|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
|Mugabe faces ban|
7/16/01 11:14:07 AM (GMT +2)
BRUSSELS - President
Mugabe and his Cabinet ministers face targeted personal sanctions if he fails to
allow a free and fair election next year, a think-tank said in a report
published over the weekend.
International Crisis Group (ICG) said the United Nations, the United States, the
European Union and other key global players should carefully co-ordinate policy
towards Zimbabwe to prevent it from sinking deeper into chaos.
“It is up to the people of Zimbabwe to determine their future - but at the moment they have no chance of being able to do that, and the pro-reform movement needs all the international support it can get,” said ICG president Gareth Evans, a former Australian foreign minister.
The ICG’s call comes a few days after the approval by the US Congress of the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act 2001 which will impose travel restrictions on Mugabe, his ministers, service chiefs and their families.
The Act will restrict Mugabe, his immediate family, Cabinet ministers, government and Zanu PF officials implicated in political violence from travelling to the US.
The US Senate sub-committee on African Affairs approved the bill into an Act on Thursday, setting the stage for the proposed law to sail through the House of Representatives.
Under the Act the US government and all institutions with American links will be barred from dealing with the Zimbabwean government. It will also stop aid and bilateral trade worth millions of US dollars.
The ICG report calls for a Zimbabwe strategy similar to the one adopted by Western governments towards Yugoslavia in their ultimately successful bid to oust former president, Slobodan Milosevic, and restore democracy in the Balkan country.
The strategy would include imposing travel restrictions and a freeze on assets held overseas by Mugabe, his family and senior members of Zanu PF.
The Commonwealth, which groups Britain and its former colonies, should suspend Zimbabwe’s membership when it next meets in Australia in October, the ICG said.
Its proposals would come into effect if Mugabe failed to meet certain conditions for the 2002 presidential election.
These conditions would include establishing an independent election commission, reorganisation of voters’ rolls, international monitoring before, during and after the election and a free rein for the media, the ICG said.
The think-tank also said the World Bank and donor governments should try to resolve the contentious land issue with Zimbabwe before the election takes place.
Zimbabwe has been suffering an economic and political crisis since last February when self-styled war veterans, encouraged by the State, seized hundreds of commercial farms across the country.
The land chaos has sparked fears of food shortages.
Zimbabwe has run out of foreign exchange, while inflation and unemployment are at record levels.
Mugabe says Britain must pay compensation for the thousands of farms the State plans to seize and redistribute to peasant farmers. London says it will not finance land reform amid chaos and disregard for the rule of law.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC), concerned at the escalating violence and human rights abuses, has urged Mugabe to treat the deteriorating socio-political and economic situation as a matter of urgency, by enforcing the rule of law.
The ZCC asked Mugabe to use his constitutional powers to stop “the rot we are experiencing today”.
In a statement issued yesterday after its 35th annual general meeting 12 days ago, the ZCC said: “The government should enforce the rule of law in the distribution of land, pre-election campaigns and in the affairs of industry and commerce, and not use the law selectively.”
The church group said land redistribution should be guided by moral principles that applied to all people regardless of race or political affiliation.
The ZCC said: “The council acknowledges the current land redistribution process but it is very much concerned about the violence and human rights abuses inflicted upon people in the process without the culprits being brought to book. The council encourages the government to value the sanctity of life in the exercise.
“The council is also highly concerned about political violence that
characterised past election campaigns, moreso that we are now moving towards the 2002 presidential elections.”
|MDC activist beaten up, left for dead|
7/16/01 11:30:37 AM (GMT +2)
Mazita Mapondo, an MDC
activist in Gokwe West, is recovering at the Avenues Clinic in Harare, after he
was beaten up and left for dead by alleged Zanu PF supporters last week. The
assailants also burnt his wrists.
The incident occurred after
MDC and Zanu PF supporters clashed in the Mutimutema area in Gokwe last week.
Violence flared up after Zanu PF supporters ordered MDC members to surrender their membership cards and T-shirts.
Mapondo said Zanu PF youths and war veterans from Hunu, Ngowani Raisi,
Mataranganwa and Charira villages descended on Mutimutema village and accused the villagers of supporting the MDC.
“The Zanu PF supporters, led by Douglas Ngowani, threatened to burn all the houses in the village if we continued to support the MDC,” said Mapondo.
Mapondo and 20 other men fled their homes for a week and sought refuge in the bush, where they survived on uncooked sweet potatoes they found in nearby fields.
He returned home after hearing of his brother’s death.
“I was again attacked by the Zanu PF supporters when I returned to my village.”
He said he was struck with poles on the head . His hands were tied with wire and then burnt. “They also threatened to cut off my legs because of my allegiance to the MDC,” said Mapondo. He was rescued by relatives who took him to Gokwe General Hospital, before being transferred to the Avenues Clinic.
Invaders of white-owned commercial
farms in eastern Zimbabwe have looted homesteads and forced the owners to flee
following the death Saturday of a black squatter who was run over by a truck.
The government has accused the driver of the truck - a white farmer - of murder,
but relatives and neighbors say it was an accident.
Farmhouses at Odzi, 230 kilometers east of Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe,
have been attacked and looted by black militants. It happened after a black man,
Phibian Mapenzautswa, was run over by a pick-up truck driven by Philip
Bezuidenhout, a white commercial farmer.
Mr. Bezuidenhout is being held by police and is due to appear in court
Jonathan Moyo, Zimbabwe's minister of information, called the incident a
"cold-blooded murder." He said it was "a Ku Klux Klan-type of murder done in the
United States and South Africa."
Farmers in the area strongly dispute the allegation. Mr. Bezuidenhout's
brother said what had happened was an accident. "My brother was driving along
the Harare road. There were two groups of people, one on either side of the
road. One person stepped across the road and was involved in a collision on his
pick-up. He left the scene because he was scared of being attacked by the people
on the road."
