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Zimbabwe: the Sane Whisper; Only the Mad Can Shout

Catholic Information Service for Africa (Nairobi)

June 17, 2005
Posted to the web June 17, 2005

Tuesday, June 14, 2005 By a Catholic Priest in Harare

It is amazing with what equanimity people accept what government has done to

"Hapana zvokuita ("There is nothing one can do"), say people as you ask them
about the destruction of their property. Or that is what they say out loud.
Whispering in my ear a woman said, "They did it because they lost the
election" (meaning in Mbare).

It took a mentally deranged woman to shout it out loud. Sitting on the
rubble of her destroyed cottage she kept shouting, "&asi handiwirirane
naMugabe ("but I don't agree with Mugabe").

The police tell people "Get out". Council officials go round and tell people
still sleeping next to their destroyed homes, "We do not want to see you
here any more".

Where are they supposed to go? A certain organisation wants to help with
transport to the rural areas. More and more women with small children who
suffer severely from the cold at night beg for the money to get on the bus
and travel to Gokwe or Mutoko, Birchenough Bridge or Tsholotsho.

The black plastic sheeting we were distributing offers little protection.

I keep saying in my little homilies and anywhere else to anyone who cares to
listen, "Violence and oppression seem overwhelming. But the violent will not
win. They will have to answer for what they have done.

The Kingdom of God brings the reign of justice, love and compassion.

With Christ the victor we will win, eventually. In the meantime we are asked
to share what we have in love and compassion."

A Catholic woman from a parish in the northern (more affluent) suburbs
collected money among her fellow sodality members to help us help the
hardest hit, $ 1.5 million so far. We are most grateful. I was able to hand
the money straight on to a couple of mothers with small children who wanted
to return to their rural homes near Bulawayo. I hope they got
there -travelling is a hazardous business if you carry luggage; there are
plenty of thieves around to pounce on you- and were well received.

But will they have anything to eat there in those drought-stricken parts of
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The Times

            June 17, 2005

            Zimbabwe: the West blinked first
            by Michael Holman
            Don't expect Thabo Mbeki to take decisions that his critics are

            Something must be done! Something really must be done about
Zimbabwe - and Thabo Mbeki should do it. The call gets louder, the logic
gets weaker.
            Those who urge the South African president to act are like Pooh
Bear and his hums. They believe if they sing the first line often enough and
fast enough - "Something must be done" - the next lines will come
automatically. The device did not succeed with Pooh; nor is it working for
Mr Mbeki's critics.

            What, precisely, should the president be doing? Imposing trade
sanctions? Hardly. Zimbabwe is already enduring Mr Mugabe's devastation of
commercial agriculture. It is being hit by the sanctions of the market
place. Investors and holidaymakers are staying away. Tourism, one of the
main foreign exchange earners, has collapsed; the currency has plummeted;
inflation has rocketed.

            Do we expect South Africa to impose a fuel embargo? Or hold up
the railway wagons on landlocked Zimbabwe's trade route through South
Africa? Prime Minister Vorster used that tactic to put the squeeze on white
ruled Rhodesia in the 1970s. It may be tempting. But the danger is that such
action could well precipitate an even deeper crisis. And Mr Mugabe's
irrationality and unpredictability - and his sheer brutality - are among his
most potent weapons.

            Should Mr Mbeki intervene militarily? Before we urge him down
that path, let's recall history. Tanzania's military invasion of Uganda to
oust Idi Amin was a disaster. True, the invaders forced Amin to flee. But
they left behind towns devastated by the fighting with retreating Ugandan
forces. And the country's former Prime Minister, Milton Obote - buddy of
Tanzania's Julius Nyerere - regained power in an ill-organised and disputed
election - albeit approved as free and fair by the Commonwealth observers.
Only when the despotic Obote was overthrown in 1986 did Uganda begin to
recover from the combination of Amin and the invasion.

            The suggestion that Mbeki is reluctant to act because Mugabe is
an old comrade of the liberation struggle does not square with the facts.
The South African guerrillas were in an alliance with the army of Joshua
Nkomo, bitter rival of Mugabe. Far from treating Mugabe's men as allies,
they were often seen as enemies. For some members of the post-apartheid
South African army, there may be scores to settle.

            So why does Mr Mbeki not, at the very least, denounce Mugabe and
the suffering he has caused? Why does he not give him the cold shoulder at
diplomatic functions? Why does he not condemn the elections as a sham?

            But then what? None of these actions will faze Mr Mugabe, or
loosen his hold on power. So what can be done?

            * Prepare and publish an emergency recovery programme which may
help stiffen resistance to tyranny. It would tabled without delay, to be
implemented when Zimbabwe begins a return to democracy; and would be funded
by donors, and provide the essentials - basic medicines, agricultural
inputs, school books.

            * Spend part of the £30m that Britain's aid agency, Difid, has
earmarked for land reform, resettling commercial farmers and their senior
staff in neighbouring Mozambique.

            * Name and shame the banks that continue to lend to Zimbabwe.
This tactic forced Barclays to withdraw from white-ruled South Africa - it
can do the same in Zimbabwe.

            * Commission and publish an independent evaluation of the
regional consequences of a real collapse in Zimbabwe. It might concentrate
the minds of African leaders.

            * Attach conditions to food aid. But don't hold your breath. An
opportunity to put pressure on Mr Mugabe first came in November 2001, when
the UN World Food Programme unilaterally announced its intention to feed
Zimbabwe. A chance was missed. The WFP should have consulted the donor
governments about the terms. It did not. And instead of making food aid
conditional on electoral reform, supplies were distributed without

            Only one thing seemed certain at the time. The humanitarian
gesture would backfire, cushioning Mugabe and his regime from the
consequences of their actions. So it turned out. The aid community were
either blind, or they blinked. Mr Mugabe survived. And the West's
unconditional generosity has done - and is doing - more long-term damage to
Zimbabwe than short term good.

            Food and servitude - or continued famine and the possibility of
freedom: It is a tough choice, which should be made at the UN, not in
Pretoria. Thabo Mbeki cannot be expected to take a decision which his
critics dodged, and still duck away from.

            Michael Holman is the former Africa editor for the London
Financial Times

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Sent: Friday, June 17, 2005 9:35 PM
Subject: The Democratic Peoples Republic of Zimbabwe (DPRZ): the cults of Bob and Kim

The Democratic Peoples Republic of Zimbabwe (DPRZ): the cults of Bob and Kim

Harare International Airport isn’t overflowing with tourists. On the contrary its vast emptiness dramatically illustrates the decline in tourism in Zimbabwe. Of course it has a couple of peak times like the departure of Air Zimbabwe’s flight to London taking yet another planeload of evacuees on the search for a better life.
But what is in plentiful abundance in our airport, and our banking halls, schools and countless other offices in Zimbabwe are portraits of President Robert Mugabe. Recently I’ve been pondering the extent to which Zimbabweans have become psychologically entrapped by the cult of Mugabe.
How does it happen that the portrait of someone so unpopular continues to “adorn” the walls of so many public places?
Like many North Koreans, Zimbabweans have slowly but surely been sucked into the cult of Mugabe. It appears that even famine; a decimated economy, rampant inflation and an extremely poor standard of living cannot dampen this adulation. This was evocatively illustrated to me when I looked at a photograph of some of the victims of "Operation Murambatsvina" – the Zimbabwe Government’s term for the mass evictions currently taking place in our country. The photograph shows people watching a bulldozer demolishing buildings. On top of a stack of possessions rescued from a shack, Mugabe’s portrait takes pride of place.

