BY our staff
THE United Kingdom is pushing for a full-scale debate on the Zimbabwe
crisis at the forthcoming EU-Africa Summit in Portugal, the House of Commons
was told last week.
They were also told the British government would not welcome a visit
by Gideon Gono, the governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth
Office Meg Munn said it was not just that Mugabe was detested in the UK. She
said Gono would not be allowed into the UK in the event that he wanted to
Responding to calls by MPs for the government to slap a travel ban on
Gono whom they said was responsible for "10 000% inflation that is wrecking
the lives of millions of Zimbabweans" Munn said:
"I will try and be robust in response. Gideon Gono is not welcome in
the UK. He does not intend to travel here, and we do not intend to let him
On the EU-Africa summit, if the UK succeeded in having Zimbabwe put on
the agenda, this could turn into a major embarrassment for Mugabe who may
attend the Summit, set for Lisbon in December.
Portugal, which took over the six-month presidency of the EU,
announced last month it would invite Mugabe, despite opposition from other
Munn said the UK was committed to the EU-Africa partnership but would
not allow Mugabe to disrupt it.
"We do not want anything to overshadow this work, including Robert
Mugabe," Munn said.
About the forthcoming summit, she said:
"We believe that any conference that goes ahead should, in our view,
include a specific discussion on the situation in Zimbabwe."
This is likely to be opposed by other African states which have
But Munn would not say whether the new British Prime Minister Gordon
Brown would boycott the summit if Mugabe was formally invited.
Brown told The Sunday Times recently he would not go to Lisbon if
Mugabe was among the leaders invited.
Mugabe is banned from travelling to Europe and four years ago a
similar summit failed to take place when a dispute arose over his
Munn said her government was concerned by the deteriorating situation
in Zimbabwe and would continue to "to shine the UN spotlight on Mugabe's
human rights abuses".
"We pushed for 50 countries to condemn him at the Human Rights Council
in March and we will push for Zimbabwe to be back on December's agenda," she
Other measures included talking to China to stop bailing out Mugabe.
"There are always many rumours that China and other states are
providing loans or support to Zimbabwe and we know that Robert Mugabe is
always looking for lifelines to keep him afloat. We have discussed with
China how it engages with Africa and Zimbabwe specifically. We want China to
support the new African agenda led by Africans..." she said.
Munn revealed that the British government had tried without success to
include Gono's name on the "smart sanctions" list of people banned from
travelling to Europe.
The Members of the House of Commons had no kind words for Gono.
John Bercow described Gono as "both a craven lickspittle of Mugabe and
the architect of the destruction of the livelihoods of millions of
Gono could not be reached for comment yesterday.
BY WALTER MARWIZI
CONFUSION deepened in the fuel sector over the past week as the
government and the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (NOCZIM) struggled to
come up with a blueprint on how the Direct Fuel Imports would be handled.
And the chaos was felt in the streets as the price of fuel on the
black market shot up to $2 million for five litres.
Players in the sector, not keen to speak frankly of their struggle to
stay afloat, said they had spent "the longest week" in their careers.
"Imagine, with all these conflicting signals coming from the
government, you can only wonder where we are heading to," said one importer.
The importer preferred not to be named for security reasons.
He had over the past five years worked hard to build an
infrastructure, hoping that his investment would be for the long term. At an
enormous cost in hard currency, he had acquired a fleet of tankers and built
a number of service stations all over the country after seeing an investment
He said his only worry was the realisation that the DFI would die "a
natural death" once the fuel supply situation was normalised.
With a bankrupt NOCZIM failing to deliver fuel to the nation, private
companies secured prime business contracts with banks, companies, schools,
hospitals and other institutions that ensured they would still be in
business even when service stations ran dry.
But all that came to a shattering end when the chairman of the Cabinet
Taskforce on Price Monitoring and Stabilisation, Obert Mpofu, announced
NOCZIM would be the sole importer of fuel.
All new orders for fuel for the private companies would be directed to
NOCZIM, fuel importers were told.
How this would be carried out was long on grandstanding but woefully
short on details.
Up to yesterday, The Standard was told NOCZIM was yet to come up with
a blueprint on how they would handle the DFI.
The relationship between NOCZIM and the oil companies, with their
massive investment in the fuel sector, was not explained.
Zvikomborero Sibanda, the public relations manager for the
headline-making parastatal could not respond to written questions sent to
her on Thursday about how NOCZIM would carry out its role.
By Friday she said she still needed clearance from her boss who was
"locked up in meetings".
Fuel dealers said yesterday they were not surprised at NOCZIM's
failure to provide any comment. They said NOCZIM was ill-prepared for the
task. Moreover, they anticipated more confusion.
Yet they were curiously upbeat about the immediate future. They still
hoped their plight would be addressed, favourably. Several meetings had been
held over the past week with the taskforce, "in the hope that they could be
allowed to continue operating", more or less as before.
One top private importer said he was confident that, by tomorrow,
there could be a breakthrough with the government.
"I am sure we should have some good news on Monday," he said, refusing
to elaborate. Mpofu could not be reached for comment.
Asked about the progress made so far, Simba Kambarami, the president
of the Petroleum Marketers' Association of Zimbabwe could only say:
"We have had several consultations with the government and we are
making progress. All we want as an industry is to maintain our viability and
we will work with whoever will make that happen."
But other players said they hoped the government would back down, in
the end, considering the representations made by various sectors. Reserve
Bank governor Gideon Gono was among those critical of the ban on coupons.
The debt-ridden NOCZIM, like other money-guzzling parastatals, has few
admirers in a country where fuel has been in short supply since 1999.
It has been rocked by allegations of high-level corruption and
mismanagement. Several of its managers have been implicated in the diversion
of fuel to underground companies. Some of this fuel was meant for use by the
agricultural sector, parastatals and individuals.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has pumped millions into NOCZIM's
coffers. None of this has guaranteed adequate fuel supplies for the nation.
How Noczim could be trusted to run the DFI is difficult to understand!
Probably it could be that time again when President Robert Mugabe
could suffer from those famous ailments.
In 2002, tired of globetrotting, mostly in vain, in search of fuel
from friendly nations, Mugabe told the National Consultative Forum's annual
retreat in Gweru, the multinational companies should import their own fuel,
rather than get it from NOCZIM.
"Twenty years in government, 22 years of playing this game of foolery.
They don't suffer from the headaches and stomachaches I suffer from. They
must import and not wait for government to do it for them. They have the
foreign currency. In true partnership they should play their part," he said.
Now it's back to square one.
Mugabe may not be ready for it, now that he is 83 years old: headaches
and stomachaches at that age can be debilitating.
BY OUR STAFF
THE Arthur Mutambara-led faction of the Movement for Democratic Change
has decided to go it alone in all future elections, officially ending the
possibility of united opposition against Zanu PF.
Addressing a press conference in Harare yesterday soon after a meeting
of the party's national council, Mutambara blamed Morgan Tsvangirai's
faction for the failure of a proposed coalition of opposition forces ahead
of next year's harmonised elections.
"Consequently, the national council has resolved to proceed on its own
in preparation for any future elections," said Mutambara.
He described Tsvangirai as a "weak and indecisive leader" who could
not embrace what ordinary Zimbabweans were demanding.
Mutambara announced the council had resolved to immediately withdraw
from the Save Zimbabwe Campaign because it had become a vehicle to solely
advance Tsvangirai's "perverted agenda".
Nelson Chamisa, the other faction's spokesperson, yesterday said they
were still fighting for the unification of all democratic forces to fight
"We have just had our national council meeting and we have resolved to
fight for national unity to ensure we achieve change in this country. We
have a common enemy, and that enemy is Robert Mugabe," Chamisa said.
By Kholwani Nyathi
BULAWAYO - Ernest Tekere, the private investigator claiming to have
secretly videotaped Catholic Church Archbishop Pius Ncube being intimate
with several women, was a senior Central Intelligence Organisation officer
during the Gukurahundi atrocities in Matabeleland, human rights activists
But Tekere on Thursday denied the allegations, calling them "all
lies". He insisted he only worked for the Zimbabwe Republic Police, from
which he retired as a senior officer in the Criminal Investigations
Tekere provided the "evidence" to Onesimus Sibanda, a Bulawayo man
suing Ncube for $20 billion for allegedly having an adulterous affair with
his wife, Rosemary.
Tekere's reported past association with the deadly security branch of
the government has fuelled speculation of State involvement in what is being
seen as a "sting operation" against Ncube, a fierce critic of the government
and President Robert Mugabe.
