|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
January 26 2004 at 12:09PM
Harare - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe
visited neighbouring South
Africa on "private business" at the weekend, the state-owned daily Herald
reported on Monday, denying reports that he went there for a medical
"The president is as fit as none of his detractors can ever hope to be in a
lifetime," the presidency's secretary for information and publicity, George
Charamba, told the newspaper.
He added that Mugabe was on leave, and had "in the context of that leave,
gone to South Africa strictly on private and not official business".
Several South African newspapers, citing well-placed sources, reported on
Monday that Mugabe, 79, arrived in Johannesburg on Saturday morning and then
went to Pretoria for medical attention.
South African President Thabo Mbeki's spokesperson, Bheki Khumalo, told the
Johannesburg-based The Citizen: "We have not been officially informed that
the president is in South Africa.
"He is not going to meet President Thabo Mbeki and he did not ask for a
meeting with the president."
Mbeki announced last week that Mugabe had agreed to resume "formal talks"
with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change in an attempt to resolve
Zimbabwe's socio-economic and political crises.
From The Cape Argus (SA), 26 January
Mugabe airlifted to hospital in Pretoria
President Robert Mugabe is under observation at an exclusive
Pretoria after being secretly airlifted out of Zimbabwe for medical
treatment. The 79-year-old president's private room was being watched by
armed bodyguards after his collapse at his state residence in the capital
Harare on Saturday morning. Sources among his private security staff
described how Mugabe was too weak to stand after spending the night
vomiting. A team of personal doctors, called by his wife, Grace, decided he
should go to hospital. Mugabe was flown to Johannesburg airport where he was
helped into a limousine and taken to a private hospital in Pretoria.
Witnesses among the immigration staff said Mugabe appeared to be weak and
unable to walk unaided. At the clinic, his condition was not considered to
be life-threatening, but doctors advised him to stay in for observation. He
could be released today. With his country in crisis, the president's
advisers believed it was too dangerous for him to be treated in Zimbabwe.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe's largest union yesterday threatened a nationwide strike
if one of its sacked leaders was not reinstated to his government job And
Zimbabwe is planning to set up special courts to handle cases of fraud and
similar crimes amid the country's economic crisis.
NIGHTFALL IN ZIMBABWE
Some 3 million Zimbabweans have fled their country to seek sanctuary and work in South Africa, most of them illegally. Neither the River Limpopo with its crocodiles nor the electric fence can keep them out. Nor can the South African police, who truck them back to Zimbabwe as fast as they can. They return in a few days. Nearly half a million have already been deported, but the South African president, Thabo Mbeki, hardly seems concerned. As a fellow-Marxist he is still practising towards his brother president in Zimbabwe the "quiet diplomacy" which is so silent that neither Mr Mugabe nor anyone else can hear it.
The South African High Commission in Harare demands a deposit of US$150 for a fortnight's visit to South Africa. It is hoped that this will ensure the applicant's return to Zimbabwe. Such is the nightmare of today's Zimbabwe that anything up to 10% or 20% of the population have abandoned home and country in search of food, security and a tolerable life.
Many thousands more have fled over Zimbabwe's Eastern Highlands to poverty-stricken Mozambique. Some are already working there for the very same farmers whom they served in Zimbabwe before both employers and employees were driven out of their homes and farms! (These farmers have been welcomed and have started again from scratch in Mozambique.) Hardest hit of all the neighbouring states is the tiny country of Botswana, perhaps the best run in present-day Africa. Its legal population is 1.7 million. Penniless refugees from Zimbabwe are reported to number over 60,000, swamping the country with beggary and theft.
Apparently no figures are available for the number of doctors and lawyers and other professionals who have left Zimbabwe for lands where their skills are appreciated and paid for. It is now said that most Zimbabweans can no longer understand their doctors, who come from Cuba. Working in decaying hospitals with few drugs they face a formidable task. The local Zimbabwean doctors are on strike for a living wage, and are backed by the nurses. With rocketing inflation (now at least 500% per annum) they are desperate. On the black market it can cost as much as Z$6,000 to buy a single US dollar!
Unemployment is 70% of the working population.
THE WHITE PENSIONERS
There are still an estimated 12,000 white pensioners in Zimbabwe, with no means of escape. Many came, encouraged by Britain at the end of World War 2. They helped to build Rhodesia into one of the best-ruled countries in Africa, and they planned meticulously for their future. Their plans have been destroyed by Robert Mugabe and by the treachery of British governments who abandoned them. (Since 1980 there has not been an election in Zimbabwe, presidential or otherwise, free from intimidation: including the original election which put Mugabe into power. An American Senate report described this latter as the biggest con of the century.) Today most of these white pensioners are destitute and dependent on the help of charities. A few, facing starvation, take the only way out: suicide.
Cathy Buckle writes: "They have set up another huge commission made up of top ministers to find out exactly why there is no foreign currency in the country. I find it beyond belief that a cabinet stuffed full of men with doctorates apparently cannot work out why if all the land is seized and all export-earning sources are stopped it doesn't add up that there is no foreign currency. The lack of foreign money has made thieves, liars and cheats of us all. To survive we have to buy essential goods on the black market." She adds that "this week a replacement fuel pump for a car was priced at Z$10 million."
Some hyperbole is indeed justified. To be strictly accurate there are still some 600 farmers on their land, out of the original (approximately) 4,500. There may be a few people still living more or less normal lives. And there are still some exports bringing in a little foreign currency.
THE DAILY NEWS
The "Daily News", Zimbabwe's most popular newspaper, tried to "tell it like it is." It was brutally and violently suppressed by armed police, and its equipment stolen or destroyed. It brought legal action and, after six weeks, an administrative court allowed it to resume publication. An eight-page edition was produced, and sold out in two hours. It was again attacked and decimated by the police, and today it is produced in South Africa and can only be read on the internet. Eighteen members of staff were immediately detained, and the police then went looking for the directors of the newspaper. Arriving at the home of the Chief Executive, Mr Nkorno, they did not find him. So they arrested his niece, who has no connection with the paper. She was held hostage until the directors handed themselves in. These were detained for two days in a stinking gaol, denied access to lawyers and were finally released (with the niece) on $50,000 bail and after signing admission of guilt forms. Their gaol was infested with lice and bed-bugs. They still have court cases hanging over their heads.
The detention and torture of opposition leaders and members continues unabated, electric shocks being used to reduce the victims to convulsions. Candidates for local elections have been prevented from submitting their papers and pro-government candidates declared elected unopposed. Marondera (Marandellas) is a case in point.
Beatrice Mtetwa, one of Zimbabwe's most brilliant lawyers, was assaulted and beaten by police in October. She had defended Andrew Meldrum of the "Guardian" before he was violently kicked out of Zimbabwe. Police had been called to assist Mrs Mtetwa when her vehicle was attacked by car thieves. But instead of pursuing the thieves they took Mrs Mtetwa into custody on the trumped up charge of drink-driving. (They refused her a breathalyser or a blood test.) She was battered on the way to Borrowdale police station and almost choked on her arrival there. She needed urgent medical treatment after she finally got away.
We could go on writing - of the hunger, the shortage of drinking water and of fuel and electric power, of the wanton destruction or seizure of the country's remaining assets, the desperate plight of the AIDS orphans, the agonies of survivors trying to bury their dead. Having spent a fortune on the funeral you may return in the morning to find the corpse lying on the ground and the coffin gone.
Those of us who knew Rhodesia in its heyday can barely imagine today's Zimbabwe.
AN APOSTATE BISHOP
Few stories can be more mind-boggling than that of Bishop Nolbert Kunonga, bishop of Harare and the senior Anglican churchman in the country. His election was highly controversial: he was evidently a Mugabe "plant" and does not even know when the Church celebrates Ascension Day! He has attempted to seize dictatorial powers in his diocese, being thwarted only by the vigilance of the Diocesan Chancellor whom he tried illegally to sack. Unbelievably, he has now seized St Marnock's Farm, outside Harare, whose rightful white owner had been expelled and replaced by black "settlers." Some 50 of these the bishop has had driven out, putting his son and his family in their place. Needless to say the farm is already wrecked, and the bishop himself knows nothing about agriculture, The reputation of the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe is in tatters, and its spiritual mission all but destroyed. The congregation of Harare cathedral is up in arms, together with faithful Anglicans in Zimbabwe itself and much further afield.
The responsible Archbishop is Bernard Malango of the Province of Central Africa, who resides in Malawi. It is widely felt that he has not the strength to deal with such an unprecedented apostasy. The Provincial Episcopal Synod could presumably unseat Kunonga, but might need unanimity. This can hardly be hoped for while the bishop of Masvingo (Fort Victoria) is another Mugabe "plant." We ourselves have no idea how this calamitous situation can be dealt with. The Archbishop of Canterbury - himself weighed down by a comparable rebellion in the American Anglican Church - has at present no authority whatever in the matter. Attempts are being made, belatedly, to give him the power to intervene in provinces where the plain teaching of Scripture is being flouted. Meanwhile we implore the prayers of all Christians, not merely Anglicans, for the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
You may ask: What can we do? The honest answer is that our small Rhodesia Christian Group can do precious little. But precious little is not nothing. At present we are sending out Christmas cheques to dispossessed Rhodesians in several countries. But our practical work goes far beyond this, and is basically a work with individuals and with individual problems. It involves much prayer, much writing and correspondence, much telephoning, a good deal of travel and numberless interviews. It includes helping people within Zimbabwe, and others trying to move out – not to mention dispossessed citizens looking for a home and work in new countries. And most of this is done by Mr Denis Walker, with his few helpers. We are sometimes almost overwhelmed with gratitude for our apparently small efforts, but the gratitude is above all to YOU who by your prayers and your sacrifices make the whole thing possible.
"Then shall the
King say unto them on his right hand, Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the
kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred,
and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and
ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in
prison, and ye came unto me. "Then shall the righteous
answer him, saying, Lord, When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or
naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick or in prison, and came unto
thee? "Then shall the King say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye
have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto
me" (Matthew 25.34-40).
Rev. Fr. Arthur Lewis is the President of Rhodesia Christian Group and a board member of Frontline Fellowship. Rev. Lewis was a Church of England Missionary to Tanzania, Rhodesia and South Africa for over 40 years. He is the author of "Too Bright the Vision".
By DANNY ROSE
A ZIMBABWEAN student has spent the Australia Day long weekend locked in a Hobart cell awaiting deportation within days.
His distressed mates said the 23-year-old from Zimbabwe was about to be thrown out of the country on a technicality.
