Jan 25, 2009
The daughter of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is studying in Hong Kong
under an assumed name.
Bona Mugabe - whose father and fellow leaders are banned from going to the
United States and the European Union - began studying under another name at
the University of Hong Kong in the autumn, a senior university source
Her presence in Hong Kong emerged after her 43-year-old mother, Grace,
allegedly assaulted freelance photographer Richard Jones as he took pictures
of her shopping in Tsim Sha Tsui 10 days ago.
Mr Mugabe and members of his regime are subject to widespread international
sanctions. Australia last year deported eight students whose parents are
senior members of the Mugabe regime, saying it wanted to prevent those
involved in human rights abuses giving their children education denied to
ordinary Zimbabweans. The southern African country is in the grip of a
spiralling economic crisis, political turmoil and a deadly cholera epidemic.
Asked about Ms Mugabe's admission, a university spokeswoman said: "We
believe that education should be above politics and young people should not
be denied the rights to education because of their family background or what
their parents have done." She denied there had been any negative reaction
from fellow students to the presence of Ms Mugabe, who is around 20.
The senior university source acknowledged that many students were unaware of
the presence of Ms Mugabe - who is understood to be on holiday in Zimbabwe.
When she returned, the university would "keep a watchful eye", the source
said. "It is an issue of protecting an individual's rights ... What if
someone says they do not want to do the course with her?"
Legislator Emily Lau Wai-hing called for a debate over the admission of
students such as Ms Mugabe. "Anybody can come to study in Hong Kong. Nobody
has ever raised this issue," she said.
However, Law Yuk-kai, director of Human Rights Monitor, said: "A child who
has not done anything wrong should not be asked to take the burden of the
wrongs of their parents.
"I don't think because ... their parents have these kinds of issues,
corruption or so on, there should be an embargo extended to deny a child a
chance to study abroad."
Asked about Bona Mugabe and visits by her parents to Hong Kong, a government
spokeswoman replied: "Every entry application is determined on its own
January 25, 2009
Michael Sheridan in Hong Kong
POLICE are expected to interview a fresh witness who has come forward to
help their investigation into the assault on a Sunday Times photographer by
the wife of Robert Mugabe, the president of Zimbabwe.
Richard Jones said in a statement to police that Grace Mugabe flew into a
rage when she was approached and punched him repeatedly in the face while
one of her bodyguards held him. He was treated for cuts, abrasions and
bruises to his face and head. Police have taken statements from other
witnesses and have viewed video recordings from security cameras around the
In Hong Kong a decision to prosecute is taken by the secretary for justice,
who considers whether there is sufficient evidence and whether a prosecution
is in the public interest.
Lawyers said Mugabe, who left Hong Kong after the attack, may not enjoy
diplomatic immunity and could be questioned by police if she returns.
The Mugabe government is regarded as a friend of China. However, Chinese
officials in Hong Kong have indicated privately that decisions will be left
to the local authorities.
Published:Jan 25, 2009
Some of South Africa's most prominent religious figures have criticised the
handling of the crisis in Zimbabwe, breaking ranks with the government and
regional leaders for the first time in years.
In a scathing attack following their consultative meeting in Stellenbosch in
the Western Cape this week, Bishop Ivan Abrahams of the Methodist Church,
Cardinal Wilfrid Napier of the Catholic Church, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of
the Anglican Church, Pastor Ray McCauley of Rhema and Eddie Makue of the SA
Council of Churches, among others, accused both the Southern African
Development Community and the SA government of failing the people of
Zimbabwe with their "so-called" quiet diplomacy.
They also called for the removal of former president Thabo Mbeki, appointed
by SADC as mediator, because he was "compromised and no longer suitable for
the mediation process".
They called on the 12th Ordinary Session of the Summit of the African Union
Heads of State and Government, which is meeting next week in Addis Ababa,
Ethiopia, to urgently intervene and appoint a new mediator.
The MDC and Zanu-PF are scheduled to slug it out tomorrow at an
extraordinary SADC summit in Pretoria to discuss the stalled Zimbabwean
Global Political Agreement, signed last year, between Zanu-PF and the MDC.
The criticism of the religious leaders follows an equally stinging attack
from Elders member Graça Machel, who accused Southern African leaders of
having the blood of hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans on their hands for
failing to solve the crisis in that country.
The church leaders said they believed Robert Mugabe was holding on to power
illegitimately, and called upon him to resign.
"As church leaders in Southern Africa, we are deeply concerned and pained by
the loss of life and the continued deterioration of the social, political
and economic situation in Zimbabwe," they said.
January 25, 2009
Sophie Shaw in Harare
PUPILS as young as five years old were being turned away from school gates
by President Robert Mugabe's army last week as Zimbabwe's education system,
once one of the finest in Africa, became the latest victim of his ruinous
corruption and economic mismanagement.
A week after the scheduled beginning of the academic year, all state schools
remain closed. They are not expected to reopen until at least the end of
February. As far as the state is concerned, if its own schools are shut,
then the private ones have no right to be open.
Jocelyn, whose 10-year-old son Tafadzwa attends the private St George's
primary school in Harare, described what happened when she arrived for the
start of term last Monday.
"Soldiers were at the gates telling the pupils to go away. They said that
other children couldn't go to school, so St George's children should stay
away until the government decided when term should begin."
Jocelyn works for an international agency and is paid in American dollars.
By making substantial sacrifices, she can afford to educate her children
privately at schools offering a sound education and a stable teaching staff:
because they charge fees in US dollars, they can pay their teachers in hard
But the fees at St George's are US$600 (£440) a term, far beyond the means
of soldiers earning less than $10 (£7.35) a month and indeed of the large
majority of Zimbabweans.
Army units have grown increasingly mutinous in recent weeks, infuriated by
low wages and prone to run wild in Harare, stealing from street vendors and
money changers. Their harassment of private pupils appeared to reflect their
anger that their own children are being denied education.
Zimbabwe's state education system, in which all schools charge small fees,
is collapsing as many of the country's 100,000 teachers move abroad. South
African schools offering salaries in rand routinely recruit Zimbabwean state
teachers earning worthless local currency. The Progressive Teachers' Union
of Zimbabwe estimates that more than half its members have fled.
The tragedy for ordinary Zimbabweans is that the collapse of education is
ending their proud tradition of being the best-educated people in Africa.
Loveness is a domestic worker who commutes every week to Harare. She can
read and write in English as well as Shona and has O-levels in maths,
English and history. But she is concerned that her children will not be
allowed to match her achievements at a state school. "There have been so
many school closures and lack of teachers. And the fees keep going up. Now
they want US$20 per term. If I can't pay, they send my children home. If my
son doesn't read and write, what will he do?"
Mondli Makhanya Published:Jan 25, 2009
There is a story I have told in this space before, so I will beg
I repeat it because it is pertinent at the moment as the leaders of
the Southern African Development Community gather in Johannesburg for a
summit on Zimbabwe.
The events took place in 2000, in the early days of the Zimbabwean
meltdown. Zimbabwe's war veterans and associated Zanu-PF ruffians had
launched their violent invasion of commercial farms. There had been rape and
pillaging in the countryside. The newly formed Movement for Democratic
Change had shocked Zanu-PF by scoring a referendum victory that threw out
constitutional reforms proposed by President Robert Mugabe. That
development, just months ahead of the June parliamentary elections, sent
shock vibrations through Zanu-PF, which now feared an electoral loss.
Mugabe's security forces and Zanu-PF militias had responded to this
shock by unleashing more violence on the MDC, trade unionists and civil
The economy was going into free fall. Infrastructure was falling
Worried, regional leaders organised a summit at Victoria Falls.
Present were Namibia's Sam Nujoma, Mozambique's Joaquim Chissano and South
Africa's Thabo Mbeki.
For long hours they sat in a room, trying to get Mugabe to change
direction. When they emerged from their marathon meeting, they told the
journalists gathered that Mugabe had agreed to several measures that would
restore order to the country. He would ensure, among other things, that
within 30 days the war veterans would be off the farms, violence would cease
and a climate conducive to free political activity would be created.
Mugabe was not permitted to speak at the press conference and the
difficult questions were fielded by the three presidents.
When asked why they believed Mugabe would stick to his part of the
deal, they reacted angrily. How dare you question the validity of an
undertaking that a head of state makes to other heads of state, they shot
back. They got more irritated as the question was posed in different ways.
We all left Victoria Falls wondering whether maybe, just maybe, they
were onto something.
The following week, Mugabe was on the hustings, spewing his rhetoric.
At every rally, he repudiated the Easter weekend agreement. He vowed
that he would never set comrade against comrade by getting the security
forces to remove the war veterans from the farms they occupied. He told his
followers that he would never allow the country to return to British rule,
meaning that he would under no circumstances give the MDC the ability to win
a democratic election.
He pledged that the land seizures would continue until all the land
belonged to real Zimbabweans.
It was as if he was intent on rubbing his brother leaders' noses
really roughly in sea sand.
And the state of the country today shows how serious he was about
Since then, there have been many more summits where the leaders of the
region have extracted promises from Mugabe. He has nodded vigorously, only
to show them the middle finger once he got back to Munhumutapa House.
I have always cast my mind back to that Easter weekend each time the
SADC leaders have proclaimed an imminent deal and an end in sight to the
Have they not been played enough by this man to realise he is a
conceited liar, who is only interested in retaining power and feeding the
greed of those who keep him in power?
If they do not care about the plight of Zimbabweans, then what about
the damage that is being done to their own countries by the meltdown?
Tomorrow, the leaders of the region will gather in Johannesburg to try
once more to resolve the crisis. Mugabe will arrive at the summit with only
one thing on his mind: how to trick them into helping him to control real
power. He will hoodwink them again and manoeuvre his way around the deal
signed last year.
I do believe that there will be some movement tomorrow, but only
because the MDC has been beaten into such a pulp that it will be prepared to
make some really stupid compromises.
The MDC is in a truly lonely place in this process because the major
power brokers in the region, led by South Africa, are openly on the side of
If there is to be a genuine lasting solution to the Zimbabwean crisis,
the search for solutions must be broadened beyond the SADC region. The
involvement of the African Union, which has leaders who are less beholden to
Mugabe, is necessary. And so is the involvement of the United Nations, whose
humanitarian organs have a much a greater understanding of the situation on
the ground than our regional leaders.
