Cindy Anderson's heart-break
COMMERCIAL Farmers Union (CFU) spokesperson, Jenni Williams, has her hands
full as the Robert Mugabe regime on its controversial fast track land seizure
When Charles Anderson was gunned down in the prime of his life, on 2 June,
Williams was the first person to take down the details of his murder.
I met a tearful Cindy Anderson, 42, at the Commercial Farmers Union
headquarters on 11 June 2002, just nine days after the murder of her husband
Charles, 44, who had been her teenage sweetheart.
She had been comforting her son Richard, 9, who is still overcome with
grief at the loss his father.
As his mother tucked him into bed he wept, telling her that he could not
live without his dad.
Charles Anderson was shot and killed by gunmen armed with an AK 47 assault
The farm, Dunmaglas of Norfolk Estate, is 378 hectares in size and is
located in the Glendale/ Mazowe farming area of Mashonaland Central.
The tragic events that unfolded on that day are widely believed to have
begun on 22 May 2002 when a cabinet minister's driver gave two youths an
unauthorised lift in a ministerial Mercedes Benz.
When the driver stopped en route, the youths attacked him. They then
searched the vehicle and stole an AK47 assault rifle. The incident was reported
to the police.
On Sunday 2 June, after an evening out in the capital some 75km away, the
Anderson family drove to Cindy's parents on a neighbouring farm to pick up their
domestic pets left there overnight.
Back home, after unlocking the gate, Cindy went up to the house ahead of
the boys. When she approached the door, she noticed wood shavings on the floor
and that the Yale lock had been tampered with. After conferring with Charles, it
was decided that he would go around the back of the house for a better view of
what was happening. The couple told their children to lock themselves in the
Since Cindy had a hand-held radio she tried to get an urgent message out to
her neighbours to tell them that she had heard shots shortly after her husband
had gone to investigate.
Cindy said: "I do not really know how many shots I heard, but shortly
afterwards, I saw some men with the gardener, Michael Tom, and the cook, Edmore,
walking towards me carrying something heavy.
"One of those men saw me and came towards me screaming 'Lie down, I will
shoot you'. I quickly switched off the radio and threw it into the tall grass.
Before I lay down I saw a very tall man who also seemed to be armed. I was very
worried as I did not see Charles."
While Cindy was lying face down at gunpoint she kept begging her assailants
over and over again: "Please bring my children to me."
The man tried to silence her pleas. "I will shoot you".
Eventually, the tall man went to the vehicle and ordered the children to
unlock the truck and get out.
"Daniel did not walk fast enough so he was kicked in the back to hurry him
up. They did not let the boys come to me, but kept them close to the truck where
the gardener, Michael Tom, was standing and watching the scene unfold.
"I believed I was going to die and was relieved to see Tom push my sons'
heads down because he thought I was going to be shot and did not want them to
see that happen. The man had returned to hold his gun over me and kept
repeating, 'I will shoot you'. Tom then pleaded for my life."
At this point Cindy''s cellphone worn in a pouch around her waist began to
ring, but the man guarding her immediately took it away and demanded to know
where the money was kept.
"I believe this distracted him and that's probably why I was spared. I
still had not seen Charles and was worried by his unexplained absence."
Cindy said the next moments went by in a blur as the intruders tried to
locate keys to a green truck. "Fearing more assaults, I suggested they take the
truck we had come in and they drove off suddenly with the cook and gardener as
hostage. As I gathered my distressed sons to me, I saw a man in a bright green
overall running after the truck as it sped away. It looked like he had been left
behind accidentally. I am told he was then given a lift by another vehicle.
Cindy then went into the passage of the house. "There was blood everywhere,
on the walls and floor. I saw my husband's body lying in a pool of blood. Half
of my husband's head had been shot away; fragments of his skull were splattered
on the floor. I did not know what to do, I just held his hand close to me and
cried. I then just put a blanket over him to prevent shock.
"Even in my fearful and confused state I just knew that I had to gather my
thoughts for fear that my husband's murderers would return and harm the
children, so I tried to get a gun out of the gun cabinet to protect them, but
could not get in as the locks had been tampered with."
Cindy then had to get her sons to safety.
Cindy explained: "I grabbed the spare keys for another vehicle and loaded
the children and dogs in it and we left. I had to explain to Daniel and Richard
that their father had been shot in the head and it looked bad and we needed to
get away to safety. I told them to pray to God that their father would be all
right. Sometime later, I was told that my husband had died.
"Farmers who came to the house confirmed signs of distrubance in all the
rooms. Only days later was it apparent that only portable electronic and
personal effects had been taken. Most of these personal items were recovered
from the truck the assailants had stolen from us."
In their panic to leave the scene of the crime, the assailants had used the
Andersons' red Nissan 2.7 pick up as a get away vehicle. Some six kilometres
away along the Chiweshe communal area road they had an accident and were forced
to abandon both the wrecked vehicle and their loot.
It is alleged that the man in the bright green overalls then came across
the accident involving the get-away vehicle and asked the driver to drop him off
so he could supposedly track the assailants through the bush.
The story took a further twist when Cindy went to the police station. She
said: "I told the police that a man wearing the green overalls had apparently
flagged down a Zesa truck to get a lift in pursuit of the get-away vehicle. At
the police station an inspector told me that it had not been a Zesa truck, but
the vehicle of someone much closer to the incident."
Later that afternoon, at about 3pm, Cindy asked to go to the house to get
some clothes for the children. "My husband's body was still lying there in a
deep pool of blood, just lying there, because the police had still not arrived.
The reality of his death and our loss came into focus and I broke down."
Cindy expressed disbelief that the police had still not dusted for
fingerprints by the time she returned to obtain more school clothes for the
children. She found police at the farm with one of the accused whom they had
captured. They were video-taping him as he recounted his version of the
"Although, a clean up had been done, I found pieces of my husband's hair
and fragments of his skull as my sons and I packed their school clothes. I tried
my best to clean my husband's bloodied watch before giving it to Daniel. Daniel
insisted that the blood stains were OK because it was his dad's blood."
Cindy reflected on the options that had probably been open to the family on
"I keep thinking: Did we do the right thing by going in to investigate? We
could have just got back into the car and left. my husband would still be alive
and my sons would have their father to love and guide them in the years ahead. I
will agonise about this point for a long time-why we did not just drive away at
the first sign of intruders."
Zimbabwe on brink of starvation
June 30, 2002 Posted: 4:23 PM EDT
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) -- Long lines of
people waiting for corn meal snake
through the streets of a nation that was
once the breadbasket of southern
Africa. Some wait for days, sleeping in
lines so they won't lose their
Girls 13 and under are being
married off for the bride price to buy
expensive black-market food. Many
people are getting one meal a day.
And Zimbabwe's hunger crisis is sure
to get worse.
Drought, a crashing economy and a land reform program that
commercial farming have pushed millions of Zimbabweans to the
Five other southern African countries are also
facing severe hunger this
year, but Zimbabwe is by far the worst
The U.N. World Food Programme says nearly half of its 13 million
need food aid. A country that used to export food to hungry
need to import a staggering 2 million tons of grain just to
get through the
"This is unprecedented," said Andrew Timpson of
Save the Children UK. "We're
very worried indeed."
The harvest has
just ended, and already the country is running out of corn,
the staple food.
It is about to use the last of its wheat, and supplies of
cooking oil and
animal feed are dwindling.
With no hard currency reserves and an economy
shredded by political unrest,
the government will almost certainly be unable
to import enough grain to
feed its people, even with hundreds of thousands of
tons of donated food,
economists and aid workers said.
of Zimbabwe's most productive farmland lies fallow as the
continues its efforts to seize nearly all the land owned by the
white commercial farmers, by far Zimbabwe's most productive food
and redistribute it to landless blacks.
The government says it is
rectifying a hated legacy of British colonial
rule. But human rights
activists accuse it of using the seizures to reward
its supporters with land
while punishing white farmers and their hundreds of
thousands of farm
workers, who are seen as opposition stalwarts.
