Children worst affected by 'clean-up' By Bertha
AS the effects of "Operation Murambatsvina" continue to be felt in
the country, we lament the plight of Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVCs)
caught up in this whole humanitarian crisis.
Children have no doubt
been among the most affected group in society, particularly AIDS
orphans. The burden on those children taking care of sick parents and
relatives, whose conditions have also been aggravated by the effects of
After being forcibly removed from their homes,
on short notice, many displaced families have become destitute, sleeping in
the harsh winter cold, making them vulnerable to many diseases.
estimated that more than a million people have been displaced under the
government's ongoing crackdown on "illegal" structures with education
representative bodies estimating that more than 300 000 children are out of
school as a result of the "clean-up" campaign.
working with children have had their programmes interrupted after OVCs and
families they were working with were displaced. Some of these Non
Governmental Organisations (NGOs) who were offering educational assistance
and food packs to OVCs, have been forced to scale down their programmes
after some of the families they were working with were displaced.
official from the Child Protection Society (CPS) told StandardHealth that
they had lost 64 households they were working with as a result of the "clean
The CPS was working with at least 400 families in two
Harare high-density suburbs and was offering educational assistance to more
than 100 children and also providing supplementary food for the
The CPS says of those 400 families 112 were chronically ill
adults that they were assisting.
"We have no idea where these PLWAs
were taken to because we have lost contact with them. When they were being
removed we just watched helplessly because they was nothing we could do for
them," said the CPS official who preferred anonymity for fear of
"Wherever they are, they must be suffering. Most of them
were bedridden. With the conditions that most evictees have had to endure,
we are greatly concerned about them. God help them."
Yes indeed, God
The vulnerability of children in all this chaos is certainly
something that should worry us greatly.
While numerous organisations
have come out in response to an obvious humanitarian crisis, more
organisations need to come out with focus on OVCs.
Already UNICEF has
come out by donating a temporary learning centre for children at Caledonia
holding camp and a lot more must be seen to be done by other
Children are innocent victims who have been unjustifiably
disadvantaged by this whole operation, together with their parents or
custodians. It is such a shame that this so-called operation has caused
untold suffering on children.
What kind of a government inflicts such
pain and anguish on innocent children and women? It is truly a shame. But
let's "shame the devil" and overwhelmingly respond, as child rights
activists and organisations, to this crisis. Children are our future. Let's
give them that future.
For feedback and questions please email:
Group wants expelled farmers to snub Mugabe Mon 18 July
HARARE - A lobby group for Zimbabwe's evicted white farmers
has called on the farmers to ignore government calls to return to the land
until there is rule of law, an independent judiciary and firm guarantees
property rights will be respected.
In a warning to farmers at
the weekend, the Justice for Agriculture Trust (JAG) said the 99-year leases
that the government is promising as a guarantee of tenure to white farmers
who agree to resume farming was not enough security against future
The group, which is an offshoot of the main
representative body for white farmers, the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU),
blamed some "opportunists" for returning to farms they were expelled from in
the last five years and in the process fuelling state propaganda that white
farmers were back on the land.
"These could be opportunists
trying to jump on a non-existent band wagon or, as seems more likely,
undercover operatives testing the (white) commercial farmer waters and
thereby fuelling the propaganda," said JAG.
government-owned newspapers and radio have reported in recent weeks that
several expelled white farmers were considering returning after influential
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor, Gideon Gono, implored them to come back
and revive the faltering dairy, beef and tobacco industries.
JAG and the CFU, while not ruling out that some of their members are back on
the farms, insist disturbances are continuing on the few remaining
white-owned farms with several farmers evicted in the last few
JAG in its warning to white farmers said they should not
take up government offers to give back land it seized from them until there
was a return to the rule of law, restoration of the independence of the
judiciary and a repealing of all unjust laws.
The group also
called on dispossessed farmers not to accept any government land offers
until they were fully compensated for land, farming equipment and crops
seized by the government and its supporters.
In March, the CFU
conservatively estimated that the government needed Z$360 trillion to
compensate farmers displaced under the chaotic and often violent land
Gono and other government leaders have indicated the
state is willing to pay for equipment seized from farmers but not for lost
earnings. The state will also give returning farmers generous financial
assistance to restart farming.
But the government is also
moving to cement farm seizures and plans to use its absolute control of
Parliament to amend Zimbabwe's constitution to ensure the country's basic
governing document confirms and upholds the acquisition of land from whites
for redistribution to landless blacks. - ZimOnline
New Zealand wants to drag Mugabe to International Criminal
Court Mon 18 July 2005
HARARE - New Zealand says it will step up
a diplomatic campaign to drag President Mugabe to the International Criminal
Court for serious human rights abuses.
Foreign affairs minister
Phil Goff said New Zealand was considering investigating a case that might
bring Mugabe before the International Criminal Court, while representations
would also be made to the European Union and Zimbabwe's neighbours, mainly
He did not specify the case implicating the veteran
81-year old Zimbabwe who is accused by the West of committing serious human
rights violations against his political opponents.
also said it will push to have crisis-ridden Zimbabwe expelled from the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) for failing to service its debt saying it
will not relent on its spirited campaign "until there's change in
New Zealand has been at the forefront in criticising
Mugabe's human rights abuses against his political opponents and stealing
Mugabe denies charges of human rights abuses and in turn
accuses the West of seeking to oust him from power for seizing land from the
white commercial farmers for redistribution to landless blacks.
On the sporting scene, Goff met at the weekend the International Cricket
Council (ICC) president Ihsan Mani to discuss measures that would exempt New
Zealand's Black Caps from heavy penalties if they boycotted on moral grounds
their tour of Zimbabwe scheduled for next month.
Mani said they
would only approve a boycott if the New Zealand government adopted new
legislation banning the tour.
The Black Caps are scheduled to
arrive in Zimbabwe on August 2 for two Tests before they are involved in a
triangular one-day international series against the hosts and
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe's first Test black cricketer Henry
Olonga and human rights activist Judith Todd, daughter of liberal former
prime minister of Rhodesia Garfield Todd, on Saturday joined over 400
protesters in Auckland marching to stop the tour. - ZimOnline
Zimbabwe foreign minister expected in Pretoria in bid to
avert meltdown Mon 18 July 2005
JOHANNESBURG - Zimbabwe Foreign
Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi is expected in Pretoria today to press for a
massive $1 billion bailout from the South African government to avert a
looming economic and humanitarian disaster in the crisis-sapped
Mumbengegwi is expected to meet South Africa's Finance
Minister Trevor Manuel and Reserve Bank of South Africa governor Tito
Mboweni to discuss the financial rescue package.
talks come amid weekend Press reports that the World Bank and the
International Monetary Fund were set to expel Zimbabwe on Wednesday this
week over failure to repay debts, a development that could hasten the
southern African nation's total collapse.
Bretton Woods institutions withdrew aid to Zimbabwe several years ago and
expelling the southern African country would be the last signal to other
multilateral financial institutions and the donor community to cut whatever
little aid is still trickling to Harare.