For, even if a government of national unity is formed, it will be one
in which Mugabe and Zanu-PF will wield disproportionate power. We all know
they will abuse that power. And I have my doubts whether SADC will have the
courage to prevent this abuse. They cannot be trusted to do it alone. They
have failed dismally - and they must have the humility to admit as much.
Published:Jan 25, 2009
Wildlife experts suspect cartels take advantage of ineffective law
South Africa's rhino population is under attack, with an estimated 100
gunned down for their horns over the past year - a staggering 1000% increase
compared with 2007.
Government officials and private landowners this week confirmed a massive
increase in rhino poaching over the past year, raising fears of a wildlife
killing spree similar to those decimating reserves in neighbouring countries
such as Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
It is the first time in more than 15 years that the situation has spiralled
out of control.
And it is not just protected rhino in the firing line: several other
wildlife species are now being targeted because of a rampant trade in bush
meat. Authorities are battling a growing army of armed poachers, whose ranks
are swelling because of rural poverty.
This week the Sunday Times established that:
.. The number of rhinos poached within SA National Parks' land increased by
nearly 300% in 2008 (36 rhinos) compared with 2007 (10 rhinos);
..An estimated 50 rhinos were poached on private game reserves in 2008 ; and
.. Thirteen rhinos were shot dead on Christmas Day last year, including six
on a private reserve in North West.
The situation has prompted a crackdown on poachers that involves the SA
National Parks, a Gauteng provincial task team and organised police crime
units in Mpumalanga, North West and Limpopo.
Although the exact reason for the increase remains unclear, wildlife experts
suspect sophisticated poaching cartels are taking advantage of ineffective
There is also speculation that a recent tightening of restrictions on legal
rhino hunting has prevented trophy horns from ending up as contraband.
The government issues about 200 rhino hunting licences a year, but has moved
to tighten control of the horns - placing a moratorium on their sale or
trade - after it emerged that buyers were posing as hunters to get hold of
The spiralling cost of private hunts has also prompted buyers to turn to
poachers for an alternative horn supply, despite massive penalties.
The problem is fuelled by a significant increase in available animals in the
country's estimated 9500 private game reserves. Previously, poaching was
mostly restricted to government parks.
Wildlife authorities this week confirmed the poaching crisis, but said they
were puzzled by the sudden increase. Department of Environmental Affairs and
Tourism deputy director Sonja Meintjies conceded the problem may be
indirectly related to rhino hunting because of soaring prices in the animal
"We don't have a handle on it (the reasons for poaching)," said Jeff
Gaisford, spokesman for Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, who confirmed a huge increase
in poached rhinos in the province's parks.
"It could be because of the economic downturn or because some guy in Taiwan
wants to make a lot of money."
Saturday, 24 January 2009 19:45
THE government on Friday failed to commit itself to paying civil
servants in foreign currency, ending hopes that striking teachers would
return to work.
Government announced that schools will open on Tuesday.
The APEX Council made up of the Zimbabwe Teachers' Association (Zimta)
and the Public Service Association, representing the rest of the civil
service said the government failed to offer their members anything concrete
at the crucial meeting of the National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC).
Teachers who have been on strike since last year demanding better pay
immediately vowed not to return to work until their demands were met.
They now want to be paid in foreign currency with a minimum salary
pegged at US$2 300.
The government has already been forced to delay the start of the new
term by two weeks because of mounting problems in the education sector.
"Regrettably, the conditions that have incapacitated the workers from
delivering service as expected continue to affect our members," Zimta
president Tendai Chikowore told journalists after the meeting.
"The workers have neither the financial resources to travel to work
nor to sustain themselves."
Chikowore, who also chairs the APEX council, said they would "continue
to fail to report for duty due to circumstances emanating from
Educationists said despite the government's insistence that schools
and colleges would open this week, developments on the ground pointed to a
chaotic situation in the sector.
They warned schools were not ready for the new term, and going ahead
would only disadvantage learners.
The challenges that forced schools to close prematurely last year have
worsened this year. In addition, Grade VII results have not yet been
published, which makes it impossible for all secondary schools to enrol Form
Is this year.
The country's biggest teachers' unions - the Progressive Teachers'
Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) and Zimta - were unanimous that schools could not
open under the current circumstances.
Delays by government in approving proposals by schools to charge fees
in foreign currency have also worsened the situation, with parents still
unsure how much their children would be required to pay two days before the
proposed start of the term.
PTUZ president Takavafira Zhou said teachers would not go back to work
until they were paid in foreign currency.
This month they were paid between Z$20 trillion and $50 trillion,
depending on experience and qualifications.
"Unless our demands are met," he said, "teachers will not go back to
work and parents should not waste their hard-earned money paying fees for
the first term.
"If they pay, they should pay knowing very well that we are not going
Zhou said 70 000 out of Zimbabwe's 150 000 teachers had not
communicated their resignation by mid-last year.
He said 40% of those who remained were unqualified temporary teachers
or youth militias, recruited to fill the gap.
Oswald Madziva, the PTUZ spokesperson, said the government lacked
public support on the opening of schools and could only proceed on the
strength of its "traits of arrogance, lack of consultation and
PTUZ also accused the government of failing "to give enough
information to the donor community so that it could make adequate
Meanwhile, tertiary institutions that were expected to open tomorrow
are set to face the same disruptions, with students vowing to resist paying
fees in foreign currency.
"We express our deep anger and disappointment to the government on the
collapse of our country's education system," said Blessing Vava,
spokesperson of the Zimbabwe National Students Union.
"Schools and colleges are opening at a time when there is a proposal
to force students to pay astronomical fees in foreign currency which is out
of reach of many.
"We urge students to remain resilient and boycott paying fees in
foreign currency and we demand that we pay in local currency because our
parents are not earning in foreign currency."
On Wednesday last week, students at the country's premier education
institution, the University of Zimbabwe, went on a rampage protesting
against the proposed foreign currency fees.
BY VUSUMUZI SIFILE, RUTENDO MAWERE AND EDGAR GWESHE
Saturday, 24 January 2009 19:37
THE current looting of shops and people's properties and other acts of
indiscipline by restive soldiers battling to make ends meet due to poor
salaries sets a fertile platform for mutiny.
Political analysts warned last week that the situation should not go
Smarting from the effective dollarisation of the economy, soldiers -
like other workers - are now demanding salaries in foreign currency.
They say they cannot transact any business from their earnings in
local currency, as everything is now priced either in US dollars or South
Soldiers were this month paid $30 trillion (US$3 on the black market).
Food rations for those staying in barracks were greatly reduced, leaving
their families on the verge of starvation.
On Tuesday, a group of 15-armed soldiers ran riot at Mabika Shopping
Centre in Chivi, Masvingo.
They looted a shop belonging to MDC legislator for Mkoba, Amos
Chibaya. They claimed they were hungry.
The soldiers, according to Chibaya, arrived at the shop around 10am,
jumped over the counter and looted various goods valued at R4 500.
They loaded their loot into a waiting white Mitsubishi truck and sped
off, without paying.
"They told my shop attendant that they were hungry because they are
not being paid enough money," Chibaya said, "but what's surprising is that
they only targeted my shop."
There are six other shops at the rural shopping centre.
Analysts said such incidents could soon spiral into chaos as anger
boils over at the deteriorating economic situation in the country.
They said the indiscipline creeping into the lower ranks of the army
was an indication of general disgruntlement in the uniformed forces.
President Robert Mugabe's administration, said analysts, now hinges on
senior army officials who are benefiting from his continued stay in power.
The cronies have vast tracks of land plundered from commercial
farmers, posh homes and drive luxury vehicles, they said.
Political analyst Gorden Moyo said the behaviour of soldiers was
"systematic and demonstrative" of a failed state.
Such conduct, he said, had been experienced in countries such as
Somalia, Sudan and Liberia during the time of civil strife.
University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer Eldred Masunungure
agreed with Moyo saying the actions by soldiers could lead to anarchy.
"It's pointing to an anarchical situation," he said.
"This kind of situation is not discriminatory, so those in the
corridors of power should be petrified."
A fortnight ago, unidentified soldiers raided Reserve Bank Governor
Gideon Gono's farm in Norton and forcibly took 175 chickens valued at
Chinhoyi police records show six armed soldiers who were driving a
Chinese white half tonne truck arrived at New Donnington farm and asked the
manager, Philip Musvuuri to load all the chickens at gunpoint.
The soldiers are said to have told the manager they would not pay for
the chickens because Gono owed them money.
According to the record, the soldiers said that they had failed to get
their salaries from their banks following a directive by Gono that limited
They left without paying.
The incident echoed last month's events where soldiers ran amok in
Harare and Chinhoyi, looting shops and cash from illegal foreign currency
Rioting only stopped after the army and police launched joint
operations in the city to rein in the rogue soldiers.
In November armed soldiers searching for diamonds illegally mined in
Chiadzwa in Marange looted several shops at Birchenough Bridge.
Shop owners and villagers in areas around Marange in Manicaland said
the looting and raids by soldiers were continuing although illegal diamond
dealings had stopped.
"Whenever they are hungry, they come and take whatever they want from
here," said a businessman at Nyanyadzi Shopping Centre in Chimanimani.
In December The Standard reported that hungry soldiers at Pomona
Barracks in Harare had resorted to stealing potatoes from nearby Teviotdale
Farm to complement their meagre rations.
There are reports of widespread disgruntlement in the army ranks over
low remuneration, dwindling rations and poor living conditions tin the
The army has been the bedrock of Mugabe's repressive administration,
always ready to use brutal tactics to keep public discontent in check in the
face of an unprecedented economic and humanitarian crisis.
Army spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Simon Tsatsi said he had not
received reports of looting by soldiers in Chivi.
He referred questions to Lieutenant Godfrey Gweje in Harare and a
Staff Sergeant Chivave in Masvingo who could not be reached for comment.
"Check with those guys but I will also try to find out from this
side," Tsatsi said.
