By Nqobani Ndlovu
BULAWAYO - PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has ordered Thokozile Mathuthu, the
Matabeleland North Governor and Resident Minister, to move out of the plush
Bulawayo hotel where she was living at the expense of hard-up taxpayers.
The Standard can reveal that Mathuthu has already quietly moved to a house
in one of the city's suburbs. Her departure comes two weeks after The
Standard exposed how Mathuthu, who governs an impoverished but rich in
untapped resources province, was living large at the Rainbow Hotel.
Authoritative sources told this newspaper that Mathuthu was two weeks ago
instructed to look for alternative accommodation after The Standard's report
embarrassed the ruling party and government.
Reports say Mathuthu was summoned to Harare by Mugabe two weeks ago where
she was lambasted for living in the lap of luxury instead of looking for
decent accommodation in Bulawayo.
The Governor's predecessors stayed at their homes but Mathuthu, who is
believed to have a house in the city's high-density suburb of Njube and
another in Empumalanga township in Hwange, moved into the expensive hotel
The Standard understands that the Minister of Local Government, Public Works
and Urban Development, Ignatious Chombo, acting on Mugabe's instruction,
informed the Governor that she had to find alternative accommodation.
The sources said although Mathuthu's hotel room is still booked in her name,
she has not been staying at the three-star hotel during the past week.
"She has not been coming to the hotel for the past week and we believe that
she has found alternative accommodation in Romney Park," said one of the
It could not be established whether the government would still be paying for
her accommodation although sources indicated that her rentals would be
catered for by the State.
City estate agents noted that monthly rentals for a full house in
low-density suburbs range between $12 and $15 million.
But the double room which she had been occupying for months cost $6 million
a day while her dinner was pegged at $800 000 a night.
Asked to comment, Mathuthu said: "I am sorry I will not comment." She then
switched off her mobile phone.
Efforts to contact Chombo were fruitless as he was said to be busy attending
government meetings in Harare.
Mathuthu took over the governor's post from Obert Mpofu, who is the Member
of Parliament for Bubi-Mguza and Minister of Industry and International
Mathuthu, who conducts her business at the Mhlanhlandlela government
complex, is in charge of an underdeveloped province with an abundance of
natural resources such as gas, platinum group minerals and timber which may
be tapped to turn around the fortunes of the region.
Currently there are several stalled projects such as the Lupane State
University, Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project, Lupane Methane Gas Project
and others which are supposed to be championed by the Governor.
Recent media reports quoted President Mugabe expressing displeasure with the
Governor's stay at the hotel following a report in this newspaper.
By Walter Marwizi and Davison Maruziva
GOVERNMENT'S decision to commandeer private properties next to President
Robert Mugabe's opulent retirement villa near Borrowdale Brook is illegal,
The Standard has established.
Nearly three weeks ago the government, in its continuing disregard for
individual property rights, notified property owners adjacent to the villa
that the State was after their houses as the area next to the magnificent
oriental mansion had been declared a security zone.
Shocked and stunned property owners felt helpless, believing the arbitrary
land grab they assumed was targeted at former commercial farmers was being
visited upon them.
One elderly couple, declining to be identified, told The Standard: "It is a
matter that scares us."
In interviews with The Standard last week, the property owners immediately
adjacent to the retirement mansion said it was difficult to meet and
co-ordinate a response because of suspicion and belief that among them were
Mugabe's relations, heightening the owners' sense of vulnerability.
But also adding to the sense of destabilisation, they said, was the opacity
of the "notices". For example, they pointed out, the notices were not
addressed to specific residential addresses and there was no accompanying
boundary map indicating properties affected and those not affected.
The Standard understands that Borrowdale Brooke home owners' association
members are consulting informally among themselves on the security zoning
and how this might affect them.
However, The Standard understands from legal opinion that the government is
incapable of interpreting its own laws correctly and that its decision
against the property owners is illegal and grossly misguided.
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) yesterday said that the
"notice" to Borrowdale property owners "is as unlawful as it is
ZLHR said: "The 'notice' is unprocedural in that any action taken in respect
of such a protected area must be taken by the Minister of Home Affairs and
not by the Minister of Local Government.
"It is further unlawful in that the Act does not provide for the acquisition
of property in such a protected area by the government. At most, the Act
allows for special security measures to be taken to protect against
'unlawful damage or sabotage' and to 'control the movement and conduct' of
persons in the area, and only during a time of war, or a state of emergency
or where it is reasonably necessary in the interests of defence, public
safety or public order."
In terms of section 7 of the Protected Places and Areas Act [Chapter 11:12]
any order relating to property within the protected area may only specify
the extent of the premises or area declared to be a protected place or
protected area; the special precautions or measures which shall be taken to
prevent the entry of unauthorised persons or to control the movement and
conduct of persons; any measures necessary for demarcating the premises or
area; and any measures necessary for protecting the premises from unlawful
damage or sabotage.
In a scathing attack on the continuing assaults on citizens' rights by the
government, the ZLHR said: "ZLHR regrets to note a further instance of
arbitrary action taken against residents of the City of Harare by a Local
Government Minister, who continues to act outside the ambit of his
legitimate mandate, and with perceived impunity.
"It is also unfortunate that the government continues its attempts to
deprive people of Zimbabwe of their property rights, as well as their right
to protection of the law and right to be free from arbitrary state action.
Such rights are protected under the Constitution of Zimbabwe, as well as key
international human rights instruments to which Zimbabwe is a state party.
"ZLHR urges the government to refrain from such arbitrary action and reminds
public officials to act within the ambit of domestic and international law."
By our staff
A SENIOR police officer heading a reconstituted equipment acquisition task
force has ignored two high court orders and another by police Commissioner
Augustine Chihuri to return equipment looted from commercial farmers in
Chiredzi last year, The Standard has established.
Police Assistant Commissioner Loveness Ndanga, who is cited as the first
respondent in a case brought before the High Court by aggrieved farmers, was
the head of a task force which went on the rampage, seizing farming
equipment worth trillions of dollars in the past three months.
Government established the task force last year in a bid to seize everything
from the remaining few white farmers who had kept their equipment in
warehouses. Apart from leasing the equipment to new farmers, the white
farmers were keeping the expensive property hoping that one day they would
be allowed to farm again.
The task force included members of the Police, army, prisons' service,
officials of the Zimbabwe National Water Authority, Zanu PF politicians and
The looted farm equipment included tractors, ploughs, cultivators, disc
harrows, harvesters, graders, irrigation pipes, pumps and grass cutters. All
these were shared between police officers and some named top Masvingo Zanu
PF politicians. A newly elected Senator got a tractor.
The affected farmers made an urgent High Court application in a bid to get
back their equipment just before the beginning of the rainy season.
On 21 November last year, Justice Bharat Patel granted owners of Bateleur's
Peak Farm Holdings and Chiredzi Ranching Company a provisional order,
ordering the police officers to return the looted equipment.
However Ndanga, who is the officer commanding Chiredzi district, failed to
comply with the order.
The farmers returned to court on 2 December where another High Court judge,
Justice Tendai Uchena, granted them an order compelling Ndanga, who is cited
in the court papers as the first respondent, to release the property.
Uchena ordered: "That the first respondent (Ndanga) shall forthwith comply
with the Order of Justice Patel . and take all steps necessary to ensure
that the movables are released from Chiredzi Police Station and returned to
applicants pursuant to the aforesaid Order."
In the same order, it was also noted that Police Commissioner Augustine
Chihuri, who is the second respondent, had also directed Ndanga to comply
with the order but she did not.
Justice Uchena also ordered Ndanga to pay the costs of the application.
Almost two months after the order, the farmers said they have not received
their looted equipment.
"No farmer has received anything and this to us is a clear case of contempt
of court so we will be meeting to map the way forward with the help of our
"The government shouts about the rule of law but the police use government
vehicles to loot our equipment and break their law, disregarding the courts.