Embattled President Robert
Mugabe last week begged South Africa to give Zimbabwe at least US$1 billion
to buy badly needed fuel, food and maize seed or the country would grind to
South African President Thabo Mbeki, under pressure from
the international community over Mugabe's demolition of homes in a
controversial urban clean-up campaign, is said to have demanded a halt to
the urban renewal drive as a pre-condition for financial aid.
Mbeki's deputy Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka is said to have also emphasised the
need to stop the mass eviction of poor urban families when she met Mugabe
and his second Vice-President Joyce Mujuru in Harare last week.
Harare authorities immediately announced at the weekend a temporary halt to
the controversial clean up exercise which has drawn criticism from the
United Nations, Western governments, Zimbabwean and international human
Zimbabwe is grappling its worst economic crisis
since it was founded by Mugabe from the ashes of the British colony of
Rhodesia 25 years ago. Inflation is pegged at 164.3 percent, one of the
highest such rates in the world. Unemployment is estimated at 70 percent
while non-governmental organisations say about 80 percent of Zimbabweans
live below the poverty datum line.
A burgeoning HIV/AIDS
pandemic is killing at least 2 000 Zimbabweans every week while four million
people out of the country's population of 12 million people face starvation
unless donor groups provide 1.2 million tonnes of food aid.
Critics accuse Mugabe of running down what was one of Africa's most vibrant
economies and blame his chaotic and violent seizure of productive land from
whites for causing perennial food shortages in a country that only five
years ago was one of the region's bread baskets.
ruining Zimbabwe and instead accuses Western governments of sabotaging the
country's economy in a bid to punish his government for taking land from
whites and giving it to landless blacks. - ZimOnline.
Zimbabwe is at the point of genocide, a disaster comparable to the Rwanda
genocide of 1994. Our government whinges and pleads it can do
What utter nonsense! The collapse of apartheid and
South Africa's transition to democracy was made possible by the intervention
of the international community, especially the banks.
one-time international banker, I was involved in the banking sanctions
campaign from 1985 until 1991. We targeted the New York banks because of the
role of the US dollar as settlement currency for foreign exchange
We had five conditions:
a.. the end of
the state of emergency;
a.. the release of political
a.. the unbanning of political
a.. the repeal of apartheid law; and
a.. constitutional negotiations towards a non-racial, democratic South
Without access to New York banks, the South African
financial system and economy would collapse.
President FW de
Klerk's speech on February 2, 1990 conceding the first three demands, was
the result of our campaign.
We then maintained the pressure for the
fourth and fifth demands and until transition to democracy was
Zimbabwe is even more dependent upon South African
banks than our country is on access to the New York payment
Close down all payments to and from Zimbabwe against
demands for the resignation of the Mugabe dictatorship and negotiations by
Zimbabweans towards a democratic future.
Mugabe gears up terror tactics By Caiphas
THE increasingly paranoid Zanu PF government has intensified its
campaign aimed at instilling fear and uncertainty in the population by
effectively smothering political discourse in public places, analysts have
By observing the pattern of arrests since the promulgation of
draconian laws such as the Public Order and Security Act (POSA), they said
President Mugabe's government, has upped the application of repressive laws
to silence mounting dissatisfaction in the past few months. This comes at
time when there has been mounting discontent as the masses struggle to come
to terms with the worsening socio-political and economic crisis.
has become a common occurrence to see secret security details, masquerading
as customers, in queues of basic commodities such as sugar, maize meal and
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) director Arnold
Tsunga says "insult laws" have come in handy for the government which is
determined to drastically narrow the democratic space.
pursuing a number of cases of this nature. This is done to limit freedom of
expression and consolidate dictatorship," said Tsunga.
Under section 16
of POSA, it is a crime to "undermine the authority or insult the President"
and one can be fined up to $400 000 or be imprisoned for a period not
exceeding one year or both.
Wanton arrests, Tsunga said, have intensified
following the political threat posed by the opposition MDC to the regime,
which has has been in power since independence in 1980.
Constitutional Assembly (NCA) chairman Lovemore Madhuku said President felt
unsafe in his position and laws such as AIPPA and POSA had given him a false
sense of security.
"The government has definitely intensified repression
but if more and more people take a stand against the regime, it will
collapse," said Madhuku, who has, on several occasions, been arrested for
organizing demonstrations calling for a people-driven
In the streets of Harare and Bulawayo, there has been a
notablyheavy presence of the police, soldiers and youth militia trained at
the controversial "Border Gezi" training centres .
These have become
even more evident as the government cracks down on so called illegal
settlements in the exercise dubbed "Operation Murambatsvina." A number of
people who have publicly spoken against the operation have been brutally
beaten up by the security forces.
One such victim was Lloyd Madzimure of
Kambuzuma who was detained and harassed for nearly two hours after he phoned
a reporter inviting him to witness the "barbaric demolitions" in the
"I did not know that I was standing next to a security officer
when I phoned a reporter to come and write a story of the ruthless nature of
the demolitions. He grabbed me by the belt and locked me up in the back of a
police vehicle," said Madzimure, the son of MDC's Kambuzuma MP, Willias
The general feeling among the population now is that even
in commuter buses (kombis), trains or other public places where one is
likely to be overheard, freedom of speech can no longer be exercised without
attracting the wrath of Mugabe's secret agents.
Late last year,
Reason Tafirei was sentenced to 140-hours community service at Zengeza
Primary School in Chitungwiza after he denigrated Mugabe.
arrested aboard a commuter bus to Chitungwiza when he was heard making
statement that equated Mugabe to a dictator and British Prime Minister, Tony
Blair to a saviour.
Mugabe has a history of instilling fear in his
opponents. At the the height of farm invasions in 2001, he bluntly told his
supporters to instil fear into "heart and mind of the white men", apparently
referring to commercial farmers who resisted seizure of their
However University of Zimbabwe political analyst, Heneri
Dzinotyiwei, believes that there is no deliberate effort to kill public
He said people were more concerned about putting
food on their tables than political talk.
"I don't think people have
been cowed. They spend most of their time trying to find alternative ways of
survival," said Dzinotyiwei.
Harare becomes city of 'rodents and flies' By Caiphas
LACK of adequate financial resources seriously compromised the
operation of Harare City Council last year, virtually reducing what was once
the "Sunshine City" to a "fly and rodent city", says the latest report by
the local authority.
The 2004 Annual Report of the Harare City health
Department released last week, expressed concern over the deteriorating
health and hygienic state of Harare as flies and rodents invaded the city
due to erratic collection of refuse. The report said there was erratic
collection of refuse due to lack of transport or aging municipal refuse
fleet, which spend most of the time in the garages. This resulted in dumping
of refuse by residents at almost every available space in both low and
high-density residential areas, industrial and commercial areas, the report
Decomposing refuse continues to pile up in most suburbs of Harare,
exposing residents to serious health hazards. In high density areas of
Mufakose, Kambuzuma, Budiriro, Dzivarasekwa and Glen View swams of flies
could be seen in most of the dumping areas. Choking stench and swarms of
flies are a common occurrence in most of the high-density areas. "The
dumping resulted in fly and rodent infestation and smells from dumped
refuse," said the report.
