Mail and Guardian
|Greig Henning: COMMENT|
|16 January 2006 03:00|
Tue 17 January 2006
HARARE - Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU PF party is pushing for new
legislation to ban elections for urban councils and instead allow the
government to appoint commissions headed by chief executive officers to run
cities and towns, authoritative sources told ZimOnline.
The party, which has absolute control of Parliament and can pass any
laws it so wishes, has repeatedly lost all elections in major cities to the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party since the opposition
party was formed six years ago.
But the governing party has regained control in the capital Harare and
in the cities of Chitungwiza and Mutare when Local Government Minister
Ignatius Chombo dismissed the elected councils and appointed pro-ZANU PF
commissioners to run the cities.
The sources said Chombo and other hardliners in ZANU PF were now
pushing for the amendment of the Urban Councils Act to allow the government
and not residents and ratepayers to determine who should run cities.
"The only way for ZANU PF to retain influence and power in major
cities at least in the near foreseeable future is when the government is
allowed to appoint its own people to run the cities and this is the plan
that is under discussion," said a senior government official, who declined
to be named.
The official said the proposed plan to ban urban council elections had
not yet been formally submitted before President Robert Mugabe's Cabinet,
adding that the move would become law once and if the 81-year old President
"Cabinet has not yet formally been presented with the proposal for
approval but we all know that once Mugabe says yes, then there shall be no
resistance," he said.
According to the official, ZANU PF legal affairs secretary and state
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa has however voiced strong reservations
about the proposed move to bar residents from choosing town councils.
Chinamasa is said to have advised the ruling party's inner politburo
committee, when it appeared the key committee would endorse the plan, that
Zimbabwe would be the only country in the world to outlaw local government
elections and that such a move would entrench the view that the country was
"Chinamasa argued that Chombo should look for other ways of
strengthening government control on opposition-run councils without
necessarily scrapping elections," said another source, who also did not want
to be named.
Chinamasa could not be reached for comment on the matter yesterday,
while Chombo would neither confirm nor deny whether ZANU PF was considering
using its parliamentary majority to push through new legislation to ban
urban council elections.
But the Local Government Minister ominously warned that government was
planning to take greater control of cities, claiming opposition-led councils
He said: "We have realised that most of these MDC people running our
councils are inept. From now on my ministry will take a bigger role in
ensuring that our people do not suffer in towns like they were doing under
Under the proposed new regulations that Chombo and other ZANU PF
hardliners want in place before year-end, the post of a popularly elected
executive mayor will be abolished. Instead town clerks, at present the most
senior council employees, will be elevated to chief executive officers and
tasked with the day-to-day management of cities.
In the place of elected councillors, the minister of local government
would be empowered to appoint commissioners reporting to him directly. The
minister will have the power to fire or suspend commissioners and town chief
executives for misconduct or incompetence.
MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said while the opposition party could not
stop ZANU PF from amending the law to ban urban council elections due to its
inferior numbers in Parliament, the opposition party would however mobilise
residents to resist such a move.
He said: "Mugabe has become afraid of the people's voice. Dictators do
not give people rights to vote, they take them away. But because we can no
longer use the ballot to have our say, we shall use the streets to reclaim
our rights and freedoms." - ZimOnline
Tue 17 January 2006
HARARE - Zimbabwe witnessed a decline in media violations over the
past 12 months but this was more an indicator of how the Harare government
has successfully clamped down on journalists and newspapers, a leading
regional Press rights watchdog has said.
In a report on the state of the media in Zimbabwe in 2005, the local
chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) said declining
incidents of harassment of journalists and newspaper companies was not a
sign President Robert Mugabe's government had grown more tolerant of
independent and robust journalism.
There were fewer journalists arrested or newspapers forced to close
down simply because most of the more critical newspapers have already been
shut down by the government over the years while at least 90 journalists
including some of Zimbabwe's most prominent journalists have fled the
government's tough Press laws into exile, according to MISA.
"Cases of media violations declined during the year under review not
because the government had mellowed but owing to the absence of the highly
critical ANZ publications," MISA said in the report released at the weekend.
ANZ or Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe published the country's
biggest circulating and only privately owned daily newspaper, the Daily
News. The paper and its sister publication, the Daily News on Sunday, were
shut down and their equipment seized by armed police in September 2003
because they had not registered with the government's Media and Information
MISA said although the number of media rights violations had declined,
the pattern of harassment and ill-treatment of the Press had remained the
same as in previous years.
The media rights group particularly noted the enactment last June of
the Criminal Law Codification Act that imposes harsher penalties of up to 20
years in jail for publishing falsehoods that may injure the national or
MISA said: "While the cases may have declined, the trend of the
violations was similar to that of the previous year, 2004, as witnessed by
the Media and Information Commission's (MIC) closure in February 2005 of The
Weekly Times in a sequel to the closure of The Tribune in June 2004, almost
a year after the ANZ publications had met a similar fate."
It said that the passing of the Criminal Act would make it
increasingly difficult for the country's few remaining independent
journalists and newspapers to report without fear.
Before the new law, Zimbabwean journalists faced up to five years in
jail for publishing false information. Journalists could also be jailed for
up to two years for ridiculing Mugabe in their articles.
Section 31 (a) of the new Act imposes a maximum jail term of 20 years
on anyone either inside or outside Zimbabwe who publishes or communicates to
any person a statement which is wholly or materially false with the
intention or realising that there is real risk or possibility of inciting or
promoting public disorder or public violence or endangering public safety
or adversely affecting the defence or economic interests of Zimbabwe.
MISA also notes the existence of tough broadcasting laws that have
made it virtually impossible for investors to invest in the electronic media
leaving a large majority of Zimbabweans with only the state-controlled
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings as their only source of radio and television
Although the Harare administration was always intolerant of
independent journalism, it only stepped up its campaign of repression
against the media around 1999 when the main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change party emerged as the first real threat to Mugabe and his
ruling ZANU PF party's grip on power.
