Thu 19 January 2006
HARARE - Several of Zimbabwe's cash-strapped public schools are now
requesting pupils to bring along chairs and desks from home or they will
have to sit on the floor, ZimOnline has established.
In yet another example of how Zimbabwe's state education sector has
dramatically collapsed under the weight of the country's six-year economic
crisis, school authorities ask parents of newly-enrolled pupils to "donate"
a chair for their child because the school cannot provide one.
Alternatively parents are asked to pay a "donation" to the school which then
uses the money to buy a chair for their child.
School authorities cannot increase fees to include the cost of chairs and
desks or openly demand parents to pay extra cash for the purchase of
furniture after the government imposed a cap on fee and levy hikes. Schools
can only receive extra cash from parents if it is donated.
For example, in a circular to parents the headmaster of Blackstone Primary
School in Harare, a Mr A T Muzariri, asks parents to come to the school to
donate chairs for their children.
"I once again, appeal to all parents to come to the school immediately and
pay for their child's chair. Your donation of a chair to the school is
greatly appreciated," the circular reads in part.
According to the circular, the price for an infant chair suitable for Grades
1-3 pupils costs $1 684 284 while a standard chair for Grades 4-7 age groups
costs $2 205 690.
Blackstone, located in Harare's well-to-do Avenues area, was once a
whites-only school before independence in 1980 and is regarded as one of the
top primary schools in the capital.
But it has since lost all the shine after years of under-funding and like
all government schools lacks everything from textbooks to toilet paper for
Parents with children at other government schools also confirmed they were
being asked to buy furniture, textbooks and even chalk for teachers.
"Basically, on top of paying school fees we still have to donate everything
the school needs for the term and you wonder what they use the fees for if
we still have to donate money for chalk," said a parent, as he shopped
around for textbooks for his daughter doing her second year of high school
education at Mufakose high school in the capital.
Education Minister Aeneas Chigwedere however defended school authorities who
ask parents to "donate" chairs and other equipment, saying there was nothing
wrong with parents assisting schools at a time the government was unable to
do so because it faced many challenges.
"The schools belong to the parents. They are duty bound to help their
respective schools. I don't see anything wrong," said Chigwedere.
But the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe, one of two teachers'
representative bodies in the country, said while parents' help was welcome,
the fact that school authorities were requiring parents to donate chairs or
their children would sit on the floor was testimony of the state of
disrepair at most public schools.
"It simply goes to show the extent of the chaos in the education sector,"
said Majongwe whose organisation has threatened to call a strike by teachers
in coming weeks for more pay.
Zimbabwean teachers on average take home between $2.5 and $5 million, when
according to the government's Central Statistical Office, an average family
of five people requires about $17 million for basic goods and services per
The collapse of Zimbabwe's public education sector - which together with the
health sector was an example of Mugabe's achievements since independence in
1980 - mirrors the state of near-total-collapse of the entire economy after
six years of a recession described by the World Bank as unseen in a country
not at war.
The economic crisis has spawned acute shortages of food, fuel, electricity,
essential medical drugs and just about every basic survival commodity
because there is no hard cash to pay foreign suppliers. - ZimOnline
Thu 19 January 2006
HARARE - Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, is in danger of having water supplies
disconnected, a development that analysts said would not only expose
residents to diseases but would also highlight the perils of political
meddling in management of cities by President Robert Mugabe's government.
Founded by British settlers in 1890, Harare developed over the years to
become one of Africa's model cities. But the city that once proudly called
itself the 'Sunshine City', has in the past few years leapt from crisis to
crisis as an acute cash crunch and interference in its affairs by the
government have derailed local government and management.
Signalling more woes for Harare, an official of the Zimbabwe National Water
Authority that supplies the city with water on Tuesday this week told the
press that the water authority could fail to supply water to the capital and
its satellites because of non-payment of debt accrued from previous
"We might get to a point where we may fail to supply water. It will be
impossible to supply," said the official.
Recently, a cholera outbreak was reported in the city which led to the
closure of Mbare Musika, the largest market for fresh farm produce in the
country but farmers say the temporary location is even worse. Water cuts
would simply worsen the situation as more residents are forced to resort to
unprotected community wells for drinking water.
Analysts told ZimOnline that Harare was a ticking time bomb, which if not
carefully addressed would soon explode putting all residents at risk of
multiple epidemics of infectious diseases such as cholera, typhoid and
For example, they noted that water tanks at the city's Morton Jeffrey water
treatment plant have not been cleaned for five years and sludge has risen to
one metre and that residents regularly complain that water from their tapes
sometimes comes out with algae.
"A fish starts to rot from the head and that is precisely what we have
because it is the capital city that has collapsed," Harare consultant
economist John Robertson said. He added: "The tale-tale signs of a
catastrophe are there for all to see.
"If you closely examine Harare's problems, they will go back straight to
government's door. The systems have broken down."
Mugabe's government has moved in to oust opposition mayors and councils, the
latest being the Executive Mayor of the country's third most populous city
of Chitungwiza, Misheck Shoko, who was suspended allegedly for misconduct
and for disobeying government instructions.
But political analysts insist that the suspension of Shoko is only part of a
wider scheme by Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF party to regain political
control and influence in major cities where they failed to dislodge the main
opposition Movement for Democratic Change party through elections.
Besides Shoko the government, which claims it has only acted against
councils to protect residents, has over the past three years also dismissed
the mayors of Harare and Mutare who were all members of the MDC.
The analysts said whatever the motive of the government, its constant
meddling in local authority affairs and its knack for imposing commissions
that are not accountable to residents, plus a lack of cash has worsened the
plight of urban residents.
For example, in the case of Harare the state-appointed commission has
applied to borrow over $15 trillion to finance various city development
projects. But the analysts said the money is likely to go into a bottomless
pit chiefly because of lack of sound management and proper planning by the
commission and also because the state-appointed body does not have to
account for its actions to residents.
"While one understands the necessity for Harare to have funds, the way it
has managed its finances does not bring hope for residents," James Jowa, an
economist with a local financial institution said.
"I don't think anyone is confident that money will be used for its intended
But it is not only Harare that has to grapple collapsing infrastructure. In
fact, the state of decay in most cities and towns is only a reflection of
how the southern African nation's entire infrastructure is finally giving in
after six years of an unprecedented economic recession.
The economic crisis, which critics also blame on mismanagement by Mugabe's
government, has paralysed the country which is also facing rising
unemployment, and shortages of fuel and food. - ZimOnline
Thu 19 January 2006
HARARE - China on Wednesday gave Zimbabwe a US$50 million aircraft as
a "thank you" after Harare last year purchased two similar planes from the
Asian country to augment a depleted fleet at the embattled national
airliner, Air Zimbabwe.
The aircraft, a 50-60 sitter turboprop MA60, was handed over to
Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa at a ceremony at the Harare International
"It is an aircraft wholly developed by China itself which is a gift to
the people of Zimbabwe," said Zhang Xianyi, the Chinese ambassador to
Xianyi said the aircraft manufactured by CATIC, a Chinese firm which
has established an office in Harare, was a gift to Zimbabwe as promised when
Harare acquired two MA60 light aircrafts last year in a deal sealed between
President Robert Mugabe and his Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao.
"I wish the MA60 aircraft bring happiness and fortune to the
Zimbabwean people and the friendship between our countries and peoples last
for ever," said Xianyi. But the aircraft gift is unlikely to lift up the
fortunes of Air Zimbabwe, amid reports the struggling carrier is considering
retrenching some of its 2 000-member workforce to reduce costs and stay
The state-owned airline, that was already in deep financial problems
because of government interference and mismanagement, was hit hard by
Zimbabwe's isolation from the international community as bookings dropped as
tourists shunned the southern African nation because of reports of human
rights abuses and political violence.
As would be expected, Air Zimbabwe has embraced to the hilt the
government's new Look-East policy, under which Harare has sought to
strengthen political and business relations with the East after falling out
with traditional trading partners in the West.
But the results of the Look East policy have so far not been very
encouraging for the Zimbabwean airliner which last year set a new aviation
record when it flew a single passenger for 6 000km from Dubai to Harare.
However, Chinese companies of every description have reaped a windfall
from Mugabe's new policy with last year's US$100 million aircraft supply
deal only one of several such lucrative deals where Beijing-based firms have
received vast sums of money for supplying equipment, textiles and other
products to Zimbabwe.
This has prompted criticism of the new foreign policy with local
economists saying only China was benefiting while Zimbabwe was being turned
into yet another dumping ground for the Asian giant's overheating economy.
But officials in Harare and Beijing insist their relationship is of
mutual benefit to both.
Meanwhile, China has also donated 3 000 tonnes of yellow maize to
Zimbabwe to help the southern African country that is grappling hunger
threatening a quarter of its 12 million people. - ZimOnline
Thu 19 January 2006
MASVINGO - At least 500 villagers in Gonarezhou National Park have
vowed to resist attempts by the Zimbabwe government to evict them from the
area to pave way for the multi-billion dollar Great Limpopo Transfrontier
The villagers moved into the wildlife sanctuary from the nearby
Chikombedzi communal lands at the height of farm invasions endorsed by
President Robert Mugabe's government six years ago.