In a foreword to the report, Lovemore
Mbengeranwa, head of Harare City's Health Department, said the lack of funds
severely affected the operations of the already financial beleaguered
authority. "The perennial shortage of funds resulting from a dysfunctional
budget completely paralysed council operations," Mbengeranwa
During the course of the year, private firms contracted to collect
refuse in Harare stopped after the city council failed to pay them. The
private contractors collected 44 percent of the refuse, while the council
was responsible for 56 percent.
"Some of the contractors had cash
problems because council did not pay them on time. As a result of erratic
collection of refuse by contractors, council had to move in time and again
service the affected areas," said the report.
Companies contracted to
collect refuse by the Harare City Council include Broadway Services, Encore
Consolidated Waste and Cleansing and Environment Services. Residents
complained that the council continued to charge for refuse collection when
it was not providing such a service.
Godfrey Muswanhi of Kambuzuma said:
"I am worried that the council is robbing us of our hard-earned cash. We are
paying for services, which are not being rendered, its daylight
Environmental problems in Harare were further exacerbated by
the introduction of water rationing in the city, with some suburbs such as
Waterfalls, Tafara and Mabvuku going for over two weeks without a drop of
water. The city council attributed the water crisis to mechanical breakdowns
that were experienced at Morton Jaffray Water Works.
resorted to fetching water from unprotected wells for domestic use, exposing
their families to serious health hazards. "This impacted negatively on the
quality of the environment whilst putting the health of the residents at
risk to infectious disease outbreaks," read the 173-page report.
Transport blues return to haunt commuters By Thomas
TRANSPORT blues, which temporarily "disappeared" in some of
Harare's hard-hit areas during the two-week visit by United Nations special
envoy, Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka, in Harare, have resurfaced because of the
Surveys by The Standard last week showed that thousands
of commuters were stranded, as the rural buses, introduced in the city a few
weeks ago, were nowhere to be seen. The worst affected commuters included
those from the high-density suburbs of Glen Norah, Kambuzuma, Mabvuku,
Tafara, Warren Park, Dzivarasekwa, Epworth and Hatfield.
Manenji, from Warren Park, said: "I have been waiting for the bus for more
than three hours now and there has been no transport. Last week the
situation was better but now it is getting worse."
The visit by UN
special envoy saw the government requesting bus companies, among them
Chawasarira, Tenda, Munenzwa, Nyamweda and Kukura Kurerwa, which service
rural destinations to ply urban routes.
Commuters said the availability
of the buses might have been designed to impress the UN envoy who toured
"Following the visit by the UN envoy we received several
buses but now it is really difficult to get transport. I have no doubt they
just wanted the envoy to think that all was well in Harare," said Timothy
Ngwenya, a commuter from Kuwadzana.
However, this arrangement
seriously prejudiced people who wanted to travel to rural areas which were
not in Tibaijuka's itinerary.
The Standard established that thousands of
travellers who wanted to go to rural areas have been stranded for weeks as
they cannot get buses.
A visit to Mbare Musika showed that there were
fewer buses than usual going to rural areas and many travellers were
An official with one of leading bus operators said many bus
companies now preferred urban routes.
"Under the new arrangement, we
were only allocated 150 litres a day by Noczim. The fuel is enough for short
routes. There is no way you can travel to Bulawayo and back with 150 litres,
so we use that little fuel for short local routes," said the
He said the unavailability of buses after the UN envoy left was
a result of lack of fuel supplies.
He said the situation was even
worse with rural destinations, as most companies were awaiting
"Most buses are shunning rural destinations because they need a
lot of fuel. Although rural routes are usually more profitable, the current
situation makes it more profitable to ply urban routes than rural routes, as
the buses are always full to and from the city centre," he noted.
inspector with a Harare-based bus company said the sudden increase in
"chicken buses" operating in the city centre could be attributed to the new
$5 000 fare a trip.
"The new price is more competitive and makes the
business more profitable as we get a lot of money from less fuel and over a
short distance," said the inspector.
We pray for better as we watch Zim get worse
July 18, 2005
Since before the Zimbabwe "elections" - which,
predictably, by no means "reflected the will of the people" - I and others
have been writing letters to the press about the conditions in that despotic
Thanks to a professional and vibrant press here in South
Africa, editorials and feature articles with sad pictures and cartoons tell
the ghastly story of Zimbabwe's decent into a failed fascist
Two million town dwellers have been punished in past weeks
for voting for the opposition MDC by having their homes and livelihoods
destroyed. Thanks to the press, here and overseas, the story has got
Ex-disinformation minister Jonathan Moyo, blustering and
bluffing on 3rd Degree would be well advised to distance himself from the
regime and an apology for his role in banning the Daily News would not be
out of place.
This stamping out of freedom of expression and
the press determined the illegitimacy of those elections before polling
A gleam on the horizon is the UN's special envoy, Anna
Tibaijuka, who told Zim state officials what she thought of the callous
destruction of homes. She objected to the description of decent dwellings of
thousands of Africans as "illegal structures".
of us who lived in and loved Zimbabwe can only Cry the Beloved Country and
hope and pray that, in time, anarchy will give way to a more rational,
Rights activist slams 'misery-maker' Mugabe
July 18, 2005
Harare - Two months after Zimbabwe's government
launched a drive to demolish illegal housing and trading, rights groups in
the country say it has brought nothing but misery.
Murambatsvina ("Clear Out Trash") and Operation Restore Order were launched
on May 19 in an exercise President Robert Mugabe said was aimed at driving
out crime and grime but that has left hundreds of thousands of people
Now, just a week after the government pledged a
rebuilding programme to cost some Z$3-trillion (about R2,2-billion),
thousands of displaced people are inhabiting makeshift tents in transit
camps such as Caledonia Farm, located near Harare.
question is: 'Have people's lives changed for the better since the clean-up
started?' " said Alouis Chaumba, whose rights organisation has been feeding
displaced families, in some cases providing tents and temporary
"The answer is a loud no," said Chaumba, director for
the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace.
"At Porta Farm
(west of Harare), for example, close to 10 000 people are still in the open
and thousands of people who earned an honest living as vendors have been
left with no alternative means of livelihood.
"What the government
has done is to create a cycle of hardship in which the poor will remain
trapped for years to come."
The government's rebuilding exercise
was "not likely to yield tangible results any time soon because the local
authorities have no capacity to undertake building projects of the magnitude
required to cater for those affected".
of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, said: "Some of them have lost property
bought from many years' savings and, as far as we are aware, none of our
clients from Porta Farm has been allocated stands promised for those who
The United Nations estimated that about 200 000
people have been left without homes. The opposition has denounced the blitz
as a campaign of repression and says up to 1,5-million Zimbabweans have been
Despite police saying last month that the clean-up
campaign was in the final stages, it has moved into the plush suburbs of
Harare, where the demolition of staff quarters, garages and other
outbuildings erected without approval was ordered.
forces halted the demolitions on Friday and gave residents 10 days to have
their outbuildings approved by the city council. South Africa has said it
will await a report from UN special envoy Anna Tibaijuka before deciding
what action to take.
