seizing white-owned farms. His wife Jocelyn, previously married to a Danish
national, last year told a farmer whose horticultural export business she
coveted "it was a long time since she tasted white blood." She also ordered
police to detain and assault Gugulethu Moyo, lawyer for the independently
owned Daily News, when Moyo arrived at a police station to seek the release
of colleagues: "That woman is trouble - beat her."
It was hardly surprising that the president of Zimbabwe's Law Society,
Sternford Moyo (no relation to Gugulethu) reported that the year 2003 was
"characterised by increasing lawlessness". There had been a continuing
deterioration in the ability of Zimbabweans to get access to justice, he
said. Lawyers had been barred from seeing detained clients, and they
discharged their duties in fear. The courts were dogged by inefficiency.
There were long, inexplicable delays in handing down judgments, particularly
in "political" cases. And there had been repeated attempts to destroy the
independence of the judiciary.
In the banking sector, six institutions were unable to meet their
commitments at the daily inter-bank clearance of debts. Three days later,
the state-run Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corp. reported that three major banks
had been refusing to accept cheques drawn on some new indigenous banks. A
wave of bank failures could provoke riots. It is lawlessness - insecurity
and rampant stock theft - which has destroyed Zimbabwe’s once-thriving beef
industry, with 90 percent of the commercial herd gone. "The entire national
herd is on the road extinction, and the whole gene pool is being wiped out,"
reported the Cattle Producers' Association. The industry is down to 125 000
breeding cows from 1,4 million in 2000, when a 9 100 tonne annual European
Union export quota offered US$50 million in foreign earnings.
Mugabe will leave a terrible legacy. The best hope that it will not
endure is that most Zimbabweans want to move forward into a future in which
each individual’s worth and dignity is protected by law, and by abhorrence
of violence and "the right of the strongest."
Removing the pretense
The purpose is to make sure that the Daily News, which shone a light
on the excesses of the regime and the ruling party, will never again publish
By Tendai Maphosa
The afternoon of Friday, December 19 was special for the Daily News,
then Zimbabwe’s only independent daily newspaper silenced in September by
Robert Mugabe’s regime. Administrative Court President Selo Nare had just
ruled that Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe, the publisher of the paper,
could go ahead and publish notwithstanding any appeals by the regime’s Media
and Information Commission before the courts.
In the cavernous newsroom stripped bare during a raid in September
when police confiscated the computers which they are holding “as evidence”
that the Daily News published “illegally”, a handful of journalists huddled
over a computer getting the paper together for the next day. The atmosphere
was electric. “This seems to be it,” said one journalist. ”The court has
finally unequivocally said we can publish.” But in a replay of what happened
October 24 when another Administrative Court found in favour of the Daily
News and ordered that it be allowed to resume publishing, the Mugabe’s men
simply ignored the court. In October, the Daily News got one edition out
before the police moved in, defying the courts.
This time everybody thought things would be different because the
ruling unambiguously said the paper could be published. But Information
Minister Jonathan Moyo was even quicker off the mark. A few hours after the
ruling, the police descended on the paper’s printing facility and ordered
the production staff home. Moyo dismissed the court’s ruling saying it was
“at best academic in that it has no practical force or effect’’ because of
the authorities’ appeal to the Supreme Court. Throwing in another piece of
weird verbiage, he added that the Administrative Court might have been
within its rights to hand down the judgement, but the ANZ could not enjoy
the benefits of that judgement as it had been handed down by “the wrong
court.” "What we had done is to ask the court to allow us to publish while
the case before the Supreme Court was pending and the courts have very
clearly given us that right,” said editor Nqobile Nyathi shortly before the
police moved in. The ruling, she added, went further and than the previous
one, and she believed – or hoped – it would be upheld. “We are keeping our
The impact of the loss of the Daily News has been devastating for
Zimbabweans. They are denied their right to information, and the country has
reverted to the dark days before the Daily News began publishing in 1999.
The state-controlled dailies, The Herald and The Chronicle, misinform with
impunity, knowing no one will challenge them with the truth. The only time
anybody critical of the regime, or aligned with the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change or allied organizations ever features in the papers, is to
be portrayed in a negative light. Otherwise the MDC simply does not exist.
The struggling Daily Mirror, which earlier this year suspended publication
because of a lack of funds, is back on the streets trying to fill the void –
but it is not The Daily News.
