08/01/2008 16:51 - (SA)
Harare - Hundreds more families have lost homes, animals and property in
floods in Zimbabwe that have claimed 32 lives as heavy rains pound the
country, reports said on Tuesday.
At least 242 families from villages in Middle Sabi district in southern
Masvingo province, one of the worst-affected areas, were being sheltered at
school buildings on higher ground, the state Herald newspaper reported.
In the same province, a villager in Chivi district was swept away by
floodwaters, the paper said, bringing to 32 the number of victims in the
flooding since December.
Many of the rivers that rise in Zimbabwe flow into neighbouring Mozambique,
whose government has declared a red alert over flooding in several parts of
On Monday the UN announced it was scaling up aid efforts to help around 56
000 people affected by the floods in central Mozambique, which claimed two
lives in central Sofala province according to local officials.
In Zimbabwe heavy rains have been falling since early December. At least 600
families in the Zambezi River valley in Mashonaland Central province lost
their homes and livestock.
Weather experts say that last December was the wettest in more than a
By Tererai Karimakwenda
08 January, 2008
Zimbabweans can expect to spend more time in the dark after the Mozambique
power utility company, Hidroelectrica de Cahora Bassa, suspended supplies to
Zimbabwe over an outstanding debt of US$26 million. This development was
confirmed in a report in the state run Herald newspaper. Zimbabwe’s power
imports have been falling for various reasons. South Africa’s Eskom has
stopped supplies claiming "some operational hitches" at its power-generating
plants. The Democratic Republic of Congo has also stopped power supplies to
Zimbabwe because of ‘problems with it’s transmission network.’ Analysts say
the real reason these countries have cut Zimbabwe off is because of unpaid
Currently, Zimbabwe's electricity is provided by Hwange Thermal Power
Station and Kariba South. But their supplies fall far short of the daily
Additionally the Herald revealed there had been a major breakdown at Hwange
and a minor fault at Kariba over the weekend. Zesa Holdings chief executive
Engineer Benjamin Rafemoyo is quoted as saying power disruptions and
blackouts were being experienced in parts of the country due to the
breakdown. This was a major understatement since there are massive power
outages everywhere. Mismanagement and corruption by successive ZESA boards
have also contributed to the crisis.
Critics say the government has no plan and their priorities are completely
misplaced. The life of ordinary Zimbabweans seems to be last on their list.
Recent reports show that the ruling party plans to spend $Z20 trillion on
Nissan 4x4 vehicles to be used by ZANU-PF during the elections. This is
close to US$5 million, on vehicles, when people are going for days and weeks
without electricity. That amount is enough for a monthly installment to a
Reverend Nick Mkaronda, an activist formerly with the Crisis in Zimbabwe
Coalition, believes Zimbabwe is moving towards anarchy. He said the
government is printing money without creating any wealth and all programmes
that produce wealth have been stalled by government intervention. The
Reverend explained that all expenditure for the last 7 years has been on
ZANU-PF and not on the national agenda.
Explaining the lack of consideration for the ordinary citizen, Mkaronda said
the government lost a sense of priority long ago. He believes what is
motivating members of the Mugabe regime right now is a desire to die in
their positions so that they are not held accountable.
The areas hit worst by the blackouts this weekend included parts of Harare,
Kadoma, Chipinge, Chegutu, Chiredzi and Marondera. The state media said
telephones were so badly affected that most landlines were down. Reverend
Mkaronda said it will take a long time to redevelop the country’s
infrastructure, since it took 27 years to destroy it.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
Tue 8 Jan 2008, 10:56 GMT
By Nelson Banya
HARARE, Jan 8 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe faces more food shortages due to poor
planning, lack of fertilizer and fuel as well as floods, farm organisations
said on Tuesday.
Zimbabwe, formerly a net grain exporter to southern Africa, has battled
serious food shortages since 2001 when President Robert Mugabe's government
seized farms from whites to resettle landless blacks.
"With these rains, a lot of fertilisers and nutrients have been leached from
the soil and the crops are yellowing," Philip Tavuyanago, director of the
Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union (ZCFU) told Reuters.
"Farmers need top dressing fertiliser, which is in serious short supply.
Fuel is another snag."
President Mugabe's government -- which last year said it had invested
heavily in grain production to end food shortages and halt costly imports --
had projected a 3 million tonnes maize crop in the 2007/8 season.
The forecast was based on about 2 million hectares being put under the
However a recent report prepared by the government's agricultural technical
and extension service (Agritex), revealed that just over 1.3 million
hectares had been tilled and only 719,000 hectares of land had been put
Agritex said the shortage of inputs, such as fuel, seed, fertiliser and
chemicals had resulted in lower planting.
Incessant rains, which have been pounding the country since December, had
also delayed planting and caused flooding in some parts of the country.
Tavuyanago said while there had been a marked improvement in land
preparation, prospects for higher production had been dimmed by the shortage
"In the absence of inputs, we might just have prepared big hectarages
without yielding much," Tavuyanago said.
United Nations aid agencies Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the
World Food Programme (WFP) have said 4 million Zimbabweans -- about a third
of the population -- will require food aid by the first quarter of 2008.
State media reported on Tuesday that Zimbabwe would need to import at least
1 million tonnes of maize after deliveries of the 2007 crop to the state
grain procurer, the Grain Marketing Board, amounted to only 700,000 tonnes.
The country requires about 1.8 million tonnes of maize for annual
Zimbabwe is also grappling with a severe economic crisis, blamed on Mugabe's
policies. Inflation has rocketed to nearly 8,000 percent, the highest in the
Mugabe, 83 and in power since independence from Britain in 1980, denies
mismanaging the economy and says it has been undermined by western countries
opposed to his land reforms. (Reporting by Nelson Banya, Editing by Peter
Tuesday, 08 January 2008 12:40
By Bayethe Zitha
BULAWAYO - The Zimbabwean government has still not released civil servants'
December payslips, in an apparent bid to stop a mass exodus of disgruntled
professionals within its workforce, who might seek to find better
opportunities in neighbouring countries.