The World Association of Newspapers rates the southern African country
among the worst three places for journalists in the world. The other two are
the former Soviet Union republic of Uzbekistan and the Islamic Republic of
Iran. - ZimOnline
Tue 17 January 2006
HARARE - Zimbabwean High Court Judge Bharat Patel yesterday denied
bail to two senior officials of President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF
party and a banker convicted of espionage, saying they were likely to
abscond if let out of prison.
The three, diplomat Godfrey Dzvairo, ZANU PF external affairs director
Itai Marchi and banker Tendai Matambanadzo were sentenced to a total 16
years in prison for allegedly violating the Official Secrets Act.
The three men have appealed against both conviction and sentence.
Their appeal is expected to be heard at the end of the month but they had in
the meanwhile applied to the court to be released on bail pending the
outcome of the appeal.
But Patel said there was little prospect that the three men's appeal
would succeed, adding that this made the possibility of them skipping bail
high because this was the only way they could avoid a prolonged stay in
The judge said the men had hard cash stashed outside the country and
had built a network of contacts with foreign agents making it easy for them
to flee out of the country.
Dzvairo, Matambanadzo and Marchi were arrested following the arrest of
former ZANU PF Mashonaland West provincial chairman Phillip Chiyangwa on
similar allegations in 2004.
Also arrested on similar allegations was ruling party deputy security
director Kenny Karidza.
Charges against Chiyangwa were later withdrawn by the High Court,
while Dzvairo, Marchi and Matambanadzo were convicted and jailed for varying
terms of up to six years each.
Karidza is still on trial at the magistrate courts in Harare and is on
$1 million bail. - ZimOnline
Financial Mail SA
13 January 2006
"By doing nothing, our government has given Robert Mugabe its tacit
approval to continue his destructive ways"
John Gawler, Lynnwood Ridge.
Just before Christmas I had the misfortune of going through the Beit
Bridge border post to Zimbabwe. As a result I had plenty of time to observe
and ponder the outcome of the "quiet diplomacy" our government is pursuing
with President Robert Mugabe.
The majority of people in the queues were Zimbabweans who had left
because of Mugabe's land redistribution and the resultant job losses on
commercial farms, and the subsequent collapse of the economy and the closure
of numerous businesses. This, coupled with the recent demolition of informal
traders' businesses has led to many Zimbabweans moving to SA to seek work,
legal and illegal.
Judging from a number of people I was able to speak to in customs, as
well as fellow travellers, there were literally hundreds of thousands of
people returning home on an unprecedented scale at Beit Bridge.
What effect has this had on SA? The answer is lengthy and debatable
but, simply put, the net effect is that they are taking jobs from South
Africans, creating a huge market for illegal documents, and indulging in
Sure, there are a lot of honest, hard-working people from Zimbabwe,
but imagine if our government's "quiet diplomacy" were a lot more forceful
(in much the same way it was with Ian Smith when Zimbabwe was still
Rhodesia). If, instead of doing nothing, as government is now doing, it were
able to force Mugabe to stand down or change his destructive policies, and
recreate the thriving economy the country once had, and gainfully employ
Zimbabweans in Zimbabwe. SA could reduce its own unemployment and crime.
Instead, by doing nothing, we have given Mugabe our tacit approval to
continue his destructive ways to the detriment of both countries. Our
leaders need to stand up and do what needs to be done to neighbouring
leaders who destroy their countries, otherwise SA will also become a basket
Mon Jan 16, 2006 11:25 AM GMT
HARARE (Reuters) - The Zimbabwe government plans to takeover the country's
three fertiliser companies in what officials say will complement its
controversial land reforms, the state-run Herald newspaper reported on
Fertiliser, a key input in agriculture, has been in short supply in the past
few years as the country battles food shortages which critics blame on
President Robert Mugabe's government' seizures of land from white commercial
Mugabe's government has in the past criticised fertilizer firms for failing
to produce enough to meet farmers' demands but the firms argue that foreign
currency shortages, one sign of a six-year economic crisis, have hit output.
The acquisition of the companies would ensure the government controls the
production and distribution of the commodity.
The newspaper said the government would pay 1.5 trillion Zimbabwe dollars
for shareholding in the three firms. Christian Katsande, secretary for
Industry and International Trade said "funds for this purpose have been made
available by government".
Katsande was unavailable for further comment on Monday but the Herald quoted
a letter from another official in the Ministry informing the companies that
the sale agreement should be concluded by January 20.
Mugabe denies charges his policies are responsible for changing the former
bread basket into a basket case and instead accuses former colonial power
Britain of leading a western drive to sabotage the economy in retaliation
for the land seizures.
By Tererai Karimakwenda
16 January 2006
The UK Immigration department has embarked on a new campaign to reduce
the numbers of asylum cases and perhaps save on the costs of detaining and
deporting failed cases. The latest news is that the Home Office is offering
failed asylum seekers money to drop their cases. According to reports,
54,000 letters went out to failed asylum seekers offering them £3000 each to
leave the UK. The scheme was formally announced in a written Ministerial
Statement by the Immigration minister Tony McNulty on Thursday, 12th January
2006. Claimants who applied before 31st December 2005 have 6 months to
withdraw their asylum claims or withdraw their appeal.
Sarah Harland, an activist dealing with Zimbabwean refugees at the
Zimbabwe Association, said the offer is directed at a number of different
nationalities. She said genuine asylum seekers who already suffered torture
or abuse in Zimbabwe might not be persuaded by this because no amount of
money can guarantee safety. But those who came to the UK for less serious
reasons might think of accepting the offer. Harland believes since the
deadline to decide is in May, Zimbabweans may want to wait in case the
situation stabilizes by then. Meanwhile, Zimbabweans are not to be removed
by force due a tribunal ruling last October that concluded that returnees
were not safe.
