By Blessing Zulu
††††† 16 January 2006
The International Monetary Fund has opened an investigation into how
Zimbabwe raised the funds it used to pay down debt service arrears. News of
the probe comes as an IMF team prepares for Harare consultations starting
January 24 that will factor into IMF Executive Board deliberations in March
on Zimbabwe's membership status.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe hastily paid $120 million against around $295
million in debt service arrears last September with a similar board meeting
looming at which it was thought directors might recommend obligatory
withdrawal by Zimbabwe. Another $35 million was later paid, and the current
balance is $148 million, the RBZ says.
IMF Africa Department Deputy Director Siddharth Tiwari said the board
ordered the investigation into how Harare raised such large sums at a time
when it has not been able to provide its population with food and medicine.
Tiwari said Harare ofrficials will be called upon answer IMF questions in a
"transparent and open manner."
Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono has sought to dispel charges that his
institution raised the foreign currency by raiding private corporate and
individual accounts under its control, saying it drew on export-related
reserves and the proceeds of gold sales.
Reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe turned to Harare
independent economic analyst James Jowa for perspective on the matter.
January 17, 2006, 07:45
Zimbabwean police had launched a manhunt for Benjamin Paradza, a high court
judge, who was convicted of corruption last week, that country's Herald
newspaper reported today. Its website said indications were that the
fugitive judge skipped the country to London via South Africa soon after he
was convicted last week.
Police could not give details on this. Paradza, who was convicted of
corruption last Tuesday, was awaiting sentence when he jumped bail. Wayne
Bvudzijena, a police spokesman, appealed to anyone with information about
Paradza's whereabouts to come forward.
"We are currently looking for him and we have approached Interpol member
countries to be on the lookout for him should he enter into any of the
member countries," said Bvudzijena. "Certainly, we would appreciate any
information from members of the public about his whereabouts."
Warrant of arrest issued
Justice Simpson Mutambanengwe, who presided over Paradza's trial, issued a
warrant for his arrest after he failed to avail himself to court for
sentencing. The judge ordered that the warrant of arrest be immediately
faxed to all border posts and international airports in order to thwart his
Paradza was convicted on two counts of corruption after he incited two
fellow judges to release the passport of Russell Labuschagne, his business
partner in a safari-hunting venture. At the time Labuschagne was facing
murder charges at the Bulawayo High Court. Paradza (49) had been out on
bail, which was extended by Justice Mutambanengwe, pending sentence. - Sapa
Mail and Guardian
††††† Bafana Mpofu
††††† 16 January 2006 11:00
††††††††††† Writing in South African newspaper The Star this month, Basildon
Peta pointed out -- quite unnecessarily -- that Zimbabwe opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) vice-president Gibson Sibanda belongs to the
"minority Ndebele tribe" while disputed party president Morgan Tsvangirai
comes from "the main Shona tribal group".
††††††††††† Therein lies the riddle of Zimbabwean politics. While
Zimbabwe -- quite unlike many other countries in the region -- has
relatively few different ethnic groups, ethnicity has long dictated its
politics, both in the ruling party and in the opposition, at the expense of
rational policies and clear national concerns, such as sorting out the
economic mess Zanu-PF has created and establishing a truly democratic
system, which should be the national focus today.
††††††††††† Zanu-PF, the party that has held Zimbabwe captive since
independence from Britain in 1980, was born after the 1963 rebellion against
the Zimbabwe African People's Union (Zapu), the main party that was led by
the late Joshua Nkomo, who was President Robert Mugabe's second
vice-president at the time of his death.
††††††††††† While the split between Nkomo and Ndabaningi Sithole, who led
the rebellion, was over strategies to tackle the Ian Smith regime -- Nkomo
preferred giving dialogue more chance, while Sithole and others wanted to
engage in armed confrontation immediately -- the hostility that grew between
the two camps was eventually fuelled more by ethnic divisions and less by
the differences over approach. Besides his many weaknesses, Nkomo lost the
plot largely because of his ethnic background, as he too, to borrow from
Peta, belonged to the minority Ndebele tribe.