The proposed Great Limpopo Tansfrontier Park will see Gonarezhou,
South Africa's Krugger and Mozambique's Limpopo national parks merge into a
giant sanctuary to boost tourism in the three countries.
But before the project can begin, the Zimbabwe government must, among
other things, first remove the illegal settlers in the park.
A spokesman for the settlers, Naison Chirilele, told ZimOnline on
Wednesday that they will resist government efforts to evict them from the
"We invaded this farm in 2000. We will resist any orders to vacate
the park unless we are given land and money to relocate elsewhere.
"We are prepared to fight to keep our land because this is a clear
case of discrimination. Some people who invaded farms like us have long been
given land and we question: Why remove us only?"
Contacted for comment, Tourism Minister Francis Nhema said his
ministry was forging ahead with plans to establish the park and would leave
the issue of the eviction of the villagers to the responsible ministry.
"The responsible ministry has to deal with the evictions. We have made
positive moves towards the establishment of the Great Transfrontier Park. We
have secured foreign funding to build lodges.
"We as government have explained to the settlers the importance of the
park and I do not think there is a problem (with the villagers)," said
Zimbabwe's tourism sector, among the country's biggest foreign
currency earners before the land invasions, is in the doldrums after
tourists mainly from Western countries shunned the country because of
political violence and repression by Mugabe. - ZimOnline
January 18 2006 at 03:24PM
Harare - At least 15 Zimbabweans are feared drowned after they were
swept away by the Limpopo River as they tried to cross illegally into South
Africa, the state-run Herald reported on Wednesday.
The incident happened on Friday last week in the Dite area, 60km from
Beitbridge border post, the newspaper said.
A 17-member underwater team from the South African police and two
helicopters scoured the area on Tuesday to look for bodies, Zimbabwe police
spokesperson Bethel Magora said.
South African police believe as many as 18 border jumpers may have
perished, though their Zimbabwean counterparts put the casualty figure at
"Right now it is a bit difficult to confirm the incident as we are
still in the preliminary stages of our investigations and again nobody has
been retrieved as of now," Magora said.
Anxious villagers from Dite told the Herald that they believed some of
their relatives were among the casualties.
With inflation running at 586 percent and the looming prospect of food
shortages, life is getting harder for most ordinary Zimbabweans.
Growing numbers try to sneak into neighbouring South Africa to look
for jobs and money. Some try to get employment on farms in Limpopo Province,
according to recent reports.
South Africa deported around 97 000 illegal Zimbabwean immigrants last
year. The Herald said many Zimbabweans try to re-enter South Africa after
they have been deported.
The Limpopo River is a particularly dangerous crossing point. At this
time of year it is flooded and infested with crocodiles.
Last week, a suspected border jumper from Zimbabwe died after he was
shot in the leg by a South African soldier patrolling the border. - Sapa-dpa
From George Nyathi in Bulawayo
18 January 2006
The Zimbabwe Conservation Taskforce (ZCT) has castigated the Zimbabwe
National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZPWMA) for bureaucratic
tendencies it claims have contributed to the death of a number of animals at
the Hwange National Park in Matabeleland North. This follows a serious stand
off between the taskforce and the authority over a donation made to the
latter by international donors via the former.
The donation includes tyres and engines for some of the authority's
vehicles, said to have been grounded for long, and engines and spare parts
for water pumps as well as other materials. ZCT chairperson, Johnie
Rodrigues told SW Radio Africa in Bulawayo that the donation was still at
his association's offices as the authority was refusing to accept it. He
said that the authority's director general, Morris Mtsambiwa had written
letters to all departmental heads at the park instructing them not to
entertain the association's members.
'We have tried all we can to have that donation sent to the park but
we have failed to do so. We understand that the authority's
director-general, Morris Mtsambiwa has written to all senior wardens at the
park instructing them not to entertain us. 'We find it really strange that
this situation has come to this end,' said Rodrigues.
He added that the equipment was from a donor who appreciated the
problems faced by the authority, adding that it was meant to save wildlife
from perishing in case of drought. Rodrigues said: 'The Parks and Wildlife
Authority has been faced with a critical shortage of parts for both the
vehicles and water pumping engines. Their vehicles have been grounded for
some time and we had sourced this donation to help them solve the crisis.
'It is surprising now that they are declining to accept the donation
that we wanted to make to them. One thing has to be borne in mind is that
this is not all about personal or organizational benefits but simply for the
animals that might perish in case water problems come again,' said
Recently, the association and the authority have been at loggerheads
over the utterances that the latter suspects are aimed at drawing
retribution from wildlife advocacy groups such as World Wildlife Forum
Rodrigues said the donors had pledged to support the parks with a US
500 000 ($45 billion) investment into infrastructural development at the
A further $2 billion was readily available to the park's authority as
soon as they accept the donation.
Responding to our questions, the authority's public relations office
said they were ready to accept any donations that were forwarded to it
through 'normal channels'. He said: 'We have had situations where some
people go around the world claiming that they are raising donations on
behalf of the park and the authority so to speak, donations that are at the
end of the day pocketed by individuals.
'We have also encountered situations where some people deceitfully
gain entry into the park and dump equipment there on the pretext that they
are donating to the authority and the park. At the end of the day, we are
asked about donations that we did not even receive,' said a statement from
The statement further added that the authority had informed the
taskforce leadership of its concerns, adding that the taskforce was supposed
to write to its director general about the donation.
'We accept any donations that come to us on condition that they come
through the right channels. What we want to make clear to that organization
is that they should write to the director general and inform him about the
donation. In that way we won't encounter these problems that we are facing
with this organization,'
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
CAPE TOWN, Jan 18 (AFP)
The South African government on Wednesday held consultations with scientists
on a plan to lift a 10-year ban on elephant culling, seeking to inject some
cold hard science into an impassioned debate.
Environment and Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk met with 10 top
scientists who were to present evidence on the elephant conundrum facing the
"This is an enormously complex issue with a wide range of opinions that are
passionately advocated by various stakeholder groups," spokesman J.P. Louw
of the environment and tourism ministry said after the meeting.
"The minister has undertaken to consider all opinions carefully before
reaching a decision."
South Africa is considering lifting a 10-year ban on elephant culling to
prevent the pachyderm population from spiralling out of control and to
safeguard other species.
The problem is particularly acute in South Africa's largest and best-known
reserve, the Kruger National Park, where the elephant population is
increasing at a rate of seven percent a year, which means there will be some
20,000 elephants in 2012.
Elephant culling in Kruger started in 1967 and was halted in 1995 after an
outcry from animal rights groups. There are currently some 12,500 in the
park and between 14,000 and 15,000 countrywide.
But scientists participating in Wednesday's discussions said "there is no
compelling evidence to suggest the need for immediate, large-scale reduction
of elephant numbers in the Kruger National Park", according to a statement
issued by the ministry.
However, there is a need for the management of elephants in other parts of
the country, according to one of the scientists attending the meeting.
"We have also agreed that in other places there may be a need to manipulate
ways they (elephants) use their space and interact with biodiversity," said
Rudi van Aarde of the University of Pretoria.
South Africa's national parks service contends that the elephant population
must be brought under control to protect vegetation and other wildlife, and
also to safeguard communities bordering Kruger Park who have been harassed
by the amimals.
The environment and tourism ministry announced in September that it was
considering lifting the ban but would first consult the public and other
players before taking any action.
The move drew criticism from some animal rights and conservationists who
argued that options other than the slaughter of elephants, one of the "Big
Five" animals, should be considered.
Two groups said Wednesday that they were disappointed with the makeup of the
scientific panel that they charged were pro-culling.
"Our concern about this meeting is: will it be a discussion on how to cull
or will they look at whether culling is necessary," spokeswoman Michele
Pickover of Xwe African Wildlife told AFP.
"The meeting is composed with the pro-culling lobby. There were a lot of
international scientists who were meant to come to this meeting," said
spokesman David Bilchitz of the group Elephants Alive.
"We think the department is under a lot of pressure to make a decision. We
call on the department to have another round where a full range of
scientists can be represented," said Bilchitz.
The 10 scientists from South Africa and Zimbabwe were to debate evidence on
whether there are too many elephants, whether they are causing damage to
biodiversity, and look at which management options are the most appropriate.
Other consultations with scientists were expected to take place before a
final policy was to be drafted, the ministry said.
Besides culling, other population control measures would include capture,
translocation and contraception.
