|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
Tim Butcher in Mwansambo reports on the
link between corruption and
reports of a natural disaster
one died of starvation in Mwansambo yesterday. Nor did anyone
during the southern African "famine" that ended last year.
"People here are very hungry and some of the villagers have fainted
through lack of food," said Esther Mwansambo, deputy chief of the Malawian
"But no one died here from starvation - I heard someone died in a
village a little further on but I don't know their name and I don't know
Around her was ample proof of how wretched life can be in Malawi. But
evidence of real starvation? None.
A few scrawny chickens pecked around chased by snotty-nosed children
wearing dirty, torn clothes and watched by a group of young mothers
breast-feeding their babies.
Mrs Mwansambo's weather-beaten feet were crammed into a pair of cheap
moulded plastic shoes and, while speaking, she struggled to maintain a
chiefly air because she was missing four front teeth.
Outside the village, the tops of the maize plants had begun to show in
the fields. The plants looked thin but with heavy rain clouds in the area
they at least had a chance of producing a crop.
"Last year was bad because we had no rain and then worms came and ate
all our maize plants," she said. "We could go a day or two days without food
but if things got really bad we could work at the local mill and be paid in
the husks from the milling which we could eat."
It is a story to be heard all over southern Africa since the
announcement in early 2002 by the World Food Programme - the United Nations'
largest relief agency - of a food crisis. The announcement started a rush by
journalists to capture the defining image of the calamity, a picture to
match those from Ethiopia in the mid-1980s.
The BBC filed a dramatic report from southern Angola but it turned out
to be a somewhat exaggerated; others went to the Zambian shore of Lake
Kariba where villagers were incorrectly rumoured to be surviving on tree
bark; in Malawi 300 were said to have died but no-one could find the bodies.
Two things soon became clear: first, while there was immense
suffering, there was no Ethiopian-scale famine and, second, this did not
stop the aid agencies from beating the drum for more money.
Poor rains made a bad situation worse, but it seemed as if the
agencies were perversely grateful.
It is tricky to persuade donors to give to corrupt regimes, and a
natural disaster - such as drought - allows fundraisers to focus on the bad
luck that befalls Africa, not the misery inflicted by its leaders.
The truth about the food shortage in southern Africa is that while
poor rains made it worse, the root cause was essentially government-made.
In Malawi the grain reserve, a 60,000 ton supply to feed the entire
country for months if the harvest fails, was found to be empty.
Corrupt officials had sold it to Kenya. Exactly where the money went
to has yet to be established and the government of President Bakili Maluzi
has done nothing to find out.
In Angola food shortages had more to do with 30 years of war between
the government and Jonas Savimbi's Unita. The suffering found by aid workers
was the result of war, not natural disaster.
And in Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe's destruction of a viable, efficient
economy based on commercial farming was the cause of food shortages for
But for the aid community the southern Africa famine of 2002-03 is
likely to have a damaging long-term effect: donors are unlikely to respond
to future appeals without much more convincing evidence.
From ZWNEWS, 17 January
Vote Zanu PF, or lose your house
From our own correspondent
Zanu PF is now threatening to seize houses owned by suspected opposition
supporters. Residents of the New Magada area of Epworth near Harare were
threatened with homelessness at a meeting last weekend. A delegation from
Zanu PF's Harare province, lead by a Comrade Kudhinga, warned that houses
would be seized, and given to Zanu PF supporters. "We will simply instruct
the Epworth Local Board to remove you from their housing register, and that
will be it," Kudhinga threatened residents who were forced to attend the
meeting. "We can do anything we want here in Epworth. We can kill, and the
police will not arrest us," he added. Youths in the area were also rounded
up for a separate meeting, where their names were taken. The youths were
told that minister Elliot Manyika would soon visit to address them. Manyika
heads the ministry of gender and youth development, which controls the
Border Gezi training centre, at which the notorious "Green Bomber" youth
militia are trained, raising fears that the youth would be dragooned into
the bands of Zanu PF thugs.
Those at the meeting were also
subjected to a vitriolic attack on the
Catholic Church. "We know that the Roman Catholics are aligned to the MDC
and are sponsored by the British, we also know why they are giving you food.
You may continue to go there if you want but we will deal with them," a
local woman Zanu PF activist told the meeting. The church was accused, on no
evidence, of politicising food aid distribution in the area. Epworth is an
impoverished area on the eastern outskirts of Harare, where many people have
built small brick houses and dagga huts. Epworth has little or no sanitary,
water or electrical facilities. A number of opposition supporters were
assaulted and some murdered in the constituency prior to the 2000
parliamentary elections, which was won by Tapiwa Mashakada of the MDC by a
large majority. This latest threat of violence is thought to be the start of
Zanu PF campaigning for the next round of parliamentary elections, expected
in 2005 or sooner. The residents have been ordered to attend another meeting
on the 24th January.
From: "Trudy Stevenson"
Sent: Sunday, January 18, 2004 12:56 PM
Subject: Fw: Resolutions of the MDC Second Annual Conference
In view of the
fact that many people were away over Christmas, I am sending
out our Conference Resolutions now - Resolutions for this New Year 2004.
RESOLUTIONS OF THE MDC SECOND ANNUAL CONFERENCE - December 2003
Delegates to the Second National Conference of the Movement for Democratic
Change in Harare on the 20th and 21st December 2003
· The continuing struggle of the Zimbabwean people for economic, social and
political justice and freedom;
· The continuing political, economic and social crisis in the country, with
deepening poverty, collapse of production, widening inequalities, including
gender inequality and the enrichment of a tiny minority at the nation's
· The incomplete, chaotic and distorted process of land reform, and the
abandonment of those resettled on land without production inputs and
· A social and humanitarian crisis of overwhelming proportions;
· The closing of democratic space, abuse of political rights, international
isolation, halt to the people driven constitution and the deep crisis of
governance and legitimacy;
· The thousands of reported cases in 2003 of violence, rape, abduction;
· Displacement, destruction of property, unlawful arrests, politically
motivated arrests and denial of access to food perpetrated against the
· Our core values of solidarity, justice, freedom, democracy, emphatic
leadership, equity and equality; drawn from traditional society, from the
liberation struggle, from the National Working People's Convention in 1999
and the policies adopted at the
MDC's first congress in 2000;
· Our goal to build inclusive and sustainable development in Zimbabwe based
on substantive participatory democracy, on achieving economic, social and
political justice, through a new people driven constitution, the rule of law
and accountable and
· Our electoral victories, despite extremely difficult circumstances and our
role in governing all the major urban centres;
· The increasing awareness in Africa and internationally of the real
conditions in decay of national institutions and assets
Resolve to intensify our struggle to fulfill the national agenda for change,
and accordingly to
· Bring about free and fair elections through which the people can elect a
legitimate government of their own choice;
· Bring about changes to the current constitution through a transitional
constitution that guarantees an electoral regime which creates electoral
conditions that are transparent, fair and just for the people to elect a
government of their choice, which government will complete the process of a
people driven constitutional reform;
· Advance people's empowerment, confront oppression and promote democratic
change through organized non violent democratic resistance and mass action;
· Strengthen and consolidate nationally a broad alliance for progress
towards democracy based on shared values and goals to engage the regime with
unity of purpose on a common platform;
· Carry out inter-party engagement for the purpose of creating the necessary
conditions for free and fair elections;
· Reject any arrangements, in particular a government of national unity,
that do not achieve a resolution of the crisis through the sovereign wishes
of the people through a free and fair election;
· Continue to engage African and other political leaders and communities and
multilateral institutions for elections that reflect the will of people;
Call on the current regime to
· Restore freedoms of association, assembly, movement, and expression, end
political violence, reverse and repeal repressive legislation such as the
Public Order and Security Act (POSA) and Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) that determine these freedoms; restore the
police to a professional, non partisan role that restores the rule of law
for all and to end politically motivated prosecutions and coercion;
· Stop the use of food as a political weapon and to take measures to ensure
national food security;
· Disband the youth militias;
· Restore a public media that serves and gives voice to Zimbabweans of
different political persuasions and a media environment that guarantees
press freedom, protects against the harassment of the independent media and
journalists and promotes public information rights;
· Adhere to the principles of the October 1991 Commonwealth Harare
Declaration to pave way for Zimbabwe's re-admission into the Commonwealth.
And further call on
· Southern African Development Community (SADC), African and international
governments and communities to show solidarity with Zimbabwean people and to
continue to support efforts nationally and within multilateral frameworks to
end the suffering of the people and restore their freedoms and electoral
· Economic transformation towards overcoming poverty and exclusion and
towards sustained equitable growth and economic justice;
· A process that does not go back to the pre 2000 land distribution nor
maintains the current chaos, but that brings Zimbabwe's land crisis to end
through a democratic and participatory process that achieves equitable,
transparent, just, lawful and economically efficient distribution and use of
· Affordable and equitable access to services to secure satisfaction of
social rights to health, education, housing, pensions, water, sanitation,
transport and energy for all rural and urban areas;
· Representative, participatory modes of governance, based on the rule of
law and constitutional freedoms and securities, with clear role models in
the local government areas now under MDC political leadership;
· The restoration of judicial independence and the rebuilding of confidence
in the rule of law and in the
mechanisms for its enforcement;
· A system of truth, justice and reconciliation that enables national
And resolve accordingly to
· Further strengthen the MDC to achieve its goals, to refuse to be subdued
and to fearlessly spread the message and vision of change across every
household in the country;
· Consolidate and empower the party to grassroots levels through taking all
party campaigns and information to all levels of the party, including party
training, policy debate and understanding and voter and citizen education;
· Create conditions and direct resources to create equal opportunities for
women within party and national structures, including through an electoral
candidate selection process that facilitates women being fairly elected, and
through targets of at least
a third of elected officials in all structures being women;
· Empower youth and ensure resources for their programmes;
· Strengthen the actions of leadership and membership based on commitment,
unity of purpose, loyalty to principles and accountability for finances and
for delivery on mandated programmes;
· Ensure readiness for party structures, leaders and cadres for
mobilization, action, for elections and for government;
· Assist party cadres who have been victims of violence and abuse within the
means of the party and actively fundraise to widen support;
· Allocate resources within the party fairly and transparently in line with
· Review the candidate selection process for elections within the party, and
for local and national government to ensure transparency, gender conscious
and democratic selection;
· Review party membership costs to strengthen the mobilization and use of
resources to meet these challenges;
· Engage governments and communities in the Southern African Development
Community, in the rest of Africa and elsewhere in the world in order to
realize our shared principles and values
· Adhere to and uphold the party values of solidarity, justice, freedom,
democracy, empathic leadership, equity and equality.
