Jan Raath, of The Times, Harare
Zimbabwe’s opposition was in shock today after one of President Mugabe’s most
outspoken opponents, Archbishop Pius Ncube, was pictured by state media
apparently naked and with a woman. In what appeared to be a carefully orchestrated sting, the cleric was shown
undressing with the woman in photographs presumed to be taken by a secret camera
installed in his bedroom. Nine pictures were spread across a page in The Chronicle, the Government’s
mouthpiece in the western city of Bulawayo, where the Archbishop is based. The only photographs indisputably of the Archbishop picture him alone. Others
are blurred, and one, allegedly of him standing naked, does not appear to
resemble him at all. Given their circulation, though, they left his downcast supporters
questioning whether he could retain his authority as one of Mr Mugabe’s most
fearless and credible critics. Mr Ncube was served with a £80,000 civil adultery case on Monday, claiming
that he had a relationship with a secretary from his diocesan office. It was served by the deputy sheriff of Bulawayo, accompanied by a posse of
journalists and photographers from the government media. Mr Ncube’s lawyer has described the case as an “orchestrated attempt” to
embarrass him and that the Archbishop would deny the charges. Mr Ncube, 61, has won huge respect internationally for his vociferous
condemnation of human rights abuses under Mr Mugabe, despite constant harassment
by government secret agents, who at least once have threatened his aged mother.
Friends have feared for his life. He regularly denounced Mr Mugabe as “an evil and corrupt dictator,” remarks
that could have had him imprisoned. He said he prayed for Mr Mugabe, 83, to die,
as the only way to end the tyranny. He was increasingly looked to as Zimbabwe’s version of the South African
Nobel laureate, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and the only person able to rouse
Zimbabweans and lead them to confront the regime. In March he declared he was
ready to march “in front of the blazing guns.” State television filmed the Archbishop saying on Monday when the lawsuit was
served on him: “We all have weaknesses. That’s why when we pray we ask God for
forgiveness.” He was unavailable for comment today. Fr Frederick Chiromba, a spokesman for the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishop’s
Conference, said that a decision whether to issue a statement would be taken
when the president of the Conference, Archbishop Robert Ndlovu of Harare,
returned from a retreat. Observers said the pictures echoed an attempt by Mr Mugabe’s secret police to
entrap opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai in 2003. They secretly videoed him at
a meeting where hired agents tried to lure him into making treasonous
statements. The judge in his two-year treason trial found that the film
presented as evidence had been doctored. “Even if the pictures haven’t been digitally altered, which could have been
the case, it was clearly a CIO (Central Intelligence Organisation, Zimbabwe’s
state security body) sting operation,” said David Coltart, an opposition MP and
close friend of the archbishop. “It was designed to silence the foremost critic of this regime. They have not
been able to silence him using any other means, they know they can’t kill him or
detain him. So they think they can silence him by embarrassing him.” The state press published the story at length, under the headline “Pius Ncube
shamed.” Lawyers said even if the allegations were correct, there were doubts an
affair would have been adulterous. Rosemary Sibanda, the woman in the alleged relationship, was quoted as saying
she began to visit the Archbishop at his residence two years ago, after her
husband had separated from her and married another woman. She said they would
have sex “once every three or four months”. Mr Coltart asked: “In the context of what is going on in Zimbabwe now, what
is worse: a leader committing genocide against his own people, or a person who
has had some moments of weakness? On the scale of sins, especially in this
country, this comes pretty low.” “This is hypocrisy in the extreme,” said Mr Coltart. “The head of state stole
his secretary from another man, was engaged in an adulterous relationship, in a
country with one of the highest incidence of AIDS in the world, while his wife
was dying. “My respect for Pius is undiminished.” Mr Mugabe married his secretary, Grace Marufu, about 35 years his junior, in
1996 after a lengthy affair while his Ghanaian-born wife, Sally suffered a
kidney disease that proved fatal. The President had to be granted a special
papal dispensation to be able to marry Mrs Marufu. July 17, 2007
Zimbabwe’s opposition was in shock today after one of President Mugabe’s most outspoken opponents, Archbishop Pius Ncube, was pictured by state media apparently naked and with a woman.
In what appeared to be a carefully orchestrated sting, the cleric was shown undressing with the woman in photographs presumed to be taken by a secret camera installed in his bedroom.
Nine pictures were spread across a page in The Chronicle, the Government’s mouthpiece in the western city of Bulawayo, where the Archbishop is based.
The only photographs indisputably of the Archbishop picture him alone. Others are blurred, and one, allegedly of him standing naked, does not appear to resemble him at all.
Given their circulation, though, they left his downcast supporters questioning whether he could retain his authority as one of Mr Mugabe’s most fearless and credible critics.
Mr Ncube was served with a £80,000 civil adultery case on Monday, claiming that he had a relationship with a secretary from his diocesan office.
It was served by the deputy sheriff of Bulawayo, accompanied by a posse of journalists and photographers from the government media.
Mr Ncube’s lawyer has described the case as an “orchestrated attempt” to embarrass him and that the Archbishop would deny the charges.
Mr Ncube, 61, has won huge respect internationally for his vociferous condemnation of human rights abuses under Mr Mugabe, despite constant harassment by government secret agents, who at least once have threatened his aged mother. Friends have feared for his life.
He regularly denounced Mr Mugabe as “an evil and corrupt dictator,” remarks that could have had him imprisoned. He said he prayed for Mr Mugabe, 83, to die, as the only way to end the tyranny.
He was increasingly looked to as Zimbabwe’s version of the South African Nobel laureate, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and the only person able to rouse Zimbabweans and lead them to confront the regime. In March he declared he was ready to march “in front of the blazing guns.”
State television filmed the Archbishop saying on Monday when the lawsuit was served on him: “We all have weaknesses. That’s why when we pray we ask God for forgiveness.” He was unavailable for comment today.
Fr Frederick Chiromba, a spokesman for the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishop’s Conference, said that a decision whether to issue a statement would be taken when the president of the Conference, Archbishop Robert Ndlovu of Harare, returned from a retreat.
Observers said the pictures echoed an attempt by Mr Mugabe’s secret police to entrap opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai in 2003. They secretly videoed him at a meeting where hired agents tried to lure him into making treasonous statements. The judge in his two-year treason trial found that the film presented as evidence had been doctored.
“Even if the pictures haven’t been digitally altered, which could have been the case, it was clearly a CIO (Central Intelligence Organisation, Zimbabwe’s state security body) sting operation,” said David Coltart, an opposition MP and close friend of the archbishop.
“It was designed to silence the foremost critic of this regime. They have not been able to silence him using any other means, they know they can’t kill him or detain him. So they think they can silence him by embarrassing him.”
The state press published the story at length, under the headline “Pius Ncube shamed.” Lawyers said even if the allegations were correct, there were doubts an affair would have been adulterous.
Rosemary Sibanda, the woman in the alleged relationship, was quoted as saying she began to visit the Archbishop at his residence two years ago, after her husband had separated from her and married another woman. She said they would have sex “once every three or four months”.
Mr Coltart asked: “In the context of what is going on in Zimbabwe now, what is worse: a leader committing genocide against his own people, or a person who has had some moments of weakness? On the scale of sins, especially in this country, this comes pretty low.”