Ncube has called publicly for the prosecution of all those behind the
bloody military campaign, Gukurahundi, in which at least 20 000 people,
among them women and children were killed.
Thousands of others, mostly supporters of PF Zapu led by the late
Joshua Nkomo, were displaced during the campaign, spearheaded by North
Korean-trained 5 Brigade soldiers.
Max Mnkandla, a former Zipra commander and leader of the Zimbabwe
Peace Initiative on Wednesday last week told journalists at the launch of
the Archbishop Pius Ncube Solidarity Coalition Tekere operated in
Matabeleland North during the killings.
"I was detained at Stops Camp here in Bulawayo and we know that he was
the provincial intelligence officer," Mnkandla said.
Sokwanele/Zvakwana, an underground human rights group last week
distributed flyers in Bulawayo "seeking to expose Tekere's history".
"It is in the interests of the general public to know that Ernest
Tekere, the private investigator in this case, was for 20 years a very
senior CIO operative and that he was allegedly very active in Matabeleland
during the Gukurahundi campaign," read one of the flyers.
The group said it believed Tekere had an "axe to grind with Ncube"
because he has been calling for those who committed "crimes against humanity
to be prosecuted".
Tekere said: "Those people are lying." He was speaking at the offices
of his Homeguard Security company in the city centre. "I joined the police
force in the 1970s and spent most of my working life in Harare.
"I only moved to Matabeleland in 1989 after the Unity Accord and I was
based in Gwanda. My force number is 022359; I was never in the CIO."
Tekere's involvement in the sensational spying case is said to be
threatening his business, with clients growing restless over his
relationship with the government.
Human rights activists are reportedly putting pressure on big
institutions contracted with Homeguard to terminate business with him
"I have not heard any adverse reports from my clients so far," said
Tekere. "I have a good relationship with the community in this region
because I set up this business a long time ago."
Tekere claimed Catholics were praising him for doing a good job. "I
don't go to church but I am a friend of the Catholics. It's only those from
other denominations who don't understand."
Tekere refused to disclose how much Sibanda had paid for his services,
saying the disclosure might scare him from "paying the balance".
The government announced last week it had decided to stop the state
media from showing nude pictures of Ncube allegedly being intimate with
several women, saying the matter was now before the courts.
The earlier publicity blitz of the case won the archbishop a number of
sympathisers who felt he was being victimised for his outspoken criticism of
BY CAIPHAS CHIMHETE
MORE than 20 shoppers, mostly women and children, were last Sunday
held hostage by supermarket employees for over an hour in Harare after they
broke three crates of eggs while scrambling for bread.
Workers at Anointed Supermarkets and Butcheries in Kambuzuma quickly
locked up the doors, holding hostage the morning shoppers for over an hour.
Some shoppers complained that they were greatly inconvenienced and
later forced to pay for the damage although they claimed they were nowhere
near the destructive melee.
"I did not want to buy bread," said one of the shoppers, calling
herself Mrs Sibanda, "and I was nowhere near the egg trays but I was shocked
when they ordered me to pay. It was very unprofessional."
Each shopper paid $65 000 for the eggs.
Sibanda said she had to take her breakfast well after the normal time,
although she is on medication.
The supermarket owner, who refused to identify himself, said if the
shoppers were not assaulted there was "no case".
He referred further questions to his manager, Limukani Moyo, who
confirmed he locked up the shoppers while he waited for police to arrive on
"We went to Kambuzuma police post and they referred us to Warren Park
Police Station," said Moyo. "This is why we took long to release them
because we wanted them to pay for the damaged eggs."
Long queues and stampedes have become common wherever basic
commodities such as sugar, bread, cooking oil and maize-meal are available.
Other commodities in short supply include fuel, fertilizer and foreign
The price blitz has created a new breed of shoppers, the unemployed,
who wake up early in the morning every day and roam the city in search of
The shoppers have created an effective network in which they phone
each other whenever they come across the scarce commodities.
"We are four and operate from different parts of the city," said Abel
Kufakwatenzi, who operates along Mbuya Nehanda Street in Harare. "I always
phone the other guys when I see commodities being sold at low prices."
All members of the group - who use mobile phones to keep in touch -are
unemployed and survive on selling the scare basic commodities on the black
With the country's unemployment rate at 85% and manufacturers shutting
down factories because of the current economic meltdown, more youths are
likely to join the new breed of shoppers.
BY CAIPHAS CHIMHETE and
THE United States has called on President Robert Mugabe's government
to stop human rights abuses and guarantee the safety and well-being of its
"The US calls on President Mugabe and the Government of Zimbabwe to
respect the right of all Zimbabweans to participate in the democratic
process and to guarantee the safety and well-being of its citizens," said
White House spokesperson Sean McCormack in a statement.
The calls came soon after security agents severely assaulted National
Constitutional Assembly (NCA) activists who were peacefully demonstrating
for a people-driven constitution on Thursday.
The spokesperson said the beating of over 200 activists was an overt
attempt by the regime to eliminate any criticism in advance of elections
planned for next year.
"This latest action continues to call into question the Government of
Zimbabwe's commitment to the SADC (Southern African Development Community)
mediation effort to establish conditions for free and fair elections," said
Canada has also condemned police brutality on NCA activists.
Peter MacKay, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of the Atlantic
Canada Opportunities Agency, said the brutality showed that Mugabe had no
regard of democratic principles.
"Once again, the government of Robert Mugabe has demonstrated blatant
disregard for democratic principles and fundamental freedoms, such as the
right to assembly. The use of the Zimbabwean police force to repress
peaceful demonstrations must stop."
He said the Mugabe regime must "immediately show respect for the rule
of law, the independence of the judiciary and the human rights of the people
In Harare, at least 175 NCA activists were assaulted and some of them
admitted at the Harare Avenues Clinic.
NCA spokesperson Madorck Chivasa was among those seriously injured and
admitted to the clinic, and Ernest Mudzengi, a senior NCA director.
Another senior official, Joel Mabhenge was also injured. Chivasa
confirmed that in Mutare, police also arrested 13 other NCA members who were
all still in custody.
In Masvingo commuters returning from work on Wednesday had a torrid
time after they were severely assaulted by armed riot police.
"We were waiting for a lift to go home when we suddenly heard a group
of people singing," said Tungamirai Mabwe, one of the victims. "We wanted to
see what was going on, only to be confronted by police who started to beat
NCA Masvingo provincial youth chairperson, Marko Shoko said those who
were arrested were tortured in police custody while 11 were released on
"Some have been released and we are offering them medical treatment
but four are missing and we do not know where the police took them to,"
The NCA is a human rights organisation set up to advocate for
constitutional reforms. The government has ignored calls for a new
constitution, saying the people rejected one it had drafted during the 2000
BY GODRFEY MUTIMBA
EDDISON Zvobgo Jnr is making a fresh bid for a Parliamentary seat, The
Standard has learnt.
Party insiders said Zvobgo Jnr was campaigning in Masvingo city amid
hopes that the Delimitation Commission would create a new Masvingo Urban
constituency next year.
In 2005 Zvobgo Jnr failed to contest the primary elections after Zanu
PF announced strict guidelines that prevented people without provincial
positions from taking part in the primary elections.
Zvobgo Jnr, a member of the Masvingo provincial executive, joins a
host of young Turks challenging party heavyweights and seniors in next year's
Among these is Paul Chimedza, president of the Zimbabwe Medical
Doctors' Association (ZIMA). Chimedza intends to challenge veteran MP Shuvai
Mahofa in Gutu South.
Zvobgo is chairperson of the Masvingo Residents and Ratepayers'
Association (MURRA). He is reported to have formed ward structures under
MURRA that are moving around Masvingo Central canvassing support for him in
next year's elections.
He is likely to square up against a stalwart of the Hungwe faction,
Shylet Uyoyo who stood for Zanu PF in 2005 elections but lost to the MDC's
Zvobgo recently told a press conference in the city: "The people of
Masvingo have realised my leadership qualities at MURRA and if they want me
to represent them politically why should I deny their wishes? I think they
observed that I have the capability of representing them and I mustn't let
Other young Turks said to be eyeing seats in next year's polls in the
province include prominent gospel musician and producer, Elias Musakwa, set
to challenge Rtd Colonel Claudius Makova in Bikita South.
Rtd Major Kudzai Mbudzi is said to be planning to challenge Higher and
Tertiary Education minister Stan Mudenge.