John Davies, 22, and Bill Castley, 21, of Hobart, said their close friend Munyaradzi Chiraramiro, or "Munya", had been the victim of a visa mix-up.
The Immigration Department was now determined to return him to a country that was in economic crisis, they said.
"He was working hard but obviously the Australian dream hasn't worked for him," Mr Davies said yesterday.
"Technically he broke the rules but it's such an easy line to cross. Munya didn't even realise he'd crossed it."
The pair said Munya had accidentally missed a critical 28-day window to reapply for a visa.
He can appeal but the pair say they have been told success is unlikely.
Munya is due to be deported after midnight tomorrow.
He was just one semester short of completing his three-year commerce degree at the University of Tasmania, his friends said. He had studied entrepreneurialism and had visions of opening an African-themed bar.
"He's a great guy," Mr Castley said. "He was in the higher bracket at uni, a very good student."
|Many Zimbabweans are indeed humbled by the selflessness of John Davies
and Bill Castley who have stood behind their friend who clearly faces a bleak
future is he is deported back to Zimbabwe.|
We hope the Australian authorities who have been very vocal about the brutality and excesses of the Mugabe regime will have a rethink - Editor
He had kept his visa and financial troubles to himself, they said, but the crisis had eventually become apparent.
As a foreign student, he faced up-front university fees of thousands of dollars each semester.
His family had provided for him initially, but difficulties arose after the Zimbabwean dollar crashed early last year.
It is understood Munya's late payment of university fees voided his student visa.
He then applied for a bridging visa, which allowed him to work.
"He was just managing to get by," Mr Davies said. "He wasn't scamming anyone and he was working two jobs.
"But the bridging visa was invalid because he didn't fill it in properly."
The pair said this did not come to light until the 28-day window to reapply had expired.
Munya was apprehended by Immigration Department officials while he was at work at a Hobart hotel on Wednesday evening.
He was taken straight into custody at the Hobart Remand Centre, where he remains.
The Castley family cut short a holiday in the state's North-West to rush to Hobart yesterday.
They hope to see Munya today.
He had spent Christmas with the Castley family in 2002.
And in a final blow, it also appears Munya is facing a bill of thousands of dollars to pay for his own detention and deportation.
"He'll have to pay that money if he ever wants to return to Australia," Mr Davies said.
"It seems Australia is a pretty good place, for certain people."
No comment could be obtained from the University of Tasmania yesterday.
But an Immigration Department spokesman confirmed they were aware of Munya's plight.
"Privacy considerations prevent me from discussing
individual cases," the spokesman said - Mercury
Committee to Protect Journalists (New York)
January 23, 2004
Posted to the web January 26, 2004
Daily News, Zimbabwe's only independent daily, resumed publication
after police closed it on September 12, 2003, following a Supreme Court
declaration that the newspaper was operating illegally.
Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ), the company that owns the Daily
News, had refused to register the newspaper with the government's Media and
Information Commission (MIC) in 2003. Instead, the company mounted a
constitutional challenge to the Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Act, which mandates registration.
Following the Supreme Court's September 2003 declaration, the ANZ attempted
to register the Daily News, but the MIC rejected its application. Though an
administrative court has directed the MIC to register the newspaper, the
commission has still not complied.
On December 19, 2003, after an administrative court ruled that the paper
should be permitted to resume publication, police occupied the offices of
the Daily News and the premises of the ANZ's printing press. The police
refused to allow journalists to enter the buildings to work.
On January 9, 2004, a High Court judge ordered police to vacate the
newspaper's offices and printing press, but police remained on the premises.
On January 21, the High Court again ordered police to vacate the newspaper's
offices and to allow journalists back to work. Police finally left the
premises that day, after the paper's staff served them with the order.
The newspaper's staff plans to resume daily publication, but several
obstacles remain. According to Bill Saidi, editor of the Daily News' Sunday
edition, police have not returned most of the paper's seized equipment,
including computers. The ANZ has also lost significant revenues while the
paper was closed and has accrued large legal expenses.
In addition, the MIC and the Information Ministry both filed applications to
the High Court this afternoon seeking a stay to yesterday's ruling in order
to stop the paper from publishing, said Daily News legal adviser Gugulethu
The Advertiser (Adelaide)
African families settle in
By Rural Editor NIGEL AUSTIN
ZIMBABWE'S loss has proved South Australia's gain with about 30 Zimbabwean
families settling in the state's country areas in the past 15 months.
Some are taking skilled jobs in rural businesses which employers had
previously struggled to fill.
Apart from their work skills, they are also boosting the populations and
economies of small country towns with the 30 families comprising about 200
After losing their homes, their assets and their livelihoods, the families
are quickly finding a new future in SA.
They have settled in the Clare Valley, Eyre Peninsula, Yorke Peninsula and
migration to Australia is being organised by Zimbabwe Connections,
which matches job offers with workers' skills.
Zimbabwe Connections founder Jill Lambert said the Zimbabweans had terrific
skills, particularly in horticulture, agronomics and sustainable farming.
On Eyre Peninsula, three of the men are working for Pringles Ag-Plus, a
large machinery dealer which employs 50 people at Cleve, Wudinna and Kimba.
Pringles managing director Rick Du Bois said the company was expanding
quickly but couldn't entice enough mechanics to move from the city to the
country. Most of the other Zimbabweans are working for farmers, relishing
life in country SA which has provided a safe-haven for their families.
Sandy and Dave Segon live in Cleve where Mr Segon works for Pringles as a
diesel mechanic. After four months in Australia, they are just content to be
Migrating to Australia also meant starting again in more ways than one with
Mr Segon working as a managing director in Zimbabwe, while Mrs Segon was a
finance manager. She describes Australia as very first world compared to
Third World Zimbabwe.
"It's the public transport, freedom of speech, you can buy bread and milk
and fuel and you can get connected to the phone service straight away," she
"And you can actually go to a bank and withdraw cash – unlike Zimbabwe where
we have money in the bank but can't get it out."
Kim and Warren Alanthwaite arrived in Australia with four suitcases and
$1000 last July. Mr Alanthwaite had managed a farm at Raffingora in Zimbabwe
growing 165ha of bananas and 100ha of maize.
They have settled quickly and live in a farmhouse 7km out of Wudinna, where
Mr Alanthwaite now works for Pringles. Mr Alanthwaite said the local people
had been generous in helping with essential household items.
The Talks That Never Were
JOHANNESBURG, Jan 26 (IPS) - With people still left guessing as
he intends holding formal talks with his country's opposition, Zimbabwean
President Robert Mugabe added a new dimension to the drama this weekend when
he was allegedly rushed to South Africa after collapsing at his home in
On Sunday the South African Broadcasting Corporation reported that Mugabe
was in South Africa, saying the duration and purpose of the trip was
unclear. South Africa's Ministry of Foreign Affairs declined to confirm the
Spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa was quoted as saying: "If President Mugabe is
here in South Africa, it stands to reason that he would be on a private
visit. If he was here on an official visit, we would not hesitate to inform
This is not the first time Mugabe's health has been in the spotlight. In
October last year there were unconfirmed reports that that he had been
secretly flown to South Africa for treatment after suffering either a stroke
or a bad fall.
The speculation about the Zimbabwean leader comes at the tail end of a week
of debate about South Africa's role in helping to resolve the political
situation in Zimbabwe.
On Thursday South African President Thabo Mbeki said Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF
party had agreed to enter into formal talks with the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) on resolving Zimbabwe's long-running political
"I'm happy to say that they have agreed now that they will go into formal
negotiations. I am saying that I am quite certain that they will negotiate
and reach an agreement," Mbeki told a joint news conference with visiting
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.
Mbeki's comments were echoed by Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo on
But the MDC's Secretary for Information and Publicity, Paul Themba Nyathi,
told IPS that his party was extremely sceptical about "the nature of
Mugabe's commitment to a process of dialogue".
According to Nyathi, Mugabe and ZANU-PF have - to date - taken no steps that
would indicate a commitment to formal dialogue for ending the political
problems that have dogged the country since the start of 2000.
"There have been no approaches to the MDC whatsoever. In fact it has been
business as usual with court orders being ignored and political violence
carrying on relentlessly," said Nyathi.
He added that if Mugabe had given Mbeki renewed undertakings that he was
prepared to begin negotiations, then Mugabe himself should have announced
this to the Zimbabwean people.
A ZANU-PF member of parliament, who asked not to be named of fear of
harassment, told IPS that talks between government and the opposition were
not likely to occur in the near future.
"There are no plans within ZANU-PF to hold formal talks with the MDC. Why
should we be talking to them? We do not recognise them as anything - let
alone an opposition. We have no idea what Mbeki is going on about," he said.
Didymus Mutasa, the ruling party's Secretary for Administration, confirmed
in a statement issued after Mbeki's Thursday announcement that no talks with
the MDC were being contemplated.
In the past, Mugabe has indicated a willingness to enter into talks with the
MDC - provided the party dropped its legal challenge to his controversial
re-election in 2002.
The MDC accuses the president and his party of electoral fraud and has
refused to drop its court challenge. Meanwhile MDC President Morgan
Tsvangirai is on trial for treason following government claims that he
plotted to assassinate Mugabe and stage a coup - charges that Tsvangirai has
So if both parties are adamant that there is no sign of formal talks in the
horizon, why is Mbeki insisting that discussions are afoot? Political
analysts ascribe it to the fact he is coming under a great deal of pressure
to bring some resolution to the Zimbabwean crisis before the next meeting of
the Group of Eight (G8) industrialised countries, scheduled to take place in
the United States in June. (The G8 includes Britain, Canada, France,
Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the U.S.) It is hoped that the New
Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), a development blueprint drawn
up by African leaders, will still remain high on the G8's agenda.
However, sources in the NEPAD secretariat told IPS that at the last G8 held
in France, the Bush administration made it clear that unless certain issues
were tackled - Zimbabwe being one of them - NEPAD would receive little
attention at the U.S. meeting.
John Stremlau, Head of International Relations at the University of the
Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, says Mbeki is in a corner. "Zimbabwe has
repeatedly embarrassed him. He is opposed to sanctions, he can't use force,
he does not want to use megaphone diplomacy - so what does he do now?"
Whatever happens, Zimbabweans living in South Africa are listening with
bated breath to every piece of news about Mugabe's health.