††††††††††† When independence loomed, it mattered very little to many
Zimbabwean voters what programme each of the two main parties -- Zanu-PF and
PF-Zapu -- championed. During the campaign for the 1980 general elections --†
and, indeed, subsequent elections up to this day -- trivial slogans such as
"Pasi naNkomo! [Down with Nkomo!]" and "Phansi loMgabe! [Down with Mugabe!]"
were more visible than visions for the new nation were. Tribe took
precedence, and hence many were only happy to rid themselves of their
colonial rulers and to get either Nkomo or Mugabe into power, depending on
their ethnic orientation.
††††††††††† Because of this lack of maturity among Zimbabwean voters, Mugabe
managed to retain the support he had gained at independence while he
continued to butcher Ndebele civilians in Matabeleland and the Midlands for
five years after independence -- under the pretext that Nkomo wanted to
start an insurrection -- while little real progress was taking place in the
country besides selective distribution of the wealth left by the Rhodesian
††††††††††† For many among the majority Shona voters, Mugabe was protecting
them from the disloyal Ndebeles, and it mattered little how he did it. And I
believe the same would have happened if roles were switched and the Ndebele
were in the majority and controlled state power.
††††††††††† Herein lies the predicament of the MDC. Many Zimbabweans, be
they supporters of the "pro-Senate group" or the "anti-Senate group", as the
divisions in the MDC are called now, are quite aware that MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai erred when he misrepresented his party's national council vote on
October 12. They know that it was Tsvangirai who ordered the attacks on
senior colleagues in his party in July, which precipitated the current
impasse, probably because he believed there was a plot to remove him.
††††††††††† They know too that Tsvangirai's principle of boycotting the
Senate, whether right or wrong, should have been a settled matter the moment
it was taken to a vote in the national council. But very few care. Even
journalists -- in a country where investigative journalism has become a
catchword -- have not explored these disturbing facts.
††††††††††† Civic society has not reacted any differently. Many civic
organisations and activists, including rights organisations and campaigners,
never raised a voice during the intraparty violence in the MDC, as this
would have compromised their relationships with either Tsvangirai or his
perceived enemies. Hitherto respected human rights organisations and
activists therefore opted to put their integrity on the block and portray
themselves as merely opposed to Zanu-PF, whose violent streaks they never
hesitate to condemn, rather than put their fingers in a boiling pot.
††††††††††† If Zimbabwe were a normal country and the MDC a normal party,
Tsvangirai would have come back to his colleagues and apologised for
undermining the authority of his own party, if only for the sake of
protecting the record of democracy and tolerance that the MDC has cherished
until the recent circus. If Tsvangirai did not apologise, all the members of
his national council -- the majority of whom approved the Senate elections
in the first place -- would have demanded that he be subjected to the
party's disciplinary procedures, as happened with former MDC MP Munyaradzi
Gwisai, who was hugely popular when the party expelled him for indiscipline.
††††††††††† In fact, it is a known fact that many of the senior MDC members
on either side of the Senate debate, including MDC chairperson Isaac
Matonga, who is Tsvangirai's right-hand man, wanted to contest for Upper
House seats before the dispute.
††††††††††† Even MDC MPs who participated in the March 2004 general
election, which Tsvangirai was reportedly opposed to initially, have taken
positions on the stalemate with scant regard to what is right or wrong. The
abusive language that characterises much of the debate between the MDC
antagonists over this issue is an example of the dearth of principles and
the lack of a clear vision about the future, not just in the opposition
party but also in Zimbabwe as a nation.
††††††††††† Like Mugabe after independence and even now, Tsvangirai knows
that his political survival has little to do with whether he does right or
abides by the authority of his party. He knew when he defied his party that,
ultimately, his tribe would play a big role in his political future, as the
long-held suspicions between Zimbabwe's two major ethnic groups would come
to the fore in the event of any dispute.