“This is hypocrisy in the extreme,” said Mr Coltart. “The head of state stole his secretary from another man, was engaged in an adulterous relationship, in a country with one of the highest incidence of AIDS in the world, while his wife was dying.
“My respect for Pius is undiminished.”
Mr Mugabe married his secretary, Grace Marufu, about 35 years his junior, in 1996 after a lengthy affair while his Ghanaian-born wife, Sally suffered a kidney disease that proved fatal. The President had to be granted a special papal dispensation to be able to marry Mrs Marufu.
By VOA News
17 July 2007
The White House has strongly criticized Zimbabwe's government, saying its
recent actions to address inflation have further eroded human and economic
liberty in the nation.
In a written statement Tuesday, a White House spokesman said attempts by
President Robert Mugabe's government to address hyper-inflation have
resulted in at least 2,000 arrests, widespread hoarding and profiteering by
In recent weeks, the Zimbabwean government ordered businesses to cut prices
on staples such as food and fuel, and arrested business owners who did not
The moves are aimed at cutting an annual inflation rate that analysts say is
running at around 4,500 percent.
The White House statement says the Zimbabwean government's irresponsible
economic policies will only worsen inflation, unemployment, food shortages
It also announced that the United States will provide Zimbabwe with more
than 47,000 tons of additional food assistance through the U.S. Agency for
International Development. The money will help feed an estimated
one-point-four million people.
The White House also condemned the Mugabe's government's continued crackdown
on political opposition, saying the actions call into question the
government's commitment to a mediation process led by the Southern African
The government launched the crackdown in March, stopping a planned prayer
rally by opposition groups and beating several top opposition figures,
including Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
Mr. Mugabe has repeatedly blamed the United States and Britain for causing
Zimbabwe's economic crisis through sanctions imposed on top government
Critics blame the government's economic policies, especially a program to
transfer white-owned farmland to blacks, most of whom have little or no
farming experience. Zimbabwe's agricultural production has yet to recover
from a sharp fall that began after the program was instituted in 2000.
afrol News, 17 July - Despite sanctions and diplomatic ties at the freezing
point, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) today announced
that it would increase its food aid distribution to Zimbabwe. While USAID
insists there is a food emergency situation in Zimbabwe caused by the local
government, Harare claims there is no need for food aid, especially not from
Due to the conflict between Washington and Harare, USAID cannot distribute
its food aid directly in Zimbabwe - which officially does not need any food
aid. Washington therefore is to donate an additional 47,400 metric tonnes of
food assistance to the UN's World Food Program (WFP) and the NGO Consortium
for the Southern Africa Food Security Emergency (C-SAFE). These two agencies
thus are to distribute the US food aid in Zimbabwe.
According to a press release from USAID sent to afrol News, the Washington
government is indeed pouring great sums into Zimbabwe, which US authorities
often refer to as a "pariah country". This additional USAID donation will
bring the total US food assistance to Zimbabwe in 2007 to 143,270 tonnes,
valued at approximately US$ 145 million - meeting approximately one-third of
the assessed food emergency needs through Zimbabwe's next harvest in March
"The cornmeal, bulgur wheat, oil and beans provided by the US government
will be distributed freely, based on need, to those Zimbabweans who are
unable to provide food for themselves and their families," the USAID release
said. "This new contribution of 47,400 metric tonnes of food is enough to
feed over half-a-million people for a full six months."
The government agency does not miss its chance to criticise the politics of
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe in the release. "Detrimental government
of Zimbabwe policies, coupled with poor rains and drought conditions during
the 2006-2007 agricultural growing season, resulted in widespread crop
failure and severe yield shortfalls in the southern part of the country,"
the statement said.
The current drought is said to have exacerbated Zimbabwe's ongoing economic
and political crisis. It is estimated that the number of Zimbabweans in need
of food assistance will peak at 4.1 million - more than a third of
Zimbabwe's estimated total population - at the height of the hunger season
between January and March 2008, according to a recent UN report. Experts
estimate that this year's maize production will leave between one third and
half of the country's food requirements unsatisfied.
USAID says it has been "actively involved in responding to the food security
situation in Zimbabwe since early 2002" and has delivered more than 700,000
tonnes of food aid valued at more than US$ 400 million to Zimbabwe over the
last five years, "making it the largest donor of food assistance in that
The International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and most key Western
donor countries suspended financial aid to Zimbabwe more than six years ago,
following the seizure of commercial farm lands and attacks on the democratic
institutions of the country. Western donors have however continued
delivering emergency aid to Zimbabwe.
There have been repeated problems regarding the deliveries of this emergency
aid, making food aid into a highly politicised issue in Zimbabwe. On several
occasions, while UN agencies have warned about food emergencies, President
Mugabe has flatly denied that the country was in need of aid, thus ordering
the halt of emergency food distribution.
On other occasions, President Mugabe and his ruling ZANU-PF party have been
accused of distributing food aid only to political followers, denying aid to
parts of the country voting for the MDC opposition. This again has led
Western donors to carefully search for trustworthy channels for food
distribution in Zimbabwe, aiming to avoid that their food aid is used as a
The Harare government finally has accused Western counties for being
responsible of what there may be of malnutrition in the country, pointing to
the colonial history, anti-Zimbabwean so-called racist policies, the current
suspension of aid and trade and to sanctions imposed by the West.
By staff writer
by Godfrey Marawanyika
HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwe's government was set to intensify its pricing
crackdown, despite being condemned by the White House on Tuesday as a
reckless move that would further fuel inflation and exacerbate food
Nathan Shamuyarira, ZANU-PF's secretary for information and publicity, said
a meeting of the party's politburo on Monday, chaired by President Robert
Mugabe, had decided to extend the three-week old Operation Dzikiza
(Operation Reduced Prices) as it had already shown to have brought prices
"We got a full report from the ministerial taskforce and the politburo was
very impressed that prices were coming down," Shamuyarira was quoted as
saying on the website of the state-run Herald newspaper.
"The politburo came up with a number of measures to tighten and intensify
the process and these will be tabled before the central committee ... but we
were quite impressed with the process."
The central committee's recommendations will then be "implemented by the
relevant arms of government," said the Herald without giving further
Retailers and manufacturers, grappling to cope with an inflation rate now
believed to be well over 5,000 percent, had been raising their prices
several times a day until the government ordered prices to be cut in half on
Some 3,000 retailers and manufacturers have been subsequently arrested for
violating the edict, most of whom have been slapped with fines.
Manufacturers have said the government-imposed prices mean they are unable
to cover their costs and stores are fast running out of supplies, although
the black market is prospering as a result.
With affordable food fast running, the United States government announced it
would send 47,400 metric tons of additional food aid to Zimbabwe as
President George W. Bush's spokesman delivered a withering assessment of the
"The regime's reckless attempts to address self-imposed hyperinflation have
resulted in the arrest of at least 2,000 businesspeople, widespread hoarding
and profiteering by police and government officials, and shortage of basic
staples," said Tony Snow.
"Its irresponsible economic policies will only worsen inflation,
unemployment, growing food shortages, and poverty," he said, adding that
more than four million Zimbabweans were projected to go hungry.