Most civil servants, especially teachers, nurses and members of the security
forces, are not happy with their poor working conditions, especially the low
salaries that they earn, against the country's hyper-inflationary
Against that background, most civil servants have found it better to cross
over to the neighbouring countries like Botswana and South Africa, where
most of them have found better paying jobs.
Unlike other Zimbabwean citizens, who require visas to travel to South
Africa, civil servants are able to cross into the neighbouring country using
their work identity cards and payslips, and most of them have deserted their
jobs in that manner, having travelled to that country as visitors, but
disappeared into the glamour of that country.
Sources within the civil service told The Zimbabwean this week that all the
government workers have still not received their December payslips, which
they were supposed to get between the 15th and 23rd of that month.
"We got our salaries but we still have not received our payslips. No one has
even bothered to explain to us what is really happening," complained a
However, some employees at the Salary Service Beureau (SSB), which prints
the civil servants' payslips, revealed that the payslips were being
with-held to try and curb a mass exodus of government workers, especially
teachers, into South Africa.
"The government got wind that most teachers were intending to travel to
South Africa during the December holidays, where they had been promised
employment by some agents that are recruiting professionals here. To prevent
that from happening, we were told to hold on to the payslips,' said a worker
who requested not to be named.
However, the Bulawayo spokesman for the Progressive Teachers Union of
Zimbabwe (PTUZ), Enoch Paradzayi, said that the government's action did
little to prevent the exodus of tecahers, as most managed to cross the
"We know what the government did but most of the teachers have already
crossed and there will be disaster when schools open. Already most of the
schools have been advertising staff vaccancies, with some having already
lost more than 12 teachers for a single school," he said.
No comment could be obtained from the government.
BULAWAYO, 8 January 2008 (IRIN) - Hundreds of Zimbabwean families displaced
by the government's Operation Murambatsvina (Drive out Filth) in 2005 are
still awaiting alternative accommodation.
They were told at the time to return to their rural villages, but many,
including the descendants of immigrants, had nowhere to go and were forced
into government-sanctioned resettlement camps on the outskirts of urban
centres with no source of employment and still languish there.
The campaign, carried out in the winter of 2005, was aimed at clearing slums
and flushing out criminals, but left more than 700,000 people not only
homeless but often also without a livelihood.
"We were assured this was a transit camp," said Obert Pedzai, who was forced
to relocate to Sidojiwe Flats, built in the 1960s for single male workers in
the industrial area of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second city. "Government
officials explained our stay would be temporary while proper houses are
built for us."
Pedzai's lodging in the poor working-class suburb of Nketa was razed during
the government-sponsored demolition exercise. He sent his family home to
rural Nyajena, about 450 kilometres away in Masvingo Province, in
southeastern Zimbabwe, hoping to bring them back when conditions improved.
"It is now almost four years and little has changed."
The family he shared his room with in Sidojiwe Flats for three and a half
years were fortunate to have been included among the 12 beneficiaries of a
municipal housing scheme and they left two months ago.
From afar, Sidojiwe Flats appear habitable, with tiny kitchen gardens spread
around the main structure. A closer look exposes the crumbling facilities of
a dilapidated building.
Most of the windows have been covered with cardboard and plastic sheets to
give some protection from the weather to the more than 150 families crammed
two to a room in the three-storey block.
Barefoot children chase each other along the grimy, narrow corridors past
the doorless communal bathrooms, where there is no running water or
electricity. Residents have to fetch water from a neighbouring apartment
Monica Mlauzi, 78, a widow, has spent the past four years holed up in
Sidojiwe. A piece of cloth serves as a partition in the room she shares with
another family. "We are still here living in these horrible conditions
without hope of ever getting serious attention from the authorities. We feel
abandoned," she said, struggling to light a fire from a clutch of twigs in a
brazier perched on top of the derelict stove in the communal kitchen.
"We are no longer sure of the selection criteria [for the allocation of new
houses]," said Fidelis Nyamadzawo, a member of the displaced residents'
The clearance operation brought international condemnation; in response the
government launched Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle (Operation Have a Good
Life) and committed itself to rebuilding homes and vending stalls.
But its scheme to put up 200,000 houses has become mired in controversy and
accusations of graft in the allocation of the small number of units built so
far in various towns and cities. "It appears those that are well-connected
get first preference," Nyamadzawo alleged.
The elderly in Sidojiwe find it difficult to cope with the harsh living
conditions. "None of us get any assistance from the Department of Social
Welfare," said Barbra Ndhlovu, 75. "We live from hand to mouth and often go
without food, and without hope of the authorities coming to intervene."
Occasionally, charitable church organisations lend a hand. Last November, a
church organisation assisted 60 families with five blankets each. "People
have become sceptical about registering for assistance because they have
often been let down by organisations that request their names but never
return to assist," said Nyamadzawo.
A church organisation recently offered to build houses for the residents on
condition that each beneficiary provide a toilet unit and plumbing material,
and labour during construction.
A toilet seat alone costs Z$120 million (US$46), while the cistern costs
Z$100 million (US$38) - a figure well beyond the reach of most of the
homeless families. "Only four people took up the offer," said Nyamadzawo.
"Most of us, including elderly pensioners, can never dream of coming up with
such a huge amount."
Bulawayo Council officials admit it is "unsanitary" to live in Sidojiwe, and
explain that it accommodated the families in the three apartment blocks as a
last resort, on "humanitarian grounds", when their homes were flattened.
Spokesman Pathisa Nyathi explained that the council had been in the process
of decommissioning the flats when Operation Murambatsvina was launched.
He said the council had hoped to allocate houses built under a `Millennium
Housing Scheme' to the families. The scheme was to have provided at least
1,000 houses and should have been implemented in 2001, but was affected by
the rocketing cost of building materials after the economic crisis began in
Zimbabwe is in the midst of an economic meltdown: it has the world's highest
inflation rate, officially cited at 8,000 percent but estimated at 25,000
percent by independent economists.