A South African newspaper reported yesterday
that the "temporary cessation" of demolitions four days after a visit by
Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka was probably tied to an attempt to
obtain a loan from Pretoria.
The paper said Mugabe's government
had asked Mlambo-Ngcuka to extend the terms of a Z$1-billion loan.
A worldwide energy healing
session for Zimbabwe and its leaders, initiated by a Drakensberg resident,
was held last night.
Rowan Wilkinson, who is also known for his
homeopathic success with horses struck by African Horse Sickness, said that
the plight of people and animals in Zimbabwe could not be
Wilkinson issued a world-wide plea via e-mail asking
people to set aside time last night to pray for those people affected by
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and the actions of his
Simultaneously, an energy healing session was held on a
farm near Bell Park Dam in the central Drakensberg, led by Wilkinson and
Barry Jacobs, who is a therapist.
Wilkinson said that the focus
of the prayer session was to send the power of love to Mugabe and to enable
him to pray for forgiveness. It also aimed to heal the people and animals
affected in Zimbabwe.
Wilkinson said that he felt it was
important to send positive energy to someone who only ever received negative
He said that he had a particular wish to support the
animals in Zimbabwe, many of which were abandoned on farms and left with no
"There are horses, cats, dogs and farm animals which are not
being looked after."
Wilkinson said he believed that prayer
could make a difference and urged people to join in the
"If you believe one person can make a difference, then
pass on the thought 'I send the power to love and forgive to Robert Mugabe
and I send healing to those people and animals that have been
Wilkinson said that he would be watching the news
carefully to see what effect the positive energy healing session had on
'Clean-up' campaign to affect voting patterns By our
THE massive 'clean-up' exercise which has displaced thousands of
people in the cities could be a ploy by the ruling Zanu PF to cut the number
of constituencies in the opposition strongholds, says Harare North MDC
legislator, Trudy Stevenson.
Stevenson who was recently appointed the
MDC parliamentary spokesperson for local government said only one out of the
350 families, recorded just after the demolitions in Hatcliffe Extension was
allocated a stand at Hopley farm, despite claims by government that they had
been accommodated at the farm. "They are just reducing the number of people
living in Harare North, in my view, so that we will be merged with another
constituency to reduce the number of MDC constituencies," said
She said the residents of Hatcliffe Extension still believe
they have a right to their allocated stands, for which they paid deposits
and rent, and had lease agreements from the government.
is before the Supreme Court, but we have no idea how long they will take to
hear the case or hand down their judgement - besides which, we know that we
can no longer rely on the impartiality from that Bench," she
Stevenson said she undertook an analysis of the list to see how
many of the 350 families whose details they managed to record before the
evictions had been allocated stands at Hopley.
"The number of stands
allocated at Hopley, which were all for Hatcliffe Extension residents
according to Chombo, is 1272 stands. Of all the people on our list, only
Susan Mapuranga, has been allocated a stand," she said.
the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and Urban development had
claimed that all the residents of Hatcliffe Extension who went to Caledonia
Farm were allocated stands at Hopley Farm as listed in The Herald of 2
Chombo said: "Regrettably, for reasons best known to some of them,
they seem reluctant to take up the offer Government has made to them. 1 200,
whose names were published last Saturday, have been relocated to Hopley and
they are extremely very happy except a few who were carried to that place
last week on Monday by the Hon member (Stevenson) and stage managed for the
chairman to see. Those are unhappy."
He could, however, not give
figures of the affected people.
Chombo said lecturers from the Zimbabwe
Open University and teachers from a police boarding school close to the area
would be given houses there so that they stay nearer to their
Earlier, Stevenson had questioned in parliament why
Hatcliffe Extension had suddenly been considered geographically unsuitable
when 10 years ago this area was laid out as a site-and-service scheme for
Villagers blast govt over uncompleted projects By
MASVINGO - Travelling along the Mpandawana - Kurai road
one could easily equate this desolate stretch of land to the war torn region
of Ituri in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which was devastated by
years of civil war.
Despite the government's repeated promises to
improve road infrastructure in the country, the Mupandawana - Kurai road
remains a sorry sight. As a result, bus operators now shun the road, which is
riddled with potholes. Villagers walk for several kilometres to the nearest
Villagers from Bhasera, Zimbisi and Munyikwa in the
Chimombe area, about 120 km east of Mupandawana Growth Point, are the most
affected. They endure long distances on foot - often carrying their luggage
- to the main tarred road, where they can board buses to their various
The government started a project to tar the road in 1995,
promising that it would be completed in five years. But 10 years on, the
project still remains uncompleted. Only a 15km- stretch of the 150-km road
The government's failure to complete the project has
sparked an outcry from villagers, who have accused the authorities of
feeding them empty promises during elections.
Trynos Gonese, a
villager from Bhasera said:"What irks us most is that whenever elections
draw near, that is the only time we hear about the government pledging funds
to complete tarring the road."
Other villagers have accused the Member of
Parliament for Gutu South, Shuvai Mahofa, of gross incompetence and
dereliction of duty.
Taurai Hunduza said: "Our MP is letting us down. She
knows the bad state of the road and she must be seen to be at the forefront
of sourcing funds to complete the project. Since the project started, she
has always promised that the road will be completed soon but we now realise
she will be only soliciting for our votes."
Hunduza, a University of
Zimbabwe law student, said once the elections were over, Mahofa stopped
talking about the project.
Hunduza, who is from Makonese village, said:
"We are likely to hear about the project again when the country goes for
another legislative plebiscite in 2010."
Contacted for comment,
Mahofa attributed the slow progress on projects in her constituency to lack
of funds. "I have done quite a lot and as for the road, we have covered 20
kilometres. Progress has been stalled by lack of funds," said Mahofa, who
refused to answer further questions.
"I am going into a meeting. You are
troubling me. Why don't you go there to see for yourself," said Mahofa,
before switching off her mobile phone.
Other than the road issue, other
social amenities such as clinics, hospitals and schools in the area have not
received due attention and continued to deteriorate, according to the
Chepiri clinic, officially opened by Vice President Joseph
Msika at a rally to drum up votes for Mahofa before the disputed 31 March
parliamentary elections, faces closure due to lack of staff, equipment and
Chimombe Hospital, the largest referral centre after Gutu Mission
also faces the same fate. Nurses and doctors shun the hospital because the
road makes it difficult for them to access other centres.
also been complaints of poor living conditions at the hospital.
there are numerous primary schools in the area, secondary schools are still
Buhera villagers fume as clean-up targets their
huts By Valentine Maponga
THE widely condemned "Operation
Murambatsvina" is now spreading to rural areas, with reports indicating that
all thatched houses and cattle pens at a village near Murambinda Growth
Point were last week being targeted for demolition.