ZIFA boss Henrietta Rushwaya is tipped to be fielded as a Zanu PF
candidate in Gutu East if the Delimitation Commission creates a third
constituency in Gutu district.
MHONDORO - The effects of the
government's month-old price-control policies, which have brought widespread
shortages of basic commodities, are also beginning to tell in the education,
health and social service sectors.
The government launched "Operation Reduce Prices" in late June in an
attempt to cap escalating prices as businesses tried to cushion themselves
against the world's highest inflation rate - over 4 000% - although some
independent economists estimate the actual inflation rate at about 20 000%.
President Robert Mugabe accused manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers
and other service providers of trying to undermine his Zanu PF government by
sowing discontent among the electorate ahead of next year's scheduled
presidential and parliamentary elections.
However, the price-control operation, managed by industry minister
Obert Mpofu, who heads the Cabinet Task Force on Price Monitoring and
Stabilisation, also has high-profile detractors, with Reserve Bank governor
Gideon Gono warning that price slashes would fuel the inflation rate.
Shortages of bread, cooking oil and beef have forced a church-run
Presbyterian High school, in the Mashonaland West Province's Mhondoro
district, about 60km south-west of the capital, Harare, to set up a
makeshift feeding programme.
"The pupils are now having potatoes and tea in the morning because
there is no bread to give them. During lunch and supper, unlike in the past,
when we alternated between rice and sadza and beef or chicken, we have had
to resort invariably to the potatoes and beans," a senior schoolteacher, who
declined to be identified, said.
The boarding school used to source beef and poultry from local
businesses, but these have stopped since the government enforced price cuts,
as suppliers would have to sell at a loss.
This mirrors action taken by Irvine's, the country's largest chicken
and egg producer, which became one of the first companies to stop operations
last week after hordes of people, under the protection of police and
soldiers, descended on their outlets and bought cartons of eggs and
trolley-loads of frozen chicken at the government's new reduced prices.
The Presbyterian school teacher said the institution was considering
approaching freshwater fishermen to sell them their catch as an alternative
source of protein, but it was doubtful whether they had the capacity to
"supply adequate amounts" of fish.
"Morale has evidently gone down, not only among the pupils, but the
teachers and kitchen staff, who have to deal with the unforeseen effects of
the shortages of foodstuffs. It is difficult to teach in such an atmosphere,
and we fear that the pupils might stage a protest," the teacher said.
Onismus Chakanetsa, a parent of a pupil at the nearby Musengezi High
school, said: "When I visited my daughter recently to find out how she and
others were coping after she complained of a poor diet, I got to learn of
reduced concentration in class and, in some cases, open rebellion, as pupils
deliberately chose not to attend classes."
The school authorities told Chakanetsa, an engineer that supplies of
cooking oil and sugar were low, and procuring fresh supplies was proving to
be difficult, but he said "there is much irony in it because we are being
asked to top-up school fees".
While education facilities are considering additional levies to keep
up with hyperinflation, the official daily newspaper, The Herald, quoted
Mugabe as saying on Wednesday that if the price control taskforce was unable
to reduce school fees, ways would have to be found to regulate or compel
schools to charge reasonable fees.
According to the World Food Programme (WFP), Zimbabwe enjoys an adult
literacy rate of 80%, but the country's economic meltdown in recent years
has caused an exodus of teachers seeking better employment opportunities in
neighbouring countries, such as South Africa and Botswana, or further afield
Jameson Timba, chairman of the Association of Trust Schools, which
represents private schools, said the food shortages were "something we would
expect to have an adverse impact on schools", although he had yet to receive
complaints from schools belonging to the association. "In our case, the
schools are owned and managed by businesspeople and we would always make
contingent plans to address the problem."
In spite of countrywide shortages of commodities, those with money can
still access what is available on the parallel market, but at much higher
prices than before the crackdown. The poor continue to be affected most
In Chitungwiza, a dormitory town about 35km from Harare, parents were
told the crèche would close in August. "We used to ask parents to buy
groceries, including rice, drinks and toilet paper, which we kept on our
premises, but at the beginning of this month most of them could not find . .
. (these items)," Grace Mudiwa, the owner, said.
A kitchen worker at a government hospital in Chitungwiza, who declined
to be identified, said the food shortages were so bad that there were
"realistic chances of starvation" among patients, prompting local musicians
to organise a charity show this weekend to raise funds for the hospital.
"The situation has always been bad, with relatives of patients being
asked to bring food to those in the wards, because of lack of money, but the
shortage of basic commodities has heightened the plight," the hospital
Residents in an old age home in Chitungwiza are being fed only a
breakfast of porridge with a scant sprinkling of sugar. "It is better to die
than experience this kind of hunger," said Adam Joseph, 75.
"These days, we are mainly fed on porridge and, even when we get our
sadza, the rations are now very small; I am always hungry and my cough has
Mugabe admitted in his speech at the opening of parliament that the
government had been paying lip service to the welfare of old people, and
announced a bill to promote their wellbeing.
With the government adamant that the price blitz would continue until
inflation was arrested, Dan Toole, director of the UN Children's Fund
(Unicef) emergency programmes in Zimbabwe, said earlier this month the
humanitarian situation would worsen.
"What we know in Zimbabwe is that malnutrition is growing rather
radically - 20% of the population currently needs food assistance - and that
food assistance is yet to come in . . ."-IRIN.
By Our Correspondent
WITH temperatures hovering below 10 degrees Celsius little Lillian
Zuze scoops water from a well. Her clothes are clean, though the jumper is
thin and her 13-year-old body shivers. It's just before 6AM and Lillian is
late. School starts in 90minutes and she has to get the water back to her
hut, collect wood and start a fire, then help make breakfast for her
grandmother and eight siblings and cousins, and walk the kilometre to
Lillian's father died in 2004. Her mother left a few days later. "My
dad started getting sick, he started coughing, then he went to the
hospital," says Lillian, as we sit on the drought-dead ground near her hut.
"The doctor said he had TB, and then he died in the second (school) term, in
April. After my father died, we got up in the morning . . . my mother woke
up and ran away. When I saw she wasn't there I started crying."
It is unclear whether Lillian's mother could simply no longer cope
with, as Lillian says, "having no food or clothes" for her three children,
or if indeed she was forced to leave due to stigma regarding HIV and Aids.
Whatever the reason, in a few short and bitter days of 2004, Lillian and her
younger brother and sister were orphaned. They joined their six cousins
whose mothers had already died from Aids-related illnesses. Their
80-year-old grandmother was left with nine children -ranging from three to
14 - to provide food, shelter, clothing, school fees and care.
Today, three years later, and amid Zimbabwe's economic crisis and
successive years of drought - Grandmother Mwale still does her best to watch
over the nine children. The school-age children attend school, everyone gets
two meals a day, and they get every ounce of love their grandmother has in
her aging heart. But their hardship grows daily.
"My children are all dead," says Grandmother Mwale.
"Where can I get money from to care for all these grandchildren? These
are hard times. Terrible times."
Terrible indeed. One in four Zimbabwean children is orphaned. Orphaned
girls like Lillian are at far greater risk of abuse than non-orphaned girls.
Six out of every seven adults who desperately need anti-retroviral drugs
cannot access them. For HIV+ children it is even worse - just one in 16 has
access to the life-prolonging drugs. But these are mere numbers. Lillian and
her young orphaned siblings and cousins are living the stories behind the
Lillian's life mirrors that of many Zimbabwean girls her age: Young
children cared for by ailing grandparents. And in turn, ailing grandparents
cared for by little girls. It may sound like a suitable swap. It is not.
Lillian's grandmother is old and ill. When she walks her back is hunched
over almost parallel to the ground. She suffers excruciating and
debilitating arthritis. Her spirit is indefatigable, but that alone does not
provide food or protection to Lillian and her siblings.
"My granny takes care of us," says Lillian, her smile defiant. "She
loves us too much. She gives us food to eat, she cuts clothes to make
blankets, but she tells us 'my body is not strong'."
In response Unicef has increased its reach from 50 000 Zimbabwean
orphans to 500 000. This has occurred thanks to the support of UK's
Department for International Development and the governments of Sweden, New
Zealand, Germany and Australia. But there are 1.6 million orphans in
Zimbabwe.And AIDS-related deaths orphan another 350 children every single
"Families and children such as Lillian are entering a new phase of
hardship," said Unicef's Representative in Zimbabwe, Dr Festo Kavishe.