BY CAIPHAS CHIMHETE
Saturday, 24 January 2009 19:33
SOUTHERN African Development Community (Sadc) leaders Monday face
their sternest test so far when they meet in South Africa for an
The summit will either save or mark the end of the stalled
power-sharing deal on Zimbabwe.
Zanu PF and the MDC formation led by Morgan Tsvangirai go into the
meeting with parallel hard-line stances that, barring a miracle, could all
but confirm the collapse of the envisaged all-inclusive government.
Tomorrow's meeting also comes amid reports President Robert Mugabe and
Tsvangirai held a secret inconclusive meeting on Thursday to resolve their
But MDC-T spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said he was not aware of the
Tsvangirai, whose party has insisted on an equitable distribution of
key cabinet posts before the September 15 deal is consummated told civil
society organisations at a meeting in Harare the dialogue could not go on
He said tomorrow's meeting would be the last under Sadc mediation.
This was after the civic groups, who are among the MDC-T's key
backers, told Tsvangirai to come out openly on "whether there is an
all-inclusive government or not".
His silence, the MDC leader was told, had crippled a number of
Prospects of the deal's collapse heightened last week when a Sadc team
led by President Kgalema Motlanthe of South Africa failed to break the
impasse between the two parties, hence tomorrow's summit.
Since then the parties have been firing accusations at each other over
the collapse of the deal.
Both Zanu PF and the MDC are understood to have over the last week
prepared dossiers to be presented at the summit.
Mugabe would seek to convince Sadc to endorse his decision to
unilaterally form a government without the MDC, while the MDC would also
insist on its five demands tabled at last week's meeting.
The MDC position paper proposes that Mugabe, among the 10 key
ministries, retains control of Defence, National Security, Justice, Foreign
Affairs and Land.
Tsvangirai's party is also demanding equitable sharing of the 10
provincial governors, as well as the release of political detainees.
Chamisa yesterday confirmed the party's position, saying they were
confident Sadc would address their concerns.
"It would be tragic if Sadc leaders were to continue to endorse the
arrogance and rigidity of Zanu PF," Chamisa said.
"We hope they will have an objective eye, a receptive ear and an open
mind to address and understand the extent, scope and nature of the crisis in
Chamisa said Zanu PF had "a casino mentality, where they are just
concerned about who wins most and who loses most", ignoring the plight of
the people of Zimbabwe.
Addressing journalists, Zanu PF chief negotiator Patrick Chinamasa
said his party was "not going to agree to a reopening of the subject on
allocation of ministers" and the appointment of provincial governors.
He said abducted and currently detained political activists would also
not be released.
National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) chairperson, Dr Lovemore
Madhuku yesterday said Sadc was unlikely to give in to all the MDC's
demands, but would "want to be seen to have met the MDC halfway".
Meanwhile, in a move that could cloud the Sadc extraordinary summit in
Pretoria tomorrow, police yesterday banned an MDC rally that was scheduled
for Huruyadzo Shopping Centre in St Mary's, Chitungwiza today saying there
was too much anxiety on the fate of tommorow's talks.
Although police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena was not immediately
available, MDC officials confirmed police had stopped them from holding the
MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said in their communication, the
police said the rally had not been banned, but "postponed".
"They said there is currently a lot of anxiety because of the
inter-party talks," Chamisa said.
The rally was meant to update supporters on the state of the stalled
The MDC leadership was also expected to use the rally to get an
appreciation from supporters on the current cholera outbreak, which has
claimed close to 3 000 lives.
BY VUSUMUZI SIFILE
Saturday, 24 January 2009 18:44
ZIMBABWE Lawyers for Human Rights last week officially complained to
the Registrar-General, Tobaiwa Mudede, over the recent increase in foreign
currency-denominated passport fees.
This they argued was an unreasonable violation of citizens' rights and
Last month, the RG's office released a schedule containing new foreign
currency-denominated fees for travel documents.
Under the new charges, an adult passport costs US$670 while a child
will have to pay US$607 for a passport.
To renew a passport, one has to part with US$400. The new charges are
many times more than the standard fee charged in most major economies.
In a letter to Mudede on Thursday, litigation lawyer Range
Nyamurundira said passports were "basic national documents to which any
citizen of Zimbabwe is entitled".
They challenged the RG to review the charges to the same levels as in
neighbouring countries, failure of which would result in legal action
"A passport serves not only as a means of identification but for many
individuals is a symbol of belonging and national pride" Nyamurundira said.
"More importantly not only is a passport a means of identification
but it is also the means through which certain basic human rights can be
exercised by Zimbabwean citizens.
"One such right whose enjoyment is exercised only by means of
possession and use of a passport is the right to freedom of movement."
He quoted Section 22 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe which provides
that: "No person shall be deprived of his freedom of movement, that is to
say, the right to move freely throughout Zimbabwe, the right to reside in
any part of Zimbabwe, the right to enter and to leave Zimbabwe and immunity
from expulsion from Zimbabwe."
Nyamurundira said the new fees were "not reasonably justifiable" and
far beyond the reach of most Zimbabweans who have no access to foreign
Giving an example of civil servants who were recently promised monthly
salaries of US$50, Nyamurundira said it would take almost a year to raise
enough money to acquire a passport, foregoing all other needs in one's life.
He said cross-border traders would also be hardest hit, as the new
fees "deny them the very passport that allows their livelihood by imposing
exorbitant and unreasonable passport charges." It was a severe limitation
and violation of their rights and freedoms," he said.
It could not be immediately established if Mudede received the letter,
also copied to the parent Ministry of Home Affairs.
BY VUSUMUZI SIFILE
Saturday, 24 January 2009 18:40
PRISON officials last week blocked incarcerated rights activist
Jestina Mukoko from receiving urgent treatment after they removed her from a
private Harare hospital before doctors could finish treating her.
Her lawyers immediately slammed the move as "absolute contempt" for
the Supreme Court order instructing the authorities to ensure she received
medical attention after she was tortured while in detention.
Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku on January 12 ordered that Mukoko be
taken to hospital for proper medical attention as recommended by a private
doctor who examined her at Chikurubi Maximum Prison.
She has been detained there since December.
On Tuesday she was taken to the Avenues Clinic where doctors examined
her and recommended that she should be admitted at the institution for
But officials from the Zimbabwe Prison Service (ZPS) reportedly took
her away before she could receive vital treatment.
Her lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, confirmed Mukoko had been taken to
hospital where she was examined, but failed to get treatment.
"She was taken to the Avenues Clinic and examined by doctors who
admitted her so she could get treatment," Mtetwa said.
"Prison officials however took her away before she received
Mtetwa said the prison officials' actions had violated the court order
and questioned the wisdom of allowing someone to be examined only to deny
"This shows absolute contempt with which the authorities treat human
life," she said.
"What is the point of getting examined when you cannot be allowed to
In his ruling, Chief Justice Chidyausiku said the Deputy
Attorney-General, Prince Machaya, was to ensure the state's compliance with
the order by facilitating efforts to get proper medical attention for the
former ZBC newscaster.
Machaya said he had played his part through advising the prison
officials to take Mukoko to the Avenues.
"I wrote to prison authorities advising them to take her to hospital,"
"I just received a letter from the lawyers referring to her failure to
get treatment and I am yet to establish with prisons what the problem was."
ZPS spokesperson Dranisia Musango, who said she was on leave, referred
questions to a Mr Kahondo. Kahondo demanded questions in writing but had not
responded by the time of going to print.
Mukoko's case is before the courts and the state is accusing her of
recruiting bandits and insurgents allegedly to oust the Zanu PF government.
BY JENNIFER DUBE
Saturday, 24 January 2009 18:35
ANGRY relatives of a Mutare businessman, Maxwell Mabota, who died
recently in South Africa from injuries he sustained after he was assaulted
by soldiers want justice.
Mabota was accused of dealing in diamonds and was tortured.
His relatives, who requested anonymity for fear of victimisation, said
they were seeking legal advice to have the soldiers who beat Mabota to death
tried in a court of law.
"We want those responsible for his death to face justice," said one of
the relatives. "They cannot kill with impunity because they are soldiers."
The relatives said the 32-year-old businessman was abducted by
soldiers on Christmas Eve at Nyanyadzi Business Centre in Chimanimani
district and taken to the diamond fields of Chiadzwa in Marange district,
about 40km away.
When he was abducted, the relatives said, Mabota had US$11 000 and two
mobile phones in his car which they seized.
He had gone to Nyanyadzi to buy meat for Christmas, they claimed.
The cash and phones have not been recovered.
"We are told they took turns beating him with iron bars until he
collapsed," said another relative. "One officer recognised him and that is
when they stopped the torture. But the damage had already been done.
"His kidneys failed and he had perforated lungs."
Mabota was admitted at a private surgery in Mutare but because he
needed specialised treatment relatives took him to South Africa, where he
reportedly died shortly after admission.
Mabota was buried last week but relatives remain bitter.
"They killed him because they wanted to steal his money and phones.
Before his death he managed to name his killers," said the relative.
Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena was not immediately available for
Late last year, army and police units launched Operation Hakudzokwi,
ostensibly designed to flush out illegal diamond miners from the area, but
they ended up killings scores of people.
During the campaign several businesspeople who were suspected of
dealing in diamonds were beaten up and taken to the diamond fields to fill
gullies created by illegal miners.
They were forced to use bare hands to fill the gullies.
As a result, several businesspeople who were fingered for involvement
in illegal deals involving the precious stones fled the eastern border town
and surrounding areas to neighbouring countries, fearing for their lives.
Scores of vehicles allegedly bought from proceeds of diamond dealings
have been confiscated by government.
Human rights groups estimate that soldiers have killed 106 people
during the campaign to clear Chiadzwa of illegal diamond miners and buyers.
However, other sources estimate that more than 200 people could have
been killed during the operation.
BY CAIPHAS CHIMHETE
Saturday, 24 January 2009 18:28
PRETORIA - Only the leaders of Zimbabwe and not the Southern African
Development Community (Sadc) can solve the political impasse in the country.
South African Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said
this on Friday.
Speaking at a media briefing in the capital, following talks with her
Danish counterpart, Dlamini-Zuma said the solution to the power-sharing
deadlock in the country lay squarely in the hands of its leaders: Robert
Mugabe, Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara.
