The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Repossess Underutilised Land

The Herald (Harare)

January 18, 2003
Posted to the web January 18, 2003


IT is disturbing to learn that there are some farms under the Model A2
scheme which are still unoccupied at this late hour, in some provinces.

We feel the people who were allocated these farms and have done nothing on
the land are not patriotic and have done the country a great disservice.

There are still thousands of people out there waiting to be allocated land
who could have put the land to good use.

It is now coming to light that many people wanted land - but not to farm.

That is why there are numerous reports that some have built retirement or
country homes on prime land meant for farming.

The whole purpose of allocating A2 farms was for the new occupants to grow

It is however, encouraging to note that most farmers allocated land under
the A1 resettlement scheme have all taken up their plots and have been
growing crops.

Last year in October, the Government announced a second land audit to assess
land uptake on the designated farms.

The exercise was to ensure that all land was fully occupied and put to good

The earlier audit established that most A1 model beneficiaries had taken up
their plots and only those under model A2 had been slow in occupying the
allocated farms.

The audit committee which is almost through with its work, is yet to
disclose its findings.

We are however, not happy with the way things have been moving on the A2
farms. It appears that there is still no vigorous monitoring of the

We need to be convinced that action will be taken on all those who have not
occupied their farms or have taken up the land to build "retirement homes".

Why should the Government wait for the full land audit report on the farms
before taking action?

If it's discovered that a number of farms in a province are not occupied or
utilised, the logical thing would be to repossess them immediately.

Many people were eager to be allocated land and it is important that they
take it up and start utilising it.

Let it be clear to everyone - people should use it, or lose it.

With unemployment hovering around 70 percent, we believe the necessary
labour force can be quickly mobilised to start work on the land for the
production of food.

Our excellent relations with countries like China, should see the mass
importation of farming equipment such as tractors, irrigation pumps and so
on that are being used there to achieve maximum crop output.

The country needs national food security and there should be no excuses for
failing to do this.

We need to see action being taken against those who will impede the success
of this programme.

The new farmers should realise that they have huge responsibilities on their
shoulders. It is their duty to feed the nation.

We would suggest further that the Government should make it mandatory that
each new farmer should grow a minimum of at least 20 hectares of maize until
the country restores its grain reserves.

On its part, the Government should ensure that the maize producer price is
also viable.

It's a bad situation that the A2 scheme has now been taken over by the A1
programme as the backbone of the land reform programme.

All those, whose farms will be repossessed shortly, can only blame
themselves. They had enough time and ample warning.

We have pointed out before that a lot is at stake and the success of
Zimbabwe's agrarian reforms will be the torch-bearer for land reform in the
region where land ownership is skewed in favour of minority whites.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Sikhala Granted Bail

The Herald (Harare)

January 18, 2003
Posted to the web January 18, 2003


MDC Member of Parliament for St Marys' Job Sikhala jointly charged with
Harare lawyer Gabriel Shumba and three others for allegedly planning to
overthrow the Government unconstitutionally, yesterday appeared before a
magistrates' court on allegations of breaching the Public Order and Security

Sikhala (30), Taurai Magaya (29), Charles Mutama (28) Shumba (29) and his
young brother Bishop Shumba (20) were arrested on Tuesday at Nyamutamba
Hotel in Chitungwiza.

The five were not formally charged when they appeared before magistrate Mrs
Caroline-Anne Chigumira.

They were however, released on $30 000 bail each and ordered to report once
every Friday to Braeside Police.

The magistrate also ordered Sikhala to immediately surrender his passport to
the Clerk of Court while Shumba (lawyer) was given until midday Monday.

The group first appeared in court on Thursday night and was remanded in
custody yesterday (Friday) for their initial remand hearing.

Yesterday, the suspects, clad in their khaki prison garb appeared in Court 6
under heavy security.

Many people including court officials jostled for seats in the small
courtroom to have a glance of Sikhala and his alleged accomplices in prison

Charges against Sikhala and Shumba, a human rights lawyer together with
three others arose on January 14 this year after they were arrested in
possession of some subversive documents in their hotel room.

It is the State's case that Sikhala booked himself at the hotel and invited

Shumba complied and went to Sikhala's hotel room in the company of his
brothers Bishop and Magaya who are well known MDC supporters.

They allegedly discussed strategies to organise the overthrow of the
Government by unconstitutional means and Sikhala requested Shumba's services
in assisting him in the making of plans to defend MDC youths that had been

During the discussions, the State alleges, the accused made notes on some
document, which was later recovered by police upon the group's arrest.

The group was arrested following a tip off over the nature of discussion the
suspects were holding.

The State further alleges that the document urged or suggested the formation
of a group for the purpose of overthrowing the Government.

According to the State, Shumba admits being the author of the document at
the instruction of Sikhala.

The suspects have alleged that they were brutally assaulted while they were
in police custody.

One of the suspects, Shumba, nearly broke down while he narrated how police
assaulted him.

Shumba said police blind folded him and drove him to an unknown destination
where they allegedly tied electric wires on his feet, mouth and genitals.

He told the court that police detectives beat him up using booted feet and
clenched fists.

He also said the police had denied him access to his lawyer and food.

Senior public prosecutor Mr Thabani Mpofu who is representing the State
presented a medical report, which stated the suspects had sustained

Sikhala's report said he had burns on both arms, genitals and bruises.

Mr Mpofu said the State had taken note of the accused's complaints and
intended to take the matter further by forwarding it to the Commissioner of
Police and Attorney General.

The suspects represented by Advocate Charles Selemani will appear again in
court on February 4.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

      Zimbabweans most pessimistic people on earth-survey
      By Henry Makiwa

      BELEAGUERED Zimbabweans, battered by the harsh economic and political
environment, coupled with imminent famine, are the most pessimistic people
on earth, according to the results of a 2002 End of year Gallop Opinion Poll

      The authoritative international survey, which saw over 67 000 people
in 65 countries being interviewed between November and December last year,
revealed that Zimbabweans outranked all the peoples of the world in being
pessimistic about the future.

      Respondents were asked about their countries' economic and political
prospects for the year 2003 as compared to the past year, among other

      While pessimism prevailed in many countries across the world, it was
the order of the day in Zimbabwe, which has experienced its worst economic
downturn since time immemorial.

      The country is currently facing a crippling food shortage which
threatens the lives of over six million of the country's 11,6 million
people. The shortages have been largely attributed to the government's
controversial land reforms which saw over 3 000 white-owned commercial farms
being grabbed by landless peasants and chefs without any contingency plans
being put in place to cater for the disrupted food production processes.

      The widely condemned presidential election, controversially won by
President Mugabe, also worsened matters as the many progressive nations of
the world shunned Zimbabwe, turning it into a pariah state.

      Only last week, President Mugabe vowed not to relinquish his position.

      In the meantime, hundreds of people are fleeing the country everyday
in search of better prospects, heading for places like Britain and South
Africa where over a million and about two million Zimbabweans have taken
refuge respectively.

      In the 600 interviews conducted with adults in the main urban centres
of Harare and Bulawayo by Probe Market Research (PMR), a member of the
Gallup International Organisation, it emerged that a feeling of gloom and
doom prevailed among Zimbabweans.

      "Nearly three quarters of Zimbabweans (72%), feel 2003 will be a worse
year than 2002. For two consecutive years, Zimbabwe has outranked all
countries in being pessimistic about the future, reflecting the economic
hardships and shortages of basic commodities the country has experienced
over the period.

      "Gloom also prevails among Zimbabweans about the general and personal
economic employment prospects. Over a third of the Zimbabweans (68%)
perceive 2003 to be a year of economic difficulty and the same fraction
(66%) see unemployment increasing a lot in the current year," noted the

      In sharp contrast, another African country, Kenya, emerged as the most
optimistic country in the world. More than three quarters of Kenyans
predicted that 2003 would be a better year than 2002.

      The survey was carried out in the east African country a few weeks
before the presidential elections which saw the self-proclaimed 'big man'
and dictator President Daniel arap Moi, leaving office.

      Moi, one of Africa's longest serving presidents, received a rude
awakening when Kenyans snubbed his protégé Uhuru Kenyatta and voted instead
for Mwai Kibaki of the Rainbow Alliance in the December 2002 poll.

      Meanwhile, black people of African and Caribbean descent living in the
United Kingdom (UK), this week condemned President Mugabe for ruining the
country and turning Zimbabwe into a basket case.

      According to a survey carried out by the British based, pro-black
newspaper, The Voice, 78% of people of African origin in the UK attribute
Zimbabwe's food shortages to mismanagement by Mugabe whom they hold
accountable for the country's economic woes. About two thirds of the people
are of the opinion that Mugabe is a dictator and that other African
countries are better-placed than the west to absolve Zimbabwe of its crisis.