It is a known fact that in some countries, failed asylum seekers are
put in prison on return and are released only if they pay a bribes. Public
announcements of the money offer also serve to inform the perpetrators that
returnees can afford to pay for their freedom. The Home Office described the
money as 'increased reintegration assistance' meant to help returnees to
resettle in their country of origin. The new term 'Incentivising' has even
been coined for this new campaign.
Critics say the offer is misguided and dangerous. The National
Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns ( NCADC) is reported to have said a
sylum seekers from such places as DR Congo, Somalia and Uganda who are
living in hardship and destitution in the UK, may see this 'incentive' as an
'Immediate' way out of their suffering. They believe it would be far better
if the Home Office spent the proposed £6.2 million for the scheme in setting
up an independent Country Assessment Unit, better training of
adjudicators, and electronic monitoring in place of detention .
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
issue date :2006-Jan-16
The country has been hit by a shortage of space to accommodate bodies at
mortuaries due to failure to upgrade the existing ones, in addition to a
high death rate.
At least 2 500 people die countrywide due to HIV and Aids alone, while other
diseases considerably contribute to the deaths that are occurring.
Most of the mortuaries around Zimbabwe are failing to cope with the number
of bodies because they were constructed to cater for small numbers of
Some of them were constructed way back in the 1960s and have not been
enlarged in keeping with the growing numbers of people who are dying.
Morgues, particularly in the small towns, were constructed with carrying
capacities ranging from three to around 20- a figure that falls far short of
the number of deaths occurring daily.
These mortuaries include the ones at Mvurwi, Mvuma, Ngomahuru, Chivi,
Beitbridge and Murehwa district hospitals, as well as provincial hospitals
such as Bindura, Marondera, Masvingo and Gweru.
Murehwa Hospital has a carrying capacity of three bodies, Marondera 27,
Masvingo General Hospital 17, while Beitbridge was designed to carry six.
However, all these hospitals are now forced to accommodate up to 40 bodies,
resulting in a heavy stench coming from the mortuaries.
Most of the bodies will be awaiting pauper burials. It is feared that some
relatives are failing to collect the bodies of their departed relatives
because of prohibitive burial costs.
In Murehwa and Gweru, reconstruction is underway, but there are complaints
that the process is taking too long to complete.
The Mvurwi Hospital mortuary in Mashonaland Central which broke down in 2000
is yet to be repaired, but authorities at the institution continue to pile
bodies up in the morgue, The Daily Mirror has learnt.
Information at hand is that the mortuary ceased functioning when one
Micklean, a white farmer who used to service the mortuary, left the area.
After that, the refrigerators and other equipment broke down and no one took
over the servicing of the mortuary.
Apolonia Mugavazi, whose relative passed away at the hospital a fortnight
ago, said their option is Howard Mission Hospital, which is about 110
kilometres away from Mvurwi.
She said because of the crisis, most people were burying their relatives
soon after the death, sometimes without bothering to take them to the
mortuary for post mortems.
Mugavazi said she collected her relative's body from the mortuary the same
day he died, but it already smelled because of the state of the mortuary.
"The state (of the mortuary) is not pleasing at all. When we collected the
body there were three more bodies in the mortuary, which had already
decomposed and were producing a very strong odour," said Mugavazi.
A senior official at the hospital who refused to be named citing protocol
confirmed that the mortuary was not operating.
"Mune makonye asingaite uyezve muchinhuhwa. Patova nenguva yakareba
zvakangodaro (There are maggots in the disused mortuary and the place
stinks. The situation has been like that for a long time)," she said.
Morgues in major cities are also affected, with authorities seemingly
failing to find a lasting solution.
Contacted for comment, the Deputy Minister of Health and Child Welfare,
Edwin Muguti acknowledged that there was a mortuary crisis in the country.
He said: "The issue of malfunctioning mortuaries is a nationwide problem
affecting many district and general hospitals. Plans to rehabilitate all
hospital mortuaries are underway."
Muguti bemoaned the situation at Mvurwi District Hospital, saying it was
He, however, urged the institution to encourage community members to bury
their relatives before bodies decomposed.
"In other areas where there are no mortuaries, bodies are buried as soon as
possible before they decompose," added Muguti.
During the Zanu PF people's conference held in Esigodini last month,
delegates agreed to construct and rehabilitate existing mortuaries in
district and mission hospitals.
The Ministry of Health and Child Welfare was challenged to construct
mortuaries with at least a carrying capacity of 108 bodies each.
The Minister of Finance, Herbert Murerwa, allocated Z$655,2 billion in the
2005-2006 national budget for the construction and rehabilitation of
facilities at State hospitals and rural health centres.
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
issue date :2006-Jan-16
A wave of water cuts has once again hit the capital city, ironically amid
the heavy downpours the country is currently enjoying.
Residents interviewed yesterday criticised the Zimbabwe National Water
Authority (Zinwa) for cutting water supplies at a time the country is
gripped by a cholera outbreak that has so far claimed three lives in Glen
A snap survey by The Daily Mirror revealed that water taps in some of the
city's western suburbs that include Highfield, Budiriro, Glen View, Glen
Norah and Mufakose have been dry since Saturday.
In Glen Norah C, residents could be seen scooping water from the numerous
pools in the suburb to use for washing and toilet purposes.
Residents expressed the fear that the untimely cuts would expose them to
contagious water-borne diseases such as cholera.
They complained that water supplies had been discontinued without warning
and as a result, they had not been able to build stores to fall back on.
Ginny Muchenje of Budiriro 5A said: "The water supplies were cut in the
afternoon between 2pm and 3pm (on Saturday) and today (Sunday) we woke up to
find the taps still dry. We had no chance to bath or wash our clothes and
clean dishes. That encourages the spread of cholera already causing havoc in
He said their plight was worsened by the fact that there were no nearby
alternative sources of the precious liquid in the area.