Sokwanele Report: 18 January 2006
Dumisani - not his real name - is a young man in his early 30's. He is but
one of the hundreds of thousands of victims of the Mugabe Tsunami,
officially called "Operation Murambatsvina" - another "moment of madness" in
which the dictator destroyed the homes and livelihoods of 700,000 of the
poorest of the poor, with severe consequences for another 2.4 million
Zimbabweans. Dumisani himself lost a wife, a home, and a source of
livelihood in that man-made disaster. Less tangibly but of no less
significance, he also lost his dignity as a human being and any hope for the
A clearly troubled Dumisani stands on the pavement outside a Bulawayo
Church, waiting to see his pastor who has been summoned from a meeting. In
his arms he carries the only thing he cares for in the world - his baby son,
Themba. The baby is a little under three months old, thin-faced, clearly
malnourished and restless in his father's embrace.
The Pastor emerges from the Church. Pastor Andrew - again not his real
name -greets Dumisani and enquires after the baby's state of health. Despite
the courtesy he can see well enough for himself the grim state of both
father and child. He has been their pastor ever since Dumisani and his late
wife were living at the Killarney informal settlement on the outskirts of
the city. Pastor Andrew has a vivid memory of that fateful day in June 2005
when Dumisani and his young wife, pregnant at the time, together with
hundreds of others were violently herded together like so many cattle by
Mugabe's uniformed thugs, who then torched their makeshift dwellings. On
that sad day the poor but once-contented community of Killarney was brutally
destroyed, the 1000 or so resident families ruthlessly dispersed.
Dumisani and his wife had been rescued by one of the Bulawayo churches that
bravely offered hospitality and a place of refuge to the displaced residents
of Killarney and Ngozi Mine. But that blessed tranquillity had lasted only
until midnight on July 21 when Mugabe's armed militia invaded the church
sanctuaries and violently abducted the startled victims. In the case of
Dumisani and his wife they were forcibly removed, first to a temporary
holding camp and then on to what became a squatter camp mid-way between
Pumula and St Peter's Village. There in the bitter cold of mid winter they
were abandoned by the state, without food, water, shelter or any provisions
whatsoever. And there, some months later, and in those wretched conditions
Dumisani's wife gave birth to their first child, Themba. Miraculously the
baby survived though, soon after the birth, Dumisani's wife finally
succumbed to the trauma and unremitting hardship.
Pastor Andrew knew all this well enough, as he could recall the plight of
countless others of his flock. What he did not know however was how the
young father had managed to protect and provide for the baby. Dumisani
explained. He himself was earning a few dollars a day by selling vegetables
on the streets. (Back in Killarney he had earned significantly more, as well
as having a modest home to call his own). His new life as a street vendor
however meant that he could not care for his infant son any more. He had
therefore come to an arrangement with another destitute Murambatsvina
victim, a young woman who agreed to care for Themba during the day in
exchange for a share in the pathetic daily meal purchased with his meagre
earnings as a street vendor. He had been coping said Dumisani until the
young stand-in mother had informed him that she was going back to her
ancestral home in Malawi. This news was the reason for his obvious
The compassionate pastor listens attentively to the tale of woe - not unlike
so many others he hears every day. Then he asks quietly, "What help do you
"Tell me what I should do, Pastor", says an anguished Dumisani. What indeed
should a young father do - a widower, homeless and destitute himself - with
a little baby, scarcely weaned, to care for?
A long conversation ensues between the pastor and the desperate parent. In
the end it is agreed that that Dumisani should take the baby to his
grandmother (Dumisani's own mother) to see if she can care for him. They
talk about an arrangement for a few months though both know it may continue
indefinitely. What resources Gogo (the grandmother) has and how many other
grandchildren she has already have taken on responsibility for, the pastor
dares not ask. The fact is there is no realistic alternative for Dumisani.
He cannot himself provide the care and nurture little Themba requires.
But where does Gogo live and how is Dumisani to reach her? Another problem
emerges at once because she lives at Buhera, more than 350 kilometres to the
east. The journey will cost well over a million dollars each way and of
course Dumisani has nothing to put towards it. Who will pay? Can the church
assist? Pastor Andrew is not sure if the much depleted reserves of his
church will be sufficient but he refers Dumisani to the secretary's office
to find out...
Such is the daily struggle to survive for Dumisani, Themba and countless
thousands like them in Zimbabwe. This is what it means to be so poor and
vulnerable that you lose control of your own life and are forced to rely
completely on others on a daily basis - assuming that is, someone will be
there for you. This is what it means to be one of the disempowered people of
Zimbabwe who have lost hope of any better future.
And, make no mistake, this is precisely what the dictator intends. A major
thrust of the Mugabe regime's socio-political programme of the last five
years has been the progressive disempowerment of the people of Zimbabwe.
From the chaotic land invasions orchestrated by ZANU PF in 2000 to what U.N
Secretary-General Kofi Annan called the "catastrophic injustice" of
Operation Murambatsvina in 2005, this has been the regime's one overriding
objective. In the most cynical and calculating manner the ruling elite has
first identified every section of the community thought to pose an immediate
or potential threat to its hold on power, and then systematically set about
disempowering that group. This has been ZANU PF's grand strategy.
In the year 2000 it was the turn of the farm workers. Justice for
Agriculture (JAG) estimates that prior to the land invasions some 350,000
workers were employed full-time and a further 250,000 as casual workers on a
seasonal basis on the commercial farms. They with their families numbered
about 2 million people which translated into close on 1 million votes. ZANU
PF was probably correct in supposing that the farm workers' employers were
largely MDC supporters and that they, the workers and their families, would
also tend to vote for the opposition. Hence the brutal and calculated
displacement of these people from the farms. At a stroke they became
unemployed and homeless and between 1.5 and 2 million people were added to
the list of destitute internally displaced persons. As Pius Wakatama wrote
in 2002 in a moving piece describing their plight,
they have become part of the 'wretched of the earth', described so
graphically by Franz Fanon. The only difference is that their wretchedness
is not caused by white xenophobia, but by the heartless cruelty and greed of
their own black brothers and sisters.
A section of the community who, on any reckoning, have made a major
contribution to the development and prosperity of the country, find
themselves displaced, disenfranchised and disempowered.
So it was again in 2005 with the victims of Operation Murambatsvina.
Accepting the figures of the U.N. Special Envoy Anna Tibaijuka whose
estimate has never been seriously questioned, this upheaval produced another
700,000 internally displaced people, without home or livelihood. Here was a
major segment of the population, this time drawn largely from the urban
centres in which the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)'s
influence was greatest, again displaced, disenfranchised and effectively
disempowered. Aware no doubt of the seething discontent at the increasing
hardships caused by their own misrule - aware also that popular revolutions
tend to start in the cities rather than in rural areas - ZANU PF moved
decisively to counter the perceived threat Never mind the appalling
suffering inflicted on so many of the poorest of the poor - in the final
analysis never mind the huge damage inflicted on their own already
besmirched reputation in the international community - it had to be.
According to the grand strategy it simply had to be in order to remove
another potential threat to ZANU PF's hold on power.
One can of course trace the same grand strategy all the way back to the
Gukurahundi genocide in the early 1980s. Aware that he could never hope to
win the willing support of those who had rallied behind the ZAPU leadership
both in the liberation struggle and subsequently, Mugabe took the action he
deemed necessary to neutralise the potential threat he saw from this
quarter. Never mind that it was to cost an estimated 20,000 lives and that
the barbarities perpetrated by his Fifth Brigade were to traumatise a whole
generation of those living in Matabeleland and the Midlands, it was a price
Mugabe was quite willing to pay in order to disempower those who might
otherwise have challenged his own supreme authority one day. And with the
so-called Unity Accord of 1987 the emasculation of ZAPU was complete.
The problem for Mugabe and his strategists has always been that as one
perceived threat to his rule has been removed so another has sprung up in
its place. "Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown" and, with apologies
to Shakespeare, we should perhaps rephrase that: "uneasy lies the paranoid
head that wears the stolen crown"! ZANU PF has therefore felt obliged to
attack, covertly if possible though openly if necessary, one group after
another in society. Just in the last few years, in addition to the millions
of farm workers and the urban poor, they have taken on teachers, students
and women's groups, to say nothing of a wide range of civic groups, the
whole trade union movement and the MDC. After 25 years of corrupt, elitist
and increasingly authoritarian rule the ruling ZANU PF clique finds itself
in a state of undeclared war with virtually the whole of civic society in
It is this essential fact that Zimbabweans must not lose sight of as they
battle the pervading sense of hopelessness resulting from the systematic
disempowerment of the population. Otherwise we shall be doomed to remain
helpless spectators before the unfolding tragic drama - the collapse of the
rule of law, meltdown of the economy and last dying spasms of the education
and heath-care systems. If we ever forget that we who oppose this
destructive tyranny are the majority - the vast majority - and that those
driving the nation to the edge of the precipice are a tiny, tiny minority,
we shall of course give up hope.
