The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

UN launches US$718m Zim aid appeal

by Nqobizitha Khumalo Monday 01 June 2009

BULAWAYO - The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian
Affairs (OCHA) on Friday issued a new and revised US$718 million
humanitarian Consolidated Appeal (CAP) for Zimbabwe.

The international body in the new report released on Friday said the
humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe deteriorated sharply after the launch of
the 2009 CAP in November 2008.

"The country-wide cholera outbreak and spike in food insecurity during the
lean season aggravated an already difficult socio-economic environment of
hyper-inflation and collapsed basic social services," the OCHA report said.

"The humanitarian response provided under the CAP 2009 so far has
contributed to saving lives by containing the cholera outbreak, providing
food and agricultural assistance to vulnerable populations, and supporting
vital social services including health, water and education at a critical
time, despite enormous operational difficulties."

OCHA said in spite of the positive impact of the humanitarian response and
initiatives by the inclusive government of President Robert Mugabe and Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, the international community remains relatively

It said in the face of rising needs reflected in the increased requirements
to scale up the response to the country's humanitarian crisis, the donor
response to the CAP 2009 has been below average with US$246 million or 34
percent of revised requirements funded as of May 26.

"In view of the changing context, a total of US$718 million is required for
the revised CAP. Considering the changes in the country's context and needs,
the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) has adapted the objectives to the
following; save and prevent loss of lives by assisting vulnerable groups,
support government efforts towards stabilisation of the population in acute
distress and of the social services capacity to deliver quality essential
services," OCHA said.

The world body said this was a critical moment to support humanitarian
efforts in Zimbabwe.

"The magnitude of the economic decline and erosion of sources of livelihood
is such that it is unlikely the humanitarian needs in the country will
lessen in the short term. Humanitarian partners - including the government
of Zimbabwe, regional partners and the humanitarian and development
communities - must work more closely than ever to ensure that needs are met
through the implementation of the programmes contained in the current

OCHA in the report said the launch of Short-Term Emergency and Recovery
Programme (STERP) has paved the way for the country's rehabilitation.

STERP according to OCHA requires a total of US$18,4 billion until end 2009
but only US$400 million has been pledged in credit lines by African
governments as of April 2009 and STERP remains under-funded, threatening the
country's efforts at recovery.

A summary of the new appeal says six million people have limited or no
access to safe water and sanitation in rural and urban areas while 600 000
families will require key agricultural inputs for the 2009/10 planting

OCHA said 1,3 million people are living with HIV/AIDS, including 133 000
children under the age of 14 while there are 1,5 million orphaned and
vulnerable children, including over 100 000 child headed households. -

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Robert Mugabe's thugs chanted: 'We will eat your children'
June 1, 2009
As militants attack his home with burning tyres and drive workers from his land, one of the last white farmers in Zimbabwe feels betrayed by the new Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
Ben Freeth and his wife Laura with their children Anna, Stephen and Josh pictured on their farm near Chigutu

The invaders came at 11pm. Fifteen of them — singing, chanting and crashing metal objects together by our windows. “Out, out,” they shouted as they surrounded our farm — they certainly wanted us out. They broke into the house and dragged burning tyres through the front door. They invaded the hallway and occupied the courtyard. The flames leapt into the thatch as they pulled the tyres under it, but it did not catch alight.

This was last Tuesday. I called the police but then the invaders took the phone away. Their leader, who calls himself “Landmine”, was armed with a rifle. They pushed us around and raised sticks and said that we must leave. They beat my tonga drum so hard that the cowhide skin broke.

One of them went up to the children, who had been woken by the din. “Josh, Josh, there’s a man in our room,” said Anna, 4. Joshua, 9, told my wife Laura afterwards that the man was making hyena noises. My other son, Stephen, is 7.

Police arrived and the invaders were ushered out. None was arrested, but “Landmine” did return my phone at the request of the police. When the police left, though, the invaders resumed their attack. They did not break in this time, but they made a lot of noise, circling the house like whooping hyenas and shouting before they left: “We will eat the children.”

By the time the police came back a second time the invaders had given up: returning to the house of my wife’s parents on the other side of the farm. My parents-in-law were evicted by “Landmine” two months ago.