      Other projections by The Voice's survey, suggest that 66% of the
people are in favour of the English cricket team coming to play its
forthcoming World Cup matches in Harare and that the reason why the British
government is interested in Zimbabwe is because of the white farmers.

      The Voice arrived at its findings by interviewing at least 200 men and
women whose ages ranged between 15 and 50 years.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

      Nkomo involved in road accident
      By our own Staff

      POLICE in Bulawayo have indicated that they may charge Special Affairs
minister John Nkomo with negligent and drunken driving after he was involved
in an accident with a school bus on Sunday.

      Police sources who spoke on condition of anonymity said Nkomo was
driving his Mercedes Benz when it rammed into a school bus belonging to
Tennyson Hlabangana High School, situated opposite Mater Dei hospital along
Hillside road.

      The minister, who was not injured, was alone when the accident
occurred. The driver of the bus is also reported to have escaped unhurt
although the bus is said to have been extensively damaged. A senior police
officer who preffered anonimity alleged that a bottle of whisky was found in
the car.

      Police sources have since indicated that Nkomo will be charged with
negligent and drunken driving but they refused to give further details
saying the matter was very sensitive as it involved a powerful politician.

      Police spokesman, Wayne Bvudzijena, refused to comment on the matter
and referred all questions to the minister.

      Nkomo's cellphone was, however, switched off yesterday when The
Standard tried to obtain a comment from him.

      Although the authorities at Tennyson Hlabangana could not be accessed
for comment, a teacher at the school confirmed that their school bus had
been extensively damaged in an accident over the weekend.

      "We have heard that the bus was damaged in an accident involving the
headmaster and a vehicle," the teacher said.

      Nkomo made headlines last year when he stopped a bus driver along the
Victoria Falls Road and slapped him for speeding and driving negligently. He
was the minister of Home Affairs at the time.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

      Grace - a dismal failure as First Lady
      By Itai Dzamara

      AS reports about an alleged plan by President Robert Mugabe to go into
exile mounted last week, The Standard went into the streets to gauge the
feelings of Zimbabweans on the conduct of his wife Grace, as First Lady.

      It emerged that many Zimbabweans felt that Grace had failed to live up
to the reputation of a first lady and regarded her as a dismal failure when
compared to Mugabe's first wife, the late Sally Mugabe.

      Sally, the strong and popular Ghanaian-born intellectual, was heavily
involved in charity work that earned her respect among Zimbabweans from all
walks of life.

      Several people who spoke to The Standardsaid Sally's death marked the
beginning of the deterioration of Mugabe's judgement as he was to have as
his confidante, a shallow woman who possessed none of Sally's intelligence
or concern for charitable causes.

      Sally stood by Mugabe when he and other nationalists endured trials
and tribulations under the colonial regime of Ian Smith.

      Grace, a secretary who had an illicit affair with her boss Mugabe,
which resulted in the birth of two children, Bona and Robert, while Sally
was down with poor health, moved into the State House four years after Sally
succumbed to a kidney ailment.

      Grace, 40 years Mugabe's junior, with a penchant for shopping for
expensive clothes and jewellery, became the new First Lady, promising to be
involved in charity work.

      She told Ziana in an interview before her grand wedding at Kutama in
August 1996: "I don't think I want to become a politician at all; I think I
have my duties as a wife; I have children to look after, so I would rather
be more at home with my kids."

      She added, "I actually look forward to working with various charitable

      Brian Makoni of Mutare says right from the start, Grace lacked any of
the moral integrity required of a first lady.

      "She was Mugabe's secretary and started having an affair with old
Mugabe whilst his Sally was sick. That was adultery, wasn't it? It is
possible that this could have contributed to Sally's death. Recently, we
heard her trying to teach people about faithfulness and Aids. This was a
clear insult to our intelligence," he said.

      Charity Mujonga of Harare described the First Lady as a woman who was
insensitive and indifferent to the plight of her impoverished compatriots.

      "Grace seems to be obsessed only with her penchant for flashy
dressing, which we undertand she imports, while callously ignoring the
suffering of women and children. She has dismally failed both politically
and in her role as a first lady. She imitates her husband and his party's
politics of hatred and division. Remember what she said last time about MDC

      While campaigning for her husband in Uzumba Maramba Pfungwe during the
run up to the presidential election, a fired up Grace insulted members of
the opposition MDC party saying: "Tsvangirai is Blair's tea boy. All those
who support the MDC are cats and dogs."

      Apart from this infamous statement and her taste for expensive
clothing, Grace is known more for her lack of regard for poor Zimbabweans,
especially children in difficult circumstances.

      Many organisations involved in child related activities which should
have benefited from the work of the First Lady are experiencing severe
difficulties which are threatening their survival.

      One such organisation is Childline which provides counselling and
asylum to abused children. Lovemore Nechibvute, the training officer at
Childline admitted in an interview with The Standard that his organisation
was having cash problems.

      Said Nechibvute: "The situation is very difficult. We are heading
nowhere. We are not getting any funding or other kind of assistance from
government and this makes our plight extremely difficult."

      The Child Survival and Development Foundation which thrived under the
leadership of Sally, is as good as dead.

      Lucia Matibenga, a former Zanu PF member who worked with the late
First Lady, said Grace was immature and far removed from the realities of
the people of this country.

      Matibenga who has since crossed the floor to the opposition MDC said:
"The current first lady lacks experience. She is very young for the
challenges at hand and obviously prioritises puerile issues. The differences
between her and Sally are immense. The late mother of the nation deeply
understood the plight of the masses, especially children and women, with
whom she had worked for a long time. She had love for the people, arising
from her association with the people at the grassroots levels. Grace is
quite comfortable staying at State House whilst women and children are
scrounging for basic commodities."

      Referring to Grace's recent crusade against HIV/Aids, Matibenga said
she was ill-qualified to preach about good behaviour and the dangers of Aids
because of her filthy history.

      "It's known that she started her illegal affair with Mugabe whilst
Sally was still alive. For her to talk about that subject is a sheer waste
of time because nobody will listen to her. At the moment, the women can
hardly get sanitary ware and she is just silent about it," she said.

      Flora Buka, a member of parliament and minister of state for land
reform, who is also in the Zanu PF Women's League, said: "I can't comment on
the First Lady because I am not competent to do so. Why don't you ask her,
so that she can answer on her own. All I can tell you is that as women
parliamentarians, we are working towards alleviating the crisis faced by
women, especially in accessing sanitary ware."

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

      Masvingo faces heavy pollution fine
      By Parker Graham

      MASVINGO-THE Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA), is set to
impose a heavy penalty on the city of Masvingo which has emerged as the
chief culprit in the pollution of the Mucheke and Shakashe rivers which feed
Zimbabwe's largest inland lake, Mutirikwi.

      According to ZINWA's rules and regulations, organisations or local
authorities which pollute or cause pollution of water have to pay all the
costs of rehabilitating the water bodies.

      The fines range up to $500 000 depending on the magnitude of the

      Investigations by the Department of Natural Resources, carried out
after The Standard exposed the state of the two rivers two weeks ago,
revealed that the City Council was the main culprit as it churned out raw
sewage into the rivers. The effluent, which ended up in Lake Mutirikwi, was
causing the death of aquatic life and the spread of the water hyacinth in
the giant water reservoir.

      DNR officer, Emmanuel Manyange, said inspections carried out by his
department revealed that Mucheke and Shakashe rivers were under threat
mainly because of the disposal of raw sewerage into the rivers.

      Said Manyange: "The most affected parts of the Mucheke River are those
close to the foot bridge linking the industrial site and Mucheke suburbs.
The sewerage stinks from a distance and the magnitude of the problem was
severe when inspections were carried out.

      "The water in the two rivers has turned blackish-green, thus
compromising the water quality and resulting in the destruction of aquatic

      He added: "It has come to the department's attention that there are
clearly known sewerage burst points which continually dispose raw sewerage
into the two rivers and which Council must address."

      The Natural Resources Board said continuous discharge of heavy
sewerage into the Mucheke and Shakashi rivers has contributed to the
increase in water weeds such as the water hyacinth, causing eutrophication
of water.

      Said Manyange: "The spread of water hyacinth has choked the river and
compromise its smooth flow into Lake Mutirikwi, which is the major supplier
of water to the city. This has also caused the spread of water hyacinth and
stimulated its spreading."

      Masvingo City's chief environmental health officer, Zvapano Munganasa,
remained mum last week over the toxic and harzadous pollutants. "I won't
comment because I have written a letter of complaint regarding your initial
story. You should have waited for us to finish our investigations before
writing the story. It is true that fish died but besides the sewerage, we
wanted to investigate the alleged dumping of used oil into the rivers," said

      BP Shell Zimbabwe's corporate affairs manager, Sarah Muhwati, denied
reports that some oil companies were dumping used oil into the two rivers.