Then, of course, there is, as they boast, “The first and permanent
media choice for every Zimbabwean” - ZBC radio and television. “It is
permanent because I do not have a choice,” said Nesta Mlambo, a thirty-five
year old secretary, of Harare. “Whenever the news on television starts, I
switch it off, I may be poor but I am not stupid.” She bemoans the continued
muzzling of the Daily News saying it provided for the millions of
Zimbabweans who, like herself, cannot afford to subscribe to satellite
television with a window on the world. Unlike the state-run newspapers which
still get some form of competition from the independent weekly papers, the
ZBC enjoys a monopoly to lie and distort, and ensure that most Zimbabweans
see only what Moyo wants them to see. For example, the ruling Zanu PF party
conference in December got blow-by-blow coverage on state television. Two
weeks later, the MDC held its conference, and for the ZBC, it never
A journalist at the Daily News says the publishers underestimated Moyo
’s resolve and instead of playing by the rules they should have printed the
paper secretly. He said the management should have anticipated that the
regime defies any court ruling that is against it. “We should have prepared
the paper and printed it away from our own premises and Moyo should have
seen it on the streets.’’ As things stand now, ANZ has once again won a
court order to stop the police interfering in its activities.
But although Moyo may be unpopular within the ruling party for
usurping the powers of just about every ministry, there seems to be
consensus on The Daily News. “The Daily News exposed corruption in high
places,” said a former government minister who still sits on the ruling Zanu
PF central committee. "Now these guys can sleep in peace knowing nobody will
expose them.’’ The 2005 parliamentary elections are another reason why Moyo
wants to keep The Daily News, which he calls an MDC mouthpiece, out of
circulation. The regime’s latest action against The Daily News removes any
pretence that the whole saga is about the paper failing to apply for a
licence under a law it considered unconstitutional. The purpose is to make
sure that the Daily News, which shone a light on the excesses of the regime
and the ruling party, will never again publish.
Nigeria woos Zim farmers
By our own Staff
NIGERIA, one of Harare’s main backers, has joined the rising number of
African countries trying to lure Zimbabwean white commercial farmers who
were thrown out of their land, an investigation by The Standard has
After purportedly supporting President Robert Mugabe as he kicked out
productive white commercial farmers from Zimbabwe to make way for landless
blacks, Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo now wants those very same
farmers to settle in the populous West African country and develop what is
dubbed a “large scale integrated farming” project.
Nigerian move comes at a time when some Southern African states,
daylight supporters of Mugabe such as Zambia and Mozambique, are also busy
cobbling up all sorts of packages to attract the embattled farmers into
their countries and revive commercial farming.
Investigations by The Standard reveal that Nigeria, the oil rich country,
whose President Obasanjo defended Mugabe’s action in spite of international
condemnation of the chaos that prevailed on local farms following the
invasion of properties from 1999, has also joined the list of countries
lining up for the services of the highly regarded Zimbabwean white farmers.
Hardly two months after Obasanjo snubbed Mugabe at last year’s Commonwealth
Heads of Government summit held in Abuja, Nigeria, he now intends to develop
a prime farming project making use of the Zimbabwean farmers whose skills
are well respected internationally.
Yesterday a senior Nigerian High Commission official, Emmanuel Egwuafu,
confirmed to The Standard that his country was interested in Zimbabwean
“A team of Zimbabwean farmers first went to Nigeria during the Commonwealth
Heads of Government (Chogm) meeting in Abuja last year where they met
representatives of certain states. Kwara State in particular is interested
in former Zimbabwean commercial farmers,” said Egwuafu.
“But I am sure you will also appreciate that Nigeria is a federal government
and that other states are somehow autonomous and independent to make
decisions of their own,” said Egwuafu adding that Nigeria was also
interested in Zimbabwean mining and horticultural investors.
According to a respected Nigerian newspaper This Day, Obasanjo’s government
might soon give approval to fleeing farmers from Zimbabwe to invest in
The Standard understands that Kwara State Governor Bukola Saraki, first
approached the fleeing former commercial farmers after which the Nigerian
federal government took over the initiative.
Already a special government committee headed by Nigerian Minister of
Agriculture and Rural Development Malam Adamu Bello, has been set up to work
out the modalities “on Southern African farmers and investment opportunities
Hundreds of Zimbabwean white commercial farmers have resettled in Zambia,
Mozambique and the Chad from the often-violent land seizures of their
properties in Zimbabwe led by government supporters.
Peanuts for UZ staff
LONG-SERVING University of
Zimbabwe (UZ) lecturers and academics — some who
have been in service for the past 35 years — last month got cheques valued
between $1 000 and $2 000 as a “thank you” for their distinguished service
to the university.
They were “honoured” at a special ceremony at the UZ campus, presided over
by the UZ Vice-Chancellor Professor Levi Nyagura.
The occasion attracted
doctors and professors who had served the UZ
diligently for between 10 to 35 years, who felt insulted by the amounts they
got. One of the recipients, Clemence Zimudzi, a lecturer in biological
sciences, received a Jewel Bank cheque number 6101 of $1 646 for his 10
years of service. Zimudzi said the awards represented the microcosmic decay
of the UZ.