"Each time we hear that he is ill or has collapsed we all pray that he will
die and that the suffering of the people of Zimbabwe will stop - and we can
go home," says Blessing Mutasa, a refugee trying to eke out a living in
In addition to its political problems, Zimbabwe's economy is also in
crisis - with inflation standing at about 619.5 percent towards the end of
last year. (END/2004)
Tsvangirai grilled over payment
26/01/2004 20:55 - (SA)
Harare - Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was
his treason trial on Monday on why his party hired a Canadian political
consultancy to help promote its image when it had already engaged a British
firm to do so.
The state had queried why the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) engaged
Dickens and Madison when BMSG of Britain was already doing work for it.
Dickens and Madison of Canada is owned by Ari Ben Menashe, the key state
witness in the case in which Tsvangirai is charged with plotting to kill
President Robert Mugabe ahead of presidential polls in March 2002, which the
opposition leader lost.
Tsvangirai has denied conspiring to assassinate Mugabe, saying he believes
the long-time leader has to be involved in efforts to end the southern
African country's crises.
If convicted, Tsvangirai, 51, could face the death sentence.
Tsvangirai insisted in court Monday that a US$500 000 contract his party
signed with Dickens and Madison was genuine, contrary to state evidence that
it was meant to cover up a plot to kill Mugabe.
"The contract was bona fide and genuine. We hired Dickens and Madison
because we were convinced that, unlike BMSG, it had intimate knowledge of
the Zimbabwean political scene and was widely known in Canada and the United
States," he said.
The MDC said it had enlisted the services of the Canadian firm to help
polish its image abroad and raise funds for the election campaign in the
run-up to the 2002 election.
Asked during cross examination by state prosecutor Bharat Patel why BMSG had
paid US$50 000 to Dickens and Madison, Tsvangirai said: "It's usual that big
companies can share work. I cannot explain that".
Zimbabwe plunged into its worst political crisis since independence from
Britain in 1980 after the presidential vote.
The economy is in a downward spiral, with inflation hitting a record 620
percent in November, amid rising levels of poverty and unemployment
Talks between the government and the MDC broke down before they were able to
gain momentum in 2002 after Tsvangirai mounted a court challenge against
Mugabe's election victory.
The brokers of the talks, presidents Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and
Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, last week hinted that formal talks could be
RBZ Tightens Screws On Safari Operators
January 26, 2004
Posted to the web January 26, 2004
RENO, United States
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, keen to plug foreign currency leaks, has
followed hordes of local safari operators, who are signing lucrative hunting
deals at the worlds largest international hunting convention in the United
The local hunting industry is expected to rake in $20 billion worth of
foreign currency in the coming hunting season.
Most of the safari operators sold out their hunting quotas for the next
hunting season, which begins next month during the first few days of the
RBZ compliance officers here were closely following all deals in a
development that is set to close loopholes of foreign currency leakages in
Most safari operators, who make lucrative deals through the sale of hunts at
the 40 000-strong Safari Club Convention (SCI) have not been remitting their
earnings to the central bank.
RBZ officials are attending the international hunting convention for the
Zimbabwe has allegedly lost a whopping 9,23 million British Pounds through
the sale of State land in Mwenezi by some prominent wildlife operators to
It is understood that most of the monies were lost through purported
repayments of offshore loans through foreign bank accounts under a Trust
using fictitious documentation.
In one instance when it came to light, the RBZ refused to regularise a
controversial deal in which the Government was losing millions of dollars in
foreign currency inflows through misrepresentation and money laundering.
The central bank officers - Ms Tariro Musonza and Ms Charity Masuka - were
confident that the authority would soon find a lasting solution to
curtailing foreign currency leakages, which were mainly due to a "lax
foreign currency regime" within the RBZ over the years.
The officers described their visit to the safari hunting convention as
The RBZ compliance officers visited most of the local safari operators
gathering information on how they had fared at the convention and
indications were that a tight foreign currency regime was needed to improve
foreign currency inflows into the country. Some of the operators attending
the International Hunting Convention were members of the Zimbabwe
Association of Tour and Safari Operators and the newly-created Zimbabwe
Indigenous Safari Operators Association.
Operators included the MP for Chegutu Cde Webster Shamu and his wife
Constance Tsomondo representing HHK Safaris Safari Marketing and Management,
Harare businessmen Mr Ed Kadzombe, Nimrod Chiminya, Emmanuel Fundira,
Nuanetsis Charles Madonko, Ben Chiganze and two recent beneficiaries of
concessions in Hwange and Sengwa. While the private sector was well
represented, the National Parks and Wildlife Manage-ment Authority was
conspicuous by its absence.
Barclays Scraps Credit Card Facility
January 26, 2004
Posted to the web January 26, 2004
BARCLAYS Bank of Zimbabwe has scrapped the credit card, which enables
clients to buy goods or services on credit and pay later, citing the
unavailability of foreign currency.
The bank, which was weaned from its parent company, Barclays Bank Limited at
the beginning of last year, has been undergoing a major restructuring of its
The credit card system has been of convenience to many clients who make
purchases on credit unlike the direct debit card where the amount is charged
to one's account at the time of the transaction.
"You are, no doubt, aware of the serious foreign currency shortages which
the country has been experiencing over the past few years. The prevailing
situation has affected everyone and most, if not all, businesses. Barclays
is no exception.
"Our credit card processing system has now reached the end of its useful
life and a replacement will require a heavy financial investment, almost
entirely in foreign currency.
"Barclays can not justify the continuous usage of the card under the present
economic environment and will reluctantly withdraw credit card facilities
with effect from 28 February 2004," Barclays Bank officials said last week.
It is believed that the decision to scrap the service was taken last year
when the foreign currency situation in the country was desperate.
Now that the situation has improved with the introduction of the auction
system, there are some of the clients who are hopeful that the credit card
system maybe retained in the future.
Barclays Bank has been the centre of focus over the last 12 months following
revelations that the local entity had been temporarily suspended from the
The local entity on its part has instituted a number of measures aimed at
ensuring that it remains competitive.
These include the retrenching of 500 workers and closing of some of its
branches across the country.
"We realise this (the scrapping of the credit card) will inconvenience card
holders and as an alternative strongly recommend the use of our direct debit
"Those who meet the requirements may be availed a facility of their current
account. This will enable one to continue to making electronic purchases
from accredited merchants throughout Zimbabwe in excess of their balances,"
added the officials.
The use of electronic cards has been on the increase in the country
following the cash shortages, which hit the banking sector last year.
Barclays' restructuring exercise has led to a lot of speculation from the
public with some suggesting that the group would soon shut down its
The sentiments have been shot down with the management insisting that they
were positioning the bank to withstand prevailing economic challenges.
The restructuring of the bank seems to have started paying dividends as it
was recently rated AA- by the South African Based Global Credit Rating.
Borrowing Powers Sought
The Herald (Harare)
January 26, 2004
Posted to the web January 26, 2004
Harare City Council and Norton Town Council have applied for borrowing
powers from Government to finance various operations like waste management
and water purification.
Harare seeks to borrow $82,5 billion while Norton wants to borrow $3,25
The two authorities have already written to the Ministry of Local
Government, Public Works and National Housing seeking the powers to borrow.
Harare wants to use the money to service the miscellaneous accounts, which
includes the sewerage account, waste management and water purification.
It needs $10,6 billion for water purification and upgrading of water
treatment works. The city has earmarked the rehabilitation of Crowborough
and Firle sewerage treatment works, Mabvuku and Tafara outflow and Morton
Jaffray water treatment works as some of its capital projects.
The money would settle rate accounts such as the city's health department,
education and operations in the department of works have been allocated
$28,6 billion. Norton wants to channel most of the funds towards capital
projects such as the construction of water treatment works and raising of
reservoirs which is meant to alleviate the burden of buying water from
Musicians, Journalists Join Great Trek to UK
The Daily News
January 26, 2004
Posted to the web January 26, 2004
ZIMBABWE'S music and media industries have not been spared by
worsening economic crisis, with several journalists and musicians joining
the trek to the United Kingdom in search of greener pastures.
Industry officials said the local media and music companies had lost many
professionals, mostly because of declining standards of living and the lure
of better working conditions and pay in the UK.
Alleged political persecution and demotion in the government-controlled
media had also forced several journalists out of the country, the officials
Some musicians and journalists who have left Zimbabwe took advantage of
sponsored tours and assignments that enabled them to travel to the UK, and
they did not return to Zimbabwe.
Among those who have joined what has become known as the "great trek" in the
past two years are former
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation employees Happiness Pemhiwa, Kelvin
Sifelani, Tichaona Sibanda, Ezra Sibanda, Eric Knight and part-time
presenter Chaka Ngwenya.
Sifelani, an accomplished presenter and businessman, was arguably one of the
most popular disc jockeys on radio. He worked with both Spot FM and Power
FM, formerly Radio One and 3FM, respectively.
Before leaving in 2001, Sifelani used to attract a wide listenership base to
his Saturday night programme, the Soul Selection, with his self-endowed
title of "chief executive" of the Zimbabwe Soul Movement.
Knight and Ezra Sibanda were very popular on Radio Zimbabwe, formerly Radio
Two, on which their combination on Wednesdays and Saturdays drew listeners
to a once respected station.
Meanwhile, the print media has lost Herald assistant editor Cephas Chitsaka
and his subordinates Elton Dzikiti and Archibald Musonza, who have also left
Zimbabwe for the United Kingdom.
Discharged primary school teacher-turned-journalist at the Bulawayo-based
Chronicle, Admore Tshuma, has also joined the exodus to London.
The Weekend Tribune's former sports editor, Clemence Marijeni, remained in
the United Kingdom in July last year at the end of a tour by the Zimbabwe
national cricket team.
Marijeni had travelled to the United Kingdom on a sponsored trip.
On the musical front, the lure of the pound has disrupted most groups, with
the biggest casualty being the now-defunct promising gospel group Appointed.
The talented performers - products of Harare's New Life Covenant Church -
left the group to search for new opportunities in London. Only group member
Pardon Mutsago remained behind.
Mutsago has risen to claim a stake in the small but vibrant urban grooves
industry, which includes popular local musician Pastor G.
Businesswoman-cum-musician Portia Gwanzura, financier and leader of
traditional group Hohodza Band, flew to Luton in 2002 and criticised
President Mugabe's policies in an interview with the Times newspaper.
Gwanzura alleged persecution by government security agents.
Rising Kwekwe musician Tongai Moyo lost key members of his band while
touring the UK last year.
Popular Alick Macheso has also not been spared.
Industry officials this week said the exodus of professionals from the media
and the music industries was likely to continue in the next few months,
despite what the government says is an improvement in the economy.
