Sun Jul 8, 8:42 AM ET
JOHANNESBURG (AFP) - The Southern African Development Community is preparing
an economic rescue package for Zimbabwe which would include extending the
rand monetary area into the impoverished country, reports said Sunday.
This is in an effort by the 14-nation regional bloc to stabilise the
exchange rate of the Zimbabwe dollar and curb inflation, now estimated at a
world record 5,000 percent, The Sunday Independent reported.
The SADC secretariat Tomaz Salamao was tasked at a summit in March to study
ways and means through which the regional trading bloc could assist in the
economic recovery of Zimbabwe.
It was at the same summit where South African President Thabo Mbeki was
mandated to mediate between President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF and the
According to the new plan, Zimbabwe would be included in the multilateral
monetary area (MMA), which now includes neighbouring South Africa, Namibia,
Lesotho, and Swaziland, making the rand a legal tender in Zimbabwe, the
paper said quoting unidentified sources.
The neighbouring countries would also pump millions into the Zimbabwe
reserve bank, effectively propping up the Zimbabwe dollar which has become
almost worthless, and put its exchange rate with foreign currencies at the
same level as the rand.
The paper said Salamao visited Zimbabwe on Thursday last week to discuss his
plans with the government after briefing SADC leaders at the African Union
summit in Ghana.
Mugabe would first have to agree to fundamental political reforms in the
negotiations with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change due to start
in Pretoria on Monday, if the plan is to go ahead, the paper added.
No immediate response from government was available.
The new efforts come as Mugabe embarked on drastic forceful measures to try
and control runaway inflation, warning that his government would seize and
nationalise firms perceived to be profiteering excessively in a bid to
incite Zimbabweans to revolt against the state.
Several price freezing violators were arrested over the weekend.
Zimbabwe is in the throes of an economic crisis characterised by four-digit
inflation, shortages of basic foodstuffs like cooking oil and sugar, and
Sun 8 Jul 2007, 11:08 GMT
JOHANNESBURG, July 8 (Reuters) - A regional body wants to rescue Zimbabwe's
inflation-ravaged economy by switching to South Africa's currency in
exchange for political concessions by President Robert Mugabe, a newspaper
reported on Sunday.
South Africa's solid rand currency could help stabilise an economic crisis
in Zimbabwe where inflation has rocketed to 4,500 percent, South Africa's
Sunday Independent said.
It quoted unidentified sources as saying the Southern African Development
Community (SADC) was working on a plan to extend the rand monetary union to
The monetary union, under which currencies are pegged to the rand, consists
of South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland.
The plan would also involve the central banks in South Africa and Botswana
injecting huge amounts of funds into their counterpart in Zimbabwe, the
Sunday Independent said.
Mugabe's government this week sought to curb galloping inflation, the
highest in the world, by ordering prices of basic goods slashed by half, but
this sparked panic buying by shoppers who emptied shop shelves.
To gain the rescue plan, Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party would have to agree
to major political reforms in secret talks with the opposition due to start
in Pretoria on Monday, the paper added.
No officials from the SADC or the South African Foreign Affairs Ministry
were immediately available to comment.
SADC Executive Secretary Tonaz Salamao briefed leaders of the grouping about
the rescue plan on the sidelines of last week's African Union summit and
visited Zimbabwe on Thursday to float the plan with the government there,
the paper said.
Southern African leaders at a summit in March asked South African President
Thabo Mbeki to forge a deal between Zimbabwe's ruling party and the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
That followed sharply rising tensions after opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai and dozens of other MDC members suffered serious injuries after
being arrested by police at an aborted prayer rally in Harare.
Mugabe, in power since independence from Britain in 1980, said on Saturday
there was no need to create a new constitution, a key demand of the
opposition ahead of elections next year.
Mugabe's government last month proposed new changes to allow joint
presidential and parliamentary polls in 2008, in which Mugabe has said he
The 83-year-old veteran ruler has accused firms of raising prices as part of
plot to unseat him and says the economy has been sabotaged by Western foes,
led by Britain.
By ANGUS SHAW
The Associated Press
Sunday, July 8, 2007; 6:19 AM
HARARE, Zimbabwe -- Police arrested 16 more business leaders in a crackdown
on those suspected of violating the government's order to slash prices by 50
percent, the official media reported Sunday.
The mandated price cuts are a desperate attempt to confront inflation that
has spun out of control during Zimbabwe's economic crisis. The falling
prices have caused stampedes, panic buying and near-riots by impoverished
Among those arrested in the latest sweep were the directors of Edgars, a
leading clothing and fashion retailer, and supermarket and gas station
Also taken into custody were Michael Fowler and Zed Koudanaris, directors of
the main food distributor and fast food chain, and Gavin Sainsbury, chief
executive of the country's biggest producer of pork products, the state
Sunday Mail reported.
Fowler and Koudanaris pioneered popular branded bakery, pizza and take out
franchises in Zimbabwe, including Nando's, known for its chicken dishes
No information was immediately available on specific allegations against the
business leaders or where they were being held. Police holding cells are
notorious for filthy and harsh conditions.
The country's economic crisis, the worst since independence from Britain in
1980, began with the seizure of thousands of white-owned commercial farms
for redistribution to blacks in 2000. The country's agriculture-based
economy collapsed as a result.
Official inflation is running at 4,500 percent, the highest in the world,
though independent financial institutions estimate real inflation is closer
to 9,000 percent.
Business executives argue the price cuts threaten to force them to shut
down. The government accuses them of being part of a political and economic
campaign of "regime change" to bring down longtime ruler President Robert
On Saturday, two weeks after ordering sweeping price cuts, the government
announced a new law enabling it to enforce the reductions.
The Sunday Mail, a government mouthpiece, said police and price inspectors
raided gas stations still selling scarce fuel Saturday, ordering them to
reduce the price by up to two-thirds.
It said they thwarted an attempt by one gas station manager to shut off his
pumps by claiming a power outage. Another gas station was caught
disconnecting its power supply.
The newspaper said Industry Minister Obert Mpofu ordered commuter bus owners
to reduce fares, some by four-fifths, as gasoline prices were being lowered.
Private minibus owners routinely ignore such orders, or take their vehicles
off the road, also citing viability problems.
Store shelves remained empty of corn meal, bread, meat and other basic foods
Sunday as police and government inspectors continued raiding shops and
businesses to force them obey the new price controls.
Police on Friday arrested 17 business leaders.
At least 200 businesses already have been charged for alleged price
violations and 40 market vendors were arrested for hoarding goods.
State radio on Sunday quoted police spokesman Andrew Phiri as saying the
raids were not a temporary measure but were a permanent enforcement of
government efforts to curb inflation and fight profiteering by businesses.
In a speech to supporters Friday, Mugabe warned manufacturers not to defy
the government-ordered price cuts by cutting production or their businesses
would be seized.