"Their support to one-another is stirring, indeed 95% of this country's
orphans continue to live with their extended family, but this must not mask
their suffering and the world's responsibility to address it."
BY our staff
THE government has forced pupils in all its schools in Harare to
contribute funds to the national youth games scheduled for next month, The
Standard has confirmed.
The games are scheduled for August in Hwange, but the government had
not budgeted for them, sources in the education sector said.
All government schools in Harare and Chitungwiza were directed by the
provincial education director, Tomax Dhobha, to hold "a civvies day" last
Friday to raise funds for the games.
Schools were ordered to charge $20 000 for each pupil, which is more
than the term's fees for most government primary schools.
But other schools in Kambuzuma in Harare took advantage of the
directive and doubled the prescribed amount.
Headmasters were threatening with expulsion pupils who failed to raise
Educationists, teachers and parents have reacted angrily to the
directive, saying it put a further burden on parents already struggling to
put food on the table.
Progressive Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) secretary general,
Raymond Majongwe, described the move as "extortion".
He said the government should have budgeted for the games, instead of
forcing parents, struggling to make ends meet, to raise the money from their
"This is extortion at its worst," said Majongwe. "It is as good as
what happened to civil servants some years back when they were forced to
contribute towards the building of Zanu PF headquarters."
He said that money should instead be used to buy textbooks, chalks,
pencils, chairs and desks, of which there is a shortage in most schools.
Chairman of Chaminuka Primary School in Chitungwiza, Moses Mazhande,
said the directive was "a sad chapter" in the history of the education
He said Chaminuka school had suspended all civvies days because most
parents in the community were poor and could not afford to spare money.
"What is disheartening is that the government directed all schools not
to increase levies this term," he said, "but now it is coming up with some
dubious events to swindle money from poor parents."
Dhobha said the money would enable pupils from Harare province to
attend the games in Hwange. Harare will take 250 participants, 90% of them
students below 18 years of age.
"Initially, the budget for Harare was $51 million but the organising
committee has since revised it to $319 million. That is why we came up with
this exercise. It was the only alternative," Dhobha said.
He added that those who could not afford to pay towards the fund would
not be expelled from schools.
Dhobha said schools which charged more than the prescribed amounts
would be dealt with severely.
BY OUR CORRESPONDENT
UNITED States Embassy Charge d'Affaires Katherine Dhanani has
commended pro-democracy groups for their role in advancing the cause of
democracy and freedom from tyranny in Zimbabwe.
She was speaking during a sendoff ceremony for 20 students awarded
US$4.5 million worth of scholarships to study at various universities and
colleges in the US.
Dhanani, acting Chief of Mission after the departure of outspoken
Ambassador Christopher Dell, told the students and their parents the values
shown by Zimbabweans were similar to those of the US.
"Yesterday I visited the Counselling Services Unit," said Dhanani,
"where I saw Zimbabweans pushing for democracy and freedom in Zimbabwe. The
visit reminded me of our struggles in the US in the 1960s at the peak of the
civil rights movement. It was emotional to meet these strong and courageous
"I realised Zimbabwe and the United States share the same great desire
for democracy and freedom from tyranny.
"Most of the students are economically disadvantaged and went through
a programme designed by the embassy to assist them through all the stages of
the usually cumbersome application process for study in the US.
"You, today, have shown this tremendous ability to overcome obstacles
and achieve individual greatness."
Dhanani said the embassy views student exchanges as an excellent
bridge between the people of the United States and Zimbabwe. She noted the
students were an exceptional group.
"You exemplify the hope for Zimbabwe's future. You have all achieved
extremely high academic standards despite severe hardships. You stand as an
example of what this country can achieve," she said.
By Kholwani Nyathi
BULAWAYO - Construction of the Gwayi-Shangani Dam wall has fallen
behind schedule by three months amid reports that the government wants to
take over its supervision from the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Trust (MZWT).
The dam, on the confluence of the Gwayi and Shangani rivers, is the
main component of the ambitions MZWT project, viewed as the lasting solution
to Bulawayo's perennial water shortages.
But the project has reportedly fallen victim to "Zanu PF politics"
with some government ministers pushing for the troubled Zimbabwe National
Water Authority (ZINWA) to take over the supervision of the construction
work from the MZWT, chaired by Zanu PF heavyweight Dumiso Dabengwa.
This has allegedly forced the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to delay
the release of funds to the trust to resume construction work.
The RBZ has so far poured in $2.2 billion towards the construction of
the Gwayi - Shangani Dam and the last tranche of $890 million was released
in August last year.
"The construction of the dam was initially scheduled to start in May,
when water levels at the site recede but it seems the government is pushing
for Zinwa to take over the supervision from MZWT and this has caused
confusion," said a source. "If they don't release the funds by next month,
then construction will not start this year because of the rains."
As a result of the confusion, the contractor, Chinese International
Water Company, has moved some of its equipment to the Lupane-Bubi Dam site,
where it won a smaller contract.
Dabengwa was not available to comment on the latest developments as he
was said to be in South Africa and will only return this week.
But the Minister of Water and Infrastructure Development, Munacho
Mutezo, said he was not aware of any recommendations for a Zinwa take-over.
He could not comment further on the matter, saying he was travelling.
BY NDAMU SANDU
ZIMBABWE is set lose a staggering US$18.4 million in import tariff
revenue if it adheres to the new provisions African countries are set to
conclude with the European Union, a policy document has revealed.
Zimbabwe is a member of the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) that is
negotiating for reciprocal Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the
A policy series document was co-published last month by the Regional
Network for Equity in Health in east and southern Africa, the Southern and
Eastern African Trade Information and Negotiations Institute and Training
and Research Support Centre.
It says the EPA is likely to impact on public revenues for health and
health care, including access to medicines, and to affect other inputs to
health, such as food security.
"Without a proper health impact assessment these impacts are not
easily quantified and ESA countries are urged to take a precautionary
approach and safeguard health in the EPA," says the document.
An EPA provides for tariffs to be removed on EU imports with countries
in the ESA bloc facing a potential overall loss of government revenue,
estimated at US $473 million
"This revenue finances public services," it said, adding that the
reduction in public revenue comes at a time when most ESA governments have
failed to adhere to the Abuja commitment on health, stipulating a 15%
government spending on health.
". . . most countries are not able to meet the minimum costs of
financing health systems of $60 per capita set by the World Health
Organisation , or the costs of meeting the Millennium Development Goals," it
Kenya tops the losers' chart with the expected loss of US$107m, Sudan
(US$73m), Mauritius (US$71m), Ethiopia (US$55m), Seychelles (US$24.9m) and
Other losers in the 16-member ESA bloc are the Democratic Republic of
Congo, US$24.7m, Zambia (US$15.8m), Uganda (US$9.45m), Madagascar (US$7m),
Burundi (US$7.660), Eritrea (US$7.38m), Malawi (US$7m) and Rwanda (US$5.6m).
While other ESA countries might not feel the pinch in the loss, the
story is different for forex-starved Zimbabwe which is using every means
available to preserve the foreign currency that comes its way. Zimbabwe
needs forex to import maize, wheat, fuel and electricity.
The EPA is being introduced to replace a non-reciprocal preferential
The African, Carribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries used to enjoy
unilateral trade preferences with the EU for almost three decades under the
Lomé Conventions. The Fourth Lomé Convention was replaced by the Cotonou
Partnership Agreement in 2000, which extends these unilateral trade
preferences up to the end of 2007.
Negotiated World Trade Organisation (WTO) compatible reciprocal trade
agreements, EPAs, will replace the current non-reciprocal preferential trade
These EPAs have to be concluded by no later than the beginning of
2008. The agreement covers trade issues in six fisheries; trade in services;
and trade related services.
The agreement also covers the institutional framework for cooperation
and the process for dispute settlement.
The policy series document said that although the Cotonou Partnership
Agreement which forms the basis EPAs, provides that countries extend the
liberalisation of services in accordance with the provision of the World
Trade Organisation General agreement on Trade in Services, ESA countries
have no obligation to commit their health services under the provisions.
BY OUR STAFF
AN independent economist has lobbied for the investment in human
resources capital in Africa to stem the surplus of unskilled labour.
In a book, Economics for African Nations: Principles,Problems and
Policies, Dr François Kabuya of Africa University near Mutare, said
technical education and on-the-job training in agriculture, commerce,
industry and construction were essential for development.
Kabuya said while many African countries send young people for
training, there was a danger of them deciding to remain in developed
"Although this is a practical way to gain expertise in many essential
fields, it does have one major drawback," he writes. "Some of these young
talented people decide to remain in the developed nations rather than return
to their home countries where they are desperately needed."