Zimbabweans continue to queue every day for United Kingdom visas, despite
the high cost of airfares and the stringent visa conditions introduced by
the British government.
Queues form at the British Embassy in Harare as early as 4am as desperate
Zimbabweans battle to obtain the few visas that are granted to some of the
25 people who are attended to daily.
Zimbabwe: EU Aid for Health Services
UN Integrated Regional
January 26, 2004
Posted to the web January 26, 2004
The European Union is this year expected to spend close to US $30 million to
help improve Zimbabwe's underfunded health delivery system.
The head of the European Commission (EC) delegation to Zimbabwe, Francesca
Mosca, said in a statement last week the money would be taken from a US $69
million fund committed to Zimbabwe for the period 2000 to 2006.
"The programme's purposes are to support people's increased access to
affordable quality health services, mainly by ensuring the continued
availability of safe blood and the supply of essential drugs for the
prevention, treatment and control of HIV/AIDS and other communicable and
non-communicable diseases," said Mosca.
She said priority areas would be the fight against HIV/AIDS. "The European
Commission sees the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Zimbabwe as one of the biggest
socioeconomic problems facing the country." The EC would support a national
AIDS conference to be held in June, and part of the money would also go
towards assisting NGOs involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS and malaria.
The cash injection would improve crumbling infrastructure and delapidated
equipment at the country's hospitals. "A lot of the equipment at hospitals
and health facilities needs repairs or replacement," said Mosca.
Mugabe faces the wrath of God, warns Archbishop Pius Ncube
By Savious Kwinika
BULAWAYO: Archbishop Pius Ncube has revealed that in the early 1980s, he was
very close to President Robert Mugabe, the man he now castigates and calls a
"big African crook" .
The archbishop, who has single-handedly turned into a symbol of resistance
against Mugabe's regime, on Thursday narrated to The Standard how his
relationship with President Mugabe blossomed soon after Zimbabwe gained
independence in 1980.
"Each time Mugabe and the late Vice
President Joshua Nkomo visited Bulawayo
on business, we would shake hands and share words of wisdom.
Mugabe could also come to Bulawayo and talk to my mother in church and at
times at rallies while in the company of the late Vice President Nkomo but
he has turned into a big African crook. Even now I am failing to understand
how the devil entered into Mugabe's mind, soul and heart because he has
become a monster that is no longer controllable," says Archbishop Ncube,
with undisguised passion.
The archbishop who has just recovered from a two week facial palsy, a
disease that affected nerves of his face and caused serious weaknesses
making it difficult for the clergyman to control his facial muscles is
loathed by Mugabe who has attacked him on several occasions.
"You see young man, when Zimbabwe gained its independence in 1980, Mugabe
was undoubtedly the African statesman everybody would have liked to meet,
shake hands and perhaps have a photograph taken with him."
"He was such an honest leader, admirable, dynamic, caring and a crowd puller
each time his Zanu PF party organised rallies around the country but things
fell apart for him when he started ignoring people's grievances," said
Archbishop Ncube says he started seeing Mugabe's dark side between 1980 and
mid 1983 when he committed the unforgettable Matabeleland genocide using the
notorious and merciless Fifth Brigade soldiers to kill people, innocent
women and children.
He adds that Mugabe's evil doings are there for everyone to see and he is
even trying to destroy the church. "Mugabe has gone around the country
dividing the people of God by giving some church leaders the stolen land
from the whites while others are deliberately left out," said Ncube.
The outspoken clergyman says very soon Mugabe will find himself at
loggerheads with his creator if he continues sanctioning lawlessness in
"God said in His Holy Bible that you shall not kill, but Mugabe and his
Cabinet continue to kill."
"The Bible further states that you shall not steal but Mugabe's Cabinet has
stolen properties belonging to the white farmers who were forcibly removed
from their land, that is breaking God's rules and commandments," he said .
He also pointed out that the media in Zimbabwe was not operating freely
because of the draconian laws crafted by Mugabe's stooge-Moyo with a view to
deny the nation the free flow of information.
School head, teachers nabbed in exams scam
By Loughty Dube
BULAWAYO - The credibility of the Zimbabwean schools examinations system is
once again under the spotlight after revelations that a headmaster and three
of his teachers in the Midlands province wrote and filled answer sheets for
dozens of Grade Seven pupils at their school in a bid to ensure a high pass
The headmaster, Tinosias Mhuri (57) of Mnene Primary School in Mberengwa and
two teachers at his school whose names are not yet clear have already been
arrested over the case while police say they are still investigating the
involvement of other teachers in the scam.
Midlands police confirmed the arrests and said they were
investigations to establish whether more staff at the school were involved
in the scandal.
Police said they have sent samples of the papers to Harare for forensic
tests on the handwriting used on the answer sheets.
"The headmaster altered and filled in new answer sheets in a bid to ensure
that his school scored the best results in the district and throughout the
country but markers were suspicious after noticing the same handwriting in
all the answer scripts and they notified the police," said a police
Efforts to contact the ZIMSEC director, Happy Ndanga, proved fruitless as he
was said to be attending a workshop out of town for the whole of the week.
However in a shocking move, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of
Education and Sport, Thomson Tsodzo, last week announced in a statement that
the results of the more than 50 pupils at the school would stand.
He said the pupils would not be punished for the school's misdeeds but would
be allowed to proceed to Form One using the 'fake results'.
Mash East PA embroiled in land wrangle
By Valentine Maponga, recently in Hwedza
HWEDZA – Fresh land ownership wrangles have erupted in Mashonaland East
where the provincial administrator, Christopher Chingosho, is being accused
of using his political clout to allocate land under the A2 model to friends
The Standard has established that Chingosho is heavily involved in a farm
ownership dispute between Philemon Mambohwa and another man only referred to
as Hombodo, who is suspected to be Chingosho’s cousin and his former driver.
said he was allocated the land after an audit revealed that the
particular piece of land was not being utilised. He had since started
farming on the property, he said.
However last week a District Development Fund truck drove onto the farm,
known as Farm Adventure, allegedly on the instructions of Chingosho and
seized Mambohwa’s property which was later dumped at Hwedza Police Station.
The property included several drums of diesel and farming equipment.
An Assistant Inspector Chitsanzara told Mambohwa, who reported the case to
Hwedza police in the presence of Standard journalists, that he should “cool
down” as the case involved big guys and money.
“I feel very sorry for you but there is no way I can help you. I can only
direct you to Colonel Mangachena, who is responsible for the land task
force, set up by the President himself. This is a civil matter and we do not
deal with such issues,” said Chitsanzira.
A disappointed Mambohwa told The Standard that he was being “sacrificed” for
the benefit of Chingosho’s relative.
“I have an offer letter from the Ministry of Lands and I have every right to
be staying on this farm. I really do not understand the meaning of this,”
said an angry Mambohwa.
“It’s quite evident that the police officers have succumbed to pressure from
the PA and they have refused to open a docket for my seized property,” he
Contacted for comment, Chingosho in turn accused Mambohwa of taking
advantage of Hombodo’s poor health and invading the farm.
“The correct information is that Hombodo is not my cousin and the point here
is not whose relative it is but who was allocated that land through the
correct procedures,” said Chingosho.
“The person who was allocated that land is Hombodo and unfortunately he
suffered a stroke after he was allocated that piece of land. He was in
hospital for the whole of last year.”
He, however, did not dispute that Hombodo was once his driver.
He dismissed allegations that he was engaging in corrupt dealings and denied
ever taking money from anyone in exchange for land.
Meanwhile farmers around the area have resolved to march to Chingosho’s
offices in Marondera to demonstrate against interference by political
heavyweights in the allocation of land.
“We should not allow such practices to happen on our farms. Who knows it
might be you or me the next victim ,” said one farmer at a meeting in the
area last week.
War vets leader in court on arson
By our own Staff
BULAWAYO A Bulawayo war veterans' leader who allegedly led some Zanu PF
youths to torch a house belonging to an MDC female activist during the
run-up to the March 2002 presidential election, is now facing serious
charges of arson.
On Thursday, Lucky Ndlovu (55), appeared before Bulawayo's Western Commonage
Magistrate Jeniffer Chikata together with some of the youths who also took
part in burning down Regina Ndlovu's house.
Prosecutor Tony Kamudyariwa, for the State, said on March 3
last year, the
accused war veterans and some Zanu PF youths clashed with supporters of the
opposition MDC in Pumula and a fight ensued.
During the fight, it is alleged, some rogue Zanu PF supporters led by Ndlovu
the war veteran went and burnt down Regina Ndlovu's house and destroyed
property worth millions of dollars.
Ndlovu was remanded out of custody to February 22.
No more dirty politics for me, says Bishop Muzorewa
By Nyasha Bhosha
AT 79 years of age, Bishop Abel Tendekayi Muzorewa - the first black Prime
Minister of the ill-fated 1970s government of Zimbabwe-Rhodesia - still
looks sprightly and energetic.
When many of his generation are fast succumbing to the vagaries of old age,
Muzorewa says the trick of his youthful appearance is that he "abstains from
immorality" and eats healthy traditional foods as well as doing regular
Such is now the life of Muzorewa, who has virtually
disappeared from public
life, and is living quietly at his elegant house in the outskirts of the
upmarket Borrowdale Brook suburb of Harare.
"All I can say is I make sure I abstain from mbanje, alcohol, tobacco and
all the dirty and immoral ways of living," says the clean-shaven retired
bishop of the United Methodist Church of Zimbabwe, with a chortle.
Notwithstanding his age, the bespectacled bishop says he still takes brisk
30-minute walks every morning. For food, he prefers to eat rapoko, wheat,
sour milk and vegetables. "I make sure I eat the right food and if I am to
use bread I prefer brown bread," he says.
Muzorewa says it is purely by design that he is keeping himself out of
public life, which occupied most of his time during his tenure as a
"Now, I am the patron of the Araunah Mission Fellowship of Zimbabwe (AMFZ)
and I'm also working on a new book on evangelism," said Muzorewa, seated
next to his extensive collection of mostly religious books.
Married to Maggie, currently in America visiting, Muzorewa says although he
has retired from being a bishop he has not ceased to function as a church
"Last year alone I conducted 17 weddings and I still attend revival
meetings," he said.
During his spare time, he visits his home area in Makoni district in
Manicaland, where he tends a vegetable garden and fruit orchard. Apart from
that, he said he also goes fishing to relax.
A father of three sons and a daughter, Muzorewa says he abandoned politics
in Zimbabwe because it is "dirty".