      She said her company, which used intercept pits before selling the
unwanted product to a Bulawayo company, had a good environmental policy.

      A manager with Total Zimbabwe, Fisher Kananji, said they had an
intercept pit which collected all spilling and used oils.

      "We manage risks by implementing management systems to identify,
assess, monitor and control hazards. We have quality, safety and
environmental protection reflected in all our work," said Kananji.

See this letter to the editor:

      Revolting article

      I REFER to the article: Severe pollution threatens (The Standard, 5
January 2003) concerning the Mutirikwi water reservoir in Masvingo.

      The article was not representative of the real facts on the ground.
What in fact happened was that a certain young journalist visited our town
clerk's office to alert him on what he said he had discovered in the

      His discovery, we learnt, concerned the illegal disposal of waste
engine oil during the festive season. The town clerk then referred the young
man to myself, the chief health officer.

      On hearing of this discovery, I immediately gave the journalist a lift
to the site where the illegal oil disposal was allegedly going on. The young
journalist led the way up to the footbridge pool in Mucheke River.

      Yes of course, the colour and texture of the water in the pool was not
consistent with the usual colour of fresh water. Two dead fish could be seen
and two others gasping for fresh air. The young journalist straight away
concluded that since the colour of the water had changed it was a case of
waste oil pollution. When he solicited my opinion, I advised him that
professionals only made conclusive statements over issues after professional
assessments had been made and not on the basis of assumptions and dreams.

      When I requested that he show me the site where he had seen drum fulls
of oil being buried or disposed of, we walked 300m upstream and could see no
evidence of any waste oil disposal. The young journalist then called off the
goose-hunt and advised that he would continue his investigations and inform
Council so that remedial action could be instituted.

      As we were still waiting to hear an official statement on the findings
of this young journalist, we were shocked to read an unrepresentative,
non-factual, falsified and inconsistent article in your paper. What
disturbed me was that the young journalist quoted me on statements I never
said or confirmed.

      I think it is important to inform the young journalist that as a
Council, we are aware of our mandate as provided for in the Public Health
Act, the Urban Councils Act and the Water Act-to maintain a clean and
healthy environment and minimise the incidences of pollution of air, land
and water by hazardous substances from domestic, commercial or industrial
areas. We therefore always monitor the situation through sound environmental
surveillance systems and audits.

      The correct situation as per my professional assessment was as
follows: There was an unfortunate sewer blockage behind our Dikwindi Primary
School during the festive days. No one reported the blockage and raw
effluent found its way into the nearby footbridge pool.

      Due to the oxidation processes and thermal conversion process, the
colour of the water changed, and some fish died due to depletion of oxygen.
This was a localised issue since the water in this pool is stagnant. That
was what happened. The eight kilometre stretch of waste oil pollution
reported on by the young journalist was false.

      Whilst the City Council doesn't condone the spillage of raw effluent
into rivers, sometimes such spillage occurs due to sewer pipe blockages and

      However, as Council,we are always expected to respond promptly to
prevent environmental hazards.

      And as concerned professionals, we are well versed with the
requirements of ecosystemic interdependence, diversity maintenance resource
recovery and interrelational harmony which form the basis of our continued
existence and sustainable development.

      It was upsetting then, to read such a nauseating article in your
supposedly respectable newspaper.

      ZC Munganasa

      Chief health officer

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

      Intense jockeying for governor's post
      By our own Staff

      ZANU PF members eying the Harare governor's post are involved in
intense lobbying for the position created mainly to incapacitate executive
mayor, Elias Mudzuri, it emerged yesterday.

      Although several people are reported to be interested in the position,
The Standard understands that three candidates have already emerged as front

      These are Irene Zindi, the former me-mber of parliament for Hatfield
consti-tuency, former Chitungwiza mayor, Jose-ph Macheka, and Harare
businessman, Tendai Savanhu.

      The Standard understands the once powerful Women's Lea-gue wants
another female politician to be appointed governor as happened in Manicaland
with Oppah Muchinguri.

      United under the rallying call, "Mai Ngavatonge", (A woman must be in
charge), the Zanu PF Women's League feels Zindi, a war veteran who is also a
member of the Zanu PF Central Committee, has what it takes to confront the
"troublesome" MDC mayor.

      However, many people in Zanu PF regard her as a big joke.

      Contacted for comment, Zindi could neither deny nor confirm she was
lobbying for the position.

      Savanhu lost Mbare West constituency to Danmore Makuwaza of the MDC in
the 2000 parliamentary election. Savanhu and Macheka could not be reached
for comment.

      According to a recent presidential pro-clamation, Harare province,
which contains the city of Harare, the municipality of Chitungwiza and
Epworth local board, has been divided into eight administrative districts,
while Bulawayo Province will have five.

      Under the constitution, eight seats in parliament are reserved for
governors. However the president is empowered by the Provincial Councils Act
to appoint more than eight governors.

      Analysts say the move by Mugabe's regime to appoint governors in the
two metropolitan provinces was designed to curb the political influence of
their incumbent mayors, who have constantly clashed with government over the
latter's interference in Councils' policy and administrative issues.

      Governors fall und-er the local government, public works and national
housing ministry, headed by Ignatius Chombo. District administrators, who
are also appointed by minister Chombo, will aid the governors.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

      Green Bombers set up camp in Kuwadzana
      By our own Staff

      THE infamous Zanu PF youth militia, this week intensified their
violent campaign in Kuwadzana ahead of the forthcoming by-election.

      Residents of the high-density suburb, told The Standard on Friday that
the notorious gangs of 'Green Bombers' have set up camps at Kuwadzana 5
shopping centre, Kuwadzana 4 Library, Kuwadzana 1 Home Industries and at a
Harare city council building at Kuwadzana 5 shopping centre.

      The youth are allegedly launching violent night campaigns and raids on
the homes of those they perceive to be sympathetic to the opposition.

      Elias Mudzuri , the executive mayor of Harare, expressed discontent
over the youths' activities.

      Mudzuri said: "They are abusing city council facilities and we are
concerned by this situation. We want Zanu PF to order them out of the
council premises because they do not belong to them.

      "We have now approached the police and we hope they are going to evict
the militia from our properties."

      Observers say the rogue youths, whom Zanu PF have hired on numerous
occasions to embark on brutal crusades for the ruling party, may be their
greatest undoing and cause of their flagging fortunes.

      An irate Alphas Mafa said: "These youths are an albatross around Zanu
PF's neck and I can bet they are going to lose this election. We are deeply
distressed and angered by the activities of these youths. They beat up
people on a daily basis here and what is so infuriating is that they are
aliens in our neighbourhood-most of them are Zanu PF's bussed in

      "They have set up camps in all ward sections where they have erected
their Zanu PF flags purportedly to announce their arrival. We are appealing
to the police to intervene before the situation further deteriorates. Some
council property and even a library have been turned into camps and torture
chambers by the youth."

      The youths have been reportedly enlisted by David Mutasa, the
Kuwadzana businessman and sculptor who was last week officially anointed as
Zanu PF's candidate for the forthcoming poll. Mutasa will square up with
Nelson Chamisa, the MDC's national chairman and the National Alliance for
Good Governance's Kempton Chiwewete.

      Clemence Chokure, a Kuwadzana resident, said: "The Green Bombers are
abducting and harassing innocent residents. They are also demanding food
from tuck shop owners warning them that they risk having their businesses
shut down.

      "Some are grabbing the scarce commodities such as sugar, bread,
cooking oil and mealie meal from poor vendors at Kuwadzana 2 and Kuwadzana
4. They then proceed to share the loot at their bases."

      The Kuwadzana seat fell vacant following the death of MP and MDC
spokesperson, Learnmore Jongwe in controversial circumstances in police
custody, last year.

      The government is yet to announce the dates of the poll.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

      Despair hits Zanu PF stronghold
      By Itai Dzamara

      MUTOKO-AS one drives eastwards from All Souls Mission, along the dusty
road that leads to Makaha growth point, a small, haphazard pole and dagga
settlement comes into view.

      This is Nyamakosi, a typical rural village which is just like any
other rural hamlet in Zimbabwe.

      This is the impression any passerby can get but for those familiar
with local politics, Nyamakosi is no ordinary village.

      Since independence, it has been the well-known bastion of Zanu PF
politics within the Mutoko South constituency, and in the disputed March
2002 presidential election, it did not disappoint.

      The constituency which shares its borders with Mutoko North and Mount
Darwin in Mashonaland East, registered a massive victory for President
Robert Mugabe, giving the beleaguered leader an edge over his rival, the MDC
leader, Morgan Tsvangirai.

      During the run up to the election, Nyamakosi village was an
impenetrable Zanu PF fortress, with hordes of militia and war veterans
shutting out the whole constituency from the MDC campaign teams.