How will people have faith in the police when they can not abide by the law
they are supposed to enforce," said one of the farmers.
Ndanga could neither confirm nor deny whether she received the order.
"Wakaudzwa nani izvozvo? Ivavo ngavakupeka nyaya yacho. (Who told you that?
Let them give the information.)," said Ndanga before switching off her
The farmers now want the police officers and all those politicians who were
involved in the looting to be charged for contempt of court.
By our staff
THE 31 March deadline government set to phase out the use of leaded fuel is
impractical, stakeholders in the motor industry have said. The government is
holding last minute meetings in desperate moves to redeem itself from a 2002
pledge to change to unleaded petrol by 1 January 2006.
However, confusion reignssupreme in the motoring sector, as stakeholders
believe the changeover needs more time before it can be implemented.
Although there seems to be consensus that leaded fuel is not user-friendly,
there are fears that the rush to phase it out could further deplete scarce
fuel supplies trickling into the country thus pushing the prices up.
Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce president, Luxon Zembe, said while the
change would increase industry's efficiency, the government had not given
the changeover enough publicity and would need to step up its efforts.
"It is much better for environmental protection and efficiency of vehicles.
It (unleaded fuel) is of a higher quality and would increase efficiency of
our machinery," Zembe said.
He noted that the "move will certainly force the price to be slightly higher
because of its quality... Anything of a better quality comes at a higher
A managing director of a leading fuel trading company said the government
did not consult widely, and this could jeopardise an "otherwise noble idea".
"After 2002, they (government) forgot about their commitment. They only
start to act now when they have already missed the deadline. This level of
desperation might cause us serious problems, because in as much as this is a
good idea, we need to adjust," he said.
He said: "It has taken government over three years" to shift to unleaded
fuel and "to think that we will do so in two months is not practical".
Last week, government officials met stakeholders in Harare to discuss the
National Retail Fuel for the Motor Trade Association chairperson, Alban
Chirume, who attended the meeting, warned that lack of transparency could
lead to failure to beat the deadline.
"The fuel industry is not transparent. I cannot say the deadline will be met
because there is no transparency as a result of the fuel shortage," said
He said there was need to flush out current stocks of leaded fuel as the
country has begun supplying unleaded fuel.
"The leaded fuel that is there is bottomage that is fuel which cannot be
flushed out by a tank. We cannot however say we got no leaded fuel unless it
is flushed out," he said.
Commuter bus operators in Harare said they had always been using both leaded
and unleaded fuel "whichever is available on the market."
"Our main fear is that there would be a reduction in fuel supplies on the
main market, forcing us to get it in the black market, and this would
naturally force us to revise fares upwards," said Sam Mapfumo.
In 2002 at the World Summit on Sustainable development, Zimbabwe, alongside
48 other sub-Saharan African countries agreed to phase out leaded fuel by 1
One of the country's major fuel suppliers, South Africa, has already started
phasing out leaded fuel and plans to stop exports of the commodity until it
has achieved a full changeover.
Chirume said the move might not necessarily change the price, but said the
industry's prime concern is getting constant supplies.
"It was not given enough publicity. They should have been talking about it
the whole of last year to make people aware. Meeting the 31 March deadline
would be a tight schedule, no doubt about it. The rest of Southern Africa is
changing so we have little option otherwise we would be lagging behind,"
said one industrialist.
By Godfrey Mutimba
MASVINGO - THE Masvingo Zanu PF provincial leadership is in a quandary
following the formation of United People's Party (UPP) by former provincial
chairman, Daniel Shumba, amid suggestions he could have established a strong
base for his new party in the region, The Standard has learnt.
In a clear case of panic, the leadership led by Masvingo Central senator and
Zanu PF provincial commissar, Dzikamai Mavhaire, who rediscovered his
political clout recently, called a hurriedly convened Press conference at
the Flamboyant hotel.
Mavhaire, who was accompanied by Masvingo South legislator, Walter Mzembi,
told journalists that Shumba's party would not see the light of the day in
Mavhaire said: "We have always told people that Shumba joined Zanu PF with
the intention of destabilising it so as to pursue his own personal agendas
and by launching his party. The formation of his party is a clear indication
that he was never Zanu PF but joined it to enhance his businesses but he
"The party is not moved by such young people who lack direction and the
recent results in the senatorial elections were a clear indication that the
people have faith in the ruling party and that is why we won all the
Politicians in Masvingo are in a state of panic over Shumba's possible
influence on the political landscape of the province.
It is understood that the former provincial chairman has already prepared
the ground for his party and appears to enjoy strong backing from senior
party cadres from the Hungwe faction, which was booted out of power by the
current executive headed, by Chivi-Mwenezi Senator, Samuel Mumbengegwi.
Reports in Masvingo say disgruntled politicians who were linked to the
Tsholotsho bid for a Zanu PF coup d'etat are fully behind him.
As a result of the widespread panic in Zanu PF, the provincial executive has
embarked on a purge of all districts co-ordinating committees that were
installed during Shumba's tenure and has so far fired Masvingo DCC and Chivi
DCC led by Clemence Makwarimba and Saunders Magwizi, respectively.
The executive believes that Shumba still has strong links with the DCC and
would therefore enjoy strong backing from them.
"We will continue to investigate all those who campaigned for independents.
They have no place in Zanu PF. It is clear to everyone that Shumba sponsored
them and anyone who knows him saw his cars campaigning for independents and
therefore all those who associated with him should.
"I have read in the newspapers that some senior party officials were also
involved. We will investigate then and if we get evidence will definitely
deal with them and I also want to say their days are numbered,'' he said.
He declined to identify the Zanu PF bigwigs but recent Press reports
indicate that a number of MPs and cabinet ministers aligned to the Hungwe
faction could face
expulsion from Zanu PF.
Yesterday Shumba said: "Even in the Politburo, you can see they are
unsettled. They have been making several statements about UPP. We expect
them to use security agencies to suppress our activities but we remain
resolute in our quest to see democracy taking root in Zimbabwe".
By Gibbs Dube
BULAWAYO - Zimbabwe's socio-economic and political problems are rooted in
bad governance and the ruling party's refusal to draft a new constitution,
say civic society organisations making fresh moves to craft the country's
Delegates to an All-stakeholders Constitutional Conference held recently in
Bulawayo said President Robert Mugabe's policies rather than the drought and
Western-imposed sanctions which Zimbabwean officials often blame, had
crippled the once prosperous nation.
The more than 200 delegates to the Bulawayo conference, mostly
representatives of various non-governmental organisations and trade unions,
blasted Mugabe's administration for hanging onto the Lancaster House
Constitution in order to maintain their grip on power while the country was
experiencing a crisis.
The government tried to come up with a new constitution but a draft prepared
by mainly Zanu PF-appointed commissioners was overwhelmingly rejected by
Zimbabweans in a 1999 referendum that raised the political temperature in
Following the rejection, the government set aside plans to change the
constitution, drawn up in 1979 to ensure a smooth transfer of power from the
settler regime to the new black majority government.
It then focussed on regaining power, launching a crackdown on critics and a
violent and chaotic land reform programme that disrupted prime agricultural
activities by commercial farmers.
Last year, Zanu PF, seeking to consolidate its political control,
spearheaded the 17th amendment of the constitution, re-establishing the
Senate without consulting the people.
The chairman of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), Lovemore
Madhuku, told the delegates that "Zimbabwe's problems are caused by bad
governance which we have to fight to the bitter end".
Madhuku said: "Our problems will never be solved if we do not have a new
constitution. This (Lancaster House Constitution) is the constitution that
the ruling party is using to author our hardships. The high rate of
inflation, unemployment crisis, shortages of fuel and other serious issues
affecting this country are a result of bad governance.