Snow said Washington would provide 47,400 metric tons of additional food
assistance to ease the suffering of roughly half a million Zimbabweans, and
that total US aid would feed about 1.4 million until Zimbabwe's 2008
Mugabe, barred from the United States and European Union over allegations he
rigged his re-election in 2002, has repeatedly told his Western critics to
stop interfering in the country he has ruled since independence in 1980.
One of his most outspoken domestic opponents, Bulawayo Archbishop Pius
Ncube, has previously called on outside help to topple Mugabe but his image
as head of the Catholic Church took a battering Tuesday when state media
published pictures that appeared to show him in bed with a married woman.
A lawyer for Ncube said the archbishop was challenging an adultery suit
filed by the woman's husband.
THE double standards and selective application of the law by the government
has once again emerged to tarnish the ongoing blitz against price hikes, CAJ
News can reveal that a police and army crack unit in Harare was on Wednesday
last week forced to stop impounding 30 tonnes of cement because they
belonged to a top chef.
Senior police officers supervising the blitz confirmed to CAJ News that all
hell almost broke loose when a crack team got a tip from members of the
public and rushed to Tynawald suburb in Harare to impound 30 tonnes of
cement stashed in a warehouse and also selling at a price above that
stipulated by government.
But the mission turned sour when after about 30 minutes, the owner of the
cement arrived. It was former Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) Commander,
"He didn't have many words for us, he merely ordered us to leave," one of
the members of the crack unit revealed. "We notified our superiors at the
office and they said we had no other option but to leave.
"The situation was quite tricky because the whistle-blowers were following
up on events and wanted to see effective action being taken."
Police spokesman, Oliver Mandipaka referred CAJ News to Senior Inspector
Bothwell Mugariri, who is on of the supervisors of the blitz.
Mugariri said: "We left the cement because it was established all was in
order and that is all I can say."
Zvinavashe owns a constructions company and has also ventured in the selling
of cement and bricks at his premises in Tynawald.
Sources said that cement at his firm was selling at $1,5 million per bag and
government has said the controlled price is $150 000
Now a senator, Zvinavashe is one of the most influential politicians, having
spent more than a decade at the helm of the ZNA and benefiting from the
ruling regime's patronage system.
The number of business leaders and managers that have been arrested under
the blitz on price increases is now close to 200 whilst serious shortages
take root on the market-CAJ News.
July 17, 2007, 18:15
Farmers in the Soutpansberg area in Limpopo have started patrolling the area
to arrest Zimbabweans who are entering the country illegally. They say that
the police and the defence force cannot cope with the influx anymore and
they are forced to protect themselves and their property themselves.
Farmers in the buffer zone between the Limpopo river and Louis Trichardt
have been patrolling the area on a daily basis since the political and
economic turmoil has forced thousands of Zimbabwe to flee their country in
search of a better future. Clearly marked bakkies are used in the patrols
which arrest hundreds of Zimbabweans. Whenever Zimbabweans are found in the
area, they are handed over to the police who transport them to a holding
facility near Musina from where they are deported daily.
Gideon Meiring, the chairperson of the Soutpansberg District Agricultural
Union, says: "The illegals cut holes in farm fences along the N1 and hide in
the bushes before being picked up by taxis and buses travelling to Gauteng.
Some of them also wait in the bushes at the Mopani railway station, where
they jump on to the evening train."
The border fence between South Africa and Zimbabwe does not prevent the
Zimbabweans from entering South Africa. The number of illegal Zimbabweans
arrested now stands at about 750 per day, whereas that was a figure for a
whole week until recently.
Motlafela Mojapela, a police spokesperson, says: "The Zimbabweans arrested
today say they'll have no problem bribing the authorities so that they can
be back again tomorrow."
Tue, 17 Jul 2007
Southern African labour federations are preparing for the collapse of the
Zimbabwean economy, it emerged on Monday.
"We are worried that if (mediation) fails, the Zimbabwe economy will
collapse completely, with dire consequences for the poor of that country and
the region as a whole," the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) and the
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) said in a joint statement.
Cosatu would be discussing a package of people-based, humanitarian
interventions with its alliance and civil society partners "in preparation
for this reality", said Cosatu Secretary General Zwelinzima Vavi.
Cosatu held four hours of talks with a ZCTU delegation in Johannesburg on
Monday. At present 5000 Zimbabweans were arrested trying to cross the border
into South Africa every week, said Vavi.
Food and blankets to Zim
"What do we do if that economy eventually collapses altogether?" he asked.
"No-one is going to stop the flow of Zimbabweans into South Africa and other
countries. They will walk and walk in view, in the open, to other homes in
order to survive," he said.
Cosatu had already sent tons of sanitary pads to Zimbabwe to help the
country's women. Now it was looking at sending food and blankets.
It was time South Africans realised that their challenges of poverty and
unemployment were a "Sunday picnic" compared with the struggle over the
border, said Vavi.
A solution to the crisis in Zimbabwe had to be found "yesterday", said ZCTU
Secretary-General Wellington Shibebe. "Today is too late and tomorrow will
The ZCTU had 330 000 paid-up members from the country's workforce of 998
000, he said. The unemployment rate in the country was currently at 80
Salary cuts expected
Cosatu and the ZCTU have demanded talks between the Zimbabwean government,
labour and business to resolve the crisis of empty shelves, food shortages
However, Shibebe said, a pricing stabilisation protocol signed by business,
labour and the government on 1 June was ignored by President Robert Mugabe,
who ordered the wholesale slashing of prices just three weeks later.
While Mugabe had held off on salary cuts, it was just a matter of time until
these too were imposed.
Zimbabwe might have got its freedom in 1980, but it "forgot to bring
democracy and all the necessary freedoms" to its people, he said.
If Zimbabweans had one request of President Thabo Mbeki, it was that he
ensure they have free and fair elections, said ZCTU Deputy President Lucia
'Worried' about mediation
In their statement, Cosatu and the ZCTU said: "We want a democratic process,
involving civil society, to draw up a new, progressive constitution and free
and fair elections in line with Sadc protocols."
However, Vavi said Cosatu was "very worried" that mediation in Zimbabwe
would go the same way as South Africa's observation of the previous
elections - declaring free and fair what the rest of the world condemned as
riddled with irregularities.
It was also worried at Mugabe and his Zanu-PF political party's apparent
"frustration" of the Sadc process and their lack of co-operation.
They had failed to arrive at talks on more than one occasion, wasting
valuable time in the search for a solution to the crisis, Vavi said.
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs -
Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN)
HARARE, 17 July 2007 (IRIN) - Daughters have become a high-priced commodity
in Zimbabwe, where a dowry has become a means of escaping poverty in a
rapidly declining economy. "When people are mired in such hunger as we have
been seeing in this country for over seven years, they will do anything to
survive," Innocent Makwiramiti, a Harare-based economist, told IRIN.
Parents have taken to demanding "absurd" amounts of money and other
commodities from their in-laws. "It is not surprising that many parents are
looking to the bride-price as one way to make ends meet," he said.
The dowry, a cultural practice, "has ceased to be a social problem and now
needs to be seen from an economic point of view, with girl children being
used to generate income," Makwiramiti said. "Unless the economic meltdown is
addressed, we will continue to see parents commodifying their daughters."
Most Zimbabweans are struggling to survive: unemployment is out of control,
inflation has topped 4,000 percent, and 80 percent of the population is
living below the poverty datum line.
