|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
HARARE Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has officially banned private trade in maize and wheat as part of his panicky emergency measures to avert looming starvation, while Zambia launched an urgent appeal yesterday for food aid for 2-million people facing grain shortages.
Mugabe promulgated the ban on Monday and wheat and wheat-flour were declared "strategic commodities".
Last week Mugabe appointed a seven-member interministerial team to oversee the food crisis management strategy as the country braces for a potentially disastrous food crisis.
The latest statutory crisis measures were taken to facilitate the government efforts at raiding maize stocks in storage and in the fields from commercial farmers, millers and private traders. "Millers and/or private traders who disregard this new measure will have their stocks or reserves confiscated or have the silos closed," warned the government-controlled daily Herald.
According to state media, the government suspected farmers were trying to create "false shortages by hoarding grain". However, maize dealers said they were holding on to their commodity because GMB, which was the biggest grain buyer before regaining its monopoly, was paying low prices. GMB was paying Z7500 for a ton of maize while the Zimbabwe Agricultural Commodity Exchange bought a ton of the same product for at least Z10000.
The government's claims that farmers are hoarding maize are not unfamiliar. When fuel and forex shortages emerged 18 months ago, Mugabe accused farmers and private institutions of hoarding.
Zimbabwe needs to import up to 700000 tons of maize to cover its food deficit, and 130m is required to buy the maize, which is likely to come from US or Brazil because the region has seen a harvest shortfall. This year's crop forecast for Zimbabwe is 1,4-million tons and local demand is more than 2-million tons.
Meanwhile, in Lusaka, the government said Zambia's maize output was sharply down in 2000-01 (April-March) and the government has launched an urgent appeal for food aid.
The Zambia National Farmers' Union put maize production in 2000-01 at 490000 tons.
"Maize production is down 30% from the previous crop figure of 700000 tons," union director John Clayton said.
Zambian Vice-President Enock Kavindele said 98000 tons of maize were needed.
HARARE - A white Zimbabwean farmer has been arrested in connection with the death of a black man who received land on the farmer's property under the Government's controversial resettlement scheme.
Philip Bezuidenhout allegedly ran over Phibian Mapenzauswa, dragging him under his truck for 20m at the farm near Odzi in eastern Zimbabwe.
Mapenzauswa was in a group of black men inspecting plots at the farm.
Police have given few details because the case is due before the courts this week.
Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena said police had appealed for calm in talks with war veterans who have led the invasion of white-owned farms in the past 18 months.
"We have reduced the chances of revenge attacks [on white farmers] to allow the legal process to run its course," he said.
He dismissed rumours that some white farmers had been kidnapped by angry veterans.
But war veteran leaders denounced Mapenzauswa's alleged murder, saying it could force those who have moved onto white farms to take action in a "more revolutionary way."
Information Minister Jonathan Moyo condemned the alleged murder as racially motivated, and said the Government expected the "full wrath of the law" to take its course.
July 17 2001 at 10:55PM
By Basildon Peta
Harare - Angry war veterans have gone on an orgy of looting on the three farms owned by the family of Philip Bezuidenhout, who drove over and killed a land invader on one of his farms on Monday.
Bezuidenhout is alleged to have run over Phibian Mapenzauswa and to have dragged him under his truck for 20 metres.
Bezuidenhout denied to police during an inspection of the scene of the death on Tara farm on Tuesday that he had deliberately killed Mapenzauswa, to whom war veterans had given land.
|'They have taken over my place'|
|It would not have been possible for him to murder 15 people|
July 18 2001 at 03:43PM
Harare - Farmer Phillip "Blondie" Bezuidenhout, 51, appeared briefly in a
magistrates court in the eastern city of Mutare on Wednesday on charges of
murdering a squatter by running him down in his truck.
In a two-minute hearing in a court jammed with ruling Zanu-PF party militias, magistrate Hosiah Mujaya remanded Bezuidenhout in custody to appear again in two weeks. No charges were put to him and he was not asked to plead.