"We are just sleeping hungry because we cannot cook without water. Most
people are not sure what to do with their children who are complaining of
hunger because they haven't eaten anything since yesterday," he added.
The Daily Mirror witnessed long queues in some of the suburbs as residents
jostled for water at strategic places like clinics and schools which were
spared the agony of water cuts. Others were walking long distances from
Budiriro 5, for example, to fetch water at the district council offices in
Herbert Chikozho of Glen View said the situation in his area was critical.
"It's an embarrassment; it is selfish and inconsiderate for these people
(Zinwa) to have decided to cut off water supplies just like that. People
cannot use toilets or wash their clothes. It's a pity for those families
with babies as they cannot wash the napkins," he said.
Chikozho said Glen View residents had since resorted to footing to as far as
Amalinda Road to collect water from an unprotected well at the council-owned
Churu School Farm.
A Mufakose woman berated city authorities for closing water supplies without
notifying residents on time and hoped the situation would be back to normal
before a major disaster occurred.
She said: "We are worried because of the rains and the refuse that has not
been collected for sometime now. With garbage piling up, this is a recipe
for disaster. They should have told us in advance so that we would have
prepared. Right now people are going as far as Budiriro in search of water.
The situation is so bad."
Onias Jeremiah of Glen Norah A said: "It's unbelievable that there are some
people who have died from cholera yet water supplies are just cut off like
The water cuts come at a time when the city is battling with a cholera
outbreak that has claimed three family members while 14 others have been
hospitalised at Beatrice Road Infectious Diseases Hospital.
Recently, residents of Warren Park D had to resort to ferrying water from
the nearby Warren Hills cemetery following similar cuts.
Although no official comment could be obtained, Zinwa recently announced the
temporary closure of Morton Jaffray Water Treatment plant to clean the city's
Zinwa indicated that the water cuts would be in phases, as this would affect
water demand management, adding the city's water situation would be severe
because water levels in reservoirs were very low.
The authority, which took over provision of water services from the local
authority late last year, said the cleaning process would remove sludge and
other objects from reservoirs.
The city's water tanks were reportedly last cleaned in 2002.
Zinwa could not be reached to comment on the new water cuts.
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
Sydney Kawadza Chief Reporter
issue date :2006-Jan-16
EDUCATION minister Aeneas Chigwedere's housing programme, launched amid pomp
and funfair in Harare, Marondera, Kadoma, Rusape and Chipinge, in 2002 seems
to have died a natural death with 'beneficiaries' concerned about their
The housing project, launched during campaigns for the 2002 presidential
elections, was expected to benefit civil servants among them teachers in
their quest to get housing stands in urban areas.
Some of the civil servants who contributed towards the scheme have
complained that despite making contributions from the inception of the
programme, nothing tangible has been achieved.
A member of the Gwindingwi housing scheme in Harare who declined being named
said Chigwedere launched the scheme at the city sports centre but no stands
have been made available since then.
"The scheme was launched by Chigwedere who is the patron together with the
Minister of Local Government and representatives from the Harare City
Council on February 24, 2002.
"We contributed $25 000 for the scheme with an initial payment of $5 000
while the rest was paid in instalments but nothing has come up three years
down the line," he said. The housing scheme was the fourth project that was
launched after the introduction of similar projects in Marondera, Rusape and
Chigwedere was expected to launch another project in Chipinge.
The project in Harare was, however, faced with a major problem when there
was no land for the project after the allocated space was eventually
assigned to another housing project.
In his correspondence to the late Witness Mangwende, who was then resident
minister for Harare metropolitan province, Chigwedere revealed that the
project account reflected about $30 million by September 2004.
The project has about 2 500 members in Harare.
Another member of the Mukanyaushe housing scheme in Marondera confirmed that
he had contributed his monthly $25 000 through a Zimbank account but was not
aware of the latest developments.
"We paid our contribution with an initial one of $5 000 payment but we are
not sure of the future of the project and some people have since lost hope
with the project," he said.
He added that most members had been allocated stand numbers but nothing has
been done on the ground as far as the service of stands is concerned.
No comment could be obtained from Chigwedere, who late last week was said to
be in his constituency.
Monday, January 16 2006 @ 12:05 AM GMT
Contributed by: correspondent
High Court judge Benjamin Paradza left the country aboard a
heavy cargo truck Tuesday, days before appearing before Justice Simpson
Mutambanengwe facing corruption charges. The judge who was convicted the
previous day and was awaiting sentencing fled the country via the Beitbridge
boarder post, sources close to the family told Zimdaily.
The High Court Thursday issued a warrant of arrest against the
convicted Judge Paradza after he failed to turn up for sentencing Thursday.
Sources said the judge new the fate that awaited him hence the decision to
abscond. "His family knew about this and he was actually welcomed by Judge
Majutru who also fled the country after handing down the Daily News
judgement," the source told Zimdaily. The presiding judge Justice Simpson
Mutambanengwe immediately ordered the arrest of the convicted judge after he
breached bail conditions.
Justice Mutambanengwe issued the warrant of arrest after court
officials called paradza's name thrice, according to normal procedures. He
also ordered that the warrant of arrest be faxed to all airports and border
posts serving the republic of Zimbabwe and ordered that his bail be
forfeited to the state provisionally. Paradza was supposed to turn up to the
court for mitigation, aggravation and sentence but failed and his lawyers
indicated that they had no information regarding the whereabouts of the
Paradza was convicted of corruption charges after he was found
guilty of inciting fellow judges, Justice Maphios Cheda and Justice George
Chiweshe to release the passport of his safari hunting partner Russel
Labuschagne. He was also acquitted of attempting to defeat the court of
justice. Paradza who denied the charges claiming that he did not corruptly
influence his colleagues to release the passport of his business partner was
arrested in 2003. His business partner, Labuschagne, who murdered a man
after finding him poaching fish at his fishing camp has since been convicted
and jailed for 15 years.