MURDO MACLEOD (firstname.lastname@example.org)
AS A member of team Charlie Four, Washington Mabada was taught to strike a
victim so he fell to the floor paralysed, ordered to rape a teenage girl and
help construct a concrete "jacket" for a member of the opposition.
Casual murder, extreme violence and the meting out of degrading punishments
were all part of the day's work for the graduate of Robert Mugabe's torture
Despite his training and his newly-comfortable lifestyle, Mabada, who was
recruited as a poverty-stricken teenager with four siblings to feed, dreamed
of escape away from his Zimbabwean handlers. Last December, having earned
their trust, he boarded a bus to neighbouring Botswana and is now in hiding
in Namibia. Although being hunted by the Zimbabwean dictator's security
gangs, Mabada has decided to tell all about his former life to the German
news magazine Stern.
Mabada, 22, told the journal: "If I die, the world must know what I have
done. Many nights I cried, but I was afraid to flee. I had seen the places
where they brought traitors."
Mabada has revealed a world of brutality and brainwashing, where young men
are trained to torture and kill without remorse and where any lingering
doubts or misgivings are banished by drugs and alcohol.
Selected for his ability to unflinchingly beat the life out of victims
chosen by the Mugabe regime, Mabada says he was used as a means to cement
the tyrant's grip on the country despite mounting international condemnation
and a chronically mismanaged economy.
An orphan whose parents had died of Aids, he had to provide for his four
siblings through odd jobs. His school marks were good and he hoped to go to
university, but didn't have the money.
So he was one of a number of teenagers who signed up for an ideological
training programme - the innocent-sounding National Youth Service - which he
hoped would pay for education in return for patriotic work for the state.
The reality was a school for thugs.
Mabada was sent to a camp in Bindura in the north of the country where, for
months, the most he had to endure was physical labour and long speeches by
Then came his introduction to the brutal world of Mugabe's torture gangs.
Mabada and three others were ordered by an instructor into a room where a
naked 15-year old girl lay chained to a table.
The official said: "This girl was working in the office and was secretly
using the telephone. You are her punishment."
The boys were handed cannabis joints to ease misgivings and went on to rape
Later that night, Mabada and a friend awoke from the haze of the drugs and
realised what had happened. They attempted to flee but were caught by guard
dogs and beaten as a punishment. His friend died.
Despite his escape attempt, his senior officers still believed he had
"potential" and he was chosen for special training. When he refused, he was
told: "There is no place here for refusing. We pull the strings and you
He continued his training as agent 18026 of Team Charlie Four, taking an
apprenticeship in the art of torture and political sabotage. He was taught
to kill or stun with a single blow and sent on his first missions.
His first assignments were low-level sabotage designed to frame opponents of
the regime. They involved attacks on railway lines and on the houses of
members of Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party, which were then blamed on the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
It was not without rewards. The team were housed in a plush flat in an
eight-storey block in the centre of Harare. In a country where food is now
expensive and scarce, the group had fresh bread daily and fridge shelves
groaning with fresh produce. They received regular drugs consignments and
the services of prostitutes.
In January, 2006, Mabada and his team were summoned to a new training camp
and led into a blood-stained room. Their instructor told them: "Today, you
will learn how to torture."
A "practice prisoner" was brought in and the team were ordered to beat him
up. The instructor observed: "No one will miss him."
The body was dumped in the corner and a second victim was brought in. The
team were told: "Stage two. This time hit where it really hurts."
A third victim was given electric shocks, while the instructors passed
cannabis and alcohol around the team.
On one occasion, Mabada and a team of government commandos surrounded an
opposition meeting and asked the 40-strong group of men and women who had
voted for the MDC. When two men put up their hands, the agents told them
they could go because they had been "honest".
The rest were ordered to drink alcohol until they were "senseless" and
forced to have unprotected sex with each other, changing partners at the
whim of the agents. In a country where a fifth of the population is HIV
positive, the order was as good as a death sentence.
Shortly before he fled, Mabada's team received their most chilling order, to
fill a metal coffin containing a battered but living opposition member with
concrete. They mixed the concrete and poured it in until only the man's head
was free. They then carried the coffin to a lakeside boat, where an agent
was waiting. When the boat returned, the coffin was nowhere to be seen.
Last month, because of his long record of brutality, Mugabe was stripped of
the honorary degree awarded to him for services to education in Africa in
the 1980s by Edinburgh University following a campaign by Scotland on
Last week, however, he was still being allowed to parade his credentials as
a statesman, despite a blistering attack on his rule by the Roman Catholic
Archbishop of Bulawayo, Pius Ncube, who said that the state of the country
was now so bad that foreign governments, particularly Britain's, should
intervene to "remove" the dictator from power. At an African Union summit in
Ghana, Mugabe was, as usual, feted by his fellow African leaders, where he
promoted pan-African unity.
Mabada says he has spoken out even though it will most likely lead to his
He said that after the evening with the murdered opposition member he knew
he "couldn't handle it any more. Maybe it was the look from that man in the
coffin. I don't know exactly. I just knew that I had to get away, even if it
cost me my life trying".
African leaders 'turning a blind eye to brutal neighbour'
In April, human rights group Amnesty called for an end the "culture of
impunity" that has been allowed to build up, particularly among other
African leaders, around Zimbabwe's violations.
UK campaigns director Tim Hancock said it was "clear" that there are
incidents of torture in Zimbabwe and the organisation had called on the
Mugabe government to improve the human rights situation.
"As Zimbabwe commemorates 27 years of independence, many of its citizens are
either in police custody, nursing injuries inflicted by the police and other
state security agents, or are living in fear of daring to exercise their
right to peaceful protest," he said.
"Many Zimbabweans are spending sleepless nights afraid of being abducted or
of being subjected to torture simply for choosing to belong to an opposition
Since 2000, there has been a rapid erosion of human rights in Zimbabwe,
including destruction of the homes and livelihoods of 700,000 people in
On March 11 this year, police in Harare arrested political opposition
leaders and other activists who tried to take part in a prayer meeting. Many
were severely beaten at Machipisa police station. They injured included
Morgan Tsvangirai of the main opposition party, the MDC, who suffered a
Zimbabwe is a country in free fall. Life expectancy is plummeting, while
inflation is rocketing. But the nightmare of life there is notoriously hard to
document. Photographer Robin Hammond evades Mugabe's murderous police to smuggle
out some extraordinary images.
See Robin Hammond's photos of real life in Zimbabwe
Sunday July 8, 2007
Intimidation, beatings, detention, imprisonment, torture ... For ordinary Zimbabweans, whether dissenting voices, opposition supporters, lawyers, white farmers, journalists, motherless waifs living rough on the streets or those who find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time, the threat from their nation's leaders and the uniformed thugs who work for them is a permanent and paralysing fixture.