Bezuidenhout, handcuffed and in leg-irons in the courtroom, was not legally represented. Police had advised his lawyer not to enter the court, legal sources said, in case he was attacked by so-called guerrilla war veterans, despite the presence of scores of police, some armed with service revolvers, in and outside the court.
Lawyer Chris Ndlovu declined to comment, but the sources, who asked not to be named, said: "The war veterans wanted to have a word with him. It was not safe for him." On Saturday Ndlovu had to flee a mob of war veterans when they demanded to know why he was "defending a farmer who killed a black man".
|'It was not safe for him'|
|Several people had been arrested for looting|
From News24 (SA), 17 July
US fires warning shot
Washington - America has fired yet another warning shot across the bows of the Zimbabwean government, following the approval of the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act by a senate committee for foreign relations here. Although the legislation still has to pass through the senate itself, the house of representatives and president George W Bush, it nonetheless points to US commitment to restore "peace and security" in Africa, Bill Frist, one of the people who drew up the draft, said.
Frist, a doctor and Republican senator for Tennessee, added that if Zimbabwe was allowed to follow its present totalitarian direction, it may threaten the stability of the entire region. He regards the new legislation as an "immediate and positive" American step to promote stability and economic growth in the entire region. The legislation provides for punitive measures against the Mugabe regime, as well as incentives if democratic rule is followed. The upcoming general election could be definitive in this regard.
The carrot being offered by the legislation is "aggressive" contributions by the US to economic recovery in Zimbabwe. All suspended foreign aid to Zimbabwe will be restored and a preliminary amount of $20 million would be made available for land reforms. In addition a Southern African Financial Centre would be established in Zimbabwe to co-ordinate the activities of federal agencies such as the Import/Export Bank, trade and development agency and foreign private investment corporation. The aim is to attract US investment to Zimbabwe and the region. The draft legislation also provides for financial aid to projects promoting democracy in Zimbabwe and US support for election observers. It also demands that Bush should consult with other countries over "focussed" sanctions against the Mugabe government, possibly restricting his and his cabinet's access to countries.From News24 (SA), 17 July
Zim 'must act on food' – UN
Harare - The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has urged the Zimbabwe government to act swiftly to facilitate the import programme of maize and wheat to supplement depleted reserves following widespread speculation of a food crisis in the country. The UNDP said it believed there would be widespread starvation unless the government treated the situation as a priority. An official said: "The UNDP cannot act without a formal request from the government to look for funds or the commodities from the donor community. It is not as if you request today and the next day your request is met. They have to move now or the nation is going to starve. It's as simple as that."
Asked what plans the government had to avoid a serious food crisis, Joseph Made, the Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Development declined to comment, saying he preferred questions be put in writing. Made is being blamed for the food fiasco after he designated, for resettlement, the entire Zimbabwean commercial farmland. Designation effectively stops agriculture production at individual farms as banks and financial institutions refuse to the risk because of the exposure associated with the process.
According to a report by the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) released last month, the country needs to import an estimated 579 000 tonnes of maize. Read the report: "Given the substantial decline in gold production, the tobacco harvest and much of the foreign currency earnings being pre-committed for fuel, other energy imports and the international debt servicing, the government's ability to import maize is extremely limited."
"Even if the wheat and rice deficit of 132 000 tonnes were to be met by commercial imports by private traders primarily by raising foreign currency on the parallel market, there remains a deficit of about 447 000 tonnes of maize to be covered by imports of by drawing down on stocks. A bilateral food aid programme may be considered as an option to help ensure an adequate grain supply at affordable prices in the deficit areas, both rural and urban," said the report.
Meanwhile, workers at Mapunga Silo Syndicate, a privately-owned grain storage facility 8kms outside the farming town of Bindura, north east of Harare, allegedly burnt a stack of wheat worth about R500 000 on Friday following a wage dispute. About 100 000 tonnes of wheat imports will be required to see the country through to the harvest in October. The workers, who have demanded a 300 percent salary increase and have been on strike for two weeks, yesterday denied burning the crop. Workers at Northern Products in Chinhoyi, the only other private-owned grain storage facility in Zimbabwe, are also striking over wages.