Monday, January 16 2006 @ 12:04 AM GMT
Contributed by: correspondent
President Robert Mugabe is due to celebrate his 82nd birthday in
Manicaland province next month with unrestrained pomp and fanfare amid
reports that his ruling Zanu PF party would splash a staggering Z$10 billion
on the birthday bash. Despite a sea of troubles engulfing the country,
Mugabe showed no signs of being willing to retire after 26 years in power,
throwing in his name for the 2008 presidential race following the failure of
his protege Joice Mujuru to garner support in his ruling party. Analysts
attributed Mugabe's bid to cling to power to his belief that authoritarian
methods were actually working for him.
The ruling party's Youth League concluded a meeting Friday where
they agreed that this year's celebrations were supposed to be unique in that
it came in the backdrop of the passage of the despotic 17th constitutional
amendment, "which has refined democracy and removed impediments to the land
reform." Zanu PF Youth Affairs chief Absalom Skhosana told journalists a the
end of the meeting: "We are looking forward to raising at least $10 billion
for this year's event and everything is expected to move smoothly."
But observers said it was appalling for Mugabe to celebrate his
birthday with fanfare in the midst of a deep political and economic crisis.
University of Zimbabwe political scientist John Makumbe said: "It's a
depressing situation. Things are collapsing around us. Everything which can
go wrong has gone wrong but he is celebrating," Makumbe said. "Unemployment
and poverty are rampant. Repression is worsening. Political temperatures are
rising and the situation once again will soon reach boiling point."
One such victim of repression is the National Constitutional
Assembly chairman, Lovemore Madhuku, who has repeatedly been brutally
assaulted by armed police and left for dead. He said: "It is shocking that
Mugabe plans to splash $10 billion on his birthday when the country is in
flames. The situation is worsening," Madhuku told Zimdaily. "The brutality
has become so obvious that it is now futile to deny it. Authoritarianism is
Mugabe's birthday party, organised annually under the aegis of
Zanu-PF's 21st February Movement, came as the situation in the country
Zimdaily understands that the official celebrations were planned
for Mutare, but across the country there is still little or no cheer at all
for ordinary Zimbabweans, with Mugabe showing no signs of mellowing with
age. Zimdaily understands the birthday would be celebrated in grand style.
Monday, January 16 2006 @ 12:00 AM GMT
Contributed by: Reporter
In a 'if you can't beat them join them' fashion, founding member
of the ruling Zanu PF party, Edgar Tekere has bounced back at the unpopular
party. Tekere, popularly known as 'Twoboy' was, on Saturday accepted back at
his former party after sixteen years of 'divorce'. Zanu PF's Manicaland
provincial chairman, Tinaye Chigudu announced Tekere's comeback.
Tekere made his intentions of a possible comeback known before
the senate elections. He was, however barred from contesting in the
plebiscite on a Zanu PF ticket. Analysts say, Tekere's sudden appearance
before the senate poll was a 'calculated political move to enjoy the opulent
benefits of senators'.
The Mutare based veteran politician however brushed Zanu PF
reports that he had applied for his return. He said, instead, the party
persuaded him to rejoin the revolutionary party. The sixty nine (69) year
old politician said he intends to be more active in politics.
"I just want to be more active in politics, that's all", Tekere
said in an interview before the senate election
Tekere crossed paths with his erstwhile friend, Robert Mugabe to
form the now defunct Zimbabwe Unity Movement (ZUM) in the late 1980s. He
contested in the 1990 presidential elections, but failed to make a mark.
HARARE - Leaders of President Robert Mugabe's governing party in the eastern
Manicaland province have urged the readmission of a maverick politician who
once stood for the presidency, state radio reported.
Edgar Tekere, who was secretary-general of Zanu (PF) at Zimbabwe's 1980
independence, was expelled from the party in 1988 for his outspoken
condemnation of unpunished corruption and of Mugabe's plans for a one-party
He was defeated by Mugabe in the 1990 presidential elections.
Saturday's recommendation of Tekere's home province has to be endorsed by
Mugabe's highest party policy- making body, the 40-member national
Politburo, to take effect.
Tekere, the notoriously mercurial son of an Anglican priest, is one of the
longest-serving veterans of the struggle for black rule in Zimbabwe.
He founded the short-lived Zimbabwe Unity Movement, which won 20% of the
vote in 1990 parliamentary and presidential polls but gained only three
parliamentary seats due to Zimbabwe's first-past-the-post electoral system.
Tekere's supporters faced a wave of violence from ruling-party activists and
security forces, with Mugabe himself declaring: "If whites in Zimbabwe want
to rear their ugly terrorist and racist head by collaborating with the
Zimbabwe Unity Movement, we will chop that head off."
Former close friends, Tekere and Mugabe fled together from the then Rhodesia
into newly independent Mozambique in 1975 to join guerillas fighting to end
Briefly appointed manpower development minister upon Zimbabwe's independence
in 1980, Tekere was cleared on a technicality of the murder of a white
He led an invasion by Zanu (PF) militants of Mutare's Anglican Cathedral,
when worshippers were assaulted and the altar defiled.
However, he broke with Mugabe in October 1988, saying "there is a very clear
trend to repression and dictatorship".
He stood aloof from the formation of the Movement for Democratic Change in
January 16, 2006, 05:45
Eight alleged South African mercenaries are expected to appear in the
Pretoria High Court this morning.
The men face a charge of contravening the regulations of the Foreign
Military Assistance Act, relating to an alleged plot to overthrow the
government of Equatorial Guinea.
Sixty-one alleged mercenaries were released from Zimbabwe's Chikurubi
maximum security prison outside Harare in May last year, where they spent a
year after being convicted of violating Zimbabwe's immigration, aviation,
firearms and security laws.