The government is also
accused of using hunger as a weapon, shipping
state-subsidized grain only to
strongholds of President Robert Mugabe's
In some areas,
people must show party membership cards to get food; in
others, food is
distributed at ruling party meetings, said Tawanda Hondora,
Zimbabwe's Human Rights Forum.
On at least one occasion, ruling party
militants temporarily prevented
Zimbabwe's Roman Catholic Justice and Peace
Commission from feeding hungry
children and pregnant women.
wanted to do the distributions themselves," said Tarcisius Zimbiti,
commission's acting director.
Zimbabweans increasingly have to buy corn
on the black market for two to
three times the price of state-subsidized corn
in a country with 60 percent
unemployment and 122 percent annual
"It is too tough to survive," said William Marimo, 39, who
lives in the
rural slum of Porta Farm, 20 miles west of Harare, the
A three-month drought at a crucial phase of the growing season
is mainly to
blame. But even Zimbabwean officials acknowledge the land
"It compounds, it exacerbates, but it is
not the primary cause of the
problem," Finance Minister Simba Makoni
Zimbabwe produced only about 480,000 metric tons of corn this year,
fourth of what it grew two years ago.
brought in 850,000 metric tons of that 2000 harvest on
400,000 acres. This
year, they planted about 40 percent of that area,
harvesting only 185,400
The winter wheat on what remains of Vernon Nicolle's farm is
now, right where it should be despite the weather, thanks to
On nearby land his family used to own, there is
nothing but weeds, he said.
Until recently, Nicolle, 58, and his extended
family produced one-quarter of
Zimbabwe's wheat crop on their 12 huge
Nine of those farms are gone now, seized by the government, and
parts of the
remaining three are occupied by armed ruling party militants
inaccessible to the farmers.
The Nicolle family was able to farm
winter wheat on only one-fifth of the
land it used to cultivate. Some of the
settlers and militants on the other
land planted wheat, but didn't irrigate
it, Nicolle said. Those seeds have
not even sprouted.
experience, expensive irrigation equipment, fertilizers and
commercial farmers generally coax about five times more food out
of an acre
than small-scale farmers, food experts say. During this year's
were 10 times more productive than small-scale farmers.
this year's winter wheat crop will at best total only
150,000 metric tons,
less than half the normal harvest. But that was before
the government ordered
nearly all white farmers to stop working their fields
by June 24 --
regardless of whether crops were already planted -- and
prepare to leave
Government officials did not return messages seeking
comment. But they have
defended their land policies, saying that after two
decades of independence,
many Zimbabweans were frustrated that whites, less
than 1 percent of the
population, controlled the country's wealth, and that
about 4,500 white
commercial farmers owned one-third of the nation's farmland
while 7 million
black farmers shared the rest.
ruling party militants to occupy many of the commercial
farms two years ago,
Mugabe's government targeted 95 percent of white-owned
farmland for rapid
seizure and redistribution.
Zimbabwe has suffered severe food shortages
before. In 1992, the worst
drought in a century ravaged nearly its entire
harvest. But it had a massive
food surplus from the previous year, cash to
import food and good relations
with donor countries.
This time there's
no surplus. The three top hard currency earners have been
tobacco farming by the land seizures, tourism by the
and gold mining by an absurdly low fixed currency
donor countries are incensed at government-inspired political
Mugabe's land policies and his re-election in March in a ballot
international and domestic observers judged flawed.
government has also created a grain monopoly. If it doesn't let
companies import grain, "the situation could go from bad to
said Judith Lewis, regional director of the World Food
At Porta Farm and elsewhere, no subsidized corn is on sale,
and people are
Hungry children fall asleep in school, or
drop out because their families
can no longer afford the fees.
Bhilias, 57, worked on a nearby farm until it was occupied last year.
follows combines through the fields of the few remaining farms
scraps for herself and her husband.
Two years ago, Porta Farm housed
about 8,000 families, most farm laborers.
It has since swelled to 12,000
families, many new arrivals having been
expelled from farms where they lived
The workers have resorted to poaching fish from a river in a
park and selling them at the roadside.
his 16-year job on a farm last year, Emmanuel Panganayi has
been forced to
illegally collect and sell firewood from the park to feed his
wife and two
When that was not enough, he sold off his four chairs to buy a
worth of black-market corn meal. Now he has little left to
"I don't make enough money and things are getting very expensive,"
"I will end up selling the bed."
Food becomes Harare's latest
lines of people waiting for maize meal snake through the streets of a
that was once the breadbasket of southern Africa. Some wait for
sleeping in queues lines so they will not lose their places.
Zimbabwe's food crisis is sure to get worse.
Drought, a disintegrating
economy and a land-reform programme that has
destroyed commercial farming
have pushed millions of Zimbabweans to the
brink of starvation.
United Nations World Food Programme says nearly half of its 13 million
will need food aid. A country that used to export food to hungry
will need to import a 1,8-million tons of grain just to get
Meanwhile, much of Zimbabwe's productive farmland lies
The government is also accused of using food as a weapon,
only to President Robert Mugabe's Zanu (PF) party
Tawanda Hondora, chairman of Zimbabwe's Human Rights Forum,
said that in
some areas people had to show party membership cards to get
food, and in
others food was distributed at ruling party meetings.
at least one occasion, ruling party militants temporarily
Zimbabwe's Catholic Justice and Peace Commission from feeding
children and pregnant women.
A three-month drought at a crucial
phase of the growing season is mainly to
blame. But even Zimbabwean officials
acknowledge the land seizures have made
suffered severe food shortages before. In 1992, the worst
drought in a
century ravaged nearly its entire harvest. But it had a big
food surplus from
the previous year, cash to import food and good relations
countries. This time there is no surplus.
Mail and Guardian
Mugabe rules out currency devaluation
01 July 2002 07:41
The Zimbabwe government has ruled
out devaluation of the country's volatile
currency despite a foreign exchange
crisis that has rocked the country for
years, the state-run Sunday Mail
The paper said a special cabinet committee on finance and economic
chaired by President Robert Mugabe last week threw out a proposal by
country's central bank and finance ministry to devalue the Zimbabwe
"The Reserve Bank and the Ministry of Finance officials were told
they were proposing was untenable," an unnamed source told the
"The officials had inexplicably failed to come up with a complete
address the foreign currency situation," said the
Zimbabwe has for almost three years experienced an acute foreign
shortage when vital imports of fuel, electricity, basic food stuffs
other commodities have to be paid for.
The Zimbabwe dollar had
been officially fixed at 55 to the greenback for
nearly two years yet on the
black market last week it traded for over 800
units to the US
Government officials say the black market rate is due to a
bureaux de change and unofficial
Farmers and industrialists have been crying out for a
devaluation, but the
government has been reluctant.
last devalued the currency in August 2000 by 24%.
believe devaluation would encourage exports and prevent
pending massive job
losses, external debt servicing and imports become more
expensive in a
country where inflation is running at over 122%.
Zimbabwe is mired in its
worst-ever economic crisis, with inflation last
month officially pegged at
122,5%, unemployment levels over 60% and the
critical lack of foreign
International donors suspended aid more than two years ago and
suffered a slump.
The tobacco sector -- which earns a
third of the country's desperately
needed foreign exchange -- has not had any
significant impact on the foreign
currency availability in the country since
annual sales opened in May. -
ZIMBABWE: WFP launches massive appeal
JOHANNESBURG, 1 July (IRIN) - The
World Food Programme (WFP) on Monday launched an appeal for over US $500 million
to provide emergency relief food to six countries in Southern Africa for
millions of people threatened with starvation over the next nine
The agency needs US $507 million to fund close to one million mt
of food, enough to feed 10.2 million people until the next main harvest in March
Already, from June to September, seven million people need food
aid, rising to just over 11 million from September to November, and peaking at
12.8 million from December until March 2003.
The WFP hopes to supply 67
percent of the food required with NGOs supplying the balance.
WFP's largest emergency operation but it needs donations to succeed and those
donations are needed now," said James T Morris, Executive Director of WFP.