Frankly, this is where many Zimbabweans are today - without hope. They watch
the tragic drama moving into the final scenes with a sense of fatalistic
despair, not thinking for a moment that they have it in their own power to
avert the final tragedy and bring about some different outcome. They watch
like so many dazed spectators observing a national catastrophe, thinking
that only the too-long delayed death of the dictator or some spectacular
divine intervention might change the pre-determined ending. Yet in so doing
they overlook the elementary fact that they who oppose the trashing of
Zimbabwe are the vast majority.
Those who courageously fought against the Smith regime (that is the previous
dictatorship) did not forget. They knew that they were the majority and that
knowledge gave them untold strength. They knew that one day they would wear
down Smith-the-dictator and his minority forces, and sooner rather than
later, they did just that. By the same token we, black and white, Shona and
Nedebele, young and old, who oppose the new form of tyranny, know that one
day we shall wear down Mugabe-the-dictator and his small clique of
reactionary supporters. The future is ours, not his. The days of the
dictator are numbered. The future belongs to those who believe in - and yes,
are ready to sacrifice for - freedom, democracy and peace. One day Zimbabwe
will be a proud nation again, a nation not run for the exclusive benefit of
a small ruling elite but in which all the little people - including the
likes of Dumisani and Themba - will have a share in the sunshine of security
Mugabe has almost succeeded in creating a disempowered people whom he and
his chosen successor might keep in bondage for ever. Almost - but not quite.
For we know that WE ARE THE MAJORITY. What is more we have truth and justice
on our side. Therefore we know WE SHALL OVERCOME!
Anti-Mugabe protests in Bulawayo
Early on Monday 16 January on the approach roads to Bulawayo from the
western suburbs groups of protesters tried to turn the traffic back, away
from the city. Protesters were out on the roads from 7.00 a.m. at the time
when commuters are normally heading to work. On Luveve Road approaching the
high density suburb of Mzilikazi protesters were attempting to block the
traffic and stoning vehicles that would not stop or turn back. At the same
time they were chanting slogans such as "Mugabe must go". It is understood
that the protest may have been related to a letter that was circulating
covertly, urging workers to stay away from work when commerce and industry
would otherwise have returned to full strength after the Christmas and New
By 2.00 pm Monday the protesters had left the streets but for the rest of
that day and the day following a heavy police presence was noted in both the
city centre and the western suburbs. Riot police, armed and in full combat
gear, were observed patrolling the streets in large numbers.
Our enquiries have revealed that there were several other incidents of
youths throwing stones at passing vehicles in the western suburbs of
Bulawayo the previous week. The riot police again intervened to restore
order. It is not known if any of the protesters were arrested or charged.
The state media are yet to report any of the protest incidents.
28th December 2005
President Robert Mugabe,
Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces,
As the Commander-in- Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF), you are no
doubt acutely aware of the Constitutional provisions and the relevant Acts
of Parliament governing the conduct and operations of the Zimbabwe Defence
Forces (ZDF) and the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP).
There are neither constitutional nor legal provisions in either the
Constitution or the Defence Act and the Police Act which empower you to
transform these national institutions into combative political units of your
political party ZANU PF. Instead, in the Constitution and relevant Acts of
Parliament, an impregnable line is clearly drawn between the areas of
military operations and competence and those that are within the province of
competence of political and civic authorities. You are constitutionally and
legally bound to maintain and uphold that line.
Where that line is drawn is not a matter of interpretation, argument or
haggling. The line is cast in stone. To equivocate on this fundamental
principle is to overthrow a critical provision of the Constitution and
subvert the relevant Acts of Parliament.
The ZDF and the ZRP are specifically and explicitly barred from
participating in the politics and political processes of the country as
organized units with distinct political preferences operationalised in the
context of military and police formations aligned to a particular political
party. They can only participate in politics as individual private citizens
entitled to cast their votes in secrecy of the ballot box.
This line between military and political/civil matters is designed to ensure
the perpetuation of representative civilian government as opposed to the
imposition of an unrepresentative military junta. For the record, I have to
restate that we in the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) have committed
ourselves to this sacred principle and on numerous public occasions we have
stated that under an MDC government, the professional standing, hierarchy
and integrity of the Army and the Police will be jealously guarded. The Army
and the Police will be insulated from the negative effects of competitive
politics on their esprit de corps.
Tragically, the record of your regime displays a deliberate strategy to bend
the Constitution and warp the relevant Parliamentary statutes in order to
obliterate this critical separation between civilian and military affairs,
as a way to thwart and neutralize legitimate and peaceful democratic
political challenges. In the result, you have now created a civil-military
junta, which acts as an illegal bulwark against democratic political
opposition in general.
This is amply demonstrated by the undeniable fact that since 2001, you have
remained silent when senior members of the of the ZDF and ZRP officer corps
make public political pronouncements singling out the MDC as an enemy
political formation that must be destroyed, while at the same time, the same
officers profess unqualified allegiance to your political party, ZANU PF. In
December 2001, General Zvinavashe, then overall commander of the ZDF,
flanked by the commanders of the Zimbabwe National Army, Air Force, Police
and the Directors of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) and
Prisons, openly announced at a press conference, their partisan and
unqualified allegiance to your political party and their unflinching
hostility to the MDC, pointing out that they neither accepted an MDC victory
in the then forthcoming presidential poll nor were they to take orders from
or salute an MDC government and president respectively.
This was a clear announcement to rebel against a legitimate popularly
elected representative government should it come to power. It was a direct
threat to mount a coup d'etat against an MDC government should it come to
power. Again you remained silent in the face of the public pronouncements of
service commanders who had openly expressed their intention to negate the
popular will and overthrow the Constitution. As Commander-in-Chief of the
ZDF we can safely assume that they were acting under your direct orders. If
the opposite is true, why was there no action on your part? Is that the
legacy you want to bequeath Zimbabwe?
Zvinavashe's successor General Constantine Chiwenga reiterated the same
political position soon after his appointment; and subsequently Police
Commissioner Augustine Chihuri, made it abundantly clear in public that he
was an active member of your political party, ZANU PF; that members of the
ZRP who did not support ZANU PF should leave the force and that he himself
would not serve under an MDC government. This was an open invitation for the
police to rebel against a government, which would have been constitutionally
elected. Again you said and did nothing.
Recently, on December 12, 2005 while addressing a pass out parade at
Thornhill Air Force Base in Gweru, these insurgent and rebellious political
positions were given a sharper focus, renewed urgency and active intent by
Major-General Chedondo. Chedondo announced an operational instruction or
military order that the MDC must be destroyed and that I, Morgan Tsvangirai,
its leader must be regarded and treated as National Enemy No. 1. This cannot
be interpreted in any other way except as a call for the structural
destruction of a legitimate and legal political party, commanding the
allegiance of millions of Zimbabweans and the physical elimination of its
president and leadership. This was a more focussed and more direct threat to
the MDC as a peaceful democratic political party and the continued physical
existence of its leadership. Up to now, you have done nothing about the
Chedondo's clearly criminal pronouncements.
Is it your order and command that the Army and the Police should rebel
against any future government that does not emanate from ZANU PF? Is it also
your order that every other political party that aspires to and eventually
comes to power in Zimbabwe must be destroyed and its leadership physically
Let me say this to you for the record: A physical elimination of myself and
some of my colleagues in the MDC leadership will not solve your political
problems. If anything such a dastardly and cowardly act will definitely have
an incendiary and therefore totally destructive effect on the country. How
will history remember and judge you?
It is therefore quite clear that under your direct command, and under the
present ZDF and ZRP officer corps, the Army and the Police are being
transformed into organized armed combat units of your political party. You
are destroying the future political environment/terrain for democratic
politics and civilian rule in Zimbabwe. In fact, by your instigation you
have virtually destroyed the terrain for civilian competitive politics in
the country. It is not too late for you to alter the specific character of
the legacy that you will one day leave behind.
We are aware that your instructions as expressed by the officer corps of the
Army and the Police have not percolated to the lower levels of patriotic
ordinary soldiers and policemen and women, whose loyalty to the Zimbabwean
nation undoubtedly goes beyond narrow allegiances to political parties.
However, by pushing senior Army and Police officers into active politics,
you are creating a potentially dangerous and explosive situation, which
constitutes a serious threat to the future stability and integrity of the
You are no doubt aware that Africa is replete with examples of the
disastrous consequences of deliberately politicising the officer corps of
the army and the police and the bloody fractious outcome of that. Is this
the legacy you want to leave behind?