Daughters as a pension fund
Moses Jaison, 54, from the populous suburb of Mabvuku in southeastern
Harare, the capital, last year betrothed his daughter Miriam, 15, still a
minor in Zimbabwean law, to a polygamous businessman thirty years older than
"The pain of seeing my family go without food and other basic necessities
drove me into such a decision," Jaison told IRIN. "At that age, Miriam
should have been in school and, being as intelligent as she is, might have
ended up as a doctor or pilot, but poverty has rendered that only a
Miriam stopped going to school at the age of eleven, after her father was
laid off when the company that had employed him for thirty years closed
down. Miriam's husband paid Jaison Z$15 million [US$115] and settled the
mortgage on the family home, which had almost been repossessed when they
fell behind with the monthly instalments.
Jaison barely scrapes a living by selling sculptures along the road linking
Harare with Mutare, a city about 280km southeast of the capital, but because
tourism has plummeted as a result of Zimbabwe's poor image, sales are slow
and he does not earn nearly enough to take care of his wife and five
However, Miriam found living with three other wives too demanding and
recently sought refuge at a local non-governmental organisation that
promotes the welfare of girl children.
"That has worsened my plight, because the businessman who had married her
has told me that I should give him back what he paid me as a [dowry]," said
Jaison. "That money has run out, and the police have indicated that they
want to arrest me for ill-treating my daughter by marrying her off before
she attained the legal age for marriage, and her husband could also be taken
in for making a minor his wife."
Rich men, who have often generated their wealth illegally by trading in
foreign currency or fuel on the informal market, do not have a problem in
meeting the demands of in-laws, but those who do not earn much find the
Grooms or cash cows
John Matiza, 29, who works in South Africa as a restaurant waiter, had no
choice but to break up with his girlfriend of five years because her parents
said they wanted to be paid in foreign currency, a condition he could not
afford. "My heart bleeds to realise that I cannot marry the woman of my
dreams simply because her parents think I am a cash cow," Matiza told IRIN.
"I earn just over 1,000 South African rand [US$143] a month, and can hardly
save money because accommodation and transport are expensive in
Johannesburg, yet my would-be in-laws wanted me to pay them R12,000
[US$1,725]." His lover's parents also demanded 15 head of cattle, or an
additional R15,000, part of which could be paid as monthly groceries sourced
in South Africa.
Basic commodities are in short supply in Zimbabwe, and many people have to
rely on items being brought in from neighbouring South Africa or Botswana.
More than three million Zimbabweans are estimated to have left the country
in search of employment in other countries since the economy started
deteriorating in 2000. The majority do menial jobs and work under harsh
conditions, but are consoled by the fact that they can remit money to their
families and relatives.
"My lover's parents come from a poor background and they should have been
able to appreciate that money is not easy to raise; maybe they thought that
I made much money, since I work in South Africa," said Matiza.
The parents also argued that because they had educated their daughter up to
college level, and she would have looked after them, they needed to recoup
the costs by asking for a high bride price.
Matiza went to pay the dowry, and begged for the demands to be reduced until
he and his relatives were eventually forcefully removed from the house. His
prospective in-laws insisted that their daughter would wait for a man who
could make them live in comfort, and told him they would not accept a
marriage "full of love but no money for our daughter and us".
"Over the years I have seen so many couples - over whose marriages I
presided - break down because material considerations are now taking
precedence over love. People are marrying for money and, no sooner have they
started staying together, do more problems emerge," Tim Foroma, a pastor
with a Pentecostal church, told IRIN.
He said he was outraged by some of the demands the in-laws made, such as
asking to be bought houses, cellphones or even cars. "Some of them are even
ordering their sons-in-law to put them on medical aid schemes or funeral
policies, just in case they fall sick and don't have the money to cover the
expense, or in the event that they die."
This article does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations
By Violet Gonda
17 July 2007
Once again Robert Mugabe, the master of propaganda, has the whole country
talking about allegations that have been brought against Roman Catholic
Archbishop Pius Ncube, rather than the price controls that threaten to
destroy the country.
Zimbabwe is awash with stories that Archbishop Ncube is being sued for
adultery. According to reports in the state controlled media, the cleric,
who is Robert Mugabe harshest critic, allegedly had a two-year affair with a
married parishioner who is also an official in his church. The Archbishop's
lawyer Nicholas Mathonsi described the allegations as an orchestrated
attempt to discredit his client. He said: "I think a line must be drawn
between someone who has been found guilty by a court of law and somebody who
is being tried in public for political expedience."
Although the allegations have shocked many people it is not Ncube's guilt or
innocence that people are talking about. It is the suspicious nature of the
photographs published in the state media and the carefully planned handing
over of the summons and the state media feeding frenzy that followed. A ZTV
crew just happened to be on hand when the deputy sheriff handed over the
court summons and grainy pictures showing the Archbishop next to what they
suggest is the head of a woman on a bed, have been splashed all over the
local Herald newspaper.
Lawyer David Coltart said: "The amount of publicity given to this matter is
highly unusual and it lends credence to those who say that this is something
that is orchestrated by the state." He added that remarks made by Mugabe
last week saying there were some priests who vowed to be celibate, but are
not, is proof that he had full knowledge of this, way before the matter came
to light on Monday. Coltart said the graphic naked photographs of the woman
who is implicated in this case that appeared in the Chronicle newspaper have
disgusted many people. He said: "How she has been treated goes against the
culture of Zimbabweans and it is disgusting that the regime has stooped so
This intense media focus comes at a time when Zimbabwe is reeling under an
economic crisis that has resulted in many more thousands of people fleeing
to neighboring countries in search of refuge.
The state has strong reasons for wanting to discredit Pius Ncube and an
alleged sexual scandal is the most effective way of silencing their most
outspoken critic. The regime has over the years leveled a variety of
accusations against the outspoken cleric in the hope of silencing him. They
have also tarnished other senior clerics with allegations of sexual
impropriety, such as the Methodist Bishop Charles Mugaviri, who was proved
to be innocent.
Observers say Ncube has a high profile in and outside the country and
because of this the regime could not easily kill him as they did with little
known cameraman Edward Chikomba, or opposition activist Gift Tandare.
Ncube recently called on stronger nations to invade Zimbabwe in a worst case
scenario. Only last week the Archbishop, who is also the co-chair of the
Solidarity Peace Trust, launched a damning report on the crisis in Zimbabwe.
The report was circulated to embassies, regional leaders and the
international community. It stated that there has been increasing state
repression against dissenting voices in Zimbabwe.
Adultery is considered a mortal sin by the Catholic Church and Ncube, as a
member of the clergy has taken vows not to marry or engage in sexual
intercourse. The church will now have to investigate the allegations.
In Zimbabwe adultery is a punishable offense, although convictions are very
few. Reports of politicians being adulterous are nothing new. Robert Mugabe
himself was involved with his secretary and fathered two children with
Grace, while his first wife Sally was dying of cancer. There has also been
little publicity given to High Court Judge Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku who,
according to the First Post website, is the subject of 10 lawsuits for
alleged adultery, including one with Monica Chinamasa, the wife of the
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
By Lance Guma
17 July 2007
The Vice Chancellor of the University of Zimbabwe Levi Nyagura, is prepared
to defy a High Court order reversing the eviction of students from
residence, claiming he fears for his life. Last week Friday Justice Ben
Hlatshwayo ordered that students be reinstated into their halls of residence
until the end of the extended semester. This followed the eviction a week
ago of over 4000 students by armed riot police. Thousands remain stranded,
with many sleeping out in the open. The Catholic Commission for Justice and
Peace even started soup kitchens to help out.