According to Nyathi, "There is no indication that these families will be
leaving soon because building costs are prohibitive."
[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
by Simplicious Chirinda Tuesday 08 January 2008
HARARE – A Zimbabwean pressure group says it has begun mobilising millions
of exiled Zimbabweans in neighbouring countries to come home and vote in
next March’s presidential and parliamentary elections.
The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CZC) says it is important for millions of
Zimbabwean exiles living outside the country’s borders, particularly in
South Africa, to come home and cast their vote during the elections.
CZC is a coalition of human and civic rights groups, churches, women’s
groups, labour and student movements that are campaigning for a peaceful and
democratic settlement of Zimbabwe’s eight-year political crisis.
Last October, the pressure group said it was launching a massive voter
education campaign in rural areas, the backbone of President Robert Mugabe’s
ruling ZANU PF party, to raise awareness on issues related to voting and
Crisis in Zimbabwe co-ordinator, Jacob Mafume, said the regional push to
encourage exiled Zimbabweans to go home and vote was an extension of the
rural voter campaign that began late last year.
“The programme is an extension of the campaign that we have in Zimbabwe. We
are getting into the region to encourage the millions of Zimbabweans working
there to come and vote in March,” said Mafume.
At least three million Zimbabweans, a quarter of the country’s 12 million
population, are said to be living outside the country, the majority of them
in South Africa, after fleeing economic hardship and political repression at
The majority of the exiled Zimbabweans are still eligible to vote in the
election that analysts says Mugabe could lose because of an unprecedented
economic recession described by the World Bank as unprecedented for a
country not at war.
Mafume said it would be an injustice to deny the millions of Zimbabweans
living in neighbouring countries the chance to vote in the election and
decide their fate.
“We will also seek to engage with regional employers so that they can allow
their Zimbabwean workers to participate in the election as it is also of
importance to the region,” he added.
The pressure group, which has been using musical concerts to connect with
rural voters, said it was planning a big musical concert in Johannesburg,
South Africa, at the end of this month to spread their message.
ZANU PF and the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change party have
since last year been engaged in talks to find a solution to Zimbabwe’s
long-running political crisis.
Among the items under discussion was the need to allow millions of exiled
Zimbabweans living outside the country to be allowed to cast their votes in
ZANU PF is however said to have rejected opposition demands to allow exiles
to vote forcing the pressure group to mobilise the Zimbabweans to cross over
the borders and vote during the key election. - ZimOnline
by Nqobizitha Khumalo Tuesday 08 January 2008
BULAWAYO – Two war veterans will appear in the High Court on 25 March facing
a murder charge, seven years after they allegedly killed a white commercial
farmer in Nyamandlovu district at the height of government land reforms.
The two, Albert Ncube and Robert Nyathi, are expected to answer to charges
of killing Elizabeth Gloria Olds in cold blood at her farm in Nyamandlovu in
March 2001 in a wave of violent farm seizures that hit the country during
The case, which has been before the High Court since 2001, has failed to
take off in earnest due to various reasons. Three prosecutors who had been
assigned to handle the case failed to do so after all quit the Attorney
General’s office for various reasons.
Key witnesses have also failed to turn up for the case amid fears that the
state was not keen to proceed with the trial of the war veterans who had
President Robert Mugabe’s explicit permission to carry out the violent farm
At least a dozen white commercial farmers died at the hands of ruling ZANU
PF thugs and war veterans during the bloody farm seizures that Mugabe said
were necessary to correct historical imbalances in land allocation.
None of the people responsible for the deaths were arrested or successfully
prosecuted in the courts.
The 72-year Olds was ambushed at the gates of her Silver Streams Farm in
Nyamandlovu and her body was later found in a pool of blood riddled with 15
bullet wounds from an AK 47 assault rifle.
Nyathi and Ncube have however pleaded not guilty to the murder charge
leveled against them.
Bulawayo High Court Judge Maphios Cheda is expected to preside over the
case, according to list of pending court cases released by the High Court
Olds’ death came about a year after her son, Martin, was also murdered at
his Compensation Farm in Matabeleland province in a case that was also said
to be politically motivated.
When the case resumes in March, the state is set to lead evidence from two
police officers and a civilian witness.
Zimbabwe’s judiciary system is heavily compromised after Mugabe purged
independent judges and replaced them with a new crop of pliant judges seven
A serious staff exodus has also hit hard the judiciary system as magistrates
and prosecutors quit their jobs to seek better paying jobs across the
country’s borders. - ZimOnline
By Blessing Zulu
07 January 2008
The government of Zimbabwe is weighing another crackdown on manufacturers
and service providers to keep prices from soaring any higher, official
But they add that a full-scale crackdown along lines of "Operation Reduce
Prices" in which more than 23,0000 business people were arrested in July and
August is out of question as President Robert Mugabe's cabinet is divided on
The sources said officials backing a new crackdown have Mr. Mugabe's
support, but the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, which currently has its hands
full trying to end cash shortages, has expressed opposition to a new
crackdown on business.
Chairman Godwills Masimirembwa of the National Incomes and Pricing
Commission told the state-controlled Herald newspaper that he has given the
Zimbabwe Republic Police a list of businesses which are alleged to have
violated price-control rules.
Masimirembwa told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA’s Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that
those businesses which defy his commission will feel the wrath of the law.
National Chamber of Commerce President Marah Hativagone said that she has
been taken aback by the magnitude of recent corporate price increases.
Most ordinary Zimbabweans are struggling - and many failing - to make ends
meet as a result of the steep and continuing price increases with
hyperinflation estimated by independent economists to be running in excess
of 50,000% over 12 months.
Most Zimbabweans earn less than Z$20 million a month, but one chicken costs
Z$20 million, two liters of cooking oil fetch Z$18 million and 2 kilograms
of sugar Z$5 million. Transport fares have also gone up with commuters
paying some $Z2 million a day.