To be caught on the edge of life, isolated, without help and abandoned, is a hard thing. This is how it is living on a farm in Zimbabwe today. Our house, surrounded by wild stretches of swaying savannah grasses, should be a haven of peace. For us, though, looking out and listening, there are things we see and hear that make our hearts beat fast and our minds race. It is like looking out on a tranquil river, the languid stretches of the mighty Zambezi, and somehow being able to see the crocodiles beneath the surface lying in wait for the one who is careless and not alert.

We thought that with the new Government, and Morgan Tsvangirai becoming the Prime Minister, things might get better. Underneath the waters, though, we knew that the great crocodile, Robert Mugabe, was still in control. It is clear to us now that Tsvangirai does not want to harm Mugabe’s “sacred cow” — the eviction of the last of the white men from their farms must continue. Last week Tsvangirai said that there were invasions on only “one or two farms” and that they have been “blown out of proportion”. This is not the truth. Almost every white farmer that has so far survived is either being prosecuted criminally by the State for still being on his farm, or is facing an attack in which invaders take the law into their own hands.

To stay in our home, which we built on the farm from nothing in 1999, is a battle of wits and nerve — a battle that has raged since we completed our house and had our first child. Joshua, born three days before 2000, has known nothing but farm attacks. His first brush with the invaders was when he was four months old. We were driving out to visit another farm, but militia had erected a road block on the driveway. The invaders stopped us and smashed our car windows with axes and rocks. We had to drive for our lives, with Joshua in his carrycot on the back seat.

There was a time, though, when there was peace on the farm. It was a childhood dream of my father-in-law to reintroduce wildlife to the land. When the 1,200-hectare Mount Carmel farm, which has a river flowing though the middle, came up for sale he sold everything, took out a loan and bought it to create a safari enterprise. Over many years of hard farm work his dream gradually became reality. He introduced nine species of antelope and even had 45 giraffe by the time Joshua was born. The animals did well and my parents-in-law built a safari lodge set by the Biri River.

It was a happy place then, without fear stalking the veldt. Laura, my wife, grew up among all that. The bush war made things difficult for a time in the late 1970s, but it was never as it is now. Today, of the several hundred antelope that were here, not one remains. They have all been killed and the safari lodge has been burnt down.

The battle now is relentless, wearing and it drains all our innermost reserves. It is also an unusual battle — where else in the world does a government declare war on its own people? Where else does the State aim to destroy the economic base of the country so that people will be poorer and therefore more easily controlled? Where else do police connive with criminals to destroy agricultural production — leaving the people starving and totally dependant on the ruling party? Those who have not lived through a time of terror at the hands of a dictatorial government will never understand what it is like.

We have 500 people living and depending on the farm but none of the 150 workers has been allowed to work since April 4. They are chased away with guns by the invaders whenever they try.

Ninety per cent of our farming community has left or is packing at the moment. Tsvangirai’s appointment has hastened our demise. There is a rush to clear the farms of the last white people so that Mugabe can put his men on to the land to control and terrorise the people when the next election comes. Nobody can farm in the midst of this controlled anarchy. That is why we are now the most food-aid dependent country in the world.

Last year the Southern African Development Community Tribunal, a new human rights court set up in Namibia , told the Zimbabwe Government that it must “protect the possession, occupation and ownership of the lands of the applicants”. This is simply not happening. We are going back to the tribunal on Friday. It is important that we show how its judgment has been flouted. But of course the Government will not listen. In the last month the High Court of Zimbabwe has twice ruled in our favour, but it makes no difference. It ordered Nathan Shamuyarira, the octogenarian Zanu (PF) party spokesman and stalwart, who has been “given” our farm, to “vacate the property”. Police were directed to assist in ensuring that the order was complied with. But, six weeks later, the invaders are still here.

We can run away of course. Most people have. If self-preservation is the goal then there is no sense in staying. For us, though, there is a greater good. It is a matter of principle. If individual men and women allow evil to advance unchecked, it will prevail and more people will suffer and starve. It is hard to live and try to make a difference in a time of terror — especially with a family. My wife has been amazing. It is only our faith in God and his provision that sustains us.

Tuesday was not Landmine’s first visit. When he came last month and broke in to the house of my elderly parents-in-law, Mike and Angela Campbell, during the night, shouting that they must leave, our workers were beaten. One was put in the fire and his trousers caught alight before he wriggled out. They then beat him with sticks and metal pipes all over his body. They dumped him, his skull fractured, at the local Chegutu police station. After that it was easy for the invaders. My in-laws are still trying to recover from a savage beating and abduction on the farm nearly a year ago. Then, between the three of us, we suffered 13 broken bones. My skull was also fractured.