"While some organisations will go all the way to change the government, we
believe that only a new constitution will lead us to get out of our
He said the ruling party was refusing to have an all-stakeholders
constitutional process because they feared losing their power.
Several other delegates echoed his sentiments saying that participation in
any election in Zimbabwe under the provisions of the current constitution
was a waste of time.
Gorden Moyo of Bulawayo Agenda said, amid applause from the delegates: ".
Time has come for Zimbabweans to stand up for their rights. We are
suffering . there is hunger, poverty, unemployment and other problems in a
nation which used to be the bread basket of Africa. This is a result of bad
"We have to stand up for a new constitution in order to address all our
national problems. Opposition political parties are not an alternative in
terms of putting an end to our problems because they will always betray our
trust in them. We need a new constitution today."
The delegates unanimously agreed to fight through peaceful protests to
ensure that Mugabe's administration addresses their demand for a new
A representative of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) said:
"Our country is in tatters because of a constitution that favours the status
quo. We have to come face to face with the Mugabe government even if it
means losing our lives to make sure that we will have a new constitution
this year. Women should stand up and be counted in this just cause."
Delegates were drawn from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, ZimRights,
NCA, Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, WOZA, Bulawayo Agenda and various
other non-governmental organisations.
By Caiphas Chimhete
THERE was tension at Hopley Camp in Harare on Friday as residents threatened
to demonstrate against senior security officials at the camp, accused of
ripping them off.
They charged that officials were buying maize meal from the Grain Marketing
Board (GMB) and reselling it at inflated prices.
The residents accused Zimbabwe National Army captain, Douglas Mhlanga, the
principal prison officer, James Manganya and a prison officer, Godfrey
Jonyera, of buying maize meal from GMB Aspindale depot on the pretext of
assisting residents at the camp.
They said after getting the maize, the security officers stocked up their
canteen. A 10 kg bag of maize meal costs about $50 000 at the GMB but the
security officials at the camp sell it for between $220 000 and $250 000.
The security officers also sell opaque beer (Scuds) at the canteen.
Most of the residents are poor since they lost their belongings during last
May's "Operation Murambatsvina", which rendered nearly one million families
"What sparked this problem is that these guys refused to offer a vehicle to
carry the body of Anna Machinguri from Chitungwiza to the camp for burial
and yet they are using a government vehicle for personal gain.
"They order maize meal and scuds everyday for resale here but they always
tell us that they do not have fuel," complained one resident.
Machinguri died at Chitungwiza Hospital on Monday but the residents failed
to collect her body for burial because there was no vehicle or money to hire
When The Standard news crew arrived at the camp, which accommodates about
300 families affected by "Operation Murambatsvina", sympathetic residents
were moving from tent to tent asking for donations to enable them to hire a
vehicle to transport the corpse.
In a bid to defuse the tense atmosphere a social worker at the camp, Ezekiel
Mpande was locked in a meeting with some of the residents.
"I can't talk to you about this. The person who can answer your questions is
the Provincial Social Welfare Officer," Mpande said.
The Provincial Social Welfare Officer, Albert Conjwayo, could not be reached
Manganya denied that they were buying maize meal from the GMB for resale at
exorbitant prices. He said they had since stopped buying maize meal direct
from GMB as that was now in the hands of Harare South MP, Hubert Nyanhongo.
On allegations of refusing to offer a vehicle for funeral purposes, Manganya
said: "The vehicle they are talking about belongs to the 'Garikai Project'
and there are channels that should be followed for its release. Apart from
that there was no fuel."
Captain Mhlanga denied the accusations against him saying there was only one
incident during which he assisted the Zanu PF camp chairman, a Mr Ndava,
with transport to collect maize meal from the GMB.
Mhlanga said: "As for funerals, we are not obliged to help anyone. We can,
however, assist if we have fuel. Our core business here is to help construct
houses for Garikai operation."
Jonyera could not be reached for comment yesterday.
By our staff
BULAWAYO - In a bid to avert possible imprisonment for contempt of court,
the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development,
Ignatious Chombo, and one of his officials have reportedly made arrangements
with lawyers representing 51 home seekers who recently applied for the
arrest of the two for failing to provide them houses in accordance with a
High Court directive.
The Standard established that Ministry officials last week begged for an out
of court settlement so that in turn they would identify houses for the 51
who contributed money under the Local Government Ministry's
"Pay-For-Your-House" scheme, mooted in the 1990s.
The home seekers, represented by Matshobana Ncube and Mkhululi Nyathi of
Mabhikwa, Hikwa and Nyathi legal practitioners, filed the contempt of court
application after High Court Judge Justice Nicholas Ndou had, in January
2005, instructed Minister Chombo and an official, a Mr Shadaya to allocate
standard houses to the applicants within 90 days.
The two were given 10 days, which lapsed last Tuesday, to respond to the
application after receiving the court papers, failure of which they were
supposed to be jailed for 30 days continuously until they provided the
houses to the applicants.
Nyathi confirmed that ministry officials last week communicated with them
for negotiations of an out of court settlement.
"There are indications that they want to offer something after that court
application. We are now waiting for that offer and in the absence of it, we
will act accordingly within the next two weeks," Nyathi said.
"We don't know what they might offer us. Our clients are waiting patiently
for a positive response."he said.
Chombo could not be reached for comment. He was said to be busy attending a
meeting with mayors drawn from various parts of the country.
The ministry was supposed to have allocated standard houses to the home
seekers last May following Ndou's High Court order. Persistent enquiries by
lawyers representing the applicants have been in vain.
The ministry, which indicated that it was facing financial problems,
instead, set aside 51 housing stands in Cowdray Park which the home seekers
turned down preferring standard houses similar to those they were supposed
to occupy in Nkulumane.
Their houses in Bulawayo's Nkulumane suburb were allegedly taken over by
some city residents who forcibly occupied them, leaving the 51 stranded.
By our staff
BULAWAYO - Lecturers at state universities and the government have reached a
deadlock over the proposed 600% salary adjustment demanded by academics last
year amid reports that they may be awarded pay increases in February.
Non-academic staff at these universities has not yet been awarded salary
increases although the government adjusted wages and salaries of most civil
servants this month by an average of 231%.
Lecturers earn between $11 and $13 million, in a country where inflation has
shot up to 586%.
The stand-off between lecturers and the government comes at a time when
teachers and other civil servants had negotiated for a salary raise of 836%
but were awarded a paltry 231%.
Teachers' representatives have since threatened to go on strike saying their
new salaries averaging $9 million fall far below the monthly expenditure of
$17 million for a family of six a month.
Lecturers' representatives confirmed that the government was tight-lipped
over the issue although they submitted their salary adjustment proposals a
couple of months ago.
They added that they were now waiting for their January pay slips before
charting the way forward.
Stanford Matenda, chairperson of the National University of Science and
Technology (NUST) Association for Academics, said the government had
promised to respond last week to the proposed salary adjustments.
"What is happening is that we sent our 600% proposals to the administration
council and they (Ministry) promised to respond to it this week. After the
last job action we undertook last year, they promised to look at the issue
but they have not. All lecturers are anxiously waiting for their January pay
slips," Matenda said.
NUST lecturers late last year went on a crippling strike soon after the
opening of the first semester, leaving thousands of students stranded.
The president of the University of Zimbabwe's Association of University
Teachers, Dr Dexter Savadye, said they submitted their proposals in October
last year but the government had not offered them a salary adjustment.
Savadye said: "We made our submissions (400 to 600% increases) in October
last year through our administration council but they have been quiet. I
think we may get at least a salary increase of 231% just like other civil
The representatives added they would only accept a salary increase of less
than 600% if the government was committed to reviewing their salaries
Lecturers at the Midlands State University have also not yet received salary
Lecturers' representative, Nhamo Mhiripiri, said: "We are waiting for the
end of this month before we start speaking to the Press as we might
jeopardise our negotiations."