This Day, Nigeria
If all a leader needed was plenty of education, Zimbabwe would probably have
been the luckiest nation on earth. With a chain of seven degrees in various
fields of human endeavour, President Robert Gabriel Mugabe is clearly one of
the pedantic leaders in Africa. But Mugabe’s actions in office have shown
two things: that (much) education is not quite a sine qua non for good
governance, and two, that education of the head is markedly different from
education of the mind.
Were it not so, Mr Mugabe should have known when to bow out of office and
keep his face. For a man who pretends to be practising democracy and yet
clutches on to the prisms of power for 27 years and more, is surely offering
a weird re-definition of participatory democracy.
The ovation for Mugabe had long died down, yet he struts around on the
political stage of Zimbabwe like a malevolent conquistador.
Once, he was fiercely loved by his people. That was when he led
revolutionary (guerilla) forces to battle the colonial white rule of
Rhodesian Front government led by Ian Smith at the time. Though a born Roman
Catholic, Mugabe’s revolutionary urge was so strong that he soon became a
cultivated Marxist. Buoyed by the popular support from his fellow oppressed
blacks, Mugabe took power on wave and launched himself into the political
arena with a bang. He enjoyed immediate acceptability from his people. He
soon quit the Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU) and formed his own
Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU), with which he had appropriated
political power like a patrimonial estate. Once he got the baton of power,
his crusade for reconciliation and unity soon began to suffer dilution up to
the point that his government began to be hallmarked with strong
As at today, everything is thumbs down for Mugabe. Yet he experiences daily
renewal of a warped ambition to keep ruling Zimbabwe.
That is why it remains a vexatious wonder that at 83, Mugabe is still
gunning for a sixth term in office. Perhaps it would not be so offensive to
contemplate if under Mugabe the country is growing in leaps and bounds. But
for a nation with over 800 per cent inflation rate and a “terribly high”
unemployment rate, coupled with a grounded economy, Mugabe should have quit
office several years ago.
With hunger, hardship and frustration wracking Zimbabweans, Mugabe needn’t
be told that he no longer has any solution for the governance of the
country. It is so bad that Zimbabweans cross over to neighbouring South
Africa to buy basic consumubles like bread, milk, meat chicken etc. Mugabe’s
Zimbabwe is a collapsed economy; little wonder that the country’s chief
statistician, who keeps records of the nations development indices,
declared that there is nothing left to be counted in the nation.
Pray, what else does he have to offer a sinking nation, which he has
presided over for over 27 years?
Even if he was doing fantastically well, and the Zimbabwean economy was on a
green boom, would staying in office for 27 years not be considered an abuse
of democratic principles? Yet, it is doubly ironical that a man who is
presiding over a plummeting economy, post marked with corruption,
ineptitude, intolerance and loss of integrity, yet wants to hold on to
His desperation for power has made him most unaccommodating to opposition,
hence he gags the press, and even intimidates and tortures journalists who
are critical of his style of governance. A desperate man is a danger both
to himself and to those around him. That explains why Mugabe has, several
times over, amended the nation’s and party’s constitutions so he can have
his way, albeit illgally. Indeed, his force of intimidation has flogged the
political class almost all into a one-party state, with his ZANU occupying
147 out of the country’s 150 parliamentary seats.
It is people like Mugabe that give African leaders the label of despots. He
and all his ilk should be told in plain language that the times have
changed. African leaders, Mugabe inclusive, should demonstrate civility and
tolerance. Holding on to power at all cost is now a disdainful past time.
That is why we call on Mugabe, to without further delay, quit the political
scene and save the soul of the Zimbabweans.
By Lance Guma
08 January 2008
There was a tension filled atmosphere at St Mary’s Anglican Cathedral in
Harare after ousted Bishop Nolbert Kunonga held a service under police
protection. The Bishop, who openly supported Mugabe’s violent land grab, is
refusing to leave office after being dismissed by the main church. This
followed his controversial decision last year to withdraw the diocese from
the Province of Central Africa over a dispute on homosexuality in the
church. The withdrawal backfired on him as the church dismissed him and
moved to claim its property. Kunonga is clearly aware he has the state
machinery behind him and continues to defy the Anglican Province.
Meanwhile the province has already appointed Bishop Sebastian Bakare to
replace Kunonga, something the ousted bishop is refusing to acknowledge. A
story on the Zim Online website quoted a church warden saying Bakare will be
formally appointed at a function on the 3rd February and this will be
attended by leaders from the province. ‘We hope our colleagues would have
seen the light and joined us,’ the website quoted him as saying. In December
last year the Herald reported on an outbreak of violence between rival
groups of Anglican parishioners in Glenview. To avoid repeat scenes of this
undignified behaviour, Kunonga is now using police protection when he holds
His controversial reign has impacted very negatively on the image of the
church in Zimbabwe. He allegedly threatened priests who opposed him and
transferred others to remote parts of the country. Questions were also
raised over his misuse of church funds. Kunonga was also given a farm by
Mugabe’s regime - a thank you gesture for his support.
A church trial failed to pin him down after his defence team threw in all
sorts of legal obstacles to prevent its completion. Last year a heated
meeting in Malawi over homosexuality in the church had provided Kunonga with
an excuse to unilaterally withdraw the diocese from the church. That
decision confirmed fears he was planning to form a breakaway church. With
the evidence of current developments, Kunonga might have already started
piecing together his own church, with the active support of Zanu PF.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
Business Day (Johannesburg)
8 January 2008
Posted to the web 8 January 2008
ZIMBABWE'S opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has started
making overtures to the Jacob Zuma-led African National Congress (ANC) by
entering into preliminary discussions, say insiders.
This is alongside the continuing mediation process under the leadership of
President Thabo Mbeki, mandated by the Southern African Development
Insiders say that since Zuma assumed leadership of the ANC last month, he
has had discussions with MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, but nobody from
either side was willing to go on record. The MDC was guarded on the nature
of the talks, for fear of compromising a breakthrough.