††††††††††† Similarly, Sibanda and his camp also calculated that while they
would lose a lot of support from most of the provinces in Zimbabwe,
regardless of whether they were right or wrong, they would retain
Matabeleland and part of the Midlands mainly on tribal sympathies and use
this as a lever to convince the rest of the party hierarchy to back them.
††††††††††† This attitude has been evident in the national response to a
disputed report in a Central Intelligence Organisation-controlled newspaper,
which accused Sibanda of calling for an independent Ndebele state, a topic
that always drives Zimbabweans into their tribal forts. Tsvangirai and his
colleagues jumped on to the bandwagon and accused the pro-Senate faction of
being secessionists and tribalists who were working with Zanu-PF. Even
Mugabe weighed in at his party's conference in December last year, warning
those wanting to split Zimbabwe that they would be dealt with -- the only
time that he and Tsvangirai had sung from the same book in a long time.
††††††††††† The problem with a political system that is deeply divided on
ethnic lines is that conspiracies are easy to conjure up, and politicians
and ordinary people alike refuse to engage their minds in serious debate,
opting to spend endless hours discussing phantoms.
††††††††††† Conspiracy culture
††††††††††† The culture of using conspiracies as a scapegoat when tackling
problems dates back to colonial administrations in this country. Rhodesian
government ministers believed accusing nationalists of being communists,
instead of addressing their problems, was enough to dismiss them, while soon
after independence Mugabe's ministers and apologists routinely accused Nkomo
of trying to start an insurrection with the help of the apartheid South
African government, and looked aside as he killed more than 20 000 civilians
on the basis of that, instead of owning up to the glaring fact that
Zanu-PF's blind desire for a one-party state had plunged the nation into a
††††††††††† Few Zimbabwean opinion leaders have tried to consider the merits
of the row that has all but destroyed the MDC. Some, including progressive
intellectuals, have even openly said there is nothing wrong with Tsvangirai
dictating in the party, and have disregarded the danger that failing to rein
him in now may turn him into another Mugabe in the unlikely event that he
becomes Zimbabwe's next president. On the other hand, supporters of the
pro-Senate faction have also not taken time to ask themselves if there is
anything to gain in risking the existence of the party to a project that is
clearly designed for Zanu-PF's succession programme.
††††††††††† It is this lack of rational judgement that has long been the
enemy of Zimbabwean politics. Anyone who points out a wrong is given a name,
and hanged on the basis of his tribe. And this lack of maturity is never
more evident than in the fact that 26 years after independence, every
Zimbabwean knows that no one can be president unless he is from the dominant
Shona group. This is the strength that Tsvangirai thinks he has, and the
weakness that Mugabe has exploited since 1980.
††††††††††† If Zimbabweans don't change their attitudes and start using
their heads and not their hearts to make political decisions, we should be
deeply concerned about the future, and should forget about making our
leaders realise that no democracy can be established without accountability.
Perhaps we should take heart in the few moderates in each of the MDC camps
who have adopted their positions on the basis of their principles, without
regard to ethnic orientation.
††††††††††† Tuesday, January 17 2006 @ 12:05 AM GMT
††††††††††† Contributed by: makushalondon
††††††††††† By Makusha Mugabe
††††††††††† The opposition Movement for Democratic Change MP for Matobo,
Lovemore Moyo, was at the weekend elected the new chairman of Matabeleland
South province of the MDC, bringing the party to near-completition of its
requirements for holding the national congress.
††††††††††† Meanwhile Welshman Ncube's faction, which assembled anyone who
was willing in Harare and declared them provincial chairpersons, after
reportedly also paying their bus fairs, is said to be making ovetures for
reuniting the party which split three months ago. In a rather late and
anti-climactic breaking of his silence since the split, Ncube was reported
on Newzimbabwe.com saying that people were begging him to reunite for the
sake of removing Mugabe's Zanu (PF) government.
††††††††††† Morgan Tsvangirai, who insists that his is not a faction, but
the actual MDC, was not shaken by the rebellion by his secretary general and
vice-president and continued with the rebuilding of structures which is
coming to a conclusion.