At least four farmhouses have since been attacked and looted by angry black
invaders. One of the farmhouses belonged to Mr. Bezuidenhout's brother. "My
farmhouse has been ransacked, there is nothing left," he said. "The clothing we
have got left on our bodies is what we are left with. Everything has been taken.
People have overtaken and overrun the whole situation on the farm. On my son's
farm, the same incident has taken place about three hours ago. They have taken
everything, saying they are taking it for their dead brother."
Hundreds of white-owned commercial farms throughout Zimbabwe have been
invaded in the past 18 months by militant groups supporting President Robert
More than a dozen farmers and their workers have been killed and several
thousand workers have been made homeless.
The land chaos in Zimbabwe has sparked fears of food shortages. Foreign
donors have cut off aid in protest over the government's handling of the land
Farmhouses at Odzi, 230 kilometers east of Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe, have been attacked and looted by black militants. It happened after a black man, Phibian Mapenzautswa, was run over by a pick-up truck driven by Philip Bezuidenhout, a white commercial farmer.
Mr. Bezuidenhout is being held by police and is due to appear in court Tuesday.
Jonathan Moyo, Zimbabwe's minister of information, called the incident a "cold-blooded murder." He said it was "a Ku Klux Klan-type of murder done in the United States and South Africa."
Farmers in the area strongly dispute the allegation. Mr. Bezuidenhout's brother said what had happened was an accident. "My brother was driving along the Harare road. There were two groups of people, one on either side of the road. One person stepped across the road and was involved in a collision on his pick-up. He left the scene because he was scared of being attacked by the people on the road."
At least four farmhouses have since been attacked and looted by angry black invaders. One of the farmhouses belonged to Mr. Bezuidenhout's brother. "My farmhouse has been ransacked, there is nothing left," he said. "The clothing we have got left on our bodies is what we are left with. Everything has been taken. People have overtaken and overrun the whole situation on the farm. On my son's farm, the same incident has taken place about three hours ago. They have taken everything, saying they are taking it for their dead brother."
Hundreds of white-owned commercial farms throughout Zimbabwe have been invaded in the past 18 months by militant groups supporting President Robert Mugabe.
More than a dozen farmers and their workers have been killed and several thousand workers have been made homeless.
The land chaos in Zimbabwe has sparked fears of food shortages. Foreign donors have cut off aid in protest over the government's handling of the land issue.
|Election observers must be deployed to Zimbabwe early|
7/16/01 11:35:46 AM (GMT +2)
This is an open letter
to the Sadc, African Union, European Union, Britain, the US and the world at
President Mugabe’s reaction
to values set by the European Union and the initiative by the Commonwealth
Committee, clearly shows that the man is unwilling to change at all.
With regard to the EU values, he says he has suffered before and he is prepared to suffer even more. On the Commonwealth initiative, he says issues on violence, intimidation and the rule of law are peripheral.
The President has clearly positioned himself for confrontation, whichever way you look at it.
He is determined to continue with his behaviour. What the world needs to do now, is to demonstrate to him that he have things his own way.
The President surely knows what is right and wrong.
The world must act now. Election observers for the presidential poll must be put on the ground now. If they delay, by the time they arrive here, the dead would already have been buried. The maimed would have been systematically moved to places where observers will not have access to them. Look at what happened during the last election. Violence only stopped a day before election day and, whichever observer was here got the wrong impression of events. Mugabe is up to no good and the world must act at once.
In the meantime I am really surprised and hurt that the African Union in Lusaka has given their support to the President. How can they support a person who is identified with violence against his own people?
To President Thabo Mbeki, I say: “Your recovery plan for Africa will not work if you have the African Union supporting violence and lawlessness.”
Hospital Detains Patient Over Unpaid Bill
Zimbabwe Standard- (Harare)
July 16, 2001
Posted to the web July 16, 2001
Authoritiesat Pari-renyatwa Hospital in Harare detained an eight-year-old boy for three days after his father failed to settle medical bills of about $5 000.
Jasper Nyakayaramba, who was admitted to the hospital two weeks ago suffering from chest ailments, was pronounced fit for discharge by doctors on Monday but was not allowed out of the hospital until his bill was settled.
His father, Ishmael, who is a gardener, found himself unable to pay the bill of $4 993,85. The son was eventually released on Wednesday afternoon when the father's employer came to the rescue.
"After I told Parirenyatwa Hospital authorities that I was unable to settle the medical bill at that time, they told me that they would hold my son until I had paid the amount. In addition, they told me I would be charged interest for each day my son spent at the hospital," said Ishmael. He added: "I was told to take home all my son's clothing while he remained detained in hospital pyjamas. At some point he was denied food even though he was still recuperating."
Contacted for comment on Thursday, the minister of health and child welfare, Dr Timothy Stamps, described the eight-year-old's detention as "unacceptable".
"Holding someone hostage is not allowed at all. They should have obtained a guarantee from the guardian or parents that they would receive the money at such and such a time, or made some other arrangement. Detention is beyond what is necessary. It's unlawful. The patient has committed no crime," said Dr Stamps.
"I understand that they (hospital authorities) want their money to buy other things for use in the hospital, but holding a patient is out of the question," said Dr Stamps. But Never Chimwe, an accountant responsible for the discharge of patients at the hospital, maintained on Friday that the hospital would use drastic measures to make patients pay because of problems encountered in the recovery of debts.
"We cannot say he was detained, considering the definition of the word detention. Patients will only be discharged when they have settled their bills...it is an arrangement we have. Minister Stamps could have said it was illegal because he may not be aware of the hospital's arrangements."