The strike by the Mapunga Silo Syndicate's 81 workers has held up deliveries of wheat, maize and soybeans to agro-industrial companies here. "The coincidence is just too much," said a Mapunga Silo Syndicate manager, who refused to be named. "It is unlikely there was instant combustion because there has to be a certain amount of moisture, but the crop had gone through a dryer." The Mapunga Silo Syndicate is owned by 48 farmers in the area. The workers allegedly stoned one of the farmers, his workers, officers with the Mazoe Security Company and the fire brigade services when they tried to put out the blaze.
From ZWNEWS, 18 July
Mugabe's Family: Ties of Blood and Clan Bring Plum Jobs and Contracts
By a Special Correspondent
Over two decades in office President Robert Mugabe has proved himself a family man. He has diverted plum political jobs and state-funded contracts not only to his favourite nephews and nieces, but throughout a network of extended families belonging to his Gushongo clan. Where there's power and privilege, there, too, are relatives and clansmen of 77-year-old Mugabe: a hugely wealthy businessmen, a former head of the state-run radio and TV, government ministers; the boss of the national football association; top civil servants, members of Parliament.
The best-known beneficiaries are the president's favourite sister, Sabina Mugabe, and her children. Since independence in 1980, Sabina Mugabe has been the member of parliament for the Mugabe family's home area Zvimba, about 80 kilometres north-west of Harare. She is also secretary for finance in the ruling Zanu PF party's influential Women's League. All of Sabina's children, except one, use her maiden surname.
Her eldest son, Innocent Mugabe, was director of the state's feared Central Intelligence Organisation until his death in June after unspecified surgery. Sabina's second son, Leo Mugabe, is probably the most prominent Mugabe relative to amass huge wealth since independence. He is owner and chief executive of Integrated Engineering Group, a construction and telecommunications consortium. IEG has been awarded contracts running into billions of dollars to construct public buildings and facilities, often ahead of far more experienced construction companies. Its biggest coup came in 1996 when, in association with the Cyprus-based Air Harbour Technologies, IEG won the contract to build the recently commissioned Harare International Airport terminal. The company's tender was fourth behind bids from established international airport building companies. Leo's other interests include Joy Television, and chairmanship of the Zimbabwe Football Association. Critics in the soccer fraternity say he is inept and blame him for the decline of the national team. Leo's brother Patrick Zhuwawo, the only one among Sabina's children who does not use the Mugabe name, manages IEG businesses.
Other families who have benefited from the Mugabe tie include:
This family is related to Mugabe through his mother, Bona, who was a strong influence on him. Mugabe appointed two Ushewokunze uncles, now both dead, as ministers in his Zanu PF government. Herbert Ushewokunze held various cabinet posts and was also political commissar, a vital job in Zanu PF's communist-style politburo. However, Herbert, a medical doctor, was one of the few Mugabe relatives who could claim to have risen through merit. A veteran nationalist , he was in exile in Mozambique during the 1970s war which ended white-minority rule. Unlike other relatives, he clashed with Mugabe in government. But although he was demoted several times, he was never really dropped. At the time of his death in 1995, he was the chairman of the influential Harare Zanu PF provincial executive committee. Christopher Ushewokunze who lectured at the University of Zimbabwe, was an advisor to Mugabe on industry and business affairs, and Minister of Commerce and Industry.
Another family related to Mugabe through his mother. Chikerema uncles and cousins have benefited from the tie - although their relations have not always been rosy. James Dambaza Chikerema was a rival of Mugabe in the nationalist movement of the early 60s. However, in 1999 Mugabe appointed Chikerema to a Constitutional Commission designed further to entrench his rule and thwart calls for a more democratic constitution. The commission's constitution was rejected in a referendum in February 2000. Charles Chikerema, James' brother, edited the government-run Sunday Mail, and when he died in 1998 was in charge of its daily stablemate, The Herald. In 1997, Simba Makoni, current Finance Minister and then chief executive of Zimpapers (Pvt.) Ltd., tried to sack Chikerema – and instead got fired himself on Mugabe's instructions.