Buhera said the rural district council officials and police officers were
moving around the area advising them to demolish all buildings that had no
plans. They said about 18 homesteads that fall under an irrigation scheme a
few kilometres away from Murambinda Business Centre were also being
targeted. "We were given less than two hours to demolish all thatched huts
and cattle kraals without being given any alternatives. When we asked them
why, they told us that they were just following orders," said one of the
Among the 18 homesteads that are going to be
affected is a 49-year-old home belonging to Advocate Eric Matinenga, who
usually represents opposition Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan
Matinenga said: "When we settled in that area there was just
a small business centre and it was way before independence. My relatives and
all the other villagers were told to destroy their kitchen huts only because
they are thatched."
Last week Matinenga successfully sought a court
order barring the Buhera rural district council from destroying the
property. The order was granted by High Court judge, Justice Charles Hungwe,
who issued the order barring Buhera rural district council and the police
from carrying out the demolitions.
The homestead has a thatched
kitchen hut, a gazebo and a brick storeroom, according to
Buhera District Council officials confirmed to The Standard
that they were "cleaning-up" the area of all "illegal structures" near the
Vambai Shenjere, the chief district engineer for Buhera
said on Friday that the "clean-up" exercise touched all urban settings and
it would be unfair if they spared the area.
"Thatched huts are
illegal in all urban settings and they have to be destroyed," Shenjere
He said that the area now formed part of the low-density suburb of
Murambinda and could not be referred to as a rural area.
The nightmare of a 320km rural trip eyewitness By
A casual look at the mattress betrays its age and the
status of its owner. It's just there, battered and propped up by an old
three-legged base made out of cheap patched-up wood.
anything particularly striking or different about this item since there are
many other household goods that litter a pick up point along the Masvingo
- Beitbridge road commonly known as Mbudzi.
It's just that the
mattress was at the same spot yesterday when I made a first unsuccessful
attempt to get public transport to Gutu.
"This is just one of the
countless items that have been abandoned here by people who could not find
transport to their rural areas after "Murambatsvina," a disguised airtime
vendor says showing no sign of concern.
Mbudzi - usually a meeting point
for well-dressed travellers and cross border traders seeking transport
either to Beitbridge, Masvingo or Gutu - looks different today.
are many people who seem to be carrying all their earthly belongings.
middle-aged man who is about three metres from me is jealously guarding an
assortment of suspicious looking items packed in seven dirty grain bags. A
pot's handle and an old primus stove that have fallen out of one of
weather-beaten bags are enough to whet anyone's curiosity about the
remainder of the bag's contents.
"I have been coming here everyday
for the past two weeks but I have failed to get transport to Zaka. All the
buses are full with people leaving the city," he says when I start the usual
bus-stop-conversation with him.
"Havachadi kuti tigarewo mudhorobha.
Hanzi endai mundoorera kumusha,"(They say we should go back our rural homes.
They no longer want us in the city) says the man.
I quickly leave him
alone. I have heard too many heart - breaking stories and I think it's
important for me to think about the journey to my communal home, about 320
km away from Harare.
I arrived at Mbudzi at six in the morning and it's
almost 11AM - and still there is no sign of a bus or lorry on which I can
hitch a ride.
After an hour or so, a bus laden with worn-out household
goods, which anybody would have been ashamed to be seen with a few months
Its conductor calls for only two passengers going straight
to Masvingo. I beat the stampede to get into the bus and I become a standing
passenger for almost 150km. I will just have to pay a full fare to Masvingo
and ask to be dropped off in Chivhu.
"One hundred thousand dollars to
Masvingo is much cheaper, sometimes you can be charged $150 000 to get
there," one man who seems to be an expert on transport problems says as I
count the fare. Six months ago the same trip cost $45 000.
I have a
couple of $500 notes and the conductor gets agitated when he sees
"Enda unopa Gono mari yako iyoyo, handina nguva yekuverenga
maKwacha iwayo."(Go and give those useless notes to Gono (Governor of the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Gideon Gono)...as I have no time to count
An outcry from other passengers saves my day and soon I put the
embarrassing incident behind me.
At Chivhu, after an hour-long wait,
a sleek Japanese 4X4 vehicle pulls off the highway and its driver, a thin
man wearing glasses, makes it clear that he doesn't want any suspicious
people in his vehicle for fear of picking up robbers.
Knowing that I
stand to lose out if I don't get into the vehicle, I pleaded with him to
take me in. Soon his vehicle cruises along the deserted highway.
unmistakable outside the confines of the vehicle is the havoc that has been
wrecked on the former commercial farms that used to be productive.
is no cattle in the former dairy farms now - just signs of scattered crops
that weathered before they matured.
In Gutu, I wait for an hour before I
get into a Muzokomba-bound bus, which is also packed. My hopes of finishing
the remaining 90km are short-lived as the driver kicks the old engine to
The bus, which has seen better days travels at about 20 km an hour
and a few yards away from Zvavahera, breaks down as many had predicted it
would. It's something to do with lack of spare parts.
We have to wait
for five hours for a mechanic to come from Gutu, about 40km away, and fix
And as dusk engulfs the communal area, home to Zimbabwe's
former Vice President Simon Muzenda, the engine roars into life again and we
resume our journey.
Arriving at Bhasera Township is no source of
comfort for me. It's almost 8PM, there is no transport and home is still
several kilometres away.
A lorry that arrives there shortly takes me five
kilometres away and leaves me at a pitch-dark bus stop. It's late but I have
no other option but to walk the remaining 23 kilometres home.
distance we are used to walking these days," says a man who becomes my
companion. "You may not like what I am saying, but I do not know whether we
are still in Zimbabwe, the land of milk and honey or in some other damned
I am not sure about the answer but the truth is that I left
my Harare home at 5AM and it's now shortly after midnight yet I haven't
reached my rural home, which is only 320km from Harare.
EU wants more pressure on Mugabe regime By our
THE European Parliament wants a special envoy appointed for
Zimbabwe in order to galvanise action among African states, as international
pressure mounts on President Robert Mugabe.
In a raft of resolutions
10 days ago, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) said in order to
achieve such a feat there was need for support from the United States and
Commonwealth countries. The resolutions have been forwarded to the EU General
Affairs and External Relations Council for consideration and possible action
when the council meets tomorrow.
The resolutions call "for the
suspension of the return of Zimbabwean asylum seekers from member states
until the situation in Zimbabwe improves".
The MEPs said there was need
for an immediate end to forced evictions under the so-called "Operation
"We demand an immediate end to Mugabe regime's forced
evictions and insist that unrestricted access be granted to relief and
humanitarian agencies assisting those internally displaced.
remind the South African government of its special responsibility vis-à-vis
its neighbour Zimbabwe and call on it to strive that the Mugabe regime stops
the forced evictions immediately," reads the statement.
legislators insisted that aid "must be made available to the Zimbabwean
people through non-governmental organisations" and called for the
establishment of an international committee of inquiry to investigate the
use of food and shelter as political weapons.
They criticised the
African Union for failing to rein in Zimbabwe.
"We deplore the weak
stance of the African Union, in particular South Africa and a number of
Zimbabwe's other neighbours, in turning a blind eye to the daily oppression
of the people of Zimbabwe and the destruction of the country's economy," the
The Parliament said SADC had to close its regional
peacekeeping training centre in Harare as an indication of its willingness
to exert pressure on President Mugabe.