The remarkable photographs shown in the gallery above reveal a Zimbabwe rarely seen by outsiders. All the people who agreed to be photographed here knew that they risked their own safety. The Observer 's photographer Robin Hammond was threatened with arrest and violence and, only by twice paying hefty bribes to uniformed police officers, did he escape a beating and hefty prison sentence. But the vivid scenes he captures tell the story of President Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe - a once flourishing country brought to its knees by a despotic regime.Zimbabwe's affliction is not that its rampant inflation rate, food, fuel and power shortages are caused by natural disaster or lack of resources but, in the greater part, by a once-heroic figure who has treated his own people with criminal contempt. The 83-year-old Mugabe and his ministers hang on - to the dollars they stash through foreign-currency dealing, to the decent foreign schools they can send their children to, to the food they snatch from the starving, to the farms they grab and ruin, to the fistfuls of diamonds they purloin from the dwindling numbers of companies still interested in investing in this failing state, to power.
It's said in whispered tones that Mugabe keeps files on his friends as well as his enemies, and, whatever the truth, it keeps levels of paranoia and fear high among his citizens. Police officers remain loyal despite the fact that they rarely see their wage packets these days thanks to a lack of cash in the public coffers, many are forced to hitchhike or walk everywhere and the temptation to demand bribes for imagined criminal offences is high. Rallies or gatherings are always brutally put down and Harare's wide open grid-style streets do not lend themselves easily to any form of mass uprising that could not easily be controlled by Mugabe's military.
The clampdown on the media is part of that repression. For journalists and photographers trying to throw a bit of light on the situation and give a voice to the impoverished people here, there is the kind of state hostility normally reserved for war zones.
In the past four years, some 100 reporters and photographers have been arrested. From the detention and deportation of The Observer 's Andrew Meldrum in 2003, just a month before Philimon Bulawayo, a photographer with the independent Daily News , was battered and detained, to the 2007 attack on Gift Phiri, a contributor to the London-based Zimbabwean, hospitalised after being beaten in police custody, and the murder of photographer Edward Chikomba, there has been little let up. Zimbabwe currently tops the list of countries that have forced the largest number of journalists into exile - 48 since 2001, according to a recent report.
Zimbabwe's independent newspapers are regularly shut down. Journalists, local or foreign, caught practising without a licence can be jailed for two years - or 20 years if they are found to have published anything disparaging about Mugabe.
Boldwill Hungwe, a photographer with The Standard, remains in hiding. Two months ago the paper published pictures of a badly bruised lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, tortured by police. The security forces had broken up a gathering of lawyers in Harare the previous week. After the photo was published the police called Hungwe and told him to turn himself in at the police station. He has been in hiding ever since.
His fear is hardly unfounded. In April, Edward Chikomba's body was found, a few days after he was abducted from his home by armed men. Chikomba was suspected of having leaked the footage that flooded the world's media - the 11 March police beatings of Morgan Tsvangirai and other opposition-party members after they tried to hold a peaceful rally in Highfields, on the outskirts of Harare. Three other journalists who reported on the story were also arrested and beaten. And such violence is meted out without discrimination in Zimbabwe.
From the women and children picking their way through the city dumps to the doctors trying to run hospitals with no medicines or electricity, to the thousands of people who try to flee their impoverished lives by flooding over the border into an unwelcoming South Africa, every Zimbabwean is now a victim.
July 9, 2007
Rosemary Righter: Thunderer
In Africa's ubiquitous urban slums, children play at Formula One racing with
bricks they push through the dust. At the African Union summit in Accra last
week their leaders did much the same. There was just one item on the agenda,
and it had nothing to do with the persecution and slaughter of their
brethren in Darfur, Somalia, Congo or (heaven forfend) Zimbabwe, let alone
the political and economic reforms that could bring jobs and hope to those
urban slums. Africa's overlords had weightier matters on their mind.
Urged on by that well-known African, the gold-garbed Guide of the First of
September Great Revolution of the Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya,
they devoted the entire three days to a "Grand Debate" on creating a United
States of Africa, complete with a federal government with a 15-member
cabinet and a two million-strong continental army under the command of - who
other than Muammar Gaddafi, who has proposed himself as Africa's minister of
No matter that all concerned knew that this was an exercise in futility that
would at best end in a "road map" to union, destined to peter out in a dead
end. Asked whether it was not more urgent to get their domestic houses in
order before building this continental palace, or at least to practice
African unity before preaching it.
Ghana's Foreign Minister replied: "Yes, we have serious problems, people are
dying in places like Somalia and Darfur. But people are dying everywhere in
the world, not just in Africa." Let them eat grenades. Not bad, toasted.
It is more than 50 years since Ghana's Kwame Nkrumah raised the pan-African
banner, arguing unsuccessfully for a federal African government. Nkrumah
failed even to forge a permanent union with neighbouring Mali and Guinea,
and in practice set about dismantling such common West African institutions
as the British had left behind. Since Nkrumah's day Africa's 53 states have
become more, not less, divided. Its governments have signed countless
regional agreements, on human rights, economic development and trade, which
they then ignore. They do not even pay their dues to the African Union, thus
ensuring its ineffectiveness.
Gaddafi will not give up bribing and bullying African governments to support
his Big Idea because his African love affair is less capricious than might
appear. It is his "insurance" against the day when his barren land runs out
not only of oil, but also of water. Libya, he tells his people, would cease
to exist in a US of Africa, but Libyans would have the run of the "paradise"
of Africa's natural wealth. Africa's political heavyweights know what he is
after. But they will not admit that pan-African unity is make-believe. The
kids playing in the townships have a better grip on reality.
Monday 09 July 2007
By Tsungai Murandu
HARARE - Long fuel queues have resurfaced in Zimbabwe as filling stations
ran out of petrol following a government directive to reduce prices by up to
Only a handful of garages in Harare had fuel at the weekend, resulting in
long queues by desperate motorists.
The government on Thursday ordered oil companies to slash prices of petrol
and diesel to $55 000 and $60 000, respectively, as part of a campaign to
Before the directive, a litre of petrol cost $150 000 while diesel went for
The shortages are expected to worsen during the coming week after current
supplies run out, fuel attendants warned Sunday.
"We don't know when we will get the next supplies because it is no longer
viable to continue importing at the new prices," said an attendant at a
Harare filling station.
The bulk of Zimbabwe's fuel needs are supplied by private companies which
get their foreign currency on the illegal parallel market where each US
dollar trades at between 120 000 and 160 000 Zimbabwe dollars.
The fuel crisis comes amid fresh reports of shortages of basic commodities
in shops around the country following a freeze in prices imposed by the
government two weeks ago.
President Robert Mugabe's government ordered shops to reduce prices on all
basic commodities by 50 percent after accusing business of working with its
western enemies to foment an uprising in the country.
The directive has since been extended to all commodities.
There were reports of chaotic scenes at some shops in Harare and other major
cities as people took advantage to buy grab cheaper priced goods on the
Meanwhile, 16 more business leaders were arrested over the weekend for
defying the government order to reduce prices. This brings to 33 the number
of business executives who have been arrested under the price crackdown.