Kabuya says his book gives a perspective on the problems faced by the
It comes out at an appropriate time for Zimbabwe, which is losing key
professionals in every sector to neighbouring countries.
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries President Callisto Jokonya told a
parliamentary portfolio committee early this year the country was losing
US$200 000 for each key professional it fails to retain.
Jokonya said: "It costs US$200 000 to train a doctor and when that
doctor is trained we have not put safeguard measures to retain them."
Zimbabwe has exported over three million workers, some of them
professionals, but was not benefiting from the arrangement as there were no
agreements with the countries importing the labour.
The few professionals remaining in the country were finding it
difficult to live a "decent life" as the economic crisis, in its seventh
Hyperinflation at 4 500% has forced the remaining professionals to
look for greener pastures in neighbouring countries.
South Africa has benefited from the crisis in Zimbabwe and is luring
skilled professionals as it prepares for the 2010 World Cup soccer showcase.
The book is published by Trafford Publishing which has offices in
Canada, USA and the UK.
Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo Kabuya is a US citizen by
choice and has been lecturing undergraduate and graduate courses at Africa
University in Mutare since 2005.
His research interests focus on the fiscal and monetary policies in
the developing world, economic growth and development issues in Africa among
Kabuya has taught economics at Asher School of Business in Atlanta as
well as teaching economics at Georgia Perimeter College, a unit of the
Georgia State University.
By our Correspondent
WITH their high level of skills, Zimbabweans have opportunities to
market their skills globally from within Zimbabwe, in the same way that
people in India are performing business tasks for the American market, a
South African business lecturer said in Victoria Falls on Friday.
"I don't think you realise, as Zimbabweans, how big a skills base you
could be. Your level of skills may have deteriorated but you started well at
the top. You have more education and skills than any other country in
Africa," Gordon Institute of Business Science lecturer Greg Fisher told the
Institute of Chartered Accountants of Zimbabwe winter school.
He said many South African companies, faced with an affirmative action
obligation, sought Zimbabweans to work for them.
He said, while he had listened to concerns voiced at the winter school
about the loss of skills, there were still many skilled people in Zimbabwe,
as was evident from the people he had talked to at the winter school.
In the same way that Indians were using their skills to fulfil tasks
for companies in the United States without leaving India, because they were
willing to do the tasks cheaper than the same tasks would cost if done in
America, Zimbabweans could market their skills from within the country, if
not in America then elsewhere on the African continent, including South
He said improving the country's communication's infrastructure would
make it easier to do this.
Last year a million United States tax returns were done in India. They
were uploaded in the United States and transferred to India, where they were
completed and returned to the United States.
"I think there are fantastic opportunities like that here. Go into
South Africa and Nigeria, where skills are required but not available," he
said. "If someone in this room doesn't do this, someone else is going to do
it," he said.
Fisher listed some of the areas he believed might be seen as problems
in Zimbabwe, namely no capital, no market and no stability, and showed that
these need not necessarily be problems but can be business opportunities.
He said an entrepreneur was a person who worked towards creating new
business without concern about resources.
The strategy of great entrepreneurs had been to get into business at
the bottom and move to the top.
"The essence of being a great businessman is to recognise when you are
at the bottom of a cycle how to reach the top. Get in at the bottom and ride
the wave as it rises," he said.
He said Zimbabwe's economy was at the bottom. Those who got in now
would do amazingly well, he said.
Wherever one went in the world, there was always a complaint that
there was no money available to start a new business. However, 85% to 90% of
businesses started without any outside monetary capital. They made use of
alternative capital, such as energy and passion, knowledge and skills, time
and effort, and resilience and tenacity.
He gave his own business experience as examples of how it was possible
to start a business without any monetary capital.
In one case a training products company he started had managed to
finance production of a training board game by approaching universities,
explaining the game that it planned to develop and persuading them to pay
up-front for them.
Another venture was creating a business start-up kit, consisting of
books and CDs. He approached some companies, told them the company intended
to produce a thousand such kits and asked if they would like their companies
listed in one of the books. In this way he managed to finance the project.
When it came to the problem of no market, he said even companies in
South Africa recognised that their country's population of 40 million odd
was not a big enough market for them. It was necessary to launch into the
This was where Zimbabweans needed to take advantage of their skills
and use them to do tasks on behalf of companies in other countries. He said
there would be good opportunities to teach skills to people in South Africa.
Turning to opportunities within Zimbabwe, Fisher said where there were
needs there were opportunities. He gave examples of business people in other
countries where there had been severe economic difficulties who had
innovatively taken advantage of such opportunities.
One was Muhammed Yunus, in Bangladesh, who set up Grameen Bank to
provide capital for people unable to meet conventional banking criteria for
loans. The bank lent to groups of six people, mainly women, relying on their
group loyalty to ensure that loans were paid back. It now has more than
seven million borrowers.
"Don't just try to apply western models to Zimbabwe," he said.
THE government has no shame. It is clear the threat to ban fuel
coupons is to creat work for the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim)
was commissioning 14 fuel delivery tankers last Monday but did not have much
in the way of fuel to deliver!
The only way such an investment could be justified, since the
government and Noczim do not have foreign currency to meet the country's
fuel needs, was to commandeer all fuel importers' deliveries through Noczim
so it would be fully occupied!
The fact that government liberalised the petroleum sector and that
companies invested in infrastructure to handle fuel shipments is totally
irrelevant to the government. We have become used to this rule by confusion,
which is one of the primary causes foreign and domestic investors are very
nervous about worthless government "guarantees".
There was more of this contradiction recently when the government
ordered private abattoirs closed, commandeering all their stock to the
government-run Cold Storage Company, whose infrastructure and equipment lay
redundant. The government fiat has ensured that CSC will be kept busy, but
at the cost of job losses at private slaughter houses.
This disastrous course began with a government directive to local
authorities to surrender their water accounts to the Zimbabwe National Water
Authority, even though this new creature is hopelessly incompetent at the
job. But it created jobs for the government's system of patronage.
There is also another sinister motive to the government directive to
fuel importers: The government is going into an election without the
necessary foreign currency to import fuel. This is obviously going to hamper
its ability to "mobilise" supporters if the government and the ruling party
cannot raid stocks by individual importers and private companies.
Two years ago, the Reserve Bank ran a fuel coupon system for companies
and citizens with access to foreign currency. People soon lost confidence in
the scheme the fuel was not always guaranteed.
Government and ruling party officials and the military would drive up
and fill up, disregarding people who had paid in hard currency. It is
inconceivable that anyone could still have faith in the same system. There
is also the issue of the security of fuel channelled through Noczim.
However, the extent of the dearth of creativity on the part of the
government is magnified when it proposes a scheme that failed dismally.
The government is very fond of citing consultations but in the case of
both the abattoirs and fuel, there is a preponderance of evidence that the
relevant sectors were never consulted and this is why there is so much anger
at the extent of government's interference. The fact that industry is quiet
and is acting along does not mean they approve of the way the government is
determined to wreck the economy. It is naïve of the government to think
industry would say anything contradictory when the gun is held to its head.
If it had consulted, it would have heard concerns about the disastrous
impact on the ability of industry to continue to operate, as well as how the
non-governmental organisations were going to be hamstrung.
But there is also another motive. The government panicked early this
year when it discovered that the opposition was bringing in vehicles for its
election campaign. The only way it can ensure that it frustrates the
opposition campaign is if it is in total control of fuel. It will ensure
availability of the fuel for the ruling party while the opposition will have
nothing for its campaign.
The directive to fuel importers is intended to rig the outcome of the
sundayopinion by Bill Saidi
MOST African leaders have had an almost permanent gripe against the
Western media. They have been presented in such terrible light, most
Westerners -- from Reykjavik to Reno, Las Vegas - must think of them either
as womanising, human flesh-eating Idi Amin-like buffoons, or humourless,
teetotal, ascetic-living Robert Mugabe-like dictators.
To most such leaders, it is immaterial that some of their own
citizens - victims of a heartless disregard for their every wish, including
freedom of expression, access to shelter, food, health, jobs and security,
even from the government - think of them in even worse light than the
It would be amazing, for instance, if the relatives of some of the
people whose limbs turned up in Amin's fridge felt a twinge of conscience at
the celluloid portrayal by Forest Whitaker, of the former boxer in The Last
King of Scotland.