"There is a time for everything and my time had come to retire from
politics. Politics in Zimbabwe has lost direction, it's now based on
violence. I'm not the kind of person who can create another violent group to
fight the one that's there," said Muzorewa.
Commenting on the on-going treason trial of opposition MDC leader, Morgan
Tsvangirai, the nationalist who turns 79 on April 14, had this to say: "I
hope it's not one of those political dirty tricks. I was once detained for
10 months in 1983 on allegations that I had an army in Israel, South Africa
and others countries.
"Another victim was Ndabaningi Sithole who was accused of trying to kill the
President at the National Stadium, it's all rubbish," said Muzorewa.
Ironically, Muzorewa is accused by former liberation movements of
involvement in the massacres of thousands of Zimbabwean war refugees at
Chimoio and Nyadzonya in the late 1979 during his reign.
A day after one of the raids, Muzorewa - the head of the government running
the pre-independence administration of Zimbabwe-Rhodesia - is accused as
having celebrated the massacres by declaring that: "Today is a fine day."
Reminded of the gruesome murder of the Zimbabwean refugees in Mozambique,
Muzorewa became restless and agitated.
"You should know by now that when these people were attacked, it was at a
time before I was made Prime Minister," he said.
As if regretting the Chimoio/Nyadzonya massacres, Muzorewa then blurts out
that he never wanted to become a politician in the first place. "All my
life, I prepared to be a church leader. It was all the senior nationalists
who were locked up who wanted my assistance."
When elected Prime Minister of the then Zimbabwe-Rhodesia in 1979, Muzorewa
surprised many when he made his grand entry into the State House riding on a
donkey-drawn cart "with all his belongings".
"I was trying to make history after so many years of war. I could have used
a car but I wanted it the traditional way," he says.
Despite his absence from public life, Muzorewa says he still follows current
An ardent Warriors fan, the former prime minister said he will be hooked on
TV as the Zimbabwe national soccer team makes its dream debut at the African
Nations' Cup later today. "I wish them success," he says.
CAAZ criticised for hiring retired Zambians
By our own Staff
THE Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe is compromising the security of the
skies over Zimbabwe by hiring Zambian air traffic controllers whose know-how
may now be rusty having been out of employment for a long time, The Standard
The five Zambian aviation "experts" were recruited to fill in the void left
by 43 Zimbabwean air traffic controllers who went on an indefinite job
action on November 21 last year over poor salaries. They have since been
was recently told that all five Zambians had left active
service more than a year ago, making them unfit to practice without
undertaking certain procedures, according to aviation regulations.
The regulations stipulate that if an air traffic controller is at least six
months away from work, he has to undergo a medical test and a six-month
validation period before he or she can resume operations.
Sources from the Guild of Air Traffic Controllers Association of Zambia
(GATCAZ), told The Standard that Zambian authorities had refused to assist
Zimbabwe on a "State-to-State" basis for the air traffic controllers to be
"We (Zambians), refused to help the Zimbabweans this time around because it
got us in trouble when we loaned them some air traffic controllers after
another strike in 1998," said a Zambian official.
"GATCAZ was actually banned from the International Air Traffic Controllers'
Association from 1998 to 2003 because we had assisted Zimbabwe instead of
showing solidarity with Zimbabwean colleagues who were on strike," he added.
The official said GATCAZ president Ben Shumba, who is based in Livingstone,
had raised this issue with Zimbabwe.
"The so-called Zambian experts your government has hired are old men who
have been out of service for over a year, some had retired to their rural
homes where they had no links with air travel," said the Zambian.
The Standard has learnt that soon after the air traffic controllers went on
strike in November, CAAZ deputy director David Chawota approached one Samson
Kavaso, a retired manager for the Zambian Air Traffic Services, who went
around recruiting former air traffic controllers to work in Zimbabwe.
Among the recruits is one Chielo, believed to be about 60 years old, who
spoke to The Standard from a local hotel where he is booked by CAAZ.
Although Chielo refused to shed light on his conditions of employment, he
alluded to the fact that that he is in Zimbabwe on CAAZ account and referred
all questions to Ezra Mazambara, CAAZ acting director of air navigation
Mazambara in turn referred all questions to CAAZ chief, Karikoga Kaseke, who
contrary to Chielo's account, said the Zambians' contracts had been
"You lied in your previous article," Kaseke charged. "Hazvina basa zvekuti
vave ne time vasiri pabasa (It doesn't matter if the air traffic controllers
have not been working for some time) Š they can still perform their
functions," said Karikoga. He added: "A car driver can still drive even
after a long lay-off, can't he?"
Kaseke said the department was actually now "overstaffed" because it had
rehired some of the dismissed Zimbabwean air traffic controllers who had
been joined by others from the Air Force.
Investigations on Friday revealed that most of the Zambian air traffic
controllers are still in the country and staying at a city hotel, although
they have stopped reporting for duty. Their accommodation at the hotel is
being paid for by CAAZ.
Robbers grab $77m in Gweru
By Richard Musazulwa
GWERU - Three armed robbers got away with $77 million in local and foreign
currency after they struck at the Gweru branch of Western Union, a money
transfer institution recently.
Police confirmed the robbery and said this was the second time in recent
weeks that Western Union has been robbed.
In early January, the institution's Bulawayo branch was
robbed of more than
US$160 000 and Z$10 million after one of the workers was kidnapped at night
from his home in Pumula and forced to phone for the office keys from a
On the Gweru heist, police said the robbers - who pretended to be genuine
clients - struck at around 10 AM on Thursday and took away US$14 077 (about
Z$68 million) and $7,8 million in local currency.
One of the robbers produced a pistol while his colleagues handcuffed the
security guard and the cashier before blindfolding them, said the police.
The robbers took all the cash from the till before demanding keys to the
safe and fled with a total $77 million. The guard and the cashier were found
locked in the office.
State House guards harass passersby
By our own Staff
ROADS around State House have become "no go areas" as soldiers, who guard
President Robert Mugabe's residence, harass pedestrians for no apparent
reason, The Standard was told.
Chancellor Avenue is closed between 6.00pm and 6.00am to traffic at the
intersection of Josiah Tongogara Avenue and is heavily guarded by the crack
Presidential Guard unit.
Pedestrians who spoke to The Standard on condition of anonymity
serious concern about the behaviour of the soldiers, who they said were
sometimes cruel and ruthless when dealing with both motorists and
Patrons and some workers at the nearby Harare Sports Club say they are
sometimes ordered to perform humiliating stunts for the amusement of the
Recently a couple, walking hand in hand, was called back by a soldier and
ordered to race to and fro along the pedestrian track.
They were only allowed to continue with their journey once the soldier said
he was satisfied with their performance.
A manager at one of the bars at the sports club said some workers were
stopped by one of the guards, around Christmas, and accused of "making noise
for the President".
They were ordered to sit in the rain for about four hours, only to be told
to go home after the soldier apparently got bored with their presence.
Another man, who had just came out of the sports club, was reportedly made
to roll in the mud after he was found trying to call a taxi on his mobile
"He was trying to call a taxi on his mobile phone and was strolling around
just outside Harare Sports club when one of the soldiers called him and
ordered him to roll in the mud, accusing him of loitering," an eyewitness
told The Standard .
Workers at the popular Keg and Sable bar at the sports club have not been
spared the harassment.
One of the workers, who declined to named, said he went "through hell" last
year during the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) stayaway.
"I was called by one of the guys (soldiers) and they accused me of helping
to sabotage the economy because they said I work for the whites," said the
A domestic worker from Alexandra Park, who passes through the place almost
everyday, said: "The soldiers are becoming very rude. It all depends on
their mood Š if they feel you are showing off, they humiliate you."
Towards the end of last year, sources said, a car caught fire in the middle
of the road near State House and the owner was forbidden from putting off
the fire. Instead, he had to watch the entire vehicle burn to ashes.
Some people alleged that they had suffered sexual harassment and abuse by
the soldiers. They said the soldiers sometimes demanded that their victims
masturbate in their presence.
Contacted for comment an official from the Presidential Guard who refused to
give his name defended the actions of the guards saying it was part of their
duty to protect the President "by whatever means possible".
"If they (the guards) become suspicious of your movements they have every
right to deal with you accordingly and that is the whole process of
protecting the President."
World Bank getting impatient with Zimbabwe
By Savious Kwinika
BULAWAYO - THE World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are
increasingly becoming impatient with Zimbabwe's failure to service its debt
payments now hovering around US$1 billion, it has been established.
In an interview here on Wednesday, World Bank head for Africa, Tim
Carrington, said Zimbabwe has a debt amounting to US$946,5 million which
needed immediate clearance before the Bretton Wood institution could start
committing itself to assisting the country towards economic recovery.
"For the World Bank to provide new assistance to deal with
economic problems, Zimbabwe will need to reach an agreement with the
international bank on its debt payment, as well as on a sound economic
programme for the future," said Carrington.
"Right now, much of the long-term development effort from the World Bank is
on hold because the government of Zimbabwe is in arrears in making debt
service payments on the outstanding loans from the bank," he said.
Carrington said Zimbabwe was a powerful economic emerging giant in Africa
but due to poor fiscal and land reform policies, the southern African nation
Zimbabwe, which used to be the breadbasket for Southern Africa, has been
failing to allocate proper agricultural skills in order to provide food for
its starving citizens and the region at large, said the WB official.
"A few years ago, Zimbabwe was selling up to 500 000 metric tonnes of
surplus food to the United Nations World Food Program to distribute to
hungry people in other countries, but right now the country needs more
assistance than any in SADC region," said Carrington.
He said humanitarian agencies were gearing up to feed more than half the
country's population owing to the food shortages.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Project Trust Emergency Support Programme (ZPTESP)
in Matabeleland region, an NGO involved in the food relief and supplementary
feeding scheme says it is providing food to more than 30 000 families per
month with emergency food aid.
According to the NGO's regional co-ordinator, Lucia Ndlovu, her organisation
provides nutrimeal, cooking oil, beans and maize meal to children under the
age of five, adults and those that under vulnerable situations.
Judges are the guardians of our Constitution
THIS may seem obvious that it hardly needs saying. But
background of events that have shattered our lives, it must be said all the
same. Judges are the guardians of our Constitution.
Every judge on his or her appointment discards all politics and all
prejudices. They must apply the law on proven facts and on the basis of
propaganda-free information and, equally important, jealously guard the
liberty and rights of all citizens. After all, Section 20 of our
Constitution does guarantee freedom of expression.