What stopped the person, who had been forcibly removed from his/her dwelling, in winter and without warning, from taking the portrait and smashing it over their knee?
Last month the North Korean government asked citizens to be ready for a protracted war against the United States of America. To prepare them for this the North Korean government issued guidelines for possible evacuation to underground bunkers. The guidelines suggested a list of items that citizens should take with them on their journey underground. These included weapons, food and portraits of leader Kim Jong-il. It was emphasised that citizens should protect the portraits, plaster busts and bronze statues of Kim.
In June 2004 there was a massive train explosion in the town of Ryongchon, which killed 150 people and injured 1200. In newspaper reports the state-controlled Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) congratulated four communist stalwarts who apparently died “heroic deaths” trying to retrieve portraits of Kim Jong-il from collapsing buildings. KCNA added that many others "evacuated portraits before searching after their family members or saving their household goods." Even if the KCNA was indulging in propaganda the fact remains that idolatry of Kim Jong-il was being encouraged.
There is no doubt that actions such as hanging presidential portraits in our public and private spaces involve us in the promotion and creation of powerful personality cults. This can end up being very detrimental to our pursuit of individual and collective liberation. The Korean Central News Agency last year denied that portraits of Kim Jong-il were being taken down from public places across the country and said that these were based on rumour and not fact. KCNA went on to say that this sort of speculation was part of a strategy of psychological warfare by hostile forces toward North Korea and that the venerable portraits would remain in place.
This statement substantiates the fact that Governments, be they African, Eastern or Western rely on a variety of tactics to insinuate their power and their influence over their citizens. There is no law in Zimbabwe that instructs citizens to hang presidential portraits in their space. Nor is there a law that forbids citizens from removing them. Legislation isn’t stopping us from asserting independence of action, fear is.
We continue to criticise opposition political leaders and civic activists for their lack of courage in confronting the ruling Zanu PF party head on. Yet many individuals and business leaders continue to uphold the adulation of Mugabe through public acts of support such as giving wall space to his portrait. If a citizen is too fearful to remove a portrait then reflect for a moment on how much courage it takes to face riot police and tear gas on the street.
In Zimbabwe today we must question authority at every level. As individuals who seek liberation it is important to be aware of how insidiously our lives are being infiltrated by the ruling party. And its part of our individual responsibility to stop them; as Bob Marley sang, none but ourselves can free our minds.

Bev Clark
17th June 2005

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Sokwanele - Enough is Enough - Zimbabwe

News in Brief: Murambatsvina - latest
17 June 2005

For two days now residents of Kariba have felt the full force of the brutal ZANU PF Murambatsvina campaign. Mugabe’s uniformed thugs, a politicized and de-humanized police force, are sweeping through the town, particularly targeting large structures for demolition. The police do no bother to enquire whether the structures are legal or not. Their wholesale destruction is certainly totally illegal.

Many residents have taken to sleeping under the trees as there is nowhere else to go.

The Green Market in Mutare was destroyed yesterday morning as Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) swept through the center like a swarm of locusts. Many of the traders had paid $ 800,000 for shop licences as recently as January this year, and should have enjoyed the full protection of the law.

ZRP officers were seen to be looting door and window frames in Nyazura 26. So accustomed have they become to breaking the law with complete impunity, that they went about their criminal activity boldly and in broad daylight.

The beautiful, mountainous Bvumba area in the eastern highlands of Zimbabwe has so far escaped relatively unscathed the depredations of Mugabe’s ZANU PF thugs. However all that now seems set to change. So-called “war vets” have taken over the farm of the Campbell Morrisons this week. The terrain is rocky and hilly and unsuitable for any cultivation yet War Vet Manyemba is understood to have been given a loan of Z$ 680 million to grow a wheat crop on the land. He is now driving around in a brand new luxury twin cab which is worth considerably more than the loan.

Other farmers in the area by the name of Guild, had a rude awakening when the Governor, Mike Nyambuya’s girlfriend (Irene Zindi) started moving into their home while they were still living in it. The Guild family are in possession of a court order protecting them from interference, yet once again the law was brushed aside as ZANU PF chefs moved in, taking advantage of the state of legal anarchy obtaining in the country to enrich themselves personally. It is also reported that the Guilds had a vegetable crop in the ground worth Z$ 2 billion.

Marondera Rural
In the rich agricultural belt south east of Marondera it is reported that Eirene Farm owned by Hamish Charters before it was seized by the notorious former 5 Brigade commander of Gukurahundi fame, Perence Shiri, has now been handed over to new Chinese occupants.

In the year, 2000, ZANU PF encouraged and assisted a group of settlers to invade a number of farms in this area. However the same settlers were summoned to a meeting recently by the ZANU PF District Administrator, and told they must be off the farms by June 27, or face dire consequences. Observers reported that when the new settlers asked where they should go they were told “Back where you came from”. It is understood that these particular settlers whom ZANU PF used in 2000 to spear-head the invasion of commercial farms in the area, had been re-settled by the government back in the 1980’s. Their original resettlement farms having now been taken over by others, they will once again be without any land when they are moved on from the Marondera District.

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More razings -- Zimbabwe extends demolitions to rural areas
Friday, June 17, 2005 Posted: 10:36 AM EDT (1436 GMT)

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) -- Zimbabwe has extended the destruction of informal
homes and businesses from the cities to rural areas, police told state radio

The government calls the campaign a cleanup effort, but critics at home and
abroad say it is a violation of human rights and inspired by politics.

Police spokesman Austin Chikwavara said his force has started tearing down
shacks and kiosks found at major crossroads in Chirumanzu, Umvuma and
Lalapanzi in the Zimbabwe Midlands, between 200 kilometers (124 miles) and
300 kilometers (186 miles) south of the capital, Harare.

Another police spokesman, who was not identified, told the radio station
that police also are demolishing homes built without permission on some of
the thousands of farms seized from their white owners for redistribution to
black Zimbabweans.

However, Security Minister Didymus Mutasa maintained in the same broadcast
that the monthlong campaign was aimed only at cleaning out city streets and
would not affect the government's rural strongholds.

The government's Operation Murambatsvina, or Drive Out Trash, has already
left more than 250,000 city dwellers homeless in the winter cold. Police
also have arrested more than 30,000 vendors, accusing them of dealing in
black market goods and attempting to sabotage Zimbabwe's failing economy.

President Robert Mugabe's dismissed propaganda chief condemned the evictions
Thursday as "barbaric."

Jonathan Moyo, addressing his first public meeting in the capital since he
was fired in January, said the blitz was linked to a power struggle within
the ruling party over who would succeed the 81-year-old Mugabe.

"It seems to be a directionless activity of some mischievous group which
imagines it can profit by this in some mysterious way and position itself
ahead of the pack in the succession game," he told the gathering at a Harare
hotel Thursday.

Moyo, who spent five years as information minister, was fired for opposing
Mugabe's choice of Joyce Mujuru as a vice president. Moyo backed
parliamentary Speaker Emmerson Mnangagwa, who represents a younger
generation of ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front

Opposition leaders say the eviction campaign is aimed at driving their
supporters among the urban poor into rural areas, where they can be more
easily controlled.

"The government wants to depopulate urban areas ahead of the 2008 elections
and re-create a rural peasantry in which voters are brought under the
control of local chiefs and Mugabe's militias," Sydney Masamvu, an analyst
from the International Crisis Group think tank, said in a statement Friday.

As the unpopular drive spreads, Zimbabwe officials sought to play down
superstitious fears that the ancestors have been angered.

Residents of a small mining town told a government newspaper that the
presence of a baboon in a destroyed shack was a sign of the ancestors'
displeasure. The animal leaped out of the shack as it was being pulled down
and refused to leave the site in Shurugwi's Mukusha township, 450 kilometers
(280 miles) south of Harare, The Herald reported.