“It was an insult to me and my long service. I do not even know why they
gave us the money because it cannot buy me a single pint of beer, let alone
drinks for my friends and family,” Zimudzi said.
“It is a joke and clear testimony that the authorities do not appreciate our
work ... No wonder why the UZ is deserted by intellectuals.”–Own Staff
Mugabe, Tsvangirai talks this month
By Henry Makiwa
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) assured South African President Thabo
Mbeki that talks between the two parties will start this month, The Standard
Highly-placed diplomatic sources said an increasingly impatient Mbeki,
anxious to see a negotiated settlement to resolve Zimbabwe’s mounting
crisis, impressed upon Mugabe and Tsvangirai on the urgency of meaningful
dialogue that would lead to an MDC/Zanu PF– authored constitution by June
“The unmentioned yet most
important aspect about President Mbeki’s December
visit is that both Mugabe and Tsvangirai agreed, in separate meetings, to
start talks this January,” said a senior diplomatic source.
“Pretoria hopes that this latest effort, if sustained properly, would
gradually lead to the adoption of a new constitution drafted by both parties
by June. … It doesn’t matter whether the initial negotiations will be formal
But the MDC says there has not been any formal talks yet.
MDC’s presidential spokesman William Bango said: “There is nothing, nothing
at all. The latest talks we know of were between Welshman Ncube (MDC’s
secretary general) and Zanu PF’s Patrick Chinamasa in June last year.”
No comment could be obtained from Zanu PF as telephone calls to both
Chinamasa, the party’s chief negotiator, and Nathan Shamuyarira, the ruling
party spokesman, went unanswered.
Mbeki faces mounting public and opposition criticism at home over his
perceived lack of urgency towards the resolution of the Zimbabwean crisis.
Social upheaval is also predicted for the South African leader as millions
of Zimbabweans flee the worsening economic downturn and seek “greener
pastures” south of the Limpopo.
The effects of this migration has already resulted in South Africa
experiencing high unemployment levels.
According to a University of Pretoria study, Zimbabwe’s southern neighbour
is losing the battle against unemployment and its joblessness rate rose
marginally to between 30% and 42% as foreigners flood the country.
“We are confident that South Africa can still use its clout and influence as
leverage to break the Zimbabwe crisis, not only for the good of the region
but also its image on the international scene as well,” an African
diplomatic source said.
However, a senior Western diplomat said most countries had now “lost
interest” in Zimbabwe because of the country’s policies of self-inflicted
“President Mbeki may soon find out that he now has the lone battle of trying
to steer Mugabe off the course of self-destruction because most countries in
the West are slowly losing interest in Zimbabwean affairs,” said the
Concern over whereabouts of abducted Rusape teacher
By our own staff
A VHENGERE Secondary School teacher, Tawanda Mtomba, was allegedly abducted
in Rusape on Wednesday by suspected CIO operatives and Zanu-PF militia,
barely three months after he was severely assaulted by ruling party youths
for laughing at war veterans’ leader Joseph Chinotimba.
The Standard reported the incident in which the teacher was brutally
assaulted for laughing at the appearance of Chinotimba on TV during a live
soccer match between Zimbabwe and Mauritania.
In the latest
incident, he was allegedly approached by seven Zanu PF youths
last week who bundled him into a metallic blue Toyota truck — registration
number 640-522T — while at Jena butchery in Vhengere, Rusape.
Mtomba’s whereabouts remain unknown, raising fears that he could have been
taken to any one of the numerous Zanu-PF torture bases in Rusape.
Eyewitnesses said two CIO operatives (names supplied) from Rusape and a
driver directed proceedings during the abduction, carried out in broad day
light at around 10 AM.
Mtomba has had a stand-off with the local Zanu-PF youths since October last
year when he was beaten up for laughing at Chinotimba’s appearance on
Problems continued to befall him after the story was published in The
Standard and broadcast on SwRadioAfrica, an independent radio station based
in the United Kingdom.
The Rusape based teacher is reported to have had his home searched on
several occasions last year because the local Zanu-PF leaders believe he is
either involved with the opposition MDC or a pressure group called
Striking traffic controllers sacked
By Henry Makiwa
THE Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) has fired more than 40 air
traffic controllers who have been on strike since November and hired a team
of Zambian technicians to man the local airports, The Standard has
Forty three air traffic controllers who have been on an indefinite job
action since November 21 were last week served with letters of dismissal by
the CAAZ’s acting director of Air Navigation Services, Ezra Mazambara.
The letters, a copy of which is in the possession of The
the workers of breaking the CAAZ code of conduct.