It is common knowledge that in addition to subverting the command structures
of the police and the army, your regime has transformed the CIO into an
intelligence wing of your political party, bend on harassing, brutalising
and murdering MDC supporters with impunity; while senior civil servants are
required, at the pain of severe sanctions, to be active and card carrying
members of your political party, engaging in ferocious political battles
against the MDC. These organs of the Zimbabwe public service are now
operating virtually as active partisan units of your political party in what
is supposed to be a civilian political contest between two civilian
political parties. It has become, instead, a contest between the civilian
political formation that I lead and the civil-military junta that you
We are well aware that this politicisation of the Army, Police, CIO and
Senior Civil Servants are a product of your desperate attempt to ruthlessly
quash all political opposition, both inside and outside your party, ahead of
your inevitable departure from office. This will enable you to craft,
engineer and implement an illegitimate succession plan to the position of
State President in which a hand picked successor will inherit your despotic
rule. We are further aware that this militarization of the political terrain
is intended to create a context in which you will use your party's contrived
two-thirds majority in the House of Assembly to once again tamper with the
Constitution and push the scheduled presidential poll from 2008 to 2010,
thereby nullifying the constitutional requirement for your handpicked
successor to seek a popular mandate to govern -- a mandate which you very
well know the people of Zimbabwe will never grant. You seem to be bent on
sacrificing the stability and integrity of the country on the altar of your
This particular policy of your regime and the current survival strategy of
your political party in the light of your inevitable exit from active
politics, are combining to usher in a visible and ominous threat to the
stability and integrity of the country. You are charting a disastrous path
for the future of the country. The people of Zimbabwe will continue to
resist any political formulae imposed on them solely in accordance with the
whims of your temper.
We make a minimal plea to you in the name of the people of Zimbabwe, to
abandon these games and let the people of Zimbabwe, at your expected
departure, choose a government and political leaders of their choice without
your interference and unwanted tutelage.
Cc: Chairman, African Union
Secretary General, United Nations
Institute for War and Peace Reporting
Impoverished students try to escape hardship and hunger by selling sexual
By Benedict Unendoro in Harare (AR No. 51, 19-Jan-06)
Young men in Zimbabwe are angry, very angry. They have lost their manhood,
and are liable to resort to anything in attempts to regain it. This - in
Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe - includes beating up their wives.
It's a few days before New Year and in the spirit of the festive season men
are carousing in a sports bar playing pool and watching European soccer on
pay TV. Despite the biting hardships endured in a country with the fastest
declining economy in the world, the mood in the pub (and the country as a
whole) is genial.
But the geniality is superficial. It masks a huge and simmering crisis that
is deeply affecting young men.
Joseph Bhobho is seated at the counter nursing a beer. He is neither
watching TV nor playing pool. Next to him is his friend Patrick Dube. They
are both young and intelligent and should have very bright futures, given
the level of their education. Both have just finished post-graduate studies.
"I think I should just go back home and beat the daylights out of her," said
Bhobho to Dube. A middle-aged man, also seated at the counter drinking a
beer, overhears him. From experience, he knows the young man is having a
domestic problem. And he asked, "What the hell is the matter?"
Bhobho is keen to talk. He tells of how he and his newly-wed wife went into
town that morning to do some shopping. They had passed through an internet
café to check their mail. His wife had opened her mail while he watched.
There, in front of him, was a message from her university lecturer. It read,
"I'm missing sex."
Bhobho, 26, is distraught. The middle-aged man offers sympathy because he
knows that prostitution in his country's institutions of higher learning is
virtually out of control.
There are two main reasons.
First, students, like millions of their countrymen, are going hungry on
campuses. Universities and colleges simply cannot provide enough food for
them. The government is broke and the meagre allowance it doles out to
students is not enough to supplement the miserable food provided, let alone
to buy books. Grant payments are frequently made months late because the
government is cash-strapped and inefficient.
Second, students feel they have to pass at all costs, even if it means
sleeping around with lecturers. According to a social studies lecturer at
Harare's University of Zimbabwe - where sexual harassment of women students
is rife - this has turned the whole concept of manhood upside down. "Young
women at campuses want men who can provide for them," she said. "They want
men who can supplement the little food provided on campus. They want men who
can take them to movies. They want men who can pay to have their hair done
at the hairdressers. They want men who make them feel like ladies."
Such men are known as "sugar daddies" and are deeply resented by other male
The social studies lecturer recalls a tragic incident not so long ago when
an impoverished female first year undergraduate, Tecla Tom, committed
suicide in a student hostel as an apparent way out of entrapment by a "sugar
She left a note for her husband, which said in part, "It does not matter,
Innocent, my husband, the time had come."
When students subsequently went on the rampage against the hold of sugar
daddies on women students, 20-year-old science undergraduate Batanayi
Madzidzi was beaten up and killed by police.
The massive economic crisis gripping Zimbabwe - with inflation approaching
600 per cent and eighty per cent of the population living below the poverty
line - has not spared the education system, and students are the chief
victims of the malaise.
"A real man is no longer judged on his potential," said the social studies
lecturer. "In our day we looked at the potential a male student had - what
he could do when he left
university. We looked at the degree programmes the young men were reading
and simply from that we chose our future husbands."
But the situation is completely differently now. "A 'real' man has to have
money, and money now," said the lecturer.
"Then there is the question of 'sex for exam and course work marks'."
Most of the country's talented lecturers have left the country for greener
pastures. The average age of their successors has dropped to below thirty.
Often people who have just completed their Master's degrees are immediately
co-opted into the system as assistant lecturers. They are poorly remunerated
and are very short on self-esteem. They know of no standards since they
themselves are products of a weakened education system.
"They will sleep with female students and pass them without any qualm," said
the social studies academic. "Like everyone else, female students just want
to get the hell out of university. They cannot contemplate being failed and
having to spend another year at the institutions."
So, she says, it is common practice for female students to have a sugar
daddy as well as a regular boyfriend. After finishing college, they quickly
want to erase the memory of the sugar daddy and marry the young boyfriend.
"But sometimes it is not easy to make the transition from the sugar daddy to
the boyfriend because the boyfriend is still a young man struggling to get
his feet squarely on the ground," she continued.
In Bhobho's case, his wife is still a Master's degree student, and that
gives him sleepless nights. "I've already paid 120 million Zimbabwe dollars
(USD 1500) in lobola (bride price), and I deserve respect," he told his
older fellow drinker. "But look at the messages her lecturer is sending her.
It means she is sleeping around with him."
Nor are male students exempt from prostitution. They hang around with "sugar
mummies" - older women who are either divorced or widowed but who have the
means to maintain a "toy boy".
"It is common for older women to drive into campus and pick up these young
men. The situation is desperate," said the social studies lecturer.
"Campuses have become the epicentres of the spread of diseases such as
There are wider social consequences. Increasingly, young men are unwilling
to marry college graduates and the divorce rate among graduate couples has
The toy boys have become social misfits and rarely socialise with young
women of their age. With AIDS rife in Zimbabwe, affecting an estimated
quarter of the population aged 15 to 49, their sugar mummies are often
HIV-positive, and the boys themselves are left to die lonely deaths from
AIDS after the women have passed away.
There is no easy answer for Bhobho. His friend, Patrick Dube, says he has
been luckier than his friend, "I introduced my girlfriend to my family when
we were still kids and both our families saw us through college. We never
really had any reason to prostitute ourselves."
But until the economic and political situation changes and parents can earn
enough money to give their children decent allowances, the decline in
education standards and the high level of prostitution among Zimbabwe's
students will continue.
Benedict Unendoro is the pseudonym of an IWPR contributor in Zimbabwe.
Institute for War and Peace Reporting
Political graffiti surges in popularity because of the crackdown on nearly
every other means of expression.
By Dzikamai Chidyausiku in Harare (AR No. 51, 19-Jan-06)
A few streets away from Robert Mugabe's heavily guarded official residence
is a wall painted with screaming red graffiti telling Zimbabwe's president
that "At 80, it's time to go".
Mugabe - who will actually celebrate his 82nd birthday next month with a
multi-million dollar bash - passes the scarlet advice almost daily as he is
driven in his huge heavily-armed motorcade to his ruling ZANU PF party
headquarters in the city centre.
Other graffiti insulting the president and ZANU PF have multiplied recently
on walls in Harare and other major cities and towns. Along a street named
after the president himself, a dissident artist has scrawled, "Mugabe is a
With nearly all avenues of protest closed, Zimbabweans frustrated by the
Mugabe regime use graffiti to express their anger with the system. The words
on the walls are a clear indication that the majority of the people in the
towns and cities are completely fed up with the ruling party and yearn for
Graffiti writing started off as a minor case of delinquency common to all
the world's urban centres, but in Zimbabwe it has blossomed into a major
form of protest and self-expression for people who find themselves with
fewer liberties with each passing day.
So popular has this type of protest become that nearly every wall along the
streets of Harare is painted with graffiti. Some hurls insults at the
president's young wife, Grace, known as "The First Shopper" for the way she
spent huge amounts of money in the top boutiques of London, Paris and New
York before Britain, France and the United States banned her and her husband
from entering their countries. Grace, a former secretary, was once
photographed at Singapore's Changi International Airport with fifteen
trolley-loads of exotic foods and electronic goods at a time when the World
Food Programme said half the Zimbabwe population was starving.