We have no doubt that magistrates and judges
are invariably determined to do
right to litigants within the framework of both the law and the supreme law
of our country. Anything less will be a recipe for disaster.
There is a clear distinction between national interest and a political party
that has formed a government. Governments come and go. At some stage, people
expire. But the nation of Zimbabwe will always be there. Precisely because
governments come and go, it is important to have checks and balances, to
have separation of powers between the government, parliament, the judiciary
and the media.
Among the natural human urges are the will to survive and the will to
express oneself. The fight of The Daily News and the struggles of the
Zimbabwean civil society to preserve democratic governance in the country
must be understood in this context. After all, the liberty of self
expression and that of the media is the basis of all democratic governments
the world over.
The fight of The Daily News has been a credit to Zimbabwe and the entire
world and has done much to strengthen the conviction that freedom does not
come on a silver platter. We have to push and push and push. In fact,
experience has shown through history that you have to struggle and not
relent for these things. The work of the liberation movements in southern
Africa attests to this. Freedom and democracy triumphed in the region as a
result of efforts of these independence movements.
It is sad, distressful and ironic that in Zimbabwe the very people who
fought for these rights should now be reversing the gains of their efforts.
We fought to enlarge and expand freedoms including press freedom. President
Robert Mugabe and many of his generation were very up-front about this. They
fought for the values of free minds, free speech and free choice. What has
now gone wrong?
It is not in the long term interest of the government to suppress free
speech. In fact, we know of no government in the world which has benefited
from banning newspapers and gagging the media. The futile attempts of Ian
Smith on this front provides a salutary lesson. Banning newspapers and
monopolising both radio and television in Smith's Rhodesia was ultimately
counter-productive. Zimbabweans were resolute and remained in the very front
trenches of this battle for freedom until victory.
There can no longer be any doubt that the suppression of the press and free
expression does not strengthen political and economic structures nor does it
create a sense of cohesion among the people. It leads to unnecessary
conflicts as well as eroding creative potential.
This is an information age. We strongly believe that the more choices and
information people have, the better off things will be. It is not only
healthy for the government and the general public but also healthy for
journalists. We wouldn't be in this business if we didn't believe that more
information and more opinions will eventually lead to more truth.
You have only to see the conglomeration of lies that are peddled in the
government-owned media to appreciate what we are saying.
We live and die by ideas. When ideas compete in the market place for
acceptance, full and free discussion exposes false information and they gain
very few adherents - if at all. And the courts are there to ensure this.
That is why under the draconian Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Act (Aippa) no single journalist to date has been convicted although
many have been arrested and charged. Journalists are seekers of the truth so
that governments are accountable to the citizenry. The inevitable tension
between the media and the government is part and parcel of a democratic
We have said in and out of season that any law must be demonstrably and
reasonably justified in a democratic society. Aippa is not and will never
be. Not to mention the fact that Aippa itself is worded in a confusing way
and provides grounds for misunderstanding and different interpretations. The
fact that no single journalist in Zimbabwe has been convicted under this
comically-named Act means that journalists and judicial officers are
inter-dependent partners in the defence of the independence of their
professions and the freedoms of the society as a whole. And this is as it
It is improbable that people can have the same opinions in any given
situation or organisation. Where this happens, then such an organisation has
to be dissolved because it is sterile and useless. Growth comes from
opposing each other.
We remain convinced about the Zimbabwean judges' capacity for common sense
and their determination to do justice to litigants. Because they believe in
the value of information, we think they will continue, like us, to celebrate
the plurality of information sources that has become the hallmark of this
We have absolutely no doubt that magistrates and judges in this country
will, despite the immense political pressure, continue to push for an open
system that allows a diversity of voices to be heard.
As Rev Martin Luther King Jr eloquently said: "There is nothing in all the
world greater than freedom. It is worth paying for, it is worth losing a job
for, it is worth going to jail for."
What has gone wrong with black empowerment?
By Kumbirai Mafunda
THE pervading storm in the banking sector has exposed as misconstrued the
concept of President Robert Mugabe's fast track indigenisation programme
launched with much fanfare by the government in the early 1990s.
Economic analysts told StandardBusiness that the recent knock on financial
institutions has put a dent on the black economic empowerment drive that saw
a number of youthful Zimbabwean executives venturing into the financial
sector, which was previously a preserve of large multinationals and
Prior to the entry of the
indigenous players, foreign-owned banks such as
Barclays, Standard Chartered and Stanbic Bank, dominated the local financial
However, the advent of the Economic Structural Adjustment Programme (ESAP)
in 1991 brought with it economic liberalisation.
Economic liberalisa-tion coincided with the government's indige-nisation
drive that gathered momentum in the early 1990s resulting in the crafting of
the Economic Indigenisation Policy which became the national policy for
It was formulated to achieve poverty eradication, nation building and
develo-pment of a democratic social system. Accor-ding to the policy,
economic indigenisation referred to the economic empowerment of the
historically disadvantaged Zimbabweans.
However, recent events in the banking sector - once the torch bearer of
indigenisation - have resulted in the indigenisation drive losing its
Analysts said Zimba-bwe's home grown indigenisation plan was flawed in the
beginning because it benefited mostly only those with close linkages to the
ruling Zanu PF party or related to powerful members of the government.
It was during the black economic empowerment drive that a number of
financial institutions sprang up among them National Merchant Bank then
headed by William Nyemba, who later left in a huff to set up Trust Holdings,
after alleged differences with fellow directors.
Kingdom Financial Holdings headed by Nigel Chanakira, Metropolitan Bank
spearheaded by Enoch Kamushinda, Century Holdings fronted by Jefta Mgweni,
Barbican headed by Mthuli Ncube, NMB Holdings now led by Julius Makoni and
Intermarket Holdings driven by Nicholas Vingirai, were some of the more
visible institutions that began to challenge the status quo in the financial
Not far behind were a coterie of other financial institutions, including the
now discredited asset management companies that were being launched by the
day, and discount houses and building societies.
"The so-called progress in the banking sector was really one massive fraud
because it was only led by a few individuals with questionable intentions,"
said an analyst.
"The problems unfolding in the financial sector expose the faulty nature of
the indigenisation process based on patronage," said the labour union ZCTU's
Chief Economist Godfrey Kanyenze.
Some analysts pointed out that the recent ENG saga, involving the collapsed
asset ma-nagement company, was nothing new to Zimbabwe.
In the mid-to-late 1990s, the financial sector was rockaed by the then
unprecedented collapse of Access to Capital, a huge pyramid scheme whose
demise exposed a number of banks, companies and individuals.
"What is happening with ENG is a mirror image of what we saw with Access To
Capital," said Erich Bloch, a Bulawayo-based economic consultant.
Among the banks that went under because of poor management were United
Merchant Bank (UMB), championed by the late business tycoon Roger Boka and
Universal Merchant Bank (Unibank) in which Zanu PF legislator David Chapfika
was a director.
There were also reports of misma-nagement and cooked books at the Zimbabwe
Building Society which was later rescued by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
which currently holds the lion's share in the turned around institution.
Only last year First National Building Society (FNBS) had two of its
directors arrested for allegedly misappropriating depositors' funds.
Two weeks ago the RBZ was forced to set up a Troubled Banks Fund to level
the financial sector playing field after the black smaller banks complained
that the larger institutions were refusing to honour their cheques.
This followed a liquidity crunch that befell nearly half of the country's
commercial banks soon after the unveiling of RBZ Governor Gideon Gono's
monetary policy that, among others, tightened money supply.
Among those that have benefited from the RBZ bailout is Trust, but this time
without Nyemba and fellow founding directors.
Some analysts said the "earthquake" in the banking sector was bound to be
felt, with or without Gono's, given the government's refusal to allow the
RBZ in the past to pounce on suspect institutions that, on the other hand,
belonged to individuals popular in Zanu PF.
"Government was completely deaf to what the RBZ pointed out. It was not
willing to give the central bank the authority to monitor and keep
organisations under surveillance for years. It was only in December when
that authority came - albeit too late," said one analyist.
"We were much too lax in the financial control," said Bloch. "Licences were
too easily granted without real evaluation to the suitability of the
peoples' asset base."
To bolster the argument that the government's indegi-nisation policy, meant
to benefit the majority black citizens was a failure, the ZCTU says the
number of impoverished Zimba-bweans has grown to levels of above 85% of the
population in the last few years.
"It points to some of the weaknesses in the way indigenisation was
implemented," said Rob Davies, a former University of Zimbabwe economics
"Businesses that are not on a sound footing are not going to survive. You
have to build these firms on a firm foundation," added Davies.
Of late there has been sizeable trade in a number of companies, some listed
on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE), in which eyebrows have been raised
with regard to their recent take-overs and acquisitions.
One banker who requested anonymity argued that though the financial sector's
outer skin is peeling off now that some banks have tried to raise some
standards in the sector.
"It is a learning experience that we have gone through," he said. "We were
running a casino economy where people make money overnight without receipts
and this is not sustainable for development as it leaves the poor more
vulnerable," says Jonah Gokova, the Chairman of the Zimbabwe Coalition on
Debt and Development (Zimcodd).
A recent study on indigenisation found that there was no national consensus
on the concept of indigenisation. It noted that the lack of national
consensus presented a problem at the impleme-ntation stage.
In view of the lack of consensus on indigenisation, conside-ration might be
given to entitling the Indigenisa-tion Policy, the National Policy for
Accelerated Development, urged the report.
Analysts pointed out the government, though, does not seem to have learnt a
lesson at all from its exposure by the fallout in the banking sector.
It recently again, as some form of "thank you", allowed black businessmen
close to the ruling party to snap up oil importation licences without
properly vetting them.
Many multinational oil companies - among them BP Shell, Mobil, Caltex and
Total - have been disposing of some of their assets, particula-rly filling
stations citing viability problems.
But experts noted the government's inte-ntion to include more indigenous
firms in fuel distribution was again carried out on patronage lines because
most of the new owners of the fuel stations have relations or ties with Zanu
Another expert said the fallout in the banking sector could actually prove
to be "a blessing in disguise".
"We can't support so many banks when there is less business because the
economy is not growing. We have learnt our lesson and I hope we won't let
that happen again," he said.
Anti-corruption crusade 'an election gimmick'
By Caiphas Chimhete
THE ruling Zanu PF party's talk and hype about stamping out corruption in
Zimbabwe is just "a puff in the wind" meant to hoodwink gullible voters as
the country prepares for next year's general elections, analysts have said.