By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 01/16/2006 12:35:22
PROFESSOR Welshman Ncube, one of the leaders of the pro-Senate faction of
the MDC appeared to offer prospects of bringing together the two sides.
He said: "We know that many people across the country are upset by the
division in the party. From Gokwe, to Nkayi to Mutoko people have told us
their anguish. They have said the MDC was our only hope. The MDC was our
only way out of the Mugabe madness.
"Men and women have come to us literally in tears. We have agonised long and
hard over the division. But we found that if we support peaceful, democratic
change in Zimbabwe, how do we make accommodation with what Morgan is
Ncube then outlined three conditions for reuniting the two sides. They say
that Tsvangirai must agree to: abide by the party¹s democratic constitution
and accept collective decision-making; embrace non-violence as a core
principle and refuse to use the coercion of militia; and consult with the
party elected officials when making decisions, not seek the opinions of a
kitchen cabinet of unelected officials and then overrule decisions of the
National Executive and announce the decision as a fait accompli.
Ncube said: "We need to demonstrate democracy to regain the confidence of
the people. We cannot accept an all powerful president of the party who does
what he likes. That is like Mugabe. We still hope to reach an
But he appeared to send a different signal when he said their faction had
tentatively set 25 February as the date for their congress. He did not
indicate the venue. Tsvangirai's faction is reportedly planning its congress
for 18 and 19 March.
On Thursday, Ncube and Gibson Sibanda, Tsvangirai's deputy, accused their
longtime leader of condoning violence, undermining democracy and adopting
the authoritarian style of the man they once hoped he would unseat,
President Robert Mugabe.
The withering critique of Tsvangirai came during interviews with reporters
in South Africa.
Ncube and Sibanda charged that Tsvangirai's office coordinated violent
attacks in May on party staff members viewed as loyal to Ncube. In October,
they said, Tsvangirai violated the party's constitution when he ignored a
vote by its ruling council to participate in national senate elections,
which he wanted to boycott. Ncube, who is secretary general of the party,
said that after years of opposing Mugabe, Tsvangirai began to "admire the
monster" and emulate his ruthless ways.
Sibanda, who was Tsvangirai's vice president but is now acting president of
the faction that opposes him, said that if Tsvangirai were ever elected
president of Zimbabwe, he would become a "serious" dictator.
"This is a clash of values," Ncube said. "It is a direct clash over the soul
of the party." The two leaders also said Tsvangirai's inner circle has been
infiltrated by at least one officer of Zimbabwe's feared Central
Intelligence Organization, which has fomented dissension within the party.
Tsvangirai, speaking from Zimbabwe's capital of Harare, declined to respond
to the allegations about his leadership style or his alleged role in attacks
on party staffers.
The rise of the Movement for Democratic Change six years ago heralded the
arrival of vigorous two-party politics in Zimbabwe after years of
unchallenged autonomy for Mugabe, 81. Just a few months after forming, the
opposition successfully blocked constitutional changes favored by Mugabe.
The movement narrowly lost elections in 2000 and 2002 that were marred by
state-sponsored violence and judged by most outside observers to be rigged.
In March elections, also denounced by many outsiders as fixed, Mugabe's
ruling party won by a wide margin. But in recent months, the opposition has
crumbled into rival factions, with Tsvangirai and others battling each other
rather than Mugabe. "Any party goes through these kinds of turbulences, but
it's not the end of the world," Tsvangirai said.
He admitted that he had failed to organize protests against Mugabe, as he
has repeatedly promised in recent months, but said that would begin after
the party's national congress in March. The side led by Ncube and Sibanda
also plans to have its own party congress, in a separate location and at a
separate time, the men said.
Ncube and Sibanda, meanwhile, said the infighting has paralyzed both
factions of the opposition, making it impossible to mount any challenge to
Mugabe. "All that is suffering at the moment while we are bickering," Ncube
said - additional reporting Washington Post
African News Dimension
Monday, 16 January 2006, 5 hours, 12 minutes and 2 seconds ago.
By ANDnetwork Journalist
A THREE-member Cabinet team has been set up to assist in the probe of
the recently foiled smuggling of maize seed and cement worth more than $10
billion to Zambia through the Victoria Falls border, amid fears that the
transfer of Zimbabwe Revenue Authority manager based at the border might
jeopardise the investigations, Sunday News learnt this week.
The foiled export of the seeds came at a time when the country through
the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe was mobilizing resources to purchase inputs for
the current farming season to ensure a productive agricultural season and
A Cabinet source told the Sunday News this week that the probe team
that comprises officials from the Ministries of Home Affairs, Agriculture,
and Industry and International Trade, was set up before the close of Cabinet
business last year. The country has in recent years faced an acute shortage
of farming inputs and the majority of them have been resurfacing at the
The Cabinet team, the source said, was set up when there were
suspicions that some "highly influential officials" are involved in the
Reliable sources who have been part of the initial investigations
revealed to the Sunday News that the recipient of the seeds on the Zambian
side was also a "big business mogul".
"When we got to Zambia, we had difficulties in making the police
approach the man.
You could detect fear amongst them. He is one of the big fish in that
country," said the source, adding that it was highly possible that the
suspect could have been working in cahoots with some "big man" in Zimbabwe.
At the moment, the National Railways of Zimbabwe station manager for
Victoria Falls, Mr Allen Mpofu has so far been questioned by police in
Victoria Falls on allegations of having played a role in the scam.
Two other ZIMRA officials have also appeared in court for facilitating
The smuggling of maize seed was raised in Cabinet, leading to the
tasking of the three ministries to look into the issue.
The Cabinet probe team was tasked to get to the bottom of the
smuggling case. Recently, there have been a number of cases involving
haulage trucks caught with concealed consignments of controlled commodities.
The cases have only gone as far as arresting the drivers, but not to
the extent of exposing the source of the commodities in question. The recent
transfer of the ZIMRA manager based in Victoria Falls, a Mr Selamolela, has
raised fears, in so far as the investigations are concerned.