But mostly the writings implore the president to leave office for the sake
of the country. For example, along Samora Machel Avenue, named after
Mozambique's first president, the slogans say minimally, "Please go." And as
the democratic space continues to shrink, the activists have become more and
more fearless and cunning, even painting walls only a few metres away from
State House, Mugabe's heavily guarded residence.
When underground activists were campaigning to stop England, Australia and
New Zealand playing matches in Zimbabwe during the 2003 Cricket World Cup,
they targeted a wall less than 50 metres from State House. The guards rubbed
them out overnight, but in the course of the following night the graffiti
reappeared. The slogans included, "Mugabe has killed this country", "Never
trust ZANU PF" and "Mugabe's hands are full of blood."
Mugabe finally put a stop to the graffiti writing by putting a 24-hour armed
guard on the wall.
But since then the messages conveyed by the graffiti have grown angrier and
stronger - and multiplied on road signs, advertising billboards and in
toilets, as well as on walls.
Chirikure Chirikure, one of Zimbabwe's most popular poets and songsters,
believes the graffiti is a sign of people trying to communicate their pain
to both the leadership and the rest of the public. "It is an expression of
anger, pain and at times dialogue," he said. "For myself, staying silent is
impossible, even though protest poets get assaulted by government thugs at
public readings. I have to speak out. It is my duty to my people."
Chirikure said that although graffiti had its origins in Ancient Rome and
was revived in the inner cities of modern America, Zimbabweans have woken up
to its effectiveness as a means of protest in a country where street
demonstrations are illegal and ruthlessly suppressed. "It has become a voice
for the voiceless," he said.
The graffiti increasingly takes the form of an exchange of ideas, with other
graffiti artists responding to earlier slogans. "That is the dialogue that
the people are yearning for," said the poet. "They used to write letters to
the papers, but now that those papers have been closed they have turned to
Graffiti writers, who face up to five years imprisonment if caught going
about their work, say they hope their art will help convey to the outside
world the desperate state of the nation, where millions are hungry and
jobless, where inflation is touching 600 per cent and unemployment 80 per
cent. Its beauty is that it is one of the few types of art that the
government finds difficult to control and censor.
ZANU PF has tried, though without success, to counter the graffiti either by
rubbing it off or writing counter-messages, which suggests that the critical
graffiti is unnerving the regime. British premier Tony Blair is a favourite
target of Mugabe's graffiti teams.
Graffiti has become so widespread because of the crackdown on nearly every
other means of expression. Mugabe's government has closed four newspapers
since 2002. The state has also promulgated laws that outlaw public meetings
and street demonstrations without permission from the police. Several
citizens have been arrested for criticising the president in public.
Critical plays have also been censored. Dave Guzha, a leading theatre
producer and playwright, said the emergence of graffiti "is a sign that the
people are desperate to
say something to the Establishment".
Guzha has had his plays censored or banned. One satirical work, Super
Patriots and Morons, was outlawed in the middle of last year's Harare
International Festival of Arts. It pokes fun at an iron-fisted African head
of state who is intolerant of opposition and sees all dissenters as enemies
and "neo-imperialist stooges" who have to be "eliminated". Mugabe's ban
ensured that the play would enjoy international success, including rave
reviews at the Edinburgh International Festival
Guzha said Zimbabwe's crumbling economy and the withdrawal of funds from
cash-strapped donors has forced many artists, for whom graffiti has become a
vital outlet, onto the streets. More than 330 community theatre groups have
shut down over the past three years. "For me, graffiti is filling the gap
left by newspapers, musicians, theatre groups and street demonstrations,"
The art of graffiti has also been institutionalised by underground
opposition groups who use it to protest against the regime. One particularly
active subversive group, Zwakwana, Shona for "Enough is Enough", has become
the leader in this type of protest. Zwakwana now has a website and also
prints dissident pamphlets which are widely distributed.
Zwakwana has also produced a CD of anti-Mugabe and anti-government protest
songs, while the authorities themselves have cracked down hard and
tirelessly on dissenting musicians. Thomas Mapfumo, Zimbabwe's best-known
musician, who achieved fame singing protest songs against pre-independence
white rule, is now in exile in the USA after being hounded out by the
Mapfumo was banned from the airwaves of the four state-controlled radio
stations for his new flood of critical songs, including the wildly popular
and regionally famous "Mamvemve", a Shona word that translates as "tatters".
In Mamvemve, Mapfumo sings, "The country you used to cry for is now in
tatters. Let's get out of here. The country you used to cry for is now run
Mapfumo, who now lives in Oregon with his family, said it was easier to get
his protest songs played in the days of the former white Rhodesian
government. "Today we have a black government and it's even worse," he said.
"You are trying to tell the people the truth, what is happening in their
country, and somebody is trying to shut you down. Everything [the government
says] is just propaganda. They are trying to fool the people."
Those dissident musicians that remain in Zimbabwe like Leonard Zhakata,
Portia Gwanzura and Raymond Majongwe, the target of a botched assassination
attempt last year by government agents, have also been censored and are not
played on the national radio stations.
Musicians willing to become Robert Mugabe's praise singers are heard
endlessly on government-controlled radio. In one such song, singer Tambaoga
complains about Tony Blair's alleged efforts to recolonise Zimbabwe. Since
the British leader's surname also happens to be the brand name of
rudimentary pit toilets common across rural areas, Tambaoga suddenly
switches out of Shona to sing his punch line in English, "The only Blair I
know is a toilet." The joke used to amuse even those who hated Mugabe, but
has now worn thin.
Dzikamai Chidyausiku is the pseudonym of an IWPR contributor in Zimbabwe.
The Herald (Harare)
January 18, 2006
Posted to the web January 18, 2006
HARARE City Council owes the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) a
staggering $119 billion in unpaid water bills -- a situation which could
result in the disconnection of supplies to the city and its satellite towns.
Zinwa voiced concern that if Harare did not pay the money on time, it could
result in the failure to buy water treatment chemicals, thereby exposing the
lives of millions of people in the capital city and its satellite towns to
Zinwa senior officials said the authority could also fail to pay salaries
for its workers if the ballooning debt was not settled.
Furthermore, six water pumps imported from South Africa had been kept by the
Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) until recently because duty had not been
paid -- another direct result of the cash crunch.
For purifying water for Harare, Zinwa is now being financed through water
tariffs paid by irrigation farmers countrywide.
Zinwa urgently needs over $1 trillion for the complete overhaul of the
city's water infrastructure and another US$300 000 to commission the Odis
sludge reclamation plant built by the Israelis several years ago.
"The non-payment of that money is affecting us seriously. We now cannot buy
anything for Harare water. Recently we bought six pumps from South Africa
and we were failing to pay duty for them. If we had got what we are owed, we
would have paid Zimra easily," said an official in an interview yesterday.
He said the debt started accumulating from May last year when Zinwa took
over the city's water management and treatment.
"We might get to a point where we may fail to supply water. It will be
impossible to supply," the official said.
The Minister of State for Water Resources and Infrastructural Development,
Engineer Munacho Mutezo, confirmed the existence of the debt.
"Zinwa is facing cashflow problems mainly because of the late payment or
non-payment of water bills by local authorities. Currently the authority is
owed about $119 billion, which is a lot of money that could go a long way in
improving service delivery," he said.
Harare town clerk Mr Nomutsa Chideya also confirmed the debt yesterday.
"The debt is not in dispute. The debt came about because we were selling
water at $600 per megalitre to residents yet Zinwa was charging us $2 000
for the same quantity.
"We should be able to pay the debt in three months subject to approval of
new tariffs," said Mr Chideya.
Addressing a Press conference yesterday, Eng Mutezo said Zinwa would
continue to effect water demand management to allow all areas to have
supplies while maintenance work at the various treatment plants was
The minister said Zinwa was producing 550 megalitres of water daily against
demand of 750 megalitres, and a total production capacity of 600 megalitres.
He defended the city's water quality, saying Zinwa had at no time released
low quality supplies to the residents although there was documentary
evidence from council that the water failed to meet standards specified by
the Standards Association of Zimbabwe and World Health Organisation (WHO) on
numerous occasions last year.
"We want to assure the public that our water supplies meet WHO standards and
that at times they exceed our own standards. We religiously adhere to
standards," he said.
A total of 163 water samples drawn from the metropolitan province's various
wards would be tested each week to establish whether the water met WHO
"Residents are, however, urged to provide feedback on water quality
characteristics like colour, taste and smell. The importance of this
feedback cannot be over-emphasised since the final water is prone to
recontamination during transmission and distribution," said the minister.
He said his ministry, which oversees Zinwa operations, was mindful of the
cholera outbreak in the city and would do all in its capacity to contain the
spread of the water-borne disease.
Eng Mutezo said water shortages experienced in the Harare Metropolitan
Province were a result of inadequate storage facilities. As a result water
pumping has to be on a 24-hour basis, overstraining plant and equipment
through continuous use.
He said Zinwa had undertaken massive repairs to the Morton Jaffray Treatment
Plant, Prince Edward Waterworks and Warren Control Station.