Zanu Pf Intensifies Brutal Suppression of Dissent
Zimbabwe Standard - (Harare)
July 16, 2001
Posted to the web July 16, 2001
Events of the last few weeks have given credence to the fear that the ruling Zanu PF party is intent on using whatever means possible to suppress any form of dissent.
Several opposition Movement for Democratic Change activists around the country were arrested, the party's offices searched, the secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions was arrested and so were three journalists.
MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube, sums up the situation: "Over the past 20 years, Zanu PF has consistently abused its power and used violent and unlawful means to maintain its hold on power." But the recent wave of police attacks on dissenting voices is nothing new.
On 14 September last year, three MDC offices in Harare were raided by the police, ostensibly to flush out arms of war. The police action came hard on the heels of the bombing of the party's Fife Avenue offices by as yet unknown assailants.
Government was quick to claim it was an inside job and obtained an excuse to harass several MDC officials accused of masterminding the bombing. This time around, police descended on the MDC Union Avenue office under the pretext that kidnap victims and arms of war were to be found there.
The 25 officials present at the time, had to endure a gruelling lock-in for an hour as police conducted the search. At the end of it, neither the so-called kidnap victims nor the arms of war were found.
Learnmore Jongwe, the party's spokesman, was dismissive of the police's given reasons for the search, describing their actions as part of "the continued harassment of the local opposition by state agents". The opposition party's Bulawayo offices were also searched and a driver arrested on charges of having used an MDC vehicle to carry out violent campaigns.
MDC MP for Lobengula-Magwegwe, Fletcher Dulini Ncube, was interrogated over a whole range of issues. Jongwe said his party perceives the incident as reflecting 'sour grapes' over the success of the mass job stayaway that his party was accused of masterminding.
Political analysts, Che-njerai Hove and John Makumbe, linked this backlash on the MDC, stemming from the stayaway, to government's perception that the ZCTU is not independent of the MDC. Apart from popularising the stayaway concept, the ZCTU gave birth to the MDC whose leadership came from the workers umbrella body.
"Maybe they think a conspiracy is going on and by searching the offices they hoped to find some big file linking the ZCTU to the MDC, with names and everything," said Hove. Makumbe echoes Hove's sentiments: "Zanu PF actually thinks the ZCTU is being controlled by the MDC." The lawlessness currently prevailing in the country has not spared the police who now raid opposition party offices at will, without search warrants.
Following last year's raids on the MDC offices, the party filed a chamber application noting "that Zanu PF in its 20 years in power has consistently used unlawful and violent means to perpetuate its hold onto power". Hove described the raids as a reflection of the of lawlessness in the country which the state has condoned and institutionalised.
Makumbe says the raids are "an indication of more to come as the government becomes more desperate". "The harassment of the ZCTU and the MDC is part of the same system of intimidation Zanu PF has always used."
The Criminal Procedural and Evidence Act which has legalised searches without a warrant, was challenged in the Supreme Court. However, following a decision by a lower court that the searches were illegal, the challenge on the constitutionality of the Act was abandoned.
Of the arbitrary arrests of MDC activists, lawyer Sheila Jarvis says that the detention and questioning of individuals with no specific charges is unlawful, especially where there is no lawyer present for the detained individuals. Says Makumbe: "Certainly, the beatings of individuals during the stayaway was punishment for their participation in the stayaway. Its really a foreboding of the campaign period and the policy to be used against the opposition and the people of Zimbabwe."
Analysts described the suppression of dissenting voices as a desperate measure by Zanu PF to to try and eliminate the MDC as a party before the upcoming elections.
Government to Ban Churches, NGOs From Educating Voters
African Church Information Service
July 16, 2001
Posted to the web July 16, 2001
The Zimbabwe government has announced that it will soon bar churches, aid agencies and civic organisations from carrying out voter education campaigns ahead of the presidential election scheduled for spring next year.
Jonathan Moyo, Zimbabwe's Information Minister, said late last month that the government would soon outline the policy through the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.
It was expected that the policy would limit voter education activities to the government-appointed Electoral Supervisory Commission ESC and political parties only, not churches, aid agencies or civic organisations. Moyo did not indicate when the policy would take effect.
The Information Minister accused churches and civic groups of using money from foreign sources to campaign for their preferred political parties.
Earlier this month he told the state-owned weekly Sunday Mail newspaper: "It is not only NGOs that are being used in this game "
"Some churches have also joined the fray, invoking the name of God, making God partisan and turning the Bible into a political manifesto, using foreign money to subvert our hard won independence under the guise of voter education".
His comments came at a time when such groups as the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association, the Zimbabwe Council of Churches, the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace and the Legal Resources Foundation were preparing to embark on a co-ordinated voter education campaign.
The campaign was aimed at acquainting people with their voting rights ahead of the mayoral, parliamentary and presidential elections set for April next year. The same groups conducted voter education campaigns prior to the parliamentary election in June 2000.
This time, Moyo said, these organisations would not run voter campaign drives. "People's thinking should not be compromised by an individual non- governmental organisation because some are violating the laws.
"If voter education is about neutral information which affects who governs us, why should it be done by every Tom and Dick. Is there anyone who believes Pius Ncube (the Catholic archbishop of Bulawayo) can give neutral voter information?"
"Is there anyone out there who believes Reverend Tim Neill (a former vicar- general of the Anglican dioceses of Harare) can offer neutral voter information?"
A vocal critic of the government, Archbishop Ncube of Bulawayo, 439 km south of Harare, has been accused of campaigning against the ruling Zanu PF party in last year's parliamentary elections.
The archbishop is among the nine Catholic bishops who in May issued a pastoral letter criticising political violence and accusing Mugabe's government of turning a blind eye to the illegal activities of the war veterans.