From The Tablet (UK), 17 January
Ncube urges Mugabe to retire
President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe
"should be stepping down now", according
to his most prominent church critic. Speaking to The Tablet on 13 January
from Harare, Archbishop Pius Ncube of Bulawayo described the current
situation in Zimbabwe for ordinary people as "heartbreaking", with inflation
running at 1,200 per cent and the deaths of at least 10,000 people from
malnutrition over the past year. Archbishop Ncube said he deplored the news
that Mugabe commandeered an Air Zimbabwe plane for business and an extended
January holiday in the Far East. The dictator later ordered journalists who
reported that passengers had been stranded to be arrested. Three staff of
the Zimbabwe Independent newspaper were released on bail last Monday. The
affair "shows that Mugabe is heartless and not at all ashamed of the
situation his people are in", the archbishop commented. Many more people
would have died of hunger and related illnesses in 2003 were it not for the
emergency food provided by the UN's World Food Programme and aid agencies,
Archbishop Ncube said. He spoke of country-wide deprivation and desperation,
social breakdown and crime becoming widespread, with many church compounds
reporting thefts of food, clothing from washing lines, public address
systems and even lavatory seats. "People can't travel because of fuel prices
and many children are being taken out of school this year - including
Catholic schools - because families cannot afford the fees," he said.
Drought had exacerbated the situation. "The lack of rain has been disastrous
in recent months," he added. "Crops that should have been planted two months
ago are only going in now."
At the end of December, the
Solidarity Peace Trust, of which Archbishop
Ncube is chairman, added its voice to other groups which criticised Southern
African Development Community (SADC) leaders for failing to condemn Mugabe's
violation of human rights and democratic principles. In the foreword of a
31-page report, Bishop Kevin Dowling of Rustenburg, South Africa, a trustee,
described it as "shameful" that SADC politicians had turned a blind eye to
state violence and the suffering of millions of ordinary Zimbabwean
citizens. "President Mugabe and his supporters have systematically engaged
in human rights abuses of the very worst kind in order to retain political
power," said Bishop Dowling. "What is truly iniquitous is the way the 'land
issue' and ideological red herrings such as 'standing up against Western
imperialism' have been used by African leaders to mask the real question,"
he added. The ecumenical trust, formed last April, comprises four bishops
from Zimbabwe and two from South Africa. Over the past nine months it had
exposed the widespread use of torture in Zimbabwe by the ruling Zanu-PF
Party and the growth of youth militia camps where young people were trained
to use weapons and torture against Mugabe opponents.
A Jesuit priest based in Bulawayo who was arrested and
forced to spend the
night of 2 January in one of the city's jails has described what happened.
Fr Nigel Johnson had been filming a local youth music group performing at a
shopping centre earlier in the day when "a junior policeman attempted with
drunken accomplices to steal my car and camera, and then, when they failed,
arrested me," he told The Tablet. After lengthy interrogation, he was locked
up overnight, "where I was written down in the book for miscellaneous
offences and homicide". Senior officers ordered him to be released the
following morning without charge, "and apologised very nicely". Fr Johnson
is still deciding whether or not to pursue the matter. "I'm not sure it's
worth it in the present situation," he said, adding that the arrest was
indicative of the "general lawlessness and corruption" in the country.
From The Sunday Times (SA), 18 January
Hell in the cells of Harare Central
Along with two of his colleagues, journalist Dumisani Muleya
and jailed in Zimbabwe for the 'blasphemous' act of criticising Mugabe.
I was still sleeping off the previous evening's excesses when
call came. A friend was on the line - a local lawyer - and she asked me if
I'd read that morning's Herald, Zimbabwe's state-run daily. I hadn't yet,
but said that I'd probably be reading it during the course of the day -
Saturday, January 10. My friend told me that there was a story about myself
and two of my colleagues at the Zimbabwe Independent newspaper - editor Iden
Wetherell and news editor Vincent Kahiya. The story concerned a report I'd
co-written with Itai Dzamara, which stated that President Robert Mugabe had
commandeered an Air Zimbabwe aircraft last month and that he - together with
his family and friends - had used it again for a holiday to the Far East,
from which he had returned previous Sunday. The Herald story contained
menacing threats by the Information Minister Jonathan Moyo and an ominous
warning that we would be held to account by law enforcement agents.
I wasn't unduly worried by this, because I had seen Moyo the
discharging a wail of protest on national television against us. I told
myself it was just one of his usual groans. I rose and went into town to
conduct some banking business. At Barclays, a bank teller who saw my name on
his computer screen asked me why I was still roaming the streets after
Moyo's threats in the state media. I replied that I was rather confident
that I would remain free. Moyo was bluffing, I said. In the meantime,
though, I read The Herald report and, true, Moyo's comments were quite
threatening - still I didn't give a damn. Moyo was in top form,
nevertheless. "Those behind this deliberate falsehood calculated to bring
the Office of the President into disrepute must be held accountable," Moyo
ranted. "This means the editor and the two writers will be held to account
for their lawless and fictitious claims." Clearly choking with emotional
intensity, he added that the story was a reckless falsehood far worse than
fiction and should be treated as a criminal act. He even had the
foolhardiness to claim that our report contained "lies that are blasphemous
and disrespectful of the president" - as if Mugabe was now God.
But amid all this hot air and political steam, Moyo failed to
essence of the story, which was that Mugabe had taken an Air Zimbabwe
aircraft to the Far East. And in any case, I felt no need to worry about the
malicious remarks of a garrulous minister waxing lyrical as if political
rhetoric was going out of fashion. After all, it would be a cold day in hell
before Moyo didn't comment on such stories. He is, after all, Mugabe's
shrill spin doctor and a leading henchman. So I brushed aside his comments
and proceeded with my business - which was organising a get-together at my
place over some beer and food. After meeting at home, we gathered around the
idiot box to watch some football. First we saw Bafana Bafana bungling
against Mauritius before going down 2-0. Later we watched Orlando Pirates
struggling against Moroka Swallows. However, by the time the
Pirates/Swallows game ended I was in police custody - which rather ruined
our plans to take in the English Premier League and Spanish La Liga games
later on in the day.
Before the party gathered momentum, I
had sneaked off to the shops to buy
more drinks. At the time, officers from the Criminal Investigation
Department (CID) were coming the other way. They had my news editor, Kahiya,
with them. Wetherell had already been arrested. It was clear that I was
next. After some hesitation, I approached one of the policemen, a certain
Detective-Sergeant Chirindo. He had arrested me before because of my
reporting so I knew him. I told him that I knew what they wanted. We chatted
briefly, then I went back indoors to tell my shocked friends that I was to
be arrested. At about 3pm we left for Harare Central Police Station. After
waiting sometime for our lawyer, Linda Cook, we were told in her presence
that we were to be detained. She was alarmed because she had been promised
that we would be charged and released. We were taken from the CID offices to
the holding cells. The rather hostile police officer at the front desk
instructed us to remove our shoes and part with our other possessions in
preparation for entering the station's filthy holding cells, and Kahiya and
I were warned that life would be tough for us if we became arrogant.
Admittedly, I was now beginning to feel quite anxious about
When one policeman learnt that we were journalists, he shouted after us:
"Our president is untouchable." We were subsequently thrown into a
foul-smelling waiting room in which we discovered Wetherell - barefoot but
looking unperturbed. Joining him, we sat down to await our fate. In the
reception area, the police - who appeared to be on the warpath - shouted
threats constantly and beat up other prisoners. I tried to remain calm
through all of this - although apprehension gripped me constantly. After
having our supper, which was brought by friends and relatives, we were then
moved to the detention cells upstairs. An unbearable smell enveloped the
whole corridor down which we were led by police as they searched for what
one called a "suitable" cell. I was choking. Eventually, we were shoved into
a terribly overcrowded cell that contained about 20 inmates. "Get in there,"
the police officer shouted. Those inside protested that the cell was already
full, to which the officer replied: "Who told you that a prison cell get can
get full?" Eventually we were 32 in a cell meant to accommodate only six
We stayed in there for about four hours, gagging on
the foul smell coming
from the blocked toilet and from the dirty inmates. There were also
mosquitoes and massive cockroaches. I feared I would not survive the night.
But then we were shifted to another cell, where we met Philip Chiyangwa, the
Zanu PF MP and prominent businessman who had been detained for allegedly
trying to obstruct the course of justice in a fraud case that was said to
involve Z$60-billion, and for threatening a policeman. Chiyangwa was very
happy to see us and welcomed us into the cell. We were to spend two days
together discussing all sorts of things, ranging from the country's
political situation and the economic environment to social issues. Each time
we ate our food, the other starving inmates mobbed us, trying to grab our
meals. Hunger abounds in the Harare Central cells. Prisoners are served a
single meal a day, in the afternoon. The meal normally comprises a small
portion of maize meal with six beans floating in a pool of saline water.
Then came our interrogation. In a bid to build a case, the police claimed
that the word "commandeer" - used in our story - meant "to hijack". This was
laughable and ridiculous. But my fears were confirmed: we were arrested for
semantics - the meaning and interpretation of the slight nuances of a single
word. During our detention we were shifted from one cell to the next - some
better, others worse than the previous ones. Some of the police officers
were decent, while others were the epitome of repression - which is
precisely what our arrest was all about.
On Monday, Muleya,
Wetherell and Kahiya were granted bail of Z$20 000 after
appearing in the Harare Magistrates' Court on charges of "criminal
defamation" against President Mugabe. They were not asked to plead, and were
ordered to appear in court again on January 29. On Wednesday, the Zimbabwe
Independent's general manager, Raphael Khumalo, and the journalist Itai
Dzamara were also arrested in connection with the matter. Charges against
Khumalo were withdrawn, but Dzamara was released on Z$20 000 bail until
a regular contributor to the Sunday Times
Dear Family and Friends,
Catholic Archbishop Pius Ncube said this week that people in Zimbabwe were
going for four or five days without a meal and that he thought as many as
thousand people had died of malnutrition during 2003. The Archbishop's words
pounded in my head as I watched a little girl this week and knew for sure
she too would soon be dead. Standing barefoot and in a filthy and torn
wild eyed and desperate little girl of perhaps eleven stood in the middle of
four lanes of traffic. The girl's hair was matted and had the characteristic
orange colour that indicates malnutrition. On the little girl's back,
a towel, was a baby. It cannot have been her own baby but was perhaps her
brother or sister. The little girl just stood, counting filthy twenty dollar
notes in the middle of the road as luxury cars streamed past her. Perhaps
was trying to work out that she would need 100 of those dirty bills to buy
baby one litre of milk, or 125 of the notes to buy herself just one loaf of
bread. For an eleven year old girl begging on the highway, a loaf of bread
litre of milk would represent a miracle.