The minister also said that despite the cashflow problems, Zinwa had enough
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2006-Jan-18
HARARE is losing between 40 and 60 percent of its treated water daily and
needs at least $1 trillion to refurbish its poor reticulation system that
has compounded the shortage of the precious liquid in the city and its
dormitory towns of Chitungwiza and Ruwa.
In addition, the city also needs US$300 000 (Z$27 billion) to commission its
Odis reclamation treatment at the Morton Jaffray Water-works constructed by
the Israelis in the 1990s to boost the capital's water supplies.
The Minister of State for Water Resources and Infrastructural Development,
Munacho Mutezo, said this after meeting officials from Harare City Council
including commission chairperson Sekesai Makwavarara, Town Clerk Nomutsa
Chideya, Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) chairman Willie Muringani
and Harare metropolitan Governor and Resident Minister David Karimanzira.
"We are aware that the city of Harare has grown in the past 20 years, but
capacity has not grown. The treatment works have an installed capacity of
600 mega litres. The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has come in terms of financing
and a lot of equipment has been rehabilitated.
"We are currently producing 550 mega litres a day although we still have
lots of leakages. We are losing between 40 and 60 percent of water through
leaks," Mutezo said.
The minister added that the city council and Zinwa would be attending to all
burst pipes with a toll free line being set up to allow the public to
timeously report these incidences.
Currently, the demand for water in Harare and its environs stands at 750
mega litres daily, but the city is producing far less than that.
Mutezo said the current water shortages were due to the closure of one of
the reservoirs at Morton Jaffray for routine clean up exercises.
"One of the reservoirs (at Morton Jaffray) was shut down for routine clean
up. Sludge had become one metre high and absorbed chemicals especially
chlorine, which is imported. There was, however, inadequate notice given to
residents because the process was supposed to take one hour, but took
longer," he added.
On the timing of the exercise in light of the cholera outbreak, the minister
said: "The reservoir had to be shut down because of the sludge, but we are
mindful of the outbreak and we will continue to make sure that it is
contained and we will do anything we can within the demand managed schedule
to make sure there is water available."
The minister said the demand management system was meant to ensure that no
residents went for more than a day without water, adding council and Zinwa
would soon come up with a blueprint on water supply for the city.
Mutezo also bemoaned the polluting of water supplies by industry and
commerce saying this had increased the cost of treating water.
"There is a lot of pollution from sewage as well as affluent from industry
and commerce. We are currently using eight treatment chemicals (four
imported) instead of two. The raw water quality is poor. We urge companies
to install pre-treatment chemicals on site and we are also engaging the
ministry of environment on the levels of pollution," he said.
Harare and its dormitory towns have been facing persistent water problems
since last year due to obsolete equipment at its water works, leakages,
vandalism and high demand.
Some parts of Chitungwiza, Tafara, Mabvuku and Budiriro have been facing
acute water rationing since last weekend.
Bulk water treatment for Harare was taken over by Zinwa last year after the
city had faced crippling shortages of the commodity with the council
battling with little success to resolve the situation.
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2006-Jan-18
AS schools remain defiant to growing outcries by parents over the recent
hikes in school fees, some pupils have not attended lessons two weeks into
the new term as their parents are battling to raise the new fees.
Boarders, who have failed to pay the required fees and those who have not
yet secured places at alternative schools, are still on "extended holiday"
with their fate now uncertain, The Daily Mirror can reveal.
The situation is disturbing considering that others have already started
learning and it would be task to catch up. A survey in the city showed that
it's business as usual with lessons at most schools already in full swing.
However, it was a sorry story for other pupils still struggling to raise the
Others are just waiting for their parents to get paid this month to be able
to raise the required amount.
"There is nowhere I can get that kind of money from anywhere this time of
the month considering we are just coming from the festive season. The hikes
were just too much and I have no choice, but to wait for pay day," said a
Lazarus Muringe whose son attends a mission school in Chivhu.
Said another parent: "My friend, you have to understand that things are not
alright. The government has let us down. While we need the best education
for our children, but the rate of increase is just absurd considering our
Most parents interviewed agreed that education had indeed become
unaffordable and beyond the reach of the majority.
Some pupils are still criss-crossing from one school to the other hoping to
find a place which their parents can afford.
"It's now almost two weeks since schools opened and we have been moving from
one school to the other trying to secure a form four place for my daughter.
I am almost losing hope and if things come to the worst, I will have to take
my daughter to a college in town something I did not want to do."
Most vacant places in urban schools have been filled up as the institutions
have gone out of their way to accommodate affected pupils.
For instance, Kuwadzana High School in Harare just like other city schools
has placed a reminder on the notice board that it no longer has any vacant
places for pupils.
However, some headmasters said parents should appreciate that the cost of
living has gone up considerably so fees have to be adjusted accordingly.
"Yes, we have had incidences of movements of pupils from one school to the
other, but reasons vary, including that of increase in school fees," a
Chitungwiza headmaster said on condition he was not
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2006-Jan-18
NYADIRE Teachers' College in Mutoko last week expelled an unspecified number
of final year students for allegedly demonstrating over hiked fees.
However, impeccable sources said at least nine students had indeed been
expelled. The students protested last year after the primary school
teachers' training institution reportedly hiked fees by 300 percent.
Yesterday, the college principal, who only identified herself as Dhliwayo,
confirmed to The Daily Mirror that some students had been expelled, but
would not be drawn to to give the specific number.
Dhliwayo then referred all questions to the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary
Education in Harare.
She said: "About 600 students from intake three and six boycotted classes
last year after the college had hiked fees. As a result of the boycotts, the
college closed early last year. Investigations are still in progress and you
can contact the Ministry of High and Tertiary Education for more
Following the class boycott by the estimated 600 students, the college
reportedly instituted investigations leading to the expulsion of the
"Disgruntled students boycotted classes not only because of the hiked fees,
they also complained over the quality of food the college was serving which
they said did not match the increase in fees," a well placed source said.
Efforts to get a comment from the parent ministry were fruitless all day
The responsible minister Stan Mudenge was not reachable on his mobile phone,
while his deputy Sikhanyiso Ndlovu was said to be on his way to Masvingo for
Most schools and colleges raised fees beyond the reach of many this year
igniting a public outcry.
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2006-Jan-18
THIRTEEN Kariba District Hospital staffers were on Friday last week slapped
with a wholly suspended 62 months imprisonment for defrauding the district
hospital of $50 million.
The convicts, who were sentenced by Kariba magistrate, Ernest Mukonoweshuro
committed the offence in October last year.
The staffers, who included the Deputy Administrator, a pharmacy technician,
two assistant accountants, the acting matron, the environmental technician,
a physiotherapist and six senior nurses got a four year jail term each after
they were convicted on their own plea of guilty to theft by conversion
charges when they appeared before the Kariba magistrate.
However, their jail terms were suspended on condition that they pay
restitution of the money by January 31 this year.
In passing sentence, the magistrate put into consideration that all of the
staffers were first offenders who did not waste the court's time when they
Prosecutor Ruth Chirema said on October 27 last year, operations at Kariba
District Hospital were almost brought to a halt following the arrest of the
13 staffers in connection with the disappearance of $50 million.
She said the three were caught after they misrepresented that they had
travelled to Omay district in the same province for an outreach programme
for the Child Health Day.
He told the court that all the 13 staffers did not go to Omay but later
claimed travel and subsistence allowances amounting to $50 million. He said
authorities sanctioned the payment believing that they had indeed travelled
to Omay on business.
The scam only came to light weeks later when some officials who were
co-ordinating the Child Health programme asked the hospital authorities why
they had not sent representatives to the programme.
The case was reported to the police leading to their arrest.
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
issue date :2006-Jan-18
HEALTH services at government hospitals remain below standard forcing
cash-strapped patients to pay more at private institutions.
This is despite the coming on board of the Hospitals Services Trust (HST) in
March last year to assist the government in addressing major health
To date, the committee has received financial assistance from a number of
private companies, allocated to central hospitals for refurbishment.
But patients have raised complaints that government machinery and other
equipment were either minimal or not in service at all, disadvantaging
patients who would have travelled long distances seeking treatment.
"I wanted some tests for my Hepatitis blood, but was referred elsewhere as
the hospital machinery was out of service," said a patient on condition of
anonymity at Chitungwiza Central Hospital.
She said she ended up forking out $8,2 million at a private institution in
the dormitory town after public laboratories were reportedly temporarily out
"Out of order machines are the order of the day in this country. Whether
this situation will ever normalise leaves a lot to be desired," she added.
At Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals, some patients claimed there were no
mosquito nets in some wards, exposing them to the risk of contracting
"Mind you they sleep with windows opened to enable air circulation, which is
good. But all the same, because of the rains, mosquitoes are rampant posing
patients to high risk of malaria," said Osweld Madondo of Glen View 7.
He said they had to bring a mosquito net and some repellents for their
relative admitted at Parirenyatwa.