"Southern Africa is already facing an extremely severe crisis, which
will only worsen in the coming months. However, it is still possible for the
international community to avert a catastrophe by responding rapidly to this
The crisis, which affects Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique,
Lesotho and Swaziland is the worst that southern Africa has experienced for a
decade. The situation in Namibia is still being assessed.
drought of 1991-92, a variety of factors, ranging from poor rains and floods to
regional economic decline and governmental mismanagement, have contributed to
the current shortages, the statement said.
WFP's appeal will be targeted
primarily at the most vulnerable households, such as families affected by
HIV/AIDS and those headed by women, children and the elderly.
statement said the ability of the region's commercial sector to import large
quantities of additional food was of paramount importance and that governments
must cooperate with the private sector if there was to be enough food to stave
off a crisis.
"The magnitude of the crisis demands that everyone rallies
together to save people's lives," said Morris. "No single organisation can hope
to deal with this crisis on its own."
Over the next few months, teams of
experts would closely monitor the region's food security and the threat of
another El Nino phenomenon was under continuous watch.
While each country
had different problems, the severity of the overall situation had been
exacerbated by high levels of chronic malnutrition and the fact that the region
had the highest prevalence rates of HIV/AIDS infection in the
"Coupled with rising levels of poverty and a succession of poor
harvests, Southern Africa finds itself facing a potential calamity," the
It was vital to get enough supplies before October when
the region's rainy season starts, when many rural areas will be rendered
WFP has set up a logistical and information management
centre in South Africa to coordinate the movement of food aid.
food aid arrives, WFP will rely heavily on its implementing partners, including
World Vision, Care, Catholic Relief Services, Save the Children and many others
to distribute it.
"Fortunately, the international community has already
begun to respond to the crisis," said Morris. "However, a lot more needs to be
done if the region is not going to have a disaster on its hands. We still have
the chance to avert a major humanitarian calamity. But we must act
For the full statement: http://www.wfp.org/index.asp?section=2
+27 11 880-4633
Fax: +27 11 447-5472
UN Wire July 1 2002
ZIMBABWE: U.N. Relief Coordinator Calls For
Massive Food Aid
The United Nations on Friday called for a massive food
relief effort in
Zimbabwe, where aid agencies say up to 6 million of the
country's nearly 14
million people are in need of assistance. Analysts say
President Robert Mugabe's policy of seizing white-owned
commercial farms for
resettlement by landless blacks has led to a 60 percent
drop in the
country's staple crop production this year, slashing food
causing prices to skyrocket.
"The situation is very
serious ... and unless there is massive effort to get
in aid, it (the food
shortages) will have a very devastating effect," said
U.N. Emergency Relief
Coordinator Kenzo Oshima at the end of a three-day
visit to the country.
"The magnitude of the problem affecting Zimbabwe is
very serious." In an
apparent reference to Mugabe's controversial land
reform policy, Oshima said,
"Our responsibility is not to engage in
political talks but to make sure that
the people in need are assisted. We
let others deal with the political
Oshima said Zimbabwe's needs accounted for about 40 percent of
requirements for the southern African region, where nearly 13 million
in Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique, Lesotho and Swaziland
shortages. The World Food Program last month launched a $400 million
to tackle the region's food crisis (Cris Chinaka, Reuters/ReliefWeb,
28). Last week, the United Nations announced that it was mobilizing
additional 400,000 tons of corn and essential supplies for
The U.N. Development Program has agreed on a mechanism to
coordinate food distribution with officials in Zimbabwe, Oshima
mechanism, which could be in the form of a committee, would
dialogue between the government and various relief agencies
alleviate the suffering of those affected by the drought," he
should be put in place as soon as the modalities are finalized.
intention is to maximize efforts" (Harare Herald/allAfrica.com, June
Mugabe said he intends to nationalize multinational food companies
in Zimbabwe, a move the London Times says will likely worsen food
which are already widely blamed on disastrous government
state-controlled Sunday Mail quoted Mugabe as offering
companies a chance to
go into partnership with the government (Jan Raath,
London Times, July 1).
Commonwealth Secretary General Don McKinnon of New
expressed pessimism over Zimbabwe's prospects for change,
saying nothing had
improved in the country since it was suspended for a year
organization in March over alleged flaws in the country's
election (BBC Online, June 30).
W. Va. Doctor Turned Game-Farmer Killed in
- HARARE (Reuters) - An
American doctor who owned a game farm business
in Zimbabwe has been murdered
in a car-jacking in the southern African
country, police said
Roy Raub, 79, who had retired from practicing medicine and
traveling between Zimbabwe and the United States for the last 10
found dead on the edge of the Gweru-Bulawayo road in southwest
Saturday night, a police spokesman said.
His truck had
been stolen, the spokesman added.
Raub was from Mecer County, West
"We are investigating the case as one of suspected murder
car-jacking," the police spokesman said.
spokesman Bruce Wharton said they had no details on the
Raub's death and were waiting for a police report.
Zimbabwe government urged to stop media
HARARE, July 1 - An international media rights group on
Monday called on
President Robert Mugabe's government to stop harassing the
saying it was threatening the future of independent journalism
In a statement, Article 19 said the government must drop
against more than a dozen journalists arrested in the last four
reporting ''falsehoods'' or for defamation.
London-based organisation also called on the government to repeal
requiring media houses and journalists to register with a
media commission, stipulating heavy fines and two-year jail
''Together with existing repressive laws and
continuing incidents of
harassment of the independent media, this has led to
a climate in which it
is becoming increasingly difficult for independent
journalists to operate in
Zimbabwe,'' it said.
''Article 19 calls
on the Zimbabwean authorities to drop immediately
all charges currently
pending against journalists ...and to stop using
provisions to harass independent journalists.''
The group said the
government was using the laws selectively against
the private media, noting
that no journalist from Zimbabwe's state-owned
press had been
The Zimbabwe government argues that its new laws are not
suppress press freedom but to instil ''ethical behaviour'' in a
says is being used by its Western enemies to wage a hate and
campaign against Mugabe.
Eleven journalists have been
arrested on charges of ''publishing
Andrew Meldrum, the Zimbabwe correspondent for Britain's
who went on trial last month, accused of publishing a
false story alleging
that Mugabe's supporters beheaded a woman while her two
The government says that story was part of a Western-backed
to damage Mugabe's image since his re-election in March and to
interests of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has said he was robbed of victory
Mugabe, 78, in the March 9-11 presidential elections that were condemned
seriously flawed by many Western nations, including the former
Mugabe, in power since the former Rhodesia
gained independence from
Britain, charges that Western powers want to oust
him over his controversial
seizures of white-owned farms and to impose
Tsvangirai as leader.
US Dollar Hits All Time Low On Black Market
July 1, 2002
Posted to the web July 1, 2002
RATES on the parallel market dropped sharply at the weekend
offering as little as Z$150 for the greenback compared to Z$800
An investigation by The Herald showed that most
commercial banks and bureaux
de change were offering very low rates over the
weekend while others had
stopped the trading altogether.
several bureaux de change and commercial banks were offering
about Z$400 for
one US dollar.
On Friday, the rates went down to about Z$300 to US$1
while on Saturday the
rate had reached Z$150 for the greenback.
slump in the rates has been attributed to a number of reasons among them
Government's threat to cancel licences for commercial banks and bureaux
change involved in illegal forex deals.
This created nervousness as
several people with foreign currency were
desperately trying to dump the
money, which has led to the glut, several
One of the major contributing factors is the speculation over
Govern-ment's intention to cancel foreign currency accounts for
individuals and companies who are believed to be the main culprits
fuelling parallel market rates to their benefit.
Government official said last night the Government was seriously
the whole situation to put in place corrective measures before
gets out of hand.
"Government is seriously working on the loopholes that
have fuelled the
black market and is considering several
When it threatened to close down bureaux de change, this
sparked panic among
the illegal foreign currency dealers which is one of the
reasons that has
led to the crash of the United States dollar on the black
market," said the
Economic consultant, Dr Samuel Undenge,
said speculation rather than market
forces drove the black market
"These people create artificial shortages so as increase the
rates. They are
responsible for the high rates that are prevailing in the
market," he said.