For days the image of the little girl has haunted me and I cannot banish it,
particularly now with the news that an evangelical church gave Z$30 million
President Mugabe as a gift just before Christmas. Hear the Word Ministries
Harare confirmed last week that they collected the money from members of
congregation. Pastor Tom Deuschle, defending the gift made by his Church,
that the scriptures dictated that "we should honour our leaders". I am no
on religious matters but having been brought up as a strict Catholic I do
remember that the scriptures also say: Suffer the Little Children. Frankly I
almost at a loss for words as to why any Church of any denomination would
it necessary to give money to the leader of a country whose people are
threatened with starvation. I am utterly horrified to think a supposedly
Christian church could give a personal gift to a President who had 22 trips
of Zimbabwe in 2003, accompanied by very large delegations of government
The Z$30 million that Hear the Word Ministries (formerly Rhema Church) gave
President Mugabe could have bought 12 thousand loaves of bread or 15
litres of milk and saved the lives of hundreds of little begging girls
in the midlle of busy highways. That same $30 million dollars could have
given to school children who are now sitting at home because their parents
cannot afford the fees or to people dying of Aids who cannot afford
As a Zimbabwean who has chosen to see and share the suffering of ordinary
people I am disgusted and appalled and just wish that I could have scooped
the little begging girl and her baby and taken them home for a decent meal
little bit of love. I am also very confused as to just what people's
Christianity really means to them, because apparently it starts and stops in
Church. Until next week, with love, cathy. PLEASE NOTE that my new email
is firstname.lastname@example.org but due to massive telephone charges and huge line
congestion, please NO attachments, photographs or pictures. Thank you.
Copyright cathy buckle 17th January 2004.
http://africantears.netfirms.com My books on the Zimbabwean crisis,
Tears" and "Beyond Tears" are now available outside Africa from:
email@example.com ; www.africabookcentre.com ; www.amazon.co.uk ;
Australia and New Zealand: firstname.lastname@example.org ; Africa:
Zanu-PF split as Mugabe cracks down
January 18 2004 at 10:13AM
By Basildon Peta
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has thrown his party
after announcing an anti-corruption crackdown that began this week with the
arrest of his relative and top crony Philip Chiyangwa. The crackdown has
split his party between the old guard, led by Mugabe, and the so-called
Young Turks, who believe Mugabe is trying to victimise them because he
suspects they are plotting against him.
Chiyangwa, in his early forties, belongs to the camp of the Young
Turks, many of whom packed the courtroom during his bail hearing this week.
The Young Turks are suspicious of Mugabe's intentions because most of
them have accumulated enormous wealth, apparently as they looted white farms
and intimidated factory owners into giving them equity for a song. They
suspect that as Mugabe's reign reaches its twilight zone, the 80-year-old
leader wants to improve his credibility at their expense.
The Young Turks interviewed this week insisted that if Mugabe was
serious about cracking down on corruption, he would also have to target
members of his old guard who have been equally corrupt. They say he has to
start by firing Emmerson Mnangagwa, the speaker of parliament, and others
accused of looting the Democratic Republic of the Congo in a United Nations
The Young Turks are suspicious of Mugabe's intentions
Young officials of the ruling Zanu-PF party said Mugabe now accepted
the inevitability of his departure from power and he was probably suspicious
that they might disrupt his succession plans.
Mugabe this week said he had helped young men establish banks and
accumulate different forms of wealth, but he accused them of having become
corrupt and resorting to sabotaging his government and the economy in
pursuit of wealth. He said he would no longer tolerate any corruption.
His remarks this week were a marked departure from what had become his
normal rhetoric of blaming everything wrong in his country on Britain and
other "white enemies". The remarks were also preceded by the arrests of
Chiyangwa and a number of young business executives, most with close links
to his party.
Chiyangwa, who is also the chairperson of the Zanu-PF Mashonaland West
provincial executive committee, has been named in connection with a
Z$61-billion (about R1-billion at the official exchange rate) scam, the
country's largest bank scandal since independence from Britain in 1980. In
addition, Chiyangwa allegedly looted white-owned farms, stealing farming
equipment from beleaguered white farmers. Other cronies had reportedly been
involved in asset stripping, taking over state assets for a song and
reselling them at huge profits.
Chiyangwa's woes mounted this week when police found several luxury
vehicles at his homes in Harare. He had previously told the court he had no
knowledge of the cars.
He said he would no longer tolerate any corruption
Many analysts doubt that Mugabe will sustain the crackdown. "If he
does, he will have to fire just about everybody in his cabinet because they
are all corrupt," said Lovemore Madhuku, a political analyst.
Zimbabwe opposition leader treason trial to resume
January 18, 2004, 11:27 AM
Morgan Tsvangirai, the Zimbabwe opposition leader, returns to court
tomorrow for the resumption of his trial on charges of plotting to
assassinate President Robert Mugabe, which he says were invented in a bid to
end his political challenge.
Paddington Garwe, the High Court Judge President, is expected to
continue with the case after first ruling on an application by the state to
amend the allegations against Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC).
Tsvangirai (51), is accused of planning Mugabe's assassination before
2002 polls that saw the veteran president re-elected in a vote the
opposition and some international observers say was rigged. If convicted,
Tsvangirai could face the death penalty.
Tsvangirai's trial began last February, the state accusing him of
taking part in meetings abroad related to the alleged plot, including one in
Canada where he is said to have asked a Montreal-based political consultancy
firm to arrange Mugabe's assassination and carry out a military coup. The
High Court later dismissed charges against two senior MDC officials who were
jointly charged with Tsvangirai, saying there was not enough evidence to
link them to the plot.
William Bango, Tsvangirai's spokesperson said today that the trial was
set to resume tomorrow, when the High Court is expected to rule on an
application submitted by state prosecutors to amend the original allegations
against him. "So far, the indications are that the case will resume as
scheduled tomorrow, but we are not saying anything outside the court," he
said. - Reuters
Sunday Mirror (Zimbabwe)
Storm brews over farm
A STORM is brewing between two commercial farmers and about 132 families
resettled at Woodleigh Farm in Marondera after allegations that the farm
owners had bought off the Mashonaland East Provincial Land Committee to have
the property, which had been acquired for redistribution, de-listed.
The commercial farm, which the Daily Mirror understands specialises in the
breeding of thoroughbred racing horses and ostriches, is co-owned by a
Duplooy and his mother-in-law identified as Carey.
Duplooy is alleged to have vacated the farm after a story on the goings-on
at the farm was published in the press but Carey is still there, and is
alleged to have single-handedly tried to evict some of the settlers but in
vain. One of the settlers who invaded the farm in 2000 anticipating to
secure land alleged that a shady deal was sealed between the farm owners and
the Mashonaland East Provincial Land Committee to facilitate the de-listing
of the property under unclear circumstances.
A member of the land committee, he alleged, had his hands “greased” with
$2.5 million, so as to influence other members of the committee to
facilitate the de-listing of the property. “The farm was listed and it was
later de-listed. We suspect that the whites (farm owners) paid the
Mashonaland East (Provincial) Lands Committee, and we have been asked to
move,” he said.
“But we will not move an inch from the farm until we get that anomaly
rectified because the lands committee is aware of this and have promised to
look into the matter, but no progress seems to have been made,” he claimed.
The farm, it is understood, had been sub-divided into 120 A1 plots and 12 A2
plots. In a reference letter dated July 21 2003 confirming the de-listing of
the farm, the principal director of lands and rural resettlement in the
ministry of lands, agriculture and rural resettlement, one Mbirimi,
indicated that the farm had been de-listed owing to its “economic
“Noting the economic significance of the breeding of both thorough-bred
racing horses and ostriches on Woodleigh Farm, Salisbury District (Melfort),
it is in the national interest that the two facilities remain operational on
the said farm,” he said.
Relocating the two facilities, Mbirimi said, would disrupt the operations at
the farms and could force them to fold up owing to the prohibitively
expensive costs of such relocation.
One of the war veterans who had settled on the farm expressed outrage at the
decision to give the commercial farmers the green light to continue with
“We wonder if the breeding of ostriches is more important than people’s need
to produce food,” he said. He however highlighted that the hectarage that
was not being utilised was available for allocation to those “genuinely
interested in farming”.
Despite the conclusion of the ad hoc fast-track land redistribution
programme, there have been reports of fresh waves of farm invasions in
several parts of the country. The government-appointed Land Review Committee
chaired by former cabinet secretary, Charles Utete, recently concluded its
report and identified loopholes that needed to be plugged. Another committee
chaired by special affairs minister in the president’s office, John Nkomo,
is currently redressing the problems.
Drinking Water In Harare Now Dependent On Aid
As the country enters its fifth successive year of economic decline, further
evidence of the dire state into which Zimbabwe has fallen comes this week in
a report from the UN. This says that the country can no longer even avoid
the water purification chemicals necessary to supply the capital, Harare,
with clean drinking water.
In a bid to avert the spread of water-borne diseases, the United Nations
Development Programme (UNDP) has teamed with the United States to provide a
steady supply of clean water to the capital, Harare, and outlying areas.
A $200,000 grant from the US Agency for International Development (USAID),
channelled through UNDP, has allowed the purchase of chemicals needed for
water purification and made it possible for Harare to hold four days' worth
of clean water stocks. But the city has still has problems in maintaining a
constant water supply to all its residents.
According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
(OCHA), Zimbabwe's economic crisis has made it impossible to purchase
adequate water purification chemicals and as a result Harare cannot not
provide a regular supply of clean water to its citizens. The city's two main
reservoirs, downstream from the area's industry, are susceptible to
Aggravating the situation Zimbabwe's dire economic situation makes it nearly
impossible to fund repairs and maintenance of the capital's infrastructure.