Neill is also a fierce critic of the government. He left the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe in the spring after a failed bid to become bishop of Harare. Neill said he would pursue human rights work.
According to Moyo, the government's position on election information is no different from that of other countries. "In many countries, there is a law that regulates voter education and bars NGOs from carrying out voter education," he said. "Why should we be different?
"We know from experience during the parliamentary elections that there are some foreign donors and governments that have poured money into dubious NGOs and churches to subvert our democracy.
"These foreign donors will be wrong, if not foolish, to think that the government will stand by and just watch while money is being used to hijack our democracy".
In a statement issued on June 28, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights), the Zimbabwe Council of Churches ZCC, the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace CCJP and the Legal Resources Foundation LRF assailed the intended ban, noting the critical role played by civic groups in providing what they saw as an essential component of free and fair elections.
"The groups reject unreservedly any allegations that the voter education is partisan and call on the Minister of Information and Publicity to retract his unsubstantiated and malevolent claims," they stated.
"The groups will take all measures to defend their legal and social rights and responsibility to inform and educate the public".
Densen Mafinyane, secretary general of the ZCC, said the churches would discuss the issue with the government. Voter education, he noted, was part of the holistic ministry.
"It is not about being pro-government or anti-government. People need to know about their rights to vote, not only in the presidential elections, but even mayoral or district elections".
"We must emphasise that it's not about urging people to vote for Mugabe or Tsvangirai," he said. Morgan Tsvangirai is the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change MDC, widely considered to represent the major threat to President Mugabe's 21-year rule in next year's presidential election.
Mafinyane: "It must be remembered that in our churches there are members of both the MDC and Zanu PF cadres". He said churches had conducted civic education programmes for a long time.
The education campaigns did not flout Zimbabwe's laws or disrupt society, he said. "Voter education is part of broader civic education conducted by churches. That even includes programmes about afforestation (tree-planting programmes), and how to be good citizens."
Magistrate Attacked for Convicting Party Cadres
Zimbabwe Standard -(Harare)
July 16, 2001
Posted to the web July 16, 2001
Hundreds of Zanu PF supporters on Wednesday night besieged Bindura magistrate Feyi Gweshero Tito's house after he jailed Chief Chiweshe's brother, Ephraim, and 16 other Zanu PF supporters to three years in jail for political violence.
The mob sang revolutionary songs and demonstrated at the magistrate's home where they forced Tito's wife to accept the post of treasurer of the youth wing.
The magistrate's wife initially refused to take up the post, but was forced to accept "since offers from the party cannot be rejected".
Chief Chiweshe and his brother are believed to have been at the forefront of Zanu PF's violent campaign in Mashonaland Central's Bindu-ra constituency ahead of the parliamentary by-election at the end of this month. The election pits Zanu PF's Elliot Manyika against Elliot Pfebve of the Movement for Democratic Change.
Chiweshe and the other Zanu PF criminals were jailed for three years after terrorising MDC members in Mutsakanyi village. The 17 pleaded guilty saying they had been promised land by their base commander after the acts of terror. On 5 May, the group marched through Mutsakanyi village, in Centenary, and assaulted villagers whom they suspected to be opposition supporters. The state, in its outline, said the ruling party supporters moved around the village demanding Zanu PF cards from villagers and assaulting those that failed to produce the cards.
Chiweshe and his colleagues also destroyed maize granaries while chanting Zanu PF slogans.
Ten of the ruling party supporters were arrested in Bindura after assaulting teachers at Uronga South Primary school.
The supporters, who were waiting to be resettled at Beaconhill Farm in the constituency on 28 June, resolved to evict teachers suspected of selling MDC cards at the school. They chanted revolutionary slogans and ordered teachers to leave classes and parade at the school play centre. Nine teachers were instructed to produce MDC cards which they were allegedly selling, but they failed to do so.
They went on to demand Zanu PF cards and only three of the teachers produced the cards. The rest of the teachers were ordered to lie down on their stomachs and assaulted with clenched fists, logs and sjamboks.
The conviction of the youths came as Manyika has been given 10 days to respond to a civil lawsuit by Kefas Madzongera, who is claiming $1 million from the governor who allegedly severely assaulted him with an iron bar.
Madzongera's lawyer, Gabriel Shumba of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, said his client was left for dead in early June after being assaulted by Manyika.
Shumba said on 3 June, Manyika with the help of Zanu PF youths dragged Madzongera from Manyopora Nightclub in Bindura and demanded to know why Madzongera had failed to renounce his MDC membership.
"My client is suing Manyika for the physical harm and trauma occasioned on him by the attempted murder. He has also been displaced and can no longer undertake his normal duties that give him income," said Shumba.
"This matter also touches on the greater part of the populace. People are being displaced from their homes and wantonly brutalised with the connivance of the police. It is a case which impacts on the democratic persuasion of the country. It is unfortunate that we can only pursue this case in the civil case since the police is not willing to place criminal charges against Manyika," said Shumba.
Meanwhile, Manyika has instructed all civil servants in Bindura to gather at Bindura Primary School on Tuesday afternoon for a meeting whose agenda was not specified.
|Made now taking measures to avoid a food crisis he denied|
7/16/01 11:31:15 AM (GMT +2)
Munosara Mega, Harare
I DISAGREE with anyone
who says Dr Joseph Made, the Minister of Agriculture, must resign. Instead, he
must be fired.
I am one person who
believes that the current government usually gets it wrong by firing parastatal
bosses when another solution could have been tried.
But Made's is a different case. He must go now if this nation is to survive.
Made is the worst Minister of Agriculture that we have ever had, as senior officials in the ministry will tell you. He is an autocrat and will not change an opinion even if you clearly explain something which you know better. I first got suspicious last year soon after his appointment as Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement.