††††††††††† An MDC spokesman said Moyo was elected at a provincial congress
in Gwanda on Sunday, with delegates from Beitbridge, Mangwe, Bulilima,
Matobo, Insiza and Umzingwane attending.
††††††††††† Moyo replaced Moses Mzila Ndlovu, the previous chairman, who has
defected to the pro-Senate splinter group, sometimes refered to as the money
faction for the monies that its leaders were reportedly paid to destabilise
††††††††††† Moyo shall be deputised by Themba Ndlovu, a founder member of
the MDC and a veteran trade unionist from Plumtree.
††††††††††† Tsvangirai himself and Lucia Matibenga, chairperson of the MDC
women's assembly were in Matebeleland for the elections and were joined by
the leader of the largest civic organisation in Zimbabwe, the National
Constitutional Assembly, Dr Lovemore Madhuku, who was observing MDC
democracy at local elections in Bulawayo.
††††††††††† The Bulawayo provincial congress elected Mrs Mloyi as the new
chairperson of the MDC. She is deputised by a veteran city councillor and
political activist Matson Hlalo. The MDC spokesman said this meant that the
"real MDC" was 95 percent ready for congress.
††††††††††† Tuesday, January 17 2006 @ 12:04 AM GMT
††††††††††† Contributed by: correspondent
††††††††††† The opposition Movement for Democratic Change won the Zvishavane
council election weekend with the ruling party winning the other three
elections in Chitungwiza Ward 1 , 2 and Kariba ward 6. The opposition MDC
immediately blasted the ruling party's win as a "pyrrhic victory" that
clearly showed the people's lack of trust and confidence in the Zanu PF
regime. The anti-senate faction won in Zvishavane while the pro-senate
faction lost in all the constituencies.
††††††††††† In Chitungwiza, Kariba and Zvishavane the poll was characterised
by massive voter apathy with a handful of people turning out to cast their
vote. "The bold statement coming from Zimbabweans is that they not
interested in being led up the garden path by the dictatorship through
ritualistic electoral processes," MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said
yesterday. "The apathy by voters in the weekend urban council elections is
located in the context of Chombo's predatory tendencies towards the MDC's
popularly elected executive mayors and councillors."
††††††††††† Chombo has hounded out four MDC mayors so far, a move that
Chamisa blames for the low turnout.
††††††††††† "People are no longer keen to indulge in a process that
continues to be bastardized by Ignatius Chombo," Chamisa said. The MDC won
in Zvishavane but the opposition charged that "until we have a truly free
and fair electoral process bereft of landmines planted by Zanu PF on the
electoral route, the polls alone will not deliver a new Zimbabwe."
††††††††††† Chamisa said the opposition's victory in Zvishavane only proves
the MDC's strength and appeal to Zimbabweans even under extraordinary
circumstances of electoral fraud and uneven political playing field.
††††††††††† "The victory shows that in circumstances of free and fair
elections, Zanu PF is a dead and buried project," the firebrabd MDC
spokesman said. "The MDC remains the only hope for the majority of
Zimbabweans across the spectrum. There can never be any prospect of a new
Zimbabwe and a new beginning under the present disabled electoral
dispensation. We remain committed to a political process of people power
that will give birth to a credible and legitimate electoral management
††††††††††† Chamisa said his party was calling on all progressive forces in
the country to join hands and push for free and fair elections under a new
Constitution to usher in a new Zimbabwe and a new beginning.
16/01/2006 15:11† - (SA)
Harare - Zimbabwe will ban leaded petrol from March in line with a regional
agreement to phase out the fuel this year, a spokesperson for the energy
ministry told AFP on Monday.
Justin Mupamhanga, secretary in the energy ministry, said: "We have set the
end of March as the deadline for using unleaded fuel as this is in line with
other countries in the region.
"Zimbabwe and Malawi import their fuel through either Mozambique and South
Africa. Our counterparts from Mozambique have indicated they will stop using
leaded petrol by March, so Zimbabwe also has moved in tandem ..."