Many Zimbabweans believe the spirits of ancestors inhabit wild animals and
invade human habitations to take revenge when offended.

"We are not really concerned because a baboon can never harm a person,"
police spokesman Patrick Chademana told The Herald.
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More Africans in cities than countryside by 2030-UN
Fri Jun 17, 2005 8:55 PM BST

By Andrew Cawthorne

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Sub-Saharan Africa's traditionally rural-based society
is fast disappearing, with more than half its roughly 700 million people
seen living in urban areas by 2030, the United Nations said Friday.

The head of the U.N. housing project Habitat said Africa's "chaotic
urbanisation" was -- together with the HIV/AIDS pandemic -- the biggest
threat to the world's poorest continent.

"The pace of urbanisation in the world has caught us all by surprise," Anna
Tibaijuka said in Nairobi, citing that city's vast, 800,000-strong Kibera
slum as a prime example.

"By 2030, 51 percent of Africans will be living in cities and towns. Africa
will stop being a rural continent."

Unchecked flows of rural poor seeking better lives has put an unbearable
strain on Africa's capitals, she said.

Some 70 percent of Nairobi's roughly three million inhabitants, for example,
live in shanty-towns like Kibera.

"Urban poverty was not an easy issue to sell but people are catching on to
its importance," she added at a news conference.

The solution lies not in forcibly stopping people from coming to cities but
in making rural areas and smaller towns more attractive to live in with
better services and commercial opportunities, she said.

The issue of Africa's urban poor has hit headlines in recent weeks with
Zimbabwe's crackdown on shantytowns and informal traders leaving an
estimated 200,000 people homeless.


U.N. Environment Program head Klaus Toepfer, also at the news conference to
discuss the U.N. Millennium Development Goals, agreed better services were
the solution.

"If the electricity doesn't go to the people, the people will go to the
electricity," he said.

Neither official mentioned Zimbabwe. Nor would they be drawn on questions
from local journalists about forced evictions from the
environmentally-crucial Mau forest in west Kenya.

One of the U.N. targets is to achieve "significant improvement" in the lives
of at least 100 million slum-dwellers around the world by 2020.

Tibaijuka, a Tanzanian who sat on the Africa Commission set up by UK leader
Tony Blair to prepare a blueprint for the upcoming summit of G8 rich
nations, said the number of global slum-dwellers was soaring to an expected
1.36 billion by 2015.

That compares with 1 billion now and 700 million in 1990.

Toepfer gave a bleak outlook for sub-Saharan Africa in respect of the
ambitious Millennium Goals, fixed in 2000 to eradicate poverty, improve
education and health levels, promote gender equality and help the
environment by 2015.

"Unluckily in sub-Saharan Africa we are lagging behind in nearly all those
eight goals," said Toepfer, whose UNEP is based in Kenya. "So we have
especially to hurry up in Africa."

Both U.N. officials urged G8 leaders to produce concrete results at their
Gleneagles meeting, hosted by Blair who has put Africa and global warming as
his priorities.

(Additional reporting by London Editorial Reference Unit)
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Messages on a US weblog

Zimbabwean Reign of Terror Grows
By: Leon H · Section: Foreign Affairs

In the midst of the informal contest within the Democratic party over who
can invent the most strident rhetoric to describe what is occuring in Gitmo
(where there have been no casualties to date), a real human rights disaster
grows worse:

Zimbabwe has extended the destruction of informal homes and businesses from
the cities to rural areas, police told state radio Friday.

Police spokesman Austin Chikwavara said his force has started tearing down
shacks and kiosks found at major crossroads in Chirumanzu, Umvuma and
Lalapanzi in the Zimbabwe Midlands, between 200 kilometers (124 miles) and
300 kilometers (186 miles) south of the capital, Harare.

More below the fold:
Jun 17th, 2005: 15:35:42, Not Rated

The situation in Zimbabwe is bad on so many levels that it's often difficult
to know where to begin. One of the things that is occuring there, which
would certainly be front-page news if the races involved were reversed, is
that the government has seized farmlands from thousands of Zimbabweans,
whose only crime is being white. Mugabe's government is apparently seeking
to exacerbate the situation:

Another police spokesman, who was not identified, told the radio station
that police also are demolishing homes built without permission on some of
the thousands of farms seized from their white owners for redistribution to
black Zimbabweans.

Further, the recent round of house clearings is ample indication that while
Mugabe is certainly bad, his likely successors appear to be in a race to see
who can hold the firmest iron grip on the country:

The government's Operation Murambatsvina, or Drive Out Trash, has already
left more than 250,000 city dwellers homeless in the winter cold. Police
also have arrested more than 30,000 vendors, accusing them of dealing in
black market goods and attempting to sabotage Zimbabwe's failing economy.

President Robert Mugabe's dismissed propaganda chief condemned the evictions
Thursday as "barbaric."
Jonathan Moyo, addressing his first public meeting in the capital since he
was fired in January, said the blitz was linked to a power struggle within
the ruling party over who would succeed the 81-year-old Mugabe.
"It seems to be a directionless activity of some mischievous group which
imagines it can profit by this in some mysterious way and position itself
ahead of the pack in the succession game," he told the gathering at a Harare
hotel Thursday.
One of the regrettable side effects of the ramped-up rhetoric that seems to
be inherent in today's politics is that the term "atrocity" has lost all
coherent meaning. Any time someone is subjected to a disapproving glare,
haunting comparisons to real-life atrocities like Auschwitz are predictably
drawn, so that the younger generation is seemingly unable to grasp the
historical significance of what real atrocities like the Holocaust looked
like. David Gelertner warns us that this kind of politicization of history
is destructive to our ability to reason correctly about the present:
Not knowing history is worse than ignorance of math, literature or almost
anything else. Ignorance of history is undermining Western society's ability
to talk straight and think straight. Parents must attack the problem by
teaching their own children the facts. Only fools would rely on the schools.
My son told me about a high school event that (at first) I didn't
understand. A girl in his English class praised the Vietnam War-era draft
dodgers: "If I'd lived at that time and been drafted," she said, "I would've
gone to Canada too."
I thought she was merely endorsing the anti-war position. But my son set me
straight. This student actually believed that if she had lived at the time,
she might have been drafted. She didn't understand that conscription in the
United States has always applied to males only. How could she have known?
Our schools teach history ideologically. They teach the message, not the
truth. They teach history as if males and females have always played equal
roles. They are propaganda machines.
It is apparent, when reading stories like this one out of Zimbabew, that
evil has not been vanquished in the world, and that real-life atrocities are
still being committed. How to make our children understand that elsewhere
across the globe, people in mass numbers are still being subjected to real,
physical harm, that endangers their lives and families?
The only sane course of action is to pull back the rhetoric before it
becomes too late. Pull back the rhetoric before we raise a generation who is
incapable of understanding the distinction between inconvenience and
atrocity. Pull back the rhetoric before we raise a generation so
insensitized to the concept of "atrocity" that they are unwilling to act to
prevent a real one in their very midst.
< Chris Muir gets it (0 comments)

Zimbabwean Reign of Terror Grows | 2 comments (2 topical, 0 editorial, 0
   I'm sure it's worse than it looks... By: polyphemus

since reporters have been effectively banned for atleast the last 4 years in
Zimbabwe.  If you freelance outside the Media and Information Commission's
oversight, if you report something not vetted by the Commission, if you
report on the MDC, you get arrested and deported if you're lucky.