This means that pipes carrying treated water are prone to rupture. Moreover,
the whole water system requires upgrading to meet the needs of the city's
What began in 2002 as a food crisis in Zimbabwe has grown into a major
humanitarian emergency, with people suffering the effects of a deteriorating
economy, HIV/AIDS, depleted social services and policy constraints,
according to OCHA.
In addition, the HIV/AIDS pandemic is ravaging the country. Recent estimates
indicate that around 34 per cent of Zimbabweans age 15 to 40 are infected,
and more than 2,500 people die every week of AIDS-related causes. Delivery
of health, education, social and public services has been undermined by a
lack of finance and the loss of human resources to emigration and AIDS. One
result is that malaria, tuberculosis and cholera cases are on the rise.
Another is that Zimbabweans face a severe food security crisis in 2004. An
estimated 5.5 million people will require food aid there during the coming
Zanu PF thugs mount terror campaign in Gutu
By Savious Kwinika
BULAWAYO – Barely a fortnight before the Gutu north by-election takes
place, marauding Zanu PF youths and war veterans have laid siege to the
constituency, effectively making it impossible for the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) to campaign.
Torture, beatings and harassment of opposition supporters have become
the order of the day in the constituency where thousands of Zanu PF
militias, bussed from Mashonaland provinces, have been deployed.
The youths have virtually turned the rural part of
into a no go area for anyone who is not a known Zanu PF supporter.
Gutu businessman Kassim Jonas who went to Zvavahera Business Centre on
a business errant recently was tortured in broad day light.
Said the businessman: “Two well-known Zanu PF thugs, Nhema and
Mtirikwi, in the company of a group of other Zanu PF youths, last Tuesday
approached me while I was going about my normal business at Zvavahera and
accused me of supporting the opposition.”
He added: “They began assaulting me with clenched fists and booted
feet before handcuffing me and my friend John Muridzo.
“They then led us to the Central Intelligence camp at Gutu Mupandawana
where they had also arrested another man who works for a donor organisation
on similar allegations. There they ordered us to stand on our heads:
‘Takurai nyika yenyu’ they told us.”
The businessman, who was later released the same day, sustained
internal injuries and a swollen face.
So intense is the terror campaign that opposition MDC candidate Casper
Musoni, hardly a fortnight before the by-election is held, has not even be
able to hold a single rally in the constituency.
What Musoni can only do is to talk to people on an individual basis in
the growth point which constitutes only a small fraction of the electorate.
Musoni himself has also not been spared the harassment and threats
from militias moving in open trucks at Mpandawana.
Three days ago, Musoni, who had closed his fast food outlet at the
centre around 9:00 PM, was followed by two pick-up trucks loaded with youths
which blocked his vehicle near Gutu rural district council offices in the
During the run up to 2000 parliamentary election, Musoni, then pitted
against the late Vice President Simon Muzenda, had to go underground for a
long time after several attempts were made on his life.
MDC Masvingo provincial vice chairman, Shacky Matake told The Standard
yesterday that the party had not been able to campaign openly as they were
faced with two obstacles: getting police clearance for rallies and facing
the wrath of marauding Zanu PF militias.
“As I speak right now, one of our campaign agents was severely
assaulted at Zvavahera Business Centre by suspected Zanu PF supporters and
war veterans,” said Matake.
Police have not yet given the MDC a clearance to campaign openly in
“We have written a letter to the police and hand delivered it so that
we are allowed to campaign publicly just as Zanu PF is doing, and again
there is no response from the police,” said Matake.
While MDC supporters are running away from the militias, Zanu PF
officials have already covered the whole of Gutu North constituency with war
veterans and youths establishing campaign bases.
It is estimated that the governing party has so far blown $150 million
to campaign for the rural constituency.
Gono’s banks’ rescue plan retrogressive, say analysts
By Kumbirai Mafunda
RESERVE Bank Governor Gideon Gono has already failed the litmus test less
than two months into his new assignment by sympathetically giving cheap
rescue credit to troubled financial institutions, say analysts.
Gono last week set up a Troubled Banks Fund to provide low cost liquidity to
poorly managed banks currently facing clearing and settlement problems.
Under the scheme, distressed financial institutions — which
facing liquidity problems — would be ring-fenced and operate under the
supervision of the central bank.
However, this is in contrast to what the RBZ boss outlined in his maiden
monetary policy statement unveiled in December where he boldly declared not
to accommodate poorly managed banks.
“The curtain is being drawn against the era for the proliferation of weak,
poorly managed financial institutions dependent on cheap and unlimited
central bank credit,” Gono vowed in his widely applauded statement.
Economic analysts last week however said his quick about turn to rescue
Century, Trust and other ailing banks was self-defeating and represented yet
another policy reversal characteristic of the governing Zanu PF party.
“Gono had created a crisis of expectation but this move is a retraction on
his policy statement. We have seen high sounding statements which mean
nothing,” said an economist in Harare.
Some Zimbabwean banks, flush with cheap funds, have squandered money
borrowed and meant for productive purposes to buy foreign currency, luxury
goods, cars, shares and real property, the sort of activities Gono has sworn
“The actual test for the new governor will thus very soon arise when he has
to choose between allowing a bank to go bankrupt or to pump liquidity into
the market and thereby exceed his money growth and hence inflation targets,”
said the opposition Movement for Democratic Change when Gono made his
monetary statement last month.
“It is seems very likely that it is the monetary policy targets which will
be foregone,” added the opposition party which intends to launch its
“Restart” economic recovery blue print in Harare in a week.
All indications however are that the MDC was right because Gono has quickly
raced to rescue the same operations he had threatened to deal harshly with,
The analysts said Gono’s quick U-turn would lead to a regression of his
monetary policy targets that he committed himself to for the next five
“The Governor panicked and started pumping liquidity into the market. This
is not the way to run things,” said economic consultant Peter Robinson.
“He is moving from one area to another like a yo-yo,” Robinson added.
Gono’s short term targets are to reduce consumer inflation, currently
measured at 619,5% to 200% by December and later on to a single digit
measure by the end of his first term in 2008.
Money supply growth — presently at 500% — is expected to ease to 200% by
“The Governor has failed his test and as predicted objectivity was
sacrificed for expediency,” said Tendai Biti the MDC secretary for economic
“It appears at the very first hurdle, the new Reserve Bank Governor has not
just tripped ... he has just ducked out of the race altogether,” added Biti.
“Zimbabwe has never had a problem in policy formulation. Our major weakness
has been on implementation,” said Trust Holdings’ group economist David
Mupamhadzi soon after the unveiling of Gono’s statement.
However, another analyst said it was too early to label Gono’s move as a
reversal in policy, because the central bank chief needed to make “a
temporary adjustment to help these banks”.
Civic bodies promise Mugabe torrid 2004
By Caiphas Chimhete
ZIMBABWE’s embattled President Robert Mugabe, faces a torrid year from the
vibrant civic movement after most of the organisations vowed to engage in
massive mass protests to force him to address the country’s worsening
political and economic crisis.
In separate interviews with The Standard last week, most civic organisations
said Mugabe’s reluctance to address issues of governance and the restoration
of economic order would lead to widespread demonstrations during the course
of the year.
79-year-old President, who has been ruling the country since 1980, is
seen as the cause of Zimbabwe’s problems, which range from economic
recession to the breakdown of law and order.
Pressure group, Zvakwana, said civic organisations would this year take a
“consolidated civic response” to the deteriorating crisis in Zimbabwe.
A number of civic society organisations, NGOs and pressure groups recently
met in Mashonaland Central province and pledged a “collective effort to
counter Zanu PF’s oppression.
“It is even that much more admirable that this unification is happening
under the extreme repression that we are facing. There is clear evidence
that Zanu PF has a big fight on its hands,” declared Zvakwana.
The organisation has been encouraging people to “stand up against the
regime” of Mugabe, accused of gross human rights violations and destroying
the country’s economy, once the envy of the southern Africa region.
Brain Raftopolous, chairman of Crisis in Zimbabwe, an alliance of several
non-governmental organisations, said the coalition will pressurise Mugabe to
dialogue with the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to pave the way for a
new constitution, “with at least minimum electoral reforms”, to level the
The new constitution, he said, is the best starting point towards addressing
Zimbabwe’s myriad problems.
“If that happens, we will be able to have and or talk about free and fair
elections and restoration of economic confidence,” said Raftopolous, who
added that without an agreement between Zanu PF and MDC, no real national
economic development would take place.
Dialogue between the parties broke down after Mugabe demanded that MDC
leader Morgan Tsvangirai drops his court case challenging Mugabe’s
“electoral victory” in the 2002 presidential poll.
“No retreat, no surrender,” was the response from the Zimbabwe Congress of
Trade Unions (ZCTU), the country’s largest national labour body, which for
the past few years has been a thorn in Mugabe’s political flesh.
ZCTU secretary-general, Wellington Chibhebhe, said his organisation would
continue to mobilise its constituency to force the Zanu PF government to
address the current problems.
“We are going to do what we have been doing over the years. Smith tried to
resist change but it finally came. It might be just a matter of time before
the current crisis is addressed,” said Chibhebhe.
The recently launched Centre for the Rehabilitation of Torture Victims
(Ceretov) added its voice to the list of organisations determined to see
economic prosperity and restoration of the rule of law in Zimbabwe.
Presently, Ceretov is working on modalities to have Mugabe tried in the
International Court of Justice in The Hague “for the crimes he committed
“We have already engaged a renowned international lawyer to handle the case.
Apart from that, there will demonstrations by torture victims demanding an
end to torture as an instrument of cohesion,” said Job Sikhala, the
organisation’s chairman and founder member.
The outspoken Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) legislator said they have
also filed a case with the Accountability International in Canada to ensure
that all countries with an Extradiction Treaty with Canada would be able to
“extradite Mugabe” when wanted to face trial anywhere in the world.
The case will be heard in February and over 15 torture victims will be lined
up as witnesses, said Sikhala.
Ceretov is the brainchild of a group of torture victims who came together to
share common concerns about the effects of torture on their lives.
There have been several reports of torture of civilians in Zimbabwe, mostly
opposition supporters prior, during and after the 2000 parliamentary
elections and the controversial 2002 presidential poll.
Ernest Mudzengi of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) — several of
whose public demonstrations were brutally squashed by Mugabe’s security
apparatus — said the coalition would tackle the President “head-on” if he
fails to arrest the current economic crisis.