The relationship dates to earlier generations and Mugabe, in accordance with African custom, regards the current Mushayakararas as his nieces and nephews. Elisha Mushayakarara, a former permanent secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, is now the chief executive of the state financial services group Financial Holdings (Finhold). The group owns Zimbabwe's fourth largest bank, the Zimbabwe Banking Corporation. Lupi Mushayakarara, sister to Elisha, is an occasional critic of the Mugabe government but appears to have benefited from the family tie. In 1999 she quit the National Constitutional Assembly, a coalition of civic bodies campaigning for a new and democratic constitution, after Mugabe gave her a job on his Constitutional Commission.
Brothers John and Hosea Mapondera and their sister Esnath Mapondera have also enjoyed the fruits of old and entwining relationships with the Mugabe family. Hosea is a former director-general of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, and John and Esnath sits on the boards of various government-owned companies.
A scion of this family which belongs to Mugabe's Gushungo clan is Philip Chiyangwa, a former member of Ian Smith's Rhodesian army, and now the self-styled champion of black economic empowerment. Chiyangwa, who has direct access to Mugabe, has lucrative business interests in Zimbabwe and in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He is also Zanu PF chairman in Mashonaland West, Mugabe's home province.
Members of this family also enjoy the status of Mugabe nephews and nieces. Betty Mutero sits on the boards of several companies.
From International Crisis Group, 13 July
Zimbabwe in Crisis: Finding a Way Forward
Executive Summary and Recommendation
Zimbabwe is in a state of free fall. It is embroiled in the worst political and economic crisis of its twenty-year history as an independent state. The crisis has negatively affected virtually every aspect of the country and every segment of the population. It has exacerbated racial and ethnic tensions, severely torn the country’s social fabric, caused fundamental damage to its once-strong economy, dramatically increased the suffering of Zimbabwe’s people, accelerated a damaging brain drain, and increased the use of state-sponsored violence, the perpetrators of which operate with impunity. An HIV/AIDS epidemic only adds to the catastrophe. Significant post-independence achievements in racial reconciliation, economic growth, and development of state institutions have already been severely eroded. Zimbabwe, which after independence was one of Africa’s best hopes for establishing a healthy democracy and prosperous economy, is now descending into a cycle of poverty and repression.
The crisis has not only been an unmitigated disaster for Zimbabwe. Erosion in the value of the South African currency and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange is blamed on events in Zimbabwe. Neighbouring Mozambique, Zambia and Malawi have also been hurt economically by the drop in investor interest. Zimbabwe’s involvement in the Congo war in August 1998, driven by Mugabe's ambition both to assert his leadership in the region and to gain access to the Congo’s resources, has externalised the country's internal problems. As Zimbabwe’s troubles intensify, they increasingly will destabilise the entire southern African region.
And the high profile nature of the assault on what has been an internationally linked private sector is having negative repercussions on perceptions of the investment potential for the entire continent. Responsibility lies with President Robert Mugabe’s government, which has mismanaged the economy, institutionalised state violence, and moved further toward autocratic rule. When the people of Zimbabwe began organising to change the government through democratic means, the ruling party, Zanu PF responded with widespread and systematic violence and intimidation.
In a remarkable irony, the actions taken by the government are based on the very same laws - still on the books - Ian Smith’s white minority regime used to repress opposition in the 1970s. The law now being used to prosecute opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai is the same law under which Mugabe and his comrades were imprisoned during their liberation struggle. Confronted with plummeting popularity and a diverse coalition seeking fundamental reforms, the Zanu PF leadership appears willing to do anything to stay in power. Using war veterans, police, army, and other Zanu PF supporters to suppress violently all opponents, the party’s only objective is to maintain its hold on power. Robert Mugabe has institutionalised an authoritarian system in Zimbabwe that is aimed at ensuring Zanu PF controls the keys to the doors of power even if it means the entire house may burn to the ground.