Comment Rated: (none / 0) (User Info) (#1)

But it's not "atrocity". By: jefferson101

The left can't commit atrocities when they are in power.  Only the U.S. can.
When Stalin had the Gulags up and running full blast, all the "useful
idiots" were singing his praises around the world.
When Pol Pot was killing a quarter or so of the population of Cambodia, the
media yawned.
When there was a real live genocide going on in Rwanda, the UN had to hold
meetings for a year or so to decide if anything needed doing.
There's another one going in Darfur right now, too.  And the UN is holding
meetings about it.  I'm sure they'll get it together in time to save the
last couple of hundred of the folks who are being slaughtered.
Same with Rhodesia/Zimbabawe.  They will do absolutely nothing.
But let us play loud music to a prisoner or turn the A/C down too low, and
it's a scandal, which must be stopped.
I hate it, but there's not much we can do.  We've got enough problems
already.  And the rest of the world isn't going to do squat.  They probably
aren't even equipped to.
Very sad, but there it is.
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New Zimbabwe


      The evil that Mugabe does

      Last updated: 06/18/2005 05:13:19
      WHY do we continue to be so stunned by Robert Mugabe's on-going
implementation of a scorched earth policy against the urban poor? In the
many years that decline and repression have been synonymous with the name
"Mugabe," has it not been obvious that he is a bitter man with many deep
resentments that he uses his office as president as an outlet for?

      The recent general election that he and Zanu PF made very half-hearted
noises about having "won" was what finally tipped old Mugabe to no longer
pretending to be anything but the vicious despot and bully that he is. He
slaughtered thousands of Ndebeles in the 1980s and by and large disabused
them of entertaining any thoughts of a viable alternative power structure to
his. ZAPU was not only swallowed up into Mugabe's party, its leaders
capitulated and threw their lot in totally with Mugabe, even at the cost of
completely alienating themselves from the generality of the people of
Matebeleland, as elections since the 1987 "Unity Accord" have consistently

      It is vintage Mugabe to bludgeon a perceived political foe into
submission, and when he then submits, throwing him a few alms to salve the
pain and humiliation. It has worked for him many times, and it is now his
modus operandi. In the case of the ZAPU leaders that he neutralized, his
two-pronged strategy involved a ferocious spilling of blood through the
Fifth Brigade in a way that was so vicious, so widespread and so violent
that Joshua Nkomo and his lieutenants swallowed hard and made an
accommodation with Mugabe. Mugabe's coup de grace was to then buy out those
lieutenants of Nkomo's from under him with positions and patronage. In short
order, many of these leaders that Mugabe had hounded and persecuted became
some of Mugabe's most obedient lackeys, even as they became increasing
alienated from the people for no longer articulating their concerns and

      He has used this same old tactic within Zanu PF to neutralize
potential and actual opponents successfully over the years, if only without
the spilling of blood of the 1980s. The dual tactics of inducing fear and
then buying out his foes has kept him in power for close to three decades

      It worked recently with the neutralization of the white commercial
farmers as a source of power separate from his. Up until Mugabe began
expropriating commercial farmland, he and the Commercial Farmers Union had
an accommodation in which he respected their disproportionate economic
power, and they in turn were happy to do business with him as long as he
generally left them alone and responded positively to their lobbying on
behalf of their interests as big farmers. The two parties may not have been
bosom buddies, but they had an implicit understanding of the importance of
each for the other. For the years that the post-Independence economy seemed
to be ticking along fairly well, that veneer of prosperity covered up for
the many unresolved underlying racial, economic, social tensions from the
pre 1980 era.

      Then the white farmers got uppity and threw their lot in with the MDC
as both general economic decline and more specifically, Mugabe began to
threaten what they had began to breathe easy and presume to be safe tenure
on their farms almost two decades after Independence. Mugabe threw off his
cloak of moderation that he had used to so devastatingly and effectively
lull the white farmers into a false sense of security and all hell broke
loose. The white farmers as a group broke ranks with Mugabe, the unstated
accommodation they had enjoyed with him lying in tatters. That accommodation
had been that the white farmers continue to be a strong, dynamic source of
forex, employment, taxes and so forth as long as they accepted Mugabe as the
undisputed king and didn't try to interfere with his kingship in any way. In
return Mugabe would allow them to continue to enjoy their privileged lives,
largely removed from the realities of most of their fellow citizens.

      Mugabe reacted with characteristic outrage to the white farmers daring
to abrogate their unwritten agreement and seek his very ouster by so
flagrantly supporting the MDC. And worse, for the first time the white
farmers seemed to have enough narrow common interests with a sufficient
number of black Zimbabweans for the MDC to have actually threatened Mugabe's
hold on power. No way was Mugabe going to tolerate that! Who did the white
farmers think they were?! "After all I have done for them, they dare to
defect to the opposition and try to humiliate me by so openly supporting
Tsvangirai and the MDC? We'll see about that!"

      As they say, "the rest is history." All of a sudden the economic power
and "whiteness" that had conferred some measure of protection to whites as a
group no longer did so. We saw for the first time since Independence whites,
particularly farmers, become targets of government-sponsored warlords,
ostensibly targeting them on behalf of the "landless masses." We have since
found out of course that the whole idea was to give a few hired mercenaries
some temporary prominence and some of the spoils of looting, but in reality
the grand design, only being effected now, was to give the juiciest,
choicest expropriated farms to Mugabe's many cronies for them to keep
beholden to him, since the general state of the country militated that many
more previous supporters of his would likely desert him.

      Crude but effective! The white farmers have been decimated as an
economic bloc and general white confidence in Zimbabwe and sense of security
have been shaken as never before. Some would argue that this is a necessary
and welcome post-Independence progression that had to come sooner or later,
part of tearing down the psychological and other vestiges of the colonial
era, but I will deal with that in future contributions. The relevance of
this development for the point I am trying to make here is that Mugabe
achieved his main aim, the one aim that supercedes all others in everything
he does: he had showed the whites who is really the boss: him. Over and over
I hear white Zimbabweans stress how after the campaign against them of the
last six years, they have learned to keep their heads down, even if they
have not thrown their lot in with Mugabe like many of the "leaders" of
Matebeleland did after Mugabe's bloody pogrom there of the 1980s. What
matters for Mugabe is that a numerically small but economically powerful
potential source of trouble for him in the whites has been neutralized.

      Whatever devastation that show of power leaves in its wake to
individuals, groups or the country is neither here nor there. Whether it is
the Ndebeles, Shona sub groups, whites, students, the trade union movement
or whoever, who dares oppose Mugabe gets what's coming to them. The
viciousness of their come-uppance depends on the circumstances, including
how threatened Mugabe feels by them.

      Coming back to the present, the urban electorate didn't learn its
lesson after its humiliating rejection of Mugabe in various referenda. If
only in this last election they had come to papa on their knees, confessing
the error of the ways and voting for papa's chosen candidates, everything
would have been fine. Mugabe would not have cared any more than he has done
all along whether the cities were clean or not. But no! Instead of
capitulating like all previous challengers of Mugabe's power have done in
the past, the urbanites continue to spurn Comrade Mugabe! Clearly they
needed a stronger, more graphic message to get though their thick heads and
show them how to "act right" from here on.

      You know the rest of the story. "But Makunike, how do you explain that
this latest action affects many of his own supporters? Surely this is a
non-political civic exercise like his cronies protest it is?" Ah, a minor
detail. In the massacres of the 1980s in Matabeleland, in the violence
against the MDC and white farmers in the last few years, Mugabe has never
shown any particular concern about protecting the "innocent" from the
specific targets of those "misguided" elements that oppose him. Whatever
collateral damage affects "innocent bystanders," well, that's just too bad,
isn't it? "To make an omelette, you gotta break some eggs." Sorry if some of
those eggs are innocent.