The analysts, who spoke to The Standard, expressed scepticism about Zanu
PF's commitment to weed out corruption and also questioned the timing of the
parliamentary elections early next year and the ruling Zanu
PF party is expected to face stiff competition from the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC).
The anti-corruption drive, which started with the highly publicised arrest
of ENG Capital Asset Management directors, culminated in the subsequent
incarceration of disgraced Zanu PF Mashonaland West provincial chairman,
The high-profile busi-nessman, who is out on bail facing charges of trying
to obstruct the course of justice, contempt of court and perjury, is
believed to be linked to the collapsed asset management firm.
Vice-President Jose-ph Msika's utterances, which were reiterated by
President Robert Mugabe, that law enforcement agents must bring to book
corrupt officials regardless of political standing or affiliation,
precipitated Chiyangwa's sensational arrest.
University of Zimbabwe political analyst, Brian Raftopolous, says he
believes the arrest of Chiyangwa and the hype about weeding out corruption
He said Zanu PF was trying to present an image of "a reformed party" in the
eyes of the voters as the clock ticks towards the 2005 general elections.
"This attack on corruption will be limited; it will not be comprehensive. I
know it will stop before it reaches high levels," said Raftopolous, who is
also the chairman of Crisis Zimbabwe, a coalition of human rights bodies.
To enforce his "reformed party theory", Mugabe might arrest a few more Zanu
PF officials including junior ministers, said Raftopoulos, a lecturer at the
University of Zimbabwe.
That way, he added, voters and even the international community would be
hoodwinked into thinking that the 79-year-old President has changed "his
In the 2000 parliamentary and 2002 presidential elections, Zanu PF used the
controversial land redistribution exercise to lure voters to its side
against the MDC.
Coupled with intimidation and outright violence, Mugabe's party
controversially won both elections. MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai is
challenging the result of the presidential poll in court.
However, keeping the momentum of the anti-corruption drive until the next
year could prove cumbersome for Zanu PF, say analysts.
In the process, the anti-corruption drive might implicate the "wrong people"
and the exercise would definitely crumble.
Lovemore Madhuku, the chairman of the National Constitutional Assembly
(NCA), is also convinced that Mugabe will soon abandon the crusade against
corruption among the ruling party ranks, as it is certain to implicate
"untouchables" within the party.
He says the Chiyangwa saga was designed to create a false impression that
Zanu PF was now prepared to deal with graft.
"It is never meant to undermine the party but designed to create a false
impression that Zanu PF is capable of dealing with corruption.
"It is meant to cheat gullible voters as we heard towards elections," said
Put to Zanu PF spokesperson, Nathan Shamuyarira, that critics are saying the
arrest of Chiyangwa was "cosmetic", the politician fumed: "You guys are
always hammering us and yet expect us to give you information.
"We take all necessary measures to stamp out corruption but don't need that
to be written by The Standard," said Shamuyarira, before hanging up the
But Madhuku said if Mugabe was committed to eliminating corruption, he
should have started by investigating senior party members including Speaker
of Parliament, Emmerson Mnangagwa, who has been linked by a UN report to the
looting of diamonds in the Democratic Republic Congo (DRC).
"If he starts investigating real big names then we can start talking. Don't
be fooled by these cosmetic arrests," said Madhuku. The investigation or
arrest of senior Zanu PF politicians is the last thing Mugabe would want to
do as that would lead to the disintegration of his party, said another
No senior Zanu PF official has been convicted of a crime since independence,
although some arrests have been made.
The only notable arrest was that of former Minister of Agriculture, Kumbirai
Kangai, while former Minister Public Works and National Housing, Enos
Chikowore and Mugabe's wife, Grace, were implicated in the "pay for your
house" housing scam.
Another analyst said it was surprising that Zanu PF had chosen to sacrifice
Chiyangwa when there was a host of other corrupt officials, not only in the
party, but countrywide.
"We know Zanu PF is corrupt to the core but dragging a hapless Chiyangwa to
the courts to me raises eyebrows," said the analyst, who declined to be
But Raftopoulos cou-ntered: "Chiyangwa presented himself because he was
arrogant and bragged in court."
A Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) official said in the case of the
ENG directors and Chiyangwa, police intervention was unavoidable because it
would have dragged the whole financial sector into a mess, and ultimately
lead to the collapse of the economy.
"However, it remains to be seen whether it will lead to prosecution and
"What we need is an independent anti-corruption commission which can follow
these cases through," said ZCTU deputy secretary-general, Collin Gwiyo.
The national anti-corruption watchdog, Transparency International Zimbabwe
(TIZ), has also been advocating for an independent anti-corruption
Zanu PF vigilantes maintain reign of terror
By Caiphas Chimhete
REMNANTS of protagonists of Zanu PF's terror campaign during the 2002
presidential election continue to cause havoc in some parts of the country
with impunity two years on, The Standard has found.
Residents of Highfield in Harare said a new terror group, with suspected
links to the dreaded Mbare-based Chipangano, has emerged in the politically
The group, fast gaining notoriety in the area, and also
Chipangano, beats up and harasses people forcing them to attend Zanu PF
constituency meetings. The group is believed to derive its name from the
Chipangano of Mbare and efforts to establish whether they are related or it
is in fact the same group were unsuccessful.
Several people who spoke to The Standard last week complained that gangs of
unemployed youths, who sing revolutionary songs while toyi-toying in the
suburb at night, force residents to abandon their domestic chores to attend
the local Zanu PF meetings.
"We live in constant fear of these guys. They harass people in broad
daylight and nothing happens to them. We initially thought it was because of
elections but even now, they are still harassing us," said a street vendor,
who requested anonymity.
At times, he said, the youths even confiscated vendors' wares.
However, another resident of Highfield's Canaan area, believes the group is
using its Zanu PF ties to perpetrate criminal activities for ulterior
motives such as thieving.
"I think these youths are just criminals taking advantage of their links
with Zanu PF during the elections. When they are not calling for meetings,
they take advantage of other gatherings to instil fear in people to enable
them to steal," said the resident.
Some analysts contend that Zanu PF created the notorious groups as part of
its bid to coerce the urban electorate to vote for it. Among these dreaded
vigilante groups is the notorious Mbare-based Chipangano and the even more
sinister "Top Six" in Mashonaland West.
Members of the two groups have been implicated in a number of cases during
which supporters of the opposition parties, especially from the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) are intimidated, brutally beaten up or even killed.
Recently, five MDC officials from Mutare were attacked at Mbare Musika by
suspected Chipangano elements after they had attended the party's national
conference held in Harare in December.
The five were fished out of a bus and subjected to thorough beatings before
being taken to Mbare Police Station. Despite being the victims, they were
instead charged with inciting political violence.
"What is worrying is the unwillingness of the police to bring the Zanu PF
criminals to book. They shamelessly arrest innocent people leaving criminals
to go scot-free," said MDC information officer, Maxwell Zimuto.
"As we speak now, no single person has been arrested in spite of the fact
that the incident happened right under the noses of police officers and the
perpetrators are well known criminals," added Zimuto.
There are real fears that as the 2005 parliamentary elections approach, the
terror groups will intensify their savage campaign of terror against
Police spokesperson, Wayne Bvudzijena, while admitting that he had heard
about the terror caused by such vigilante groups, said noone had made
complaints to the police.
"We deal with crime pertaining to all people. No one has so far raised
complaints about them. We don't apply the law selectively," said Bvudzijena.
Added to the list of Zanu PF-aligned terror, are the dreaded Border
Gezi-trained "Green Bombers", whom the governing party allegedly uses to
quash any form of opposition resistance.
Although the national youth service was launched ostensibly to educate
youths about Zimbabwe's history and instil discipline, analysts say Zanu PF
has hijacked the programme and uses the youths to consolidate and perpetuate
its stay in power.
MDC director of elections, Remius Makuwaza, said of the vigilantes:
"These are remnants of Zanu PF's electoral fraud project and it has created
a generation of delinquent and lawless youths."
Makuwaza said it had become apparent that the urban-based terror groups
sometimes worked "hand in hand with Green Bombers".
"The Green Bombers are transferred from place to place in the country to
avoid identification. We have information that they have already been
deployed in Gutu," said Makuwaza.
Zanu PF's Josiah Tungamirai is battling it out with MDC's Casper Musoni for
the Gutu North constituency seat left vacant following the death of
Vice-President Simon Muzenda.
In Mashonaland West, the "Top Six", which caused terror during the
presidential election, is believed to be linked to senior governing party
politicians in the province. In some cases, it is alleged that some Zanu PF
officials hire individual members of the vigilante groups as personal
Last week, The Herald, reported that former Zanu PF legislator and
businesswoman, Nyasha Chikwinya, had hired the notorious Chipangano gang
from Mbare for her protection at a meeting where she was accused of
embezzling low cost housing funds.
Of billionaires, scumbags and 'gonoria'
Shavings from The Woodpecker
Bob is my pal WHAT a charmer! Many satellite viewers who saw Uncle Bob's
extremely wealth friend Nicholas van Hoogstraten on Monday during Tim
Sabastian's hot BBC show - Hard Talk - will agree that the billionaire
landowner actually gave a good account of himself.
Pitted against the acerbic Sabastian, whose aggressive type of interviewing
has made some of the world's toughest operators almost whimper on TV, the
urbane Van Hoogstraten answered each and every question, sometimes with a
secret smile on his face, as if he and him alone was privy to some hidden
On Uncle Bob - Van Hoogstraten, who admitted to
owning huge tracts of land
in Zimbabwe - said the Zimbabwean leader "was 100 percent decent and 100
percent incorruptible", which must be sweet music to the Zanu PF leader's
He admitted that he was a friend of Uncle Bob and was also close to the late
Vice President Simon Muzenda.
Then he went a bit overboard. What about the stories of torture and human
rights abuses that Mugabe is being accused of?
"This is all nonsense. It's absolutely rubbish," said the British landowner,
visibly showing some bit of discomfiture.
Job Sikhala, where are you?
Van Hoogstraten, who has been accused by the British media of publicly
calling some of the tenants on his properties "scumbags", said the bad press
associated with him and Uncle Bob was the result of a "media backlash".
"If you didn't have me, you will have invented me, wouldn't you," said the
charmer, that secret smile pasted on the face.
But, he was to save the best for last.
White Zimbabwean farmers complaining that Uncle Bob expropriated their
properties to give to blacks had it coming, he said.