Since the end of the 90s, a political opposition, based on the transformation of the trade union movement, has been growing in response to the mismanagement of the economy and the country. Civil society groups, a new political opposition party, and a well educated, entrepreneurial population have combined to form a significant coalition to challenge the government’s authoritarian rule directly. The southern African region and the broader international community must refocus their efforts in support of positive change in Zimbabwe.
After analysing the causes of the crisis, this report sketches a strategy for change not unlike that undertaken by the international community in Yugoslavia. Regional states, the Commonwealth, the EU and the U.S. should seek to persuade Mugabe to allow the scheduled presidential election in 2002 to be conducted freely and fairly, set clear conditions as to what a free and fair election means, and offer assistance to civil society and pro-change groups to help level the political playing field. The international community should also work to resolve and help finance the solution for the land issue proposed by the UNDP, to neutralise its potential for misuse as an election issue. If Mugabe will not permit free and fair elections, the international community should apply sanctions that impact on the political leadership - a freeze on personal funds and travel restrictions - but not on the general population, and the Commonwealth should suspend Zimbabwe.
Recommendations to the Government of Zimbabwe
To the Secretary General of the United Nations
12. Provide, to the extent desired by recipients, increased development and possibly financial and technical assistance through local civil society organisations in areas where moderate opposition forces have elected MPs or control local government.
and c. request endorsement of these measures by the UN Security Council.
Harare/Brussels, 13 July 2001
From ZWNEWS : The International Crisis Group (ICG) is a private, multinational organisation committed to strengthening the capacity of the international community to anticipate, understand and act to prevent and contain conflict.Chairman : Martti Ahtisaari, former President of Finland; Vice Chairman : Stephen Solarz, former US Congressman; President : Gareth Evans, former Foreign Minister of Australia. The other ICG board members comprise a long and distinguished list of international statesmen and former national leaders.
|Gaddafi an eccentric more dangerous than Amin|
7/18/01 7:37:38 AM (GMT +2)
Bill Saidi On Wednesday
MUAMMAR Gaddafi, the
Libyan president who blazed into Harare from Lusaka last week in a convoy of
about 100 cars, is as eccentric an African leader as you are likely to find
Some people believe he is
even more eccentric than Idi Amin.
They concede the Libyan is more educated and intelligent than Amin, living in opulent exile in Saudi Arabia since 1979.
Others believe that precisely because Gaddafi is more enlightened than the Ugandan buffoon, he is infinitely more dangerous, like Joseph Goebbels or Nicolae Ceausescu.
Both men are Muslims, which explains why Amin, whose brutal reign from 1971 to 1979 cost 300 000 lives, is in Saudi Arabia, where Mecca and Medina, Islam’s holiest places, are located.
Gaddafi has not notched up such a spectacularly odious record of casualties during his 32 years in power.
But he is only 59 years old, and has dealt ruthlessly with dissidents in and outside Libya, including the United States and the United Kingdom.
But is Gaddafi as raving a racist as Amin, who got his kicks from terrorising and expelling from his country thousands of Asians and whites, even bona fide citizens?
In Gaddafi’s Libya, hundreds of expatriate African workers were expelled a few months ago, some of them after being beaten up. The Nigerian government protested, but evidently not enough to prevent the Organisation of African Unity from placing Gaddafi at the high table as they concluded the provisions to transform the OAU into the African Union at the Lusaka summit.
While in Zimbabwe, whose small white population has been demonised by President Mugabe, his government and the war veterans over the land issue “as the enemy” - but not by the majority of the people - Gaddafi shamelessly played the racist card for all it was worth.
Africa is for Africans, he thundered to Zanu PF crowds.
The chances are very slim that many among these rented crowds were aware that Africans working in the Arab world can be subjected to racist taunts as offensive as any in Britain, France, Germany or Italy.
Gaddafi must have been cheated by Zanu PF’s bungling spin doctors into believing that most Zimbabweans, like their President, were rabid racists.
Watching him on television, I had the impression he thought most of his
audience were simpletons. Once he declared Africa was only for Africans, his eyes said, they would love him till death drew them apart.