"Sadc wants a solution but unfortunately the position is not in Sadc's
hands. . .if it was we would be having a solution (by now). "It is in their
hands. . .they are the only three people (who can find a solution)."
Dlamini-Zuma was speaking ahead of tomorrow's Sadc extraordinary
summit - convened primarily to discuss and help find a solution to Zimbabwe's
political and humanitarian situation.
While Dlamini-Zuma said it was hoped a solution would be found, Danish
Foreign Affairs Minister Per Stig Moller reiterated that the solution should
respect last year's election which saw Movement for Democratic Change leader
Tsvangirai trump Zanu PF's leader Mugabe in the polls.
Moller said he understood it was an African problem which required an
African solution and therefore hoped Sadc could use its influence to guide
the country's leaders.
"I hope Sadc countries will use their influence in Zimbabwe to create
a solution to the benefit of the poor people of Zimbabwe," said Moller.
He said Denmark was also "very concerned" about the cholera situation
in Zimbabwe and the spread of the water-borne disease into South Africa.
"I think it is very dangerous to have a black hole today in the
continent. . .where troubles spread," he said.
Dlamini-Zuma said South Africa was trying to manage the cholera
situation "very delicately".
This involved aid to the country as well as awareness campaigns in
South Africa about the spread of the disease, but moreover it involved
managing the "tensions" between the country's borders and disease control.
"If we take a fortress mentality and say we are closing [our borders]
people will still find ways of coming in but it would mean you would not be
able to monitor and you would not be able to send them to health services."
The agenda for SA-Denmark bilateral talks also included discussions on
the global financial crisis, climate change and renewable energy, and the
new United States administration headed by President Barack Obama.
"We wish him [Obama] well, but also hope that all of us will be able
to weather the storm of the global financial crisis and its consequences,"
"For all of us it is a historical change... [Obama] is hopefully
looking for change and hope," she said.
Moller noted he was also hoping for positive change from the new US
administration, and said he felt buoyed that Obama, last year, had said the
financial crisis could not be solved without finding solutions to the energy
"That has always been Denmark's stance," he said. - SAPA
Saturday, 24 January 2009 17:51
MOVEMENT for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai last week said
Zimbabweans who have succumbed to the cholera epidemic sweeping across the
country were victims of President Robert Mugabe's misrule.]
Speaking after a tour of Budiriro Polyclinic cholera treatment centre
in Harare on Thursday, Tsvangirai said, "this suffering must end".
"The deteriorating health condition of the people is quite evident
with the cholera outbreak," he said choking with emotion. "I have just had a
visit and I think you can see the pain of the people.
"But above all I think we have witnessed the suffering of the people
and I can say that this suffering must end for the good of the nation."
The cholera epidemic, which had claimed at least 2 755 lives by
Thursday, has been blamed on the collapse of the country's water
reticulation system and the grounded health sector.
Tsvangirai, who returned home last Saturday after almost three months
in self-imposed exile in Botswana, was shown various sections of the clinic
where many people were battling for their lives.
The centre caters for residents of Budiriro and Glen View, who have
borne the brunt of the epidemic that has spread to all corners of the
During the visit Tsvangirai spoke to patients, wishing them a speedy
Those too weak and sick to speak simply nodded, acknowledging the
visit by the MDC leader.
But there were some who greeted Tsvangirai with excitement as they
temporarily forgot about their pain.
As the nurses took the MDC leader around the centre they catalogued
the multiple problems facing the institution.
These included low staffing levels and overcrowding at the treatment
But they also acknowledged the assistance aid agencies have given in
the fight against cholera.
The government, which is struggling to lure back health workers who
downed tools last year has admitted that it was overwhelmed by the epidemic
that has also left 48 623 infected.
BY BERTHA SHOKO
Saturday, 24 January 2009 17:48
PUBLIC transport operators and motorists have expressed concern about
the increasing number of roadblocks on major roads throughout the country
manned by police officers who openly demand bribes.
Matters came to a head a fortnight ago when public transporters in
Bulawayo called for an urgent meeting with the police to discuss the issue
of mounting roadblocks and worsening corruption.
Strike Ndlovu of the Bulawayo Public Transporters' Association (BUPTA)
said operators feared they would be pushed out of business soon if the
problems were not addressed.
"Sometimes we come across four roadblocks on one road and officers at
each one of them will stop our cars," Ndlovu said, "and at the end of the
day, they serve nothing but to disrupt our operations."
He alleged police officers often threatened crews when demanding
"If they fail to give them money, they are threatened with all sorts
of actions which include taking them to the Vehicle Inspection Department
(VID)," he said.
"The boys then have no other option but to give them the money because
nowadays, it is difficult to properly maintain vehicles."
Ndlovu said officers usually demanded between 20 or 40 South African
rand per trip, depriving operators of a significant amount in takings.
"They are ripping us off," he said. "We only make R90 per trip and
after giving them their demands, we are left with nothing and it becomes
difficult for us to procure fuel and spare parts which are all sold in
Numerous police roadblocks have sprouted across the country, with
others found along the highways linking major cities.
In some cases, army and prison officers are also found at some
roadblocks together with the police.
In Southerton, the police allegedly demand US$5 per commuter bus that
passes through the roadblock every morning.
"Sometimes they come very early before you have taken any fares and if
you tell them you don't have money, they detain you and transfer the
passengers to crews that have the money to pay them," a driver claimed.
"They force you to park your vehicle on the side of the road until
after the peak hour when most workers have gone to work."
Travellers in Bulawayo and Harare said they were worried that the
police seemed more concerned about collecting bribes than ensuring the
public's safety on the roads.
"Whenever you arrive at a roadblock, the crew is worried about nothing
else besides paying the bribe," Tsitsi Mawire from Warren Park said.
"The conductor prepares the money while the driver parks a little
distance away from the officers and to prove they are only there for the
takings, the officers never even bother to examine the vehicle," Mawire
But police spokesman, Andrew Phiri defended the number of roadblocks
saying it was evidence that police were discharging their duties
He said the roadblocks were set up after police discovered that there
was too much damage on the roads during the festive season, which he said
could be attributed to lack of "monitors" on the roads.
"Motorists should report those who demand bribes from them because if
they comply, they will also be guilty and we will arrest them together with
the officers involved," he said. "We know that some kombi operators actually
offer bribes to our officers because their vehicles are not roadworthy and
they turn around and lie that money was demanded from them."
BY JENNIFER DUBE
Saturday, 24 January 2009 17:46
OPPOSITION Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) councillors in the
Gutu district of Masvingo claim they have not received their sitting
allowances since their inauguration in August last year.
This comes amid revelations that Zanu PF officials and the district
administrators' office instructed council workers not to pay them.
Disgruntled councillors said the continued interference by losing Zanu
PF councillors and the DA's office was making their work difficult.
They alleged Zanu PF was still using its councillors, defeated during
last year's harmonised elections, to distribute maize-meal in their wards.
The government sources the maize-meal for drought relief and
councillors are tasked to distribute the aid to starving villagers in their
But the councillors say the DA, Makepiece Muzenda, whom they accuse of
being a Zanu PF sympathiser, had done everything possible to frustrate them.
"We are still to be paid since we started working soon after our
swearing in last August," said Cllr Wykliff Matindike of Ward 34, which
covers Mpandawana Growth Point.
"The reason for not paying us is not that the council has no money but
it was instructed not to do so by rejected members of the ruling party that
we beat in the last elections."
Matindike said Zanu PF officials and Muzenda ordered the salary freeze
out of frustration.
Emmanuel Toperesu, the councillor for Ward eight said the DA appeared
to be determined to sideline MDC councillors.
"The DA is a ruling party loyalist," he charged. "You can see this
from the way she treats us.
"She even prefers to work with the former Zanu PF councillors who lost
in the last elections. Right now she insists that the council has no money
when we know that it's making huge profits," Toperesu said.
Muzenda refuted the allegations saying they were "pure lies".
"Those are pure lies, we are paying them their allowances but the
problems is that when they got into office for the first time their
expectations were high," she said.
"They thought they'd got jobs and therefore would get high salaries,"she
But the councillors insisted that some of their meetings had been
affected by the non-payment of allowances, as those who stay away from the
growth-point were failing to raise bus fares.
"We had a lot of meetings postponed after our colleagues who travel
from distant wards failed to attend due to the high transport costs," said
Last Mafuratidze of Ward 23. "They can't afford the bus fares because
council is not paying them transport allowances."
Gutu RDC acting chief executive officer, Edward Mukaratirwa confirmed
that the councillors had not been paid since last year but blamed the delays
He said the Ministry of Local Government should approve the allowances
but several proposals were overtaken by inflation before council was given
the go ahead to pay the councillors.
BY GODFREY MUTIMBA
Saturday, 24 January 2009 13:42
Maternal and child mortality rates continue to rise globally, posing a
major challenge to development efforts, an annual report recently launched
by the United Nations Children's Fund has revealed.
According to the report: "The State of the World's Children 2009"
launched on January 15 in South Africa, having a child remains one of the
biggest health risks for women worldwide.
And in Zimbabwe, child and mortality rates would continue to rise if
problems bedevilling the health sector were not addressed urgently, said
Unicef executive director, Anne Veneman.
"One of the things that we know is that maternal mortality globally
has not come down significantly," Veneman said during her recent visit to
"Part of the problem is lack of access to a skilled health care
professional in delivery.
"I specifically during that press conference (to launch the report)
was asked a question what about countries like Zimbabwe?
"I said as the health system deteriorates, women would have less
access thereby putting their own lives and that of their new born babies at
"These are the kind of concerns that we should have."
Since October, health workers at government referral hospitals have
been on strike protesting against the deteriorating standards at the
institutions and poor pay.
The strike has left thousands of patients including women and children
in need of urgent treatment stranded.
Meanwhile, the Unicef report says at least 1 500 women worldwide die
every day while giving birth each year.
More than half a million die from causes related to pregnancy and
childbirth while millions more suffer from disability, disease, infection
On child mortality, the report notes that at least four million
newborns die within 28 days of birth, creating a major challenge for
agencies working in that area.