      But, as a Standard news crew visiting the village over the weekend
discovered, the hype and anxiety that gripped the village in the run up to
last year's election has all but died and despair and disillusionment has
set in among the villagers who are feeling the effects of Zanu PF's
destructive policies.

      For most of the villagers, basic commodities such as sugar, flour and
cooking oil are now a luxury. Most families are battling to get a single
meal a day, something which used to be unheard of in the highly productive
village, where families were always assured of good harvests.

      The situation has become so desperate that villagers are beginning to
question the capabilities of their good old benevolent president who in the
past, would send them drought relief when they experienced hardships arising
from poor harvests.

      Even the name Mugabe which used to have some sort of supernatural
power attached to it, is now ridiculed openly.

      Ambuya Teria Gurupira, who is unsure of her exact age, told The
Standard that hardships had taken their toll on the village and forced
villagers to doubt whether Mugabe is still on top of the situation.

      Said Ambuya Gu-rupira: "Ko Mugabe aripiko zvinhu zvichinyangara kudai.
Shuka, mafuta, munyu, chingwa, furawu paribe. Iyi ndiyo inonzi nhamo chaiyo.
Zvakatooma kupinda hondo yatakahwisana naSmith. Izvi azvitadza Mugabe, dai
achisiira vamwe (Where is Mugabe as things continue to deteriorate like
this? All the basic commodities are not available. Life has become tougher
than it was during the war of liberation. Mugabe has failed and should pass
the baton on to others)."

      Chenzira Sasa, a middle aged woman who was busy planting maize seed
said: "Everything is uncertain. We had gone for several weeks without rain
until the heavy downpour we had the day before yesterday. We are headed for
real disaster, especially after the drought we experienced last season. We
hoped Mugabe would come and save us, but he is nowhere to be seen.
Tavakutongo raramiswa nemagonyeti mazuvaano."

      Popularly referred to as magonyeti, the heavy trucks that have brought
in food aid from World Vision, are a symbol of hope to the villagers who now
believe the donor has replaced Mugabe as their saviour. World Vision has
also been giving the villagers maize and beans seeds, most of which have
been washed and turned into food.

      Gift Rukweza, 23, an MDC activist who has occasionally been persecuted
by Zanu PF youths, told The Standard that the villagers had come to the
painful realisation that they had been used by Zanu PF.

      "Villagers here have now realised, albeit too late, that they were
foolishly dragged into bed with the Zanu PF people, only to be left alone
when the house caught fire. It is now clear and indisputable that Mugabe
doesn't have the capacity to bring salvation to the suffering people," he

      Olivia Muchena, the MP for Mutoko South, has also ceased to exist in
the hopes of the Nyamakosi villagers. She was last heard of during the
bloody campaigns for the presidential elections last year.

      Hunger is not the only problem that the Nyamakosi villagers are having
to contend with. Their cattle have been dying due to lack of grazing pasture
and water and some diseases. Only two boreholes have water and the rest are
dry, forcing villagers to spend hours in queues for the vital liquid.

      More children are likely to either drop out of school, as parents fail
to raise fees, or opt for menial jobs such as herding cattle or working in
other people's fields in order to raise the money to buy food for their
starving families.

      Worse still, more youths have resorted to loitering and indulging in
crime in an attempt to eke out a living.

      Farming inputs are either unavailable, inaccessible or unaffordable
for the majority of the villagers. A bag of fertiliser, for example, is
costing up to $20 000 on the black market where it is readily available. By
last week, some villagers had not yet planted their seeds whilst others were
still hoping to obtain seeds from donors.

      But it seems not everyone in the village is fed up with Mugabe.

      Tendai Makoto, a Zanu PF militia known for his brutal exploits during
the campaign period says Mugabe remains the saviour of Nyamakosi and the
rest of the country.

      Said Makoto: "We will not let the country go back to the British
through the MDC. It is true that hunger has taken its toll and people are
suffering. Something needs to be done. The leaders (Mugabe and his party)
should quickly save the people. However, we still have faith in them. For
now, we hope the gonyeti will come again."
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

      Motorists turn to bribing for fuel
      By Michael Kariati

      HAVING been in the fuel queue for over six hours, Onward Ziramba,
smiles as he reaches the pump unaware of the obstacles facing him.

      A young petrol attendant tells him that he can only get petrol worth
$2 000-about 25 litres, instead of the 50 or so litres that fill up his
vehicle's tank.

      "What," Ziramba asks.

      "Mudhara vanhu varikuda peturu vakawandisa saka tinoda kuti munhu wese
awane. (There are too many people in need of petrol so we want everyone to
have his share)," says the attendant.

      Ziramba then pulls out his wallet revealing a ward of $500 notes and
hands over the $2 000 to the attendant. Realising that the man has so much
money, the attendant turns to him and says: Mudhara mukadusa tinokuzadzirai
tangi (if you give me money I will fill your tank).

      Ziramba has no option but to fork out an extra $1 000 so that his tank
can be filled to capacity.

      The pump price for petrol is $74,74, meaning Ziramba will lose an
amount that could buy an extra 12 litres. But he does not mind, as long as
he is guaranteed that his vehicle has enough fuel to take him to Gweru where
he wants to go for a funeral.

      Ziramba is not the only Zimbabwean in this predicament .

      As the fuel crisis continues to bite, more and more desperate
motorists are now paying bribes ranging from $1 000 to $2 000 to petrol
attendants to ensure that they can get fuel.

      With black market prices for fuel pegged at $1 000 per litre of
petrol, motorists these days find it better to bribe attendants than face
the prospect of going to the parallel market.

      In normal situations, motorists get any amount of fuel they want as
long as they can pay for it. But the crisis which has brought the nation to
a standstill, has changed everything as the scarce commodity is being

      Motorists can only beat this system through paying bribes to some
corrupt petrol attendants who are now smiling all the way to the bank.

      With queues for the commodity stretching for kilometres, these
attendants are assured of thousands of dollars whenever their garages get

      For example, if an attendant serves 400 cars, and all the motorists
pay $1000, he or she would get about $400 000.

      As one Harare petrol attendant admitted, things could never be better
for them.

      "I don't even know whether there was the January disease or not.
People are desperate for fuel, and they are paying huge sums for it," he

      A manager at another service station in Harare admitted that the
attendants were making a lot of money but said it was difficult to stop this
practice since some desperate motorists themselves offered the bribes.

      The motorists, though, defended themselves saying they were not
promoting the practice but were only doing that to make sure they got enough
of the scarce commodity.

      "If you don't pay, you don't get what you want. These days, you have
to pay to survive," says Selvis Chinwadzimba, a Harare motorist.

      While others were prepared to pay an extra charge to get the fuel they
required, some motorists, however, told The Standard that they would rather
park their vehicles until the situation returned to normal.

      Of late, there have been longer queues at commuter omnibus ranks, and
city bus stops, indicating that a number of motorists have thrown in the
towel in the search for fuel.

      "I would rather park my car than to be ripped-off my hard earned cash.
Money is not easy to get these days," says Matthias Kufandirimbwa of

      Added, Petros Maphosa of Glen View: "I can't do that. That is a lot of
money. They should charge something like $100 or $200. I would rather board
a commuter omnibus."

      Other motorists, though, have it easy. They have attendants who keep
fuel for them, for a fee that is even higher than the $1 000, and have their
cars filled at night.

      Sleeping in a fuel queue is not a joke but this is what has become of
Zimbabwe. The economy is crumbling as mismanagement by government and
corruption everywhere take their toll on what was once one of southern
Africa's thriving economies.

      Economic recovery has seriously been affected by farm invasions that
characterised the country in the past three years.

      Currently there is no hope that a solution to the fuel crisis will be

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard - letter

      No one said it better

      WHEN Mark Twain, the American author said: "Everybody talks about it
but nobody does anything about it" he did not have Zimbabwe in mind but his
statement sums up the tragedy of our country today.

      Everyone, everywhere, is saying so many things but no action is being
taken against queuing, unemployment, hunger and injustice.

      We should not keep on being hoodwinked by those whose actions result
in our nation being torn apart rather than being brought together.

      Clemence Manyukwe

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard - letter

      $1 000 note overdue

      THE indecision of the Reserve Bank on whether or not we need a $1 000
dollar note appears symptomatic of the paralysis gripping the elite and
overpaid free loaders running the country, apparently rendering them unable
to make even the simplest of decisions.

      Even at today's parallel rates, you would need several of these notes
to buy what is literally loose change abroad.

      Might I suggest you host a competition for selecting a national emblem
for the new range of notes that we so desperately need? A banana springs to
mind, not least because it represents the likely purchasing power of these
notes by the end of the coming year.



Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

      Hope yet for tobacco
      Kumbirai Mafunda

      THERE is still a chance of rescuing the tobacco industry from total
collapse and of bringing the country back to its position as the number two
producer of flue-cured tobacco in the world, the Zimbabwe Tobacco
Association said this week.