Contacted for comment this week, ZIMRA communications manager, Miss
Priscilla Sadomba confirmed the recent transfers of some of the managers.
"ZIMRA would like to confirm that the transfers are in line with the
Authority's human resources policy and there have been transfers of both
management and staff in the organisation. This is a normal procedure, which
has been in operation since ZIMRA's inception on 1 September 2001.
"We are still in the process of finalising the transfers and therefore
not in a position to furnish you with finer details pertaining to the
transfers. We will however be in position to furnish you with information as
soon as we complete the process," she said in written responses to the
Even though ZIMRA could not release the names of the managers who were
transferred, the Sunday News is reliable informed that the transferred
managers included one Mr Selamolela who was based in Victoria Falls.
He has since been moved to the Midlands and would be based in Kwekwe.
A Mr Majokojoko, who was based in Plumtree, has also been transferred and
Mrs Jennifer Chitva replaced him.
The regional manager for Matabeleland, Mr Robert Mangwiro has also
been transferred and is to be replaced by one Mr Mujuru. In the statement,
ZIMRA insisted that the transfers would not affect the investigations.
"Thank you very much for your noble efforts and would like to assure
you that the action taken will not in any way prejudice the investigations
in progress and our operations," read part of the statement.
Source: The Sunday News
A DISSIDENT faction of Zimbabwe's main opposition, the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), has accused the party's embattled leader, Morgan
Tsvangirai, of using violence, intimidation and "Mugabe-like" tactics to
The accusations come ahead of next month's party conference, which is likely
to see the party finally split.
A dissident faction said on Friday that it would soon hold its own party
congress. The splinter group is led by MDC deputy president Gibson Sibanda
and secretary-general Welshman Ncube. Ncube said on Friday his group would
not reconcile with Tsvangirai, who has led the party since it was founded in
The MDC, which has posed the biggest challenge to President Robert Mugabe's
25-year rule, has been in turmoil since it split into two factions after a
disagreement over participation in last year's senate polls.
Sibanda and Ncube last week accused Tsvangirai of using what they call
"Mugabe-type" tactics of violence, intimidation and undemocratic behaviour
to stay in power.
Visiting SA last week, Ncube also said that Tsvangirai was using a "cheap
and dangerous" ethnic card to mobilise support ahead of the conference, by
painting opposition as an "Ndebele rebellion". Tsvangirai is a Shona,
whereas Sibanda and Ncube are Ndebele.
Sibanda and Ncube were in Johannesburg this week to speak to local branches
and diplomats. Their remarks come ahead of a national congress of Ncube's
group in late February or early March, which would appoint new members of
the MDC executive committee, including the job of party president.
Ncube said the MDC's challenge was to build a society different from the one
Mugabe had established, and focus instead on nonviolence and democratic
Tsvangirai, who has strong grassroots support in Zimbabwe, has called his
own congress in March, where analysts speculate he will seek the expulsion
of Ncube's group. If Tsvangirai is not elected president, he could mount a
legal challenge to the validity of the congress.
Analysts say it is unlikely Sibanda, who like Tsvangirai comes from the
union movement, will become president, but there are no clear leaders so
far. The vote for party president takes place along provincial lines and
most have a Shona majority, making it likely the new leader will come from
Sibanda said that by ridding the party of Tsvangirai and adhering to
democratic values, the MDC would be in a position to regain voter confidence
in its leadership. With Reuters
The Herald (Harare)
January 16, 2006
Posted to the web January 16, 2006
SOME soyabean farmers in Middle Sabi reportedly lost millions of dollars
after buying eight tonnes of seed that germinated poorly and was suspected
to have expired.
At least seven farmers indicated that production was adversely affected with
each of them claiming to have lost over $200 million in land preparation,
chemicals, water bills and labour costs.
The Middle Sabi area is one of the most lucrative wheat and soyabean
producing areas targeted by the National Soyabean Promotion Programme.
In an interview with our Mutare Bureau, the disgruntled farmers said the
seed, which was bought from Seed Co for $38 million per tonne, had a poor
Seed Co spokesperson Ms Marjorie Mutemererwa said yesterday the development
She, however, added that her company had compensated the farmers while they
were also investigating the issue.
One farmer, Cde David Matangi, said he had bought one tonne of the seed but
had not planted it yet owing to fuel problems.
Member of Parliament for Chipinge South Cde Enock Porusingazi said he had
received reports on the affected farmers.
"This is indeed a sad development. Though farmers have received compensation
for the seed, it is not adequate. Who will meet other costs like diesel for
tillage, water bills for irrigation, hired tillage power and herbicides?,"
Cde Porusingazi asked.
The head of the National Soyabean Technical Support Team, Professor Sheunesu
Mpepereki, said the poor germination of the seed was unfortunate.
He said while investigations were underway to establish circumstances
surrounding such an unfortunate setback, farmers should bear in mind that
poor germination could be caused by a number of factors.
Prof Mpepereki said there could have been an element of poor handling, wrong
planting depths, over wetting during inoculation with rhizobium as well as
low moisture levels during planting.
"A reputable seed supplier, Seed Co, was the source of the seed and it
should be made clear that it has for a long time been a committed supporter
of previous soyabean promotion efforts."
This year the Government launched a major national programme targeted at
growing 50 000 hectares of soyabean countrywide.
As the country's biggest seed supplier, Seed Co is a key stakeholder in the
Government initiative and has so far supplied over 90 percent of the total
requirement for the programme.
"Seed Co has supplied more than 5 000 tonnes of soyabean seed nationwide
with my team's full participation," Prof Mpepereki said.
He said the report pertaining to seven farmers in Middle Sabi is the first
since the onset of the planting season and it could be an isolated incident.