At the age of 38 I recovered well, but Mike, 75, who sustained the worst beating, is taking a long time to mend. Our crime was to try to get the whistle blown in the SADC Tribunal. With guns to our heads, they made Angela sign a paper saying that we would withdraw from the court, but we never did.

After Mike and Angela were forced to leave, Shamuyarira’s men were able to have the run of the place. For more than a month we have not been able to retrieve any of their possessions from the house. Two weeks ago the invaders drove a red government tractor into the fenced area around our house and started ploughing up our beautiful garden and driveway so that we could not get out. They screamed abuse and threatened to burn down our home, lighting sacks under the thatched roof before weaving off down our access road and ploughing that into a quagmire too. They then went to the workers and pushed down the door to the home of the foreman, Peter. He has been working for my father-in-law for 31 years. They took him from his bedroom and started beating him and then continued hitting him with sticks on the soles of his feet through the night. We could hear the singing and the raw screams of the beating through the night air, but there was nothing we could do. Nobody knew where Peter was until the next morning when he was dumped at the police station. There were no arrests.

It is harvest time in Zimbabwe. That is one of the reasons that Shamuyarira’s men have come now. This is the largest mango farm in Zimbabwe. There were 50 tons of mangos in the pack shed and cold rooms and another 120 tons still hanging on the trees two months ago. They have stolen all of them and are now starting on the oranges. After that it will be the maize and the sunflowers — and nobody is willing to stop them.

Where else in the world do the Government sanction people to reap what they did not sow, and get away with it? Where else do people come to take homes and occupy them? Where else do people get beaten and left at police stations and their attackers drive off with impunity?

Nobody is putting in a wheat crop this year. The wheat seed sits in the warehouses and in the shops. And so there will be no bread.

When the invaders are not here there is an eerie unease. The workers’ houses are quiet and deserted — their occupants in hiding. When we do see our workers they are furtive — listening, jumpy, ready to move at the slightest threat. Ultimately it must be for them that we stay. We know that if we run they will be chased from their homes and will starve. It is our conviction that God has called us to stay and stand and resist the evil that continues to beset the land.

For now, though, we are reeling, sometimes seeing stars, bewildered in a bewitched land. We are waiting for a future.



This is one brave family, but look deeper. What is left is the undoubtable fact that Mugabe is still calling the shots. Tsvangirai must not ignore this. If this had stopped then it would show that the sponsors of the unity government want it to work. They don't. They just want Mugabe to stay.

David Ashton, Bathurst, Australia

I sympathise with their plight, but I can't help but think that its not worth risking their lives for, especially that of their kids. They should get out of the country, if they can, though their cause is just.

Dan, Winchester, England

The Sadc are not solving any problems in Zimbabwe... where is a coup when you need one? How long can Mugabe continue like this? I have lived in Africa, it's never good to be there and not feel wanted. These people are Zimbabwean, living in a country that does not want to recognise their citizenship.

James, England, UK

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe's MDC demand resignation of central bank chief

Zimbabwe's MDC party demanded the resignation of the central bank governor
and attorney general on Sunday, saying their continued tenure was sowing
conflict and division in the new unity government with President Robert
Mugabe's Zanu-PF.

Last Updated: 4:39PM BST 31 May 2009

The parties are at odds over the fate of Gideon Gono and Johannes Tomana,
who are both allies of Mr Mugabe.

The MDC has been highly critical of the two men, blaming Mr Gono for
fuelling hyperinflation through printing money to shore up Mr Mugabe's past
governments, while accusing Mr Tomana of presiding over the prosecution of
rights and opposition activists.

Mr Mugabe last week said Gono would not go, but the issue has been referred
to a regional body for arbitration.

Tendai Biti, the MDC secretary-general and finance minister, told
journalists that about 1,000 party delegates attending an annual party
conference had passed a resolution that Mr Gono and Mr Tomana resign.

Mr Tsvangirai had earlier told party members that failure to resolve
outstanding issues would affect the credibility of the new government as
Western countries continue to withhold critical funds, demanding more

Zimbabwe has suffered a decade of economic collapse and political tensions,
but the formation of the new government has raised hopes of recovery.