      However, the reversal can only start in the 2003-2004 tobacco season
and not this year, ZTA president Duncan Miller told Standard Business.

      "The future is bad. However, we can still rebuild. The infrastructure
is still on the ground and with the right will, we can do it again. Once
viability and inputs issues are sorted out, we have to try and push for 120
million kgs next year," he said.

      Zimbabwe's tobacco output is expected to fall by more than half this
year, according to the ZTA. It said the fuel shortages paralysing the
country would have a knock on effect on the cultivation of the 2002/2003
tobacco crop, compounding the problems caused by the controversial land
reform programme.

      Tobacco has been the country's major foreign exchange earner,
contributing up to 12% of Gross Domestic Product. But this has now changed.

      Projections from the Zimbabwe Tobacco Association indicate that this
season's crop will be between 75-80 million kgs, down from last year's 165
million kgs. Some analysts believe that it could be as little as 60 million

      "That decline in output cannot be altered because that is what farmers
have already planted and they can't start planting tobacco right now," said
ZTA's Miller in an interview.

      The ZTA expects that tobacco earnings in 2003 will be US$180 million,
down from US$380 million last year. This contrasts with US$526 million
earned by the golden leaf in 2000 before the effects of the land reform
programme. Output had peaked at 237 million kilogrammes that year.

      Out of the 1 500 commercial farmers who grew tobacco last year, only
530 are expected to continue production this year, according to the ZTA.
However, some of the growers left on the farms have been forced to scale
down operations after signing A3 forms which compel them to reduce the size
of their farms to 400 hectares and cede the rest for resettlement.

      The ZTA president appealed for concern to be directed at the crumbling
tobacco sector. He said the sector, one of the largest employers in the
country, faced a bleak future owing to the displacement of most farmers

      Analysts say the collapse of the commercial tobacco growing sector
would have downstream effects and had resulted in massive job losses in
other industries.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

      CZI president threatens to quit
      Kumbirai Mafunda

      ANTHONY Mandiwanza, the president of the Confederation of Zimbabwe
Industries (CZI), on Friday said he would relinquish his post as the
president of the country's most powerful industrial body if government does
not embrace an economic turnaround plan recommended to vice-president, Simon
Muzenda and government ministers by the confederation.

      He said a CZI team late last year received an undertaking from vice
president, Simon Muzenda, that he would look into the body's proposals. The
business community is exasperated over meetings it held with government
which it says have yielded nothing.

      Addressing a breakfast meeting in Harare last Friday, Mandiwanza said
he had every hope that the CZI's initiatives would be considered and
implemented by government. "I was surprised by the degree of appreciation
for our proposals. But if nothing is done about our initiative, I will
resign as the president of CZI. I have tried my bit," Mandiwanza said.

      Among the proposals the CZI submitted to Muzenda and later to finance
minister, Herbert Murerwa, is the need to prioritise sustainable agrarian
reform and active partnerships between business and government, including
regular meetings between business and President Robert Mugabe.

      The CZI also stressed the need for more effort to increase foreign
exchange supply, and price management to raise production and make goods

      Further to government's incentives for exporters, among them
concessionary interest rates of 5% , the industrial body also proposed a
lower corporate tax rate and called for viable pricing to balance other
input costs.

      It also recommended the active participation of business in managing
prices and staggered (quarterly) price movements within the 96,1% inflation
target proposed by Murerwa for 2003. Any adjustment above 96,1% would have
to be subject to government approval.

      Mandiwanza, who acknowledged that engaging government in talks was not
easy, revealed that his body had so far held meetings with five ministries,
among them energy and power development and industry and international

      "It is a very difficult path to walk. It is like you are walking on a
minefield. The probability of one losing limbs is very high," he said.

      Mandiwanza said he would do the honourable thing of relinquishing his
post if government does not underwrite the CZI's proposals, which most
leaders have failed to do over the past years.

      Last December, a CZI delegation met Muzenda and sold what it believed
was the panacea to Zimbabwe's economic ills. Sources close to the meeting
said Muzenda was impressed by the CZI plan, which was now only awaiting
Mugabe's approval.

      Murerwa recently invited the industrial body to a meeting where
Mandiwanza and his lieutenants again outlined the CZI's turnaround plan,
lending credence to belief that the representative body had hooked senior
government ministers.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

      He dances to a different, discordant drum
      sundayopinion By Mavis Makuni

      THE latest escapades of un-elected Junior Minister of Information and
Publicity, Jonathan Moyo, in South Africa as reported in the press over the
past week, may be shocking, but they are hardly surprising. They represent
the sort of behaviour Zimbabweans have come to expect from the swashbuckling

      When Jonathan Moyo burst on the scene as a member of the cabinet
appointed by President Mugabe after the 2000 Parliamentary elections, it
soon became clear that Zimbabwe had never seen a minister like him. The man
simply dances to a different and discordant drum. The question is: is this
the calibre of public figure this country needs?

      Upon Moyo's elevation to the information and publicity portfolio, many
who had followed his scathing and relentless attacks on President Mugabe and
his government, wondered how he had suddenly become Zanu PF's most fanatical
and frantic apologist. To compound matters, Moyo himself has never offered
an air-clearing explanation for his flip-flop from one ideological extreme
to the other.

      Instead, without a hint of logic or a pang of conscience, he has left
no stone unturned in his quest to fast track the acceptance of his clearly
murky-please forgive the pun-bona fide as a radical Zanu PF cadre and
revolutionary, by standing in judgement over other citizens' patriotism or
political affiliations. He has never explained why supporting the MDC is
such a cardinal sin when Zanu PF professes to embrace multi-party democracy.

      This irrational obsession is surely guaranteed to make Moyo a footnote
in the annals of history, like Senator Joseph McCarthy, who is notorious for
the inquisition in the United States in the 1950s during which he unjustly
and unconstitutionally accused countless Americans of disloyalty and
communist leanings.

      In his breathless bid to project his know-all, holier-than-thou image
to impress his benefactors in Zanu PF, Moyo has not given a hoot whose neck
he has stepped on.

      A case in point is the manner in which Moyo has set about destroying
the public media through endless and mind boggling 'restructuring exercises'
at the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, Zimbabwe Newspapers, Ziana and
Community Newspapers.

      Moyo, who is a 'Mafikizolo' not only within Zanu PF but also on the
media scene, had no qualms about concocting flimsy complaints against
seasoned media practitioners so as to hound them out of their jobs. He
treated hundreds of professionals like expatriates who had no stake in the

      As things have turned out, it is clear that all this tumult occurred
because Moyo, an obvious control freak, was not prepared to work with
experienced people who would stand up to him to oppose some of his excesses.
He preferred novices and toddlers masquerading as editors who would be
beholden to him, be at his perpetual beck and call and do his bidding.

      Frowning upon experience is a value peculiar to Moyo but it is us
Zimbabweans who are paying the price for this arrogance and need to massage
his inflated ego.

      We are the ones being bombarded with an unrelenting surfeit of
juvenilia that now passes for news, analysis and editorial comment in the
public media.

      Sometime ago, Moyo could not resist rubbing salt into the national
wound by boasting that the public media had the best editors and reporters.
Who does he think he is fooling? If he cannot queue up with the rest of us
to buy yellow mealie meal, does he think anybody will believe he bought that
wide screen television set in South Africa to watch Hondo Yeminda?

      The wholesale changes that Moyo has introduced in the media highlight
his misplaced sense of superiority and contempt for his predecessors. Before
Moyo became the bane of our lives, six men and women had served as ministers
of information. These were Nathan Shamuyarira, Witness Mangwende, Victoria
Chitepo, David Karimanzira, Joyce Mujuru and Chen Chimutengwende.

      Whatever else may be said of these mature and decent individuals, they
succeeded for 20 years in maintaining an equilibrium in a live-and-let-live
relationship between the press and the state. That Moyo saw fit to literally
dismantle all the foundations they had laid over two decades and start from
square one is a gross display of immodesty and reckless disregard for the
contributions of others. It means Moyo thinks they all did not know what
they were doing.

      A seasoned journalist who became one of the victims of Moyo's 'media
massacres' once remarked: " You have not known the depths of despair until
you have been at the receiving end of a Moyo tirade."

      It is not difficult to see why. Most officials serving as press
secretaries, government spokesmen, public relations managers or
propagandists in the western world, on which Moyo's job is modelled, are
known for their polished prose, urbane demeanour and ability to communicate
persuasively and effectively. Moyo is the complete opposite.

      Nothing is too crude, too insensitive, too illogical, too improbable,
too unfair or too cruel for him to say or do.

      In fact, to any objective observer it is a misnomer to call Moyo
'Mugabe's spin doctor' This designation only applies to a skilled
professional who acts as the human face of government, a troubleshooter who
puts out fires and softens blows. He does this by using his persuasive
skills to establish mutual lines of communication, understanding and
cooperation with the public and the media.