Relations between the MDC and Mbeki have been fractious since the beginning
of the mediation process intended to find a solution to Zimbabwe's political
and economic crisis. The MDC has accused the former ANC president of being
soft on President Robert Mugabe.
Yesterday MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa was cautious about revealing the
extent of the contact with Zuma. "We are always in constant touch with the
ANC as a party," he said.
However, the official mediation process had assumed new urgency in view of
the worsening situation in Zimbabwe, where the real rate of inflation was
estimated to be more than 20000% , amid a shortage of most commodities
"The South African initiative is the only chance out of this nightmare,"
said a party insider.
Tsvangirai was among those who congratulated Zuma after he became ANC
president. Sources in the party said the MDC leader had found a rapport with
"He was very positive about it and says communication was better," said an
But other party officials said since Mbeki was still in charge of reporting
back to the SADC , the MDC had to be "discreet" lest it be caught in the
fight between the two ANC factions.
In the run-up to the ANC's conference in Polokwane, Zuma criticised Mbeki's
"quiet diplomacy" on Zimbabwe.
Yet analysts did not expect a major change of policy during Zuma's
leadership of the ANC since mediation of the Zimbabwe crisis was "locked"
within the SADC framework.
An MDC member said: "All we are asking for is that the ANC recognises the
situation in Zimbabwe, that the Zimbabweans do not have a democratic
dispensation and that they are being repressed in a worse manner than during
the colonial period."
With Zimbabwe's general elections scheduled for March, the MDC was pushing
for a postponement of the poll until midyear to allow for implementation of
the resolutions agreed at the mediated talks.
"Zuma is very happy about that," said a party official.
This week the two MDC factions were also set to meet and agree on a single
candidate for the presidential election.
Monday, 07 January 2008 17:10
HARARE - The Grain Marketing Board (GMB), Zimbabwe's sole grain
dealer, has called for haulage truck operators to help transport grain from
Zambia as its silos are now almost empty.
According to an advertisement published over the weekend, the GMB is
calling for interested transporters "to come on board and move grain from
Zambia to Zimbabwe" as a matter of urgency.
"Interested companies should also indicate transport charges while in
return the GMB will make sure it offers competitive rates and fuel at a
concessionary rate," reads part of the advert published in the state-owned
The Sunday Mail.
The closing date for submissions is 14 January and the transporters
are required to pay a registration fee of $20 million.
The GMB repeatedly dismisses reports that the country is running out
of grain, but its frantic efforts to import supplies, particularly maize,
Agriculture Minister Rugare Gumbo late last year told the press that
Zimbabwe was importing 200,000 tonnes of maize from Tanzania.
"We have been importing maize from Zambia and Malawi. Right now, we
are finalizing the modalities to import maize from Tanzania," he said. - Own
|Riot police arrive to restore order at a bank in Harare Dec. 31, as hundreds of people wait outside a bank to beat the deadline to exchange their old 200,000 Zimbabwean dollar notes for new currency. The old money became worthless at the end of the day.|
By NCR CORRESPONDENT
In crisis-torn Zimbabwe, the new year offers few signs of hope for a better future for millions here battling continued hardships as the nation approaches crucial polls.
Despite the domestic and international consensus that President Robert Mugabe has ruined a once-vibrant economy and destroyed just about everything he inherited when he came to power in 1980, he is still tipped to win -- some say steal -- the ballot.
Mugabe is seeking another five years in power. If he wins and finishes the term, he would be one of Africa’s longest serving presidents and 88 years old.
He has in the past said he will rule until he is 100.
2007 will go down as the worst since the economic and political crisis set in a decade ago. Zimbabwe has gone from economic star of southern Africa to what the World Bank calls one of the worst investment destinations in the world.
Standing in line has become a way of life. People stand in long winding queues for scarce basic commodities and at banks to withdraw money that devalues daily. The inflation rate was pegged at 15,000 percent for 2007.
Cuts in water and electricity services have turned urban areas into mirrors of rural life: Women and children form long queues to fetch water from boreholes. Families cut firewood for cooking and heating -- parks and public areas have been denuded of trees.
To escape this increasingly hellish life, an estimated 4 million people have fled the country as economic refugees. By some estimates that is 60 percent of the adult workforce. Professionals seek menial jobs in neighboring countries and farther abroad to support families left behind in Zimbabwe.
Mugabe blames the high prices and deterioration of services on business leaders who he claims are sabotaging the economy to incite a people’s revolt against his government.
The only thing on an upward trend is human rights abuse as Mugabe’s regime suppresses any form of dissent, activists say.
However, despite the continued hardships, Mugabe remains confident his ruling Zanu PF party will win the polls, which must be held early this year.
The mood on the streets is one of muted protest. Ruling party activists and state security agents have made themselves ubiquitous to tamp down any signs of dissent, according to reports by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.
Thomas Hove, a vendor in the heart of Bulawayo’s central business district said 2007 was his worst year ever. “You have to wonder that if things are this bad for us who survive on selling vegetables, how then for large business concerns,” he said as he kept an eye out for the police, who confiscate the wares of vendors they accuse of trading in areas not designated for their business.
Though Hove says he is eager to cast his ballot in the coming elections, he said he does not see things getting better soon.
“Everybody hates Mugabe but there still is a strong sentiment here that he will win. If that happens, it means we are set for more misery and hardships,” he said. Hove, like others, is concerned that the fractured political opposition has already handed Mugabe victory by failing to approach the elections as a united front that would include smaller political formations.
A Bulawayo-based political analyst told NCR that there are signs that the year ahead will see the political and economic crisis deepening if Mugabe wins the election.
“We have heard the language Mugabe speaks. Already he has threatened to bring back the controversial price cuts that created widespread shortages of basic commodities, and he says mines should be given to blacks. One has to imagine what will happen when he wins,” the analyst said.