The phasing out of leaded fuel is in line with pledges made at the World
Summit on Sustainable Development held in Johannesburg in August 2002.
At the summit, 49 Sub-Saharan African countries pledged to stop using leaded
fuel by January 1 2006.
Zimbabwe has been hit by a chronic shortage of fuel over the past four
years, due mainly to a lack of foreign currency.
Fuel prices have been fixed by the government at rates importers say are
unrealistically low. Many private companies and individuals now import their
own fuel at prices far higher than the official rate.
But public services which rely upon cheaper National Oil Company of Zimbabwe
fuel have been hard hit by the current crisis.
Zimbabwe, which is facing a crippling fuel shortage, in September upped
petrol and diesel prices by more than 100 percent that the government said
was needed to keep up with the hike in international prices.
Petrol prices zoomed from Z$10 000 per litre (0.12 US dollar) to Z$22 300,
while diesel shot up from Z$9 600 to Z$20 800(0.26 US$).
††††† Posted: 2006-01-16 23:57
†††††††††††††††††† Presenter: Lindsay Williams† Guest(s): Tshepo
††††††††††† Civil aviation in Africa is a hot topic, with concerns being
raised about safety that could impact tourism. Naming unsafe destinations,
grounding aircraft, and funding airlines to buy newer equipment are
suggested as the solution. With Tshepo Pege, president of the African Civil
Aviation Commission (AFCAC)
††††††††††† LINDSAY WILLIAMS: Tshepo, how bad is the situation in Africa
with civil aviation safety?
††††††††††† TSHEPO PEGE: It's pretty bad. These accidents, with aeroplanes
falling out of the skies, has brought it upon AFCAC and the African Union
(AU) to move very drastically to prevent these things from ever happening
again. We have a lot of aeroplanes flying to our continent, and if you look
at the maintenance data of these aeroplanes it's very questionable - some of
the civil aviation authorities do not have the capacity or the ability to
audit these aeroplanes. We are calling for empowerment of these civil
aviation authorities, to be able to ground an aircraft if it's not
airworthy - because any aeroplane that is in the sky and is not airworthy is
not an aeroplane, it's a flying coffin!
††††††††††† LINDSAY WILLIAMS: Yes, for sure.
††††††††††† TSHEPO PEGE: We want to prevent these things from happening.
††††††††††† LINDSAY WILLIAMS: At the moment you're saying you don't have the
authority to go to an airline and say: "This Boeing 737 that was built in
1981 hasn't been maintained for two years - therefore it's not going to fly"?
††††††††††† TSHEPO PEGE: The civil aviation authorities have it in
themselves to say if an aeroplane is not airworthy, that it needs to be
grounded. They issue the operating permit - if the civil aviation authority
is uncomfortable about a particular aircraft not being airworthy, it's
within their mandate to ground it.
††††††††††† LINDSAY WILLIAMS: It's also a situation to do with economics -
the airline industry is going through tough times. There is increased
competition from low-cost carriers, the oil price is at all-time record
highs - when you get a situation that compounds that situation like for
example in Zimbabwe where the country is going through economic turmoil, it
really does make it very difficult for the aviation authority there to
ground aircraft - they need that aircraft in order to keep the economy.
††††††††††† TSHEPO PEGE: The thing is that an unsafe aeroplane is bad for
business, it's bad for the people - so there are no short cuts. An aeroplane
has to be airworthy to be able to stay in the sky. I do understand that in
some countries there are financial implications - where people believe they
can buy cheap aeroplanes to make a quick buck. A cheap - or rather a very
old aeroplane - is a fuel guzzler, so the operational costs are quite high,
and the safety implications are quite high. A lot of people won't fly in
that aeroplane - nobody wants to fly as a passenger to come back as cargo.
††††††††††† LINDSAY WILLIAMS: Nicely put! What about the situation with
certain types of aircraft - for example Russian aircraft that are not
allowed to fly over European airspace? If you land at Johannesburg
International Airport as you taxi along you can see these aircraft parked
††††††††††† TSHEPO PEGE: That's why I'm saying that the civil aviation
authorities in all these countries in Africa need to be empowered. That's
why we are engaging with the top levels of governments - to be able,
whenever a civil aviation inspector, or an auditor sees that an aeroplane is
not airworthy - they can from a technical point of view ground that aircraft
without any harassment, without any intimidation.