      This is the only way he can manage problems and issues so as to keep
government responsive to public opinion. It goes without saying that one
cannot satisfactorily undertake these tasks without courtesy, integrity and
common decency. All these are anathema to Moyo's modus operandi. He seems to
believe in persuasion by imposition, threats and coercion, a contradiction
in terms if ever there was one.

      Based on his tactless and crude outpourings, Moyo should, in fact, be
regarded as the government's 'Spite Doctor' who only succeeds in attracting
scorn and ridicule instead of goodwill.

      Moyo has failed to grasp the fact that no amount of vitriol and
vehemence can transform a dismal performance into a good one or persuade an
audience that a selfish attitude is, in fact fair. And no amount of
name-calling or mudslinging can compensate for his lack of credibility and

      Having said this, the question that begs an answer is, why should our
taxes be used to pay a premium for Moyo's crude displays when it is quite
obvious that his language and communication skills are no different from
Joseph Chinotimba's?

      At least Chinotimba is not a trained political scientist and analyst
as Moyo has been anxious to remind us he is.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

      Inauspicious start to 2003
      By Chido Makunike

      MANY of us greeted each other with the traditional "Happy New Year",
but the objective signs are that this will be an even worse year for the
nation than 2002.

      The announcement that President Mugabe had taken his annual leave was
met with disbelief and howls of derision. Just a few weeks before, he had
announced he would personally take charge of the deteriorating fuel
situation and then predictably failed to do so.

      It was, on the one hand, shocking that this man would display the
extra-ordinary insensitivity of using precious foreign currency to fly off
to exotic Thailand with his wife to enjoy the sights and the shopping at a
time of such crisis. But on the other hand, it could quite justifiably be
argued that he has been on vacation for most of the last several years, so
there was nothing really significant about his physical absence for a few
weeks. The other point that his critics fail to appreciate is that
superintending the tomfoolery of the steep decline of a nation is hard and
exhausting and one certainly needs an occasional break from it.

      But then again, even when he is 'here', he is not really here, so it
doesn't make much difference whether he is burning up US dollars shopping
with Grace in Bangkok, or lounging around at the presidential palace in
Harare; the results are the same. It is really unfair to expect too much of
him, after he has made it so clear that he is neither particularly
interested in the suffering of fellow Zimbabweans under his ruinous rule,
nor does he have much ability to address it.

      An interesting thing is the lack of pomp and ceremony accompanying his
departures and arrivals these days. Where before we would be shown video
clips of adoring members of the Zanu-PF women's brigade lining up at the
airport for hours and ululating dutifully as he passed by, now he seems to
almost sheepishly sneak in and out of the country, as if he is hiding from

      He and his propagandists go out of their way to assert that he will
serve out his full term, to the chagrin of most Zimbabweans, but I think it
is so unfair that so little consideration is given to the president's own
personal well-being when these assertions are made. Why are we putting the
poor fellow through the torture of constantly worrying about being derided
by motorists and pedestrians as he noisily passes by in his motorcade, which
has required the passing of new laws to try to intimidate Zimbabweans from
showing him what they really think of him?

      Because of his deep unpopularity, he can not walk freely around Harare
except with a small army, and so remains cooped up in his limousine, office
or the palace most of the time, only looking slightly relaxed in foreign
capitals. He feels safer vacationing in the Far East than in Nyanga because
the latter has too many Zimbabweans! I think its terribly unfair that we
expect him to serve out his full term. He will be a miserable nervous wreck
by the end of it, if the present signs, and his admission of constant body
aches are any indication. I fear the stress of putting up a facade that
Zimbabwe is working is now taking an unhealthy toll on Comrade Mugabe.

      We had the bizarre scene of embattled agriculture minister Joseph
Made, for whom no one seems to have a kind word, gratefully receiving a
donation of maize from our comrades in Tanzania. The Tanzanians, hearing
about how a lot of Zimbabweans are eating wild roots or going hungry under
the rule of a Mugabe they much admire because he brought Zimbabwe's economy
down to the level of theirs, sent us a solidarity donation of pest-infested
maize. Made, the agriculture minister who infamously thought he saw signs
from his helicopter, of a bumper harvest amidst shortages, apparently did
not see that the grain was not fit for human consumption. This is the man
whom Mugabe has entrusted with making a success of the agrarian revolution!

      An interesting little diversion this past week has been the umpteenth
variation of the old Mugabe succession plan. In this one, Mugabe will be
made to abdicate, and Zanu PF and the MDC will form a government of national
unity led by Mugabe protégé Emmerson Mnangagwa, until elections are held a
few years down the line, presumably to give Mnangagwa time to consolidate
his power and fix the election machinery in the traditional Zanu-PF way,
ensuring crusty old Mugabe will never have to answer for any of his

      Tsvangirai and the other MDC officials would presumably be bought off,
again in the traditional Zanu PF fashion, with big sounding posts and German
luxury cars, and everybody would live happily ever after, except of course,
the yet again cheated, Zimbabwean voter. I don't at all dismiss this gambit
to crook us out of the opportunity to kick Mugabe out of office fair and
square, but he has done too much damage to Zimbabwe to be entitled to any
face-saving gestures.

      Despite the denials of both Zanu PF and the MDC, I think it is quite
possible that they cooked up such a scheme to take care of their own
interests under the guise of doing it for the sake of the national good.
Politicians, even when they are insulting and jailing each other, often show
themselves to have more in common with each other than with the electorate
they claim to represent.

      And how pathetic that Mnangagwa is the best caretaker that the Mugabe
squad can put forward. His reputation is tainted by his intimate involvement
in the government atrocities of the 1980s. Despite being a long serving Zanu
PF stalwart, government minister and Mugabe crony, he couldn't persuade the
voters in his Midlands constituency to return him to parliament in the last

      He became speaker of parliament through the back door, by appointment
from outside of that body by a Mugabe who could not imagine his main fixer
not occupying some prominent position beside him. Mnangagwa has been
implicated in many of the Mugabe regime's biggest scandals, and now some
people want to repackage him in a false cloak of respectability right under
our noses.

      It turns out that at the very moment a rude petrol service station
attendant was telling me to buzz off from a queue I had been in for many
hot, sweaty hours, my main man, Mugabe propagandist Jonathan Moyo, was
merrily ringing in the new year in South Africa in high style. He was
travelling in a grand three-car motorcade, perhaps rehearsing for the
future, if the rumour that he has presidential ambitions is true, and
stocking up on the many basic commodities that can no longer be found on the
store shelves in Zimbabwe.

      He also bought a big screen TV, but honestly, if it was to watch his
own dull advertisements and propaganda on ZTV, this was a waste of money.
Surely he wouldn't waste his time watching the many anti-Zimbabwe Western
stations on satellite TV, would he? But then again, Moyo has made the kind
of reversals that most people would have thought were unthinkable, so you
never know.

      I got the answer to how Moyo has in just two years accomplished the
amazing feat of putting on so much weight, when so many of us are growing
skinnier by the day because of the hunger under the regime of Mr Mugabe.
While we can't get bread, mealie meal, milk and other basics, Moyo was
stocking up on high calorie luxury foods like polony and macaroni in South
Africa, surrounded by his bodyguards.

      The Moyo entourage was apparently so divorced from the realities of
hunger back home in Zimbabwe that they left a lot of uneaten food on the
stove, and Moyo is said to have left bottles of his favourite beer unopened
in his hotel room. It is not clear whether there was no more room for all
this excess loot in the big boot of the Mercedes, the spacious cabin of the
Pajero, the bed of the pick up truck, or in the trailer.

      Oh, sweet wretched excess in a foreign land at a time of hunger back
home! Life has never been sweeter for some, productivity or no productivity.
There should be no more questions about why some people examine their
dwindling options in a collapsed economy, and decide to cave in, switch
allegiances and defend the regime to the absolute hilt. The rewards can be

      I hope for a good year for Zimbabwe, but have little to base that hope
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

      Farewell to the throne

      Ssome sort of homage must be paid to the President THERE is no smoke
without fire. It is only a matter of time.

      President Mugabe is on his way out. Make no mistake about that. The
pressure on him to go has clearly intensified. And it will be in the
interest of the country if he does-soon. It has become very clear to
everyone, including his senior lieutenants in the ruling Zanu PF party that
a solution to the Zimbabwean crisis cannot be found with President Mugabe
'in control'.

      This week has seen considerable debate, denials and counter-denials,
complaints and cross-complaints about whether President Mugabe approved or
not of the preliminary negotiations for his impending retirement. Retirement
or no retirement, everything points to an end to President Mugabe's time in

      For starters, the man is nearly 79 years old and has been in power for
23 years. What strength and energy is left for anyone after 70 years? The
man has overstayed his welcome and should have bowed out seven years ago.