“I regret to advise you that the committee found you guilty of contravening
paragraph 2 and 20 of schedule 111 of the CAAZ code of conduct and resolved
that you should be dismissed from CAAZ from the date you last reported for
duty,” read the letter in part.
According to sources, paragraph 2 of the CAAZ code of conduct states that
workers who do not show up for duty for five or more days without specifying
reasons risk dismissal while paragraph 20, on the other hand, states that
negligent activity on duty attracts a penalty of expulsion.
The workers, who had downed tools protesting poor pay, have however vowed to
seek relief at the courts.
Meanwhile, these latest developments have fuelled fears on the security of
the skies over Zimbabwe.
According to sources, Zimbabwe has in the mean time hired a provisional team
of Zambian air traffic controllers to complement efforts by Air Force
personnel who had been assigned to man airports.
Said a CAAZ source: “Its yet another sham. CAAZ chief (Karikoga Kaseke) has
publicly lied that the air traffic controllers were earning $840 000 when in
fact they pocketed a meagre $340 000.
“Now they have hired about 10 Zambian so-called aviation experts — most of
whom, we understand, have been out of duty for over five years — and are
paying them US$100 (about $500 000 on the parallel market) a day. In
addition, we hear they have also been given free accommodation — fully
furnished houses for the time they will be in Zimbabwe.”
Neither Kaseke nor CAAZ chairman Charles Samuriwo could be reached for
comment as they were said to be in lengthy meetings.
Kaseke’s secretary said the CAAZ boss would only call The Standard “when he
finds time for you”.
Samuriwo has in the past said the strike was illegal because air traffic
control is an essential service and the country’s labour laws forbid
industrial action by workers classified as essential workers.
On Thursday, Tawanda Mukarati, the acting chairman of the Air Traffic
Controllers’ Association of Zimbabwe said they would contest their dismissal
at the courts.
“We feel their action was not above board. They did not properly investigate
the cases, and do not have the minutes of the disciplinary hearings ... we
feel grossly abused,” said Mukarati.
Plight of patients worsens as doctors demand cash
By our own Staff
THE plight of patients through out Zimbabwe has worsened considerably as
most hospitals and clinics are now demanding huge sums of money upfront
before sick people are admitted into their wards for treatment.
This applies even to those patients who are comprehensively covered by
medical aid schemes.
A survey by The Standard revealed
that it now costs at least $500 000 for a
patient to be admitted at a public hospital, with some private institutions
demanding as much as $2 million.
“We went to Wilkins Hospitals yesterday and they refused to admit my mother
saying they needed $400 000 cash even though my mother is on PSMAS (Public
Service Medical Aid Society),” said a distraught man who preferred
At Avenues Clinic in Harare, a patient has to pay $1,9 million to be
admitted and more than $9 million for surgery.
Avenues however still accepts CIMAS private medical account holders but will
not accommodate those from the PSMAS, it was discovered.
Many of the private hospitals said they were not admitting patients on
medical aid. A few, such as St Anne’s in Avondale, said they still accepted
all medical aid society contributors.
“We accept all medical aid societies and one does not have to pay any
co-payment. The only cash we might need is $50 000 for a patient who needs
any X-Rays to be taken,” said an official at St Anne’s.
At West End Hospital, an official stressed that they were not accepting
PSMAS account holders, and that those with PSMAS cards would have to pay
$1,1 million to be admitted.
Zimbabwe Medical Association president Dr Billy Rigava accused some of the
medical aid societies of being too arrogant.
“Medical aid societies are becoming too arrogant and on that note some of
our colleagues who have been accepting those medical aid cards have now
stopped doing so. Even radiologists have now joined us,” said Rigava.
“What I can tell you is that most of these medical aid societies are
under-performers. Some of them have become more arrogant that they could pay
up their dues after six months or even a year and that is what we are
against,” added Rigava.
History will charge Mbeki harshly over Zim
is no doubt in the minds of right thinking Zimbabweans — and many
others in key African and Western capitals — that South African President
Thabo Mbeki is now perhaps the only international statesman left whose power
and leverage can help resolve the Zimbabwean crisis.
Where there is doubt is whether Mbeki is prepared to eat humble pie and
admit that so far, his quiet diplomacy over Zimbabwe has failed and a
tougher stance might have to be considered.
While the year that has gone past was tough for Zimbabwe,
this new year
threatens to be even worse.
Worsening poverty, company closures, unemployment, crumbling State
infrastructures such as schools, hospitals and clinics, runaway inflation,
the free falling Zimbabwean dollar, hunger and starvation and the general
decay in our formerly higher standards of living — by African standards —
will all conspire to make 2004 perhaps the most difficult year for many
since this country obtained independence from Britain in 1980.