Whilst addressing ministry officials, he stressed, in fact, he “overstressed” that the land issue was not our responsibility. He said it was for war veterans and the land task force, and that we could not interfere in any way.
So we had a Ministry of Lands not responsible for land redistribution, a Ministry of Rural Resettlement not involved in that either. We thought at least we still have the “Agriculture” part to think of. We were not sure how much agriculture there was to talk about without the land.
Way back then, Made was sure there were not going to be food shortages, despite all the farm invasions and disturbances on all the commercial farms.
He refused to meet and discuss anything with groups of farmers, both black and white, even to tell them that he did not agree with them. He just shut his door.
As this year unfolded, he time and again categorically denied that there was a food shortage looming.
He only changed his tack when Dr Simba Makoni, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, started appealing for funds to import food.
Now he claims he has always said there will be a shortfall. When did he say that?
How did this shortfall come about, bearing in mind that there was no drought in the last season?
Now he wants to run the Grain Marketing Board on his own.
When beef shortages start, as a result of the same farm disturbances and forced culling of pregnant cows and other breeding stock, is he going to run the Cold Storage Company (CSC) as well?
We are already reeling under a serious foreign currency shortage, thanks to disturbances on the tobacco farms. When is he going to see the light?
This is a very important lesson to Zimbabwe and South Africa: You cannot bite the hand that feeds you. If you disturb the farmer today, you will have nothing to eat tomorrow.
A farm invader -or a war veteran for that matter - is not a farmer. He just isn’t. No one is against land redistribution, but make sure you do it in an orderly manner which will not lead to a food crisis.
|Made in $10b tender row |
Basildon Peta, Special Projects Editor
7/12/01 9:46:40 PM (GMT +2)
AGRICULTURE Minister Joseph Made fired the entire board of the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) last week because of a serious rift that developed after he failed to influence the awarding of a lucrative $9.9 billion tender to buy maize through government-guaranteed grain bills and bonds, it has been established.
The documents chro-nicle major differences between Made and the Dube board and prove that there was no love lost between the minister and Dube, who was appointed last July by Joyce Mujuru, then acting agriculture minister.
On the issue of the strategic maize reserves, it has been revealed that it was in fact the board which originally approached Made over possible shortages of the staple food but the minister dragged his feet on the matter, insisting that Zimbabwe had adequate stocks.
Made, in a letter to Dube in April, threatened to fire his board over its differences with him on how to run the beleaguered and debt-ridden parastatal.
The major differences centred around the grain bills tender which an internal GMB finance committee had adjudicated in favour of two consortiums — one comprising Trust Merchant Bank and the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe (CBZ) and the other made up of First Banking Corporation and Interfin Merchant Bank.
Made was incensed by the decision to split the tender between the two consortiums and to give First Bank and Interfin a share of the $9.9 billion tender instead of another financial institution, according to authoritative sources.
He appointed officials from his ministry without the knowledge of Dube and the rest of his board to audit the circumstances under which the grain bills tender was awarded.
Dube protested against Made’s decision to hold an inquiry into the GMB behind his back.
The audit report, a copy of which the Financial Gazette has, exonerates Dube’s board but this seems to have made no impression on Made who proceeded to fire the entire board and replace it with one made up of civil servants from his ministry.
Apart from differences over which bank should have been awarded the lucrative grain bills tender, documents and investigations reveal that Made and the board had also clashed after the minister refused to approve the board’s strategy to turn around the parastatal by September this year.
Made also refused to approve candidates recommended by the board to fill the top vacant positions of managing director, finance director and operations director at the parastatal.
This was after the board had spent $500 000 hiring a private human resources consultancy firm called Lorimark to search for the candidates for the posts.
The documents show that the relationship between Made, appointed to the Cabinet after general elections in June last year, and the GMB board has always been tumultuous.
Made clashed with the board on another occasion when he accused it of not doing enough to reach out to rural maize growers in its marketing strategy, a charge rejected by the board.
The two parties further clashed over the government’s apparent slow response to approve the government guarantee required by the GMB to raise money to buy maize.
In another official communication between the board and the Made, the minister wrote to Dube that he did not want to be held to ransom after the board chairman had pressed the minister to respond to a document.
The beginning of the end of Dube’s board however seems to have been prompted by an anonymous letter addressed to Made dated April 23 this year and signed by "a concerned GMB worker".
The letter, entitled "GMB has done it again, corruption by board of directors", accused the board of ignoring results of the grain bills tender and accommodating First Bank and Interfin at the expense of the Trust and CBZ consortium, which had come out top out of the 11 banks that submitted bids.
"Is this not another flouting of tender results for personal gain by the GMB chairman (Dube) whose business partner (Edwin) Manikai is a board member of First Banking Corporation?" the letter asked.
"We understand Trust and the CBZ consortium was the winner of the tender. So where is First Banking coming from to win the tender?" the letter, written in largely broken English, said.
It accused Dube of awarding his law firm of Dube, Manikai and Hwacha the job of debt collector for the GMB.
Made immediately acted on the letter and wrote to Dube on May 8 asking him to explain its contents.
"Attached please find a copy of an anonymous letter from concerned GMB worker which is addressed to me," reads Made’s letter.
"Would you please comment on the contents of this letter? I would also appreciate being provided with all the relevant documentation relating to the evaluation and award of the grain bill tender," he wrote.
In a 10-page reply copied to Vice President Simon Muzenda, Finance Minister Simba Makoni, Cabinet Secretary Charles Utete and four other officials, Dube denied any wrongdoing in the adjudication of the grain bills tender and said the tender was finalised and awarded while he was away in China on private business.
He regretted that unsigned anonymous documents were taking much of Made’s time.
"From my perspective, a person who makes allegations in documents which are not signed and or undated lacks courage of his convictions and should be treated with the contempt he or she deserves," Dube wrote.