The party, formed in September 1999, says hundreds of its members have been
killed in political violence by ZANU-PF supporters and on Sunday said it
would continue to mobilise for elections, expected once a new constitution
has been written.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Eric Bloch says Gono is a genius

May 31, 2009

By Pindai Dube

BULAWAYO - Respected† Zimbabwean economist, Eric Bloch, one of the advisors
to central bank governor, Gideon Gono, says the embattled banker is a genius
who should be allowed to continue to head the bank. Bloch said Gono's
removal as governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) would not be in
the interests of Zimbabwe.

In an interview with The Zimbabwe Times in Bulawayo on Sunday, Bloch said it
would be unfortunate if the governor was forced to step down now.

"As one of his advisors, I don't agree with anybody who says Gono should
leave the central bank because if he does so, it will unfortunately be
contrary to the interests of Zimbabweans," said Bloch

Bloch, who has been critical of the previous Zanu-PF government's economic
policies, described Gono as genius who still had a lot of programmes to

"The man is a genius," Bloch said, "and there are a lot of things he needs
to work on before he leaves the central bank

Bloch absolved Gono of any wrongdoing as governor, saying whatever he did at
the RBZ was under the direction the Zanu-PF government.

"Gono is being condemned for the wrong reasons because whatever he did under
the Zanu-PF government, he was being forced to do," he†† said.

Gono has been accused of causing the final collapse of Zimbabwe's economy by
continuously printing cash, thus triggering unprecedented inflation.

He has also been accused of financing President Robert Mugabe's violent
presidential election campaign in June last year. Separately the governor
has openly admitted to raiding private foreign currency accounts without
permission and using the funds. The central bank has since failed to
reimburse the funds.

Gono is the personal banker and a close ally of Mugabe. He is said to be
closely related to the First Lady, Grace Mugabe. They both hail from the
Chikomba District of Mashonaland East.

Addressing mourners on Monday last week at a funeral service for the late
Peter Gono, elder brother to the RBZ governor, Mugabe said pointedly that he
could not sacrifice one of his most ardent supporters merely to please
western governments.

Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, another leading Mugabe ally and Zimbabwe's
security chiefs have also condemned ongoing calls for Gono's ouster.

Joseph Chinotimba, deputy chairperson leader of the Zimbabwe National
Liberation War Veterans' Association (ZNLWVA) weighed at the weekend to say
his association would summarily dislodge the 300 plus remaining white
commercial farmers from the land if the Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) insisted on Gono's removal from the
central bank. Chinotimba also sits on the board of advisors to the RBZ

In response, the mainstream MDC has insisted that Gono must leave as his
continued tenure at the central bank is blocking the disbursement to
Zimbabwe of much needed aid from the West.

The MDC said the removal of Gono from the helm of the Reserve Bank was a
matter of procedure and was not in any way driven by personal vendettas as
now alleged by the governor and his supporters

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Resolutions of MDC Ninth Annual Conference

May 31, 2009


31 May 2009


NOTES, acknowledges, celebrates and hails the party for surviving ten years of brutal dictatorship, violence, repression and emasculation by an autocratic predatory state,

FURTHER HAILS, celebrates, acknowledges and is indebted to the people of Zimbabwe for supporting and standing with the Party and for remaining firm in resolute in the fight for democratic change in Zimbabwe,

MOURNS, be mourns, remembers and celebrates the lives of our departed giants, heroes and heroines including Tichaona Chiminya, Talent Mabika, Trynos Midzi, Learnmore Jongwe, Gift Tandare, Isaac Matongo, Susan Tsvangirai, Tonderai Ndira, Better Chokururama, Machiridza, Remius Makuwaza, Nicholas Mudzengerere, and many others whose blood and bravery continues to water the tree of our struggle,

RECOGNIZES and acknowledges the roots of our movement, our umbilical cord to the struggle for national liberation in Zimbabwe, our mandate being fulfilling the unfinished business of the national liberation struggle.