Unless some urgent action to redress the current situation is taken, it is
very clear that Zimbabwe in 2004 faces the high risk of experiencing violent
civil unrest as happened in the late 1990s as the poor and the marginalised
take to the streets in protest against President Robert Mugabe’s ruinous
Their anger and desperation — which will be felt on the streets of Harare,
Bulawayo, Gweru, Masvingo and many other Zimbabwean towns — will spill over
into our more stable neighbours such as South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique
and Zambia, as thousands others try to flee the country.
Elsewhere in this issue, we point out at the symptoms of our sick country
such as the rampant HIV/Aids that is wreaking havoc by thrusting onto the
impoverished society millions of orphans with no hope and no State or
extended family support.
We report that the State medical health system is in the intensive care
unit, the government schools are dying and that commercial agriculture is
dead and buried. The list of what is wrong with Zimbabwe today cannot be
reported on a single issue of a newspaper.
But these are just the symptoms of the disease that is slowly killing our
beautiful country. That disease is called “Zanu PF policies” and with it
comes the attendant evils of corruption, cronyism and maladminstration.
The funny thing about this killer disease, unlike Aids, is that we all know
how it can be cured.
We all know that to cure this dreadful disease we need a combination of
expert medical surgery, good or even bitter medication, and rehabilitation.
We know that urgent surgery is needed to get Zimbabwe, the poor and sick man
of Africa, from the sick bed and onto the road to recovery.
That surgery is necessary to cut off the diseased part of the Zimbabwean
body politic so that only the necessary parts that are vital for our
survival are left.
The painful surgery that Zimbabweans of all walks of life — especially those
in the ruling Zanu PF party — have to experience is to accept that it is
imperative that the old guard within Zanu PF, who regard themselves as
vanguards of the revolution who are answerable to noone, should depart from
the political stage and allow for fresh ideas to take over.
That is where we believe Mbeki comes in.
The South African leader must surely know that he faces the real risk of
losing his international stature as one of Africa’s hopes if he clings to
the notion that the solution to this country’s problems lies with continuing
to accommodate President Mugabe.
Mbeki has only to slap himself in the face to realise that he actually holds
the trump card to restore Zimbabwe — and thereby the rest of southern
Africa — to the promised path of development and glory if he gets Mugabe to
the negotiation table that would eventually lead to a new constitution and
The other funny thing is that he himself knows that this is the only
solution to the Zimbabwean crisis. And he has said so publicly.
And so how can Mbeki get Mugabe to negotiate his own departure? How does he
get Gushungo, who sincerely believes he is answerable to no-one and has the
divine right to rule Zimbabwe until he dies, to accept that time is up.
Simple, Mbeki has to use the carrot and the stick solution.
Samora Machel and Julius Nyerere used it effectively against Mugabe in the
1970s and finally got him to reluctantly attend the 1979 Lancaster House
conference that brought Zimbabwe’s independence.
Mbeki must push, he must cajole.
He must threaten to tighten the screws against Harare by withdrawing credit
lines and Zimbabwe’s important routes to the sea, if that is the pressure
needed to get the Zanu PF leader to talk to Morgan Tsvangirai.
To save Zimbabwe and the rest of southern Africa, Mbeki must be prepared to
abandon his quiet diplomacy and his own admiration for Mugabe and push for a
negotiated settlement that would cleanse Zimbabwe’s current pariah status
and allow normality to return.
Otherwise history will judge him harshly, especially over Zimbabwe.
You can’t bank on it …
Finance officials and spin
doctors in a troubled central African nation have
worked themselves into a froth of self-doubt and confusion. Having appointed
Zany’s banker to head the central bank, they’re now deeply worried he might
take the job seriously.
They shouldn’t panic. The situation is unfathomable anyway, and even a
competent banker would be hard pushed to sort out the mess.
Still, it’s amusing to watch the confusion at the ministry
The infamous Zany banker was lionised for his alleged ability to end
economic crises in the troubled central African basket case. Perhaps it wasn
’t explained to the slow moving banker that this was supposed to be
accomplished without slamming Zany fingers in the national till.
Now that half the country is refusing to accept cheques from indigenous
banks, the misinformation ministry wants us to believe that there’s a plot
Deeply misleading articles in the Daily Horrid try to tell us that it is
illegal to refuse cheques. It isn’t, just in case you’re silly enough to
believe anything written in Zany Party HQ.
The fact is we’re being charitable when we say Zany business has its fingers
in the till.
Arms and even torsos have been scraping the barrel in an endless quest for
ill-gotten money. The troubled central African banana republic may be a
violent autocracy, but it’s also a kleptocracy. Corruption, once manageable
and largely benign, has reached levels that would be astonishing even in
Angola or Nigeria.