Senior officials in the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education refused to
comment referring questions to Minister Stan Mudenge, who was not
immediately available for comment.
By Godfrey Mutimba
BARELY three months in office as a Senator after nearly a decade in the
political wilderness, Masvingo Zanu PF provincial commissar, Dzikamai
Mavhaire, has threatened to fire all civil servants who do not toe the
ruling party line.
Speaking at a Zanu PF meeting held at Mucheke Hall, Mavhaire said his party
will not hesitate to weed out civil servants working with the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
Mavhaire said that civil servants who are not prepared to dance to the whim
and dictates of the ruling Zanu PF party should go and find a government
they feel secure working under.
"Government workers who feel that they are not happy working with us are
free to leave and seek employment elsewhere. Those who feel it is now a
burden working under the present government should not trouble us.
"Government will not regret their resignation as it is committed to working
with people who support it through thick and thin," said Mavhaire, who a few
years ago was ostracised by the very party he is now rooting for after he
called on President Robert Mugabe to step down.
Blasting disgruntled civil servants earning salaries below the poverty datum
line, Mavhaire said they were opposition MDC agents and puppets bent on
discrediting and destroying the ruling party.
"Civil servants should kow-tow the ruling party's line, both politically and
economically and refrain from being agents and, or puppets of the opposition
MDC," he added.
He said that the Masvingo provincial executive would deal with all civil
servants who worked with opposition MDC and independent candidates during
last year's elections accordingly.
"It is abominable and demeaning to note that where Zanu PF faces political
resistance; it is because of civil servants in the locality.
"They encourage the electorate to vote against ruling party in favour of
opposition political parties.
"It is known that some civil servants are working tirelessly with the
troubled MDC in trying to smarten up its waning political fortunes and then
queue at their respective banks at month ends to collect salaries from the
government they are disserving," Mavhaire said.
By own staff
THE Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ) has condemned the recent attack on human
rights lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, by the Secretary for Information and
Publicity, George Charamba.
LSZ acting president, James Mutizwa, said his organisation was concerned by
attacks on lawyers. "Such an attack undermines the independence of the legal
profession, which is so critical to the independence of the judiciary."
Charamba rubbished Mtetwa in an article that appeared in a local weekly, for
standing up for journalists' rights and her temerity to challenge the
repressive Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA).
Mutizwa said since Charamba occupied a senior government position, his views
might be a mirror of government's attitude towards Mtetwa, a renowned
Mtetwa, a board member of Zimind Publishers (Pvt) Limited, has won several
awards including the International Freedom Award from the Committee to
The Society reminded Charamba and the government of the Principles and
Guidelines on the Right to a Fair Trial and Access to Justice in Africa
developed and adopted by the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Right,
to which Zimbabwe is a signatory.
The guidelines say that States shall ensure that lawyers are able to perform
their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or
improper interference, among other things.
By our staff
TWO suspended Air Zimbabwe top managers have been reinstated barely two
months after their suspension as the management crisis at the national
airline continues unabated.
Cephas Tarenyika, director of technical operations, was suspended late last
year together with the acting senior manager flight operations, Solomon
Musikavanhu, but had their suspensions lifted last weekend.
The two, according to sources at Air Zimbabwe, were suspended on the same
day in December last year for alleged "poor performance" after local flights
were delayed for more than 20 minutes.
"As engineers for the MA60s are very few, one of the planes was delayed
because there was no engineer to look at it before it could take off. That
led to Tarenyika being suspended. Musikavanhu was suspended after some
flight documents were misplaced leading to delays," said a source.
However, the two were ordered back to their positions last Saturday. "They
are the most experienced staffers left here and management was left with no
option but to reinstate them" said a source.
By Caiphas Chimhete
PRSISTENT water shortages crippling most of Zimbabwe's urban centres will
not end until local authorities upgrade colonial era water purification
plants that were designed for smaller populations, urban planners have said.
They said purification plants, water pumps and pipes that supply water to
residents were now too small and old for the burgeoning populations. Apart
from that most of the pipes constantly leak, leading to uncontrollable
losses of water.
Among the cities most affected by the water problem are Harare, Bulawayo,
Masvingo, Karoi, Mutare and Bindura.
The problems range from the supply of dirty water, rationing and water cuts,
which pose risk of diseases to residents especially in the wake of the
cholera outbreak that has already claimed 14 lives countrywide.
Realising that water problems will not end in their areas, residents in
Harare's suburbs of Waterfalls, Mabvuku and Tafara have dug wells in order
to deal with the crisis.
In Bindura, residents last week complained that water from their tapes had a
greenish colour and emitted an unpleasant odour. However, council officials
insisted the water in the mining town was safe, according to their
The President of the Zimbabwe Institute of Regional and Urban Planning
(ZIRUP), Dr Sasha Jogi, attributed the water problems in cities to lack of
investment in water infrastructure in most local authorities.
He said reticulation and distribution systems have not been upgraded to
cater for the increasing population since the time they were installed.
"The distribution networks were built more than 50 years ago and yet their
design life is only 25 years. This has led to leakages," said Jogi, who
called on councils to built more and larger dams.
"The networks were designed during the colonial era to cater for a few
people, now there is an influx of people into the urban areas, putting
pressure on amenities."
The vice-president of Urban Councils Association of Zimbabwe (UCSZ), Alois
Chaimiti, also attributed the problem to increasing population.
"The systems were designed for a small population but now people have
increased dramatically so they can no longer cope," said Chaimiti, who is
also Masvingo executive mayor.
He said water pipes in Masvingo town were too old and were now leaking while
the treatment works plant is now smaller for the increasing population.
A programme officer with the Municipal Development Partnership (MDP),
Takawira Mubvami, said water reticulation systems in most urban centres were
too small to cater for the expanding cities. All urban centres in Zimbabwe
were built before the country's independence in 1980.
"There is an urgent need to expand purification systems of most cities. They
are now too small for the expanding cities," said Mubvami.
However, most of the local authorities have no financial capacity to upgrade
the systems. Government departments owe most urban councils billions of
"Apart from that local authorities have been charging residents
unsustainable rates and in the end they fail to provide a service," Jogi
Mubvami said due to ageing water pipes, 20-25 percent of water is lost
during transmission from the water treatment plant to residents. Apart from
that, said Mubvami, most of the cities' water sources were heavily polluted,
making it difficult for local authorities to adequately purify the water.
Last year, the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) took Chitungwiza
Town Council to court for polluting Manyame River, which feeds water into
Lake Chivero, Harare's main water source.
Harare City Council has also been accused of discharging raw sewage into
streams that flow into Chivero. Private firms also discharge industrial
waste into the lake making purification of water more costly.
"In some cases, it is a question of mismanagement and failure to maintain
the infrastructure that causes water shortages and rationing," Mubvami said.
Bulawayo executive mayor, Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube, said the dams that supply
water to the city were too small for the increasing population. The five
dams that supply water to Bulawayo were built to cater for 400 000 people
but the city's population has increased to about 1.8 million people.
"These dams were built before I was born to take care of a few people now
the number has more than trebled," said Ndabeni-Ncube, who is in his
THE real saboteurs of Zimbabwe's economy are not the ordinary cross border
traders, desperately trying to make ends meet. The enemies of the people are
the big time politically connected fat cats.
This breed of social, economic and political barracudas is all over. Their
members are known. They are the first to moan and whinge about how the
government should offer them this and that facility so that they can
contribute more meaningfully to the economic turnaround. What they are
really interested in is their own individual enrichment, with State
assistance. It is time to name and shame them.
Last week, the government said it had uncovered corruption involving its
much extolled A2 farmers, who were receiving subsidised fuel from the
National Oil Company of Zimbabwe for the purposes of farming but were
disposing of the resource on the parallel market for a quick buck.