††††††††††† LINDSAY WILLIAMS: On the positive side of things South African
Airways, Comair, Nationwide, Kulula, 1Time all have an impeccable record in
††††††††††† TSHEPO PEGE: Yes, absolutely.
††††††††††† LINDSAY WILLIAMS: So the South African airline industry is
streets ahead of the rest of Africa - would you say that?
††††††††††† TSHEPO PEGE: That's why we tell people that to say African skies
are unsafe is a bit unfair - certain countries have maintained safety
standards. South Africa is one, and Ethiopia, Kenya and Morocco have
maintained a certain level of safety - so it is really not fair to blanket
it saying that African skies are unsafe. This is why we have taken this
rigorous initiative - to be able to isolate those countries where whose
safety standards are questionable.
††††† Officers opt for crime
††††† January 17, 2006
††††† By Basildon Peta
††††† The Zimbabwean army and police service have been hit by huge
desertions of exasperated junior and middle-ranking officers, some of whom
are turning to crime for survival.
††††† Runaway inflation of 585% has meant the buying power of many
Zimbabweans, including poorly paid junior and army officers, has been
severely eroded. But unlike the rest of the civil service, where people can
easily quit their jobs and jump borders to seek greener pastures in regional
countries, it is much harder to resign from the army and police. It is
authoritatively understood that at least 2 176 junior army officers have
submitted their letters of resignation from the Zimbabwe National Army in
the past 12 weeks, while 719 junior officers handed in their letters of
resignation from the police in the same period.
††††† The army employs 33 000 soldiers, while the Zimbabwe Republic Police
is about 20 000-strong. A junior army officer, who preferred to be
identified only as Amos, said he had deserted his job with Two Brigade
battalion six months after submitting his letter of resignation, having
initially received no response.
††††† "They called me and grilled me on why I was leaving . . . They accused
me of wanting to quit national service to work with enemies of Zimbabwe . .
. They even insinuated I was going to join the British army, which was all
nonsense," Amos said en route to joining relatives in the United Kingdom. He
related a series of problems in the army that made working unbearable. There
were serious shortages of food, transport and equipment in the barracks
apart from "starvation wages". At one stage, soldiers were asked to bring
their own food from home to certain barracks because of shortages.
††††† But with many of the junior soldiers and police officers earning about
three million Zimbabwe dollars - R200 at the more realistic parallel market
exchange rate - and unable to provide for their families, this was a tall
order. Amos said morale had never been so low in the Zimbabwe army and
police. The opposite was the case with senior members of the army and
police, whom he said were well looked after and regularly diverted scarce
army resources for private use on huge tracts of land they had been
††††† Sources in the army and police said commanders were sitting on at
least 2 176 resignation requests from the army and 719 from police submitted
in the past three months. Efforts to get official comment failed as calls to
army and police spokesmen were not returned.
January 17, 2006
We round up what has happened inside Zimbabwe since the government's
decision to effectively take charge of Zimbabwe Cricket
Saturday, January 7
Zimbabwe's striking players meet to discuss the move by the government and
decide to return to work in a bid to resolve their differences with the
board. They give the new board until the end of the month to pay money owed
to them and to agree to new contracts.
Sunday, January 8
It is reported that Andy Blignaut, who a month ago was being touted as a
possible candidate to replace Tatenda Taibu as Zimbabe captain, has returned
to play in South Africa and will not be available for Zimbabwe again.