Money lent to buy inputs for stolen farms has been used to buy Pajeros and
will never be paid back. Money invested has been looted to buy more
Kompressors — and some rather splendid houses.
Not that this is a bad sign. The reason the Zany party is on a looting spree
is because it knows that prospects for long term gain are severely limited.
They have to make their money now because … well, they’re not going to be in
a position to loot anything when they’re out of office.
So, what can the average man do to protect his interests when all around him
are busy rifling the national coffers?
A rush on the banks will help, but don’t for a minute think the Zany Party
won’t look after its own, no matter what the eager central bank governor
says. Troubled central Africans have waited 24 years for someone from the
Zany party to come a cropper for helping himself to the profits. It’ll never
Brief show trials will fizzle out and the looting will continue unabated,
because that’s the Zany way.
Over The Top can predict with certainty how the banking crisis will unravel.
A few expendable Zany chefs will face brief humiliation and some indigenous
banks will collapse — and their demise will be blamed on a plot hatched by
white business, the British, imperialists, Americans, the opposition and
former Rhodesians. Then the briefly humiliated bankers will be back in
business and the whole process will begin again.
And while all this is going on, the thieving will continue because clever
people in the Zany Party know that their pensions are worthless, even if
they won’t admit that their ludicrous policies, violence and ridiculous
rhetoric caused the problem in the first place.
So … stand by for a barrage of confusion from the Zany propagandists. It
will be interesting, if uncomfortable, to watch.
And in the meantime, take your money out of the bank and buy some
imperialist currency to hide under the mattress. It may belong to the enemy,
but at least it works.
US investors back new Byo hospital
By Savious Kwinika
BULAWAYO – Harvard Medical International Associated Hospitals, a United
States-based medical institution, has entered into a partnership with a
Bulawayo medical centre in a US$30 million deal that would see the city
boasting of one of the best hospitals in Africa.
The US$29 900 000 establishment — initiated by the late Vice President
Joshua Nkomo — is to open its doors to the public at the end of January and
various business people have described the project as a major investment
drive for the city of Bulawayo.
While thousands of professional medical practitioners such
as doctors and
nurses are leaving the country for greener pastures elsewhere, Ekusileni
Medical Centre intends to retain some of Zimbabwe’s best and most
experienced staff in order to boost investor confidence in Bulawayo.
Health and Child Welfare Minister, David Parirenyatwa, admitted during a
media tour on Wednesday that the health delivery system in the country was
in a crisis.
Parirenyatwa, who heads a ministry that is in charge of collapsing public
health institutions with insufficient drugs and inadequate medical
practitioners, said the EMC would be able to rekindle investor confidence in
the medical sector.
“Though we are facing some critical challenges in human resources, drugs,
foreign currency and transport, I would like to urge EMC Hospital to offer
high salaries in order to maintain the high medical standards,” said
Parirenyatwa, a medical doctor by profession.
Harare banker and Ekusileni Medical Centre Board’s chairman, Mthuli Ncube,
said the establishment of the world class medical centre would create more
than 1 000 jobs.
“Very soon we will be listed at the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange. EMC is major
investment in the city of Bulawayo and it shall continue to be a catalyst
for investment,” said Ncube, who is also the chief executive officer of
He said investors would not feel comfortable to invest in a country where th
ere was a poor health delivery system and the establishment of EMC would
instill investor confidence in Zimbabwe as it was an internationally
recognised medical institution of excellence.
‘Complications of the season!’
I recently said to
a friend, “compliments of the season.” He promptly
corrected me by saying: “There is nothing to compliment each other about
this season, my friend. You should instead say, complications of the
He was echoing the feelings of most Zimbabweans who are now despondent and
depressed due to pressing economic and political hardships. Welshman Ncube,
the secretary general of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), summed up the situation when he talked to IPS recently. He described
the year 2003 as the worst year in Zimbabwe’s history. He said the year was
characterised by the suffering of the masses.
Expulsion of foreign journalists, closure of
the country’s only independent
daily newspaper, The Daily News, the arrests and torture of opposition
politicians, trade unionists and human rights campaigners. He said Zimbabwe’
s economy also suffered as inflation sky-rocketed to over 400 percent, one
of the highest in the world. Factories closed down and workers lost their
jobs, he added.
In the past, even the poorest of families could afford a loaf of bread,
butter, a packet of rice and chicken for Christmas. This year most could not
even afford the cheapest ration meat let alone mealie meal for a decent
Christmas dinner. Most families are lucky if they can afford one meal a day.
Even vegetables are out of the reach of many. Starvation is staring many
families in the face. The Deputy Minister of Finance, Mr Chris Kuruneri
admitted that the number of Zimbabweans in need of food aid has risen from
six million to eight million.