Or the relatives of Gukurahundi victims protesting volubly at a
portrayal of Mugabe as this grim-faced, Marxist-Leninist who chortles, at
the misfortunes of the allegedly libidinous Archbishop Pius Ncube.
How exactly would African leaders like to be portrayed, not only by
the Western media, but by the independent media in their own countries?
We needn't dwell on the government media. We all know the number of
editors' scalps littering the offices of ministers of information in every
African government. They, poor chaps, dared to portray, not only their
leaders, but the governments as less than the saviours they claimed to be.
For that, most of them suffered the ignominy of not just losing their
jobs, but of being blacklisted, officially, for the rest of their lives.
What all leaders would like to be portrayed as is God's gift to all
Humankind: caring, loving father-figures who would strip to their Gucci
underpants in broad daylight if one of their subjects, pleading for
clothing, suddenly turned up naked in front of them, on the coldest day in
winter, on Main Street.
Muammar Gaddafi's Libya is a country rarely out of the Western world's
news headlines. A Libyan agent was convicted of the Lockerbie (Scotland) US
passenger plane massacre of more than 200 people in 1988.
A Libyan court recently sentenced, first to death but later to life in
jail, five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor on allegations of
deliberately infecting nearly 400 Libyan children with the virus that causes
They denied the allegations, arguing, instead, that the conditions in
the hospital were so unhygienic they might have contributed to the
Last week, after some hard bargaining between Libya and the European
Union, including France's youthful President Nicolas Sarkozy, all were
A lot of money was reportedly paid to the families of the dead
children. Gaddafi's relations with the West have improved. Certainly, the
time is long past when some of them dearly wished him dead.
As an African leader, Gaddafi is not trusted by his peers. Their
rebuff of his grandiose United States of Africa government dream is an
In Libya itself, the people seem to love him. They lack nothing of
material substance to them - food, power, water, health, fuel. The last is
what enables him to make their lives so almost First World.
What they may not boast of having in abundance is freedom, mostly of
expression and worship. Libya has no independent media and is emphatically
For Friday prayers, everyone stays away from work. Alcohol may be
consumed, but only in secret, at home or in another country.
The story is told of a foreign diplomat visiting Tunis from Tripoli.
He sat in a bar quaffing beer. In a corner, was a group of drunken rowdies,
making a hell of a racket.
Upon inquiring who they were he was told they were Libyans, determined
to get stinking drunk before going back home.
Some might say this is a small price to pay for the largess available
to them in their country. Others might say it is an eloquent testimony of
what miserable lives Libyans must lead - at home.
Gaddafi is the absolute ruler of Libya and the absolute provider.
That most African leaders, themselves intoxicated to the gills with
power -with the probable exception of Botswana's Festus Mogae - don't trust
Gaddafi too much is probably not a huge point of contention.
Given a free choice, would an ordinary Zimbabwean prefer Gaddafi over
Mugabe as his president?
Or would they actually vote for Pius Ncube over both of them?
sundayview by Judith Todd
ONE of those October nights I attended a cocktail party for the
visiting head of Catholic Relief Services, and found that Michael Auret,
chairman of the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, was going through
an agonising time, as it was then totally against his nature to think ill of
Comrade RG Mugabe.
But Mike was being brought face to face with the violent repression
being inflicted on the country, and the CCJP became the bravest and most
forthright group in condemning what Zanu PF was doing. Eventually Mike left
The callousness with which the authorities treated their prisoners was
appalling. Towards the end of October, Edward Ndlovu was still incarcerated
in Kadoma, and even the prison authorities were beginning to worry about his
condition. He had been taken to a doctor, who said he couldn't treat him, as
he didn't have his medical records.
The lawyer in Kadoma, Mr Palframan, was told by the police that they
were taking Edward to Bulawayo, and Edward waited for police transport from
1PM one Friday. But a relative saw him in Kadoma police station at about six
that evening, and on Saturday morning, he was still there.
He was suffering from angina, amongst other things. Mary (his wife)
had been checking with Bulawayo Central Hospital all day, and by 8PM on
Saturday, they still had no news on Edward being admitted.
I offered to ring Cephas Msipa, who was well connected to Prime
Minister Mugabe and other high-ranking government officials, and did so. He
tried to contact Simon Muzenda, acting prime minister, but he was in Gutu.
He also tried Enos Nkala, but found he was in Bulawayo. He rang Nkala there,
and also Callistus Ndlovu. They were both out, but Cephas left messages for
them to ring him.
In the meanwhile I telephoned State House. I knew President and Mrs
Banana reasonably well, having worked with Canaan in 1971 and 1972 against
the Smith-Home proposals, which would have led to independence for Rhodesia
under Smith if they hadn't been defeated. Moto was then a weekly newspaper
and a useful vehicle in which to publish and distribute information.
With future help promised by Baldwin Sjollema at the World Council of
Churches, my father bought a second-hand VW bug for Banana, who set up a
network of men on bicycles to distribute the paper throughout the country.
The men were meant to pay Hokonui Ranching Company for the bicycles
from their proceeds, but by the time the Pearce Commission found the
Smith-Home proposals unacceptable to the majority of Rhodesia's population
and had left the country, Banana, my father and I were all detained, so
luckily for the vendors there wasn't anyone around to pay.
I rang State House at about 9.30PM, and although I explained the
seriousness of the problem, the receptionist was either unwilling or unable
to contact the Bananas. Mary was agonising about the probability that Edward
was still lying on a concrete cell floor at the Kadoma police camp, and
neither she nor I thought government would like Edward to actually die in
After failing with State House, I rang Kadoma police and had the most
extraordinary conversation. The man on duty, who seemed deliberately obtuse,
first tried to tell me that he thought I was ringing to report Edward's
escape from Bulawayo Central Hospital. Then he said that Edward had been
"charged" so if he was still at Kadoma, the police would have to be
performing guard duties, and they weren't, so he couldn't be. Then he said
he didn't know whether or not he was there.
At this stage, I said, "My friend, if I were you, I would find out,
because you may very soon be receiving a telephone call from your minister,
At that, obviously startled, he gave me the home phone number of the
man in charge of the CIO, Mr Tekere. But when I phoned, Tekere was out. I
left a message for him to call me, which he did the following morning. He
said he didn't know whether Edward was still in Kadoma police camp because
Edward now fell under the Criminal Investigation Department, not CIO.
By now I was trying to get information through Richard Carver to
Amnesty International, as well as through David Caute to anyone, and on 20
October I wrote to both that I had received a very happy telephone call from
Mrs Agrippa Thembani to say that her husband had been released along with
"quite a number" of others, but I had no details. I was confident that my
letters to individuals probably couldn't be opened, but I nonetheless tried
to camouflage any news . . .
I managed to see Nevison Nyashanu. A man in plain clothes walked into
my office some days ago, very ill at ease, to say he was a policeman on
leave from Chakari police camp and that Nyashanu had asked him to come and
tell me where he was held so that I could tell Nyashanu's wife.
Nyashanu had been beaten up. The policeman was so anxious to leave and
I was so anxious to see him go that I didn't ask him to sit down.
I was terrified that he may have been a plant but, nonetheless, went
ahead that night to inform Nyashanu's wife, Shamiso, in Harare's suburb of
Greystone Park. I told here I would do my best to see Nevison. I didn't tell
her that Nevison had been assaulted but nonetheless, while I was with her,
she rang Dr Nkomo and asked what he was doing about the situation. He was
very sad and said that information was being kept from him.
The next day I drove straight to the police camp in the tiny
settlement of Chakari about 160 kilometres from Harare. I hadn't been there
before. It is a remote place, off the main road, fairly near Kadoma and also
falls under Tekere of CIO in Kadoma as does Eiffel Flats where Welshman
Mabhena is being held. Eiffel Flats is also remote and off the road. These
are good places to hide prisoners. At the police camp I saw Nevison sitting
in the sun in the wired cage outside the little string of cells they have
there. His head was swollen.
We gestured imperceptibly to each other and without saying a word to
him I went straight into the offices to find the Member in Charge. He turned
out to be a Mutasa. I asked if he was related to Didymus Mutasa. He said he
was a nephew. I said I was a friend of Didymus and his wife Getrude and I
had come to see our mutual friend Nevison Nyashanu who had been a
contemporary of the Mutasas when they were all together in exile in
Birmingham in the United Kingdom.