"The National Soyabean Technical Support Team, in consultation with Seed-Co
has been directly working with the affected farmers and some of the seven
farmers have since received replacement seed while investigations continue."
The Herald (Harare)
January 16, 2006
Posted to the web January 16, 2006
ZESA Holdings Ltd has so far secured US$800 million (Z$72 trillion) out of
its targeted US$2 billion (Z$180 trillion) for upgrading and extension of
Hwange and Kariba power projects. The programme is expected to be completed
in the next four years.
Company spokesperson Mr Obert Nyatanga said last Friday that Zesa had
obtained US$600 million for the Hwange Power Station expansion project.
The Hwange project will include coal mining, construction of transmission
substations and lines plus the installing of two generators with a capacity
300 megawatts (MW) each.
Some US$200 million has also been secured -- from offshore investors -- to
fund development and expansion of the Kariba South Power Station. Two
generators of 150MW each would be installed at the station.
"The project is already started with the undertaking of detailed geological
surveys at the coalfields and detailed designs of the Hwange Expansion
Project," Mr Nyatanga said.
"These activities will be completed in six to eight months so that the
expanded power station is commissioned on time in 2009."
Under its Investment Development Plan (2005-2010), Zesa plans to raise a
total of US$2 billion to finance the development of additional power sources
to augment current low production levels.
Expansion on these projects has also been undertaken to prepare Zimbabwe for
self-sustenance ahead of the anticipated power shortages to hit the region
Both the Hwange and Kariba stations have suffered, in recent years, from
frequent breakdowns on some of the power generators and Zesa's failure to
secure sufficient foreign currency to acquire critical spare parts for
The power projects would be developed in phases, said Mr Nyatanga,
particularly given that they are capital-intensive initiatives, and required
huge amounts of hard currency, which Zesa could face obstacles in obtaining,
not to mention repaying.
He said: "The security of supply is more enhanced on the supply and
distribution side after Zesa's receipt of distribution materials from China
in December, which materials are meant to reinforce and strengthen the
"The network was originally supposed to be funded by the World Bank under
Power II Project Finance. But the World Bank stopped funding the urban
distribution network in 1998."
Zesa's Development Plan also targets the following: Distribution projects
will chew US$247 million; varied transmission programmes US$709 million;
heavy engineering while power telecommunications will consume a combined
According to economic commentators Zimbabwe should fully exploit her vast
natural resources such as coal in the generation of power while at the same
time moving away from incurring unnecessary costs in electricity imports.
Zimbabwe, which imports 35 percent of its electricity requirements from
neighbouring countries, has the largest coal reserves in Africa outside
South Africa and the largest methane gas reserves in East and Southern
The two resources are capable of generating sufficient electricity for the
country leaving over 2000 megawatts for the export market.
The Lupane methane gas is a massive project, which has attracted
international attention with various investors from abroad keen to partake
in the project.
Zesa has been running in the red over the years due to a tight liquidity
position spawned by uneconomic tariffs.
By Lance Guma
16 January 2006
The Association of Zimbabwean Journalists in the United Kingdom
(AZJ-UK) has launched a website www.zimbabwejournalists.com
in a bid to bring together exiled journalists and other media
practitioners outside the country. The association, which has 40 experienced
journalists amongst it ranks, intends to help journalists in Zimbabwe expand
the shrinking democratic space in the country.
The website will provide an outlet for journalists home and abroad to
get their stories published. The government using repressive legislation has
shut down 4 newspapers and denied several media groups any broadcasting
licences. This the association believes has created a need for a more
diverse and vibrant mass media.
Former Daily News reporter and Co-ordinator for the project Sandra
Nyaira, told Newsreel they will seek to nurture media skills so badly needed
in Zimbabwe and continue the fight for press freedom back home. The AZJ-UK
intends to form alliances with the media in the UK and other parts of the
world while also supporting those of their members who have been affected by
repressive laws. This includes finding placements for journalists and
securing opportunities for further training.
The Association says it is independent of any political party and will
work together with fellow colleagues who are scattered around the globe and
have been rendered voiceless. Meanwhile the government using the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) has gazetted new
application and registration fees for journalists and mass media houses. A
Zimbabwean journalist working for a local media company will pay Z$250, 000
while a local journalist working for foreign media will pay an application
fee of US$ 50 plus an accreditation fee of US$ 1000.
Foreign journalists who need temporary accreditation now have to pay
an application fee of US$ 100 plus an accreditation fee of US$ 500.
Application for permission to operate a representative office for foreign
mass media service or news agency will cost US$ 2, 000 and a US$10,000 fee
for permission to operate. Observers say the move is intended to either
raise money for a cash-strapped government or discourage international media
from covering Zimbabwe.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
The newly elected MDC Harare Provincial Executive held its inaugural meeting today, Tuesday 10 January 2006!
The Executive noted that the current events since the October 12 National Council Meeting, hurt the Party so much that there was need for a rebuilding of the Party!
The department of Information and Publicity was tasked with developing a public relations programme to be discussed at the next meeting!
The priority of the committee will be to look at the crisis of service delivery within the Harare City Council. Noting in particular the sorry state the City is in, with particular emphasis on sanitation and recently the outbreak of cholera in some parts of the City! The Executive thus adopted a theme:-
‘No taxation without Representation’
Sub Committee to:-
The suggested programmes are:-
1)-Support vigorously the CHRA’s lobby for rates boycott as a way of sending a message to Chombo that his thuggish is unacceptable!
2)-To demand that the City produces an audited report for the past ten years
3)-Form strategic alliances with business for community based waste management and sanitation programmes
It was agreed that the humanitarian crisis created by Murambatsvina needed a robust response and the MDC needs to take a leadership on working with partners willing to support
The committee that the slogan of the MDC is CHINJA-MAITIRO and that of ‘ROVERA PASI’ is NOT in our values and violent, abusive and ZANU-PF slogan!
MDC Harare Provincial Information & Publicity Secretary