Dr Undenge said he did not advocate the cancellation of
What is needed is proper management of
foreign currency accounts, he said.
A Harare resident said that he sold
his US$500 at Z$350 on Saturday.
"I had no option but to sell the money
at that rate which was actually high.
An official at one bank (name supplied)
which usually buys foreign currency
at the black market rate told me that
they were not buying foreign currency
"Several bureaux de
change were not buying either. Those that were still
buying were offering the
lowest rate," said the resident on condition of
development comes after revelations that the Government told the
of Zimbabwe and Ministry of Finance and Economic Development
officials to put
in place contingency measures to curb the parallel market.
There has been
growing speculation in the market that the Zimbabwean dollar
However, last week, the Government told Ministry of Finance and
Development and Reserve Bank officials that the devaluation of
Zimbabwean dollar was not on the cards.
Instead, the Government
advised Reserve Bank officials to put in place
measures to curb the black
market particularly by commercial banks and
bureaux de change.
Government has maintained that further devaluation of the Zimbabwean
alone would not rescue the country from the economic crisis, which
characterised by worsening poverty levels unless it is part of
comprehensive economic package.
The acquisition of either maize or roller meal is having a huge
effect on everybody’s lives. There are queues everywhere – at GMB, millers,
supermarkets, rural stores and just anywhere where maize should be available.
When it is obtained the prices vary considerably with prices for a single bucket
going for up to $1200 and a milled 20kg bag for over $1000. When people are
starving price controls fall away in favour of the racketeers. Needless to say
one’s political affiliations do play a huge part, especially when it comes to
GMB distributions which are illegally supervised by war veterans.
The main road importation route from RSA runs through our
province and the situation on the roads, especially at night, has become
extremely dangerous. This recently came to the forefront when a maize haulage
truck was involved in an accident with a bus, which tragically resulted in the
horrific deaths of 37 trainee teachers.
Heavy trucks supplying crucial maize for Zimbabwe and
neighbouring countries ply our roads in a continuous shuttle, and it may soon
become like the Hell Run which supplied maize to Zambia many years ago. Most of
the Zimbabwean haulage contracts is being given to "small-scale" operators,
which is highly commendable, except that many of these trucks are breaking down
continually along the route, becoming a danger to oncoming vehicles, especially
at night. It is not uncommon to encounter at least half a dozen broken down
trucks or wrecks from accidents in a single trip to Harare.
The 1800ha of winter maize being grown under irrigation on the
sugar estates is not looking too bad, and should supply food for the nation for
a few days – if it survives the frost. The same applies to some rather poor
stand of maize being grown in vleis in some communal lands. Last season no
significant maize was grown in either communal areas or by settlers on our
At a recent meeting a disillusioned war veteran said, given the
choice he would rather have 1ha of irrigation rather than 20ha of A1 dryland
settlement because he has not had a crop for the last 2 years!
Mugabe to root out gays
(By Walter Marwizi)
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe, embarrassed by allegations of homosexuality
levelled at members of his administration, has ordered a witch hunt to flush out
gays and lesbians in his government, The Standard has learnt.
Official sources told The Standard last week that Mugabe, who caused
outrage among homosexuals worldwide-including gay rights activist Peter
Tatchell-by describing them as "worse than dogs and pigs", issued the order for
the crackdown on "sexual perverts" two weeks ago.
"The president made it clear that the world would see him as a
hypocrite if he attacked British Prime Minister Tony Blair for having a cabinet
full of gays when these very same people are said to be in his administration.
He indicated that Mugabe had long been advised that everyone who wined and dined
with him was of the 'right' sexual orientation," said the sources.
Mugabe has, in the past few years, openly paraded his deeply entrenched
hatred for homosexuals attacking them relentlessly over a practice he considers
During the March presidential election, an embattled Mugabe, facing
criticism from Britain and other western nations, turned the heat on Blair
calling him a "gay gangster" and blasting him for having homosexuals in his
At many of his country-wide rallies Mugabe actually boasted that his own
cabinet was full of amadoda sibili (real men) who could distinguish between
"Adam and Eve and Adam and Steve."
Little did the veteran politician-whom critics say has lost his grip on his
beleaguered administration to young opportunists handpicked for his government
in July 2000-realise that hardly two months after the presidential poll one of
his worst nightmares would become a reality-one of his right hand men would be
accused of involvement in a homosexual relationship.
Testifying in the High Court last month, MDC legislator Job Sikhala said he
had heard of a rumoured homosexual relationship between Moyo and Alum Mpofu, the
disgraced former chief executive of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC),
while the two were still in South Africa.
At that time of the alleged affair, Moyo was a lecturer at the
Witwatersrand University while Mpofu was a researcher at the South African
Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).
Moyo, however, dismissed the allegations as mischievous saying he had only
come to know Mpofu when he attended an interview at the ZBC last year.
"Mugabe's order leaves no sacred cows. Everyone in government from junior
ministers like Jonathan Moyo to vice president Simon Muzenda is under the
microscope. It is clear that anyone who is caught on the wrong side will go.
Mugabe is uncompromising on that matter," he said.
Dr Nathan Shamuyarira, the Zanu PF secretary for information and publicity
told The Standard that the position of the party on the matter of homosexuals
"Our position is very clear. It has been spelt out by the president and the
central committee on several occasions," said Shamuyarira who however said he
was not aware of a witch hunt in government.
Last month, MPs from both Zanu PF and MDC called for a probe into
allegations of homosexual tendencies said to be prevalent at the state-run
The allegations surfaced when Mpofu, whose appointment to the ZBC had been
sanctioned by Mugabe, following a recommendation by Moyo, was caught in a lewd
act with another man at Tipperary's night club in Harare. Mpofu resigned in
disgrace a few days later following the publication of the scandal in The
A month later, a disc jockey with 3FM, Kevin Ncube, was fired from ZBC
after a man claimed he had tried to sodomise him. Ncube is still to face trial.
Nabanyamas turn to Civil Court
(By Loughty Dube)
BULAWAYO-The family of Patrick Nabanyama, the MDC activist who disappeared
before the 2002 parliamentary elections, are planning to institute civil
proceedings against the six war veterans acquitted of his murder by the High
"The court's ruling was fair because the evidence presented in court was
not enough to warrant a prosecution for murder since the body was not found, but
the family is finalising the process of instituting civil proceedings for
damages against the six war veterans," said a family spokesperson who preferred
to speak on condition of anonymity.
The High Court in Bulawayo last month acquitted the six war
veterans-Ephraim Moyo, Simon Rwodzi, Aleck Moyo, Howard Ncube, Julius Sibanda
and Stanley Ncube-of charges of having murdered Nabanyama.
The spokesperson said the family was suffering acute trauma as a result of
continued threats from Zanu PF supporters and war veterans with an interest in
Because of the threats, a High Court judge, Justice Kamocha, last month
ordered round the clock police protection for the family. The proceedings of the
case were later heard in camera after witnesses told the court of how they were
being harassed by war veterans. A total of 15 witnesses testified in the court
"The people involved in Patrick's abduction admitted in court that they had
kidnapped, handcuffed and tortured him. We as a family suffered a great deal of
trauma during the trial period when the harassment of individual family members
was intense. The family will soon sue for damages through the Civil Court," said
Nabanyama has not been seen since being dragged screaming from his Nketa
home a few days before the hotly contested 2000 parliamentary elections. He was
the election agent of David Coltart, the MDC MP for the Bulawayo South
The family spokesperson said while the family would not appeal against the
High Court judgment it wanted to see accountability and truth being upheld by
"We have not given up our quest for accountability, truth and the desire to
see justice prevail, but under the current justice system we have preferred to
file a civil suit than to appeal against judgment," said the spokesperson.
The Nabanyama family is currently staying at a safe house in the city after
being forced to leave their home because of incessant threats from war veterans
and Zanu PF supporters.