The Member in Charge was so overcome by my claim of friendship to the
Mutasas that he carried an office chair for me into Nevison's cage so I
could sit in comfort while I talked to Nevison. This was such an incongruous
set-up, me sitting high above Nevison while he crouched on the ground that
Mutasa went to get another chair for Nevison.
While he was away Nevison told me quickly that he is being
interrogated by three senior detectives who should, he said, be arriving any
minute now to continue. They say the case will go to the High Court when
they are finished. The allegation is that he organised several meetings with
ex-Zipra soldiers in the Zimbabwe National Army to overthrow the
constitutional government of Zimbabwe. In other words, treason. He has not
yet signed a sworn statement and is trying not to do so until he gets legal
Mutasa was almost back but I managed to quickly as about Nevison's
swollen head and he had time to say two words. "Tekere. Truncheon.".
In later years, when PF Zapu had been thoroughly masticated and
swallowed into the 1987 unity accord with Zanu PF, Mugabe threw a few bones
to some of those he considered to be his dogs now at heel. He made Joshua
Nkomo a ceremonial vice-president, and appointed Welshman Mabhena governor
of Matabeleland North.
At about the same time, perhaps only by a quirk of fate, Tekere of the
CIO at Kadoma was promoted to head the CIO in Bulawayo, where he had to
report to Governor Mabhena.
Mabhena, like Nyashanu, had suffered under Tekere while detained at
Eiffel Flats. When I heard of their new relationship, I asked Governor
Mabhena, "How can you bear it?"
Welshman Mabhena looked at me with a still, steady, delighted grin.
After a few seconds he answered my question with another.
"Shouldn't you be asking, how can he bear it?"
* Excerpt from Judith Todd's latest book, Through the Darkness, A Life
in Zimbabwe, available from www.zebrapress.co.za.
sundayview Justice Murau
THE police are threatening that anyone who contravenes the directives
of Obert Mpofu, the Minister of Industry and International Trade, relating
to price controls will face the full wrath of the law. What they really mean
is that alleged miscreants will face the full wrath of the so-called crack
units of the police, the minister and the Price Control Committee. There is
no law that is being administered or applied.
How can a magistrate justify a fine of $5 million because the caterer
at the magistrates' canteen room failed to exhibit the price of meals?
The Control of Goods Act permits the President to make regulations
controlling the distribution, disposal, purchase and sale, or the wholesale
or retail prices, of any goods and the charges which may be made for
services relating to the distribution, disposal, purchase and sale of the
Some years ago the President made regulations which permitted the
minister to control the prices of specific commodities. On 6 July he amended
the existing regulations by prescribing that the minister could issue Price
Control Orders for any commodity of any description whatsoever, and any
services relating to the distribution, disposal, purchase and sale of such
Clearly the regulations do not apply to such things as transport
operators, medical or legal services, rents, hotel accommodation, telephone
charges, electricity charges and similar services. Whilst it might be argued
that the salaries and wages of people engaged in the selling and
distribution of goods can be covered, there can be no argument that the
regulations could apply to the wages of people engaged in growing or
Since the regulations were only promulgated on 6 July, no Price
Control Order could be made by the minister before that date. However, on 26
June, on the front page of The Herald, there was a statement that the
minister had directed manufacturers, retailers and wholesalers to reduce
prices of basic commodities, including transport and newspapers, by up to
50% with immediate effect. He said that the business sector should revert to
the prices as at 18 June 2007.
Had the crack forces been told to implement the directive of the
minister, they should have first ascertained what the prices were at the
shop or supermarket on 18 June and ordered that prices should be reduced to
that level and not the arbitrary level specified in The Herald. The alleged
prices on 18 June were not accurate. The chief executive of Zimpapers
confirmed the falsity, saying that the prices of the two newspapers in
question had been increased a few days before 18 June. That was a fortunate
coincidence or possibly he knew what was afoot.
There was however, one very conspicuous omission by the crack force.
It did not descend on Zimpapers. In the article it was alleged that the
prices of The Herald and The Sunday Mail as at 18 June were $15 000 and $25
000 respectively, whereas on 24 June they were $25 000 and $35 000. The
Zimpapers chief executive, Justin Mutasa, was quoted as saying that he
welcomed the Government intervention and that as soon as the suppliers of
newsprint and printing ink lowered their prices, the prices of The Herald
and The Sunday Mail would also go down.
The hypocrisy of the government on this issue is very obvious. It is
the owner of Zimpapers so it did nothing that would bring financial ruin to
its own company. It had no concern about the effects of its directive on the
other businesses. To this very day Zimpapers has not reduced the price of
its newspapers. It knows that the minister and the crack force will not
The minister published his Price Control Order on 6 July. In that
order he defined the base date as meaning 18 June 2007. He then decreed that
the base price of any commodity shall, after consultation between the
minister and the manufacturers, be fixed by reference to the cost of
production as at the base date, subject to periodical reviews. There is a
proviso that no base price shall be fixed without the minister's express
written approval. Clearly there can be no base price for imported goods
because the minister would not be able consult with the manufacturers.
Clearly all actions taken by the minister and the crack force before 6
July were completely illegal. Anyone who has suffered loss or damage through
the illegal activities could have recourse to the courts for damages. The
Minister should be sued in his personal capacity as should Police
Commissioner Augustine Chihuri and other heads of the security forces
The Herald reported that thousands of businessmen had been arrested.
They are still being arrested on a daily basis. They are held for days and
nights in police cells such as those at Matapi, which the Parliamentary
Committee has condemned. Obviously those who are arrested will pay admission
of guilt fines to get out of the cells. One wonders what offences are stated
in the Police Charge Sheets. Those that were brought to court for offences
allegedly committed before 6 July were released by the court because no
offence had been committed.
The Minister also arbitrarily cancelled the licences of all abattoirs.
That was completely illegal. In 2004 the President and the Parliament of
Zimbabwe passed and approved the Administrative Justice Act. It provides
that a Minister who has the responsibility or power to take any
administrative action which may affect the rights, interests or legitimate
expectations of any person shall act lawfully, reasonably and in a fair
In order for such an action to be taken in a fair manner, the Minister
must give the person concerned adequate notice of the nature and purpose of
the proposed action and a reasonable opportunity to make adequate
representations. The Minister has failed to comply with a law approved by
the President. Will the President take any action against the Minister?
The Minister obviously considers that once a directive is issued by
him it becomes law. The arrogance of the man is incomprehensible. Surely he
must know that only directives issued in terms of an Act of Parliament or
regulations made thereunder can have the force of law. It is also obvious
that the Minister's tongue moves before his brain gets into gear or is even
switched on. His directive that the sale of petrol by way of coupons would
be stopped after two weeks is an example. When he saw the panic and chaos
that ensued and was told of the consequences of his directive, he
immediately backed down and said that his statement had been misinterpreted.
He then gave an explanation of what he intended to do, which differed
completely from what he had actually done. It is not even clear from his
explanation what he intends to do. Clearly NOCZIM cannot be the only fuel
retailer in the country.
Even when regulations are promulgated by the Minister, they are not
thought out. That is admitted by the Minister himself. Statutory Instruments
137 and 138 were published on 6 July and are due to come into force on 1
August. They prohibit the importation of a wide range of products, including
cooking oil and soap, unless one has a permit from the Minister. Now that
the Minister has realised the implications of what he has published he says
that he had "recalled" the statutory instrument because it had caused "a lot
of confusion". Why not be honest and admit that, since he was the author of
the instrument, it was he who had caused the confusion?
There is no legislation which enables the Minister or the Price
Control Unit to control or regulate the fees charged by legal practitioners,
accountants, auditors or any other professional. The Minister may threaten
that government will take over a business which fails to comply with a
directive of his, but that cannot lawfully be done until the Declaration of
Rights is amended, as was done in relation to agricultural land.
Recently, one of the ruling party bigwigs approached a used car dealer
and asked the price of a Toyota Hilux. He was told the price of US$35 000.
He returned the next day with members of the Crack Force and made a cheque
out for Z$35 000 x 250 (being the official exchange rate.) The Crack Force
member insisted that the dealer sell the vehicle to the Chef. That has also
happened to other car dealers.
The Price Control Orders do not give the Minister or any other
authority the right to compel someone to sell any goods. All the Price
Control Order requires is that if one wants to sell a product, it must be at
the controlled price. In the case mentioned above, the dealer would be able
to approach the courts for an order for the vehicle to be returned to him. A
valid sale is concluded on a "willing buyer willing seller" basis. If the
seller is not willing to sell but is forced to do so at gunpoint or under
threat of arrest, there is no valid sale.