A relative watching him on the news, commented in mild surprise: “Asi bhati muKaradhi wani!” (But he is Coloured!)
As a staunch pan-Africanist - not the Gaddafi variety - I spent time explaining to this relative how Gaddafi was an African Arab or an Arab African whose radicalism had failed to win him a leadership position in the Arab world (someone joked that he was the Arab world’s Joseph Chinotimba), as Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak had done, and was now wooing black African leaders to make him THEIR champion.
Gaddafi could be a hero among young people swallowing this garbage by failed African leaders that all the continent’s woes began and must thus end with white colonialism.
On television, we saw Gaddafi addressing a group of students from the Evelyn Hone College in Lusaka. Again, he told them Africa was for Africans and, poor souls, they seemed to lap it up. Evidently, the OAU summit did not go along with his racist, xenophobic diatribe.
Even on Zimbabwe, the summit did not endorse the clearly racist resolution drafted by the foreign ministers (you could see Stan Mudenge’s hand behind it) earlier on the land issue. The final document spoke of the need for Britain and Zimbabwe to hold dialogue on the land issue.
Mugabe, back home with Gaddafi, tried to tout it as a victory for his land grab policy, but it did not wash with many discerning citizens.
The OAU had loudly snubbed him, telling him that his “go to hell” response to the British, while it might win him the respect of the likes of Gaddafi, would not impress leaders like Thabo Mbeki and Olusegun Obasanjo who are infinitely more knowledgeable about the situation in Zimbabwe than the glory-seeking Gaddafi could ever be.
Whether Gaddafi ends up as an African hero or a villain in the mould of Amin, Macias Nguema, Mobutu Sese Seko, Jean-Bedel Bokassa, Mohammad Siad Barre, Hastings Kamuzu Banda or Mengistu Haile Mariam is hard to predict right now. His eccentricity may be seen by some as harmless enough, especially when juxtaposed with that of Amin, but others believe there are many unanswered questions about him in the minds of many African leaders, if not among the Libyan people themselves.
Gaddafi is obviously not content with leading Libya. For some obscure reason, apparently not one related to his natural gifts as a leader or as a planner with prodigious foresight, he must see his role as that of a trailblazer of some sort.
A Kwame Nkrumah he certainly is not. Nor would any Tanzanian resist an explosive guffaw of derision if he was compared with Mwalimu Julius Nyerere.
Most Africans, even his most loyal Libyans, would fall down laughing if anybody spoke of him as another Nelson Mandela.
Of the African dictators mentioned earlier only one was tried and convicted for his crimes while in office - Bokassa of the Central African Republic.
Since then, no former African dictator has been tried for crimes committed while in office.
The 1994 genocide in Rwanda, in which close to a million people died, has resulted in a number of people, mostly Hutus, being tried by the International Court for Crimes Against Humanity. Among the defendants have been Catholic nuns, which just shows how xenophobia can possess even the seemingly most virtuous of people.
Amin should be dragged to the court in The Hague for crimes against humanity. If the world can do it to Slobodan Milosevic of Yugoslavia, why not to Amin of Uganda?
If Gaddafi persists with his hate campaign, he too could end up being accused of crimes against humanity.
So may other like-minded leaders in Zimbabwe, whose campaign of race hate could trigger a conflagration.
|The hypocrisy of the government|
7/18/01 7:35:22 AM (GMT +2)
THE government is
contemptuous of the people it leads.
There was a nationwide
outcry against building extravagant mansions for mayors to the extent that many
of these palatial edifices remain unoccupied because residents, who pay for
these monstrosities, are bitterly opposed to the projects.
But at the weekend, the government brushed aside public opinion and instructed the mayors to occupy the mansions.
The government does not believe in being accountable to the electorate and that is why it continues to abuse the people’s patience.
Most of the standards of the services offered by local authorities have declined and this is largely because the local authorities believe they are accountable only to Zanu PF and the government.
People would like to see the money they pay in ever-increasing rates and other charges being used directly to improve the services and facilities offered by local authorities.