NCA’s starting point this year, said Mudzengi, is to demand that Mugabe
accepts the organisation’s draft constitution.
“But if Mugabe continues to be arrogant and snubs a people driven
constitution,” said Mudzengi, “the NCA will stage mass protests until our
demands are met.”
The NCA believes Zimbabwe’s problems emanate from a flawed constitution,
which does not address the issues of good governance.
Medical aid boss under probe
By Lloyd Mutungamiri
INNOCENT Gumbura, the soccer crazy head of Royal Medical Aid Society who on
Friday night splashed $184 million to honour some members of the national
soccer team, is being investigated by police for fraud running into
Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena confirmed to The Standard that Gumbura
faces seven counts of fraud for his alleged involvement in foreign currency
deals, faked bank drafts and payment settlement disputes with at least two
local companies, as complainants.
however admitted that it could be “some time” before the Royal
Medical Aid Society boss is hauled before the courts.
Gumbura is the principal sponsor of the 2003 Royal Medical Aid Footballer of
the Year awards, whose top prize of $5 million was scooped by Warriors’
captain, England-based striker Peter Ndlovu.
Bvudzijena on Friday said investigations on Gumbura’s alleged fraudulent
activities were still in progress and the police were so far pursuing seven
different cases involving the indigenous business magnate.
“We have seven cases of fraud in which he is allegedly involved and all the
cases are at various stages of investigation. I wouldn’t say when he is
expected to be brought before the courts but it could be anytime, as
investigations can take any length of time.”
Complaints against Gumbura allegedly date back to 2000. Bvudzijena said
police are still to come up with the figures involved in the alleged fraud
“but they run into millions of dollars”.
Gumbura is a strong financial supporter of local football who came to the
fore following The Warriors’ qualification for next week’s Africa Cup of
Nations finals in Tunisia.
Royal Medical Aid Society, of which Gumbura is the founder and Chief
Executive, became the official medical services provider for the squad and
the society also started sponsoring the Zimbabwe National Soccer Supporters’
Association, after the national soccer team had booked its place at the
biennial soccer showcase.
On Friday Royal Medical Aid Society splashed $50 million for the inaugural
Royal Medical Aid Society Footballer of the Year Award presentation
The medical aid firm also poured in an additional $134 million for The
Warriors’ well-intentioned but poorly-attended send-off bash which was also
held concurrently with the awards presentation at a five-star hotel in the
capital, bringing the total sponsorship for the single night to a staggering
The first runner-up, Energy Murambadoro received $1,8million and Richard
Choruma (2nd runner-up), got $1,2million. The two other finalists Agent Sawu
and Kaitano Tembo got $500 000 each.
High Court judge releases Ian Macmillan and others
By our own staff
FOUR gold dealers — Ian Hugh Macmillan, his son Ewan, Clare Lynn Burdett and
Collen Rose — arrested in South Africa last year after allegedly trying to
smuggle gold worth about US$161 000, were released from remand prison late
Friday night last week after High Court Judge Charles Hungwe ruled against
It is reliably understood that Zimbabwean law enforcement officers are
frantically trying to have the four back in the remand prison by instigating
Hungwe ordered that the four — who had been rearrested on fresh
charges involving gold worth $39 million — must be freed and castigated the
police for their continued stay in detention.
The Hungwe judgment was made around 4PM on Friday and the quartet’s legal
representatives had to scurry around for the assistance of an assistant
register for them to be finally released, long after 10 PM, after
complications arose from their initial warrant to liberation.
Daniel Mhiribidi, the Macmillans’ lawyer told The Standard that the Zimbabwe
Prison Services (ZPS) had initially refused to release the four despite
Judge Hungwe’s High Court order, because prison officials argued that the
warrant of liberation was flawed.
Mhiribidi had to seek the assistance of the assistant registrar, a
Nyeperayi, to finally secure the release of the four about six hours after
the judgment was delivered and the warrant altered.
Mhiribidi said the Judge made his ruling around 4:00PM but the Macmillans
were only released around 10:00PM as the State refused to obey the order,
arguing against the wording on the warrant of liberation.
“Yes, he (Macmillan) is out of custody right now,” the lawyer told The
The four gold dealers, whom the police allege might be part of a wider ring,
were arrested late last year after they tried to smuggle gold worth US$161
000 to South Africa but were granted bail by High Court Judge, Tadius Karwi.
The bail conditions for the Macmillans were that they surrender their travel
documents and report to the police once a day between 6AM and 6PM. However,
they were rearrested on fresh charges and placed in custody.
Ewan Macmillan owns two gold mills in Bindura and Shamva and the government
has indicated that it intends to revoke his licence.
Justice Hungwe, in his judgment, said the four must not be detained or
placed on remand on charges arising from the same facts because they had not
flouted the bail conditions imposed on them.
Mangwengwende bids for salary increase
By Valentine Maponga
SACKED Zesa boss Simba Mangwengwende, still enjoying a full salary and other
benefits four years after he was suspended by the national power utility, is
now demanding a salary hike.
Mangwengwende, who was suspended in 2000 after demanding the resignation of
Sydney Gata, then a non-executive director, says he still stands by his
words and has renewed his demands for Gata to leave the institution.
Mangwengwende remains on
the parastatal’s payroll with full company benefits
that include a house, a vehicle and fuel.
However, Mangwengwende said he was unhappy with the $220 000 gross salary
which he is getting.
He nets $110 000 per month, which he says is not even enough to buy basic
food for his family.
“I was initially suspended in August 2000 and was reinstated in September
the same year but however the board abolished my post in December 2000 and
since then I have been on a long leave.
“But the sad thing is that they have not been adjusting my salary, it is
still at the 2001 level. They have to pay me cost of living adjustment as my
salary has since been eroded by inflation,” Mangwengwende told The Standard.
“I went to court last year in October over the issue of my salary but
nothing has materialised as the High Court Judge Ben Hlatswayo reserved
judgment up to now,” he said.
Mangwengwende became very unpopular with the current executive chairman,
Gata, after he called for the nullification of Gata’s appointment. Zesa did
not respond to questions from The Standard regarding Mangwengwende’s
Drought threatens Mat crops
By our own Staff
BULAWAYO — The drou-ght stricken region of Matabeleland faces yet another
acute food shortage this year following prolonged dry spells and
inconsistent rainfall patterns, says the National Early Warning Unit.
An official from the unit told The Standard that both Matabeleland North and
South provinces were experiencing food deficits and the situation was
expected to worsen.
“Although planting is in progress in all districts of
we have suffered a huge loss in maize production as the crop wilted due to
lack of rains in December and this month.
“Our hopes are heavily pinned on the success of small grains such as sorghum
and rapoko otherwise the damage has already been done,” said an official,
who requested anonymity saying he feared victimization for talking to the
He said areas such as Beitbridge, Gwanda, Bulilimamangwe, Umzingwane and
Matobo in Matabeleland South were badly affected by the dry spell and that
Matabeleland North had not been spared either.
He said maize was the most affected crop, with much of it wilting in its
nascent stage while the drought tolerant sorghum was under severe stress
from the scorching sun.
Water levels had also drastically gone done in almost all major dams in
Matabeleland North due to the dry spell.
Ndebeles rule the roost, at least for the moment
By Savious Kwinika
THE political pendulum has slowly shifted from the North to the South with
the Matabeleland politicians occupying crucial national political posts, The
Standard has observed.
However, some people from the Matabeleland region have questioned the timing
and doubt the sincerity of these changes in the political landscape
suspecting a possible cover up for past wrongdoings. They cite the
“unforgettable” massacres by President Mugabe’s “Gukururahundi” by the
notorious Fifth Brigade.
political heavyweights from Matabeleland region holding top Zanu
PF posts are Joseph Msika, who is now the sole Vice President of Zimbabwe.
In Mugabe’s absence, he acts as President and only two weeks ago Msika
showed what he is capable of doing once availed the opportunity to act.
The ex-Zipra leader, recently caused a stir at a public gathering when he
boasted of bigger muscles and threatened to deal with anyone who thought
they were more powerful than he is.
He castigated politicians who thought they were above the law in apparent
reference to the appearance in court of controversial Zanu PF legislator,
Philip Chiyangwa a day earlier. Less than 24 hours later Chiyangwa, a ruling
party Mashonaland West provincial Chairman, was arrested.
Chiyangwa had threatened a policeman in court while giving evidence in a
case involving directors of the collapsed ENG Capital.
And there to witness Chiyangwa’s humiliation were Mashonaland’s political so
called “Young Turks” — Leo Mugabe, President Mugabe’s nephew, legislators
Webster Shamu and Saviour Kasukuwere, among them — who could not believe it
when Chiyangwa remained in detention days after his arrest.
Apart from Msika, there is also John Nkomo, the ex-Zipra leader and a
Ndebele who is the national Zanu PF Chairman and Minister of Special Affairs
in the President’s Office.
As chairman of the ruling party, Nkomo wields considerable power.
Then there is Jonathan Moyo, the Minister of Information and Publicity in
the President’s Office. Single handedly Moyo can determine what Zimbabweans
can see on national television, listen to on radio and read in the
government controlled newspapers.
Apart from these three, there are several ministers and diplomats from
Matabeleland who have assumed important positions.
In South Africa, which is very supportive of President Mugabe, there is
Simon Khaya Moyo — a former lieutenant of the late Zapu leader Joshua
Nkomo — who is charged with maintaining good relations with the giant
A Ndebele is now also in charge of the war veterans who have played a
pivotal role in ensuring Mugabe’s continued hold on power.
Jabulani Sibanda was elected the new chairman of the Zimbabwe National
Liberation War Veterans’ Association towards the end of last year.
“People from this region have been sidelined for so long and I believe there
was a realisation that power should be shared equally without putting much
stock on regional political backgrounds,” said Zanu PF Politburo member
“In the 1980s before the signing of the Unity Accord, there was mistrust,
lots of suspicion and majority of the people from Matabeleland region felt
insecure. Some people would like to call it the shift of power but I don’t
agree. I would rather call it power sharing,” added Ndlovu, a former deputy
But why now, years after the signing of the peace accord in 1987?
“Revolution is a process not an event,” said Ndlovu.
Since attaining independence from Britain in 1980, Zimbabwean politics were
dominated and dictated by politicians from Mashonaland where Mugabe comes
from while Matabeleland politicians were treated with suspicion.