People interviewed by the government controlled ZBC about their feelings on
the outgoing year and their hopes for the incoming year all talked about the
hardships they were facing. Some said the situation needed divine
Of course the ZBC does not refer to the hunger and deprivation in the
country as hardships. They are called “economic challenges”. In order to
meet these so called challenges the government is forever constructing
cosmetic solutions which will not work, the latest being governor of the
Reserve Bank, Gideon Gono’s monetary policy.
Our government’s make-believe solutions to our economic problems remind me
of a vagrant I saw the other day.
After rummaging through a dustbin he came up with bag of thrown away food.
He then went to a water tap to wash his hands so that he could eat the food.
This is just like our Zanu PF government. It goes through the motions of
being a a responsible and clean democracy when in actual fact the whole
world knows it is a dirty and undemocratic dictatorship.
All was not gloom and doom this Christmas though.
For Christians who were celebrating the birth of their saviour, Jesus
Christ, it was indeed a time for happiness. Their faith gives them hope for
the future, no matter what the present situation may be like.
Talking about Christians, I was encouraged by the stance of Archbishop
Desmond Tutu and the churches of South Africa. The retired Archbishop said
he was baffled by South African President, Thabo Mbeki’s supportive attitude
The Mail and Guardian of 15 December, 2003 reports Tutu as saying about
Mbeki’s insistence that only Zimbabweans can solve their own problems. He
said while nations did not normally interfere in the domestic affairs of
other sovereign nations, it had made a difference in South Africa’s case.
He said: “Had the international community invoked rubric of non-interference
then we would have been in dire straights in our anti-apartheid struggle. We
appealed to the world to intervene and interfere in South Africa’s internal
affairs. We could not have defeated apartheid on our own. What is sauce for
the goose must be sauce for the gander, too. We have great expectations for
the peer review system of the African Union but it will be a futile exercise
if we are not ready to condemn human rights violations unequivocally without
fear or favour whatever the struggle credentials of the perpetrator. Human
rights are human rights and they are of universal validity or they are
nothing. There are no peculiarly African human rights.
“What as been reported has happening in Zimbabwe is totally unacceptable and
reprehensible and we ought to say so regretting that it should have been
necessary to condemn erstwhile comrades. The credibility of our democracy
demands this. If we are seemingly indifferent to human rights violations
happening in a neighbouring country, what is to stop us one day being
indifferent to that in our own?”
Reverend Frank Chikane, Director General of the South African Presidency
defended President Mbeki’s “quiet diplomacy”. He accused church leaders, who
had criticised Mbeki, of having their own political agendas and spreading
I am left to wonder as to what has happened to Rev Chikane.
Has political power overwhelmed his historic role as God’s prophet and a
fearless fighter for freedom and justice against apartheid. I remember
reading his foreword to the booklet, “Standing for the truth.”
He said then: “Our Christian faith, through the ages, has always demanded
that we stand for justice, peace and truth.
“It is only when God’s kingdom fully arrives that we, as Christians, can be
satisfied. Standing up for the truth is just as important today as it has
been in the past. As Christians we still need to stand for:
The truth about the negotiations process.
The truth about the violence sweeping large parts of our country.
Truth about what it means to believe in Jesus Christ in South Africa today.
Truth about the situation of the poor and oppressed.
The prophetic tradition in the church must stay alive. God knows how much we
need it. Church leaders have spoken out on many occasions but if prophetic
Christians on the ground do not give witness to these words then these
statements are meaningless.”
Yes indeed, Rev Chikane. These statements will be meaningless if you
continue to follow and defend your president’s discredited policy of
appeasing naked oppression. Remember there is not much difference between
appeasing and abetting.
As a prophet you must forget useless diplomacy which is tantamount to
hypocrisy. You must shout to President Robert Mugabe, in God’s name, to make
New Year resolutions for the sake of Zimbabwe and his own sake. These should
Restore the rule of law to Zimbabwe,
Disband the violent youth militia,
Restore freedom of the Press,
Hold free and fair elections,
Engage the international community to rebuild the economy, and
Rationalise land reform with the assistance of the United Nations’s
Development Programme. Only when you thus speak, yourself, can your
statements about prophetic tradition be meaningful, Rev Chikane.
He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
Blue whisky nights at the Can
Hang them high
AN interesting item appeared on the front page of this newspaper just before
Christmas. The item, based on a report by the Media Monitoring Project,
likened the stories being carried by the State media – The Herald, Sunday
Mail, Chronicle and ZBC – to the Rwandan government’s hate campaign blamed
for the deaths of thousands of Tutsis in 1994.