Nyagura is said to be furious the students took him to court and responded
by suspending indefinitely the Vice President of the Students Executive
Council Sean Macheza. A meeting between Macheza and Nyagura is said to have
led to the Vice Chancellor saying Robert Mugabe (the university's
Chancellor) had told him that the Judge who had granted the order should
prepare to accommodate all the evicted students at his house. Just last
month Nyagura himself told one student leader to 'go and learn at the judges
house' when he got an order setting aside his deregistration.
This week the court ordered the University to start admitting students to
all the halls of residence on its main campus except for Manfred Hodson
Hall, New Complex 1 and New Complex 5, which have been declared unfit for
human habitation. Authorities argued that violent protests on campus last
week rendered the hostels unusable, a claim dismissed by students. The
hostels in question are mainly used by male students and it's thought the
university would rather readmit female students while blocking their male
counterparts. UZ officials feel male students are more prone to protesting
and form the bedrock of student activism.
Meanwhile it's alleged Nyagura has said he is prepared to occupy all the
halls of residence by himself than readmit the students. He openly rebuked
security guards for not beating Macheza hard enough. 'Why is that he has no
marks on his face', he is said to have asked campus security. This is
despite Macheza sustaining bruises and cuts on his back after being
assaulted. On Tuesday Promise Mkwananzi, the President of the Zimbabwe
National Students Union, said they had already prepared a contempt of court
application against Nyagura. Lawyers are expected to file this on Wednesday.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
July 17 2007 at 01:34PM
By Henri du Plessis
In Harare, businessmen in suits eat dry bread rolls for lunch.
The average Zimbabwean family survives on maize meal (sadza).
There is usually no relish for the sadza, because it is too difficult
to obtain the ingredients and even when it can be bought, it is too
And sometimes the maize meal is not available either. Then people just
make do with what they can.
This is a picture of life in urban Zimbabwe painted by a young
journalist who fled his country with the secret service on his heels.
Francis Hweshe arrived in South Africa about a month-and-a-half ago
after a fearful six months during which his life in Harare was turned into a
living hell by the country's notorious Central Intelligence Office (CIO).
He arrived in South Africa just before the government of Robert Mugabe
ordered what is believed to be the final blow to the country's economy -
foisting radical price cuts on an already floundering retail business
After about a year of working for a community newspaper, the Harare
Post, Hweshe was arrested in December while taking photographs of officials
implementing Mugabe's Operation Murambatsvina, or Operation Drive Out
Trash - clearing out large areas of informal settlements in and around
"While I was taking photographs, officials and Zanu-PF (Mugabe's
ruling party) supporters accused me of spying and working for the MDC,"
"Then the CIO arrested me. I was tortured for 24 hours, until they
checked up on me and my colleagues stood up for me, saying I was just a
journalist doing my job.
"Then the CIO tried to recruit me, telling me they would pay me to spy
for them on some of the non-government organisations that work in the
"You can't say 'no', because they might kill you. So I told them I
would have to think about it, so they let me go, but they kept on checking
up on me.
"I had to buy some time, so I told them I would work for them, but
that they would have to tell me where to work. In the meantime, I got some
Eventually, Hweshe saved up enough money for a visa to South Africa
and fled across the border, after posing as a bus conductor.
He said Zimbabwe was headed for disaster in 1997 already, when Mugabe
sent his country's troops into the war-torn Democratic Re-public of Congo,
an expensive exercise for which the government had not budgeted.
"It was shortly after that when Mugabe decided to order the
confiscation of white-owned farms and that was when he caused the country's
economic collapse," Hweshe said.
"Nobody must be surprised at what is happening now. Everything is part
of his plan to hold on to power, to ensure that the elections go his way.
"When he cleared out those areas in the city, he was actually forcing
people into the rural areas where he has his greatest support. That way,
they cannot vote against him.
"Many of those people were young entrepreneurs, fleamarket traders,
the people who wanted their own business and who did not support him. He had
to break them up.
"And now he is making the people hungry. Hungry people are too
desperate to worry about uprisings, to stand up, they just want to make sure
they and their families survive. They cannot fight."
Society was also riddled with part-time spies as the government
intelligence structures bought desperate people with money to inform on
their neighbours, he said.
"You cannot talk to your neighbours about rising up against the
government. Many young people are forced to go to so-called Border Gezi
training camps as part of their tertiary education, where they are fed with
propaganda and also recruited to spy, even on their own families."
Hweshe said he believed that Mugabe knew the country was near the
brink of total collapse and that he would leave the country.
"I think he will go to Malaysia. He is said to have investments there
and his wife and some children are already there much of the time. The big
house he had built for himself in Zimbabwe was built with materials brought
"But Mugabe will never step down. He will not retire. He has the 1980
genocide in Matabeleland against him where his supporters killed 20 000
people who he knew would not vote for him.
"If he steps down, he loses his immunity. Then people might come after
him for that. No, he will never step down."
This article was originally published on page 11 of Cape Argus on July
Comment from The Cape Argus (SA), 17 July
By Francis Hweshe
There comes a time when one is forced to make a heart-breaking decision - to
turn one's back on one's motherland. It is a decision to leave brothers,
sisters, cousins, Mom and Dad all in despair, pain, hunger, suffering and
oppression with no end in sight. As a young Zimbabwean journalist, 25, I
feel devastated to be exiled at a time when the politics of my country is
balanced on a knife's edge. I grew up in the man-made poverty under Robert
Mugabe's regime. Trained as a journalist, I aimed to change the status quo
through the power of the pen. And I still hope to make my contribution when
Mugabe goes and the motherland is free. I love Zimbabwe and I am not ashamed
to say it. But the Nazi-like Mugabe regime makes my heart go cold. The
government is the kind of mafia organisation that makes me cry when I think
about how it made me a refugee. It was my childhood dream to become a voice
of the unheard. The faceless masses, as Mugabe sees them. As I write this
piece on South African soil, I would like to pay homage to a brave few
fellow journalists who have stayed put in Zimbabwe. I salute you guys. I
fled. Just over a month ago, I left my family in Harare and came to South
Africa on my own. I had R1 000 in my pocket and a small bag of belongings. I
don't like being a refugee. So far, staying in Cape Town has been difficult
as I have struggled to get my papers sorted out at the Department of Home
Affairs. I don't know what my future holds here, and I don't know how I will
survive. I want to be home.
Hweshe worked as a freelance journalist in Harare before being forced into
exile last month in fear of his life
HARARE, Jul 17 (IPS) - ''It is a nasty experience which I do not want to be
reminded of. But if you try to keep it to yourself it will remain a shock
for a long time. I cannot even explain the pain I felt after being told that
I was carrying dead bodies in my womb,'' said Sesedzai Manzanga, a Harare
teacher, as she recounted giving birth to a dead set of twins two years ago.