The government's response, sadly, has at best been mostly ambivalent. It is
aware of acts of sabotage committed by people it had trusted, but is
impotent where decisive and exemplary action is called for.
The State's response has virtually been to allow these saboteurs to go
scot-free, meekly offering blacklisting of the A2 farmers as the penal sum
for this great betrayal.
The farmers have been blacklisted and barred, with immediate effect, from
accessing fuel under the facility, while the government "launches an
investigation" into the activities of several other farmers. This will not
stop the corrupt practice. They will devise other methods to short-circuit
the system, if not in fuel from Noczim, in other government subsidies.
There have been numerous land audits that by now the government should be
aware of who is making use or underutilising the land they were allocated.
The dilemma for the government is that most politicians unsure about their
political careers are among those holding on to much of the idle land.
The response of the government to this corruption is nothing but the
greatest act in self compromise. Either that or the response is
demonstrative of the extent of the rot in this country. A2 farmers lined up
for former commercial farms, declaring that they had the capacity to produce
more than previous farm owners. They declared they had the resources to
undertake agricultural production.
But no sooner had they been allocated land, some of it with advanced
infrastructure, did they begin to lobby for State loans, subsidised inputs
and preferential treatment. The government bent over backwards in order to
accommodate them even though clearly the farmers had misrepresented
themselves - a clear case of fraud. In return they repaid the State with a
record low across-the-board agricultural production and the current food
deficit the country is suffering.
These government-supported A2 farmers used State assistance to parade their
new-found opulence, buying the latest off-road vehicles, ironically not for
travelling to the farms but for use in urban areas.
President Robert Mugabe has castigated them, describing them variously as
"weekend braai" or "cellphone" farmers. Yet after all this, the best that
the government can do is blacklisting them. Why is it so afraid of taking
drastic action against them? What is the level of government's complicity in
this sabotage, why does it baulk at taking drastic decisions ?
If there is a case, the government should act. Decisively. Otherwise
Zimbabweans will conclude that this is yet another case of grand
scapegoating and that no such cases of corruption exist.
There is an even easier approach to establishing who has betrayed the hopes
of an agricultural recovery and food self-sufficiency: An independent audit
of what the A2 farmers did with State loans. If the farmers cannot show how
the loans were used in boosting farm production, the fancy vehicles they
bought should be seized and confiscated.
The only people who should be allowed these new acquisitions are those whose
record of farm activities and bank balance over the past 24 months show the
In fact, any A2 farmer who has no large-scale agricultural operation should
be booted out of the land allocated them because they are parasitic,
speculators who do not deserve an iota of assistance, especially from the
If, for once Mugabe acted against those failing his government and those
perpetrating corruption by abusing his name and authority, the mess
suffocating this country would be halved. For as long as he does not act,
his own credibility as a leader is compromised. That is why his ministers
and ruling party politicians can afford to be so wayward in their conduct.
It's time to be resolute and act.
By our staff
A SEEMINGLY agitated Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono,
lashed out at government officials for issuing contradictory statements
causing erosion of confidence and undermining economic stabilisation
Presenting his fourth quarter monetary policy review statement for 2005 last
Tuesday, Gono took a swipe at government saying there were numerous
contradictions coming from politicians last year.
"In 2005, there were numerous contradictory statements by government
officials on matters relating to macro-economic policy and management.The
cumulative impact of these statements has further eroded confidence and
undermined stabilisation efforts," Gono said.
The RBZ said the statements related to the land reform programme, stopping
of farm invasions and other disruptions to farming, 99 year leases,
agricultural prices and provision of inputs, as well as repayments of loans
granted to farmers.
Gono also decried the country's continued isolation with the international
community, with respect to the provision of food aid and the controversial
"Operation Restore Order" and "Operation Garikai".
The RBZ boss seemed disturbed by high-ranking officials who were involved in
corrupt activities but were escaping prosecution.
"Some high profile politicians and senior government officials have been, on
numerous occasions, implicated in corruption and smuggling of precious
metals as well as basic commodities, felonies against which none of them
have been prosecuted," Gono said.
In another show of his waning patience, Gono said the recent wave of farm
invasions were acts of sabotage to the country's economy and its people.
"The recent wave of fresh farm invasions, which in some cases are known to
have been tacitly sponsored by high-ranking politicians are deplorable acts
of sabotage to the country's economy and its people," he said.
By Deborah-Fay Ndlovu
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe may have shot itself in the foot and reduced
chances of mending its ailing relations with the International Monetary Fund
after its admission of failed economic policies, analysts have said.
An IMF team arrived in the country last week to assess Zimbabwe's efforts to
improve co-operation with the Fund but analysts believe Dr Gideon Gono's
stark revelation of a crumbling economy at the presentation of the monetary
policy last Tuesday might scare off the monetary body.
Professor Anthony Hawkins said: "The international community has written
Zimbabwe off as a non-player. I cannot see anyone being seriously impressed
with that (monetary policy). I would be astonished if the IMF say they are."
Zimbabwe would be looking to convince the IMF that it wants to improve
co-operation with the monetary body, which in turn expects a commitment to
improving economic conditions in the country.
The presentation of the monetary policy, which some believe was deliberately
set to coincide with the IMF visit, was meant to change the monetary body's
mindset and improve relations.
Analysts, however, said that it would be a tall order for Zimbabwe given the
failure by the Central Bank authorities to pronounce a radical shift in
policy to lead to economic growth.
Zimbabwe has been struggling to reverse an economic crisis that has been
characterised by high unemployment levels of 70 % and a shortage of foreign
"My feeling was that there was nothing new. The Reserve Bank has run out of
policies, gimmicks and schemes. There was nothing new of significance there,
Hawkins said adding: "The new $50 000 note would be worse off that the $20
000 in no time. What we need instead is consistent economic framework not
politically motivated policies that would not achieve any targets."
Gono warned of food riots and a further decline in economic conditions but
called for an urgent redress of the situation.
"Naturally, with every opportunity, equally true is the fact that the
country is also standing on the edge of a cliff which threatens to
irreversibly take us downhill if we do not boldly move forward with speed to
address most of our shortcomings of the past," Gono said.
His monetary policy sought to arrest inflation, announce new export
incentives, guarantee protection for farmers and align the interbank rate to
volumes of foreign currency moved for the day
Analysts are however sceptical that the Governor will achieve much.
"The volume based interbank rate is a backdoor way of repegging the exchange
rate. Why they do not stand up and say we are repegging the exchange rate, I
do not know," Hawkins said.
A senior economist with Finhold, Best Doroh, said a volume based interbank
rate would fuel the parallel market.
"It is not a huge incentive for exporters and might promote parallel
market," Doroh said.
Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce president, Luxon Zembe, said capping
of the exchange rate was a form of price control and was not ideal.
"Our position as industry is that there should be no price controls. When we
talk about price controls we are talking even about the price of foreign
"We do not want anything that would in itself be a price control. The way
the rate has been going up the past month has been subject to questions. It
has been going up by 1 % irrespective of supply and demand and that creates
problems and says there is manipulation somewhere," Zembe said.
He said industry was worried about a projection of an 800 % increase in
"The key issue is what we are going to do to reduce inflation. It is a
disturbing factor. We are more worried than the IMF because we live here.
The question is what we are going to do to control money supply growth and
get balance of payment," he said.
The Central Bank Governor said on Tuesday that inflation would peak at 800%
before coming down to 230% but even then analysts believe that would be a
tall order without political backing.
"Coming down it will, but to 230% is a tall order. We could be talking of
between 300 to 400 % depending on what we do. Key to this is government
policy and political will. If we look at what the RBZ and Ministry of
Finance have said there is hope, but government needs to ensure that line
ministries realign themselves because it seems they have administration
"We need to see more political will and bold announcements by the President
so that all line ministries can align themselves," Zembe said.