      Most people are still trying to come to terms with the spectre of a
government that claims to be acting in the interests of the people by
dispossessing them, beating them, tearing down their homes and wrecking
their livelihoods! How could achieving the cleanliness and neatness we would
all want possibly justify the shameful, eager violence of Mugabe's foot
soldiers? How could it possibly be alright to have a tidy city at the
expense of thousands of families hungry, cold, humiliated, angry, hurt;
refugees in their own country, at the hands of their own government at a
time of great enough suffering as it was?

      What Mugabe's farewell actions have helped do is make it clear what we
are dealing with here. For those who continue to insist despite all the
years of contrary evidence that Mugabe is on some grand pro-Africa scheme,
the bankruptcy of that claim has been laid bare for all to see. There are no
"imperialists" lurking behind Mugabe's soldiers and policemen forcing them
to mistreat and oppress their fellow citizens like they are doing as I
write. There can be no plausible claim that "Blair" is the evil hand at play
at the shameful, anti-African actions of Mugabe's cruel regime that we are
witnessing today.

      He has created conditions wherein strength means violence. In his
scheme of things, to admit an error is to be weak, so even when you see the
havoc your actions are wreaking on the people, to be strong, to be in power,
to be tough is to press on. And there are still a few of the previous
multitude of Mugabe's supporters and admirers who see this obstinacy, this
viciousness, and this coldness as something to be admired.

      But an important thing that Mugabe's latest own goal has done is to
expose him for the charlatan he is for all those who care to open their eyes
and see what is before them. When one's rhetoric is not only so at odds with
one's actions, but when it causes the deprivation, humiliation and suffering
of the very people who you say motivates all your actions, what morality,
what consistency, what heroism can you claim legitimately?

      There is certainly great evil in this tortured, wonderful land of
Zimbabwe, yes, and that evil emanates from its ruler, Mugabe. Whatever the
eventual fallout of the current actions of Mugabe's para-military forces
against the people, they will always serve as a watershed of some sort in so
clearly exposing to even those who would have liked to make a hero out of
Mugabe, what he is in reality: an incompetent manager of a modern nation and
a cruel despot for whom merely occupying the seat of power comes before all
else, whatever the cost.
      Makunike is a social and political commentator based in Harare

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New Zimbabwe

Gono escapes as EU travel ban list extended

By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 06/18/2005 05:11:50
RESERVE Bank governor Gideon Gono has escaped European Union sanctions,
sparking a volley of protests from Zimbabwe opposition groups.

Gono was largely expected to be a new addition to the enlarged list of 120
senior lieutenants of President Robert Mugabe. Previously, 95 officials were
banned from travel throughout the European Union, and had their assets

An official of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said a
clarification was sought from the drafters of the sanctions list.

"Basically they said Gono was not a member of te Zanu PF politburo, central
committee or cabinet," an MDC official said. "I find that criteria flawed
because not only is this guy Mugabe's banker, financier and adviser but he
is directing some dangerous policies like the current demolition of
poeople's houses."

Last year, Gono flew into the UK to promote his Homelink project to raise
foreign currency for the country's failing economy. He breezed through
because his name did not appear on the sanctions list.

For a long time, Gono has been Mugabe and his wife Grace's personal banker.
He has supplied foreign currency to Mugabe's shopaholic wife on her foreign
trips, and is one of his most trusted officials.

The confusion over the list released earlier this week was not helped by the
presence of former Harare mayor Solomon Tawengwa who died last year.

Reacting to the sanctions renewal, Zimbabwe's State Security Minister
Didymus Mutasa blasted: "The devil is continuing with its devilish ways. We
do not expect any good from them. They want us to level the playing field
for the MDC while they are not levelling it with Zanu PF. The ban means we
won't be able to go to Europe to tell the public there about the lies they
are spreading about Zimbabwe."

The EU and its American allies imposed sanctions on President Robert
Mugabe's government after the disputed presidential elections in March 2002.
Western observers described the elections as flawed after scores of
opposition supporters were killed, including two aides to opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai.

The revised EU list now includes news faces: Manicaland Provincial Governor
Tinaye Chigudu, Deputy Minister for Industry and International Trade Phineas
Chihota, Minister of State for Public and Interactive Affairs Chen
Chimutengwende, Zanu PF Politburo Committee members Alice Chimbudzi and
Victoria Chitepo.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) chairman George Chiweshe, Chairman
for Electoral Supervisory Commission (ESC) Theophilus Gambe, Minister of
Information and Publicity and his deputy Tichaona Jokonya and Bright Matonga
were also added on the list.

Mashonaland East Provincial governor Ray Kaukonde, Deputy Minister for Rural
Housing and Social Amenities Joel Biggie Matiza, Minister of Foreign Affairs
and his deputy Simbarashe Mumbengegwi and Obert Matshalaga respectively,
Deputy Minister for Health and Child Welfare Edwin Muguti, Minister for
Water Resources and Infrastructural Development Munacho Mutezo were also

The net also captured Zanu PF Politburo deputy Commissariat Richard Ndlovu,
Deputy Minister for Agriculture Sylvester Nguni, Deputy Minister of
Transport and Communications Hubert Magadzire Nyanhongo, Zanu PF Politburo
Deputy Secretary of Science and Technology George Nyathi, Zanu PF Politburo
Deputy Secretary for Finance Khantibhal Patel, Deputy Minister for Local
Government, Public Works and Urban Development Morris Sakabuya and Zanu PF
Deputy Secretary for Transport and Social Welfare Tendai Savanhu.

Chief Elections Officer Lovemore Sekeramayi, Deputy Minister Economic
Development Samuel Undenge and Deputy Minister for Science and Technology
Patrick Zhuwao also suffered the ban.
Additional reporting Daily Mirror

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Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.


Prelude text


Letter 1:


My letter was written to show you that some people are able to have a Plan
B and others not, and that you were fortunate to be in a position to have
one. Some people have Choice and some do not. It has never been easy when
one relocates at any time.  It has obviously not been easy for you, but it
was your Choice and you are young enough to be able to cope.  Thousands of
ex-Zimbabweans are doing just that.

SO - don't knock all the people who have stayed behind. Don't paint
everyone who has stayed as co-existers.  Perhaps they want to, but cannot

The life-style in Zimbabwe has been privileged. This is not disputed...we
inherited this historically and have been very lucky to be able to sit on
"our fat arses".  But you cannot compare 70 year olds doing menial tasks in
the UK with the same age group in Zimbabwe, who might have to locate.  I am
sure that most of those old people you see doing these menial tasks have
probably been doing them since they were eighteen.  Yet they still have all
the privileges that other people in the UK are able to
pensions, medicals etc. They are not doing something totally foreign to
what they have been used to.  But, perhaps they are asylum seekers etc and
are to be pitied. However, would you really like your mother or father to
be doing these tasks (without the said privileges) just to stop paying
taxes etc to this government if, with a bit of compromise, they could stay
with their present life-style?  You too, will be old one day. Many old
people I know who are in the UK are able to live only through the charity
of various groups and not the help of the UK Government.

We all hear what you are trying to say and do, Trevor.  But do try and keep
everything in perspective.

Sheliegh Barton
--------------------------------------------------------------Letter No 2


I was just given your site as i have been out of touch with Peter and Ann
Mastyn (Gilnockie Farms) out ofHarare.  Does anyone have their

She and I have been friends for over 25 years and corresponding till about
1 yr ago, and I'm trying to find her??? if not, are there other places I
might look other than here ? Thanks and peace to all of you,

Patti Lousen


All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice
for Agriculture.

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Zim Online
300 000 children drop out of schools in crackdown
Sat 18 June 2005

HARARE - More than 300 000 children of informal traders and city squatter families in Zimbabwe have dropped out of school in the last four weeks alone after their homes were destroyed by the government, ZimOnline has learnt.