Most of them farmed on only 300 acres of their 2000-acre farms. The rest - 1
700 acres of productive farmland - "were for exercising their dogs", said
the billionaire landowner whose murder conviction in London of a bitter
rival was recently quashed by a higher court.
TALKING of eccentric billionaires, our very own Philip Chiyangwa - who is
fresh from remand prison and cruising around in his posh metallic silver BMW
745i - must agree that this really is the year of the monkey, what with all
the monkey business going on.
According to the Chinese, 2004 is the Chinese Year of the Monkey and all
sorts of monkey business is supposed to happen during this year.
Chinese soothsayers say The Year of the Monkey will in China bring a stock
market boom, a freer Yuan currency - and a hefty dose of political chaos.
They could be talking of Zimbabwe.
The colourful Chiyangwa, once the darling of all and sundry in Zanu PF, must
be wondering what has hit him.
While there were some few instances of public anger displayed by his
supporters at his long incarceration, by and large most of his close
colleagues and business associates stayed so far away from the trial that he
was suddenly like the man who caught "mapere mbudzi", leprosy.
Come to think of it, it's not only Chiyangwa who must be feeling a bit
lonely. There are reports that most of the movers and shakers in business
and politics are keeping a very low profile, and that means fewer visits to
the "small houses".
The result is that conspicuous consumption is down and there are less
"cabriolets" and other top-of-the-range cars on Zimbabwean roads following
the ENG saga.
In fact, it is said, many of those who have them are keeping their sports
cars and sports utility vehicles under lock and key to avoid the police, and
Zimra, who are on the prowl for such imported luxury vehicles whose owners
might have evaded paying duty.
Back to The Year of the Monkey, internationally experts say US President
George W. Bush, born in the Year of the Dog in 1946, faces a difficult
re-election campaign in 2004 even after the capture of Saddam Hussein.
WHAT would happen, in this year of monkey business, if it so happened that
Uncle Bob decides to take some sabbatical leave to lecture on good
governance at say, the University of Somaliland, and leaves good old Joseph
Msika in power for 12 months?
On his return, Uncle Bob would find that Morgan Tsvangirai is now the leader
of the opposition in Parliament and a regular guest for tea at State House.
He might be surprised to hear that half of his Cabinet are working from
Chikurubi Maximum Prison and Tafadzwa Musekiwa is back as an MP after
abandoning his vegetable business in the UK. Just pontificating.
YOU just have to give it to Zimbabweans, in spite of their daily trials and
tribulations; there is still a lot of humour that goes around.
Some of the new jokes coined recently are meant to lighten and take pleasure
from the valiant efforts of Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono to rid the
banking sector of avarice, corruption and mismanagement.
One of the unkind jokes doing the rounds is that there is a disease causing
immense pain to the ranks of corrupt black indigenous businessmen.
It's medical term: "Gonoria"! Ouch.
Culture of corruption: who is to blame?
Sundaytalk with Pius Wakatama
GOVERNMENT apologists are chortling with glee these days. Zimbabwe's
problems are all but over, they proclaim through what is supposed to be the
With the help of the new Reserve Bank Governor, Dr Gideon Gono, they have
finally identified the culprits responsible for the economic ills of the
country. These are the financial sector and corrupt business people. Some
are now behind bars for fraud and corruption and Gono has put in place
necessary mechanisms for financial recovery.
We are now assured that because of the Gono magic, the
Zimbabwe dollar has
strengthened against other currencies and inflation has gone down. They say
the economy has now turned round the bend but no matter how hard you look,
even with magnifying glasses, you won't see where it has turned.
Inflation, to some of us, is going in one direction which is up, and the
economy is still going in the other direction - and that is down. I wish I
could be more optimistic but I choose to be a realist. Our excitement is
only for the short term. The chickens hatched by a decade of full blown
corruption still have to come home to roost is how I see it.
It is true that corruption in the business and financial sectors has reached
The Herald editorial aptly describes the situation thus: "Reports over the
past few weeks on the goings on within the financial services sector,
notably asset management companies, make depressing and startling reading. A
bunch of ravenous, selfish people, including fresh-faced youths bent at
getting rich quickly and living large, have allegedly mismanaged billions of
dollars belonging to investors to further their own nests.
"... It was corruption on the grandest scale. Never before or since has
Zimbabwe been up against cases of corruption that depict the total lack of
conscience, patriotism, or the sheer greed of some people more than the
cases that are now being probed. The figures that are being mentioned in
some cases are simply frightening."
Apart from the poor English, I totally agree with The Herald's editorial.
The total lack of restraint and conscience in some Zimbabweans today is
What concerns decent citizens of this, now very poor country, is the ages of
most of the people involved in the corruption. Their ages vary from 24 to 30
years. They are just youngsters barely out of school. At independence they
were babies on their mothers' backs. Who could have influenced, encouraged
or even assisted them?
Who taught them to steal, cheat and lie without their consciences bothering
them? Who were their role models?
It is a known fact that people are products of their environment. Children's
characters and personalities are to a large extent shaped by the environment
they grow up in.
The Bible says: "Train up a child in the way he should go, and even when he
is old, he will not depart from it," Proverbs 22:6.
My brother, Markim, who was director of Streets Ahead, which cares for
street kids, once came to me almost in tears.
He had spent a terrible day pleading on behalf of some street kids who had
been arrested for various crimes. His conclusion was: "Those kids are
innocent as far as I am concerned. It is their parents who should be
arrested and flogged. They abdicated their parental responsibilities."
At the national level the question stands: Who is to blame for the
corruption and moral decadence in Zimbabwe today? Of course Zanu PF and
government apologists always have convenient scapegoats ready to blame for
anything that goes wrong in Zimbabwe.
Strange as it may seem, Nathaniel Manheru (some say he is actually Jonathan
Moyo, Minister of Information and Publicity in the Office of the President
and Cabinet) writing in The Herald, mocks and blames respected political and
economic commentators: John Makumbe, Tony Hawkins and John Robertson for not
writing that there was corruption in the private sector. To tell the truth,
I failed to see any kind of logic in his Herald column of January 17,
But then, does the confused man ever make any sense when defending the
political status quo of which he is part. He even went on to blame the
private media, the MDC, the British, the Americans and the hapless Madhuku
of the National Constitutional Assembly for allowing the corruption in
Zimbabwe to go unchecked.
In fact, to him, anyone opposed to the ruling Zanu PF government is somehow
to blame for the corruption which has engulfed Zimbabwe.
The most despicable scapegoating of all, by government apologists, is
blaming the former Reserve Bank Governor, Leonard Tsumba, for not doing what
Gono is now doing.
What they do not mention is that Gono is a loyal and trusted party cadre who
was given the green light to do what he is doing now. Tsumba is an
apolitical professional. He was not so trusted and thus had his hands tied.
He did not have the mandate that Gono has.
In Zimbabwe, if you have a high government position, you just don't act
without making sure that what you are doing is politically correct. The
Minister of Home Affairs, Kembo Mohadi clarified to us how the system works.
In The Herald of January 17, he was reported to have said that his ministry
had a duty to execute a directive issued by President Mugabe at the Masvingo
Zanu PF conference last month, to clamp down on all corrupt individuals
irrespective on their political standing or influence.
This makes it clear that Zimbabwe's law enforcement agents only act against
politically powerful law-breakers after receiving directives from "high up."
This means that Mohadi was all along aware of the evil that was going on but
could not act without a presidential directive. Need we look any further for
someone to blame for the culture of corruption prevailing in the country
Should we then blame young people when they are in fact emulating the
behaviour of their role models - the heroes of the liberation struggle?
He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
A united front of MDC, allies needed
Sundayopinion By Phillip Pasirayi
AT its annual general conference held in December, the Movement for
Democratic Change and other civic organisations that gave solidarity
messages at the conference agreed to forge a popular alliance in fighting
for a better and a more just Zimbabwe.
It was not the first time that the opposition party and organisations like
the National Constitutional Assembly, Zimbabwe National Students Union and
the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions regarded themselves as members of one
family who should fight together for the betterment of Zimbabwe.
As a matter of
fact this spirit of brotherhood that the civics are showing,
is the same spirit that guided the civics in 1999, culminating in the
formation of a broader movement of civics which was being led by the above
mentioned organisations. It is this movement that was later transformed into
a political party, which we are calling, the Movement for Democratic Change
I shall not delve deeper into the reasons why this movement was transformed
into a political party but I shall highlight that the transformation of this
movement left a void in the civil society and also that there is need to go
back to the pre-1999 political organisation amongst civics which culminated
in the Agenda for Action bringing on board the students, workers and the
unemployed, if the popular alliance that was formed at the annual conference
is to be sustained.
The ruling Zanu PF regime has labelled civic organisations and the labour
movement mere proxies of the MDC. Each time the students go on strike on
genuine grievances they are labelled opposition activists and at times the
Ministry of Higher Education officials have refused to give audience to
student leaders saying that they are being "sent by Morgan Tsvangirai." The
then Permanent Secretary in the ministry Michael Mambo and Minister Ignatius
Chombo refused one such meeting in 1999 arguing the students were speaking
MDC language and they could not give them audience on those grounds. Quite
The united front that the opposition and the civics propose for 2004 must be
hailed because it is something that will take away the monster that Zanu PF
is. The MDC and civics must realise that they lost the battle to Zanu PF
because of fighting lone battles and fighting isolated struggles against one
When Mugabe wanted to declare Zimbabwe a one-party state in 1989, workers
and students joined hands to fight against the regime. Students at the
University of Zimbabwe joined hands with the Tsvangirai -led ZCTU in open
resentment to the one-party state. Tsvangirai was even arrested for issuing
a strongly worded statement of solidarity with the UZ Students Union
leadership. It is this spirit of oneness that is lacking in civil society
In the late 90s whenever the ZCTU and NCA called for demonstrations, these
were crosscutting demonstrations, which included all pro-democracy forces.
The reason why today's demonstrations whether by the opposition or the once
vibrant civil society organisations are failing to make significant impact
is because of lack of concerted efforts and co-ordinated effort.
The same sentiments were echoed by NCA chairman, Lovemore Madhuku when he
told the MDC delegates at the annual conference that unity was the only way
forward to unseat the Zanu PF regime. He said: "Unity is certainly the way
forward. We need a combination of demonstrations to confront the Mugabe
regime to agree to free and fair elections, an end to human rights abuses
and to uphold the rule of law."
The situation in the country which is characterised by a highly partisan
army and police, lack of rule of law and the silencing of dissenting voices
calls for unity of purpose among Zimbabweans.