Sundayopinion By Pedzisayi Ruhanya
RECENT events in the main opposition, the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) over leadership differences in relation to the Senate elections need
reflections in order not to allow the Harare regime to get away with its
numerous misdemeanours and nefarious activities in the administration of
national affairs since 1980.
It is my opinion that after the dust has settled down, the MDC leadership
across the board should seriously reflect on whether their petty differences
over the Senate election were in the national interests and let alone in the
I submit that the differences were not in the national interest because it
is taking the country back and allowing Robert Mugabe to create his grand
goal of a one party-State in the country which the MDC has for the past six
years successfully fought against. It is therefore crucial for the MDC
leadership to examine their differences and see whether it would not be
better for them to admit that they are losing track by playing into the
hands of the dictator.
While recent eventswould seem to suggest that the two opposing factions are
irreconcilable there are a plethora of common denominators that should unite
them. Only as a united force can they mount a formidable challenge to
Firstly, the greatest of all evils that this country is faced with, the
repressive institution called Zanu PF and its repressive State apparatus is
still intact and still abusing human rights in the country. Secondly, the
leader of this institution, Mugabe, is still defiant and continues to
legislate repression in the country through laws such as AIPPA, POSA and
Constitutional Amendment Number 17 and last but not least the economic
meltdown continues unabated. These issues, above any other considerations,
should unite the opposition.
The MDC would be wrong to concentrate on their in-house problems at the
expense of the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe. For instance, while the
MDC is busy fighting against each other, Mugabe is busy violating
fundamental national and international human rights norms as they relate to
freedoms of movement, association and expression.
The recent confiscation of Paul Themba-Nyathi's passport should send clear
messages to the MDC leaders that despite their differences Mugabe and his
cohorts continue to treat them as "enemies of the State" who should not be
allowed to leave Zimbabwe and exercise their freedoms.
Today, it's Themba-Nyathi, tomorrow it's Morgan Tsvangirai the MDC president
and the next target might be Professor Welshman Ncube or Gibson Sibanda. It
is my submission that this incident should unite the MDC leadership and
realise that Zanu PF wants to deal with them as a political group.
The Themba-Nyathi incident should also make it clear to those in the
opposition party who believe that Zanu PF was supporting the other faction.
I do not share this opinion particularly the belief that Ncube connived with
the State in the treason trial of Tsvangirai. It is shallow as it is bereft
of Zanu PF's history of treason trials of genuine opposition leaders in the
country since 1980.
It should be remembered that Mugabe through the Central Intelligence
Organisation (CIO) charged all legitimate opposition leaders with treason
starting with the late Joshua Nkomo, Dumiso Dabengwa and the late Ndabaningi
Sithole. These were genuine nationalists with legitimate complaints against
Mugabe's repression. The same applies to Tsvangirai and the MDC. That
Tsvangirai and his colleagues pose the greatest challenge to Mugabe's
political hegemony cannot be contested. That the MDC under Tsvangirai in my
opinion won the 2000 and 2002 disputed parliamentary and presidential
elections respectively is a popular view among many Zimbabweans cannot be
It is against that background that Tsvangirai was charged with treason not
the allegations against Ncube. Any views to the contrary would be to play
into the hands of Mugabe and continue to unnecessarily heal the differences
in the opposition. Such views are not in the interest of political
reconciliation in the MDC because they exonerate Mugabe and the CIO's roles
in destabilising the opposition. This would amount to celebrating Mugabe's
treachery and at the same time allowing him to run away with the gospel.
Mugabe, not Tsvangirai, Ncube, Sibanda and Isaac Matongo destroyed Zimbabwe
and the MDC should realise that and swallow whatever differences the
leadership has and confront the dictatorship. The MDC should also examine
why the government did not prosecute Sibanda when he allegedly called for
separate State in Matabeleland. The regime did not because Sibanda never
made those remarks.
If he had done that and the State had evidence, surely Sibanada could have
been charged with treason for calling for secession which is not even
allowed under international law. This was CIO work meant to destabilise the
opposition. It could not be taken to court because like in the Tsvangirai
treason trial where an international conman, Ari Ben-Menashe was used as a
star State witness, even an infiltrated judiciary would find it difficult to
Moving around the country denouncing Tsvangirai or Ncube will not assist the
democratic struggle that the country is facing but moving across Zimbabwe
denouncing the confiscation of citizens' passports, food shortages and the
huge democratic deficit in our country will make Zimbabweans come together
and call for transparent electoral and legitimate governance in the country.
According to the political spiral model of politics as described by some
scholars, Zimbabwe under Mugabe is experiencing the denial stage where the
repressive administration is denying that it is violating human rights in
the country despite both domestic and international pressure and outcries on
the situation in the country.
What then needs to be done according to this model of politics in the
Zimbabwean crisis is to increase both domestic and international pressure on
Mugabe and his administration to the extent that he is forced into making
tactical concessions by making genuine democratic reforms in the
legislature, executive and judiciary.
This should be done through the call for constitutional reforms that will
entail the birth of democratic institutions capable of producing legitimate
electoral outcomes. This is why the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA)
route is the way forward. Zimbabwe almost reached this phase in 2000 after
the Constitutional Referendum but the opposition then become more reformists
and in the process lost the momentum by dinning in the structures of the
Having realised that he had made some concessions and the opposition was
gaining more ground by winning almost all urban municipal elections, Mugabe
charged and changed his gears and started to be more repressive. He is now
firing elected mayors and tightening his grip on his illegitimate powers.
The country is now back in the denial stage.
What needs to be done now is for the MDC to unite and join the civic
colleagues and put more pressure against the regime. It is my submission
that such pressure would bear results because the international community is
now more aware about the crisis of legitimacy and governance affecting
Mugabe. This has been seen through the confiscation of citizens' passports,
the recent UN missions to assess urban demolitions and the continued
onslaught against the independent media. This time around, the government
should not be allowed to make piece meal reforms but far-reaching democratic
reforms leading to free and fair elections.
Mugabe should not be allowed to dictate the nature of changes in Zimbabwe's
body polity but should be forced to do so. This, according to the spiral
model leads to rule consistent behaviour where the regime abides by national
and international democratic norms of State behaviour. Such a situation can
only arise when the opposition and pro-democracy forces unite to confront
the regime, the kind of united front that preceded the February 2000
Constitutional Referendum. Getting headline stories in the regime's
propaganda mouthpieces such as The Sunday Mail and The Herald through the
papers' discredited reporters will not assist the opposition and the
democratisation of Zimbabwean politics.
Taking each other to the regime's highly compromised judiciary would not
assist the situation. Even during the Zapu/Zanu split, none of the two
opposition groups approached Rhodesian courts to resolve their differences.
Just like Nkomo and Sithole did not allow Smith to be the arbiter in their
internal problems, the MDC leadership should as well not allow Mugabe to
determine the destiny of opposition politics by visiting his courts.
Mass action the only answer for Zimbabwe
JUSTICE Rita Makarau said that violence was not enough to nullify State
Security Minister Didymus Mutasa's victory in Makoni North constituency in
the March parliamentary elections.
Justice Makarau was, however, "satisfied in her judgment that throughout the
constituency, villagers were threatened with the withholding of food and
agricultural inputs if they were inclined to the opposition party",
according to media reports.
She said she had heard the testimony of one witness from the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) who saw "one MDC member
exchanging his MDC T-shirt for a bag of maize at a rally". But, Makarau
said, the culprits were local ruling party officials, and not Mutasa
There have been many arguments in Zimbabwe about participation or not in
elections, and this actually became the cause of the split in the MDC.
However, the above text seeks to help us understand the fallacy of achieving
democracy through the ballot box in Zimbabwe.