The report also notes that the pregnancy risk between women in
developing countries and their peers in the industrialised world has become
"the greatest health divide in the world".
"A woman in Niger has a one in seven chance of dying during the course
of her lifetime from complications during pregnancy or delivery," the report
"That's in stark contrast to the risk for mothers in America, where it's
one in 4 800 or in Ireland, where it's just one in 48 000."
Unicef said addressing the gap was "a multidisciplinary challenge,
requiring an emphasis on education, human resources, community involvement
and social equality."
"At a minimum, women must be guaranteed antenatal care, skilled birth
attendants and emergency obstetrics, and postpartum care.
"These essential interventions will only be guaranteed within the
context of improved education and the abolition of discrimination."
The death of women at childbirth was also coming at a heavy cost for
the world because of misplaced priorities by governments, Unicef added.
"Every year, the world loses $15 billion in productivity because women
die in childbirth.
"It would cost only $6 billion, or less than a day-and-a-half of
military spending, to provide the health services needed to save women's
"The Millennium Development Goals were designed to put our world on a
more secure and sustainable path and it is hard to envision a safe future
without safe motherhood."
Reacting to the findings, the United Nations Population Fund said
there was need for more action to achieve universal access to reproductive
health by 2015.
Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, the UNFPA executive director said the agency
would continue to work with Unicef and other partners to improve maternal
She said for this to be possible health systems had to be strengthened
to provide family planning, skilled attendance at birth and emergency
"No woman should die giving life," Obaid said.
Unicef last week gave a grant of US$5 million to the Zimbabwean
government to help it lure back the striking health workers.
Veneman said getting the workers back to work was a "matter of life
Last year UNFPA also sponsored the reopening of maternity wings in
Zimbabwe by offering incentives to nurses and doctors to return to work.
The agency also donated about US$200 000 worth of medical supplies and
equipment to be used in maternity hospitals.
But the continued failure by government to resolve the work boycott by
health workers has still left other sections of the hospitals closed.
Government recently offered to pay nurses and doctors US$60 and US$150
respectively but they rejected this offer saying it was too little.
Their representatives say they will not go back to work until
government pays nurses at least US$1 000 and the least paid doctor $1 500.
BY BERTHA SHOKO
Saturday, 24 January 2009 14:06
ASSET management firms have pleaded with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
(RBZ) to be allowed to manage foreign currency investments and save the
sector from imminent collapse.
The Association of Investment Managers of Zimbabwe (AIMZ), a body
representing the 17 asset managers, in a letter dated January 14, told the
central bank their industry was heading for collapse due to the prevailing
economic environment and dollarisation.
Last September RBZ licenced some shops to sell in foreign currency but
has not licenced firms in the financial services sector.
In the letter addressed to Norman Mataruka, RBZ senior division chief
Bank Licencing, Supervision & Surveillance, Tafadzwa Chinamo, the AIMZ
chairman said the central bank should allow firms to manage foreign currency
investments for them to sustain their operations.
The money raised will be loaned to forex-licenced traders, Chinamo
"We propose that asset managers be granted approval to mobilise and
manage funds from locals with foreign currency and from foreigners wishing
to invest through local asset managers," Chinamo said.
He said that the central bank should set limits on the portion that
can be invested off-shore citing the Botswana and Kenyan threshold where up
to 30% can be invested offshore and the balance locally.
Said Chinamo: "The asset management companies would thus help in
mobilising otherwise idle hard currency and channel it into investments such
as property, the local money market (for instance to be used to on-lend to
local retailers with FOLIWARS licences) and the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (if
approval is obtained for shares to be traded in foreign currency) and can
also be used to purchase foreign currency bonds issued by the RBZ."
He said the country could benefit from forex inflows, as asset
managers will mobilise offshore investments from foreigners or Zimbabweans
living in the Diaspora.
Over three million Zimbabweans are estimated to be living in the
Chinamo said licencing asset managers to mobilise off-shore funds
would ensure the retention of foreign currency within the country.
"For instance," he added, "most insurance companies entities who
obtained approval to take premiums in foreign currency are probably passing
on the entire premiums to outside re-insurers due to lack of expertise in
off-shore investments and granting such approval to local asset managers
will help bridge this gap."
The asset managers added their weight to calls to dollarise trade on
the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) saying such a move would allow asset firms
to mobilise the foreign currency, as the money will be invested directly on
the stock market.
Chinamo said if trade on ZSE was dollarised, RBZ would be able to
float US dollar-denominated bonds on the local bourse.
He said asset managers were on the verge of collapse and if they were
allowed to go under, "the negative impact transcends beyond the financial
sector but can affect the whole economy".
"As major players in the financial sector, the collapse of the asset
management industry could also result in the instability of the sector in
view of the intermediation role played by asset managers."
Previously registered with the Ministry of Finance the asset managers
are now under the supervision of the RBZ.
BY OUR STAFF
Saturday, 24 January 2009 13:54
BULAWAYO - A two-week strike by National Railways of Zimbabwe workers
has forced companies that rely on the country's biggest rail tranporter for
coal deliveries to suspend their operations.
The strike that has disrupted the NRZ's train services started when
companies were preparing to re-open after an unusually lengthy festive break
due to the country's mounting economic problems.
Workers including engine drivers have vowed not to return to work
until they are paid in foreign currency.
In a desperate attempt to end the strike, NRZ management gave the
workers a minimum of $84 billion in allowances.
This was followed up by another $12 trillion last week, which was also
dismissed by the workers.
Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) vice-president, Alfred
Dube said they were in the process of engaging NRZ and Hwange Colliery
Company (HCC) management to address the problem.
He said Hwange also seemed to be facing capacity problems. "We are in
the process of engaging the stakeholders, which are Hwange Colliery and the
National Railways to discuss the matter," Dube said.
"It has come to our attention that members who depend on coal for
production have scaled down operations because of the problems between the
"We want to find out the problem and find out ways of addressing
But spokesperson for both NRZ and HCC said their companies were not
responsible for the coal shortages crippling industry.
NRZ public relations manager, Fanuel Masikati said the strike had not
affected their passenger and freight services, as it was "minimal."
"The job action by the workers is not one that spreads throughout the
parastatals," he said.
"It's only a few workers who decided to down tools and that number is
so minimal to disrupt train services. At the moment, we have services that
"For one to claim the strike is the cause of the failure by the
companies to open is simply to use the NRZ as a scapegoat.
"Those companies have their own viability problems not associated with
the strike at the railways."
Burzil Dube, HCC public relations officer said the company had its own
challenges but had not stopped producing coal.
BY NKULULEKO SIBANDA
Saturday, 24 January 2009 13:46
THE bubble has finally burst for Zimbabwe's financial services sector
following the dollarisation of the economy, analysts said last week.
Executives running banks, insurance and asset management firms as well
as stockbrokers who were hitherto bragging of super profits as their
businesses prospered are singing a different tune.
The few remaining executives fortunate to be still in business are
struggling to patch things up to ensure that their institutions survive
The insurance sector is on its knees as it struggles to get new
policies while the banking sector has virtually ceased to perform its
Brokers are counting the costs after Zimbabwe's Stock Exchange (ZSE),
the best performer in the world until late last year, stopped trading two
Analysts say the financial services sector, the engine for economic
growth for any functional economy, has been knocked down by the low
confidence in the local currency.
Following the introduction of forex shops last year, the use of the
local currency as legal tender has diminished by the day.
The formal and informal sectors are now charging in foreign currency.
"People no longer bank their money and the few that get their salaries
from banks take out all their money as quickly as possible because saving
money is no longer an attractive proposition," a banking executive said.
"Lending to clients has fallen away because honestly who would want to
take a loan in Zimbabwean dollars."
Revenue streams are in local currency but operating costs, minus
salaries, are in foreign currency, he said.
In addition, minimum capital requirements were pegged in foreign
currency with US$12.5 million for commercial banks.
Working capital for companies and equipment expenses are also now in
forex, pushing banks out of the equation, as they do not have the hard
And when banks' roles are diminished, analysts say, the economy will
not have a vibrant commerce, as the financial institutions are the catalyst
"The financial services sector is the face of the economy," said
Witness Chinyama, head of research at Kingdom Financial Holdings Limited.
He said the financial services sector had collapsed just like any
other business getting its revenue in local currency.
Chinyama said the dollarisation of the whole economy was the only
solution in the short term while a successful resolution of the country's
political crisis was being worked out.
He said the local currency must buy local products but because the
market had been flooded with imports, the Zimbabwean dollar had lost
The ZSE, the only remaining investment alternative in the wake of
record-breaking hyperinflation has not been trading since November last
But executives are hoping trade will resume as soon as their proposal
that trade on the bourse be fully "dollarised,"is taken on board.
ZSE chief executive officer, Emmanuel Munyukwi, said he was optimistic
trade would resume soon "as the bourse is an investment vehicle."
Pension funds and insurance companies are also bleeding. At least 40%
of insurance companies' investment portfolio is held in equities, 50% in
properties and the balance in money markets and government bonds.
"It does not look good for insurance companies. We are not signing any
new business," an executive in the insurance sector said.
Asset managers are also on the verge of collapse and they have since
pleaded with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to intervene and save them
from extinction, recent correspondence has revealed.
RBZ took over the licencing and registration of asset managers in 2004
after central bank chief Gideon Gono accused them of being "briefcase
businesses" and an "accident in waiting".
Previously the ministry of Finance licenced asset managers.
In their letter to RBZ, the Association of Investment Managers of
Zimbabwe (AIMZ), the body representing the country's 17 asset managers, said
the US$2.5 million capital requirements set by the central bank was not only
too high but affecting their businesses as they were transacting in local
"Hyperinflation experience has shown us that once injected, growing or
at least conserving the US$ capital is not possible for as long as the
industry is operating in local currency," read the letter dated 14 January.
"As a result shareholders would continually be required to
recapitalise the businesses in order to meet the set minimum capital
The body proposed minimum capital equivalent of US$200 000 plus enough
working capital to cover three months.
BY NDAMU SANDU
Saturday, 24 January 2009 15:22
TEN years ago, I was a young lawyer, barely two years out of law
school and therefore, very green indeed.