Gweru subscriber scores a first
(By our own Staff)
WILLIAM Mugumbate of Gweru can celebrate today's World Cup Final in Japan
in style as he has won the first prize in The Standard and MultiChoice Zimbabwe
Subscribe and Win 2002 Fifa World Cup Korea/Japan competition.
The competition was open to new subscribers of The Standard between 26 May
and 28 June 2002.
The draw for the competition was conducted on Friday by Minky Walters,
the general manager, marketing, of MultiChoice Zimbabwe with the assistance of
Trevor Ncube, the publisher of The Standard. Mugumbate walked away with a
MultiChoice decoder, smart card, and a satellite dish, all valued at over $125
The second prize of a DSTV decoder plus 12 months subscription to The
Standard went to George Nasho Wilson of Kuwadzana.
The third prize of six months subscription to DSTV Select, and the fourth
prize of six months subscription to The Standard were won by Taguma Mahonde of
Marlborough and John Geza of Kwekwe respectively.
Ncube expressed excitement at the response the competition had generated.
"It is unfortunate that only four people could win. The response was
overwhelming. We are grateful to MultiChoice Zimbabwe for coming into the
partnership and we hope to do more together. We also wanted to share this
wonderful opportunity with our valued readers," he said.
The winners of the prizes are requested to contact Milton Matapure, The
Standard's sales and marketing manager to pick up their prizes.
Mutare residents want Mudehwe out
By Farai Mutsaka
MUTARE-Residents in the eastern border city of Mutare have called for the
resignation of their mayor, Alderman Lawrence Mudehwe, for refusing to adopt an
audit report that alleges massive corruption and mismanagement within the
Geoff White, the Mutare Residents and Ratepayers Association (MRRA)
chairman, said his association had asked Chombo to fire Mudehwe for alleged
mismanagement and corruption. The report, drawn by respected accountancy firm,
Kudenga and Company, unearthed serious corruption and mismanagement in Mudehwe's
The report also alleged irregularities in the way some senior council
officials had handled land transactions. The residents' association fears that
Mudehwe, who has allegedly refused to adopt the report, could be condoning such
White said the residents had resorted to a rates boycott and had also
sought legal advice to force council to adopt the report, which would force it
to act on corruption.
"Mudehwe is the chief executive officer in the council and if you look at
it, there is enough proof that he is incapable of running this city. We have
asked him to step down and we have also written to minister Chombo to take
He is lying that his council is doing something about the report. The truth
is the whole report has been thrown into the dustbin. There is clear evidence of
corruption, but Mudehwe has done nothing about it because he seems to be part of
the corruption web. He has to go," said White.
Mudehwe, however, dismissed calls for his resignation and instead accused
White of fighting personal wars using the residents' association.
"White is influencing residents not to pay rates yet they want services. We
urge residents to ignore these calls and cooperate with council for services to
improve. The council did not refuse to adopt the report. In fact we have
implemented most of the things in the report. There are of course a few things
we have refused to implement and these include the privatisation of our health
facilities. Some of the things in the report are also outdated and have already
been dealt with. The people implicated were questioned and cleared by the
courts," said Mudehwe.
The council recently set up a committee to look into the report.
However, among members of the committee set by Mudehwe are councillors
Kenneth Saruchera and Virginia Pinto, who were in the executive committee when
the alleged corruption occurred.
Said White: "The committee set up comprises people who themselves should be
answerable. Councillors Saruchera and Pinto were in the executive committee when
the corruption was occurring so they might have direct involvement. You can't
have people who are the accused being the judges.
"Basically the whole purpose of the report was to turn around the fortunes
of the city so that service delivery can improve. So we have spoken to our
comrades in industry and the feeling is that the report should be adopted. We
are currently taking legal opinion to see if we can force council to adopt the
report and we are campaigning for a rates boycott. We are now trying to get more
people on the rates boycott so that it becomes more effective."
But Mudehwe exonerated the two councillors saying White's claims were
"About corruption, this has been their song for many years. We have
requested them to furnish us with details so that the people might be arrested;
they failed to give us those details but they are still singing the same song. I
have never heard a case of corruption involving those two councillors. White is
a loser who continues making unsubstantiated accusations," said Mudehwe.
Salt shortage shocks nation
By Kumbirai Mafunda
AFTER months of enduring long, winding queues for basic commodities such as
mealie meal and cooking oil, weary Zimbabweans went to the shops last week to
find that salt was not on the shelves.
Not even the ever-watchful critics of the bankrupt Zanu PF government could
have ever imagined, a few years ago, that salt (munyu, isawudo) would one day be
in short supply in this country endowed with abundant natural resources.
But as it has turned out, 22 years after independence, Zimbabwe, once
the breadbasket of southern Africa, has become so impoverished that even salt, a
'very basic basic' is now unavailable.
Years of plunder by a corrupt Zanu PF government has laid waste to a
country once the shining example of the regeneration of Africa during the early
Subsequent seizures of productive white-owned farms by President Mugabe and
the accompanying violence, also set Zimbabwe on the steep path of decline, which
left it on the edge of an economic precipice.
Now, the country is as bankrupt as its leaders responsible for imposing
price controls on a number of commodities in a vain effort to stop run-away
This half-hearted, ill-advised measure has not helped any and has resulted
in the unflagging shortage of basic commodities, the latest being salt.
Ordinary people wonder how they can survive without iodised salt, which
apart from adding taste to food, helps to avoid the goitre problem.
"If we continue to let Zanu PF have its way, the core of our very existence
is threatened. It is difficult to live without mealie meal, cooking oil and
worse still, salt. Our lives may never be the same again," says Tendai Mugwari
of Glen View, Harare.
Says Paul Masimbi of Marlborough: "At this rate, the government needn't
worry about an uprising led by the MDC, they should forget about that. What will
happen is that people will rise up spontaneously as these shortages take their
toll. Zanu PF will have no one to blame when this happens."
Joseph Makeza of Kuwadzana says it is embarrassing for a country such as
Zimbabwe to be bogged down by the "petty problems" it now experiences.
"People can no longer be fooled by the old man (Mugabe). It is not an issue
of sabotage by the west, or their white cousins in Zimbabwe, it is a case of
economic mismanagement. We are now paying dearly for Mugabe's ego which has seen
us isolated from the international community"
Critics say the government's inability to deal with even the most basic
problems shows that it has failed to run the country.
Said MDC information and publicity secretary, Learnmore Jongwe: "This is
laughable. A country with no salt! However, the fact that this government sat on
the problem and did nothing until the present crisis is indicative of the fact
that Mugabe has no solutions to the country's problems and is resigned to
running the country's economy like his personal tuck shop.
"The blame lies squarely on the Mugabe regime, on its long discarded
economic policies and on corruption. All this has caused the decline in foreign
currency receipts from sources such as mining, agriculture and tourism."
Godfrey Kanyenze, an economist with the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions,
said the chickens were now 'coming home to roost'.
"Government is now being shown that what it claimed was in the national
interest (price controls) is coming to nought. Everyone can see that they are
now harvesting thorns," said Kanyenze.
Government introduced price controls last year as the country's acute
economic situation manifested itself in the skyrocketing of prices of essential
This has, however, not helped any as shortages have become prevalent and
queues, the latest for salt, being the order of the day.
Another economist who refused to be identified said he doubted that the
78-year-old Mugabe was capable of putting the economy on the recovery path. "It
is sad that our country has come to this. There is no running away from the fact
that Mugabe has mismanaged the economy and the country. He cannot put us back on
the right track," said the economist.
"The age factor adds to the pessimism. It takes a strong person to get this
economy to work again," added the economist.
Sholden Gono, the managing director of Fine Foods, importers of salt, said
the shortages were the result of importers pulling out and opting to procure
products which were not controlled.
"The problem is that salt is 100% imported so if the dollar weakens and the
cost of foreign currency on the parallel market rises, it will become more
expensive for us to import the product whose end price is controlled anyway. In
this case one would rather import products that are not controlled," said Gono.