In its wisdom or lack of it the judiciary in Zimbabwe has found it proper
that violence, intimidation and denial of food constitute a free and fair
election. The judiciary further argues that violence has to be widespread to
warrant annulling an election result.
At best this only portyrays adulteration of justice by the pillars that are
supposed to protect it. What makes it very worrying is that a carbon copy
judgement was delivered by the Bulawayo High Court on Insiza. Thus
realistically speaking so long as it is not Mutasa, Andrew Langa or their
official agents their party members and supporters can beat people, deny
people food, rape and all other forms of violence and elections would be
free and fair.
The learned judges could then not further elaborate the psychological effect
to the public how much a "single" or "isolated" incident of violence would
have on a community.
These are some of the questions that the judges did not seek to address in
their blind affirmation of a fraudulent process. It therefore becomes clear
that when the enclaves of safety have been corrupted, and with the African
leaders giving a blind eye to the atrocities in Zimbawe elections cannot
deliver in Zimbabwe.
Elections have proved futile in Zimbabwe in terms of delivering democracy.
Lest people forget, Tekere's Zimbabwe Unity Movement tried to usher change
through the ballot and just like the MDC was branded a Rhodesian and
neo-colonial outfit. ZUM under very hostile circumstances managed to get
about 17% of the poll, but because of the winner takes all system it had
only two seats.
President Robert Mugabe's regime had openly campaigned with messages on
national television and radio, telling people to vote Zanu PF if they do not
want war. Just as they have done with the MDC that it is either they vote
Zanu PF or vote MDC and they go to war. There was an attempt on Patrick
Kombayi's life, the ZUM candidate for Gweru, and many people were beaten and
Such a history is a great indictment to those who think they can remove Zanu
PF through the ballot paper, even ZAPU had to agree to be submerged after an
orgy of terror and violence in Matabeleland. Even a small party like ZANU
(Ndonga) with the influence of only two seats had its leader and activists
undergoing a tough time. While some people have argued that elections are
the only way and mass action has failed, I believe such people suffer from
The strikes of the 1990s combining doctors, nurses, teachers and other civil
servants proved that a dictatorship can be forced by the sheer power of
numbers to give in to people's demands.
Thus mass action has been quite useful in achieving ends in Zimbabwe's
political history though at varying degrees on what was at stake. The major
question that is over the final push and the MDC's incessant shouts for mass
action. Franz Fanon makes it clear that you can not have a bourgieoisie
leading a revolution, and to him that is why the peasant and lumpen
proletariat became the centre of his struggles.
There is no way where the MDC can successfully mobilise for mass action from
the comfort of the 4x4s and hefty parliamentary allowances and other
niceties that form the package. This has been the major failure of the MDC
that you have a leadership that calls for mass action but at the same time
are not prepared to make sacrifices.
It is my argument that mass action is still possible in Zimbabwe and it is
the only way out of the current mess which we find ourselves. However it
should be clear that whatever mass action that is intended should focus on a
new constitutional dispensation.
This is a case of ministries without portfolio
A LOT is talked about when one is disposing of those brown bottles known to
rmove inhibitions and expose the ignorant in our midst. The other day while
partaking of the inebriating stuff and sitting in front of the television,
there appeared long forgotten Chen Chimutengwende.
It was a news clip, Lord knows what about, and then my voice was heard for
the first time: "Do you know that guy is a minister?" I stated in passing.
Little did I know that this would open a can of worms. The much dreaded CIO
would have done a less rigorous job. "Minister of what?" the stupefied
Just to rub it in I pressed: "Do you know (Emmerson) Mnangagwa is also a
minister?" And that was when all hell broke loose.
"What do you take us for, huh?" And I could have sworn this was a lynch mob.
Interestingly, one of the most fervent "disputers" was a young university
student. A few years ago, varsity students stood as the vanguard of
political activism fighting for some "rights", yet I found myself with a
chap who had no clue about who is in charge of his very existence.
This anecdote is not about ignoramuses but rather about the state we find
ourselves in. If a whole pub can fail to recognise or does not know
government ministers what does it mean about their relevance or lack
thereof? What does it say about government itself and the role its officials
play in the day to day lives of its citizens?
Of course, one would not be expected to know the whole list of ministers -
and it is indeed a long one - but it is the portfolios of these men that
should be brought to question. What is their relevance and what would it
mean to the citizenry, for instance, if these portfolios was scrapped. Would
the people's lives be miserable or would they be better off?
These mediocre ministries not known to exist by the very people they are
ostensibly tasked with serving are eating into the empty fiscus purse and it
just has to be asked why they were created in the first place. But African
politics of patronage have placed the socio-economic interests of the people
at the lowest rung of priorities and rewarded party loyalties instead.
Another dimension that I also find interesting is when someone who is
supposed to keep track of the country's political affairs only hears of such
developments for the first time in the pub. All it boils down to is that the
work being done by those men or their ministries is not known. They exist as
some arcane society: you don't know it exists but it exists because of you!
Now, why would whole ministries be unknown by a whole pub? - because they
are useless - that's why.
But without referring to the absurdities behind the creation of those
ministries, their whole purpose does not reside in them being known by name
and their respective figure heads, but the very manner in which they touch
the lives of the ordinary. Chimutengwende is minister of Interactive
Affairs, but what does it mean to the man, woman and child in the dusty
streets of Makokoba, Mbare or Dangamvura? Mnangagwa is minister of Rural
Amenities, but what does that mean exactly?
Ministries derive their funding from taxpayers, but Zimbabwe has over the
years sought to normalise the ignorance of taxpayers about where their
earnings go. Each time there is an imminent cabinet reshuffle, the most
lingering anticipation has been the abolition of some ministries. And the
argument has always been that a country as small as Zimbabwe can ill-afford
a whole bus load of ministries. But what does the ruling party do? It
creates more portfolios and christens the cabinet: War Cabinet, Development
Cabinet or whatever, as if by these designations the country will
miraculously make a quantum leap and become another economic tiger after the
Celtic and the Asian tigers.
When corruption becomes an unconditioned reflex
THANK you once again. I have finished browsing this week's issue. What a
nice read! But something caught my attention - corruption! Well, it is the
buzz word but there is a question that, to undervalue it, 90% of Zimbabweans
are unprepared to answer. To put it simply, is our government the corruption
or corruption is a practice or a habit. It is like Law, Medicine or any
Here is how it works: first you study the weakness of the system, the faults
and flaws of the administration and how to benefit from them. Clearly, there
is some study, some analysis, diagnosis and unwritten rules - get caught and
you are it! In brief that is corruption practice principles.
Who is corrupt, one might ask? I am quick to point out that our government
in general does not indulge in systematic studies or analytical approach of
the system, except elections, general public administration and, of course,
constitutional reform etc.
So that is minus one corrupt element, so who spends time doing the practice?
The answer lies in the mirror.
Word of advice: Go to the nearest mirror and look into it. Please look
harder and increase the intensity. Now stop, and say I am corrupt and
corruption is my practice.
A thousand changes in government and governance will not get rid of
corruption, only when a people make a conscientious effort to change their
ways - Napoleon Hill (Think and Grow Rich).
Owen T Mandisodza
Police abusing people's rights
I have just come across a loud, overweight, policewoman bellowing through a
loud hailer in First Street - urging people who are seated in various places
along the mall to move on as their postures look suspicious.
"Muna First Street hamugarwi (you are not allowed to sit in the Mall)". This
is despite the fact some are sitting on park benches. And anyway isn't it
the job of the municipal police? This is sheer police harassment.
People have been sitting around First Street Mall for as long as I can
remember, whether they were just resting during their shopping, suckling
babies waiting for relatives, taking a break from the long ATM queues, or
simply having lunch.
Just when you thought it was safe to come out of your cocoon of fear of the
police, suddenly, it looks like sitting down is now a criminal offence,
the all-powerful ZRP.
The fat officer had earlier on been warning people to look out for thieves.