ACKNOWLEDGES and recognizing the further maternity of our movement and struggle from the National Working People’s Convention of February 1999, and indeed the preceding struggles led by the workers through the ZCTU, the Student, Women and Constitutional movements,

CELEBRATING the importance and achievements of democratic mass resistance and protests, and the landmark positioning of March 11 2007, September 13 2006 and the Final Push of 2003 and other protests in the history of our resistance and struggle,

EQUALLY AWARE of key historic signposts of our struggle including the February 2000 Referendum, the orgy land reform related violence, the barbaric operation Murambatsvina, the treason trial of the Party† President,

REGRETTING the split of the Party in October 2005 but very much cognisant of the powerful, broad and dangerous domestic and regional forces that were behind the same,

FOREVER INDEBTED to the capacity of the Party to regroup, rebuild, refocus and re-strategize after the split and celebrating the great Congress of March 2006 and the centrality of this Congress’s resolutions,

FURTHER COGNISANT of the key role and strategic importance of the Party’s ROADMAP, developed in May 2006 and its instrumentality as a tactical compass,

ACKNOWLEDGING the dialogue that the Party engaged in and recognizing the same as a fulfilment of the† Congress Resolutions of 2006 and the ROADMAP,

GRATEFUL to the people of Zimbabwe for delivering the March 2008 election victory against tyranny and a totally unequal electoral framework,

APPLAUDNIG the correctness of the decision to boycott the 27 June sham and violent “event”

RECOGNIZING the strategic obligation of executing the GPA and participating in the Transitional Agreement,

GREATLY CONCERNED with the continued existence of outstanding issues on the GPA, the reproduction of toxic issues and the slow levels of delivery by the Transitional Government,

NOW THEREFORE it is resolved,

1.Conference restates the founding goal of achieving and attaining genuine democratic change through peaceful and non-violent means and remains committed to its core values of social justice, equality, equity, freedom, solidarity and transparency.

2.Restates its commitment to the crafting by Zimbabweans and for Zimbabweans, of a new people-driven Constitution.

3.Calls on the Transitional Government to take on board concerns by civic society on the process and ownership of the Constitutional making process initiated in terms of the Global Political Agreement.

4.That the Party shall actively participate and mobilize actively in the Constitution making process and furthermore shall;

a.Work with civic society in reaching some understanding on the process

b.†††† Develop urgently its own Constitutional positions and principles.

5.Restating commitment to the Congress Resolutions of 16 – 19 March 2006 and the ROADMAP of May 2006, Conference resolves that a genuinely free and fair election must be held at the conclusion of the Constitution making process.

6.Concerned with the plight of victims of political violence and the absence of a legal framework for the programme of National Healing† or Transitional Justice Conference, resolves that the Inclusive Government vigilantly and urgently addresses the issue of welfare of victims, the National Framework of National Healing and Transitional Justice.

7.Noting the reference of GPA outstanding issues to SADC, Conference calls for the immediate convening of an Extra-Ordinary Summit of SADC to urgently deal with the outstanding issues.

8.Aware of the conflict and divisive effect of the unresolved issues of the Attorney General and the Reserve Bank Governor. Conference calls that in the national interests, Johannes Tomana and Gideon Gono must resign forthwith.

9.Whilst acknowledging progress made in some areas by the Transitional Government, Conference calls on the Transitional Government to address the issues of deficit of performance in the following areas:

i. The absence of any legislative reform agenda

ii. The slow pace of media reform

iii. Continued high and multiple tariffs by State bodies and parastatals

iv. The slow implementation of the Government 100 Day Plan

v. The continued deployment of the military in villages

vi. The existence of militia and ‘ghost workers’ on the government payroll

10. Concerned and frustrated by the failure of State institutions to transform and adapt to the new order and in particular the lack of a paradigm shift on the part of a few individuals in State Security institutions, Conference resolves that the Transitional Government must move urgently to ensure that Institutional and paradigm Transformation in our State Institutions and more importantly that the National Security Council must meet urgently in terms of the law.

11. Noting the high levels of corruption in Government and public institutions including Local Authorities. Conference resolves for the appointment of all Commissions in particular the Anti-Corruption Commission and further calls on the Transitional Government to strengthen governance and transparency through appropriate legislation at all levels of the State.

Conference commits itself to God and the suffering people of Zimbabwe this Sunday the 31st of May 2009.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

ZIMBABWE: UN agency turns on taps at shut university

31 May 2009
Issue: 0030

The United Nations Children's Fund, Unicef, is working to resurrect
water and sanitation provision at Zimbabwe's oldest university, Minister of
Higher and Tertiary Education Stan Mudenge has announced. The University of
Zimbabwe was shut indefinitely in February because of fears of a cholera
outbreak arising from lack of clean water.