Last Friday, Mugabe threatened to seize all firms that stop production in
defiance of the government's order to slash prices. - ZimOnline
Monday 09 July 2007
By Nqobizitha Khumalo
BULAWAYO - Zimbabwean companies have resorted to importing coal from
neighbouring Botswana after the state-owned Hwange Colliery Company failed
to meet national demand, ZimOnline has learnt.
Zimbabwe sits on some of the biggest natural coal reserves in southern
A shortage of spare parts and equipment as well as frequent breakdowns has
left the state power company struggling to meet national demand.
A Hwange Colliery Company distribution sector chart seen by ZimOnline at the
weekend, showed that the company was only meeting 52 percent of demand
leaving most companies to import coal from Botswana.
While the national demand for coal was 380 000 tonnes per month, Hwange is
only managing to supply 197 300 tonnes to Zimbabwean companies leaving a
huge shortfall of 182 700 tonnes every month.
According to the chart, Hwange is supplying the state's Zimbabwe Power
Company (ZPC) with 153 000 tonnes of coal against the company's monthly
needs of 180 000 tonnes.
The reduced coal supplies have forced the state's electricity supply agency
to ration supplies resulting in massive black-outs around the country.
The chart also reveals that Hwange was supplying 9 000 tonnes of coal to the
Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (ZISCOSTEEL) against a monthly demand of 15
Contacted for comment, Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) President
Callisto Jokonya said at least 50 percent of Zimbabwean firms were importing
coal from Botswana as a result of the shortages.
"Hwange has failed to supply industry with coal and most companies have
since 2005 been importing their own fuel from Botswana," said Jokonya.
Hwange Colliery spokesperson Clifford Nkomo conceded that the company was
facing difficulties in meeting its targets but declined to discuss the
A company executive at Hwange who spoke to ZimOnline at the weekend said the
company was in dire straits with most of the equipment recently acquired
from China as part of Harare's 'Look-East' policy frequently breaking down
"The new machinery that government sourced is frequently breaking down and
most of the mining equipment was frozen underground and will need to be
"The situation is critical and we have since resorted to importing coal
from Botswana. But with the price controls issue, most companies will simply
stop doing so," said the official who preferred not to be named.
Last week, Vice-President Joice Mujuru toured Hwange Colliery and held
closed-door meetings with the company's management. Mujuru later met
officials from the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) and Hwange
in an attempt to address the power shortages affecting the country.
The coal shortages have seen Hwange power station and other smaller thermal
power stations in Harare, Munyati and Bulawayo scaling down on their power
The energy crisis is only an addition on a long list of hardships that
Zimbabweans have become accustomed to as the country grapples with a severe
economic crisis described by the World Bank as the worst in the world
outside a war zone.
The economic crisis has seen inflation shooting to 4 530 percent, the
highest in the world, deepening poverty and shortages of food and essential
medicines and just about every basic survival commodity. - ZimOnline
Monday 09 July 2007
JOHANNESBURG - President Robert Mugabe has said there is no need to
change Zimbabwe's constitution in the clearest indication yet that he will
not give in to opposition demands for a new constitution in talks taking
place this week in South Africa.
State radio quoted Mugabe, accused by the opposition of manipulating
Zimbabwe's British-drafted constitution to tighten his grip on power, as
having told a weekend meeting of his ruling ZANU PF party that the present
constitution was serving the country well and there was no need to change
"President Robert Mugabe says the current constitution serves the
nation well and there is no reason to change it," the Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Holdings' Newsnet reported at the weekend.
Mugabe spoke as officials from ZANU PF and the main opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party began secret talks in South
Africa under the mediation of President Thabo Mbeki.
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) last March appointed
Mbeki to lead efforts to resolve Zimbabwe's seven-year political and
economic crisis by facilitating dialogue between the ruling ZANU PF party
and the MDC.
Very little has been let out to the public about the talks that are
taking place as Zimbabwe rapidly descends into ever-worsening economic
chaos, with some analysts saying the negotiations present the last chance to
save the southern African country from total economic collapse and possible
However, the MDC has publicly made it clear that its most critical
demand is a new democratic constitution that will guarantee free and fair
polls next year.
Mugabe's government has paid little heed to calls by the opposition
that the Mbeki-led talks discuss a new constitution for Zimbabwe and instead
is moving ahead to unilaterally amend the constitution to allow for the
holding of joint presidential and parliamentary elections next year, a move
certain to undermine the South African leader's mediation effort.
Zimbabwe, which was once an economic model for Africa has plunged into
political and economic crisis in the last seven years due to what critics
say are Mugabe's controversial policies such as seizing white-owned
commercial farms to give to blacks.
But Mugabe, who has held power for 27-years and plans to stand for
another five-year presidential term in 2008, blames the deepening crisis on
what he calls sabotage by western governments out to punish him for seizing
white land. - ZimOnline
Mail and Guardian
08 July 2007 11:59
Zimbabweans are switching to barter, payment in kind and the use
of foreign currencies, such as the rand, instead of the local dollar to
survive hyperinflation and the accelerating economic meltdown.
Zimbabwe's currency is still pegged officially at Z$250 to one
US dollar; this week the informal market price was about Z$130 000 to US$1,
although two weeks ago it had crashed to Z$400 000 against the US dollar. In
January, US$1 was being traded for Z$3 000.
The country's inflation rate -- the highest in the world -- is
officially at more than 3 700%, although independent economists believe the
real rate of inflation is about 20 000% and could reach 1,5-million percent
by the end of the year.
Purses and wallets have become redundant; Zimbabweans use
shopping bags, suitcases, sacks and other large containers to carry cash.
Bank tellers are hidden from view by huge piles of the increasingly
worthless currency as long queues wait to withdraw as much as they can to
try to beat the galloping inflation that has crippled the country, once a
regional economic powerhouse.
Conversations in banking halls are drowned out by the constant
drone of money-counting machines -- importing the machines is one of the few
remaining growth industries, but this mini-boom could end, because
Zimbabweans are increasingly forced to resort to bartering, payment in kind
and using a foreign currencies.
"We pay for soya beans and can swop one ton for a drum of fuel,"
said a recent advert in the state-sponsored newspaper, The Herald; bartering
is becoming commonplace as individuals, traders and markets seek an
alternative method of determining value.
Thomsen Siziba, a newly resettled farmer in the prime farming
area of Chegutu, Mashonaland West Province, said farm workers no longer
wanted to be paid in cash, but rather in kind.
"The gazetted [monthly] wages for farm workers is about $70 000,
which basically is not enough to buy two litres of cooking oil, which costs
$350 000, or a bar of soap, which costs $270 000, or a bottle of beer, which
costs $75 000," he said.
Siziba said farm workers knew the economy was collapsing and "a
lot of the farm workers say they no longer want long-term contracts, which
would tie them to me; the farm workers say they would rather work for food
and clothing handouts instead of money, which they say is now worthless".