Last August, Mugabe accused businesses of profiteering and ordered prices of goods and services to be slashed by half. Goods quickly disappeared from shop shelves, and as the new year begins, shelves remain bare.
Mugabe is already in campaign mode and his strategy is clear. When the Zanu PF endorsed him as their presidential candidate at a party congress in December, Mugabe said in his acceptance speech that he would not abandon the people because “their welfare is my welfare.”
He has promised to give villagers and indigenous farmers tractors, farm implements, seed and fertilizer. The opposition Movement for Democratic Change and other critics here see this as a brazen attempt to buy votes ahead of the elections.
However, the government said this is all part of efforts to aid black farmers struggling to feed the nation and turn around the country’s waning fortunes in the agriculture sector following a controversial land reform program that saw the expropriation of white-owned farms.
2007 also saw industry-wide work stoppages as workers pressed for salary adjustments. In a first here, judicial proceedings stopped when court personnel walked off their jobs in protest for higher wages.
Teachers, doctors and nurses -- all government employees -- are demanding pay hikes beginning this month. The teachers have said if they don’t receive an additional 300 million Zimbabwean dollars (about $200 in the informal exchange market) in their pay packets, they won’t report for duty when schools open later this month.
The writer’s name is being withheld because of the dangers of reporting in Zimbabwe.
in 2008: What ought to happen versus what will happen
History of hope
Twenty years ago Zimbabwe saved itself from a five-year insurgency – the
so-called Dissident Era - that threatened to plunge the country into a civil
war of the proportions seen in neighbouring Mozambique and in Angola.
True nationalism and patriotism (if somewhat forced in some instances)
prevailed over personal interests when in 1987, then Prime Minister, Robert
Mugabe’s ruling Zanu (PF) party united with its bitter rival, the late
Joshua Nkomo’s PF-Zapu, to form the existing and ruling United Zanu PF party
that went on to form a government of national unity under Mugabe as
president and Nkomo as co-vice president with the late Simon Muzenda.
That unity was by no means perfect but it served the most important purpose
of uniting the nation and redirecting its socio-economic development to
occupy a high perch in regional, continental and even world scales.
This was, of course, until the ill-conceived war veterans’ compensation of
1997; the military misadventure in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1998
and the ill-fated land redistribution exercise of 2000 and beyond.
There are various reasons why the unity of 1987 was mooted and implemented
but the ultimate realisation was that only Zimbabweans could rescue
themselves from themselves.
If it hasn’t dawned already, it is my submission that the same realisation
must guide the nation to invoke the same spirit of the late 1980s and apply
it in 2008.
Election as a source of renewal
Zimbabwe is scheduled to hold joint presidential and parliamentary elections
in March. The opposition Movement for Democratic Change has made a valid
request - in my view - that the elections be postponed to allow for a number
of provisions to be included. These include reconstituting the voter
registration which has been in shambles for decades now.
It is common, for example; to find on the current register, names of dead
people or citizens like me, who last voted in 2000 and have been out of the
country since 2001. It has often been reported that such “ghost” or
“absentee” registrants have voted, almost entirely for the ruling party.
The opposition also seeks an assurance that all eligible voters will be
allowed to register and exercise their right in a free and fair election
that is monitored by many international observers who are of undisputed
repute. May I also add to this requirement that those outside the country be
allowed to vote. There is an estimated 2-3 million of us, a number to large
Only when reasonable accommodations have been made should the elections be
held. If that happens in March or months later, it will be to the benefit of
The results of elections held in hopefully accommodative – forget perfect –
conditions, should be accepted by all. There will definitely be winners and
losers but the challenge Zimbabwe faces now cannot be overcome by merely
holding elections and letting winners set about correcting all the wrongs
that have been made. This, I say with obvious knowledge that the likely
winners – even in a near perfect situation – are Zanu PF and cannot,
therefore, be expected to clean up their own mess.
Thus, much as the elections are needed for formality, a government of
national unity would still be necessary because the country has been so
polarized that only a united front will be able to rebuild the crumbling
economy and convince the international community to rally behind a
If this unity is achieved, then its leaders’ first task is to launch a
cleansing exercise to rid the country of its political and socio-economic
rot and to spearhead a diplomatic offensive that should see the West join
China and the rest of the East and Africa to form an investment and aid
beeline to Zimbabwe before the end of 2008.
If Jacob Zuma and Thabo Mbeki can accommodate each other in the ANC and Mwai
Kibaki and Raila Odinga agree to put Kenyan national aspirations ahead of
their personal egos, so should Mugabe, Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur
In fact, the ongoing SADC-brokered talks between Zanu PF and MDC – which
have already produced a number of positive amendments to the constitution –
should ultimately result in a unity of “national” purpose.
The nightmare that is sad reality
If my submissions above were a dream I hope to come true, here is the
nightmare that is a sad reality.
Elections will go on in March under conditions that favour Zanu PF, that is,
the voter registration will not be updated, exiled Zimbabweans will not be
allowed to vote and some observers will be barred, particularly those from
The build up to the elections will be violent – as usual, if not worse this
time around – with opposition supporters constituting a majority of victims.
If both factions of the MDC boycott the elections, Zanu PF will help create
one or two fly-by-night parties to legitimize the elections.
Results are forgone really. For President Mugabe and Zanu PF it will be a
case of “as we were comrades”. The opposition will dispute the results and
its supporters will take to the streets.
There will be dead bodies, looting and destruction of property but do not
expect this to reach the scale of the Kenyan violence, both in terms of
human loss and days of rioting. The Zimbabwe security system is better
prepared than the Kenyans. A combination of the Zimbabwe National Army, the
Zimbabwe Republic Police, the Central Intelligence Organisation and the Zanu
PF Youth National Service (Green Bombers) will gang up to thwart any street
An escalation of violence, if it happens, will be perpetrated by the same
security system in opposition strongholds.
Having consolidated its position as an “elected” government, Zanu PF will
set about to do “business as usual” picking up it’s messing of the economy
from wherever it would have left off before the elections.