Naturally, I was buoyed by the exuberance of youth and a deep desire
to serve the law, which to my inexperienced mind was equivalent to the
pursuit of justice.
I got involved in a matter, details and circumstances of which will
probably haunt me for the rest of my career. It will soon become apparent
why I have to recount this story.
The facts of the matter were deceptively simple: My client had bought
a house in Harare and legal title had passed without incident, all
formalities having been satisfied.
Problems emerged when he tried to take occupation of his new home. The
existing occupants put up stiff resistance. As the story unravelled, it
became clear that the occupants were a decent family - a widow and her
children, who had lived in the house for as long as they could remember.
Unknown to my client, the seller was the estranged son of the widow.
His ownership of the property was a circumstance of inheritance from his
Title had passed to him as the eldest son, a cultural rule that causes
much angst among gender-rights activists and rightly so for it has always
been unfair on the surviving female spouse.
On the face of it, my client had acquired legal title to the property,
all formalities having been satisfied.
My client had recently moved out of his rented accommodation in
anticipation of moving into his new house and his goods were in the street
and he had to find refuge for his family amongst relatives.
Naturally, he wanted to enforce his rights. So following my client's
instructions, I pursued the matter through the courts and obtained the
necessary eviction orders.
I have to admit that, all the while, I wrestled with my conscience -
it was a case whose circumstances caused me emotional turmoil; a case where
you wish you were acting for the weaker party for whom the law was clearly
performing a disservice.
When eviction was attempted, the widow would not budge. She stood her
ground - mother hen safeguarding her nest. The Deputy Sheriff and the police
tried but still the woman would not relent.
She threatened to strip naked in front of the men of law whom she felt
were harassing her - those who understand our culture know that this is the
ultimate form of protest that a dignified woman could ever stage. I must
admit that I held secret admiration at the woman's courage and resilience in
the face of obvious adversity.
The matter escalated and managed to find space in a national
newspaper. Although young lawyers often look forward to their day in the
national newspaper, this one was different, because I was on the side of the
'bad guys'. The matter troubled me, but the detachment and coldness that law
school somehow manages to instil in many of its products carried me through.
Then one day I received a call at the office. My secretary (yes, those
were privileged times, when I had a personal secretary!) said there was a
lawyer who wanted to talk to me about the 'eviction case' - for that was the
name it had acquired.
The lawyer was Rita Makarau. She was a lawyer who stood high up there
in my estimation. She ran a law firm, Makarau & Gowora together with her
colleague, Anne-Marie Gowora. Rita Makarau is now a woman transformed in
status. She is now Judge President Makarau and Gowora is also a judge of the
And as an officer of the court, I henceforth address them as such,
with the respect that attends upon such office.
But my connection with JP Makarau was closer. As readers of this
column will recall from a previous article, she had been my teacher in law
school at the University of Zimbabwe. I like to think we got on very well;
that there was mutual fondness and respect between teacher and student.
So when I realised that she had become involved in this sensitive
matter which was increasingly causing me great emotional discomfort, it put
me in a rather awkward position. I sympathised with the widow who had been
placed in a difficult situation by her rogue son and for whom the law had
failed to protect upon her husband's earthly departure. But simultaneously I
could not compromise loyalty to my client.
JP Makarau had read about the plight of the widow and had decided to
take up the matter in order to help her, for no fee at all.
After discussing the legalities, it was fairly clear that legally my
client had done nothing wrong and the odds were staked against the
impecunious widow. We discussed various options, for even my client and I
were sympathetic and open to suggestions for an amicable settlement. Due to
JP Makarau's intervention, the matter was deferred a little to look for
funds to buy out my client in favour of the widow.
My attitude was shaped as much by empathy for the poor woman and
respect for my more senior counterpart who was standing for her.
However, in September 1999, before the matter was brought to finality,
I was on my way to the UK, a grateful recipient of a scholarship, to
commence the academic journey that has brought me to my present station.
My brother and colleague who inherited my office and practice,
Learnmore Jongwe, took over the matter. As a budding politician, I suspect
it also caused him some hardship.
It was election season and how could he, a budding politician standing
for the poor and marginalised be seen to be fighting against a poor widow?
It must have been hard. I do not know what happened thereafter but secretly
I was pleased that I did not have to wait to see the unkind end that was
almost certain. The matter had a profound effect on my view of the law. It
taught me the one basic lesson that legal correctness does not always
conform to common-sense rightness and morality.
But it also raised my profound respect for JP Makarau, which is why I
have recounted it today. She was aware that legally, the odds were staked
against the widow but she recognised the injustice caused by the nature of
JP Makarau acknowledged the legal position but took it upon herself to
help this poor woman who was not getting justice; a woman who was facing
eviction because of man-made laws that were so heavily tilted against women.
I have recounted this story (and I hope my memory has served me right
and trust that she will excuse any lapses) because it reminds me of a woman
of the law who stood up for what was right; who fought hard to protect the
impoverished and powerless of society; who did not hesitate to question the
authority of the law or indeed those who made and interpreted it.
Last week, JP Makarau, my old teacher, spoke of her displeasure
towards young lawyers whom she said were disrespectful of the judiciary. She
was unhappy that they criticise the judges when they lose and that they
often do so to the foreign media.
The Herald columnist, Nathaniel Manheru went a step further and
suggested what he described as 'direct regulation' of the legal profession.
Others were more scathing, attacking the person of prominent lawyer Beatrice
I am not sure JP Makarau intended her words to be employed for
purposes of designing a new architecture of stricter legal regulation of the
profession of which she is a loyal and dedicated member.
But of course politicians will always swoop whenever they discover
words from a weighty source, which suit a long-standing agenda. The
potential for such opportunism on the part of politicians may have escaped
my teacher's radar when she made her comments and I would not be surprised
if that gratuitous assault has also taken her aback.
It is acknowledged that respect for the judiciary is important but it
is also mutual. JP Makarau has practiced law and was not always pleased with
the decisions and even the attitudes of the judges. Indeed, there was a time
when lawyers issued a petition in the late 1990s calling for greater respect
from the judiciary.
So, yes, respect there must be, but it has to be shared. Ironically,
in the same week that JP Makarau indicated her displeasure, whilst
dismissing the constitutional application brought by Jestina Mukoko's
lawyers, the Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku had some unkind words for the
lawyers whom he accused of 'crass incompetence and ineptitude' - words that
must have hurt and for a moment, one wondered whether they were designed to
demean and humiliate.
That decision has significant implications for litigation of
constitutional matters but a critique of its correctness is best left to an
appropriate forum in the academic journals. It suffices to say, however,
that when judges use harsh language, the likelihood is that the injured
recipient may respond in kind. And that does not augur well for the
development of a culture of mutual respect between the judiciary and
My old teacher may agree that for as long as the judicial system in
Zimbabwe is open to the public, critical evaluation of its decisions is
inevitable. And rightly so, especially when it comes from professionals who
serve it for that can only help in the development of the law.
There is no guarantee that the Learned Judges will always get it
right. Indeed, critical analysis of judicial decisions is mutually
beneficial as the judges also get a chance to consider their limitations.
She was part of a law school that encouraged critical thought and
analysis and I am proud to report that it has served us well in our careers.
To say or do otherwise would reverse a trend that can only be good for
building a dynamic profession.
The concern that such criticism has often been through the foreign
media is noted. But could it be that the restricted media space in Zimbabwe
has caused members of the public, including lawyers, to rely more on the
foreign media to exercise their freedom of expression? Could it be that the
conduct of the lawyers is a symptom of a larger problem?
Could it be that there is shared frustration that even when they get
judgments they are not enforced? Perhaps the judiciary could call upon the
executive to do more to enforce its decisions? Respect is important but the
failure and sometimes blatant refusals by the executive to abide by court
orders does far more harm to the judiciary's position than criticism by
lawyers in the foreign media.
I remember JP Makarau who stood for the weak and downtrodden; those
for whom the law did not do justice. I was humbled by her stance, ten years
ago because it taught me that whilst it is our job to stick to the letter of
the law, sometimes it is far more important and fulfilling to do the right
And that challenging those laws and even decisions of the judges is
not a bad thing at all. And also that where there is one who is powerful and
another who is weak, there is greater pleasure in serving the weaker one.
I write this not out of disrespect to my old teacher but out of a
strong desire to recall the beautiful spirit of old. But should this be
considered an act of petulance, I hope and pray that I will be forgiven.
After all, do they not say a child that does not cry will die on its mother's
Alex Magaisa is based at, Kent Law School, the University of Kent and
can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Saturday, 24 January 2009 15:08
ZIMBABWE is notorious for having a highly politicised and partisan
security sector. Before the controversial 2002 elections, then commander of
the Zimbabwe Defence Force General Vitalis Zvinavashe issued a veiled threat
of a military coup if opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai were to win the
"Let it be known that the highest office in the land is a straitjacket
whose occupant is expected to observe the objectives of the liberation
We will, therefore, not accept, let alone support or salute anyone,
with a different agenda that threatens the very existence of our
sovereignty, our country and our people," he declared. (Business Tribune,
January 16 2002).
Not to be outdone, Zvinavashe's successor, General Constantine
Chiwenga also prophesied in March 2008: "Elections are coming and the army
will not support or salute sell-outs and agents of the West before, during
and after the presidential elections ... We will not support anyone other
than President (Robert) Mugabe, who has sacrificed a lot for this country"
(IRIN, 12 March 2008).
Hot on his heels, the prisons chief, retired Major General Paradzai
Zimondi said to gathered prison officers: "I am giving you an order to vote
for President Mugabe." (The Herald, February 29 2005).
Ominously, these unnerving, blatant threats of unconstitutional
takeover of government seemingly did not raise the ire of African
governments or the African Union.
Even the Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security, was not willing
to interfere in the internal affairs of a sovereign state.
These statements, which have been repeated in various forms and
choreographed at various forums by elements of the security services,
resonate with Mugabe's (and Zanu PF's) rhetoric that, as "the" party of
liberation, only Zanu PF can guarantee the gains of the liberation struggle.
This rhetoric has been recycled repeatedly, even in the face of compelling
evidence to the contrary.