Harare-based economic consultant, John Robertson, said: "These are the
predictable consequences of the inappropriate policies of the sitting
|Of common salt and boiled mice
(over the top By Brian
AN official in a
troubled central African country's department of defunct trade, Comrade
Cummerbund, has said it will soon be possible for retailers to import salt at
$200 a kilogramme and the good news is that they can then sell it at $100 a
commodity joins a long list of items no longer available on supermarket shelves
in the troubled central African country.
The shortages are a result of a revolutionary new form of economics
devised by the country's minister of bankruptcy, comrade Powerless Macaroni.
The new economic policy dictates that everything must be sold for less
than it costs, thus ensuring massive job losses, empty shelves and a new recipe
book that shows new ways of cooking leaves and tree roots.
The new book was brought out after a revised recipe in a schools' home
economics textbook advised children to: In a pot, add 1 kilogramme of (soon to
be unavailable.) Four tablespoons of (unavailable.) A cup of (hasn't been
available for months.) Mix in one litre of (you'll be lucky.) Add a pinch of
(also unavailable). Then mix together thoroughly before finding someone who
hasn't been disconnected from the mains before cooking in an oven for one hour.
While leaders of the troubled central African country (called chefs
because they're the only people with pantries full of food) knew all along that
the plan was to make the people live on a diet of air and revolutionary
rhetoric, it was decided not to make the plan too obvious.
So. in future recipe books for the children not too weakened by hunger to
attend school will promise such healthy delights as green leaf stew, brown leaf
stew, grass seed porridge and boiled mouse. Though admitting that the
deprivations of these new diets are entirely the fault of farmers who sabotaged
the economy with help from British running dogs of imperialism, the book points
to the delights of self-sacrifice and assures its readers that boiled mouse is
full of essential proteins and vitamins.
"Not only that, but the most equal of all comrades regularly starts his
day with a bowl of grass seed porridge, just like those other great
revolutionary leaders Ho Chi Minh, Mao Tse Tung and that skinny chap who booted
the Portuguese out of Angola."
Of course, the word "regularly" is relative and in the case of the most
equal of all comrades could mean once every couple of decades.
Not so, said a critic from the troubled central African country's subdued
opposition. "It all depends on your interpretation of the word 'grass' because
if it's what I think it is, then it might account for his peculiar behaviour of
The opposition member pointed out that a certain foreign gentleman who
visited the troubled central African country after it was liberated from the
British was a lavish imbiber of grass seed porridge-and its many smokable
None of which gets one past the inescapable problem of the scarcity of
salt, for in all honesty there are no alternatives to the stuff.
Asked why there was no salt in the troubled central African nation, a
spokesman for the ministry of bankruptcy said: "The problem sort of snuck up on
us. To be honest, when we were warned that there was a problem looming, we took
it with a pinch of unobtainable. Fortunately the people of this country are the
unobtainable of the earth, so we know they'll persevere.
That's all I have to say because I must rush now as my wife's just called
to say there's a queue forming at the tuck shop on the corner and I'd better
Magistrate recommends $73 million judgment against Zimbabwe ruling party
Devlin Barrett, Associated Press, 7/1/2002 18:09
NEW YORK (AP) A federal
magistrate recommended a $73 million penalty against
Zimbabwe's ruling party
Monday for allegedly torturing and killing political
Magistrate James Francis issued the 32-page finding in a case brought
two years ago by members of an opposition party who say they were
saw their loved ones killed in campaigns by President Robert
Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front, or ZANU-PF.
A U.S. law
allows foreigners to sue over international crimes that, because
conditions, cannot be taken to court in their own countries.
court-ordered judgment would be difficult to enforce but could clear the
for the seizure of any ZANU-PF assets in the United States.
and his lawyers failed to appear in court to fight the allegations,
and several top lieutenants were eventually dismissed as
defendants in the case. His party was eventually found in default,
judge to decide damages.
After reviewing the horrific
stories of eight purported victims, Francis
decided ZANU-PF should pay about
$20 million in compensatory damages and $53
million in punitive damages. The
report will be sent to U.S. District Court
Judge Victor Marrero, who can
accept the findings or alter them.
Messages requesting comment from
Zimbabwe's U.N. Mission and its embassy in
Washington were not immediately
Militants from Mugabe's party have illegally occupied hundreds
white-owned farms in what he has called a justified protest against
land ownership by the descendants of British settlers.
|Schools to challenge fees decree
By Itai Dzamara
schools, which are operating under a hostile economic environment against
diminishing support from government, are planning to appeal against a recent
government decree banning any increases in school fees and levies with effect
from September 2001.
While the ministry
of education, sport and culture conceded that schools' budgets had been severely
strained by the escalating cost of living, it has nevertheless directed that any
increases effected after September should be withdrawn.
Reads part of the circular that the ministry issued on 22 April this
year: "While it is appreciated that the cost of living has been escalating of
late, the ministry believes that the escalating cost of living necessitates
keeping education costs to the absolute minimum. Therefore, the ministry decided
that all schools should charge fees and levies, inclusive of boarding fees, that
were applicable at the beginning of the third term of last year."
In separate interviews with The Standard, schools said the new
arrangement was not in the best interest of either the students, or the parents.
A Harare independent school has already informed parents of its intention
to challenge the directive. "The question is, how can we maintain a quality
standard of education by reverting to the level of revenue generated eight
months ago, and ignoring the cost increases that have been numerous since then?
The answer is simple-this cannot be done. Our headmaster will make an urgent
appeal to the ministry in writing," said the school's PTA in a circular to
Several other schools confirmed to The Standard that concerted efforts
were being made to challenge the ministry's declaration, which, as is
unanimously agreed, is very unpopular with most schools.
A headmaster at a government school in Harare, who requested anonymity,
described the declaration as one of the desperate efforts by government to save
its increasingly plummeting credibility.
Said the headmaster: "It is purely illogical for schools to charge fees
that were promulgated last year, with this terrible inflation and shortage of
most basic commodities. Obviously, we all need to come together and tell the
ministry of education loudly, that their declaration must be abolished."
A headmaster at a government school in Bulawayo echoed these sentiments.
"It is made even worse by the fact that schools are not receiving any funding
from government. We virtually have to rely on what we collect from fees and
levies. Given that scenario, it is extremely difficult for schools to operate on
last year's fees," said the headmaster.
A parent with a child attending a Harare private school said: "All this
economic malaise is a product of poor policies by our government. How ironic it
is then, for the same government to purport that it is after protecting parents
with that unviable declaration. That is shameless hypocrisy, which all
progressive parents must treat with the contempt it deserves," said the parent.
Another headmaster at a mission school said: "We are all agreed that this
order for us to revert to last year's fees is ridiculous and retrogressive.
However, the onus is on schools, in liaison with their parents, to agree on fees
and levies that are applicable to the current economic situation. At our school
we are in the process of doing precisely that."
Lies, lies and more lies
ZIMBABWE is being slaughtered by a
parasitical ruling party that will do anything to ensure its dominion over the
people-and by a people too apathetic to stand up to the ruthlessness of the
True, few people foresaw the insanity of today when it all began two years
ago. Fewer still could have prophesied the starvation of millions of ordinary
people, while the ruling party, the architects of the starvation, live in
pampered luxury and enjoy lavish meals at the people's expense.
That in two short years, Zimbabwe has degenerated into a fascist police
state is undeniable-and that this was always the intention is certainly
arguable. Threatened by the people, Robert Mugabe is hitting back at the people
and inevitably the prisons will fill with those few brave men and women who
believe in freedom.
Because freedom is certainly not what the ruling party is preaching to the
country. Instead, it is preaching race hate, xenophobia and blatant lies. So far
it has made honest journalism a criminal offence. Of more immediate and
catastrophic consequence, it has made the nation's farmers criminals, second
class citizens and declared that they're all racists and fascists.
If anything highlights Zanu PF's capacity for double speak, it is its
attitude towards the farmers.
As a direct consequence of the brutal, murderous invasion of thousands of
farms, six million Zimbabweans will starve this year. And while those people go
hungry, the state's lying propaganda machine manages to blame the very farmers
it has stopped from farming for the famine.