In most cases, politicians from the Matabeleland region were treated as
political amateurs who were to be appointed to minor posts in government.
“It is not by accident that all the key political posts are coming to
Matabeleland. It is by design to lure the much needed but dwindling support
from the region.
“Remember that during the 2000 parliamentary election, people from this
region overwhelmingly voted for MDC and Zanu PF would like to counter that,”
said a Bulawayo-based political commentator who asked to remain anonymous.
However, on economic development front, the general perception is that
Ndebeles who have assumed important positions have not done enough to turn
around the fortunes of the region. Most people of drought-prone Matabeleland
feel greater urgency should be given to the implementation of
Zambezi-Matabeleland Water Project in order to bring to an end perennial
water shortages in the region.
About US$500 million is needed to start construction work at the giant
project which is expected to be completed in 2008.
It remains to be seen whether the region will benefit from having their kith
and kin occupying top positions in Mugabe’s government.
Furore in the Avenues over rentals in forex
By Henry Makiwa
A TROOP of Congolese teenagers — girls clad in tight fitting trendy trousers
and “spaghetti tops” revealing their pierced navels and the boys dressed in
baggy jeans and bandanas — saunter confidently outside a block of flats
talking excitedly in their mother tongue.
To the visibly jaded Naison Mhuru who is hastily packing his belongings onto
a lorry at the same premises, the jabbering of the youths is unnecessary
noise and an inconvenience he can do without.
“Besides,” he says, “I have never
liked these foreigners resident in
Zimbabwe but lately, my dislike for the outsiders has been accentuated.”
Married with two children, Mhuru recently got notice from his landlord to
vacate the three bed-roomed flat that has been home for the past three years
unless he is prepared to pay the new rentals in American dollars.
Surprisingly, however, Mhuru does not blame his landlord for the new payment
system but holds the influx of foreigners into the country responsible for
“They are the ones creating a ready market for local property owners, moreso
because they bring thousands of dollars in foreign currency which they keep
stashed in their homes for the purpose of carrying out black market currency
transactions,” charged a livid Mhuru.
“But what I find sad and unfortunate is that locals too are kicking out of
their houses fellow countrymen because they want to be paid in foreign
currency. It is so unprincipled … but such is the level of apostasy and
greed that now prevails in our society as a result of the political crisis
and economic downturn.”
Although Local Government, Public Works and National Housing minister,
Ignatius Chombo, has publicly declared that estate agents and landlords
demanding rentals in forex from their tenants would be arrested, the
practice remains rampant.
Even State owned newspapers have been carrying advertisements placed by
landlords seeking tenants who can cough up the greenback.
As this trend spreads to many up market residential suburbs, some parts of
the avenues, once the city’s red-light district, could be mistaken for
streets in downtown Lagos or Kinshasa because of the heavy presence of
Nigerian and Congolese nationals.
And associated with this influx of foreigners , the “Avenues” is also fast
emerging as the “centre of vice” — where illegal currency deals,
prostitution and even murder are reportedly taking place.
Newspapers reported recently of a yet to be apprehended suspected “serial
killer” following the grisly finding late last year of human remains packed
in plastic bags.
Rewind the clock a decade or so ago and this was a fledgling residential
setting where young unmarried professionals lived conveniently, close to
their working places and a stone’s throw away from the city centre. Many of
the former tenants have been forced to relocate to the high-density suburbs
after failing to pay the rentals in hard currency.
Although police spokesman Oliver Mandipaka has urged members of the public
to report to the authorities owners of residential properties who let their
houses and flats in foreign currency, most tenants are afraid to be caught
on the wrong side of their landlords.
Harare day schools swamped as boarders flee escalating fees
By Nyasha Bhosha
GOVERNMENT schools have been swamped by new students transferring from elite
boarding schools following astronomical increases of fees and levies at
these institutions this term, The Standard has established.
Many parents started transferring their children last year from boarding
schools after the schools hiked fees, some from about from $350 000 last
term to more than $1 million this term. Government school fees average $50
000 a term.
A survey conducted by The Standard last
week revealed a mass exodus from
elite schools, which has resulted in the congestion of pupils in
As a result of the transfers, it has become increasingly difficult for
students to secure places in schools in high-density suburbs.
“We can no longer afford sending our children to ‘A’ schools because of the
exorbitant school fees and bus fares. Many of us are opting for schools in
the high density areas or government schools,” said one parent.
Apart from hiking fees, schools still expect the parents to buy textbooks
and exercise books.
“After ripping us off like that they still expect us to buy books, only God
knows what they do with the money instead of providing learning materials to
pupils,” said one angry parent, who stays in Hatcliffe.
In addition to charging exorbitant fees, some primary schools in Harare
require pupils to bring toilet tissues, toilet cleaning chemicals and floor
A parent, whose child was at a primary school in Westlea, in Harare’s
Tynwald area said she had to transfer the child to another cheaper school in
a high density area. Schools fees at Westlea were increased from $300 000
last term to $1 million this term.
“The school has become too expensive, after paying such lump sums we have to
buy reading books, exercise books and a lot of other stuff,” said the
parent, who preferred anonymity.
As a result of the massive transfers, classes in high-density schools are
taking between 45 to 55 pupils per class, a situation parents say will lead
to a high failure rate due to an unsustainable teacher–pupil ratio.
“Mumwe mwana anenge asiri dofo rakanyanya zvekuti teacher akanyatsogara naye
pasi anopedzesera anzwisisa. Zvino nekuwanda kwevana teacher anotadza
kucherechedza mwana iyeye uye oshaya nguva yekugara nemwana wacho pasi.
(A child might not be that dull but needs the teacher’s attention so if they
are too many, the teacher won’t have the time to give that child the
attention he or she deserves),” said a parent who identified herself as Mrs
According to the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture an ideal class
should have a maximum of 40 pupils for the students to get the maximum
attention from the teachers.
“A teacher is supposed to give as much individual attention to each pupil as
possible. If a class exceeds the normal number of pupils then the teacher
will go through fewer lessons and that means the class may not complete the
syllabus, resulting in pupils failing their exams,” education minister
Aeneas Chigwedere said.
This situation has not only affected schools in the high density areas but
also “less expensive” schools in low density areas such as Avondale and
Belvedere, where classes that used to have 25 pupils now accommodate over 30
Chigwedere recently declared that no school is allowed to increase fees
without written authorisation from his ministry.
However, most boarding schools have defied the order insisting that charging
the prescribed fees and levies was not sustainable under the current
economic environment, where prices of goods and commodities are increasing
But Chigwedere insi-sted: “Those who have done so face being de-registered
and I would want to emphasise this, we are prosecuting those schools that
have increased their fees without the authority of the ministry.”
Urban farming threatens Harare water sources
By Caiphas Chimhete
THE on-going uncontrolled urban agriculture in Harare seriously threatens
the water sources and the quality of the city’s drinking water,
environmentalists have warned.
The warning comes at a time when the Harare City Council is struggling to
provide clean water to residents due to the shortage of foreign currency to
buy chemicals for water purification.
Water sources that are under threat from urban
agriculture include Manyame
River, Hunyani River and Lake Chivero, water bodies that provide Harare’s
Once the rivers and streams silt up, the environmentalists said, “there
would be a shortage of water forever”.
A lecturer in the department of social science and agricultural engineering
at the University of Zimbabwe confirmed that Harare’s water sources were
under threat from uncontrolled urban cultivation.
He stressed however, that raw sewage disposal into water sources by the city
council was the main cause of pollution. It is estimated that about 70
percent of the raw sewage finds its way into Lake Chivero.
“Though the discharge of raw sewage by the City Council is the major reason,
the effects of urban farming, carried without due regard to conservation
measures and council by-laws, also contributes significantly to water
pollution,” said the lecturer.
Takawira Mubvami, a scientific programme co-ordinator with Municipal
Development Programme (MDP) said water pollution is worsened by the fact
that Harare “sits on its own watershed,” resulting in all waste flowing into
its water sources.
He said urban agriculture was being practised “willy-nilly” causing in
environmental degradation and pollution.
“It is difficult to stop because of urban poverty but as an organisation we
are advocating for sustainable urban agriculture policies,” said Mubvami.
A study by the Environmental and Development Studies (ENDA-Zimbabwe) three
years ago also noted that urban agriculture posed a serious threat to the
“All sites (visited areas) had unacceptable levels of erosion. In addition,
almost 90 percent of Harare’s farmers use chemical fertilisers and nearly a
third of ‘off-plot’ cultivation takes place near streams, swamps — leading
to water pollution through runoff and leaching,” said the study.
The UZ lecturer said the use of chemicals also resulted in high nitrogen
content in the soil and would promote vegetative growth in the water. In the
case of Harare, this has led to the growth of the notorious hyacinth weed,
which is threatening Lake Chivero.
Mubvami urged farmers to stop using synthetic fertilisers and use organic
fertilisers such as manure, which do not pollute water sources.
The problem of pollution is exacerbated by the fact that the council is the
major culprit. Ignatious Chombo, the Minister of Local Government, Public
Works and National Housing, has openly castigated the Harare City Council
for being the major polluter through discharging raw sewage into its water
Apart from being the major polluter of water sources, the council is also
accused of not enforcing its bylaws, particularly those relating to urban
farming and pollution.
As a result, there has been a phenomenal growth of urban agriculture. The
local authority relaxed by-laws governing urban agriculture in 1993, in a
bid to alleviate poverty linked to the Atructural Adjustment Programme
without due regard to environmental consequences.
Spokesperson for Harare City Council, Cuthbert Rwazemba, could not be
reached for a comment, as his mobile phone went unanswered.
But Mubvami said urban agriculture is now recognised as long as the farmers
abide by the council bylaws.
From 1990 to 1994, the amount of land under cultivation in Harare nearly
doubled — to about 16 percent of the city’s area — and has been rising
rapidly ever since.
In its latest report the Famine Early Warning Unit (FEWN) noted that Harare
was clearly experiencing high rates of urban growth leading to problems of
unemployment, poverty and homelessness.
And as a result of the economic problems, said the report, urban agriculture
has become an alternative source of food and income for urban poor. The
urban low-income households, affected the most by the current economic
crisis in the country, have sought to supplement their family incomes and
improve their family nutrition through urban agriculture.