From the Gukurahundi massacres, "Zanufication" of the state,
Murambatsvina-forced removals, the violence accompanying the June 2008
one-man presidential election, to abductions, systematic torture and
assassinations by "unknown" persons, through to the blatant contempt of the
courts with impunity, and everything foul in-between; Zanu PF is not and may
never have been what it claims to be.
Writing in ANC Today (Volume 8, No. 19 May 16 2008) in reply to an
article on Zimbabwe by Eddie Maloka and Ben Magubane (City Press, Sunday May
4, 2008), ANC's Pallo Jordan argues, quite rightly, that "perhaps the most
alarming suggestion of all is that opposition to Zanu PF, irrespective of
its merits, is ipso facto illegitimate and necessarily
counter-revolutionary, and therefore pro-imperialist".
He goes further: "Offering it (Zanu PF) uncritical support because it
is anti-imperialist will not help Zanu PF to uncover the reasons for the
steep decline in the legitimacy it once enjoyed.
That party would do well to return to its original vision of a
democratic Zimbabwe, free of colonial domination and the instruments of that
domination - such as arbitrary arrests, police repression of opposition,
intimidation of political critics, etc".
And then, the punch line: "Given the outcome of the recent elections,
Zanu PF should surrender power to the party that has won . any attempt by
Zanu PF to cling to power through overt or covert violence will only
compound its problems by stripping it even further of the legitimacy it won
by leading the Zimbabwean people in their struggle for independence, freedom
and democracy!' Wise counsel indeed, but is anyone listening?
When Morgan Tsvangirai signed the flawed, still-born,
strangely-titled Global Political Agreement (GPA) on September 15, 2008, -
thereby signing away the people's mandate, according to some - Mugabe
retained control of the security services - less the police, which Sadc
rather outlandishly advised should be co-managed with Tsvangirai.
Obviously, Mugabe would have preferred that the police remain under
his exclusive control, to continue as it has done for close to three
decades, to do the bidding not of the state, but of Zanu PF.
The Central Intelligence Organisation on the other hand, far from
being a state security agency, is an extension of Mugabe's personal security
apparatus. Add to that the so-called war veterans and state-sanctioned
militias running riot in support of Zanu PF.
Over the past decade or so, state and quasi-state institutions,
including the judiciary have been militarised. At the last count, strategic
institutions such as the Grain Marketing Board, the National Railways of
Zimbabwe, and even the Electoral Commission, among others, were headed by
active (and not so retired) military officers.
No one knows for sure how many spanners the Joint Operations Command
(JOC) has thrown into the GPA. The JOC, comprising chiefs of the army, air
force, police, intelligence and prisons advises government on security
matters. It would seem however, that its functions have been "re-defined" to
include ensuring that Mugabe and Zanu PF remain in power by means other than
the ballot. Consequently, Zimbabwe has become a police state, and the
security services an "occupying force".
The myriad of political statements by men in uniform and their
partisan conduct in a highly charged political environment, raise critical
questions about the constitutional role of the security services in a
democracy. In the event that the 19th constitutional amendment leads to a
successful, forced marriage of convenience between Tsvangirai and Mugabe,
(with Mutambara, as the elevated bridesmaid); one of the top priorities of
the transitional government should be to urgently reform the security
The mandate of that government should be no more than about:
returning the country to the rule of law; resuscitating the economy
and returning it to productive capacity; restoring civil and political
liberties; getting a new, people-centred constitution in place; and
organising democratic elections at the earliest opportunity.
In that mix, security sector reform and a comprehensive overhaul and
professionalisation of institutions of the State should be high on the
agenda. As it is, the security sector, or sections thereof, could be one of
the biggest obstacles to meaningful democratic reform in that country. It
cannot be right that private citizens, including elected MPs, scurry for
cover at the sight of those that are supposed to protect them from harm. As
the legitimate arena of people-centred governance, Parliament must, once and
for all, re-assert its authority over all arms of the executive. The
security sector must be apolitical and accountable to the public through the
*Takawira Musavengana, is Senior Researcher, Security Sector
Governance Programme, ISS Tshwane (Pretoria)
Sunday View with Takawira Musavengana
Saturday, 24 January 2009 14:58
THE failure of last Monday's Sadc meeting suggests that it would be
premature to expect much from tomorrow's meeting of the regional grouping.
One reason is that Sadc seems to have established a pattern of
non-achievement when it comes to the Zimbabwean crisis.
It has watched as the crisis spilled into neighbouring countries with
devastating consequences and done little to respond.
The other is that it will be the fourth time that the grouping has met
in order to resolve the crisis, which has progressively worsened with the
failure of each summit.
Another African regional Sadc summit on Zimbabwe's political crisis
next week is unlikely to break the deadlock over a power-sharing deal
between President Robert Mugabe and the opposition - nearly two years since
the Thabo Mbeki-led mediation process began.
While the talks have centred upon resolving the sticking points to a
transitional process, there is a likelihood that Zanu PF is preparing for
Last year President Mugabe asked his party supporters to prepare
themselves for another poll. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission seems to be
preparing itself for elections. This would fit in well with Zanu PF's
reluctance to share power.
It seems to believe that another poll would settle the issue of who
wields power once and for all, even though it is difficult to see how it can
achieve a result in its favour unless it resorts to coercion.
Teachers and civil servants who have formed the bulk of the election
officers in the past are disgruntled and might not be willing to volunteer
But there are critical indicators to the outcome of this week's
meeting: Zanu PF has repeatedly breached the terms of the September 15
agreement that committed the two parties to demonstrate respect for
democratic values and human rights; Morgan Tsvangirai's pessimism over Sadc's
ability to break the deadlock; and Mugabe's pathological dislike of
These factors, combined with hardliners and election losers in Zanu
PF, will conspire against this week's Sadc meeting succeeding.
The best that will come out of the summit is that it will urge the
speedy formation of an all-inclusive government and point to the
humanitarian crisis - exemplified by the cholera scourge and food shortages.
The meeting should also draw attention to the on-going violence and
collapse of the economy as sufficient grounds for the parties to forget
their differences and put Zimbabwe and its people first. But then the
parties have been aware of this during the past seven to 10 months.
Sadly, Sadc is unlikely to change its strategy or agree to refer the
matter to the African Union because that would be an admission of failure -
something that on the available evidence Sadc is not prepared to
If Mugabe had his way, he would have proceeded to appoint a completely
Zanu PF Cabinet. The only dilemma is that such a move presents him with a
crisis of legitimacy. It is this quandary that has prevented him from taking
this route all along.
Without a political settlement, Zimbabwe is unlikely to get financial
aid crucial to reviving the collapsed economy. It will also not succeed in
persuading the international community to lift sanctions imposed on Mugabe
and his senior government and ruling party officials.
What is also clear is that the exclusion of civil society has
contributed to the stalled negotiations. Politicians have demonstrated total
lack of sensitivity to the massive suffering of Zimbabweans. There will be
no surprises tomorrow in Pretoria.
Army Divided as Juniors break ranks with pampered generals
Saturday, 24 January 2009 12:33
SOLDIERS would like politicians to put national interest before
partisan parochial interest.
After soldiers went on the rampage in the streets of Harare
confiscating cash from foreign currency dealers, army generals gathered and
addressed soldiers asking them about their problems and warning them of the
consequences of being arrested.
The generals told them that the cash shortages were a result of
sanctions imposed by the west against the country especially the German
company which used to supply the country paper money.
They informed the soldiers that Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Governor
Gideon Gono had taken them (generals) on a tour of Fidelity Printers and
showed them the almost obsolete 52-year-old money printing machine which is
over stretched and is constantly breaking down.
Gono reportedly told the generals that he had expected civilians to
engage in cash riots with the army, which is the state's last resort, being
called to help quell such an uprising and not for the soldiers to lead the
But the soldiers were not amused. They were puzzled how it was that
state could print for them bonuses of $365 million on their salaries if the
RBZ did not have such amounts in its coffers.
They demanded an explanation about this from their generals. They
insisted that a worker must be given all his salary over the bank counter.
They dismissed the sanctions excuse as ngano dzavana tsuro nagudo
(Children's baboon and hare fairy tales) as money was readily available on
They expressed dismay that the RBZ still used an obsolete machine yet
if it had used the funds with which it bought hundreds of vehicles for RBZ
managers to buy a new machine, it would no be in that position.
Soldiers lambasted the RBZ for extravagance, wrong prioritization and
general misallocation of national resources. The RBZ was dismissed as
generally corrupt, inept and inefficient.
In the raids soldiers claimed that $5 million and $10 million dollar
notes were already being traded in the streets long before they were
released into official circulation.
They questioned the wisdom of continuing with the policy of buying
money in the streets when the RBZ has authorized shops to sell in foreign
Soldiers told their generals point blank that Cuba has been under a
total USA blockade for over half a century but it had not suffered Zimbabwe's
total economic breakdown of one trillion percent inflation, and its health
and eduction systems even improved.
Soldiers told their generals that Zimbabwe now had two armies; the
first one consisting of senior officers from colonels and above who are
insulated from the daily woes of life, drive around in Prados and Isuzus,
are paid in foreign currency and the war veterans.
Then, there is the army of the masses of soldiers from the rank of
major downwards who are given $500 million and then are expected to travel
to and from Norton where they need $5 million a trip, pay rent in rands and
must buy all their groceries in foreign currency.
Soldiers are deeply demoralized, frustrated and discontented. They eat
sadza without relish, wear tattered clothes and shoes. In such a situation
the country risks degenerating into a Romanian-type revolt, which resulted
in the overthrow of the Ceausescu regime.
Soldiers queried why the government turned down the visit of eminent
elders which could have resulted in the exposure of the suffering brought
about by the so-called illegal sanctions. And this would have resulted in
the much-needed flow of international aid resurrecting the health and
The rank and file of the army asked their commanders who included the
army commander, Lt General VP Sibanda, his deputy Maj General Chendodo,
director of military police Col Mhonda, Harare district commander Col
Gatsheni to use their influence to pressurize Zanu PF politicians to
compromise on the issue of the Home Affairs and other key ministries,
provincial governors, permanent secretaries and ambassadors.