Officials at the Ministry of Education head office in Harare said directors of education in the country’s 10 provinces were last week asked to compile figures of children under 13 years no longer coming to school because their families were evicted in the government’s highly unpopular urban clean-up operation.

"The average figure of pupils no longer attending school because their family has been evicted is 100 per school and these are just primary school kids. But in secondary schools, it appears the effect of the evictions has not been that devastating,” said one senior official, who spoke anonymously for fear of victimisation.

ABOUT 300 000 children have been forced to drop out of school as a result of the crackdown in urban areas.

The official said school authorities have not been able to establish the whereabouts of the children many of whom are now just roaming around urban areas with their families and sleeping in the open after the shanty homes were brunt down by the police.

"It is not known whether these children will come back to school once things stabilise or they are out for good. What is clear is that they have been forced out of school because of the prevailing circumstances," said the official.

Education Minister Aeneas Chigwedere yesterday acknowledged that school children who lived in squatter homes had been forced to drop out of school. But he said his ministry was only going to act on the matter after fully assessing the problem.

Chigwedere said: "We are still assessing the situation. Any reactive measures will be taken thereafter." He did not say when exactly he plans to take the ‘reactive measures’.

More than 22 000 informal traders have been arrested mostly for selling goods without licence while close to a million families have been left without shelter after armed soldiers and police razed down their shanty homes in an operation the government says is necessary to restore the beauty of urban areas, law and order.

The United Nations, European Union, United States, Amnesty International, local churches and human rights groups have all condemned the operation as insensitive and a gross violation of poor people’s human rights.

Zimbabwe’s main opposition Movement for Democratic Change party has accused the government of unleashing the campaign in urban and peri-urban areas to punish residents there for rejecting it in last March’s controversial parliamentary election. The government, which says it will now extend the clean-up operation to former white farms against illegal settlers, denies it is being motivated by politics.

Commenting on the massive drop out of children from school, one retired educationist William Mupita said it was the first time since Zimbabwe’s 1970s independence war that such large numbers of children are quitting school within a month.

"This is probably the first time since the days of the liberation war that such a high number of children drop out of school in such a short period of time. These figures should alarm anyone serious about this country's human development," said Mupita, who worked in the education sector for over 40 years. - ZimOnline

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Zim Online

Media commission meets to discuss papers' fate
Sat 18 June 2005
  HARARE - The Zimbabwe government's Media and Information Commission (MIC)
met on Thursday and yesterday to consider whether to lift bans on three
newspapers closed in the last two years.
      But ZimOnline was unable last night to establish what the
state-appointed commission had finally resolved after meeting for two days.

      The Daily News and the Daily News on Sunday were forcibly shut down
and their equipment seized by the police in September 2003 in a crackdown by
the government on independent newspapers.

      The government said it was closing down the papers because they were
not registered with the commission as required under its Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA).

      Forty-five journalists working for the two papers were also charged
for practising without being registered by the commission. The journalists
are facing trial on the charge and if convicted face up to two years in jail

      The Tribune, owned by a well-known member of President Robert Mugabe's
ruling ZANU PF party, Kindness Paradza, was shut down last June for also
breaching provisions of the AIPPA.

      The closure of the paper was attributed more to infighting within
Mugabe's party over who will succeed him when he steps down in three years

      Both Paradza and Sam Sipepa Nkomo, chief executive officer of
Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe that publishes the Daily News and Daily
News on Sunday, said they had not been informed of the outcome of the MIC's

      "They met today (yesterday) to deliberate on our issue but I am not
aware of the outcome as yet, but we are prepared to start operating even if
they give us the licence today," Paradza told ZimOnline.

      MIC chairman Tafataona Mahoso could not be reached on his phone last
night for comment on the matter.

      The Zimbabwe Supreme Court last March ordered the MIC to review its
decision in 2003 to deny the Daily News and its sister paper a licence to
operate. But the commission has to date not done so.

      At the time of its closure the Daily News was the largest circulating
non-government-owned newspaper in Zimbabwe. - ZimOnline

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Zim Online

Forex crisis hits blood transfusion services
Sat 18 June 2005
  HARARE - Stock levels at Zimbabwe's blood bank have dropped to critical
levels with the National Blood Transfusion Services (NBTS) unable to
increase blood collection because it has no foreign currency to import
special bags used to store blood.
      Zimbabwe imports the bags from South Africa, France, America and Japan
but has been unable to do so for the past three months owing to hard cash

      NBTS public relations manager Emmanuel Masvikeni confirmed the
shortage of blood bags because there was no forex to pay foreign suppliers.
But he said the situation had not yet reached a crisis saying the national
blood bank still had about 8 to 10 weeks supply of bags.

      He said: "The organisation has about 8-10 weeks supply of blood bags
and failure to purchase more will result in a crisis . . . we have problems
getting the foreign currency to import the bags as we all know we don't
manufacture them (blood bags) in Zimbabwe."

      He, however, said the organisation was making frantic efforts to get
more blood bags before the situation worsens.

      The shortage of blood bags is only one in a long list of shortages of
basic survival commodities among them, essential medical drugs, fuel,
electricity, food and many others because there is no hard cash to pay
foreign suppliers.

      Zimbabwe, which must import 1.2 million tonnes of grain or 4 million
people out of its population of 12 million people will starve, has grappled
an acute foreign currency crisis since the International Monetary Fund
withdrew balance-of-payments support six years ago.

      The forex crisis worsened after President Robert Mugabe began seizing
farmland from white farmers destabilising the mainstay agricultural sector
that had helped generate the bulk of hatred cash earnings through exports of
mostly tobacco and horticultural products. - ZimOnline

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Zim Online

Judge to make ruling on former minister's bail application
Sat 18 June 2005
  HARARE - High Court judge Susan Mavangira is set to rule next week on an
application for bail by jailed former finance minister Chris Kuruneri who is
facing charges of breaching Zimbabwe's tight exchange regulations.
      Defence lawyer Jonathan Samkange argued that Kuruneri be granted bail
as he had volunteered his funds to the state as revealed by Reserve bank
governor Gideon Gono's testimony in court.

      "The applicant saved the nation from collapse and there was a
possibility that lives could have been lost. The funds which he made
available were free funds and Dr Gono as the administrator of the

      Exchange Control Authority said the conduct of the applicant was above
board and did not contravene the Exchange Control Authority," he said.

      "Dr Gono's evidence corroborated by Mr Musiiwa from the Reserve Bank
of Zimbabwe clearly left everyone in the country wondering why the applicant
is still in custody."

      Mavangira is expected to make a ruling on the application next week.
There were fears that Kuruneri might remain in custody until September when
the trial resumes.

      Kuruneri is accused of siphoning huge amounts of foreign currency
outside the country where he allegedly bought luxury properties. He has
denied the charge.