The government won’t listen because the only interests it exists to serve are those of Zanu PF. The only recourse ratepayers will have might be to seek leave from the courts to stop the mayors from occupying the mansions.
In the rural areas, since the new amalgamated district councils came into existence, maintenance of roads has generally been allowed to collapse.
Instead of advocating for the improvement of roads throughout the rural areas, the government believes that it should take care of the 260 or so chiefs in the country and not the 70 percent of the entire population of 13 million in the countryside.
The Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, Dr Ignatius Chombo, again announced at the weekend the government had instructed rural district councils to upgrade roads leading to chiefs’ houses, in addition to drilling boreholes close to their homes.
Many people die each year as they are unable to reach provincial or district hospitals in time because of the atrocious state of the road network, or because ambulances are unable to navigate the roads. Others die as a result of drinking contaminated water because they have no access to clean water from such sources as boreholes. It is not just the chiefs who should enjoy these benefits.
What good is there for chiefs to have access to such infrastructure when their subjects are wallowing in poverty or are dying after drinking contaminated water?
Meaningful development in the rural areas can only come about if there is better infrastructure. If the rural areas enjoy better or tarred roads, even the most modern fleet of buses will be able to service those areas, while farmers will be able to take their produce to various markets of their choice because transport will not be a problem. And, if people have access to clean drinking water they will be healthier than they are. At the end of the day the national drug bill for ailments resulting from water-borne and other diseases will be reduced.
At the weekend, the government also said it would be deploying police officers to guard chiefs. This is happening at a time when ratepayers in distress or under siege from hordes of lawbreakers can never count on the police to come to their assistance at all, let alone come on time. Last year, the chiefs had their salaries increased and those who saw this as another manoeuvre by the government to buy the chiefs’ loyalty were not far wrong.
The latest move is either an extension of government’s attempt to court the support of chiefs ahead of next year’s presidential election, or a ploy to police the activities of those chiefs who may not be so enthusiastic about supporting the government’s campaign of terror in the countryside.
The chiefs may not realise that after its attempts to woo them had failed to produce the desired results, the government has decided to spy on them, checking on the political credentials of those who visit them and what they discuss.
The government wants to project itself as the champion of the masses only when it suits it. In the 1980s, it moved against common advice and closed all the collection points for grain throughout the country. Production was affected because producers knew the problems they would encounter in trying to market their crops. Today, the government turns round and says it is resuscitating the collection depots and is prepared to accept maize with more moisture content than is normally the case. This is only because it is worried about its own survival as it approaches the presidential election next year.
The government’s concern for its survival has exposed its hypocrisy for all to see.
|Ministers threaten students with death|
7/18/01 8:34:26 AM (GMT +2)
Energy Bara, Masvingo
TWO Cabinet ministers
last week threatened students and college authorities in Masvingo with dismissal
or even death if they supported opposition parties ahead of the 2002
Stan Mudenge, the Minister
of Foreign Affairs, and Samuel Mumbengegwi, the Minister of Education, Sports
and Culture, said they were concerned at the students and their principals’
support for the opposition parties.
The ministers met student leaders and principals from Masvingo, Bondolfi and Morgenster teacher training colleges, Masvingo Technical College and Mushagashe Vocational Training College.
According to the minutes of the meeting held at Bondolfi Mission last Friday, the ministers said the only way teachers and students could guarantee their safety was to support Zanu PF.
Mudenge said: “You are going to lose your jobs if you support opposition political parties in the presidential election.
“As civil servants, you have to be loyal to the government of the day. You can even be killed for supporting the opposition and no one would guarantee your safety.”
Mumbengegwi, the Zanu PF chairman for Masvingo province, said he was troubled by reports that some teachers supported the MDC.
Mumbengegwi said: “We cannot continue to pay our enemies. People have to know which side of their bread is buttered.”
A college official who refused to be named said: “The aim of the meeting was to intimidate student leaders and members of staff.”
The ministers’ threats come after the transfer last month of more than 100 teachers from Masvingo Urban to rural schools for allegedly supporting the MDC in the run-up to the Masvingo mayoral election.