      All the signs indicating that the man has had his day are there for
all to see. President Mugabe's behaviour and actions are those of a man who
is unwell. Clearly, he is an extremely frightened man. His headaches and
stomach aches are legion and their causes myriad.

      The anti-colonialist, anti-British and anti-imperialist rhetoric
continues to sound increasingly strident, hollow and irrelevant to the
pressing need to cure Zimbabwe of its political and economic malaise.
President Mugabe's tirades and ungentlemanly attacks on British Prime
Minister Tony Blair, have ceased to be great fun to watch and listen to and
instead, clearly show that there is something badly wrong with the
President's head.

      From another point of view, these obsessional and below-the-belt
attacks on the British and the Movement for Democratic Change, are really an
act of sheer desperation when all else has failed. In this sense then, these
are acts not of confidence but of defeat.

      It is one thing to steal an election. It is quite another thing to
wish to make that theft work. It is yet another thing to have the ability to
make that theft permanent. There are decided limits to the power and ability
of any thief to carry out his or her wish to a permanent conclusion. In the
case of Zanu PF, it stole the election and then failed utterly and totally
to deliver the goods.

      All this points to the fact that Zanu PF's preoccupation to cling to
power at any cost has been a wasteful and costly ambition. The once buoyant
agriculture sector has been virtually destroyed. A once beautiful country
with a very sound infrastructure, a rich and diverse culture and above all
honest, hard working, warm and friendly people, has all but become an empty

      It is indeed with the utmost sadness and distress that we are
witnessing the demise of a once prosperous country. We are indeed entitled
to ask President Mugabe and his cronies why they are doing this to our
beloved Zimbabwe. Why is it that a man and his party who once represented
everything good in humanity now symbolises the worst in that same humanity
i.e. injustice, human rights violations, racism, violence, poverty, hunger,
starvation, death and lies?

      It was predictable that sooner or later, President Mugabe and Zanu PF
would begin to pay the price for their greed and over-investment in the
destruction of the country. The long and restive queues for maize meal,
bread, fuel, sugar, cooking oil and the many other basic items Zimbabweans
used to take for granted, are ample testimony to that destruction.

      It now seems likely that the President will have to give up his
office: he has irredeemably lost his moral authority, the confidence of the
millions in the queues and therefore his ability to 'govern' effectively.

      We strongly believe that there is no leader in Africa today who cannot
be put on the expendable list. One should never forget the important fact
that when discontent reaches a certain point, opposition will effectively
assert itself.

      The Zanu PF party machine was once a stepping stone to power. It is
now an obstacle. President Mugabe is now Zimbabwe's albatross. It is
pertinent to remind ourselves that you cannot fight against the tide of
democracy. You will be swept aside by the change of public opinion. It does
not take a rocket scientist to figure out this.

      The thundering voice of democracy in the recent Kenyan elections has
been a credit to Africa and indeed to the whole world. A dictator, who used
to say and do things in the name of sovereignty and in the name of the
people, like our own, was voted out of power.

      Once we get used to the idea that governments and sitting presidents
could be voted in and out of power through the ballot and the genuine
verdict of the polling booths, the better for our continent and the rest of
the world. We do not want to perpetuate a system in which to effect change,
the fallen leader has to be killed, exiled, imprisoned or choose his

      In our case, we are heartened by the fact that the President is about
to surrender personal ambitions in the interest of Zimbabwe. No doubt, many
years will be spent sifting through the rubble of his presidency.

      But, all the same, we would not fail to pay some sort of homage to
President Mugabe for the role he played in the liberation of the country. We
would be mad if we did not recognise his role. We are paying this tribute to
the President in the firm belief that people must not go through life only
noticing the blemishes in others. Everyone has some good in them.

      However, scarcely anyone would fail to tune in on the once powerful
Robert Mugabe when the time comes for him to say good-bye to the State
House. Some modicum of dignity would clothe him if he were to abdicate the
throne sooner rather than later.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

      Will he or won't he?
      overthetop By Brian Latham

      CITIZENS of a troubled central African nation spent last week in a
state of fevered frenzy after it was disclosed that their most equal of all
comrades was contemplating retirement. The frenzy grew to unprecedented
proportions when the most equal of all comrades said he wasn't contemplating
retirement, yet. Still, most fevered residents of the troubled central
African country told Over The Top that they wished the most equal of all
comrades every happiness in his retirement. They added that perhaps age and
long-service indicated that he should enjoy a well earned rest on a tropical
beach sipping something cold and mellowing while contemplating his
miraculous successes in a life characterised by years of bitter struggle.

      Meanwhile, other less forgiving residents of the troubled central
African nation pointed out that the most equal of all comrades drank nothing
that was likely to make him mellow, which was probably 90% of the problem in
the first place.

      It is a well-established medical fact, said one psychiatrist, that
teetotalism led to fanatical behaviour and an unwillingness to see the world
with any degree of benevolence. The simple cure, he said, comes in the form
of a tasty and mildly sticky substance administered in a glass. Results can
be staggeringly effective, said the psychiatrist, before he staggered off to
find more medicine.

      The debate intensified as fundamentalists from both the Zany Party and
the More Drink Coming Party took opposing and uncompromising stands. The
fundamentalists in the More Drink Coming Party said the most equal of all
comrades should be hanged by his toes in a prominent place, but only after
facing the due process of the law, of course.

      "Once we have purged the courts of all Zany judges and installed our
own More Drink Coming judges, the most equal of all comrades should be tried
and then sentenced to hang by his toes," said More Drink Coming spokesman,
Bishop Osama bin Buffalo.

      The statement was in direct contrast to an earlier statement made by
the More Drink Coming Party leader who said that as far as he was concerned,
the most equal of all comrades could retire wherever he wanted to-and the
sooner the better.

      The contradictions sparked new debate of a rift in the More Drink
Coming Party, with pragmatists behind the leader squaring up against the
fundamentalists who wanted to fight to the last man. No one appears to have
pointed out to the fundamentalists that the last man is either in a bread
queue or a petrol queue and far too hungry to fight anyway.

      Meanwhile, Zany fundamentalists denied that there was any plan to pave
the way for the most equal of all comrade's retirement. On the contrary,
they said, he would see out his full term of office. The denials were
largely dismissed by citizens of the troubled central African country who
told OTT that it was a commonly held opinion among the 11 odd million strong
population that everyone in the troubled central African nation wanted to
retire to a tropical beach and drink themselves silly.

      Why should the most equal of all comrades be any different, they

      Still, in a vaguely related incident, the troubled central African
country's main brewer warned that beer was about to run dry. Analysts
pointed out that a beer shortage was likely to bring matters to a head. "If
anything will spark a revolution," said a well-known political analyst,
"it'll be a shortage of beer.

      "It is one thing to run out of fuel, but the population simply cannot
be expected to face the horrors of the troubled central African country
while they're sober. I predict that the government will fall within a week
of the beer supplies running out."
Back to the Top
Back to Index


      SA, Zim relations at all time low
      18/01/2003 23:50  - (SA)

      Johannesburg - Pretoria has issued a demarche to Zimbabwe following
comments made by Information Minister Jonathan Moyo that South Africans were
"filthy, recklessly uncouth and barbaric," the Sunday Times reported in its
early edition on Saturday.

      The demarche - the strongest sanction a country can impose on another
short of severing diplomatic ties - has, according to the weekly, signalled
an all time low in relations between the two countries.

      Moyo made the comments following a Sunday Times article last week that
chronicled his spending spree in South Africa while millions of his
countrymen starved.

      The Department of Foreign Affairs, in response, summoned the
Zimbabwean High Commissioner to South Africa earlier this week to account
for the comments - a move that amounted to a demarche, the Sunday Times

      It said the government was particularly enraged by Moyo's inference
that President Thabo Mbeki was unfit to lead the African Renaissance -
Mbeki's brainchild.

      The Zimbabwean government, in response, reportedly distanced itself
from Moyo's comments, saying they were made in his personal capacity and
were aimed exclusively at the South African media.

      But the government has reportedly been reluctant to buy into this line
of reasoning, seeing Moyo's comments about the African Renaissance as being
clearly aimed at Mbeki and not the media.
Back to the Top
Back to Index


Zim farmers find the grass is greener in Moz

      January 17 2003 at 06:04PM
Maputo - A total of 55 white farmers from Zimbabwe have settled in the
fertile central Mozambique province of Manica after being evicted from their
farms under President Robert Mugabe's controversial land reforms, the
Mozambican provincial governor said on Friday.

The number of white farmers now settled in the province, which shares a
border with eastern Zimbabwe, is up from around 30 farmers settled by
September last year, said governor Soares Nhaca.

Most of Zimbabwe's white farmers, who three years ago numbered around 4 500,
have been evicted from their farms under Mugabe's land reform programme,
which aims to resettle their land with new black farmers.