      The former finance minister has already been convicted of another
lesser charge of possessing a Canadian passport in contravention of Zimbabwe's
laws which bar dual citizenship. - ZimOnline

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Spy ring suspect freed

Clemence Manyukwe Senior Reporter
issue date :2005-Jun-18

ZANU PF's deputy security director Kenny Karidza - arrested last December on
espionage charges - was on Thursday granted $1 million bail by Harare
Magistrate William Kasimoto after spending slightly over six months in State

The Daily Mirror crew yesterday saw Karidza - who has since refuted the
charges levelled against him - at the Harare magistrates' Court, clad in
civilian clothes.
Karidza, Zanu PF director of external affairs Itai Marchi, businessman
Phillip Chiyangwa, banker Itai Matambanadzo and Zimbabwe's ambassador
designate to Mozambique Godfrey Dzvairo were arrested for reportedly selling
State secrets to Zimbabwe's enemies.
Subsequently, the five were dragged to court for snapping provisions of the
Official Secrets Act weeks after they had disappeared.
It later came to light that the high profile suspects were in State hands.
George Chikumbirike, Karidza's lawyer, confirmed yesterday that his client
had been granted bail with conditions attached after the magistrate
dismissed an appeal by the State to keep him in custody.
 "He was granted $1 million bail with conditions. We are in the process of
paying the bail and we expect him to be released today (yesterday),"
Chikumbirike said.
However, Chikumbirike kept the attached conditions close to his chest saying
the proceedings were in camera and that gagged him from speaking to the
Joseph Musakwa, the Director of Public Prosecutions, was yesterday evasive
when contacted for comment and referred this newspaper to the Master of the
High court, Charles Nyatanga, who could not be reached till the time of
going to print.
"We were not in court," Musakwa said. "Get the information from the Master
of the High Court."
The ruling party's security chief first appeared in court on December 24
amid tight security and was remanded in custody in proceedings in which his
relatives and the press were barred for security reasons.
During one of his appearances in court, Karidza who doubles up as a music
promoter said he was detained for 16 days, two weeks in underground cells
and the remainder at I Commando, before being hauled before the courts.
He claimed that during his detention he was interrogated over the hotly
debated presidential succession issue.
Karidza said in court that the security personnel accused him of strongly
backing former Parliamentary Speaker Emmerson Mnangagwa who was nominated as
one of the two vice presidents by four provinces during the run up to Zanu
PF's elections for the presidium.
However, the pendulum swung in favour of Joice Mujuru who now deputises
President Robert Mugabe alongside Joseph Msika.
Before bail was granted, Karidza's hearing transformed into a trial within a
trial where he was supposed to prove claims of torture and that as a result
supplied the State with information under duress.
In January, he successfully applied for magistrate Peter Kumbawa to step
down from presiding over the case.
This saw Kasimoto taking over after Kumbawa recused  himself.
Dzvairo, Marchi and Matambanadzo were convicted and sentenced to jail terms
of up to six years.
The trio has since appealed against both conviction and sentence in the High
In Chiyangwa's case, High Court judge Charles Hungwe refused to place him on
further remand in February this year, before blasting Kumbawa for being
"overzealous" when he threw Chiyangwa behind bars arguing that his judgment
should not have been swayed by media reports.
The former Chinhoyi legislator is back in his province. He is attempting to
regain his chairmanship he lost when he was arrested.
An internal party disciplinary hearing on Chiyangwa's suspension is expected
to be held within a fortnight.

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Police pounce on defiant vendors

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Jun-18

THE police this week pounced on defiant vendors who had resurfaced in Glen
View and Budiriro confiscating goods worth millions of dollars.
At Tichagarika Shopping Centre in Glen View 3 riot police forced a vendor to
roll on the ground just outside an OK branch.
The defiant vendors were caught selling an assortment of basic commodities,
at astronomical prices, despite a government directive not to do so as part
of efforts to clean up the city.
A 2kg packet of sugar that costs $7 500 over the counter was going for at
least $20 000 while a kilogram of the same commodity was fetching $10 000.
Vendors are said to wake up in the wee hours of the morning, queue for basic
commodities at shop doors and later sell the products on the black market.
Most vendors who spoke to The Daily Mirror said vending was their only
source of income and livelihood.
Meanwhile, the police on Tuesday and Wednesday revisited Glen View 8 and
ordered residents who had not finished demolishing illegal structures to do
Following the order, scores of residents in Glen View 8 and 3 then hurriedly
destroyed the said structures under the watchful eye of the police.
Yesterday, Harare provincial police spokesperson, Whisper Bondai urged
members of the public to report defiant vendors to the police.
He stressed the operation would only succeed if people co-operated with law
enforcement agents.
"We are still carrying on with the clean up exercise whose success also
depends on the cooperation of members of the public. Notifying us about
flush points (where vending is taking place) would definitely make our job
easier," he said.
Asked why the police were beating up people Bondai replied: "The police do
not assault people.
They are there to arrest those involved in illegal activities and bringing
them to court for prosecution," adding minimum force is only applied on
those trying to resist apprehension.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Chitungwiza Town Clerk accused of misusing $230m

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Jun-18

THE Town Clerk of Chitungwiza City Council, Simbarashe Mudunge, has been
suspended for allegedly misusing $230 million availed by the local
government ministry to upgrade the dormitory town's sewer system.
Mudunge was suspended after Wednesday's full council meeting where city
engineer Conrad Mvududu filed a report about the misuse of the money.
Chitungwiza mayor Misheck Shoko confirmed that Mudunge was suspended, but
could not provide detailed information, saying he was yet to set up a
committee to investigate allegations against his surbordiante.
"It is true (that Mudunge has been suspended). We served him with a
suspension letter yesterday (Thursday) However, I am yet to set up a
committee to look into the allegations," said Shoko.
Mudunge confirmed his suspension.
 "I received the suspension letter yesterday (Thursday) but I can not
comment because there were no reasons stated for my suspension," he said.
However, sources in the council said the local government ministry provided
the city with the money soon after President Robert Mugabe pledged to end
sewer problems in Chitungwiza during his campaign for last March's
parliamentary polls.
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Zimbabwe: the Demolition Situation in Mbare - I

Catholic Information Service for Africa (Nairobi)

June 17, 2005
Posted to the web June 17, 2005

June 10, 2005 By a Catholic Priest in Harare

Her mother has bedded her down on the spot, still strewn with rubble, where
their house once stood. The sun is rising in the sky, it is getting warmer,
and the emaciated woman on the ground, a TB patient affected also by AIDS,
welcomes the warming sun after a chilly night sleeping on the open veranda
of their landlord's house, the only building still standing on these large
premises near the Islamic Mosque in Mbare.

We have given up the idea providing people sleeping in the open, still a big
number, with tents. The police will not allow it. They told women camping in
the open next to Stoddard Hall: "We do not want to see you here by
tomorrow". Instead we were given black plastic sheeting, to give people at
least a little protection against the cold at night.

I remember people sleeping under such plastic sheets towards the end of the
war, 1978-79. We seem to be back full-circle to those conditions. A father
of three sent his family home; he wants to stay and keep his job.

He went away with plastic sheets and blankets.

Liz (not her real name) has a baby at the breast and two toddlers whom she
wants to take to their unemployed father who divorced her, in Mutare, -a
desperate measure. I ask a woman who is assisting me for advice. She is
against the idea. This would amount to 'baby-dumping', she says. We 'park'
her provisionally in our garage. Being of [foreign] origin she has nowhere
to go. But the police put pressure on her to go away -to go where? To
dissolve in thin air?

Those other three women, Zimbabwe-born of alien Malawian parents, with 14
children found a lorry to take them to Mount Darwin: the driver promises
them places to stay. I hope it is true.

It is monstrous what is being done to these people. The statements by church
leaders are welcome. But Bishops have to speak out not just once, but
continuously, pointing out daily the suffering of these people discarded as
tsvina (dirt).

Apartheid South Africa used to do this with its people -you remember the
discarded people of 'District Six' (coloured people) in Cape Town?

They have ruined the "illegal" people, informal traders and lodgers. Now
they seem bent on destroying the people with legal residence as well: they
all received bills demanding huge back payments (between 3 and 10 million)
for water, sewerage, refuse collection (the latter non-existent), as well as
large PENALTIES, penalizing them for what?

A stream of people comes to the parish waving those ominous letters, asking
for loans. But that is beyond our capacity.