More than a third of the population will require food assistance
by early next year, a recent joint report by the UN Food and Agriculture
Organisation and the UN World Food Programme said.
Onward Chabvepi, a vegetable hawker in Harare said he had lost
confidence in both President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF government and
the local currency.
"The prices of just about everything are increasing every day. I
am not a sophisticated economist, but one thing I know is that our currency
is now worthless and that it is safer to convert most of the money I earn to
South African rands, the US dollar or the Botswana pula, which are much more
A tenant in Belvedere, an upmarket suburb of Harare, said his
landlord had given him notice that from July his rent should not be paid in
Zimbabwean dollars, but in fuel, which currently sells for about Z$220 000 a
litre. His monthly rent will cost him 80 litres of petrol, or
Analysts said the growing use of the South African rand or US
dollar for day-to-day trading was a watershed in Zimbabwe's economic
malaise. "It's a clear sign that people no longer have confidence in the
Zimbabwean dollar," said Professor Tony Hawkins of the Graduate School of
Management at the University of Zimbabwe.
He said the hyperinflation cycle, fuelled by the government's
printing of money, has led to too much currency in circulation and people
were opting to keep their money in foreign currencies that were more secure.
"The key cause of inflation is government and the central bank
printing money -- they are no longer publishing the figures of the total
money in circulation," he said.
Hawkins said although some people were engaging in barter trade,
the chances that it would become widespread were minimal. "Logically, you
could see that happening, but on a wider scale people prefer to sell their
products in foreign currency, which is more secure and does not lose its
Since 2000 more than a quarter of the population -- more than
three million people -- are believed to have migrated to neighbouring
countries in search of work, or further afield to England and the United
States. Only one in five people in Zimbabwe is employed.
Industry and International Trade Minister Obert Mpofu said: "As
government we are concerned about the daily price increases and we have set
up a task force that will work with security ministries and curb the price
increases. They will also investigate the causes of basic commodities
shortages, which are only found on the black market."
By Daniel Silke
(AXcess News) Cape Town - For the last few years, most observers of
Zimbabwe's plight regularly questioned how much further the country could
deteriorate before a political social and economic implosion set in. Well,
it has just plummeted to new depths of despair - as Africa looks on with
little political will to alleviate the long-suffering lives of its
This week, soaring inflation (put at around 10000% per month) finally took
its toll resulting in huge price increases and widespread food shortages
that, has finally, started to threaten the cohesiveness of the Zimbabwe
Throughout its previous crises, Zimbabweans had managed - somehow - to live
a relatively normal life by putting food on their table (albeit more
sparingly). This week it all changed. For the first time, the once-thriving
capital city of Harare witnessed a retail meltdown which will affect
everyone - and most importantly, President Mugabe's cronies who keep him in
For once, the economic meltdown can cause an internal political coup.
Ironically, it is not Zimbabwe's people who are rising up in anger and
taking to the streets in violent protest akin to the Orange Revolution in
the Ukraine more than two years ago. It is the simple fact that prices have
spiralled and stock shortages, as a result of panic buying, have resulted in
ordinary citizens wondering where their next meal will come from - or for
that matter, any basic supply and product.
What is more significant is that this pending humanitarian disaster (already
playing itself out), is simply not addressed by most of Africa's leaders.
Blinded by their historic loyalty to Mugabe as a father figure of black
anti-colonialism and the liberation from white minority tyranny, no-one has
been prepared to tackle the octogenarian President. Even South Africa's
Thabo Mbeki, playing quiet diplomacy for years and years, has seen his
efforts come to nought.
The African Union, always trumpeting their new found adherence to democratic
values and the rule of law, have failed dismally to address this issue. The
much vaunted African Peer Review Mechanism which is supposed to act as a
self-monitoring device to ensure open societies across the continent is
barely worth the paper it is written on if Mugabe's excesses remain
This week's economic crisis - the latest in a long litany - does for the
first time make life tough for every Zimbabwean - even the privileged and
protected. If opposition is to emerge in that country, it now seems likely
that it will be from senior henchmen of Mugabe rather than from the somewhat
moribund opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and its leader,
Indeed, as the shelves or Harare's stores deplete by the hour and as Mugabe
arrests shop-owners for not unilaterally lowering prices (a decree he issued
to alleviate the plight of the poor and buy some time and maybe even some
votes), the country lurches towards self-implosion as a result of inflation
and economic decline.
This is no popular uprising Ukraine-style. The implosion is happening around
the regime as it battles to survive. No-one is knocking on the doors of the
presidential palace and no-one is out in the streets. Ordinary citizens are
locked in a battle to secure scare goods - it's the battle on the retail
shelves that will be the key to the demise of the Mugabe government.
Clever supporters of Mugabe are fast realising that a change of President
(not necessarily government) will be needed to put goods back on empty
shelves. Perhaps the opposition will have some say as events deteriorate,
but the real likelihood is an exit strategy for Mugabe and his replacement
by a more pragmatic ZANU-PF leadership.
This is the solution that much of Africa wants. Keeping the ruling party
(however corrupt) in power means that opposition remains marginalised. It
will be better for many of Africa's insecure (and dubiously-elected) leaders
to deal with a replacement for Mugabe but prop up the ruling party. By
encouraging opposition, African leaders open themselves up to enhancing
opposition within their own countries.
On a continent where 'free and fair' elections are often tainted by
corruption and irregularities, even the much vaunted new beginnings of the
'African Renaissance' are not quite ready to admit and legitimise opposition
to standards enjoyed elsewhere.
Zimbabwe is set for change. Ironically, it is unlikely to be popularist in
any way. And, Africa wants it this way. Inflation might well be the downfall
of Mugabe himself, but his opposition might have little to gain in the long
Editorial Note: Daniel Silke is an independent political analyst and keynote
speaker based in Cape Town and is an international news correspondent for
AXcess News covering South Africa. He can be reached at
By Marcus Mushonga
DESPITE the low publicity in the voter registration exercise, the Zimbabwe
Election Support Network (ZESN) has said Zimbabweans are coming out in
their numbers to go and register in the 2008 elections.
According to a ZESN update published this week and based on the
organisation's secretariat observations in Harare, Mashonaland West and
Mashonaland Central the turnout has been high at centers that it has
"When the ZESN team visited the Mbare Netball grounds registration centre on
Monday 2 July there were over 300 people queuing to register as voters as
well as to obtain other identification documents," said ZESN in the update.
School children, said ZESN, were also milling around waiting for their
opportunity to register as voters and an equally high turnout was witnessed
at Nyachuru Secondary School in Mazowe District. Mashonaland Central.
At Copley Farm in Mashonaland Central there were about 50 people waiting for
a chance to obtain identification documents.