He explained at length how the $9.9 grain bills tender was adjudicated and justified the reasons for splitting it between the two consortiums.
Dube dismissed the alleged conflict of interest arising from his law firm partner Edwin Manikai’s membership of the First Bank board. He said Manikai had long quit First Bank before the grain bill tender was floated.
Dube explained in his letter that the decision to award the tender to more than one consortium had been based on "sound policy considerations" by the board to reduce risk of one consortium handling a $9.9 billion facility; to broaden the competition so the GMB benefits from cheap money raised from the money market and to lessen the risk of dependence on one bank.
He explained that Trust was the only local financial institution which had benefited most out of grain bill tenders over the years and he felt that this was inappropriate.
It was important to give other institutions an opportunity to handle the tender and assess what they charged in terms of fees and whether the GMB could save money.
In the latest tender, while the Trust and CBZ consortium was going to charge the GMB about $1 million in contract management fees, First Bank and Interfin were not going to charge any management fees.
Authoritative sources said Made did not want First Bank to be part of the $9.9 billion tender, preferring it to be handled by either Trust and CBZ alone or another financial institution.
While Dube was at pains to explain the way the contract was awarded, Made had already appointed an inquiry headed by a senior official in his ministry, Charles Nyaruwata, to investigate the tender.
Nyaruwata’s audit report, seen by this newspaper, exonerated Dube and his board.
"It is audit opinion that the tender adjudication process was as fair, transparent and objectively concluded as was possible in the given circumstances," it says.
"The finance committee had genuine reasons to split the tender and First Bank deserved the consideration given because it was the second highest bidder," said Nyaruwata’s report which also accused Trust Bank of exerting pressure on the GMB board to release the results of the tender.
Says the audit report: "It is clear from the information gathered that the author of the anonymous letter was not well informed. Therefore the issues of transparency and conflict of interest fall away in both instances."
The report also clears Dube of conflict of interest on his law firm’s debt collection work for the GMB because Dube had declared his interests in line with the law.
Prior to the grain bills wrangle, Made had also written to Dube advising him that he was not approving candidates recommended by Dube to fill the vacant posts at the GMB but would not explain why.
Human resources director Joan Mutukwa has run the GMB since the departure of former managing director Martin Muchero, who is appearing in court over corruption charges at the parastatal.
Dube’s board had pointed out that the situation at the parastatal was untenable for a huge corporation such as the GMB to operate without a substantive head.
The GMB employs more than 1 200 workers and has a $10 billion debt that attracts about $17 million in interest charges daily.
One board member, who preferred not to be named, this week said the board had become dysfunctional because of Made’s refusal to cooperate on many important issues.
The board could not meet certain targets contained in its turnaround strategy because Made was "sitting" on the strategy document, the member claimed.
The sources said the decision to fire the board was not well received in Cabinet last week, with Muzenda supporting Dube’s board and accusing Made of acting unilaterally.
Allegations of tribalism in board appointments at parastatals such as the GMB were also raised during the Cabinet meeting, the sources said.
Dube becomes the second GMB board chairman to be fired with two years of his term still remaining. Former Agriculture Minister Kumbirai Kangai also prematurely sacked Dube’s predecessor, Paddy Zhanda, over differences on how to run the GMB.
Dube refused to comment when contacted by the Financial Gazette this week, referring all questions to Made, who is out of Harare until Monday.
"I was appointed at the pleasure of the minister and I was dismissed at the pleasure of the minister so talk to him," Dube said.
Made has since appointed a task force led by his permanent secretary, Ngoni Masoka, and other ministry officials to run the GMB
|27 MDC officials arrested |
7/12/01 9:49:07 PM (GMT +2)
AT LEAST 27 officials and activists of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) were arrested in Bindura and Kwekwe yesterday in what is emerging to be an organised police crackdown on the opposition party in all major urban centres ahead of three parliamentary by-elections and the crunch presidential ballot.
From The Sunday Independent (SA), 15 July
Mbeki tackles Mugabe
In the same week that the government made good its intention to overturn the illegal land-grab at Bredell, President Thabo Mbeki dealt Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's own land-grab ambitions a humiliating reversal. Although South African officials were anxious not to trumpet Mbeki's diplomatic coup over Mugabe at this week's summit of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in Lusaka, Zambia, for fear of further alienating the irascible Zanu-PF leader. Mbeki himself highlighted the development. Writing in his weekly column Letter From the President in the African National Congress online publication, ANC Today, Mbeki also linked the Bredell evictions, and the South African government's stance on land-grabs, to Mugabe's own controversial state-sanctioned land seizure.
Mbeki's position on the illegal land seizure in Bredell was reflected in his intense behind-the-scenes lobbying of African leaders, including Mugabe, to re-think a resolution on the Zimbabwe land issue that African foreign ministers had adopted last Sunday before the summit proper got under way. That resolution blamed Britain for the Zimbabwe land crisis, and endorsed Mugabe's land seizures while ignoring his disregard for the rule of law, and his political ambitions. It also applauded Zimbabwe for the progress it had achieved through its "fast-track land resettlement programme". And in a reference to British charges that Mugabe was exploiting the land issue to stay in power, it also noted that "the introduction of extraneous political issues into the land question is aimed at shifting focus away from Britain's responsibilities."
A delighted Mugabe boasted loudly that the OAU had endorsed his approach to the land question. But his satisfaction was short-lived. Sources said that when Mbeki realised that the presence of Nkosazana Zuma-Dlamini, the foreign affairs minister, at the ministers' meeting suggested South Africa supported Mugabe's tactics, he realised the damage it would inflict on the African Union (AU), the OAU's successor body. Mbeki also knew that for the OAU heads to put their names to a resolution that endorsed a breach of the rule of law in a member state would undermine his efforts to win financial and political support for the New Africa Initiative (NAI), the AU's programme of action. The NAI is largely based on the Millennium African Recovery Plan that Mbeki has developed and promoted among African and western leaders for several months.