However, experts say this pollution of water sources by urban farmers, City
Council and industrial bodies, has increased the cost of water purification
and treatment for the city.
In its bid to provide clean water, the city is presently using at least
seven chemicals to purify the water. In the 2004 budget, at least $815
billion has been earmarked for the purchase of the chemicals.
Unfortunately, the experts noted, the financial burden would be passed on to
the ratepayers, who will have to fork out more for what are clearly the
Several environmental studies have recommended that urban planners develop
policies that enhance sustainable city agricultural development, rather than
seek ways to eradicate the practise.
They also advocate for the provision of agricultural extension services,
particularly to the most disadvantaged sectors of the urban population as
well as imposing stiffer penalties for stream bank cultivation.
Zanu PF-induced anarchy: Root cause of corruption
EVERY so often in the course of human history, there comes
for serious introspection. Recent upheavals in the country’s troubled
economy, culminating in arrests of company directors, insurance executives,
court officials, lawyers, and as the icing on the cake, one very pompous
legislator as well as the dismissal of Trust Bank’s three top directors, may
well be that moment for Zimbabwe.
Evidently, what has so far emerged seems to be a mere tip of the iceberg.
This is indeed a massive iceberg straddling the length and breadth of
Zimbabwe, the extent of which still remains to be unearthed.
Media coverage of the arrests,
however, only describes the scale, albeit
tiny, rather than explain the depth and extent of corruption as the
principal method by which the Zimbabwean political and economic elite have
used to accumulate wealth and status at the expense of the people of
Zimbabwe. The victims of this shameless scramble for the spoils (corruption)
are, needless to say, the people of this country.
The pursuit of spoils is not only taking place in government, the army, the
civil service but also in the private sector as a whole. As it now emerges,
it has been particularly blatant in the financial sector but the point must
still be made that this pursuit is now a widespread phenomenon permeating
all strata among politicians, bureaucrats and business people.
Just as businessmen come up in all shapes and sizes, so does corruption. So
do politicians and bureaucrats. It is common parlance that it takes two or
more people to create corruption. Corruption in Zimbabwe has become so
blatant as a result of the breakdown of the rule of law. We are now paying a
preposterous price for Zanu PF-induced anarchy where people do as they wish.
It is this atmosphere of chaos and lawlessness created by President Mugabe
and the ruling party in the name of politics that has bred a class of
arrogant people who think they can take the law into their own hands while
the police, the supposed guardians and custodians of law and order stand by
and watch the country descending into barbarism.
It was predictable that sooner or later the country would begin to pay the
price for the lawlessness so created and the consequent degrading scramble
for land and other resources.
Instead of being able to use the newly-acquired resources for long-term
productive goals, the ill-gotten gains were dissipated into wasteful things
like cars, mansions and lavish holidays. The enormous price the mass of
ordinary Zimbabweans have been called upon to pay by their exploiters is
devastating. Massive unemployment, shortages of all kinds and unaffordable
prices of basic commodities. Widespread suffering now stalks the land.
And for almost four years now, the police consistently refused or lacked the
will to stem the corruption using the lame excuse that the crimes were
political. This is a strange excuse that would never find currency in a
The Zimbabwe Republic Police needs to be constantly reminded that in a free
society, there is no such thing as a political crime – still less a
political crime too sensitive to investigate. Crimes committed in the name
of politics or indeed any other name such as black empowerment or
indigenization are still crimes and should de dealt with professionally
irrespective of who commits them.
That is why people are asking why now when the struggle for spoils has been
going on for four years now. Why this sudden clamp down on corruption as if
it has just fallen from hell. Where were the powers that be all along? We
have all been impoverished by Mugabe‘s policies and inaction for years —Why
Be that as it may, the point must be made as they say, in every dark cloud
there is a silver lining. At least something has begun to happen. The story
of corruption is beginning to unfold in the public domain. Much time is
being taken up at work places, homes, bars and buses with people fervently
discussing recent developments, which in itself is a good thing.
Whether Zanu PF is ready, willing and able to go the whole way to the point
of destroying itself, only time will tell. For it is no exaggeration to say
that Zanu PF is synonymous with corruption. If indeed the gloves are off
now, is it going to be rough on everybody? Will the ruling party go a step
further and allow the establishment of an independent Anti-Corruption
Commission given the increasing corruption in the country?
The police have been partisan all along when they were required to be above
party politics. Is this the beginning of a process of the police becoming
once again a non-partisan force? Is Zanu PF capable of reforming itself to
that extent or do we have to wait for a new democratic dispensation for the
police force to be overhauled or purged before anything resembling law and
order can be restored?
Moral exhortation and admonition by President Mugabe is not enough. Politics
is power and very few people would give up power easily. President Mugabe is
the last person we expect to do that.
This effectively means that the role of the media is very crucial in the
fight against corruption. So is the importance of civil society in this
important battle. Regardless of who or what they are, whether politicians,
bureaucrats or businessmen, corrupt people must be called to account. What
goes up using corrupt means must come down with a thud.
And this paper will continue shining its lamp into those dark corners that
corrupt people would rather remain dark.
Zany justice comes home
overthetop By Brian Latham
CITIZENS of a troubled central African banana republic were last week
delighted by news that their Zany justice system seemed to have run amok.
Used to watching members of the Zany Party rob, rape, plunder and murder
with impunity, they were taken aback to see an elite member of the same
party languishing in stocks.
Taken aback, but delighted too. During the last three years, the justice
system has concentrated solely on the perversion of justice — and arresting
members of the opposition More Drink Coming Party, journalists, human rights
activists and anyone else who could spell the word democracy.
Still, last week, for the first time
anyone can remember, the Zany police
locked up a Zany lawmaker. If that wasn’t enough, the magistrates’ court
then refused to release the Zany lawmaker on bail.
This startling development angered many of the richer socialists in the Zany
Party — and there are a good many of them.
Actually, almost all urban Zany socialists are rich because the poor ones
have been dumped on farms that once belonged to wealthy capitalists who were
largely not members of the Zany Party.
Meanwhile, the jailed Zany socialist businessman applied further pressure to
the cash-strapped government by appearing in court wearing prison clothes.
Many troubled central Africans complained this was an unnecessary use of
resources because just last year the Zany socialist boasted that he had 500
suits of his own.
A man with 500 suits generally finds prison conditions difficult, but then
everyone finds prison conditions difficult in the troubled central African
Still, Over The Top can dispel one rumour. Talk of the Zany lawmaker wanting
to experience jail because he was suffering from penal envy is untrue.
The Zany businessman, like all members of his party, had genuinely assumed
they could behave as they chose because the law applied only to members of
the More Drink Coming Party and anyone else who did not subscribe to the
lunatic teachings of the most equal of all comrades.
But political analysts point out the jailing of the Zany businessman does
not signify a new found philosophy of fairness in the ranks of what passes
for a police force in the troubled central African regime.
Instead they say it shows that the cake is getting smaller and the big
Zanies are starting to eat the little Zanies. And they are particularly
eager to eat the little Zanies who think they’re big, like the one
languishing in squalid conditions in a remand cell.
That particular Zany got too big for the 500 pairs of boots he presumably
owns to go with his 500 suits. As a result, bigger Zanies, who really do
have big boots, had him chucked in the box to consider whether owning fast
German motorcars and Italian suits was really such a good idea in the first
The clothes the Zany lawmaker was last seen wearing were probably designed
in St Mary’s, not Milan, while he was hauled to court in a decrepit old
Defender rather than a cabriolet.
Still, nothing lasts forever, and troubled central Africans are eagerly
waiting to see which Zany fat cat will be the next to be thrown into the
It is yet another manifestation of Zany economics. The less money there is,
the fewer the people who can share it … so the surplus people have to be put
somewhere where they can’t get their grubby little paws on the dosh. The
obvious place is behind bars.
Over The Top just wonders how they’re going to explain it all when the
company reports come out. No one is really going to believe he spent his
annual leave in the remand centre.
MDC to launch “Restart” plan
By our own Staff
THE opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) will launch its
much-awaited economic recovery programme at the end of this month. The MDC
programme, called Restart, is believed to offer more and better solutions to
the country’s troubled economy.
Restart, which stands for reconstruction, stabilisation, recovery and
transformation is to launched on January 29 in Harare.
This follows its adoption by the party’s key organisations at
the MDC second
annual conference held last month. The five-year programme, which will run
through 2008, has been designed to tackle the economic crisis through a
comprehensive five-year programme of fully co-ordinated fiscal, monetary,
exchange rate, sectoral and trade policies.
MDC secretary for economic affairs Tendai Biti told StandardBusiness that
the 62-paged blueprint will launch his party’s industrialisation strategy,
which can provide rapid growth to the economy by creating higher income
urban employment as well as ensure a sustainable and equitable pattern of
Biti said the MDC — through Restart — was ready to tackle Zimbabwe’s
multi-faceted economic crisis. He said the MDC had the will and the vision
to begin the difficult task of reversing Zimbabwe’s economic slide
characterised by six years of negative Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth
“We have completed Restart and we are proud of what we have done,” Biti told
The Zimbabwean economy is in its seventh year of economic recession
characterised by acute shortages of foreign exchange, energy, basic
commodities and spares for industry and commerce.
The economic crisis is expected to worsen unless the government introduces
urgent measures to redress the situation that include getting back into the
good books of international lenders such as the IMF and the World Bank,
arresting inflation — now estimated to be over 600% — and dramatically cuts
down on spending.
Given the nature of Zimbabwe’s economic crisis, the MDC says macro-economic
stabilisation has to be given high priority.
However, Biti said macro-economic stabilisation is not an end in itself but
a means to achieve the restoration of positive economic growth, employment
creation and the reduction and eventual elimination of poverty in the
“This effort is a major restart after more than two decades of ZANU PF’s
misrule characterised by dirigism, corruption and application of
inconsistent half-baked policies,” says the MDC.
The MDC has said the Zimbabwean economy has degenerated to reflect traits
that are only found in economies of failed states due either to war or such
serious economic arson, thus it requires major surgery.
Economic commentators who have gone through the MDC blueprint said the
five-year programme provides the critically needed medicine to heal Zimbabwe
’s ailing economic situation.
“It is a properly co-ordinated programme because the document points out the
state of the economy and proffers solutions,” said a local economist who
Zimbabwe has an estimated US$3,8 billion foreign debt, a $700 billion
domestic debt and other foreign obligations of US$2 billion.