The government insists that members of the public cannot sell houses,
vehicles, etc for US dollars or any foreign currency. Yet, if one wants a
passport, one must now pay US$250. If one is flying outside the country, one
must pay a departure tax of US$20. So the State can charge in US dollars but
the private sector cannot. Another example of government hypocrisy.
The arrests of directors of companies are purely intimidatory tactics.
In normal circumstances the police should issue summons. However, the
Commissioner is allowing the police to be used as a weapon to harass and
intimidate the business community. The integrity of the ZRP is being placed
Mugabe diversionary tactics the bane of Zimbabwe crisis
IN 2000, when the Zimbabwe crisis reached the crescendo, it was the
white commercial farmers in cahoots with the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change that were undermining the economy through calling for
sanctions and fighting land redistribution.
Thus, people were made to believe that through the land invasions they
were going to be made farm owners and automatically become prosperous,
albeit there being no point in history when such day-dreaming has ever
materialised. Many Zimbabweans were misled, and right until today there is
chaos and bleak hope on the farms.
President Robert Mugabe has so far successfully managed to divert
attention from the Zanu PF economic malaise and political quagmire that has
dogged the country for the past decades. There is need for Zimbabweans to
remain focused and give Zanu PF a retrenchment package in the forthcoming
In 2000 it was the Bureaux de Change that were claimed to be causing
the massive devaluation of the Zimbabwe currency on the parallel market. The
government alleged that Bureaux de Change were engaged in clandestine deals
outside their normal activities and fuelling the parallel market.
The result was a closure of Bureaux de Change, strict control of
foreign currency. There was a temporary drop of the rate on the parallel
market and suddenly after a few days the exchange rate skyrocketed again.
There was no one who was willing to go to the official market since our
currency was overvalued. It is common sense that people will always go to
the bidder who is willing to pay the real value for their product, and
following that logic no one would have gone to the official market.
Nevertheless, to Mugabe and his sycophants, it was the bureaux's fault.
But seven years later, the exchange rate continues to plummet and
foreign currency is still scarce. Gideon Gono's crackdown on the financial
sector was the other point of diversion. People were made to believe that
the hyperinflation being experienced by the country was as a result of the
financial sector being involved in illicit deals and speculation on the
parallel market. This led to a closure of banks and the prosecution of
These measures, like the ones before them, failed to address the
economic ills affecting the country. Zanu PF termed the 2005 parliamentary
elections "Anti-Blair". Thus, people were not to discuss bread and butter
issues, but Blair. Blair resigned from office, but we still have problems.
The year 2005 saw another antic from Zanu PF, when there was a
crackdown on informal traders. It was argued that flea markets and tuckshops
were hoarding and channelling products to the parallel market. The measure
was a closure of flea markets and tuckshops resulting in a lot of people
losing their livelihoods. This was expanded to include backyard cottages and
even legitimate building structures in the name of Operation Murambatsvina.
What the authorities forgot was that they have become filthy to the
country and thus needed to be discarded. This daylight robbery of ordinary
people's livelihoods was supposed to eradicate shortages of basic
commodities, but this was not the case. The most recent move has been
Operation Dzikisa Mutengo (Lower Prices), which has been targeting business
across all sectors.
The logic of the government's argument has been that business is
colluding with Britain to increase prices to topple it. Zanu PF is like the
proverbial fool who cuts the branch of the tree that he is sitting on.
The latest attempt to divert the people's attention has been the case
of the Archbishop Pius Ncube. The story lacks any factual coherence and
substance to vindicate the allegations made. It reminisce typical of ZBC
poorly directed dramas such as the Cain Nkala murder case. Zanu PF's main
attempt is to divert the attention of people from the shortages in the shops
since the honeymoon is over to this alleged case of adultery. The major
question is how would the committing of adultery by an archbishop solve our
imminent economic and political collapse?
All along Mugabe has perfected the art of diversion, which would lead
us to losing focus if we are not careful. There is need for Zimbabweans from
all walks of life to avoid falling victim to Zanu PF's tomfoolery. We cannot
keep on being diverted from the real issues forever. The banning of
cross-border trading in foodstuffs is another attempt at diverting the
people's energies to forget about the elections. There is need to be extra
Tamauka Charles Chirimambowa
University of KwaZulu-Natal
Durban, South Africa
The real workers must stand up and be counted
THE Zimbabwean crisis has now reached its apex. The worker is now
subsidizing the employer, as transport now demands more than the disposable
The crises that confront the worker in Zimbabwe have turned life into
hell on earth. These include high taxation, meaningless wages,
hyperinflation, and unaffordable medication, sky scrapping education fees,
and unemployment, unabated transport fare-hikes, starvation and increased
poverty in general. We have sunk to a level we never dreamt of before.
But more saddening about our situation as workers, is the fact that we
no longer have a voice. The two major labour bodies appear to have jumped
ship, leaving their crews unattended in order to pursue narrow-minded and
selfish political agendas that are not part of their core business.
The traditional labour powerhouse, the ZCTU, has decided to become a
branch of Morgan Tsvangirai's faction of the opposition MDC. There is
nothing wrong with opposition parties forming strategic alliances with the
civic world, including labour, but there is everything wrong when the ZCTU
forgets its proper constituency.
I always wonder where the spirit of the late 1990s has gone. The
situation was still much better then. The leadership of Gibson Sibanda and
Tsvangirai was very dedicated and aggressive when it came to representing
To the Zimbabwean workers I say this is the time to rise up and to
demand what is rightfully our own.
The first point is to reclaim ownership of our ZCTU that has been
hijacked by selfish politicians. The real war is not about fighting our
employers over poor salaries. Let us focus on the root cause of the problem.
Inflation has to be brought down first.
The sanctions that have been imposed upon us by this reckless regime
of President Robert Mugabe must be removed. The national resources such as
land that should benefit every Zimbabwean have been limited to Zanu PF only.
ZCTU will be respected when they begin to address these issues.
Hypocrisy most foul!
SO they are trying to pin the crime of adultery on Archbishop Pius
Ncube! His only "crime" is that he has told the truth about our government.
They must be desperate: drowning men clutching at straws. Can you believe
these people? After what they have done to our country! This is an
Assume the worst. Assume that he is guilty. There is no Sharia law in
Zimbabwe. When was the last man charged with adultery? There are known
adulterers in very high positions here. Come to think of it, there are
notorious rapists and murderers in those positions, too. Where were the TV
cameras when their activities became public knowledge? Where was the CIO?
Did they entrap any of those people?
And who is throwing stones at this "sinner"? Who has summoned up the
apparatus of the state to entrap this courageous, decent man? Those whose
hands are stained with blood. Those who murdered tens of thousands. How many
more hundreds of thousands have been raped or abused? Who has paid the price
for the rape of Matabeleland in the 1980s - for Gukurahundi?
This atrocity was fully documented by the Catholic Commission for
Justice and Peace. Who has been punished for Murambatsvina? Those events
merited a media blitz.
When will justice be done? Are the spirits of our dead at peace? Do we
have to wait for a trial at The Hague?
And they talk about adultery! This is pathetic. Have they no shame, no
sense of proportion? They have now produced this charade crafted to punish a
brave man for daring to tell the truth. If they have succeeded in trapping
our highly esteemed archbishop in this way, who is getting paid off for it?
Or who has been coerced? There is no serious crime here - no murder or rape.
Who deserves to be punished: the murderers or the "adulterers"?
If Zanu PF says that Pius Ncube is an adulterer, this is very good
reason to believe that he is innocent. We don't trust them!
For decades these self-serving criminals have pillaged our country and
brutalised our people. Where is the justice in Zimbabwe?
Battle of the ballot boxes
IT is clearer than ever that we voted for a party that does not
deliver results, promised or not. I can safely say that we now know that
former British Premier, Tony Blair was not to blame for our problems but
rather it is someone at the helm who is doing nothing other than using the
taxpayers' money to travel around the world while the proverbial Rome is
I am not afraid to say to whoever that someone is: we will meet at the
elections. We cannot take to the streets but the ballot box shall be our
guns and there, we will declare war.
I can tell you that keep up the good work of doing nothing but we will
definitely meet in the battle of ballot boxes.
Beware of prying eyes
HOME Guard Security Services is a dangerous arm of
the government's secret service.
Companies, individuals, civic leaders, local authorities, public and
private companies, as well as non-governmental organisations be warned
against having all your business, social, personal and political activities
under surveillance by the machinations of Home Guard Security companies.