The organisatin said turnout was however low in Harare as evidenced at Glen
Norah District Office when the ZESN team visited the centre on Wednesday 4
"Most people at these centers claimed that they had not seen the newspaper
adverts that publicized the voter registration exercise. This was
particularly the case at Nyachuru Secondary School, Copley Farm and Mhandu
Primary School in Zvimba District, Mashonaland West," said ZESN revealing
that only five people at Mbare Netball Grounds claimed to have seen adverts
in the newspaper.
In some areas people however expressed their determination to follow the
team to next registration centers, described the time ascribed for voter
registration as being too short.
"The people were pessimistic that they would be registered at the centers
considering the slow pace at which they were being served. Some claimed that
they had been at their centres for two days and were yet to be served."
Although registration for those between 16 and 18 was for free, said ZESN,
all those above 18 were supposed to pay $25 000-00.
"Those seeking to replace lost Identity cards were expected to pay $30
000-00. Some people who spoke to ZESN, at Copley Farm and Nyachuru Secondary
School on this issue expressed concern that the amount was too exorbitant
considering that they were poor and unemployed peasants," read part of the
ZESN in the update, however emphasised the need to adequately equip the
mobile registration teams with all the necessary resources in order for the
mobile registration exercise to run smoothly.
It also suggested that a more comprehensive door to door voter registration
exercise be carried out- CAJ News.
By Trust Matsilele
JOHANNESBURG: SOUTH AFRICAN president, Thabo Mbeki is set to meet Zimbabwean
president Robert Mugabe on the fringes of the coming SADC heads of states
summit in Zambia to persuade him give back some farms he seized from white
commercial South Africans in 2000.
The South African's business and investment coalition wants the South Africa
government to sign a protection agreement with its counterparts in Zimbabwe
The agreement might see some of the evicted white commercial farmers with
South African citizenship getting their farms back.
South Africa's Trade and Industry Minister, Mandisi Mphahwa, confirmed the
worries of business people in the country and said he was under pressure
from them to make sure that protection rights between the two countries were
The recent pressure follows President Mugabe's threats to nationalise all
foreign owned companies, which might see billions of rands invested in
Zimbabwe falling into the hands of the ZANU PF regime.
However, Mphahlwa has defended himself saying the failure of the South
African government to sign the protection agreements with Zimbabwe were
further worsened by Mugabe's ouster of Finance minister Herbert Murerwa from
the ministry of finance.
"The replacement of finance minister Murerwa by Samuel Mumbengegwi in
February did cost us a momentum, "added Mphahlwa.
Political analysts have, however, commented that in an event that Mugabe
continues pushing for the nationalisation of all foreign owned companies
diplomatic relations between the two countries might get strained.
The original draft agreement dealt with promotion and protection of
investment between the two countries. This included the protection of land
rights of South African farmers who own land in Zimbabwe .
South Africa 's Implats one of the leading investors in Zimbabwe has also
expressed concern about the government's failure to sign protection deal in
time as it considered expanding,
"Eighteen months ago the company was waiting anxiously for the agreement to
be finalised as it considered expansion in Zimbabwean context of runaway
inflation and a capricious government," said Bob Gilmour, Implats's
July 08 2007 at 02:48PM
The Democratic Alliance on Sunday criticised the government's stance
that Zimbabwe should be included at the Africa-Europe summit in Lisbon later
The DA's spokesperson on Africa, Joe Seremane, said in a statement:
"Many African governments believe that they must support each other, no
matter how corrupt, undemocratic or abusive they become, because the
supporters may also need support in the future for their own misdemeanours.
"This approach undermines the positive protocols and treaties that
enrich the African Union.
"Now the South African government is following this trend."
This was extremely disappointing because South Africa should be
setting an example on the continent, not supporting despots and dictators,
Instead of setting an example at the United Nations Security Council,
South Africa voted against resolutions that would have condemned various
governments for human rights abuses.
The African Union's constitutive Act called on all African countries
"to promote democratic principles and institutions, popular participation
and good governance".
It appeared that the South African government had forgotten this Act,
"The DA feels very strongly that our government should be standing up
for the democratic principles and institutions for which we fought so
hard." - Sapa
July 08 2007 at 05:07PM
By Arthur Mutambara
There has been much debate and discussion about the succession matter
in Zanu-PF and its attendant factional activities.
In some quarters, the issue of the Zanu-PF successor to Mugabe has
been lauded as the key to unlocking the Zimbabwean crisis, while others have
postulated a reformed Zanu-PF as the answer to our national challenges.
There is speculation that some of our friends in South Africa would prefer a
reformed Zanu-PF government with or without the opposition as a junior
The international community, and western governments in particular,
have shown a keen interest in the jockeying for position among Zanu-PF
factions, which seems to imply that if any one of the factions were to
replace Mugabe successfully (by whatever method) the international community
would consider normalising relationships with Zimbabwe.
The thinking seems to be that the problem is Robert Mugabe the person,
and that anyone else will do just fine.
We seek to destroy this myth and challenge the efficacy of a reformed
First and foremost, the Zimbabwean crisis is bigger than the person of
Robert Mugabe. There are institutional, structural and systemic dimensions
to the challenges we are facing.
During the past 27 years, Zanu-PF has developed a distinct
socio-politico-economic culture and value system rooted in political
illegitimacy and poor governance, economic mismanagement, bad policies,
corruption, patronage, incompetence and disrespect for the rule of law. Yes,
Mugabe is the personification and cardinal symbol of this misrule. More
importantly, he is the mortar and glue that keeps the rot together.
Dismantling this oppressive system and creating a peaceful, democratic
and prosperous Zimbabwe will require more than the demise of Mugabe, the
There are many individuals and institutions linked to Zanu-PF that are
benefiting from the status quo. They seek to continue milking this patronage
system with or without Mugabe. None of the potential Mugabe successors in
any of the factions or sub-factions have articulated a different value
system, institutional framework or strategic vision. They have no
transformative agenda. Their only value is simply that they are not Robert
Mugabe. Beyond that it is business as usual.
In fact, some of the would-be successors have corruptly and
primitively amassed more wealth than Mugabe, have worse democratic
credentials, and have been directly involved in heinous crimes against
humanity in Zimbabwe.
How can those in the international community, including South
Africans - who claim to cherish values of democracy, freedom and economic
prosperity - entertain or fathom such a perverted succession?
A reformed Zanu-PF succession strategy must be rejected purely on the
grounds of principles and values. The ANC and PAC freedom fighters would not
accept a reformed apartheid framework.
Jewish freedom fighters did not accept alliances with factions of the
Nazi regime. Consequently, Zimbabweans will not sell their souls on the
altar of convenience and compromise. We seek a total institutional and
structural revolution rooted in the radical transformation of our political
The second basis for rejecting a Zanu-PF solution centres on the
doctrine of collective responsibility. Zanu-PF has been in power for 27
years and Mugabe has been running the country through his central committee,
politburo and cabinet.