The EU Parliament urged the G8
nations to insist upon a clear demonstration on the part of African regional
organisations and nations of their commitment to good governance, tackling
corruption, democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights, as well
as economic progress. They regard Zimbabwe as a test case.
INCREASINGLY, more people are beginning to see through the
web of deceit being woven by the government.
Members of Parliament
last week refused to swallow the government's barren proposals three months
after initially being assured the worst fuel crisis to grip the country
would be over in a fortnight. In revolting over the worsening fuel crisis,
the MPs did what they are elected to do - speak on behalf of and represent
the grievances of the people who elected them to parliament. The MPs
effectively told the government that it had run out of ideas on how to
manage the country.
They also signalled that they can no longer trust
what the government tells them because its promises count for nothing. In
April, Zimbabweans were promised an end to the worsening fuel crisis, but it
is evident today that this is the worst phase of the crisis that can be
traced to October 1999.
The fact that the country has staggered from one
crisis of varying proportions to another over the last six years is a
profound statement on the hopelessness of several government initiatives.
The government does not like to admit its shortcomings, but it is evident
that it is clueless as to how it can move this country out of the mess the
government landed it in. It is this paucity of inventiveness in the face of
crises that the MPs rose up against in Parliament last week.
has a monopoly of ideas, yet the government, which is essentially made up of
recycled characters, who are well past their sale-by-date, believes it can
resort to hoodwinking the nation in the hope that the problems will blow
over and somehow things will sort themselves out.
The major problem is
that our leaders are not receptive to ideas from outside. They feel
threatened by ideas and initiatives that they themselves have not
originated, even though it is clear that after a quarter of a century, they
are bereft of any originality.
What the MPs told the government last
Wednesday was that even at its worst the UDI government was able to manage
the fuel crisis and ensure that it could pay for its requirements.
Zimbabwe's must be the only government in the world that is required to pay
for its fuel before delivery.
It is significant that while President
Robert Mugabe travelled to Sirte, Libya, for an African Union meeting, he
failed to take advantage of the summit to appeal for assistance over the
crippling fuel crisis.
It is such dearth of initiatives that outraged the
MPs last week. There was also another factor. On 26 June as the United
Nations special envoy arrived in the country for an assessment of the
State-engineered humanitarian crisis, the government declared: "The clean-up
operation code-named 'Operation Restore Order' is winding up and is being
replaced by a new one known as 'Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle', under
which the government aims to provide residential and business accommodation
to deserving people under a comprehensive reconstruction
But exactly a day after the UN special envoy left Harare, the
government made a u-turn as if poking its nose at the UN and said the
"programme" would from last Monday move to the low density suburbs, starting
with Hatfield and Waterfalls.
The same day that the UN special envoy
left Harare the ruling party's mouthpiece declared defiantly: "Murambatsvina
will not end." This is exactly the opposite of what the government had spent
two weeks assuring the special envoy.
Last week the government also
made another u-turn and said councils should spearhead the reconstruction of
houses to replace those demolished by the government. No council has the
kind of resources that would enable them to undertake such a massive housing
programme, when they can not even cope with lesser taxing undertakings such
as refuse collection.
More importantly, the government again has not said
where the trillions it is promising will come from, because no such
provision was ever made in the budget. But the MPs saw the obsession with
destruction being at the expense of the real crisis confronting this
The recent resignations from the ruling party signals the
beginning of a winter of discontent for Zanu PF. They portray the ruling
party as an animal that has gone out of control and is a threat to the
wellbeing of the country. The discordant voices could signal the beginning
of the end of Zanu PF's political hegemony.
Once a government can no
longer be trusted on what it says, it loses whatever little credibility that
remained. Its refusal to engage the opposition, which has a significant
representation in parliament in the search for solutions to the Zimbabwean
crisis, has led many to realition that both the government and ruling party
no longer govern in the interests of the nation but of a few
Africa needs fair trade, not aid
sundayopinon with Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem
EVERYBODY loves Africa and
is going to desperate lengths to show why they are our new best friends! It
is like South Africa after the release of Nelson Mandela from prison.
Suddenly we could not find any supporters for the loathed apartheid system
anymore both inside and outside of South Africa.
Even the Boer
Nationalist Party that institutionalised apartheid became anti-apartheid.
Everywhere Mandela went powerful politicians in powerful countries in Europe
and America who had shielded the apartheid regime from international
sanctions and prevented censure of the racist regime in multi-lateral forums
including the UN Security Council, Commonwealth, EU, etc were all queuing up
to have their pictures taken with the Great Madiba. They all
reinvented their political CVs to show how all along they have been fighting
for his release and an end to apartheid. One of the worst of this latter day
friend of South African Liberation was Mrs Margaret Thatcher who as British
Prime Minister resisted any criticisms of apartheid South Africa, invited P
W Botha on a State visit to London and described the ANC as a "typical
terrorist organisation like the IRA".
Africa is in a similar
situation now. It is difficult to know how to react to this sudden show of
concern for a people that have been so marginalized and humiliated for such
a long time. It is like being offered handkerchief by the same person who is
beating the hell out of you.
After last Saturday's multi-city
parties the whole world is now programmed to look up to eight White men in
dark suits who met in far away Gleneagles, Scotland, to save Africa. None of
them is an African.
Yet a much bigger assembly of another powerful
group of people (at least in their countries even if the rest of the world
may not feel their impact), all of them heads of state and government from
across Africa were meeting in the Libyan city of Sirte deciding on the
future of Africa without similar focus in the global media.
is these people through their action and inaction who have the power to
change things for the better or worse on this continent. Anybody who really
cares about helping Africa needs to know what this group of men, many of
them also in grey suits but others in elegant African dresses have been
saying to themselves.
The fifth ordinary Summit of the Assembly of
the African Union ended in Sirte, Libya recently. The leaders, among other
pressing issues, addressed themselves to the dances for poverty and pledges
for action about Africa from outsiders. They welcomed the initial debt
relief package for developing countries out of which 15 African countries
However, they called for a universal debt
cancellation that benefits all African countries, not just select
This is a logical consensus given previous experience of
African countries scandalously competing among themselves about who is more
connected in Washington, London or Paris. Individually they sold out but
collectively we may regain some dignity and credibility. They have to avoid
being played against each other. The separate deal for debt relief for
Nigeria is potentially one of those divide and rule tactics. It may limit
Nigeria's capacity to talk on behalf of Africa and also neutralise it in
bloc negotiations whether in the World Trade Organisation or in the
IMF/World Bank. My own suspicion is that they have agreed to throw this
carrot at Nigeria as an advance compensation for her not to get the
much-coveted UN Security Council permanent seat, which will more likely go
to South Africa.