The MDC’s Alois Chaimiti beat Zanu PF’s Jacob Chademana by more than 2 000 votes to become Masvingo’s executive mayor.
The Masvingo regional director of education, Obert Mujuru, yesterday confirmed the transfers but refused to give details.
Aeneas Chigwedere, the Deputy Minister of Education, Sports and Culture, last month said his ministry would not provide security to teachers affected by violence perpetrated by war veterans and Zanu PF supporters for supporting the opposition.
|Ministers, churches to lose their farms|
7/18/01 8:43:39 AM (GMT +2)
FARMS belonging to
former and current Cabinet ministers, senior government officials,
municipalities, parastatals and churches have been designated for resettlement
under the government’s fast-track resettlement programme.
According to a preliminary
notice to compulsorily acquire land released by the Minister of Lands,
Agriculture and Rural Resettlement, Joseph Made, last Thursday, properties
belonging to Moven Mahachi, the late Minister of Defence, Christopher
Ushewokunze, the late former Minister of Industry and Commerce, Christopher
Kuruneri, the Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Development, and Dzingai
Mutumbuka, the former Minister of Education, Sports and Culture, are among the
420 farms that have been designated.
Mahachi’s property, Cardigan Farm, in Chegutu, measures 1 226,53 hectares.
Ushewokunze’s Lion Pool Estate in Chegutu, measuring 839,62 hectares, is registered in the names of the following Ushewokunzes: Mutsa, Shungu, Taurai Christopher, Mutenwa Tendayi and Rudado Christina.
Mutumbuka’s 50,38-hectare Rockwell Farm in Masvingo was also listed.
Properties belonging to a number of churches, including the Roman Catholic Church, municipalities, parastatals and private companies were also listed.
The government in June listed two Roman Catholic Church farms in Gweru among 577 properties for redistribution.
The farms are listed as Bembezaan and Rome of Shasha Mountains registered under The Bishop of the Diocese of Gweru.
Other churches affected are the Apostolic Faith Mission of South Africa, Mudzimuunoyera Apostolic Faith and the African Independent Churches Conference.
One farm is registered under the name of President of Zimbabwe, two in the name of the President of Rhodesia, two others owned by the government of Rhodesia and two more in the name of the government of the colony of Southern Rhodesia.
Parastatals listed are the National Railways of Zimbabwe and the Cold Storage Company.
The late indigenisation lobbyist Lawrence Chakaredza’s Munhumutapa Holdings P/L has two properties set to be taken.
Hudson Hwacha, a retired judge and chairman of the Labour Tribunal, and Paul Mkondo, a prominent Harare businessman, are also set to lose their properties.
|You can take a horse to a river but you cannot force it to drink|
7/18/01 7:44:01 AM (GMT +2)
Ex-Zanu PF , Bindura
VILLAGERS from Mazarura,
Chireka and Chirikadzi villages in Musana are fleeing their homes to sleep in
the bush at night.
I used to hear reports of
people being beaten and forced to vote for Zanu PF, but I did not believe them.
Now I do.
I think somebody must help because people are being beaten up for no reason at all.
There are Zanu PF youths who have set up bases just before Chiveso School and another at Murembe High School.
Young girls are being raped.
They are being forced to attend night rallies where they are asked to entertain these cruel and heartless youths.
If one is suspected to be a member of the opposition untold trouble awaits them.
The situation I witnessed is so inhumane.
Elliot Manyika, the provincial governor for Mashonaland Central is involved in theterror campaign in these areas.
It’s unfortunate that these people do not have anyone to protect them.
People are being beaten up for failing to utter a complete the Zanu PF slogan.
May God be with these people because they are in big trouble from the governor and Zanu PF youths.
They flee their villages for the safety of the mountains.
My own father was beaten up at Murembe base and left for dead.
He could hardly walk.
His crime was that he was suspected of being an MDC member. Please, can someone stop this? The police are of no help at all.
President Mugabe cannot win because he has turned against his own people.
He should learn from Masvingo. One can take a horse to the river but cannot force it to drink.