According to Zimbabwe government and other sources, Mbeki was alarmed at the damage the pro-Mugabe resolution could inflict on the AU. He went to work among his fellow leaders to tone down the resolution and when the summit finally endorsed it on Wednesday it was a very different document. Though it reiterated the OAU's demand for Britain "to honour its colonial obligation to fund the land resettlement in Zimbabwe in accordance with the Lancaster House agreement" it took no sides in the dispute between Britain and Zimbabwe. Mbeki was supported by presidents Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique, Festus Mogae of Botswana, Benjamin Mkapa of Tanzania and Omar Bongo of Gabon before other leaders concurred.
Although Mugabe had gloated over the foreign ministers' resolution only hours before it was quietly dumped - he said: "We and the rest of Africa are now speaking in the same language in the matter of our position against Britain" and that it "'enhances our solidarity with our African brothers" - Zimbabwean sources said Mbeki persuaded him that a softer approach was preferable and that that there was a good chance of dialogue between Mugabe and Tony Blair, the British prime minister.
Asked about the pro-Mugabe resolution at the close of the summit, Mbeki said: "The declaration says that Britain and Zimbabwe need to get together and continue to search for a solution (over the redistribution of land). That supersedes the ministerial draft. The new declaration was promoted by Nigeria, which felt that there was a need to continue the mediation which it started between Zimbabwe and Britain last year." Although Mugabe attempted to put a brave face on the setback, by the end of the week his only backer of any note was the eccentric Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi, who visited Harare after the summit and said Mugabe should seize land without compensation and that whites should go back to Europe.
In ANC Today, Mbeki referred to the "criminal misconduct as a result of which some people illegally occupied land in Kempton Park" and said: "Some have sought to present this unfortunate and unacceptable incident as though it was the great determinant of what was going to happen to our country in future. Yet others picked on a solitary resolution on Zimbabwe adopted by the [OAU] foreign ministers at their council meeting, which was not even put to the assembly of heads of state and government. Mischievously, these sought to turn this into the most important outcome of the OAU meeting in Lusaka." Observers said Mbeki had acted with one eye firmly fixed on the G8 summit in Genoa this week, where he and Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo will lobby for international support for the New Africa Initiative.
From ZWNEWS, 16 July
Land grabs now totally illegal
In a court ruling on Wednesday last week, which has gone largely unnoticed, the status of Zimbabwe’s land grabs was finally made clear – they are illegal and cannot proceed legally until the rule of law is re-established. In terms of an interdict handed down by Justice Alfas Chitakunye, no further legal action can be taken by the government to compulsorily acquire commercial farms for resettlement. The ruling, from the administrative court which hears the complex legal process required for the government to acquire farm land, was described by Advocate Adrian de Bourbon, a leading Harare lawyer who was quoted in The Natal Mercury, as meaning "government acquisition of the land was illegal in terms of the law, until law and order is restored".
The latest court ruling, taken with two other judgements from the Supreme Court, finally establishes that President Mugabe is now acting outside his own laws as regards the "fast-track resettlement scheme", which has been characterised by widespread violence against commercial farmers and their employees, and looming food shortages. In December 2000, the Supreme Court, under the then Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay, ruled that the government could not legally acquire land until a practical plan for resettlement had been thought out and introduced. The government was given until 1 July 2001 to come up with such a plan. On 2 July, a Supreme Court judgement upheld the December ruling by four to one, with only Chief Justice Chidyausiku dissenting. Chidyausiku, a Mugabe loyalist, is Gubbay’s successor as Zimbabwe’s Chief Justice, and even he was forced to acknowledge in his opinion that such a comprehensive resettlement plan did not exist. The latest ruling, which stated that the administrative court would hear no further cases regarding the acquisition of farm land by the government, confirms that the previous rulings are now operational.
"There can be no further legal action taken by the government," said a senior Zimbabwean lawyer. "No further Section 5’s, Section 7’s or Section 8’s can be issued." (These documents relate to the complex legal process which must be observed in order for the land to be legally acquired.) "The other benefit for the besieged farmer is that his legal bills will be substantially reduced," the lawyer added. "We (the lawyers) can now put in one-liners pointing to the interdict, instead of having to go into great detail explaining why the land should not be acquired."
Legal sources think that there is very little way around this collection of judgements, unless President Mugabe can force two of the five Supreme Court judges to resign or rule the other way. The 2 July Supreme Court judgement had a majority of four to one, ruling that the land grabs were illegal, and in order to overrule that judgement, which was a matter of constitutional law, that majority must be reversed to at least three to two in favour of the legality of the "fast-track resettlement". "Mugabe will now find it very difficult to persuade President Mbeki and others that he is acting in accordance with Zimbabwe’s laws", said another commentator. On the ground, however, there is likely to be little change. While the land seizures are now confirmed to be illegal, the government has been simply ignoring the law. The violence continues unabated, and the government last Friday listed another tranche of farms in the press – in spite of the administrative court ruling two days previously.
From The Zimbabwe Standard, 15 July
Mawere blasts Moyo
The chairman of the National Development Assembly (NDA), Mutumwa Mawere, has attacked information and publicity minister Jonathan Moyo for "abusing his power and position". Reacting to comments made by Moyo in the state-controlled Herald on Tuesday with regard to NDA’s court action against the ZBC, the businessman said Moyo did not know when to stop, and was abusing the government press to put across his views at the expense of alternative ones. Moyo’s comments came on Wednesday after the NDA filed court papers seeking the reinstatement of its television programme, Talk to the Nation taken off the air by the ZBC, apparently at Moyo’s behest.