Significantly, the AU summit did not dwell so
much on aid but rather called for the abolition of unfair trading rules that
rig international trade against Africa and asked for a clear timetable for
the abolition of these subsidies. One can see that the African leaders are
not taken in by various pledges on aid but rather want us to trade our way
to prosperity instead of being aided to remain dependent.
contrasts with Premier Tony Blair's breakthrough in getting a calendar on
aid targets. Just as the Algerian nationalists told their French
colonialists when offered the choice of being independent or being part of a
neo-colonial French federation according to Malcolm X they said: they needed
their land not some French! The AU is saying we need some fair-trade not
These are the messages that the African leaders
invited to the G8 as side salads took to Gleneagles. I really wish that
these leaders would stop ridiculing themselves by appearing like a
non-governmental organisation lobby group at these summits of the rich. From
next year, they should have a face-to-face summit to review any progress on
mutually agreed targets. After all that is what the mutual accountability
principle in the African Peer Review Mechanism is all about. It is about us
judging ourselves and also mutually judging each other with our so-called
Apart from the response to G8 the summit
made numerous decisions on a variety of issues that have direct impact on
Africa and Africans than anything a group of ageing rockers and an exclusive
club will do for Africa.
One of those defining issues is the call
by the Muammar Gaddafi, which President Yoweri Museveni immediately
supported, for an All African Union government and a dismantling of all
barriers to freedom of movement for Africans across Africa.
While many dismiss this as hasty and too ambitious I would like to remind
them to rewind to the reaction to Gaddafi's call for an acceleration of the
integration process through a review of the OAU charter at an extraordinary
summit in the same city of Sirte in September 1999. Then, the idea was
initially dismissed as far-fetched but within three years we had the African
Union. Its institutions are now taking shape and at this summit the Libyan
leader was upping the stakes for the AU to rise up to the next phase of the
struggle for unity without which we will remain beggars and vulnerable to
extra African powers. There is no point in asking the rich countries to open
up their markets to us when we close ours against each other. We cannot
sustainably globalise without Africanising.
Two years ago, when I was
involved with Zimbabweans who had fled to S.Africa, I had many interesting
conversations with them. I was introduced to many different people, some of
whom were particularly interesting. I was especially fascinated when I heard
stories of poisoning. One will find that Communist defectors from Russia,
for example will talk of poisoning. Poisoning is something these
totalitarian freaks of the Far Left have quite a liking for. It is a way of
quietly getting rid of nuisance people. Anyone who has lived in Zimbabwe
will tell you that from the earliest days of Mugabe's rule, there has been a
lot of talk about him murdering people, even in his own political party. But
I would now like to mention things I heard directly from Zimbabweans, some
of whom were members of the MDC. These are the things people told me, and
which I will relate as best as I can remember:-
1) I was told
prior to the June 2003 Mass Action by the MDC, that there were soldiers in
Mugabe's army who began fearing a mass uprising might actually come about. I
was told that some secretly approached people in the MDC saying: "Please
don't kill our families. If the uprising starts, we will switch
2) I was told that Mugabe's Military Intelligence was
constantly monitoring the loyalty of soldiers. If they suspected soldiers
were starting to become disloyal, and were associating with the opposition,
they would then be killed. I was told that soldiers would disappear
suddenly, without warning. Apparently, their Military Intelligence had a
procedure whereby they would kidnap soldiers in their beds at night. These
soldiers would never be seen or heard from again. It was rumoured that they
were killed and their bodies were buried in a graveyard on the outskirts of
3) I was told that there was somebody in the MDC, who was
poisoned, and that it was quite a well known that this person was poisoned.
I cannot remember the exact circumstances of the poisoning. As best I
recall, the guy was arrested, taken to a Police station where he was beaten.
Later he began coughing blood. He was taken to a private clinic in Harare.
He was ill for quite some time after the beating, and then he died.
Apparently one of the Doctors at the clinic told his wife that he had an
unnatural substance in his lungs, and the doctor was quite sure that the man
had been poisoned.
4) I was told that the doctors in the various
private clinics around Harare, were fully aware that some of the patients in
their care had been poisoned. However, out of fear for their jobs, they did
not discuss this.
5) I always thought, after hearing these stories
of possible Government poisonings of people, especially in the political
opposition, that perhaps this is the ideal situation for investigative
journalists - for them to meet up either secretly with doctors inside
Zimbabwe, or with those who had fled, to see if they could get expert
testimony about poisonings and then detail this and submit it to various
governments and humanitarian bodies around the world.
man told me that a friend of his was a mid-level officer in the Zimbabwe
army. This guy told him that several army officers had recently been sent to
Cuba for training in the art of poisoning. Apparently, the Cubans have a
very efficient methods of killing people by injection.
7) I was
told that the Cubans had developed poisons which would make you die "from
natural causes". I was told that diarrhoea was one of the possible symptoms
8) I was told that one method of killing people was
to have them arrested and taken to a Police station. Once in the Police
station, this person would be harrassed and beaten. While he was distracted
in this way, a person trained in assassination by injection would come up
behind him, and would quickly inject him with a poison without the victim
realising it. Later, this person would develop symptoms and die. I refer
back to (3) above, about the MDC person who developed strange symptoms after
he had been beaten by the Police - but which were not directly related to
the beatings themselves.
9) I was told about a camp not too far
from Harare, where they tortured people and sometimes murdered them. I think
they said it was on the way to Banket. Apparently the commander of this camp
was known to people as "Black Jesus".
I have never been able to
corroborate these stories. But I did question the people directly. If anyone
comes across any more information regarding poisonings in Zimbabwe, then
feel free to drop me a line on the Contact us page on my
I often wonder how many people Mugabe has really killed in
the last 5 years, and whether there were many cases of poisoning which
Mugabe's people got away with?
I also wonder if there are any
Cubans out there, perhaps who have fled to the USA, who can confirm whether
Fidel Castro also makes use of poisoning?
As you will see in
the story below, doctors confirm that the victim was poisoned. I still
think, that poisoning by the Mugabe Dictatorship could be a big untold story
that still needs to be properly investigated. How many people might have
been killed, that we don't know about? Mind you, another untold story are
the many rumours about political allies and people in his own party who died
under mysterious circumstances. This is also another huge, untold story
which I have never seen the Mass Media touch on. Jan]
Constitutional Assembly (NCA) strongly condemns the poisoning of the former
Zimbabwe National Students' Union president, Philani Zamchya, by suspected
security agents. Zamchya was kidnapped by six men gang in town on Wednesday
13 July 2003. The men jostled him into an unmarked Defender vehicle which
had no number plates. After making him drink some liquid and assaultin him,
the men dumped Zamchya along Seke Road where he started experiencing severe
stomach pains. Zamchya only managed to be taken to hospital after he phoned
Donald Lewankia, a friend who took him to the Avenues Clinic where doctors
confirmed that he had been made to drink chlorine. The NCA deplores such
murderous acts that are aimed at suffocating democracy. The men who
kidnapped Zamchya accused him of planning an NCA demonstration, threatening
that he would lose his life if he continues participating in activities of
the NCA. Associated story. Source: http://www.zim-movement.org/
The same story also appears as:- NCA Condemns Attack On Philani
The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) strongly
condemns the poisoning of the former Zimbabwe National Students' Union
president, Philani Zamchya by suspected state security agents.
Zamchya was kidnapped by a six men gang in town on Wednesday 13th July 2005.