Owing to these outstanding payments, international development partners
among them the IMF and the World bank, have blacklisted Harare into the
ranks of rogue states.
Airline charges threaten Zim’s trade with Angola
By our own Staff
ZIMBABWE’S trade with US-dollar rich Angola could be impeded following the
recent hike of rates levied on cargo and excess baggage upon landing in
Luanda by Angolan Airlines, it has been established.
In a notice, Antonio de Sa’e Vasconcelos, Angolan Airlines’ manager for
Zimbabwe and Zambia said effective this month, his airline — which offers
the only direct flights into Luanda — would be increasing rates charged on
cargo and excess baggage by 36,4% and 33,3% respectively.
Rates on cargo that
is handled at Luanda International Airport has been
increased to $5 500 per kg from $3 500 whilst excess baggage now attracts
$15 000 per kg up from $10 000 levied last year.
Zimbabwe’s exports to oil rich Angola over the past six years included
cigarettes, unmanufactured tobacco, sugar, furniture, eggs, footwear,
electrical goods and wines, among other goods.
However, the volume of goods into Angola is likely to be affected by the new
The new requirements are also likely to hit hard six new Zimbabwean
companies who recently joined the list of exporters to Angola by registering
under the Luanda Trading House.
The six are Delta Corporation, ART Corporation, textile firms Linkmaster and
Revival Fabrics, MG Distributors and Meyerton Enterprises.
“It is becoming more costly to go to Angola,” said Zimtrade chief executive
Chawasarira said increased demand for Zimbabwean products and goods in
Angola could explain the increases on rates charged by the airline.
An official with Angolan airlines, who became hostile when conducted by
StandardBusiness, could not disclose the reasons for the price hikes.
The Zimtrade boss however said Zimbabwean companies are yet to fully explore
the Angolan market, two years after Zimtrade opened a trading centre in
He said stringent pre-shipment requirements on exports to Angola and
restrictive duty, are retarding the pace of Zimbabwean companies into
Angola and Zimbabwe are both members of the SADC and COMESA such that trade
between the two should be easier.
Zimbabwean exports to Angola have been tumbling since 1998 from US$4,5
million to US$841 000 in 2001, according to Zimtrade’s latest trade
The way I see it...
Sundaytalk with Pius Wakatama
THESE are indeed exciting days in Zimbabwe. I have had quite a bit of
pressure from family and friends to leave the country for better pastures
elsewhere, especially after I was arrested for “publishing falsehoods.”
But, I would rather be in Zimbabwe at this time than anywhere else on earth
because apart from being home this is where the action is. Things are really
Who would ever have thought
that someone like the wealthy, flamboyant,
powerful, tough talking, boastful, wheeling and dealing Zanu PF stalwart
like Phillip Chiyangwa would appear in the government Press in handcuffs and
be locked up in police cells for several days.
The way I see it, things are changing fast and Zimbabwe will never be the
same again. Come to think of it, could President Mugabe have had a hidden
meaning when, at the Zanu PF conference last year, he referred to Philip
Chiyangwa as “tsuro magen’a.” In Shona this means a wily and fast rabbit. He
then said, “Mumwe musi tsuro akasiiwa na kamba,” meaning that one day the
tortoise overtook the rabbit.
Yes my friends, tsuro magen’a is in real trouble. From the looks of things,
it is not only Zanu PF provincial chairman Phillip Chiyangwa who is in
trouble. The way I see it, it is going to be another Willowgate all over
again. Some chefs, big and small, are going to fall. At present the focus is
on corruption in the financial sector. As I see it, this is just the
beginning of a big clean-up exercise that old jongwe has embarked on. No one
is going to be spared. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
When Dr Gedion Gono was appointed to head the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, I
was my usual pessimistic self. I called his appointment a mirage. It seems
as though for the first time in my writing career, I may have to eat my
words as well as a big chunk of humble pie. The guy is serious. Not that I
ever doubted his sincerity and integrity. I just had no faith in the
political environment in which he was called upon to act. I refused to
believe that our rather archaic and intransigent political leadership would
give him the lee-way to make real changes and to read the riot act as he has
done even if it means the demise of some Zanu PF chefs. After all, former
finance minister, Simba Makoni just mentioned devaluation and the need to
engage the international financial institutions and he was called a saboteur
and kicked out by none other than the President himself.
We were used to the idea that in Zanu PF real economic reform and regard for
the law and the evils of corruption were only to be talked about as
something bad but not to be seriously acted upon.
We were used to the idea that whatever President Mugabe pronounced at any
time, even in the heat of the moment, at anytime including emotion charged
political rallies, was to be accepted as the law of the Medes and Persians
which could not be questioned or changed. What has now brought about the
change we are witnessing today.
President Mugabe said clearly that Zimbabwe was going to follow in the
footsteps of Malaysia and “to hell with IMF and the World Bank.” However, in
his policy statement his blue eyed boy, Gideon Gono, Governor of the Reserve
Bank, alluded to our going back to the same financial institutions and
nothing happened to him.
When I read the Business Herald of 17 December, 2003, I feared for the
business editor Victoria Ruzvidzo. Her headline read: “Vital to re-engage
Even though most of the stuff in her article was attributed to named and
unamed analysts and business representatives, she was going against the Zanu
PF stance as stated by the President. She said: “Zimbabwe should devise
strategies to ensure that it meets its financial obligations to the
international Monetary Fund and harmonise relations between the country and
the Bretton Woods Institutions.”
The Business Herald also quoted economic consultant Jonathan Kadzura as
saying it would be important to re-engage the IMF and stressing the need to
normalise the situation on the ground first. This, of course, is an
admission that our present situation is abnormal.
Kadzura further said: “We should live like a normal country. It is
important, in my view, that before we can engage the international
community, we should put our house in order (implying that it is out of
order), particularly on the land issue.”
Kadzura went on to say that the police force needed to be given enough
support to instil discipline on issues to do with the land and that all
culprits, including government ministers, would face the wrath of the law if
need be. If they (IMF) see that we are doing something and if they see the
correct signals, they will respond positively, so the crucial thing is that
let us get our house in order first.
This is really, Praise God, Hallelua, stuff isn’t it?
The question is: what has happened for the Presidency to allow all this
deviation from our usual national sovereignty and anti-imperialist mantras?
The truth is our President has seen the light but it did not blind him as it
did to Apostle Paul on the road to Damascus.
Even if he hasn’t seen the light, he is pragmatic enough to realise that the
pressure upon him to face reality can only be ignored at his own personal
peril as well as sacrificing the future of Zimbabwe.
President Mugabe is now where Ian Smith was when South Africa bluntly told
him the real facts regarding his situation. Thabo Mbeki, the South African
President, who is the only friend he has left, has leaned over backwards to
accommodate him. Now he has to make it crystal clear that he is not going to
allow himself to compromise his own position of integrity and the future of
South Africa on account of errant Zimbabwe.
Already he is facing massive opposition to his support of Zimbabwe from the
powerful ANC ally, COSATU, which supports the labour conceived opposition
MDC, the opposition parties, civil society and the churches led by
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the respected cleric. Probably, his mentor, Nelson
Mandela, the beloved former South African President also whispered into his
ear to leave Mugabe alone.
This is how I see it. If President Gabriel Mugabe is resolute, cleans up the
place, negotiates with the MDC about a new constitution and elections, has
the likes of Gideon Gono and Simba Makoni to take over from his crew then
Morgan Tsvangirai and the opposition MDC will have a real run for their
money at the next elections.
However, knowing the corrupt and inept leadership that Mugabe tolerated in
Zanu PF, I am confident to go on record as saying the demise of the powerful
Zanu PF will be sealed. However, President Mugabe will be able to retire
honourably at his Zvimba home and Zimbabwe will rise again.
He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
Byo parents fume over fees hikes
By Wilson Dakwa
WHEN Zimbabwean schools closed last term, 17-year-old Joseph Moyo was a
worried young man. Unlike other holidays which he normally welcomed with
anticipation, this time around his mood was one of pensive gloom.
Joseph, a lower sixth form student at a secondary school in Bulawayo, had
every reason to be glum. His school had just informed him that school fees
had been hiked from $300 000 to $1,1 million dollars a term.
He was no longer optimistic of his future, as he knows very
well that his
father, a vegetable vendor with six other children to look after, would not
be able to afford such fees.
He says he sees his dream of attaining university education and proceeding
to become a doctor going up in smoke. What he fears most is to end up a
vegetable vendor like his father.
His plight is shared by thousands of pupils and parents in Bulawayo and
elsewhere in the country who have found themselves having to grapple with
the recent dramatic hike in school fees.
Most schools in Bulawayo — including private, mission and
government-supported ones — recently increased their fees sometimes by as
much as 500 percent citing the rise in the cost of maintaining the schools.
Some schools have increased their fees to $2 million per term, while others
have gone up from $100 000 to $500 000 per term.
Hardest hit are parents with children who are boarders who now have to pay
millions of dollars not only for school fees, but for uniforms and food.
Schools such as Christian Brothers’ College are now charging $1, 4 million
per term while government schools like Evelyn Girls High charge $470 000 per
The latest increases in school fees have been described by parents and
academics as unrealistic.
To compound the situation, the increases in school fees come at a time when
Zimbabweans are reeling under economic hardships which include shortages of
food, fuel and almost every basic commodity.
Some parents in Bulawayo say they have no choice but to pull their children
out of school.
“We are fighting day and night to make ends meet and how do they expect us
to pay something like $2 million per term … this is madness. All this goes
to show that this government has failed dismally to run the education system
in this country,” said Joel Dziva, a parent in the city.
A representative of the Bulawayo United Residents’ Association, Themba
Sibanda described the charging of fees ranging between $500 000 and $1
million as “scandalous”.
Said Hozheri: “We have a situation where thousands of grandmothers in
Zimbabwe are looking after orphaned children whose parents have died of
Aids. How does one expect these people to raise such an amount?”
Sibanda, who is also president of a non-governmental organisation, Children
of Africa Development Initiative, which looks after 3 000 orphans, said his
organisation would find it difficult to raise fees for its children.
Consumer Council of Zimbabwe regional manager for Matabeleland and the
Midlands, Comfort Muchekete, said the fees’ increases were a mockery of the
government’s call for education for all.
Thompson Tsodzo, the Secretary for Education, has however warned schools
against charging high fees without the government’s permission.