Is there a new operation that people are not aware of? - Not that people are
ever told in advance of any police operation!
If there's anyone who needs to be "conscientised", it is the ZRP officers,
who seem to think wearing a police uniform gives them the right to ride
roughshod over the rights of other people.
The ZRP should stop being synonymous with brutality. We should not feel
threatened by the police for no reason at all. Stop police brutality!
Culling humans next?
EVERSINCE the discovery of the bird flu, the response has been to cull every
duck, hen, chicken and turkey in sight.
When the mad cow disease struck, the response was to cull livestock.
I shudder to think what would happen if we had conditions similar to the
bird flu/mad cow in humans. Would our response be to cull humans?
In this age of enlightenment and rights consciousness, I am appalled at the
global response to medical/scientific crises such as bird flu and mad cow.
At war with the people
WHENEVER legislators endeavour to take away, and destroy the property of the
people, or to reduce them to slavery under arbitrary power, they put
themselves in a state of war with the people, who are thereupon absolved
from any further obedience, and are left to common refuge, which God has
provided for all men, against force and violence.
Whenever, therefore, the legislative shall transgress this fundamental rule
of society; and either by ambition, fear, folly or corruption, endeavour to
grasp themselves, or put into the hands of any other an absolute power over
the lives, the liberties and estates of the people.
By this breach of trust they forfeit the power the people had put in their
hands... The people generally ill-treated and contrary to right will be
ready upon any occasion to ease themselves of a burden which sits heavy upon
Tsvangirai must prove his assassination claim
MORGAN Tsvangirai recently alleged that the pro-Senate group had joined
hands with the ruling party in order to kill him. We, the Zimbabwe
Liberators Peace Initiative (ZLPI) call on him to furnish evidence to prove
If he fails to produce such evidence, then his outburst will be treated with
the contempt it deserves. In fact, as the majority group is concerned, the
outburst from their former leader is nothing but a heap of rubbish.
The alleged assassins are very much aware that their former leader is just
tongue-lashing. The remarks, coming from someone who once claimed to stand
for democracy, unity, peace and justice are indeed disturbing. It appears
everyday he sounds more and more like a Zanu PF spokesperson, blaming
everything on the opposition, and using the same tactics as the ruling party
to force his point of view on the majority.
Tsvangirai has proved that he is not capable of leading a vibrant opposition
party such as the MDC. That is why he ended up destroying it. In fact, he
proved to be a good pressure group leader, but failed to measure up as the
leader of a strong political party that has the ambition of forming a new
government. He has shown that he lacks the leadership qualities necessary to
take him to State House.
Of the two groups, the one that can join hands with the ruling party is
surely the anti-Senate group. Did they not jointly celebrate the poor
showing of the pro-Senate group during the Senate polls? Democracy should
have been the guiding rule.
The party that stood for peace and justice was torn apart by those who used
violence, threats, trickery and regionalism to achieve their political
We ask the former leader: What has this achieved for the opposition, or
indeed for the people of Zimbabwe? Apart from shattering the unity of the
opposition, it has brought despair to a people who had hope and belief that
the MDC would lead the country to democracy. That is not to say that all is
lost for the opposition - no. But it has put the timetable for democracy
back many months, at a critical time in this nation's history.
The country is on the verge of collapse as a result of Zanu PF misrule - the
government is physically and morally bankrupt. Social services are in a
state of collapse, our farms are in tatters and our people are starving,
while inflation destroys the livelihoods of all. This is not the time for
Tsvangirai to play Zanu PF politics and build himself his own little empire.
The welfare of the people of Zimbabwe is the most important issue,
especially at this critical time. We urge him to stop trying to divide the
Our most important need at this time is unity - unity of purpose against
Zanu PF misrule. We will guard and defend what we have captured from Zanu PF
and we will never surrender it. We call on him to stop playing games and
re-unite the opposition to face the real enemy.
Last year was a very bad year for all Zimbabweans. Not only has the ruling
party dealt deadly blows to most sectors of the economy, it was also the
year of "Murambatsvina" - Zanu PF's war against the poorest of Zimbabwe's
citizens. The victims of this crime against humanity are still suffering in
makeshift homes, some in the open during this rainy season while Zanu PF fat
cats live and sleep in their multi-billion dollar homes.
In 2006 let us unite once again against the real enemy - the one who has
stolen our country - and claim our rights and freedom back!
The issue of the Senate or Upper House has caused a lot of debate. It is
true that under the present dictatorship the Senate will find it difficult
to achieve its theoretically intended goals. However, it will play a major
role in neutralising and exposing the executive and dictatorial powers that
are currently vested in one person - the President.
It is every Zimbabwean's dream that one day the country will move from
dictatorship to democracy, where the true functions of the Senate will
contribute towards the rebuilding and well-being of the whole nation.
Zimbabwe Liberators Peace Initiative
Trudy Stevenson is our heroine
I RECALL vividly one rainy afternoon in January 2000 when I saw a white
woman singing and chanting slogans in the rain at Hatcliffe's main shopping
centre. It was an interesting sight as I had always been taught that white
people represented everything that was evil to blacks.
But there she was singing and enjoying every bit with a host of black
supporters in a high-density suburb. This was Getrude Stevenson, who many in
Hatcliffe call the "Iron Lady" or "Shumba yaChikwinya".
Stevenson has been through thick and thin together with the residents of
Harare North, particularly those in Hatcliffe and Hatcliffe holding camp
(which is now defunct). Since June 2000 when she was elected MP for Harare
North she has been a common sight in Hatcliffe, trying to help uphold the
interests of the community.
Stevenson was responsible for the construction and funding of a school and
clinic in Hatcliffe Extension. It is very unfortunate both the school and
clinic fell victim to President Robert Mugabe's demolition mobs, who
declared these institutions "illegal structures". Zambuko School benefited a
lot from Stevenson's fund-raising efforts. She also sourced donor funding
for the clinic and one was likely to find better medication at this small
clinic than at Parirenyatwa Hospital.
During the madness dubbed "Operation Murambatsvina" Stevenson could always
be seen up and about trying, to find a solution on how to save Hatcliffe
Extension residents from the jaws of Mugabe's war against the poor.
Now a challenged former city councillor is circulating a petition asking
grassroots leaders of the MDC to sign it, so they can pass a vote of "no
confidence" in Stevenson. This is sheer madness. You can not please a
beleaguered, confused and inconsistent master by trying to deprive Harare
North of their legitimate MP.
Long-live Stevenson! Long Live democracy!
Ready for MDC's plan B
THE senate elections came and went and President Robert Mugabe is still
ruling although the MDC is there in both the lower and upper houses. I would
like to comment on E Ndlovu's letter of 24 December 2005 entitled "Why
Morgan Tsvangirai must go", which you gave space, although the writer
appeared unsure of what he or she was saying. The MDC should not dance to
the Zanu PF's tune by participating in elections which do not benefit the
Ndlovu must be reminded of the March 2005 parliamentary elections when the
MDC said they were participating under protest because the whole system
wasn't conducive to a free and fair election. I do not know the post he
holds in the MDC but I do want to warn him against misleading people.
MDC MPs were against the idea of a Senate citing financial constraints on
the part of the government since there was a drought in the country; no
medicines in hospitals and no foreign currency, while civil servants were
ill-paid among other things.
Less than three months in office the Senators are already demanding salaries
higher than those of MPs and expensive cars. Given this scenario does Ndlovu
expect the fuel problems to end; and does he expect to go to his local
clinic and get full medication?
Ndlovu says Tsvangirai should have "Plan B" after boycotting the election.
Yes, "Plan B" is there, he told us - demonstrations for a new constitution.
MDC will never die and to Tsvangirai. I say you are the best, and we are
behind you through thick and thin. We are ready for "Plan B".
Vegas L S Majies