Soldiers sincerely believe that politicians should learn to be
patriotic by putting national interests ahead of partisan and individual
They openly questioned Zanu PF's to commitment to equitable
power-sharing with the opposition for the country to move forward.
A generational gap was clearly visible between the senior army
officers who are war veterans of the 1970's liberation war and were born in
the 1950's and the low ranks of the army who were born after independence
and support the MDC.
Seriously Thinking of Quitting Zimbabwe
Saturday, 24 January 2009 12:27
I am enveloped in a suffocating melancholy. For almost a week now I
have been battling to quash this nagging idea out of my mind but with little
It never crossed my mind that one day I would consider leaving
Zimbabwe as a result of Robert Mugabe's failures. I saw myself among the
thick-skinned freedom fighters.
Today I feel ashamed that the idea of leaving has consumed me. I don't
even know where I want to go but I feel helpless. It's like I am losing
everything so dear to me.
Sometime in May 2008 I wrote a piece you published in your paper
vowing never to leave Zimbabwe for greener pastures. The economic meltdown
has now taken its toll.
I have become a prisoner of my conscience. Family responsibilities are
weighing heavily down on me. I feel drained physically. Emotionally its
deflating. A sense of betrayal engulfs me.
It feels like I am betraying those who have kept up the good fight to
keep Mugabe's regime in the spotlight, like yourself.
It is just like during the liberation struggle when, people simply
opted out of Rhodesia in disgust over Ian Smith's policies. It's the same
now. The urge to leave is compelling.
I am a family man. I love my family to the core. Failure to provide
basics for them is driving me nuts.
Food now demands foreign currency (forex). Rental bills demand forex.
Transport is steadily inching towards total forex. Ironically, after
relentless denials, RBZ chief, Gideon Gono has dollarised the economy.
While he shamelessly boasts of his ingenuity, Gono and his principal,
President Mugabe, have done nothing to cushion the general population from
the vagaries of their failed policies.
We are surviving on less than US$20 a month which Gono assures Mugabe
it will see civil servants to the next payday. One is made to appear
irresponsible to his/her dependants. We can't afford to provide mere basics
like maize and bread.
The rural folks look up to us in the towns for help, which we must
provide. Orphans in the extended family feel neglected. They also have
dreams just like Bona Mugabe or Gono's twins.
The hunger stalking rural homes is horrifying. Our experience during
Smith regime and the war subsequently, was nowhere near this.
It's very sad that I am now considering leaving my small family
behind. One is nine, the other four. They still need my warmth and security.
It's all that I live for.
It's also because of them that I have decided to leave. It pains me
that they see these dubious characters in the neigbourhood living luxurious
lifestyles which I cannot provide them.
Being innocent and ignorant souls as expected of their age, they also
demand ice-cream of all other luxuries from poor me. It's not like I am a
loafer, no. I was once respected as an educated and organised person. Mugabe
and now Gono have thrown me into this bottomless pit.
They can only fool the rural peasant that Morgan Tsvangirai called for
sanctions which are causing our suffering. Tsvangirai and his MDC are only
products and manifestations of Mugabe's misrule.
Those politically sophisticated never embraced Tsvangirai initially,
but given him and Mugabe for choice today, no one trusts Mugabe anymore. All
he wants is power at any cost.
He fully knows he is hated. What sort of beast enjoys inflicting pain
even to defenceless women like Jestina Mukoko?
It pains me to leave behind the unresolved Zimbabwe crises to others
to continue the struggle.
MPs Renege on Mandate
Saturday, 24 January 2009 12:18
ALLOW me to pose a question to all elected members of Parliament of
MDC-T, MDC, Zanu PF and independent candidate Professor Jonathan Moyo.
"MP's where are you, when the people are made to pay bills in foreign
currency? For instance TelOne, Econet, Telecel, council municipality
services, education, passports and hospital fees are now in foreign
currency, when it is common knowledge that salaries which are difficult to
withdraw from the banks, are still in the Zimbabwe dollar?
Members of parliament are elected to office to add value to their
constituencies, but it seems as if our own MPs have abandoned their
constituency mandate and don't care about our expectations. We expect them
to debate policy issues that affect the country but it seems as if they are
spending a lot of time quarrelling, walking out of Parliament and booing
It's high time MPs started adding value to the lives of people who
elected them because the public is watching. Imagine an ordinary passport
now costing US$670; where do you think an ordinary Zimbabwean can get that
kind of money? Do they want all of us to become thieves?
In any case, who is authorizing these institutions to charge in forex?
If it is Ministry of Finance or the RBZ Governor, Gideon Gono? If it is the
governor, as we understand, what stops the MPs from summoning him to
Parliament so that he can explain himself?
SMS The Standard
Saturday, 24 January 2009 13:27
THE collapse of the talks on Monday last week that were supposed
to lead to the formation of an all-inclusive government proves that the
crisis in Zimbabwe is beyond Sadc and that sadly, there is very little
difference between President Kgalema Motlanthe and his predecessor, Thabo
Mbeki, the Sadc appointed facilitator on the crisis.
The MDC has every right to take its case to the African Union
and further. Robert Mugabe and his party have been in power for nearly three
decades, what kind of a leader is he, who can't appreciate that his time has
come? What is his legacy? If he and his party had any bright ideas about
reversing the misfortunes they have brought upon this once great nation, why
are they not implementing them? Could it be that they have none and are
therefore waiting for Morgan Tsvangirai? Then why don't they let him have a
go, surely he can't be worse? This week's Sadc summit, whether in South
Africa or Botswana, will be like the ones before it - just another talk
shop. And Mugabe does not see that the suffering of the people during the
past seven to 10 months has worsened? - I Dauti, Juru.
Too much of Mugabe
IT is becoming increasingly difficult for the people of Zimbabwe
to forgive and forget Robert Mugabe's excesses. The people of this country
deserve better, but for a whole nation to be held to ransom by a few selfish
people who call themselves "leaders" is a bitter pill for me to swallow. - E
I was so incensed to hear Absolom Sikhosana, Zanu PF's secretary
for youth talking about this year's 21st February Movement celebration,
scheduled for Chinhoyi in Mashonaland West. In the midst of all these
hardships and the uncertainties, someone seriously believes we have
something to celebrate! These guys are living in a fantasy world. No wonder
our situation continues to deteriorate. There is no one among our rulers who
understands what exactly is going on. Are they also paying themselves in
foreign currency not to see what the rest of the country has to endure? -
Zinwa: chop them all
WHEN will the government or the ministry responsible act against
non-performers? Munacho Mutezo was relieved of his duties because he lost
during the parliamentary elections but also because his ministry of Water
Resources and Infrastructural Development spectacularly failed because it
was clueless about how to go about tackling the problems facing that
ministry. However, his departure has actually seen things turn for the
worse. Can anyone tell me one good reason why the whole lot at the Zimbabwe
National Water Authority should not be sacked and the useless parastatal
disbanded? Causing the death of more than 2 700 innocent Zimbabweans and
affecting 46 000 others would seem to me to be sufficient grounds for
putting someone before a firing squad. -Survivor, Chitungwiza.
Paucity of leadership
WE have surrendered our health services to United Nations
organisations such as Unicef, the World Health Organisation, the
International Organisation for Migration and United Nations Population Fund
in the fight against cholera, with the result that more lives have been
saved than if they had not come in. Now why don't we take everything to its
logical end and allow Unesco to run our education, the UN to run law
enforcement agencies and the international non-governmental organisations to
run our service provision? We would have a semblance of a working state and
the University of Zimbabwe would have its halls of residence renovated,
bringing relief to students from out of Harare, whose plight even the
Ministry of Higher Education and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe pretend not to
notice. The bungling over marking of the June and end of year examinations
and the fiasco over school fees for the first term just goes to prove the
extent of the paucity of leadership in this country. - Pro-UN, Gwabalanda,
I am amused by the on-going feud between Caps United and the
former Caps FC over who should have the right to use the name. That we can
have people with their full faculties spending nearly two years wrangling
over such a petty matter shows how far we have sunk and lack of creativity.
For these brain-dead but highly-paid people here is something to help them
along: In English soccer there is Manchester City and Manchester United.
There is also Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United. In Italy there is AC
Milan and Inter Milan. In Spain you have Real Madrid and Real Betis, with a
host of teams sharing the name Atletico this and that. My question is: Why
then can't we have Caps United and Caps FC? - Real petty, Harare.
I have always wondered why people who live in areas which are
prone to water-logging or who live in regions that receive extremely high
rainfall continue to grow maize when there are numerous varieties of
indigenous rice that would perform much better. Look at Malawi, which is
well-known for its rice. -
WE are to blame for every action Robert Mugabe takes. We shouldn't
cry foul because we allowed him to do as he pleases. Although we boast that
we are a nation of learned people, we need more people with guts and not
just brains. - Very angry, Gutu.
It's a rip-off
I fail to understand why Zimbabwean cross-border traders allow
themselves to be ripped off by foreign shop owners operating in this
country. The cross-border traders import electrical gadgets such as
televisions, home theatre systems, computers, laptops, microwave ovens,
stoves and fridges, which they supply to the foreign owned shops, who only
pay them after two weeks. In reality these cross-borders traders are
financing these foreign shop owners as all they have to do is pay rent, and
then put a higher mark-up on the commodities in their shops to recoup their
expences. It would be wiser for the traders to put an advertisement in
newspapers and sell their products from home. - Ripped off, Harare.
THIS is a country on the brink of total collapse. As I write,
there is no electricity, no water and our money cannot buy anything. It is
almost impossible to make a call. I am dumb-founded. - Tapiwa N, Harare.
I am sick and tired of hearing people passing the buck on the
issue of price increases and charging of goods and services in foreign
currency. Ninety percent of the products in shops now are imported. Nearly
95% of a transporter's operating costs are in foreign currency for fuel.
Industry is grinding to a halt because of lack of foreign currency to
purchase spares. Foreign currency is only found on the streets - the
parallel market and all the above sectors are caught up in a vicious cycle
of having to depend on the parallel market for their foreign currency
requirements. Instead of pointing fingers in the wrong direction and causing
pointless petty arguments, we should be focusing on foreign
currency-generating projects. - I M Real, Harare.