"The action is much ado about nothing although it rather smacks of desperation and we can only wonder why. Otherwise they have their rights and we have our responsibilities," Moyo was quoted as saying. Mawere told The Standard last week that Moyo should not have commented on a case currently before the courts and that as a respondent in the case, his comments amounted to nothing more than abuse of the press that he controlled. "Why is Moyo using the media to comment on issues that are before the courts? What Moyo is doing is trying the case in the newspapers and if we are now trying the case in newspapers then there is no need for a court."
"Moyo is simply abusing his power and position as information minister. He controls the government press and he is now abusing it in a bid to influence the outcome of the case. What will happen I he loses the case? How will he want The Herald to report it?," asked Mawere. He expressed surprise that the programmes should have been deemed offensive. "Anyone with the nation at heart would have appreciated our programmes. The programmes were meant for nation building yet some people feel offended. It is quite different from abusing the media. What will now happen to people like Mawere who don’t own newspapers. It means we can no longer express our views," said Mawere.
Moyo, as head of the parent ministry, is cited as the second respondent in the case, after the ZBC. The ZBC claimed to have cancelled the NDA Talk to the Nation programme in preparation for a restructuring exercise. However, it is believed the decision was influenced by Moyo who was riled at the frankness and openness with which contributors to the live programme lambasted government policies. The last edition of the programme pitted MDC shadow minister for finance, Tapiwa Mashakada against Zanu PF legislator, David Chapfika. Mashakada clearly outclassed Chapfika resulting in the programme being switched off. The NDA is arguing in court that its agreement with the ZBC paved the way for 26 live editions of the programme to be screened and that the cancellation of the programme cannot be justified. On Friday, the ZBC switched off the remaining NDA programme, Spotlight, which aired on Radio One every Tuesday evening. The NDA has indicated it might seek recourse through the courts over the ZBC’s latest action.
From The Zimbabwe Independent, 13 July
Govt forced to stop Gonarezhou resettlement
The government has been forced to abandon plans to resettle people in the Gonarezhou National Park as this would scupper a regional conservation agreement with South Africa and Mozambique. According to a report on "Meeting of the Gaza-Kruger-Gonarezhou (GKG) Transfrontier Park Ministerial Committee", the government has shelved all plans to resettle people in the game park on the common border with its southern neighbours. The report, presented at a joint meeting this week in Harare, said a spate of newspaper and radio reports commencing mid-May had led to considerable concern amongst conservationists in the region.
"Initial reports suggested that plots had been allocated to hold 750 villagers within an area of 11 000 hectare (27 180 acres) inside the Gonarezhou National Park in Zimbabwe, a core area of the proposed GKG Transfrontier Park," the report said. "Zimbabwean minister for Environment and Tourism Francis Nhema was quoted as being opposed to this movement of people into Gonarezhou, and within days of the appearance of these media reports the Zimbabwean government rescinded approval for human settlement within Gonarezhou."
"The affected villagers have been told alternative land will be made available to them outside of the National Park," reads the report. "The rapid action by the Zimbabwean government to stop such incursions into Gonarezhou, however, is a clear indication of the Zimbabwean government’s commitment to abide by the international agreement and to proceed with integration of Gonarezhou as part of the GKG Trans-frontier Park."
In May this year the Zimbabwe Independent revealed that the government wanted to settle 750 settlers on 520 plots it had pegged in the 11 000-hectare park. Alarmed by these developments, South Africa last month sent a team of experts from its Department of Veterinary Science to Gonarezhou to assess the situation. There were fears of a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak since cattle had been moved into the park area. The demarcation of the park area for resettlement was going to derail the agreement of the Gaza-Kruger-Gonarezhou Transfrontier conservation area agreed last year.
Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe signed the project agreement this year but Harare did not consult the other two signatories when it moved in to acquire part of the park for resettlement. The aim of the project is to uplift the living standards of people in rural communities in the southern Africa. The project is being modelled along the lines of Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources (Campfire), which has benefited rural communities through sustainable use of wildlife. The conservation area includes 66 000 square kilometres in Mozambique’s Gaza Province, 22 000 square kilometres of South Africa’s Kruger National Park, and 10 000 square kilometres in Zimbabwe’s Gonarezhou National Park. Once fully operational, the park will become the world’s first conservation area involving three countries. Wednesday’s meeting reviewed, among other things, the proposal of a name for the initiative and the general progress of the agreement. The GKG Transfrontier Park is set to be fully operational by April next year, and the countries’ three heads of state are expected seal the final document.
From IRIN (UN), 14 July
Namibia to Withdraw All Troops By End of August
South Africa's Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota said Namibia has committed itself to withdrawing all its troops from the DRC by the end of next month, the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) reported on Thursday. Lekota told SABC he received the assurance from his Namibian counterpart Errki Nghimtina. Namibia has about 2,000 Namibian Defence Force (NDF) troops in the DRC, where they have been fighting since 1998 alongside government forces and troops from Angola and Zimbabwe against rebels backed by Rwanda and Uganda. Nghimtina told journalists on Thursday that Namibia suffered "minimal losses", with a total of "only 30" NDF soldiers killed in the DRC. "Whenever you are in a war you will have casualties. Our casualties are not as high as the others," he said.
Meanwhile, Uganda welcomed Namibia's decision to completely withdraw from the DRC. "It is a welcome development if it is done according to the Lusaka peace agreement. We hope that everybody will withdraw from the DRC so that negotiations could begin," AFP quoted Ugandan minister of state for defence Amama Mbabazi as saying. Mbabazi said Uganda had itself withdrawn thousands of troops from the DRC in recent weeks and was committed to a full withdrawal, but it would maintain a small force in the DRC to ensure security along its common border.