Mugabe, buoyed by the election and the unwavering support by the rest of
Africa and other anti-Western forces, will continue to preach his
anti-Britain and America doctrine.
The world, whose attention is constantly distracted by “breaking news” in
other parts of the world, will once again forget the country that once
represented hope in an African continent desperate for recognition as a
region leaving behind its dark past.
The Southern African.com
Tuesday, 08 January 2008 05:37
BULAWAYO - THE ZIMBABWE dollar has tumbled drastically against both the
United States dollar and South Africa's rand. The local dollar had
lately gained firm against the US dollar, the South Africa Rand and
the Botswana Pula following the influx of Zimbabweans into the country
for Christmas holiday and the cash shortages.
On Monday in the country's second largest city-Bulawayo the local dollar
was trading at Z$3million dollars against One US dollar from $1million
while last year while the South African Rand is trading at Z$290 000
dollars from Z$170 000 while the Botswana Pula is trading at Z$350 000
dollars from Z$200 000.
Illegal foreign currency exchange dealers commonly known as Osipateleni
who spoke to CAJ News at a street in Bulawayo notoriously known as "World
Bank" along Fort Street in the city said the main causes of the falling of
the Zimbabwe dollar against major currencies are that most Zimbabweans have
returned to their bases in the diaspora and also the increase in local
currency cash flow in the parallel market following the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe (RBZ)extension of the lifespan of the Z$200 000 bearer cheques
"One other cause for the falling of the Zimbabwe dollar against major
currencies is that most Zimbabweans who were supplying the black-market
with foreign currency have returned to their bases in the diaspora and this
has caused shortages therefore the local dollar has lost gain," said Mercy
Hlongwane based at the "World Bank".
Another illegal foreign currency exchange dealer, Rita Chavada also based
in Bulawayo said the fact that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor
,Gideon Gono last week extended the Z$200 000 dollar bearer cheques life
span has increased cash flow in the black market therefore this has also
caused the fall of the local dollar.
"After the RBZ increased the life span of the Z$200 000 of the bearer
cheques local currency cash circulation has increased in the parallel market
and this has caused the fall of the local dollar" said Chavada.
Gono launched Sunrise II three days before Christmas which crippled the
illegal foreign currency exchange market-CAJ News.
By Carole Gombakomba
07 January 2008
Independent local and regional election observers have expressed concern
about the lack of transparency in the delimitation of new constituencies
which the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission says it has just concluded.
ZEC Chairman George Chiweshe was quoted in the state-controlled Sunday Mail
newspaper that the bounds of 210 constituencies – increased from 150 under a
2006 constitutional amendment – has been completed. Chiweshe said
presidential and general elections set for March won’t be postponed as the
Chiweshe said he will present a preliminary report to President Robert
Mugabe on the delimitation results, which will eventually be tabled in
The commission is reported to have allocated 143 of 210 seats to rural areas
where the ruling ZANU-PF party’s support is strongest. Only 67 seats were
allocated to the urban and metropolitan areas dominated by the opposition.
Chairman Noel Kututwa of the Zimbabwe Election Support Network said the
ZANU-PF government has kept stakeholders in the dark on crucial election
Elsewhere, the Electoral Institute of Southern Africa said the electoral
commission has no mandate to determine that the elections must be held in
March, as talks between the ruling party and opposition have yet to be
concluded in Pretoria.
Senior Program Officer Belinda Musanhu told reporter Carole Gombakomba of
VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that there should be an investigation into how
the delimitation was carried out if stakeholders remain disgruntled with the
MDC Press Statement
7 January 2008
Harare residents have been calling for ZINWA to restore management of their
water supply to the City of Harare for over two years. Sadly, these calls
have continuously fallen on deaf ears, the ears of Minister of Water
Resources, Munacho Mutezo being particularly bunged up. His favourite
phrase has always been: "The take-over is a Cabinet directive", allowing him
to avoid engaging in any serious debate on the matter. He obviously does
not share MDC's belief that residents have a right to participate in
decisions affecting them.
Now the chickens have come home to roost, with outbreaks of severe
diarrhoeal water-borne diseases all over town, particularly Mabvuku, Tafara
and Hatcliffe. Far from ZINWA improving the supply of clean water, these and
other suburbs have endured increased water shortages, with residents going
for weeks and months at a time without a single drop of water coming out of
their taps, quite apart from overflowing sewage outside and even inside
In October, Deputy Minister Walter Mzembi tried valiantly to convince the
Parliamentary Portfolio Committees of Local Government and Health that ZINWA
failures would be dealt with "by next week" and the city's residents would
see a huge improvement in their water and sewerage. Far from it, residents'
fears of disease have now become reality.
Not only are residents succumbing to water-borne diseases, but even the
clinics have been unable to assist the sick because they themselves have no
water! Hatcliffe Clinic reported yesterday that they had had no water for
over a week, and although they had been sent a bowser, they could not fill
it at the nearby borehole because the City of Harare had no diesel to put in
the tractor to tow the bowser! Fortunately the City Director of Health, Dr
Mungofa, realized the seriousness of the situation when he was alerted, and
organized some plastic containers of water for Hatcliffe Clinic himself- but
that was not his job. That was the responsibility of the Minister of Water
Resources, Engineer Mutezo, under whose ministry ZINWA falls.
Since ZINWA cannot provide water to a clinic in the City of Harare, and
since there is now a serious outbreak of water-borne diseases, especially
diarrhoea and fears of cholera, as a result of ZINWA's failure to provide
clean water to Harare residents throughout the city, it is clear that Mutezo
has failed. He must do the honourable thing and resign.
Mutezo must go!
Trudy Stevenson, MP
MDC Shadow Minister for Local Government and Housing
Mail and Guardian
Johannesburg, South Africa
08 January 2008 12:51
Zimbabwe's state-run power company, Zesa Holdings, says it will
step up efforts to revive operations of its three small thermal power
stations in light of the diminishing electricity imports from conventional
suppliers, the state-controlled Herald newspaper reported on Tuesday.