What is the purpose of this? Do they want to force the owners, many elderly,
to sell their houses and drive them out of Mbare where they have spent a
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Zimbabwe: the Demolition Situation in Mbare - II

Catholic Information Service for Africa (Nairobi)

June 17, 2005
Posted to the web June 17, 2005

June 16, 2005 By a Catholic Priest in Harare

A woman came to me in tears. She had her house destroyed and has been
sleeping out in the cold for the last two weeks, with her two teenage sons.
She sent the boys to relations in another township. Now their house has been
razed to the ground as well, and the boys are back with her, sleeping out in
the open once more. She wants to stay in Mbare by all means so the boys can
continue their education. Our church premises are already accommodating four
families. Where can I put her and her family?

Our cook had to interrupt her work and run home. A rumour went round that
"they" would come and knock down all verandas, porches, any additions to
their otherwise perfectly legal houses not included in official documents.

My personal assistant who lives in Chitungwiza, a satellite town of Harare,
could not come to work today. His house, a perfectly nice little cottage in
the back of his mother's garden, is being destroyed today, and he has to
save his belongings. He got married in April, and this was the first home of
the young couple. There had been a rumour the mayor of Chitungwiza was
asking for homes to be spared after the corner tuckshops had been destroyed.
He must have lost his battle with the "big people" in Harare.

Who are the evil people who make these terrible decisions, immoral and
insane? Are they devoid of all humanity? We are being promised instant
housing schemes for displaced people. Who can take such talk seriously
[given] the failed housing policy of this government over its 25 years in

For a week or so we helped displaced people sleeping outside in the cold
with bus fares. But the more we helped the more came. There was such a crowd
yesterday and so much noise that I was afraid it might attract the attention
of a truckful of riot police busy knocking down some more structures a
couple of yards down the road from the entrance to our church compound.

I enlisted the help of our little J and P group. They are taking down the
names of all who need assistance to go back to their rural home (and food
and blankets as well, of course). But even that may not be the solution:
there are rumours that certain rural chiefs and headmen refuse to accept
refugees from town. Some have been sent back. Many want to take their
belongings as well, furniture, cooking utensils. Can we hire trucks and
lorries and transport them there? What if they are sent back?

And will they find food there? People from Mbare are being punished for
having voted for the wrong party. They have a bad political reputation.

Will they be starved at home? Will their children be given places in

William (not his real name) ran away from harassment in the rural areas
because his wife belonged to the wrong party. Now he is running back to his
wife's rural home at the back of beyond where there is nothing for them and
their five children.

Then there are those who have no rural home, aliens or children of aliens.
Fernando [not his real name] comes from Mozambique and would like to go
home. But his wife is from Zimbabwe, and has even a job. Will she want to
live in Mozambique? Will they accept her? What about their three little

When I looked out of my window this morning, there was an even greater
crowd. Remember: these are people who can and do work and look after their
families. They are carpenters and metalworkers, street vendors and makeshift
caterers, tough folk who have managed to survive on the shadowy side of what
used to be called Sun City Harare. Now they have been made beggars. That too
is a crime against humanity.
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Anger builds over destruction in Zimbabwe
2.31PM, Fri Jun 17 2005

World leaders have condemned the bulldozing of homes in Zimbabwe, but
campaigners accused politicians of being slow to act to stop it.

The destruction is part of attempts to crack down on opposition supporters
by President Mugabe by evicting them wholesale from urban centres.

The UN estimates that more than 200,000 people have been left on the street
as thousands of homes and even an orphanage have been bulldozed by Operation
Restore Order.

Children from Hatcliff Orphanage in a shanty town close to Harare, many of
whom have been left destitute after their parents died from Aids, were given
24 hours to get out.

Sister Patricia Walsh from the orphanage said: "It was one of the most
painful experiences. I never thought I would see the day this would happen
to Zimbabwe."

Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw reacted by saying: "I deplore the horrific and
ruthless actions of the Zimbabwean Government, who have ruined the lives of
thousands of innocent families, condemning them to homelessness."

He added: "Last Monday we summoned the acting Ambassador from Zimbabwe to
the Foreign Office to express Britain's outrage.

"This week we and European partners froze the assets of more members of the
Mugabe regime and banned them from travelling."
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Harare police destroying homes in rural areas
          June 17 2005 at 03:47PM

      Harare - Zimbabwe has extended the destruction of informal homes and
businesses from the cities to rural areas, police told state radio on

      The government calls the campaign a clean-up effort, but critics at
home and abroad say it is a violation of human rights and inspired by

      Police spokesperson Austin Chikwavara said his force has started
tearing down shacks and kiosks found at major crossroads in Chirumanzu,
Umvuma and Lalapanzi in the Zimbabwe Midlands, between 200km and 300km south
of the capital, Harare.

      Another police spokesperson, who was not identified, told the station
police are also demolishing homes built without permission on some of the
thousands of farms seized from their white owners for redistribution to
black Zimbabweans.

      However, Security Minister Didymus Mutasa maintained in the same
broadcast that the month-long campaign was aimed only at cleaning out city
streets and would not affect the government's rural strongholds.

      The government's Operation Murambatsvina, or Drive Out Trash, has
already left more than 250 000 city dwellers homeless in the winter cold.
Police also have arrested more than 30 000 vendors, accusing them of dealing
in black market goods and attempting to sabotage Zimbabwe's failing economy.

      President Robert Mugabe's dismissed propaganda chief condemned the
evictions on Thursday as "barbaric".

      Jonathan Moyo, addressing his first public meeting in the capital
since he was fired in January, said the blitz was linked to a power struggle
within the ruling party over who would succeed the 81-year-old Mugabe.

      "It seems to be a directionless activity of some mischievous group
which imagines it can profit by this in some mysterious way and position
itself ahead of the pack in the succession game," he told the gathering at a
Harare hotel on Thursday.

      Moyo, who spent five years as information minister, was fired for
opposing Mugabe's choice of Joyce Mujuru as a vice president. Moyo backed
parliamentary Speaker Emmerson Mnangagwa, who represents a younger
generation of ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front

      Opposition leaders say the eviction campaign is aimed at driving their
supporters among the urban poor into rural areas, where they can be more
easily controlled. - Sapa-AP
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Zimbabwe: Bishops Issue Pastoral Letter

Catholic Information Service for Africa (Nairobi)

June 17, 2005
Posted to the web June 17, 2005


Churches in troubled Zimbabwe have scheduled days of prayer and reflection,
as the Catholic bishops in the southern African country issued a Pastoral
Letter, The Cry of the Poor, condemning ongoing demolitions.

An Ecumenical meeting held at the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops' Conference
(ZCBC) offices in Harare on June 16, 2005 proposed that two announcements be
made in all Churches on Sunday June 19, 2005 that:

1. Priests and Pastors meet in their Fraternities at a selected venue for
prayers and reflection on the current events in our country on Thursday,
June 23, 2005.

(The venue for Harare is the Catholic Cathedral from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon.
Other cities and regions can announce their own venues, times and the day,
if different.)

2. Prayers be offered for the whole nation by all congregations on Sunday
June 26, 2005 in all churches, and a reflection read or given along the
lines appearing in the latest Pastoral Letter of the ZCBC, The Cry of the
Poor, emphasizing human dignity, human rights and respect for all regardless
of social status.

The Pastoral Lettert -whose full text appears in a separate dispatch from
CISA- says in part:

"Any claim to justify this operation in view of a desired orderly end
becomes totally groundless in view of the cruel and inhumane means that have
been used. People have a right to shelter and that has been deliberately
destroyed in this operation without much warning. While we all desire
orderliness, alternative accommodation and sources of income should have
been identified and provided before the demolitions and stoppage of informal
trading. We condemn the gross injustice done to the poor."
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