The sad truth is that too few of us have stood up to Mugabe's bloodthirsty
regime-and that applies to the press too.
Meanwhile society's leaders have acquiesced to their own subjugation. In
business, rather than fight for survival, leaders such as those in the
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries have remained silent, leaving it to
individuals to take up the cudgels.
And in agriculture, farming leaders-in stark contrast to many farmers-have
grovelled shamelessly at the feet of their oppressors.
Well, for agriculture the results are there for all to see. Millions
starving, hundreds of thousands dispossessed and thousands out of business, and
all because farming leaders were too frightened to fight back.
Still, it's not too late. Zimbabwe is a fine country populated mainly by
fine people who do not want to be turned into hungry paupers by an avaricious
ruling elite. They want courts they can trust rather than the mockery of justice
they see all too often now. They want food in their bellies and they want jobs.
Zanu PF, on the other hand, wants an enfeebled nation to which it can dole
out gifts and treats in the expectation that the people will be grateful. That
is rubbish and must not be allowed to happen.
So. always we have to go back to the beginning. This entire problem began
because Zanu PF knew it stood every chance of losing the June 2000 parliamentary
poll to the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. In order to subvert
democracy, Mugabe launched what he thought would be a crowd puller: a campaign
filled with race hate that saw white Zimbabweans dispossessed of their homes and
It was an ill-considered plan that required constant and usually brutal
reinforcement in the form of violent farm invasions and a constant barrage of
racist rhetoric in the state-controlled press. But in a sense it failed, because
while through violence and intimidation Mugabe won his elections, the farms were
invaded by a comparative handful of Zimbabweans.
There are about 12 million people in Zimbabwe, which is where the ruling
party's lie becomes apparent because, if all this land was so desperately
wanted, those 12 million people would now be firmly settled on the farms.
They aren't-and they never will be. Indeed, now that that this pernicious
regime has what it wants, it has started to systematically and cynically boot
people off farms to make way for more important and already affluent supporters.
So what is the solution? Partly it lies in defiance, even quiet defiance of
the sort Ghandi used so effectively against the British in India. It also lies
in the recognition of the fact that true patriotism, as opposed to the sick
version touted by Zanu PF, requires sacrifice and courage.
And most of all it requires the death of apathy, because apathy has been
Zimbabwe's problem for over a decade. Right now six million of us face hunger,
while almost 70% of us are unemployed. Unless something is done immediately,
those figures are going to rise and rise fast. It would be a sad day for
Zimbabwe, and a source of never ending shame, if the country sat back and
watched it all happen, if we accepted the lies and relied on society's leaders
to get us out of this stranglehold .
Mugabe's petition response-a rebuttal
sundayopinion By John
ROBERT Mugabe's response to Morgan Tsvangirai's high court petition
deserves a reaction.
In this contribution, I wish to address Mr Mugabe directly and respond to
some of the issues that he raises in his spurious article published by the Zanu
PF mouthpiece, the Herald (10/06/02).
It is unfortunate, Mr Mugabe, that you start by claiming that you are
the president of Zimbabwe. You probably forgot to write the word 'illegitimate'
before the word 'president' in your response having stolen the results of the
March 9-11 election. Morgan Tsvangirai did not introduce violence into the
Zimbabwe political system. I guess you have forgotten the violence of 1982 to
1987 when you hammered, brutalised and murdered at least 20 000 innocent
civilians in Matabeleland through your murderous machine, Gukurahundi. You have
also forgotten that violence has been associated with every election held in
this country since 1985. It was Zanu PF that perpetrated all that violence.You
have even forgotten that you once said you have degrees in violence. Indeed,
some of the songs that your mindless supporters sing betray your denial of the
authorship of violence-Zanu Ndeye Ropa, for example.
The Constitutional Review Commission was not established 'by law', unless
you claim to be the 'law' unto yourself. You appointed a grossly partisan
Commission under your favourite boot licker judge to ensure that the outcome of
the process would make you even more secure in your obsession with power and
privilege. The people saw right through you and rejected the daft draft
constitution. I believe that was the last time the people of this country made
use of their democratic right of choice. The rejection of that piece of garbage
was a signal to you that the people of Zimbabwe were determined to put an end to
your dictatorship. They waved red cards at you everywhere you went and shouted
"Chinja, Guqula". You hated this, and were frightened by it, so you unleashed
Hondo ye minda through the war vets and all the unruly elements that you could
lay your hands on. The violence has never stopped to this day. We all know which
party is violent and it's not the MDC.
True to your desperate objective of staying in power at all costs, you
proceeded to commandeer state resources such as vehicles, helicopters and staff
during the parliamentary election campaign. You ordered the police not to arrest
any Zanu PF supporters guilty of committing acts of violence against MDC members
and supporters. But that was not enough; you went on to issue a general amnesty
for most of the people that had committed these offences. In other words, you
directly and indirectly contributed to the near total breakdown of law and order
in this country. Today, this country is on the verge of total collapse because
you have become such a heavy liability and a curse to Zimbabwe.
You allege that the petitioner hatched a plot to assassinate you ahead of
the elections but you forget that you have always accused any Zimbabwean who
dared stand against you in elections with the same falsehood. Some years ago,
you alleged that the late Ndabaningi Sithole was plotting to kill you but the
matter was so frivolous that it died a natural death on the passing of
Musharuka. Today it is Tsvangirai who is plotting to kill you. Young people like
Morgan do not go around killing 78-year-old men like you Mr Mugabe. If your
allegations are true why not allow the courts to make a determination? After all
you have emptied the courts of most of the learned people of reason. It is
ironic that in your opposing affidavit you bemoan the fact that not one Western
country condemned the so-called 'assassination plot' against you. Perhaps it is
because public opinion, both inside and outside Zimbabwe, has heard it all
before. When will you learn that your old tired tricks no longer work?
Mr Mugabe, you have a lot of resources at your disposal, resources which
belong to the people but which you have commandeered at will whenever you chose.
It may be useful for you to make use of some of these resources to, at least,
get accurate information about some of the things that are happening in your
country. You allege that several civic organisations are affiliates of the MDC
because you are unable to understand the anger, frustration and fury that the
people of Zimbabwe hold against you for rigging the presidential election. All
the organisations that you mention in your pitiful submission comprise
Zimbabweans who are so patriotic they refuse to let you continue to ruin this
our country without a very serious challenge. Civil society has the
responsibility to ensure that the people's rights are protected. You, sir, have
been trampling on these rights for a long time, and it is necessary that the
civic bodies you allege are affiliates of the MDC intervene to stop these
You claim, Mr Mugabe, that the petitioner, Morgan Tsvangirai, campaigned
and lobbied for sanctions against yourself and your underlings and in so doing,
compromised Zimbabwe's sovereignty. I think you give this Tsvangirai too much
credit, don't you think? The man must be very powerful to be able to influence
the US government, the EU, the Commonwealth, Australia, Canada etc against you
and this country. Why, he might even try to do the same with Cuba and Libya. But
what has the sovereignty of this country to do with smart sanctions against you
and your bunch of 'yes men and women'? Nothing! It is you Mr Mugabe who has
compromised the sovereignty of this country by your mismanagement of our
national affairs. You have reduced us to a pariah state by your dictatorial
methods of governance. You have ruined our economy to such an extent that our
young people are jumping borders and ship because there is nothing for them
here. You have reduced us to eating yellow maize like mombe because of your evil
method of governance.
The allegation that the petitioner has subverted this country's
constitution and laws can only be categorised as classic self-indictment. Is it
not you, Mr Mugabe, who has twisted and turned, amended and vandalised our
constitution at every election? Have you not subverted the law by fast-tracking
new bills through parliament, and fabricating the decade's most draconian pieces
of legislation in an attempt to thwart the will of the people? Was it not you
who signed such repressive legislation as the notorious POSA and the repulsive
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act? Both these inane laws
whittle away several basic human rights of Zimbabweans. Now is that not the real
meaning of subversion of national laws? You have been very good at taking some
of the most peremptory measures, dressing them up in legal jargon and calling
them the law.