The three thermal stations, at Bulawayo, Munyati and Harare,
have not been in operation due to coal shortages. They produce a combined
150MW when fired to full capacity, the Herald said.
Zesa spokesperson Ben Rafemoyo said nearly Z$1-trillion has been
targeted for building up stocks to fire the thermal juniors.
"It is an area we are seriously looking at. We need to revive
the small thermals to augment supply, especially at a time when imports from
other countries are dwindling.
"Once coal is there, then we can now move on to consumables."
Power exports from traditional suppliers have been falling for
different reasons. At the moment Zimbabwe is getting about 75MW from
Mozambique, the Herald said.
Eskom of South Africa, which used to export 400MW at any given
time to Zimbabwe, has since stopped due to "some operational hitches" at its
power-generating plants, the newspaper said.
The Democratic Republic of Congo, on the other hand, has also
stopped supplies due to recurrent technical faults at its transmission
"What we do not want is a situation were we fire the generators
for two or three days, then we run out of coal. That is very uneconomic and
very expensive," said Rafemoyo.
Currently, the major sources for Zimbabwe's electricity are
Hwange Thermal Power Station, producing an average of 250MW, and Kariba
South, presently producing 750MW.
The country required at least 1 500MW daily, the newspaper said.
"Zesa is currently struggling to meet rising electricity demand
owing to a variety of factors [such as] coal shortages and hard currency
limitations needed in the importation of at least 35% of the country's total
energy requirements." -- Sapa
By Patience Rusere and Ntungamili Nkomo
07 January 2008
Zimbabwe's cash crisis continued on Monday with shortages of bank notes in
Harare, the capital, though the pinch eased somewhat in Bulawayo - the
country's second-largest city - and in eastern Mutare and Midlands town
Sources in Harare said bank customers waited in line at Stanbic and other
institutions without securing funds, and long bank queues remained around
the city center.
Scant information was forthcoming as to moves by the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe to relieve the shortages of bank notes which have persisted despite
its issuance late last year of new notes in denominations of Z$250,000,
Z$500,000 and Z$750,000. Some economists have suggested Z$ 1 million or Z$10
million notes are needed to meet economic requirements given hyperinflation
some estimate over 50,000%.
Bank officers and central bank sources said only Reserve Bank Governor
Gideon Gono and a handful of RBZ officials are fully informed on the
Correspondent Thomas Chiripasi of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe told reporter
Patience Rusere that central bank sources said money had to be urgently
diverted to Kwekwe, which had been without an adequate cash supply for two
Prolonged shortages of cash are likely to cause a further drop in household
spending, delivering a further blow to an already moribund economy, said
Dennis Nikisi, director of the graduate school of management at the
University of Zimbabwe.
One of the more troubling aspects of the crisis has been the allegation,
launched from a number of directions, that central bank officials have been
involved in schemes to divert new notes to the black market or otherwise
dealt on the parallel market.
For perspective on the allegations, reporter Ntungamili Nkomo turned to
economist Rejoice Ngwenya of Harare, who said that as long as the Reserve
Bank is headed by Gideon Gono, whom he described as “a mere banker” with
little understanding of economics, corruption within in the monetary
authority is likely to continue.
Transparency International said in a recent report that corruption has
become part of everyday life for Zimbabweans, with recession seeming a
In a 2007 overview report on corruption in Southern Africa, the group said
individuals and corporate bodies have turned to “criminal activity as part
of survival strategies.”
Zimbabwe has launched a ministry and a commission charged fighting
corruption, but observers say political will seems lacking to crack down on
corruption at high levels.
Transparency International Regional Program Officer Mary-Jane Ncube said
that the country's says the country's anti-corruption institutions lack
resources, while Harare has not taken aim the biggest criminals, many of
whom have official connections.
Tuesday, 08 January 2008 13:01
In agriculture, we say “rain makes grain’ in Zimbabwe this year at least we
must say “rain makes starvation”. Why will rain make starvation this
year?The Herald of 4 January 2008 said the government had set a target of 2
million hectares for maize production this season. The maize seed required
for this size of land would be 50 000 tonnes without any re-plantings. We
know that the seed which was available was less than 30 000 tonnes .We also
know that the seed houses were not selling seed to anybody, not even to GMB
as they all had to supply “Maguta” first. Limited quantities of seed were
only available beginning of December. This was obviously too late for the
planting season. What this means therefore is that there was not enough seed
for the targeted 2 million hectares. Most of the seed went to the soldiers
for Maguta.The Herald also reported that as at 21st December 2007 only
718566 hectares of the target, had been planted. This translates to17964
tonnes of seed. It is common knowledge that we have had incessant rains for
5 weeks now; since the 3 rd of December 2007. The bulk of these 718566
hectares were planted before the continuous rains. This would mean that only
half of the seed bought by and through Maguta and directly by farmers has
been planted.GMB did have reasonable quantities of basal fertilizers. Most
of the planted maize is likely to have had compound D fertilizers. The
incessant rains have prevented any further planting. The planted crops are
waterlogged, are suffering from nitrogen deficiency and are in need of
sunshine. There is an acute shortage of top dressing fertilizers. GMB has
none. The shops have none. The country has none. As only a third of the
maize seed has been planted, we need to save that small crop. Top dressing
fertilizers must be found otherwise this mini crop will be a total
write-off. Once again, the government cannot escape the blame, not for
copious rains but for the perennial failure to have sufficient seed and
fertilizers .We cannot blame rain. The weather forecasts had predicted an
above normal season .What preparations were done? Nothing except promising
the farmers seed and fertilizer imports even as late as end of November
2007.There will be massive shortages of food next year .With what reasons
do you approach donors after such a good rainfall season .When there is no
rain Zimbabweans starve, when there is good rains Zimbabweans still starve
.Change is the only thing that will save the country.Reason GaselaSecretary
for lands and Agriculture