''But I thank you for coming to hear my story because I am still alive and I
know that what I am going to tell you will help a lot of women out there.''
Improving maternal health is fifth among the eight Millennium Development
Goals (MDGs). In Zimbabwe, the ruling ZANU-PF has insisted that the figures
But Manzanga's husband Cecil blamed the current contraceptive methods
available to Zimbabwean women and falling health standards. He said that
''it is always painful when your wife fails to deliver but it is better if
she survives the ordeal because some women end up dying. At one time I got
so stressed that I had to seek counselling from my friends.
''I thought a bad omen had been cast upon me and that I was going to lose my
wife. I am glad she is still alive even though she has to live with a lot of
pain and various other complications," said Cecil Manzanga, who was
reluctant to talk about the issue.
One of the consequences is that Sesedzai Manzanga is unable to have any
other children, shattering the couple's dream of having four children.
''Although I feel sorry for my husband who has always wanted a baby boy, I
think I have to stop trying because it seems as if luck is not on my side. I
am afraid I will end up dead,'' said Sesedzai Manzanga.
For a long time maternal mortality has been a neglected tragedy as
traditional societies accepted the lethal risks of child bearing as normal
Making matters worse currently is the state of paralysis that the Zimbabwean
health sector is in. The costs of maternity services have been going up,
making it difficult for pregnant mothers to seek proper medical attention.
Shortly after Zimbabwe attained independence in 1980, the government
constructed maternity wings at all major hospitals, provided the necessary
drugs and recruited well-trained midwives. At one time the government even
abolished maternity fees at all health institutions, except central
But over the past decade the health standards in the country have fallen as
experienced health personnel leave the country. There has also been a marked
reduction in fiscal allocation to the health sector.
The cheapest maternity health services in Zimbabwe's capital Harare are
offered by the City Council clinics whose workers were on strike at the time
of writing. Pregnant mothers registered at these clinics have not been able
to access the necessary health care.
According to the 2005 Zimbabwe Millennium Development Goals (ZMDG) report
maternal mortality continues to be a major challenge in Zimbabwe with most
women dying due to pregnancy-related complications because of limited access
to antenatal, delivery and post natal care.
Alice Mutema, an official at the Southern African HIV/AIDS Information
Dissemination Service (SAfAIDS), said if drastic action was taken to revive
the collapsing health sector, the Zimbabwean government can at least get
closer to attaining MDG five.
She said: ''The health sector has to get its act together and avail more
funds for other projects other than HIV/AIDS. Maternal health is not being
given the attention it deserves, but even if this happens, I do not think we
can achieve the 2015 target. But at least we can get closer to the target.''
Minister of Health and Child Welfare David Pairenyatwa said, ''Zimbabwe's
maternal death figures have been showing a tremendous reduction in the
recent past. The figures we received recently show a reduction from 900
cases to about 550 cases.
''It is a pity that some people claim that the health delivery system is
collapsing when we have such progress and given the work we are doing with
our international health partners. We remain hopeful that we will achieve
our MDG target despite the hardships we are facing,'' Pairenyatwa said.
According to the Demographic Health Survey (DHS) report covering the period
from 1999 to 2006, the maternal mortality rate in Zimbabwe has decreased
from 695 deaths per every 100,000 live births in 1999 to 555 deaths in 2006.
The DHS report is compiled by a US-based organisation, Macro International,
in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), United Nations
Development Programme (UNDP), the ministry of health and the Central
Statistical Office (CSO). The technical assistance is provided by the United
''The decline in mortality is not a significant one and can be attributed to
things such as the fertility rate going down as more and more people opt to
have less children because of the economic hardships. And I think Zimbabwe
will not meet the 2015 target because the risk for reversal is big, even for
those MDGs that are going well,'' said Festo Kavishe, the United Nations
Children's Fund (UNICEF) country representative.
''The decline is not because the quality of services has improved but
because people are no longer having children like they used to do in 1999,
therefore the problem remains huge.''
July 17, 2007, 12:45
Zimbabweans are reported to be streaming over the border to shop at Musina
in Limpopo. Reports say they have been crossing the Beitbridge border in
cars, bakkies and half trucks to do shopping at Musina and Beitbridge.
They say they are coming to buy groceries that are not found at shops in
Zimbabwe due to the economic meltdown. Zimbabwean motorists are also filling
their tanks with petrol and using containers at the local filling stations.
However, officials at the Beitbridge border post say they cannot release the
statistics of people crossing the border by order of the national
Meanwhile Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has called for more explicit
condemnation of the situation in Zimbabwe. As that country's economic
situation continues to worsen, Tutu said everything had to be done to rescue
suffering Zimbabweans. He says mediation efforts must be supported
By Silas Nkala
Villagers in most parts of Matabeleland South have expressed their concerns
that starvations is looming in the province owing to the erratic rain fall
that fell in the region last rain season and firing of donors by the
governement from the country, The Zimbabwean can reveal.
Speaking to The Zimbabwean this week some villagers said they some time
spend more than a month having not seen sadza at their homes.
"It is so serious here that if no intervantion is put in plce people will
die of hanger. The worst part of it is that the government some time
expelled some donors who were assisting us with food after suspecting that
thiose donors were working in lioison with the opposition MDC. As i speak i
have about a month without eating our staple food sadza as mealie meal or
maize has become so scarce it our area. We seriously need governement's
intervation and donors to chip in and assist" said Mr Sikhumbuzo Mpofu of
Gwanda north area.
Villagers said the Grain Marketing Board could some time bring some maize
for them to buy, but now they have last seen the deliveries in March. They
said some families can spend a week with out eating.
Most of Matabeleland South areas were hit by drought this year that no
farmer harvested reasonable. Even the irrigation farming failed to yeild any
harvest as the supply dams could not hold any water as they were no adequate
"We are calling the governement to come and assist us if it can if it can
not then should allow the donors to come and give us food rather than to
chase them away because they are not its sympathiasers. We want food we do
not eat their ruling , they must know that" said Mr Abraham Sibindi of
Damabashoko village in Gwanda.
Livestock is also in serious crisis as there are no adequate pastures for
the liverstock due to the shortages of rains last season
17 July 2007
TALKS brokered by SA to end a deepening crisis in neighbouring Zimbabwe
would resume soon, a South African government spokesman said yesterday.
The spokesman denied President Robert Mugabe had scuttled the process.
Mugabe agreed in March to send representatives of his ruling Zanu (PF) party
to S A to meet members of Zimbabwe's main opposition party.
The negotiations, which President Thabo Mbeki is overseeing at the request
of southern African leaders, have bogged down over the agenda and other
minor details, according to reports leaked to the media amid government
Earlier this month, Zanu (PF) officials failed to appear for a key meeting
in Pretoria, prompting speculation that Mugabe's government had withdrawn or
distanced itself from the talks.
"Nothing is further from the truth," foreign affairs spokesman Ronnie
Mamoepa said on Sunday. "The government rejects the falsehood peddled in the
media that President Mugabe has ordered his key party negotiators to boycott
negotiations that were supposed to resume in Pretoria this week ," Mamoepa
He said the Zanu (PF) delegation apologised to the South African government
for failing to appear at the recent meeting, citing a conflict with "prior
engagements". Efforts were under way to reschedule the talks.