The men jostled him into an unmarked Defender vehicle which had no number
plates. After making him drink some liquid and assaulting him, the men
dumped Zamchya along Seke road where he started experiencing severe stomach
pains. Zamchya only managed to be taken to hospital after he phoned Donald
Lewanika, a friend who took him to the Avenues clinic where doctors
confirmed that he had been made to drink chlorine.
deplores such murderous acts that are aimed suffocating democracy. The men
who kidnapped Zamchya accused him of planning an NCA demonstration,
threatening that he would lose his life if he continues participating in
activities of the NCA.
The NCA sees this as an open attack to the
cause for a democratic constitution in Zimbabwe. Zamchya's tormentors are
part of the clique that is benefiting from the status qou and are against an
open democracy that will help spread the proceeds from national coffers to
the majority of Zimbabweans. The existence of such reactionaries will
certainly not stop the NCA from wedging the struggle for a democratic
constitution in the country. More demonstrations and other forms of mass
action in protest against the prevailing bad governance are on the
In applauding his bold steps in fighting a regime that
thrives on an anachronistic constitutional framework, the NCA wishes Zamchya
a speedy recovery.
People of conscience, leave Zanu PF Sundaytalk with
ZIMBABWEANS take off their hats to senior Zanu PF central
committee member and former MP Pearson Mbalekwa for resigning from Zanu PF
because he could not stomach the suffering brought upon the people by
In his shock resignation, Mbalekwa said:
"It is very clear to me that when any other rational person takes a closer
look at what has been happening in Zanu PF, government and the country over
the last eight months, Zanu PF as a political party, is no longer with the
people. Therefore, I have as of today left Zanu PF to be with the
people." He further said: "Hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans are living
either in the open next to their demolished homes or in filthy holding
transit camps where there have been outbreaks of all kinds of
Like Moses, who decided to eschew the delights of Pharaoh's
table and the comforts of a princely life, to identify with poor and
suffering Israelite slaves, Mbalekwa chose to leave the comforts and the big
feeding trough of Zanu PF to identify with the suffering masses of
The Bible says of Moses: "He chose to be mistreated along with
the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short
time. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than
the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward."
(Hebrews 11:25, 26).
Of this reward, the Bible says: "Blessed are those
who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed
are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in
heart for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be
called the sons of God." (Matthew 5: 6 - 9).
Zimbabweans take off
their hats to Mbalekwa because he had the guts to be true to his conscience
and convictions thus showing the way to other Zanu PF leaders who are
stifling their consciences and denying their convictions because of lack of
Mbalekwa could not bring himself to say that which is blatantly
wrong is right for whatever reason. The government has reached the height of
lunacy in its sadistic cruelty to its own people.
The Church in
Zimbabwe, both Protestant and Catholic, has condemned, without reservation,
the cruel treatment of the people by President Mugabe and his government. I
cannot, therefore, for the life of me understand how and why some who
profess to be Christians and put on church uniforms can accept and even
attempt to justify the cruel punishment being meted out to innocent and
helpless fellow citizens. I can only conclude that they are not Christians
but ravening wolves in sheep's clothing.
There are some so-called
reverends, who froth at the mouth in their defence of the atrocious
"Operation Murambatsvina" and the many other merciless actions of the Zanu
PF government. These are not men of God but unashamed pharasaical charlatans
who are after money. To these Christ says: "Woe unto you, teachers of the
law and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You are like whitewashed tombs, which
look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones
and everything unclean. .You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you
escape being condemned to hell?" (Matthew 23).
Since the Church has
publicly condemned the actions of the Zanu PF government, isn't it now
reasonable that Christians listen to their consciences and publicly
disassociate themselves from this evil political party even as Mbalekwa has
Here, I am not talking about ordinary people. The majority of the
people left Zanu PF long ago. It is common knowledge that Zanu PF had to
massively rig the last elections in order to win. The people did not vote
for them. This is why Zanu PF is meting out punishment to poor citizens,
especially those in the cities, by wantonly destroying their
By destroying homes and scattering the people over the place, Zanu
PF is working out a diabolically clever plan. Members of the MDC have been
so scattered that it is nigh impossible for them to effectively organise
against the government.
Since its party structures were strong among
the poor and downtrodden, it is now almost impossible to locate officials
for meetings. "Operation Murambatsvina" took care of that. Also those who
are being sent to rural areas can now be easily controlled, intimidated and
re-educated through Pavlovian conditioning.
I am not calling upon
these ordinary sufferers but upon those Zanu PF leaders who still have a
conscience to disassociate themselves from what the whole world now
recognises and acknowledges being evil.
Zanu PF leaders are quick to
label anyone who criticises Mugabe's government, a puppet of the West. In
fact, now I would not be surprised if even our much touted friends, the
Chinese, start distancing themselves from us.
Murambatsvina" has not only disadvantaged the MDC. It has also brought
division into Zanu PF. Writing in The Standard of 19 June, Foster Dongozi
and Vusumuzi Sifile reported: "The decision to destroy homes and flea
markets has reportedly left Zanu PF divided, with some senior central
committee members describing the locally and internationally condemned
exercise as an anti-people campaign.
".Senior Zanu PF officials have
not come out in the open in support of the brutal campaign because they are
concerned it could cost them potential votes in future elections."
Politburo member who declined to be named is reported to have said: "What is
going on is absolute madness. It does not make sense to destroy people's
homes and their sources of income where there is a lot of poverty and
suffering. That is why you have not seen any politician supporting this
It is true that most senior Zanu PF leaders have not come
out in support of "Operation Murambatsvina". Those who have done so have
done so mutedly and under obvious duress. It is only the newly appointed
officials (Mafikozolos) who are vociferous in their support. They do
soexcitedly as they are new to the feeding trough and are busy acquiring
farms and properties.
Why don't these senior members who are in
disagreement not come out in the open and resign from the party like
Mbalekwa? Why are so many decent, law-abiding and church-going silent in the
face of such blatant human rights abuse?
The major reason is fear.
The mere thought of attracting President Mugabe's displeasure petrifies
them. Former Zanu PF MP, Margaret Dongo, called them "Mugabe's wives".
Others have so many skeletons in their cupboards or know too much that they
can't afford to resign. They are afraid of being subsequently "investigated"
with the possibility of ending up in jail like the former Minister of
Finance, Christopher Kuruneri. He has been languishing in jail for more than
a year without having been convicted of any crime.
some who are now castigating Zanu PF are doing so for purely selfish
reasons. These are the thousands of war veterans who had resettled
themselves at different places around the country and had their houses and
businesses demolished by the government. These people in the not too distant
past terrorised the population on behalf of Zanu PF. They looted tortured
and killed in the name of Zanu PF. Now that their houses and businesses are
gone they are crying foul. They became too full of themselves and began
challenging the authority of their masters, the chefs. After being used as
canon fodder, they were conveniently thrown on the dust heap together with
those they tortured. Can these seriously identify with those they poured
scorn on yesterday?
Gentlemen, don't kick even an enemy when he is down.
If I were not a gentleman, I would say to them: "Tsvatu waro. Manzwa bhata.
Chamakadya chamuka." You deserve all that you are getting.