Nhaca said each of the successful applicants in his province is given a
50-year lease on 1 000 hectares of land. Under Mozambican law, land belongs
to the state and cannot be bought or sold.

Nhaca said most applicants are allocated land in the less populated district
of Barue, in central Manica province, where there is less chance of land

He added that in all cases the local communities are consulted before a
farmer is given land. Farmers who request large land holdings have been
turned down for fear of creating a Zimbabwe-style land conflict.

White farmers in Zimbabwe previously owned 30 percent of the most arable
land, which the government blamed on colonial-era land laws that favoured
whites over the indigenous black majority.

According to official figures, Mozambique has more than 35-million hectares
of arable land, of which only about 10 percent is utilised. - Sapa-AFP
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Millions in life or death humanitarian crisis

News report below...First D's comment :

Seven million being starved as punishment in Zimbabwe, yet cricket is
the reason for Zimbabwe making the headlines these days. Zimbabwe is
an illegal government, a regime as evil as that of Mugabe's mentor
Kim Jong Il, meting a punitive programme of elimination of all
opposition by starvation and terrorism: yet it is cricket, a pathetic
game -- about to be played by spineless self-centred people in this
case -- that draws attention.
God help Zimbabwe and the meek -- who are the majority in that
demonised land.


Yahoo/AFP, Saturday January 18, 12:22 PM

Eight million in life or death humanitarian crisis in N Korea

Up to eight million people are in a "life or death" situation in North
Korea with a humanitarian crisis rapidly unfolding, a UN envoy just
returned from the isolated state said Saturday.

Maurice Strong, sent to the North by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan,
said it was wrong to make these people victims of a political
situation. "The humanitarian crisis is a real crisis, it's not just a
potential crisis," he said in Beijing after returning from a four-day
mission to North Korea. It is a crisis affecting the lives and the
prospects of some six to eight million people. This crisis has not
received sufficient attention. It must receive attention. It has been
somewhat overshadowed with the attention of the media on the political
crisis and of course the political crisis is a real crisis," he said.
"(But) you cannot make the children, the ill people, the old people
victims of a political crisis with which they have had nothing to do."

North Korea has relied heavily on outside donations to feed its
23-million population over the past seven years because of a failed
centralized economic policy and a series of natural disasters. The
United Nations' World Food Programme, which has been providing food to
the most vulnerable North Koreans, was in the autumn forced to cut off
aid to three million of the 6.4 million people it was feeding because
of a significant reduction in donations. There are fears that
donations will further dwindle in the coming months as North Korea
attracts US-led condemnation over its decision last month to restart a
nuclear programme and recent moves to withdraw from the nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty and expel foreign monitors.

Strong said the North Korean leadership made it clear it welcomed UN
interest in the unfolding humanitarian situation.

Copyright © 2002 AFP
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Sunday Herald (UK)
Final salute for Mugabe?

His own henchmen are now signalling the possible end of Robert Mugabe's tyrannical rule over Zimbabwe, reports Fred Bridgland in Johannesburg

The man Robert Mugabe raised to supreme military power and riches in Zimbabwe seems poised this weekend to end his patron's 23-year rule in the hunger-stricken African country.

General Vitalis Zvinavashe, supreme commander of Zimbabwe's army and air force, signalled the end for 78-year-old Mugabe when he said it was necessary to admit the country was in crisis. He then said it was up to politicians to solve the crisis, before adding ominously: 'The military is ready to assist if given the mandate to do so. It is not right to keep quiet and let nature take its course.'

In the context of the Zimbabwean disaster, this is the political equivalent of a soccer team manager being warned, in the shape of a vote of confidence from his chairman, of his impending sacking. Zvinavashe's remarks to trusted Zimbabwean newsmen follow confirmed reports of his approach to opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai outlining a plan for Mugabe to step down and go into exile with a guarantee of immunity from prosecution for human rights abuses.

Zvinavashe, until recently a supreme Mugabe loyalist, clearly sees that the inevitable further deterioration in Zimbabwe's dire predicament threatens to bring down all the president's cronies as well as the boss himself.

The current yearly decline of 10% in GDP, 200% inflation , 70% unemployment, 7.2 million people facing starvation, and near-zero farm production are all unsustainable, especially when allied to Mugabe's cat's cradle of repressive laws.

The Zvinavashe strategy was launched just before Christmas when he sent his former colleague, retired Colonel Lionel Dyck, to run a proposal past Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which lost presidential and parliamentary elections to Mugabe last year in a heavily rigged poll.

University of Zimbabwe law professor Lovemore Madhuku said: 'It does say a lot when top soldiers, who are the greatest beneficiaries of Mugabe's corrupt patronage, start admitting that things are indeed bad. It also confirms that denied reports about initiatives within Zanu-PF to oust Mugabe are not completely unfounded.'

Zvinavashe has tried to deny making moves to negotiate an end to Mugabe's rule, but the reports are too well sourced, detailed and widespread for the armed forces chief to be able to distance himself effectively from Mugabe's own vigorous denials that he will step down.

Confirming that Colonel Dyck had met him on behalf of General Zvinavashe, Tsvangirai said he indicated he was willing to begin negotiations on the Zvinavashe plan. This would allow Mugabe free passage with his family to live in a country of his choice. An interim government would then be formed, pending fresh elections, with Emmerson Mnangagwa, speaker of the p arliament, as president and Tsvangirai as vice- president.

It is not a deal Tsvangirai will accept. It would leave both Mnangagwa, a hardman who was Mugabe's intelligence chief, and the ruthless and deeply corrupt Zvinavashe with too much power.

'I made it clear that we [the MDC] will never be party to any political arrangement that seeks to sanitise Mugabe's violent illegitimacy, and that includes Mugabe's retirement plans and the so-called government of national unity.

'Mr Mugabe's lieutenants have all virtually abandoned him and maintain an appearance of loyalty out of fear. The machinery around Mugabe is now collapsing fast and leaking help.'

South African President Thabo Mbeki has been trying to persuade Tsvangirai to serve in a government of national unity with Mugabe's Zanu-PF . But Tsvangirai asserts that only new, inter nationally supervised elections can decide who rules a post-Mugabe Zimbabwe.

How Mugabe will act following revelations of the Zvinavashe initiative to ease him into exile can only be guessed. But he is at his most besieged and vulnerable since he came to power in 1980 at independence, having openly admitted his administration's failure to cope with disastrous food and fuel shortages.

'Although he has raped it, the economy continues to land fatal blows that Mugabe cannot block,' said Tsvangirai. Staple foods such as maize flour, sugar and salt have disappeared from shops, mainly as a result of severe shortages but also because Mugabe has fixed selling prices below production costs.

In the economic meltdown achieved by Mugabe's pursuit of Kampuchean-style socialism, toothpaste was selling last week at the equivalent of £15 a tube and car tyres for £350 each. While Tsvangirai must want to be rid of Mugabe peacefully, he has plenty of reasons to be deeply wary of Zvinavashe, who has taken several white farms for himself in the course of his patron's 'land reform' programme.

Human Rights Watch has also iden tified Zvinavashe as a multi-millionaire beneficiary of the Zimbabwe military's adventure in the Congo. He formed a company which sold and transported goods, including uniforms, to his own troops. Zvinavashe was also a director of a company, Operation Sovereign Legit imacy, that was given lucrative diamond, gold, cobalt and copper mining contracts in the Congo. Unless he can do a favourable deal now, Zvinavashe is certain to face trial for corruption and human rights offences under a future democratic Zimbabwean government.

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwean police, the official protectors of the England cricket team when they play a World Cup match against Zimbabwe in Harare next month, have signalled that they will deal ruthlessly with demonstrators.

'Those who hold illegal demonstrations will be dealt with thoroughly,' said police spokesman Andrew Phiri. Opposition MDC MP Job Sikhala was dealt with 'thoroughly' by the police last week when he was arrested for attending a banned rally. Before being released on bail, Sikhala was tortured by having electric terminals attached to his genitals. He was then clubbed before being urinated on and forced to sign a document saying the MDC planned an uprising against Mugabe.

England's cricket tour may yet be cancelled. Two leading cricket personalities have refused in the past week to visit Zimbabwe in protest against Mugabe's repression . The BBC cricket and soccer commentator Pat Murphy has refused to go to Harare on principle, and a South African wicketkeeper has refused to join the South African cricket 'A' team tour .

There is a distinct possibility the Zimbabwe crisis will come to a head when South African President Thabo Mbeki visits Britain at the end of this month. Mbeki wants British investment for his grand development designs but who has refused to condemn Mugabe's policies in Zimbabwe. He may find little sympathy unless he begins to act against his dictatorial neighbour who depends on South Africa for electricity and supplies .

Back to the Top
Back to Index