The MMPZ is right: Zimbabweans should seriously consider planning how to
prosecute some of the journalists in the State media – the likes of P Diddy,
Munyaradzi Huni and their paymasters such as Nathaniel Moyo-Manheru — for
crimes against humanity once this madness is over.
It would be folly, once the
political situation in Zimbabwe changes, for
everyone to revert back to life as normal and allow such hate mongers to get
away with excuses that they were only doing their work.
The type of hate journalism being spewed in acres and acres of space in the
government media is responsible for the serious injury and deaths of scores
of innocent Zimbabweans who have been caught up in the orgy of violence that
has engulfed this country since 2000.
The MMCZ report notes that most of the content of the State media towards
and during the 2002 presidential election, which some people swear was
stolen by Uncle Bob, was “deliberately aimed at creating fear and panic
Now that the end of this murderous regime is near us, it is time for
responsible Zimbabweans to devise ways of how to legally deal with the
propagators of the hate campaign who caused us so much pain.
STILL on matters to do with the goings-on at Moyo-Manheru’s newspapers,
Woodpecker is in possession of some interesting correspondence between one
Admore Tshuma, formerly of The Chronicle, but now based in that great
kingdom of the British Isles, and the bearded one.
Tshuma, who apparently was Moyo-Manheru’s golden boy before he absconded,
is – in the correspondence – bitter with the way the Editor of the Chronicle
treated him, before he was “fired” from the newspaper.
Says part of his letter: “I wish to bring to light that my resignation is a
desperate protest against your corrupt management style at Chronicle. It is
an attempt to voice my concern over the abuse of a public office by a man
who is supposed to police corruption.” (Hear, hear).
“You borrowed my money – $20 000 and £10. When I asked for it three weeks
later you said you were having financial difficulties and you can’t pay
back. Was this not corruption for my editor to borrow money from his
reporter and then refuses to pay back, robbing me of my hard-earned money?”
Oh my, my. It was not possible to get comment from the bearded one, or
Moyo-Manheru, before going to press.
THE unfolding ENG saga, with its added attraction of fast cars and
well-connected flashy Young Turks, has spawned all sorts of urban legends.
A story doing the rounds early is that one flamboyant politician, well known
for his perceived close relationship with Uncle Bob, went on his knees and
begged for “forgiveness” after police tried to detain him overnight over his
involvement in the massive scam.
The tough talking politician, it is said, was like putty in the hands of
gleeful police and RBZ officers as he grovelled after it had dawned upon him
that he could actually spend the whole night under Uncle Bob’s “hospitable”
prisons “for defeating the course of justice”, as our police officers love
Another story says one of the young asset managers now being investigated
splashed $3 million on a single night in the trendy bar of a top-class
Harare hotel drinking only Blue Label Scotch whisky.
The young billionaire is said to have left $300 000 as a tip to the
bewildered barman who must have felt that Santa Claus was in town.
There are more stories of the lavish lifestyles of the high-flying asset
managers who played the market to the full.
One of them is said to have delighted revellers at another posh nightclub
towards the end of last year. He bought the drinks for everyone, including
waiters, before telling the “shocked” nightclub manager that whatever was
going to be consumed that night was to be on his bill.
No prizes for guessing when that nightclub finally closed down for the
SO Sunday Marimo’s highly-rated Warriors are nothing to write home about …
what more can one say after it emerged that Zimbabwe’s finest failed to beat
a bunch of part-timers, masquerading as the El Salvadorian national in a
friendly at home.
Just like the on-going ENG saga, someone was sold a dummy here and it would
be interesting just to speculate who stood to benefit by getting a group of
El Salvadorian boozers on a junket to Zimbabwe.
What is clear though is that The Warriors’ deal with L-Sporto stinks to high
heaven and the sooner it is abandoned, the better for everyone.
Come to think of it, it is not only Zimbabwe that has found that the road to
Tunisia is full of thieves, robbers, pretenders and layabouts.
South Africa’s national soccer team coach Shakes Mashaba must be wondering
who has waylaid him this time around.
The genial Shakes, a giant of man who is also given to shedding tears at
Press conferences, was ambushed by his football association bosses and
recently suspended for trying to stand his ground.
Shakes had insisted that some Bafana Bafana stars should not get
preferential treatment and assemble in Johannesburg before Tunisia, like
Alas … he did not understand the power of super Western clubs such as
Manchester United and FC Porto.
Porto’s mercurial South African striker Benni McCarthy said “no ways”, he
would rather resign from international football than join the squad early.
The Red Devils’ Quinton Fortune switched off his mobile phone and Shakes was
soon on his way out.
The road to Tunisia is proving to be a very bumpy one not only for Sunday
and his Warriors, but for Bafana Bafana as well.