Monday, January 9
A source close to the crisis tells Cricinfo: "I think ICC ought to take
stern measures against the extreme level of racism in Zimbabwe. Clearly, can
they can't just ignore that racial cleansing of the Zimbabwe board by Zanu
PF." The ICC issues a statement warning Zimbabwe that they have to field
their best side and warns that the appointment of the new board is not the
solution. But it again stops short of taking any action. The former ZC
chairman, tells the Daily Telegraph: ""They [the players] have gone back on
their word that they would not serve under Chingoka. They have left Taibu in
Tuesday, January 10
One player tells a Cricinfo source that there is "no way many of us will
play for Zanu PF". Divides begin to appear among the players in the light of
reported criticism of their decision, with some clearly unhappy with
returning to play under the new regime. Some hint that they will only
actually resume playing when they are paid, others that they are on the
verge of retiring.
Wednesday, January 11
Sources state that Charlie Roberston, Zimbabwe's most experienced
administrator and a man who has done more than almost anyone to keep
Zimbabwe cricket running smoothly, will stop cutting grass at Chegutu and
Gweru grounds - he has maintained them both for years. Other club officials
are said to be considering similar action. And it emerges that the grass at
Queens Sports Club and Bulawayo Athletic Club has not been cut for months
and "the two pitches resemble a bush." The Queens Sports Club is the
country's No. 2 venue.
Thursday, January 12
News emerges that Zimbabwe Cricket Matatebaland offices at Queens Sports
Club have had their phone lines cut off due to failure to pay the bills. The
main Zimbabwe Cricket offices in Harare remain closed as officially staff
are on their Christmas break until January 16.
Friday, January 13
Peter Chingoka meets with Malcolm Speed and Ehsan Mani to discuss the
Zimbabwe crisis as the ICC Full Members get together in Karachi. The
conversation remains private, but the ICC does issue a statement repearing
the assertion that no-one should see the appointment of the interim board as
the solution. The ICC has no response to questions on the meeting put to it
Saturday, January 14
A report in the Independent suggests that the players who are supposed to
have ended their strike do not intend to play again. "There is no way
players will ever play afterwards under this set-up," said a source. "They
just want their money. Whether ZC will pay or not, they have already made up
their minds. The guys don't feel for a second that the dispute would have
been resolved by then, but the feeling is that this is a better way of
keeping the pressure on than just walking away."
By Taurai Hove
Last updated: 01/17/2006 10:22:58
IN what could be a silver lining for Zimbabwean asylum seekers in the UK, at
least 47 Parliamentarians from the all parties in the House of Commons have
so far signed up to a petition calling on the government to give them a
right to work while their claims are being processed by the Home Office.
The Refugee Council, in a bid to end destitution for asylum is this winter
lobbying the government to allow those who can to work, as their
ineligibility for state benefits has rendered many destitute.
The move comes as the British government launched a scheme to pay failed
asylum seekers up to £3000 if they agreed to return to their home countries.
Zimbabwean human rights activists doubt if there will be many takers for the
Sarah Harland, an activist dealing with Zimbabwean refugees at the Zimbabwe
Association, told SW Radio Africa last night that the offer was directed at
a number of different nationalities. She said genuine asylum seekers who
already suffered torture or abuse in Zimbabwe might not be persuaded to
return because "no amount of money can guarantee safety".
But those who came to the UK for less serious reasons, she said, 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.
Tens of asylum seekers awaiting deportation have been wallowing in detention
centres with some resorting to hunger strikes and committing suicide as they
fear the dreaded trip home.
The United Network for Detained Zimbabweans said the list of MPs signing up
to the Early Day Motion to enable Zimbabweans to gain employment legally was
growing and more MPs were needed to sign.
Noble Sibanda, the chairman of UNDZ has urged asylum seekers in limbo to
visit their local MPs and ask them to sign as he could not contact every
member of the House.
"It is every MP's job to listen to people from their constituency, this is
why someone like me living in South London cannot phone an MP in Liverpool,
Luton, Manchester and ask them to sign up as I do not have the privilege,
unless I reside in that constituency," he said.
An Asylum and Immigration Tribunal ruled in October that it was not safe to
return failed asylum seekers back to Zimbabwe. As a result, many Zimbabwean
asylum seekers, fleeing from Robert Mugabe's authoritarian rule have been
left in limbo, unable to access support from the government, unable to work,
but with no prospect of returning home.