Yes, he has dominated these institutions, but members of these three
organs must take collective responsibility for Zimbabwe's problems. Zanu-PF
leaders involved with Mugabe up to the Unity Accord of 1987 are collectively
responsible for the mass murders in Matabeleland, during which 20 000
innocent Zimbabweans were massacred. How can anyone who had a position of
authority during a period of such heinous violation of human rights have the
moral authority to lead our country?
Over the years, Zanu-PF has destroyed our economy and violated our
human rights with impunity. All its leaders are linked and married to the
party's vices. Currently, there is an unprecedented economic crisis, social
degradation and brutal repression - leading towards complete collapse and
paralysis of our nation.
We cannot place responsibility for this on one man, Robert Mugabe.
Those men and women in his organs of power must take collective
responsibility for the fate of our nation. No one among them is qualified to
replace Robert Mugabe, as a solution to our national tragedy.
The third argument against the pretenders to Mugabe's throne is that,
in addition to being content-free in terms of alternative vision, values and
economic strategy, they lack courage. They are spineless cowards.
Assuming that some of them have disagreed with Mugabe on strategy, why
have they not challenged him? The current crisis is a case of the chickens
coming home to roost. Where were these unimaginative cowards, opportunists
and morons, who now wish to replace Mugabe, when he was carrying out his
And where are they today when the economy is in free fall, and the
population is going through unprecedented suffering and turmoil. They are
silent. Political activists and their leaders are being brutalised, tortured
and murdered. They don't say a word.
If you cannot stand with the people in their bitterest hour of need,
how dare you envisage yourself as a potential leader of the nation? If you
cannot stand up for your beliefs or what is just because you do not want to
sacrifice your position at the feeding trough or because it will endanger
your political ambitions, then you are nothing but a spineless coward. The
integrity and true character of a person is judged by where he or she stands
during invidious moments of crisis.
Zimbabweans will not be led by a coward.
It is not our intention to disqualify Zanu-PF leaders from the
democratic process. We are saying: let us make the electoral processes
transparent, level the political playing field and create conditions for
free and fair elections. The future of Zimbabwe will then be determined by
Those who govern must do so with the consent of the governed.
Considering the arguments presented against a reformed Zanu-PF within
the context of a devastated economy, an impoverished majority and
dehumanised electorate, while taking cognisance of the level of discontent
in the country, it is clear that people will choose a clean break with the
disempowering past as they seek to build a new, peaceful, democratic and
The people should and will reject a reformed Zanu-PF in a free and
.. Professor Arthur Mutambara heads one of two formations that make
up the Zimbabwean opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change
This article was originally published on page 15 of Sunday Independent
on July 08, 2007
Letters to the Editor
Originally published July 08, 2007
Surely, it is time to put something to rest. The United Nations (the term
itself an oxymoron), is simply a pitiful piece of useless New York real
The situation in the African nation of Zimbabwe, along with its Hitleresque
leader Robert Mugabe, has become the poster child for U.N. impotence.
Once a proverbial bread basket for the region, Zimbabwe has become a ghostly
shadow of unimaginable poverty, murder, rape and plunder. Mugabe began his
reign of terror a number of years ago with a land "redistribution program"
that simply allowed his thugs to seize the prosperous farms that were at the
heart of the national prosperity. Some, even in this country, gave his
actions a tepid nod of approval. ----
Now, millions face disease and starvation. The situation is so bad that
Archbishop Pius Neube has requested that Britain invade his own country! A
friend who recently visited Africa spent some time near the border with
Zimbabwe. He described once flourishing hotels now overgrown with
vegetation, debris scattered about, windows broken. Commerce is dead,
replaced by terror. It is a nation collapsing while the rest of the world
barely takes notice.
More attention is given daily to the possible future perils of "global
warming" than the hundreds of children who will die in Zimbabwe in the next
week. Talk about an "Inconvenient Truth!" This is here, this is now and the
world does just what it did in 1939 and on numerous occasions since ...
absolutely nothing. ------
07/07/07. A lovely sunny day after weeks
of wet weather. We were able to
offer some sun-kisssed singing, dancing and drumming to the hundreds of
thousands of people thronging central London for the launch of the Tour de
France cycle race - the first time the race has started from London. We
were glad to welcome Jean-Francois, our long-term French supporter, now
based in South Africa. It was appropriate that he joined us at the same time
as the Tour de France. Jean-Francois helped in our campaign to prevent
Mugabe's visit to the Franco-African summit in the south of France in
February. His elegant translation of the Vigil's letter to President Chirac
may have helped sway the French decision. (Part of his translation was
adopted by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Zimbabwe in their letter to
We now have a battle with the Portuguese over the planned AU-EU summit in
December. Despite the current talks underway in Pretoria, the South Africans
are insisting that Mugabe be invited and the Portuguese have indicated they
might well give in. The Vigil is putting the case against this in a letter
to the Portuguese government. We are hoping to find a Portuguese
Jean-Francois. Just in case, we are advising supporters to get their travel
papers in order to mount a protest in Lisbon - perhaps another attempt at a
citizen's arrest for what the Sunday Times calls "a hidden genocide".
Vigil Co-ordinator Dumi, who recently won the right to stay in the UK, is
not through the woods yet. He is trying to get a national insurance number
to allow him to work but the Home Office has lost all his paperwork! Many
of our asylum seekers report similar experiences. We despair of the Home
There was anxious discussion at the Vigil about the shopping collapse in
Zimbabwe. Just about everyone here is sending money home to help family but
we know nothing we do can be enough. Not a good time to be told by a
passer-by "Why are you f.ing here. Go back to your f.ing own country."
Considering the large number of immigrants coming to the UK we get very few
racist comments from the British. In our experience much more racist
invective comes from Afro-Caribbean supporters of Mugabe. Today however was
an exception - perhaps fuelled by the recent attempted terrorist attacks in
London and Glasgow?
For this week's Vigil pictures: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/
FOR THE RECORD: 86 signed the register.
FOR YOUR DIARY:
- Monday, 9th July 2007, 7.30 pm. Central London Zimbabwe Forum will
discuss the campaign to stop the Portuguese inviting Mugabe to the AU-EU
summit in Lisbon in December. Upstairs at the Theodore Bullfrog pub, 28
John Adam Street, London WC2 (cross the Strand from the Zimbabwe Embassy, go
down a passageway to John Adam Street, turn right and you will see the pub)
- Friday, 17th August 2007, 12:00 - 14:30. The Zimbabwe Solidarity
Campaign (ZSC) in Belfast plans to hold a Vigil outside City Hall, Belfast.
All supporters welcome. The ZSC has agreed with Ian Paisley Jnr that they
will present their petition to Stormont on 10th September - more information
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place
every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of
human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in
October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair
elections are held in Zimbabwe. http://www.zimvigil.co.uk
You are receiving this because you have attended the Vigil or contacted the
website. Please advise us if you wish to be removed from this list.
AOUT 350 veterans of Zimbabwe's liberation struggle who snubbed a war
veteran's meeting held in Masvingo a fortnight ago which required them to
join a reserve army ahead of the crucial next year's polls had their
pensions and monthly allowance cancelled.