Another patient at Harare Central Hospital complained that even the
outpatient and casualty departments had limited wheelchairs or stretchers
for bed-ridden or critically ill patients.
Some relatives carry their patients on their backs from each department
until they receive treatment- a long and tiresome process.
Patients called on the government to computerise all administrative
functions for easy record tracking and efficiency.
Back at Chitungwiza Central Hospital, people spend most of the day queuing
for a hospital card.
"Getting treatment at a government institution requires patience and
persistence. It takes the whole day to see the doctor," Mavis Matapura of
Zengeza 4, said.
Other hospital apparatus such as drips were also said to be in short supply.
The Ministry of Health and Child Welfare has since admitted that the country's
health delivery system was in a bad state, hence the appointment of the HST,
chaired by Lovemore Kadenge.
Contacted for comment on progress so far made by his committee, Kadenge said
he was on study leave and referred all questions to Minister Parirenyatwa,
who, in turn, requested for a face-to face interview.
By Violet Gonda
18 January 2006
Raymond Majongwe, the Secretary General of the Progressive Teachers
Union and a member of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions General Council
finally had his passport back in his hands on Wednesday. This was after the
Zimbabwe lawyers for Human Rights gave the police 48hrs to return the
passport or face legal action. The human rights group who were representing
Majongwe, received the passport on Tuesday from the police, a month after
the travel document was impounded when the activist arrived in Harare from
Arnold Tsunga the Director of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
said a letter of demand was sent, stating the seizure was unlawful and that
the police had no legitimate or legal basis to be holding onto Majongwe's
The outspoken activist had his passport confiscated on the 16 th of
December at the Harare International Airport, as he arrived from an
International Labour Organisation workshop on HIV and AIDS in Nigeria.
Earlier that week the authorities had confiscated the passports of two
government critics, newspaper owner Trevor Ncube and MDC official Paul Temba
Nyathi. These were later returned after the High Court ruled that it was
illegal for the government to seize the passports of its critics. Tsunga
said clearly the police and the Chief Immigration Officer were acting on the
basis of political instructions, which had no legal basis.
It is believed that the 3 are on a list of 64 people whose passports
the government intend to seize. This incident follows the amendment of the
Zimbabwe constitution, which provides for the withdrawal of travel documents
from all Zimbabweans who are perceived to be enemies of the state.
Tsunga said the return of Majongwe's document is a small victory which
has no political significance in terms of the broader political process in
the country but significant in that the government will comply with the rule
of law where there is no threat to the balance of the political mapping in
He warned that once they have sorted out the regulatory framework,
which is the precondition for the amendment to work, it will not be a
surprise to see the government, "begin to selectively target individuals
especially human rights defenders; who are seen as an impact in terms of the
world knowing what is happening in the country and in terms of influencing
the grassroots communities."
Tsunga believes the government will use that to fix political
opponents who are seen as having the biggest impact in terms of the need for
society to transform itself to a better state.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
Wed Jan 18, 2006 6:35 PM GMT
HARARE, Jan 18, (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's embattled cricket administrators
voted on Wednesday to suspend their struggling national team from test
cricket at the first meeting of a government-appointed interim committee.
"The interim board decided to suspend Zimbabwe's participation in test
matches until early next year," said a statement from Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC).
"The decision... was reached by ZC after consideration of the recent
performances by the national and A teams," it added.
Seven of the last 10 tests contested by Zimbabwe have been lost by an
innings and 26 of the last 28 one-day internationals have also ended in
defeat, many by huge margins.
The African nation has, however, decided to continue playing international
one-day cricket for the next year.
The interim board was formed after a government takeover of cricket on Jan.
6 following allegations of mismanagement by administrators.
The statement added: "The young teams remain full of potential and hopes
abound for their development into a strong and competitive performer on the
"ZC is now putting in place a programme to galvanise the development of the
Zimbabwe squads. It will work with other test nations and the ICC
(International Cricket Council) itself to realise this objective."
"While the side goes through the programme to prepare it adequately for the
rigours of test cricket, ZC has no doubt the team will be competitive in its
ODI commitments under the Future Tours Programme," said ZC interim board
chairman Peter Chingoka.
Zimbabwe Cricket will now approach the West Indies Cricket Board with a view
to playing only one-dayers and not test matches on their scheduled tour to
the Caribbean in April.
The statement said it would do the same with other international boards "for
the other fixtures under the Future Tours Programme (FTP).
"The Zimbabwe cricket team will then only resume its full programme during
the tour to Sri Lanka in February 2007, subject to the finalisation of the
FTP for which the chief executives are meeting in Dubai next month," the
(Writing by Neil Manthorp in Cape Town)
New cleansed Zimbabwe board states its aims
January 18, 2006
Send us your feedback on this story
The first meeting of the interim board of Zimbabwe Cricket ended with a
number of announcements in addition to the decision to suspend the country
from Test cricket.
Since a controversial AGM last September, the ZC board has not been able to
meet as opponents of Peter Chingoka, the embattled chairman, boycotted all
meetings. It took government involvement - the removal of most of those
opposed to Chingoka on race and political grounds and their replacement with
pro-Zanu-PF supporters - to enable the board to achieve a quorum. Given the
less-than-democratic constitution of the new board, embarrassing questions
or criticism were not going to be the order of the day.
The main issue, that of the players, was the one that needed addressing but
it was brushed aside "pending the finalisation of player issues". The
reality is that ZC remains aware that despite the end of the strike, there
is every chance that many of those involved are ready to walk away. It had
been speculated that a new captain would be named to replace Tatenda Taibu,
but Andy Blignaut, the favourite, is not in the country and is rumoured to
be about to quit anyway.
The board did name Kevin Curran as coach, but that too will not go down
well. The players have been training with Phil Simmons - sacked last year by
ZC but fighting his dismissal in the courts - and are said to have little
time for Curran who is seen as too closely allied to ZC officials. Andy
Pycroft was appointed to run the A team and Walter Chawaguta the national
Bruce Makovah was named as head of the selection panel previously headed by
Max Ebrahim - one of those culled on the basis of his race - with Curran and
Zimbabwe Cricket Academy Manager Kudzai Shoko as the other two members. In
September last year Makovah was accused of stopping a match in Harare and of
racially abusing and threatening players.
The board also appointed various sub-committees. Chingoka was named to chair
the International Relations Committee; Wilson Manase the Constitution Review
Committee with Sylvester Matshaka, Tavengwa Mukuhlani and Stanley Staddon as
the members; Oliver Kanhukamwe the Development Committee with Levy
Hombarume, Charles Maunze and Crispen Tsvarayi as members. Mike Weeden, who
is involved with women's cricket, will be an ex-officio committee member.
Reading though the lists of other committees made the degree of the
cleansing of almost all white and Asian people all too clear.
The other issue which has attracted the most media attention - the financial
affairs of the board - was also addressed with the board deciding to appoint
"a firm of auditors of international repute". Their brief will be to
investigate alleged financial mismanagement and/or irregularities, if any,
and to advise ZC on the way forward, and to audit ZC's accounts for the
period May-December 2005, because some of the allegations fall outside the
period of the last audited accounts which was up to the year-end of April
There was a passing reference to Ozias Bvute, the ZC managing director
identified by many as being to blame more than anyone other than Chingoka
for the current crisis, but that was enough to show that he was firmly in
But the creation of five new provinces - all expected to be pro-Chingoka -
and the dissolution of the old County Districts - who have been leading the
fight to have him removed - which was expected to be pushed through appears
to have been delayed until the next meeting in February.
Martin Williamson is managing editor of Cricinfo
January 18, 2006
By Basildon Peta
Zimbabwe police say they have asked Interpol to help them arrest a
High Court judge convicted of corruption.
The police said they had launched a manhunt for Judge Benjamin Paradza
after he fled Harare ahead of his sentencing last Friday.
They believe he is abroad.
The Foreign Service was told by a friend of the judge that Paradza
skipped Zimbabwe to London via South Africa.
Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena told state media yesterday that
police suspected Paradza had left for Britain via South Africa.
He said Zimbabwe police had approached countries with Interpol offices
for help in tracing the judge.
It remains to be seen whether Britain would co-operate with Harare,
considering the strained relations between the two countries.
The judge's friend, who refused to be named, said Paradza feared for
his life if he went to jail.
He faced a maximum of 10 years on charges that he tried to influence
other judges to favour his business partner.
Paradza had alleged that he was being victimised because he passed
judgments against President Robert Mugabe's government.
These included nullifying eviction orders served on 50 farmers whose
land had been earmarked for seizure and freeing a jailed former opposition
mayor of Harare.
But the state prosecutor argued that the judge had tried to corruptly
influence other judges who were handling a case involving his business
MEADOWS. KEITH GEOFFREY
Beloved husband, father and friend. We loved you so much. Your humour, wit, generosity and free spirit are legendary. “It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness”. We will miss you always. Angie and Mana