The petition raises concern that those Zimbabweans refused asylum in the UK
cannot be returned home because of conditions prevailing in that country. It
calls on the Home Secretary to grant them the right to work so they can
support themselves financially and make a contribution to society during
their time in the UK while developing their professional and technical
skills in order to contribute to the rebuilding of Zimbabwe once political
change renders it safe for them to return
Sibanda, however, said the six month pilot scheme launched by the Ministry
of Immigration, Citizenship and Nationality last week is a new drive by the
Home Office to encourage asylum seekers to return to their countries could
see them face further persecution.
"This scheme has received wide media coverage and the Zimbabwean government
has read about it, to an extent that they will take the necessary procedures
in-order to prosecute us."
Tony McNulty, the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Nationality
said, Voluntary Assisted Return and Reintegration Programme (VARRP) run by
the International Organisation for Migration provides all returnees with
reintegration assistance to the value of £1,000. This assistance is provided
This means that returnees are not provided with cash grants but are given
help with starting up a small business, vocational training or education.
All those who leave the UK under this scheme will be offered an additional
£2,000 which they can choose to take as either additional re-integration
assistance or cash grants.
International Organisation for Migration said recipients of the enhanced
package will receive £500 in cash at the airport as a relocation grant but
any further cash would be phased over a period of a year. However, the
amount of cash an individual received would be decided between individual
returnees and IOM field officers. The IOM said that "under no circumstances
will a cash lump sum be given."
The government project that the scheme which costs £3,000 per person will
save money in the long term as average cost of a forced deportation is
around £11,000 per person.
The pilot scheme will also be evaluated to see if an increased reintegration
assistance gives a further incentive to rejected asylum seekers to return
and whether it results in asylum seekers withdrawing any outstanding asylum
applications or appeals.
††††††††††† Tuesday, January 17 2006 @ 12:03 AM GMT
††††††††††† Contributed by: Reporter
††††††††††† More than 250 civic society delegates converged in Bulawayo on
Saturday in a provincial follow up meeting to the September 17 2005 'All
stakeholders conference that was held in Harare'. Gorden Moyo, director of
the Bulawayo Agenda said the meeting was the genesis of a nationwide crusade
in mobilising support to effect change in Zimbabwe.
††††††††††† " We believe that as the civic society, we have a role to play
in fostering change in Zimbabwe", said Moyo
††††††††††† Moyo gave an example of African countries such as South Africa
where the United Democratic Front fronted the resistance to apartheid, in
Zambia where the Oasis Forum led the demonstration against Frederick Chiluba
from contesting a third presidential term. Moyo emphasised that the civic
society has a major part to play in Zimbabwe against the background of
divisions in the opposition MDC.
††††††††††† " As much as we appreciate the role played by opposition
parties, we realise that they are preoccupied by unnecessary bickering,
which is retrogressive", exclaimed Moyo.
††††††††††† The meeting was attended by delegates from organisations such as
Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA), Zimbabwe Lawyers For Human Rights (ZLFHR),
Bulawayo Agenda, NCA, ZINASU, ZCTU and the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition.
††††††††††† The groups agreed to prioritise the fight for the supremacy in
constitutional change. They also hinted that after mobilising support from
the people, mass demonstrations are the only option left.
From: Bruce Fletcher - email@example.com
Raising Money for Zimbabwean Old Age Pensioners
Black Tie Reception
Saturday 28th January 2006
Kensington Town Hall, Hornton Street, W8 7NX
Special Guest : Springbok Flanker Andre Vos
7pm - 2am
Cash bar and nibbles.
Live† band 'The Heard' will be Rocking for the Rockers for 2 hours DJ
All proceeds to Z.A.N.E† -† Zimbabwe A National Emergency.† (Registered
Charity No:† 271133)† http://www.zane-zimbabweanationalemergency.com/
All tickets to be pre-sold through Z.A.N.E. Contact Linda Ford : 01708
855113 or firstname.lastname@example.org