Confusion over the state of the talks came amid a deepening economic crisis
in Zimbabwe, where the government has embarked on a dramatic price- rollback
programme to try tame soaring inflation, estimated to be at about 4500%.
The effort, which has been backed up by police and price inspectors, has
forced thousands of businesses to sell bread, milk and other consumer
products at mid-June levels, effectively forcing them to operate at a loss
in the inflationary environment.
Shop shelves are empty of basic foodstuffs, and petrol stations have run dry
after a spate of panic buying and a failure by embattled business owners to
The crisis has renewed fears of a collapse of the Zimbabwean economy, mired
in an eight-year depression, and of an increase in the flow of illegal
refugees coming to SA. More than 5000 Zimbabweans have been arrested for
illegally crossing the border in the past two weeks.
An estimated 3-million Zimbabweans are believed to be in SA already, many of
them without proper documentation, and they are often accused of fuelling SA's
high crime rate.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) said yesterday that refugee camps should be set
up near the border to house and feed Zimbabweans fleeing their country .
"If government takes its humanitarian duties seriously, home affairs will
immediately begin to investigate setting up refugee camps in order to assist
the people from Zimbabwe who so desperately need our help," the DA's Mark
He said that as the political situation in Zimbabwe deteriorated, more
refugees were expected to arrive in SA.
Lowe said the Lindela Repatriation Centre was not helping curb immigration
as the centre lacked the capacity to deal with the huge numbers of people
coming through its gates.
"Home affairs should be considering all options open to them, and they
should be consulting with the United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees
on the best possible means to assist those fleeing from Zimbabwe," he said.
THE forthcoming law that outlaws the movement of goods from outside Zimbabwe
to the country might not have dampened the spirit of cross border traders as
yet but socio-economic experts as well as players in the cross border
industry believe it would worsen hunger in the country.
On Friday last week President Mugabe announced the ban of all importation of
foodstuffs and goods coming into Zimbabwe without giving the reason why and
how people would survive in a country that has no food reserves, fuel,
electricity and health facilities.
A statutory instrument, The Control of Goods (Import and
Export)(Agriculture) Regulations, 2007, barring the buying and selling of
some goods in foreign countries for resale in and out of Zimbabwe comes into
effect on August 1.
Such 'controlled' goods include cooking oil, fruits, beans, meat, milk
products, poultry products, maize meal and sugar all which have disappeared
from supermarket shelves after a price freeze ordered by government.
"The people of Zimbabwe are trapped by their own government. I have not
heard of any country where people are stopped from buying goods that are not
available in their country. This obviously will make the situation with
regards to hunger worse. It is a ploy by government to force people to
produce the goods that are not in supply by starving them. Very few people
will be able to produce, worsening the populace's suffering," said economist
Luke Zunga, a board member of the Zimbabwe Civil Society Organisations
Buses plying the Johannesburg-Zimbabwe route and informal cross border
transport operators, referred to as Omalayitsha in South Africa, said the
law would compromise their profitability as well as eventually kill their
businesses which they said was their only means of survival, respectively.
South Africa-based Zimbabweans largely rely on the services of these
transporters to send food to their starving relatives back home.
"The new law will result in few if any people sending their goods to
Zimbabwe using our services. This will see our businesses folding up. I
have been in this industry for more than a decade and if there was a time I
feared my business will take a knock, it is now," said a Malayitsha who only
referred to himself as Tshuma, in the teeming Park Station Taxi Rank in
Termini where Zimbabwean bound buses operate were as usual, a hive of
activity with travellers loading foodstuffs as well as luxury products for
resale and consumption back home.
A considerable number said they were not aware of the new regulations
regarding the transporting of goods to Zimbabwe while some said they heard
such from the rumour mill.
"From what I heard, the law is vague. I understand we now require permits to
resale in our country the products that we buy here. It is common knowledge
that it takes ages for government to issue permits to regulate any form of
informal trade. That spells trouble to our means of livelihood. By buying
goods for resale in Zimbabwe I am able to make profit to send my children to
school. As it is this might be my last visit to South Africa on business,"
said a distraught Sihle Ndazi, a cross border trader and a mother of three.
Zimbabwe has over the years fallen short in producing what the new decree
terms as 'specified' goods in recent years as a result of a combination of
droughts, lack of machinery and expertise among new commercial farmers as
well as lack of investment in the agricultural sector.
The unavailability of such goods worsened recently when government ordered a
50 percent slash of goods, effectively driving producers out of business and
buyers sweeping supermarket shelves clean- CAJ News.
By Tererai Karimakwenda
17 July, 2007
The Zimbabwe Exiles Forum (ZEF) report that they have conducted
investigations into rumours of an alleged plan by the South African and
Botswana governments to deport unprecedented numbers of Zimbabweans over the
next few weeks. ZEF director Gabriel Shumba said they discovered the idea
was the brainchild of the South Africa Police Service and the South Africa
Defence Forces and is under consideration at the Ministry of Home Affairs
where it was forwarded. Shumba explained that each country planned to deport
20,000 Zimbabweans every week, over the next few weeks, allegedly so that
they can be registered to vote in the elections next year.
Code named Operation "Mugabe take your people" Shumba said there are
allegations that at least 20 000 people would be deported in a weeks time.
with about 20 coaches leaving for Zimbabwe from South Africa daily. Shumba
said the ZEF is outraged at this plan and that it would violate South Africa's
own Refugee Act and the 1951 UN Convention on Refugees. The group urged
President Thabo Mbeki to focus more on dealing with the brutality being
meted out by the Mugabe regime that has caused an estimated 5 million
Zimbabweans to flee. He said deportations are like dealing with the symptom
rather than solving the root problem.
Shumba was very critical of Thabo Mbeki's approach to the Zimbabwe problem.
As the SADC mandated mediator Shumba said Mbeki should desist from shielding
Robert Mugabe's human rights abuses and encourage the United Nations
Security Council to intervene, using its responsibility to protect citizens.
The human rights activist accused Mbeki of acting in favour of Mugabe. He
said: "South Africa and Thabo Mbeki's track record speaks for itself and
there is no doubt he is biased in favour of Mugabe."
A statement released by the ZEF on Tuesday said in part:
"Firstly, many exiled Zimbabweans fled in fear for their lives and are
liable to not only persecution, but torture and possibly death if they are
genuine asylum and refuge seekers in host countries. ZEF therefore shudders
to imagine their fate upon arrival." We were unable to get comment from the
South Africa Home Affairs ministry.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
17th Jul 2007 17:06 GMT
By Gideon Gono
In response to our land reform programme, sanctions have been imposed on
Zimbabwe by the multilateral financial institutions. They suspended all
forms of balance of payments support, technical assistance, grants and
infrastructural development flows to both government and private sectors and
stopped all lending operations to the country.
It is usually the vulnerable groups of society who suffer not the political
leaders and government officials. Sanctions have had adverse social and
economic effects on the Zimbabwean economy's key sectors. The shortage of
foreign currency resulted in the country accumulating external payment
Balance of payments
Zimbabwe's balance of payments position has deteriorated significantly since
2000 from the combined effects of inadequate export performance and reduced
capital inflows. Our foreign exchange reserves declined as a result, from US
830m representing three months import cover in 1996 to less than one month's
cover by 2006.