You seem to have a frightful fixation over the petitioner's relations with
foreigners. I am convinced you actually believe that the Libyans, Malaysians,
Chinese and your favourite December 12th Movement, are not foreigners. There are
rumours that you may have mortgaged some of the invaded farms to some of your
own brand of 'foreigners'. The petitioner has sold this nation to no foreigner.
You use up so much energy attacking Tony Blair and the British while everything
that can go wrong is going wrong here in Zimbabwe. We do not care what Tony
Blair has for dinner, for goodness' sake. We know, however, that he has dinner;
many of us cannot afford to have dinner. This does not include you, of course,
sir. Your counterfeit policies have reduced us to the level where we cannot even
get mealie meal-sadza chairo? You can blame it on the partial drought that we
experienced, but in your heart of hearts you are fully aware that your violent
fast-track land-grabbing is the main reason why we are starving today. Perhaps
the petitioner is also to blame for the drought.
Time and space do not allow me to respond to some of the other garbage you
include in your 'preliminary response'. Suffice it is to reiterate that the
majority of the people of Zimbabwe know that you cheated in the election and are
therefore an illegitimate leader. I suspect that is one of the reasons why you
are finding it extremely difficult to appoint a Cabinet in accordance with the
laws of the land. All the men and women who currently sit with you in Cabinet
are illegitimate and illegal impostors masquerading as government ministers.
Nothing will change the truth that in the March 2002 presidential election you
lost miserably to Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC. I strongly suspect that you may
have obtained less than one-third of the votes that Tsvangirai amassed during
that election. That explains your anger at all who dare support change,
democracy and good governance in this country. One day soon, the history of this
nation will be rewritten, and whether you like it or not, you will go down in
that record as the dictator who stole the election. No, history will not absolve
you. History will indict you.
John Makumbe is a senior lecturer in political science at the
University of Zimbabwe.
Panic withdrawals from FCAs
(By Paul Nyakazeya)
THERE were panic withdrawals of foreign currency from commercial banks last
week, amid speculation that the forex-starved government might close all foreign
currency accounts (FCAs) to curb the rampant illegal trade in forex.
Standard Business was also informed that due to the drastic fall of the
dollar on the black market, government will soon devalue it by over 260% to
trade 200 against the US dollar.
As of Friday on the black market, the US dollar was calling for up to
800 against the local unit, while the pound sterling was trading as high as 1
050, with the South African rand pegged at 75. This compares to a managed
exchange rate of 55:1 against the greenback, 83:1 against the pound and 5:1
against the rand.
But finance minister Simba Makoni dismissed speculation of an impending
devaluation when contacted for comment on Thursday.
"We would have known about such developments. People are free to say what
they want, but what I can tell you is that if there are any developments we
would have known about them since the government and my ministry are responsible
for making such decisions," Makoni told Standard Business.
He refused to comment on the panic withdrawals of forex that were taking
place at commercial banks.
"Speculation is always present on the market," was all he said.
A source at a leading commercial bank however confirmed that the week had
been characterised by massive withdrawals from FCAs.
"A number of people were withdrawing their foreign currency. In some cases
they left the accounts with only the minimum balances, hoping that the decision
might not be reached. From what we are hearing the government is trying to
control the black market which has seen a number of people taking advantage of
the acute foreign currency inflows by quoting high prices," said the source.
Other banks contacted for comment by the Standard Business confirmed
similar trends at their institutions.
They, however, said nothing official had be communicated to them by
According to Friday's Independent, the issue of runaway black market rates
were on the agenda of Wednesday's Zanu PF politburo meeting.
The paper quoted a ruling party insider as saying the meeting had
recommended that tight monitoring of commercial banks and bureaux de change be
The official foreign exchange market has not been active since 2000 when
major international donors fled the country citing lawlessness following the
invasion of white owned commercial farms by war veterans.
The tobacco auction floors which were expected to ease the forex crisis
have not had any impact since the start of the selling season on 14 May
Byo forex dealers outsmart police
(By Grey Moyo)
BULAWAYO-While government claims it is doing all it can to curb the rampant
illegal trade in foreign currency in the country, black market dealers in
Bulawayo say they have managed to outwit the police dragnet through a
combination of bribes and love affairs with officers, investigations by Standard
The dealers, mostly women, have outsmarted the police and are still in
business in Bulawayo's 'World Bank', as the pavements along Fourth and Fifth
Avenue have come to be known.
"Some of us are friends, girlfriends, connections, and relatives of
senior police officers in the right positions. So they supply us with regular
updates and tell us to change positions if any operation is about to begin,"
said a dealer who refused to be identified.
Bribe taking officers are also alleged to be in constant touch with some
businessman who employ the dealers. Once businessmen have been informed of
impending swoops, they quickly warn their couriers on the streets, thereby
eluding the so-called long arm of the law.
Other dealers attributed their success to innovations introduced into their
The illegal trade in forex is mostly carried out by members of the
vapostori sect who are conspicuous by their white robes.
Said a dealer commenting on recent raids by police in Bulawayo: "Of course
it was difficult to operate when the raids began, but we had reestablished
ourselves before the end of the day. We went back home where we discarded our
white robes for more formal dress and came back to business."
The dealer added that other women dealers had simply melted into the huge
vegetable and fruit vendor community which operates along the pavements of
downtown Bulawayo, while others have employed men to do business.
"Men are more alert and are not suspects in this business. The formal dress
is very effective because police cannot stop everyone and search them for forex.
We see them milling around here but they cannot do anything," a dealer told
Standard Business on Tuesday.
The following day there was no visible police presence and the white robed
dealers promptly returned and took their positions next to pizza shops opposite
the Tredgold Magistrates Court. It was business as usual on Thursday morning.
More were still operating from among the vendors while others are reported
to have taken the business to the sanctuary of their homes.
Bribe taking police officers are also reported to be supplying regular and
precise information on their operations against the forex dealers.
The first police raid netted dozens of dealers huge quantities of forex. A
police spokesman, Inspector Smile Dube, told Standard Business that currency
seized amounted to about $1 million. The denominations were in US, British,
South African, Namibian and Botswana currencies.
He said the raids would continue until Bulawayo's streets were cleared of
illegal forex dealers and said those arrested would face charges of contravening
the Foreign Exchange Control Act.
Asked to respond to allegations of corruption against police officers in
Bulawayo, Dube referred the issue to police chief spokesman, Assistant
Commission Wayne Bvudzijena, who said he would only respond after tangible
evidence had been presented to him.
"We need tangible evidence over these stories," said Bvudzijena.
With banks and government coffers virtually dry, businesses and individuals
requiring forex have been forced to resort to sourcing it on the thriving black
|Open letter to Mugabe
MY name is Hanna
Bergstrom and I am a member of Amnesty International in Sweden.
I write this letter
to express my concern over the continuing restrictions on freedom of expression
in Zimbabwe, in particular the signing into the law of the Access to Information
and Protection of Privacy Act. These restrictions contravene the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Zimbabwe has acceded,
in particular Article 19, which guarantees a person's right to freedom of
expression and freedom to seek, receive and impart information.
I am gravely concerned over the use of the Public Order and Security Act
to silence independent journalists reporting on the government, for example,
Peta Thornycroft of the Daily Telegraph and Geoff Nyarota of the Daily News both
of whom were arrested and charged for publishing false statements and
information on the outcome of the presidential elections in March this year.
I urge the Zimbabwean authorities to repeal the Public Order and Security
Act and amend the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, in
particular the chapters relating to the registration and deregistration of media
houses and journalists, the jailing of those who break the act and the chapter
that gives the Information minister authority to cancel registrations of both
journalists and media houses and to launch investigations into the affairs of
I ask you to investigate the allegations of torture of two newspaper
vendors by Zanu PF militia and war veterans on 20 March 2002 in the Zanu PF
headquarters in the town of Rusape.
I urge the Zimbabwean authorities to take immediate action against all
those who threaten press freedom in Zimbabwe. Furthermore, action must be taken
to secure the journalists from any form of threat or harassment during the
course of their legitimate work.