Masvingo province ahs 400 registered war veterans but less than 60 attended
the meeting held at 41 brigade a few kilometers out of Masvingo city. As
punishment the government cancelled them on the list of war veterans who
benefit from the monthly allowances.
The ruling party has announced a drive to force war veterans and retired
soldiers to register for a reserve army which analysts say want to beef up
its violence machinery ahead of the critical harmonized elections next year.
Two war veterans who spoke on condition of anonymity said that scores of war
veterans and retired soldiers who snubbed the calls had their names
deliberately skipped on the list of beneficiaries and as a result missed
"Less than 60 war veterans attended the meeting and those who were there
said they registered their names on the list of the reserve army which need
to be retrained before they are deployed into the rural areas to unleash
violence during next year's polls.
"As I speak right now those who joined the reserve force had their monthly
allowances increased significantly and they are now getting100 000 less the
amount paid to the serving army members of the rank of their retirement," he
As a response to mounting Challenge ahead of next year's watershed
elections, and in the face a recent alleged foiled coup plot president
Mugabe has mooted the idea of rerecruting former liberation fighter as a
reserve force as paranoia continue to grip the ageing leader.
Zimbabwe liberators platform, chairperson, Femias Chakabuda lambasted
government for abusing war veterans in a bid to cling on to power.
"War veterans liberated Zimbabwe so that every body will participate in free
and fair elections. What the government is doing is a clear abuse of the
veterans of our struggle for independence. They played their roll and
liberated the country and they should not be used as symbols of violence to
their own people because Zanu pf want to stay in power," said Chakabuda.
The liberation war fighters were in 1997 given hefty gratuities of $50 000
which then was a lot of money that could buy a car and a modest house in
town. Economist says that that was the turning point of the economic demise
of Zimbabwe because of the massive printing of unbudgeted money, which
triggered inflation- CAJ News.
GLEN View residents this week petitioned the City of Harare over the
collapse in service provision, threatening to unleash a series of actions
against the municipality including intensifying a rates boycott campaign.
The major concerns that are cited in the petition include the illegality of
Harare Commission, refuse collection and the persistent water cuts that
residents are experiencing.
Residents are unhappy with the proposed supplementary budget and yet
residents had rejected Harare 2007 City Budget. The petition was also copied
to the Ministry of Local Government.
In another development, Budiriro residents invaded the local District
Offices protesting against the prolonged water cuts they are experiencing.
Scores of residents holding empty buckets marched around the offices singing
protest songs on the 30th of June 2007.
The demonstration lasted two hours and no one was arrested. - CHRA
CITY suburbs have been turned into villages due to continued power and water
cuts that have been imposed by the two State-controlled parastatals, ZESA
Areas like Mandara have gone for more than six months without water. Most of
the residents there now rely on their boreholes. But ZINWA continues to send
water bills and yet they do not get the water at all.
ZESA has also made life difficult for residents by turning the City of
Harare into an African Village by imposing the prolonged power cuts.
Residents have now resorted to using firewood which is mostly unaffordable.
Mabvuku residents have dug wells in the swampy areas on the outskirts of
Tafara while those in Waterfalls and Glen View Ward 1 drink contaminated
waters of Mukuvisi River.
Ironically, the two parastatals still send monthly bills to residents asking
them to pay for apparently non-existent services, a clear case of daylight
ZINWA is ignoring burst sewer and water pipes that are scattered all over
Harare suburbs, and, on the other hand, ZESA always excuses itself from
replacing stolen cables and transformers. - CHRA
Beloved Chiweshe, the Secretary General of the Zimbabwe National Students
Union and Munjodzi Mutandiri, were arrested by a plain clothed member of the
dreaded spy agency, CIO in a commuter omnibus and surrendered at Southerton
According to Beloved Chiweshe the Secretary General of ZINASU who was among
the two students, the incident occurred late Thursday night. The Southerton
Police handed them over to the Law and Order members at Harare Central.
The two who were on their way home had just boarded a commuter omnibus when
two unidentified men, presumably members of the infamous Central
Intelligence Organisation are reported to have unceremoniously disembarked
them .The two were then force marched to a waiting vehicle into which they
were bundled before being driven away to a secluded place near Irvines farm.
It was at this point that their captors subjected them to all forms of
torture, beating them up regardless. And in a bizarre incident, the two
were forced to swim in a sewerage pond. According to Chiweshe, the men
would order them to stay under the sewage water for sometime. They only
stopped after Munjodzi had collapsed.
This abduction comes in the wake of some brutal attacks perpetrated against
student leaders at Masvingo State University . The Students Solidarity Trust
as an Organisation strongly condemns these systematic acts of torture and
inflicting terror against vulnerable and defenseless students.
This is a sad and deplorable state of affairs which goes against the grain
and spirit of a truly democratic society. According to articles on the
Convention against Torture, torture is outlawed and cannot be sanctioned or
sustained in any democratic space. An exhibition of such arbitrary and
despotic tendencies is unjustified and unacceptable. This kind of human
rights abuse should not be allowed to go unchecked.
STOP THE TORTURE
The use of torture as an instrument of coercion by the government of
Zimbabwe has become so pervasive and institutionalized - it qualifies as a
way of doing things.
As Zimbabweans join the rest of the world in commemorating the International
Day against torture, Zimbabweans are faced with the stark reality of torture
as a means of crushing dissent.
As it were, the legacy of Ian Smith is still abound in "independent"
Zimbabwe today. As the nationalist leaders fought a tenacious war with the
oppressive Smith regime for the attainment of independence, they faced
relentless torture in a bid to cow them into submission. Many of our
leaders today have harrowing experiences of torture and how dehumanizing and
degrading it is to the human spirit.
Yet Zimbabweans who dare to speak out against the oppressive policies of the
government face torture!
Article 2 of the Convention against Torture places an obligation on State
members to prevent torture because it represents the most basic denial of
human dignity which lies at the very heart of the concept of human rights.
Acts of torture can also infringe on the rights to security of person, the
right to equality and the right to life itself.
Students and many other perceived 'enemies' of the state have suffered
torture at the hands of state security apparatus. In many cases, innocent
people have been tortured before proven guilty. In Zimbabwe , perpetrators
of torture have been generally known as the police, secret police, army and
vampire-like paramilitary forces (youth militias and war veterans - with the
aid and protection of the state.
Even more worrying within the students' community is that acts of torture
are now being perpetrated by campus security. Recently, they have been on
the forefront of assaulting and torturing legitimate student activists and
have assumed throle of pseudo-military juntas, spreading terror at
institutions of higher learning
The Students Solidarity Trust calls on the government to desist and impress
on the security apparatus to desist from using torture as means of
investigating suspects and stifling legitimate citizen's participation in
the political affairs of their country. There is an inherent need to train
law enforcement agents from instigating acts of torture. The code of
conduct of such officials shall serve and protect the community at all