The foreign exchange shortages severely constrained the country's capacity
to meet foreign payment obligations and finance critical imports such as
drugs, grain, raw materials, fuel and electricity.
There has been a significant build up in external payments arrears. Total
foreign payments arrears increased from US$109m at the end of 1999 to
US$2.5bn by the end of 2006. The worsening of the country's creditworthiness
and its risk profile has led to the drying up of sources of external
The withdrawal of the multilateral financial institutions from providing
balance of payments support to Zimbabwe has also had an effect on some
bilateral creditors and donors who have followed suit by either scaling down
or suspending disbursements on existing loans to the government and
Prior to these developments, Zimbabwe had an impeccable record of prompt
debt servicing and was highly rated in the international financial markets.
The capital account, traditionally a surplus account, has been in deficit
since 2000. As such, international investors preferred other countries for
investment, thus depriving Zimbabwe of much-needed foreign direct
Sanctions have also affected the image of the country through negative
perceptions by the international community. Zimbabwean companies are thus
finding it extremely difficult to access lines of credit .As a result, our
companies have to pay cash for imports.
Also as a result of the risk premium, the country's private companies have
been securing offshore funds at prohibitive interest rates. This has had a
ripple effect on employment levels and low capacity utilisation as reflected
by shortages of basic goods and services.
Declining export performance has also adversely affected the standards of
living for the general populace, and because of the deteriorating economic
conditions, the country has experienced large scale emigration, especially
of skilled labour, thus further straining the economy.
The sanctions have adversely impacted on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to
Zimbabwe. Investors are shying away and FDI inflows have collapsed from
US$444.3m in 1998 to US$50m in 2006.
In addition, Anglo-American companies have been strongly discouraged from
investing in Zimbabwe by their home governments. This has adversely affected
investment levels into the country, thus accentuating the foreign exchange
shortages leading to further shortages of fuel and imported raw materials.
The shortage of fuel has had a debilitating impact on all sectors of the
economy, leading to a continuous decline in economic activity. This has
generated additional inflationary pressures and speculative behaviour in the
Danida supported Zimbabwe's agricultural sector programme in 1998 to the
tune of US$15.4m. The Danish programme was suspended and the economy thus
lost an opportunity to enhance food security.
The education sector support programme was established in 1996 and was
funded to the tune of US$13.9m by the Swedish government. The project
facilitated the supply of textbooks, special education needs and
construction of school buildings.
The Swedish government did not fund any new programmes in the education
sector after 2000 and our universities cannot access computers and related
accessories from American IT companies. The sanctions imposed by the West
have thus spilled over to the country's institutions of higher learning.
We used to have a transport sector support programme of US$48m, started in
April 2000, and funded by Danida. Had this programme been undertaken to
completion, it could have created employment opportunities and enhanced
trade through efficient movement of commodities within the country and the
In addition, a labour-based roads and rehabilitation works programme,
established in October 1995, and funded by the Swedish government to the
tune US$15.1m was aimed at rehabilitating 116 km of roads as well as
training indigenous small-scale road contractors. This was meant to enhance
entrepreneurial skills and capacity building for the rural population.
However, no new programmes have been put in place because of Sweden's
suspension of cooperation with Zimbabwe.
Danida has also suspended the US$29.7m health sector support programmes
established in May 2000 as a result of the land reform programme. Zimbabwe's
grant application for funding for its HIV-Aids programmes to the Global Fund
for Aids was also rejected on political grounds.
Three-quarters of the equipment in hospitals in the capital, Harare, are not
functional and this has had serious repercussions on the ordinary people. In
the backdrop of an already overburdened health delivery system, many
Zimbabweans are now finding it difficult to access affordable health
facilities and drugs, particularly anti-retrovirals for HIV-Aids patients.
The City of Harare's health department immensely benefited from the various
joint research projects with international stakeholders. These projects have
since been terminated. The department used to benefit from such projects, as
after their completion, it took over the equipment used for the research
The sanctions have also indirectly resulted in the relocation of the World
Health Organisation's regional offices to Congo Brazzaville, accompanied by
retrenchment of Zimbabweans formerly employed by the WHO.
Sanctions are affecting the smooth running of regional groupings such as
SADC and Comesa. The European Union, through the European Fund compensates
Comesa-member states for revenue losses suffered under the tariff phase-down
exercise under specific conditions which take into account macroeconomic
policies and governance issues.
Zimbabwe has not benefited from the fund and this could affect, in the long
term, its tariff reduction process in line with other countries in Comesa,
thereby undermining regional integration initiatives.
In 2000, the US enacted a new law called the African Growth and Opportunity
Act (AGOA), which offers tangible incentives for African countries to open
their economies, build free markets, and embrace political pluralism.
Those countries that adopt free market principles and are perceived to
adhere to the role of law and respect human rights are, therefore, eligible
under AGOA to export a wide range of goods to the US duty-free.
In a single year, AGOA led to an increase in exports from Africa to the US
by more than 1,000%, generating nearly $1bn in investment and creating
thousand of jobs. This increase in trade included a diverse list of
products, among them apparel, cut flowers and processed agricultural goods.
Thirty-seven African countries have met the AGOA criteria and are eligible
for the trade incentives. Zimbabwe does not enjoy any preferential trade
under AGOA because of the sanctions imposed on it by the US.
It is, therefore, evident from the above that sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe
have adversely affected vulnerable groups and the economy in general.
Significant progress that the country had made in the development of
infrastructure, health and social service delivery systems has been severely
affected by the imposition of sanctions.
The protracted foreign currency shortages that the country has been facing
since 2000 have crippled the operations of industry, which heavily rely on
imported inputs for their daily operations.
Decline in the key sectors of the economy have occasioned high unemployment,
an inefficient health delivery system, reduction in FDI and the drying up of
balance of payments support. On the whole, sanctions are partly responsible
for the decline in economic activity over the last seven years.
By Lance Guma
17 July 2007
Zimbabwe's Olympic champion swimmer Kirsty Coventry won a record 4th gold
medal at the All Africa Games in Algeria on Monday. The swimmer also boasts
a silver medal to add to her collection. She has taken the 9th edition of
the games by storm, breaking several records along the way. On Monday she
set a new All Africa Games record after winning the 50-metre backstroke in
28.89 seconds. She beat her own Zimbabwean record in the process of setting
another for the African continent.
In beating South Africans Channelle Van Wyk and Jessica Pengelly, Coventry
broke the record set by another South African, Lize Marie Retiff, 4 years
ago at the Nigerian edition of the games in Abuja. More amazing is that
Coventry is not normally a breaststroke swimmer and surprised many by
entering for that event. When she finished fourth in morning heats, it
looked as if she would regret the decision. She however tore up the script
to come second in the event, setting another Zimbabwean record for her
The swimmer has already won the 100-metre backstroke by setting another All
Africa Games record of 1 minute 1,28 seconds. She has also won the 800-metre
freestyle in 8 minutes 43 seconds, another games record. Coventry could have
added another medal in the freestyle relay, were it not for the fact that
the Zimbabwe team was disqualified for a false start. During the race she
had pushed Zimbabwe's position from 5th to 2nd only for the disqualification
to take away a second silver to add to the 4 gold medals.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news