Mudenge told the House of Assembly on 13 May that eight of Zimbabwe's
nine state-run higher education institutions - that had also closed
following a crippling lecturer strike and lack of learning materials - were
now open. The University of Zimbabwe was the only institution still not

The provision of clean water and sanitation at the Harare-based
institution is part of the new inclusive government's ambitious 100-day plan
championed by former foes President Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai, the
Movement for Democratic Change leader who is now Prime Minister of the
shattered Southern African country.

"The problem at the University of Zimbabwe is running water," Mudenga
said. Neither the Zimbabwe National water Authourity nor the Harare City
Council were able to provide clean water.

"Of the boreholes we dug at the university, six of them are dry and
five are full of water but that water is mixed with sewage, it is
contaminated water and it cannot be used for drinking," he said. "To open
the university under such circumstances is actually irresponsible and would
lead to a cholera outbreak or some other epidemic diseases."

Strapped for cash, the government approached Unicef which agreed to
help and has been drilling six boreholes. Once running water was restored
and sewerage systems unblocked, the university could open - within weeks,
Mudenge promised.

Unicef's help is the first confirmed to an institution of higher
learning since most agencies and donors withdrew from Zimbabwe during the
height of an oppressive clampdown by Mugabe on all forms of democratic
opposition to his rule.

The UN agency's effort to prevent further spread of the deadly cholera
epidemic, that took hold in Zimbabwe last year, came as the Zimbabwe Red
Cross announced the country was heading towards 100,000 infections. The
preventable disease has already killed 4,283 people.

Fears of cholera prompted the new government make the provision of
clean water at the University of Zimbabwe a priority in its 100-day plan,
which started on 28 April.

Included on the higher education 'to do' list of the plan are to
provide water and sanitation at the University of Zimbabwe, complete the
National University of Science and Technology library, construct the Lupane
State University administration, conduct a needs analysis and recruit staff.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

ACTION ALERT : Lawyer Martin Makonese harrassing commercial farmer

It has been confirmed that yet another farmer in the Kwekwe area situated in the Midlands is being harassed and intimidated.

Three days ago the mechanic on the farm was beaten on the nose and the perpetrators also attempted to burn him with hot porridge and stuff a dead rat in his mouth.

It seems incredible that these invaders will stoop to such abhorrent behaviour to oust a family that gave up the bulk of their farm, currently working a fraction of the land, and has peacefully co-existed with 53 families who were resettled on the land in 2002.

It is not these families who are at war with the Grove family, it is a local Kwekwe lawyer, Martin Makonese of Makonese and Partners who is heading this new onslaught.

The case has been reported repeatedly to the police, who have not responded. The land dispute is set to be heard in the Bulawayo Supreme Court after Makonese lost his bid to have it heard in the Kwekwe courts.


Please call (or sms) Martin Makonese and point out to him that his actions are unlawful, that they violate the recent SADC Tribunal ruling and that they also violate the Global Political Agreement signed on the 15th September.

As always, please be very polite and calm when making your calls.

Work: +263-55-22784/5

Home: +263-55-23696

Cell phone: +263-11-203958

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Get a credit card - they work, says confident Biti

From The Sunday Independent, 24 May

Peta Thornycroft

Tendai Biti, the Zimbabwean finance minister, has ring-fenced Gideon Gono,
the central bank governor. In a long and petulant letter to Morgan
Tsvangirai, the prime minister, this week, Gono accused Biti of
"persecuting" him and his family, and of "externalising" money when he was,
until February, a partner of Harare law firm Honey and Blankenberg. As news
of the letter spread, it sparked laughter and fury. "What a bloody cheek,"
said a mine owner who had to shut down because Gono did not pay for gold he
was forced to sell to the central bank. Gono raided foreign currency
accounts, even those of humanitarian agencies, using the money to pay bills
and to import tractors for Zanu PF cronies. "Why is he whinging?" said a
businessman who was locked up for three days for sending a few thousand
rands to South Africa to import spares for his engineering company. Biti was
distressed by the letter. "When I heard about (it), I was so cross I thought
I could easily go back to my law firm and practise," he says. "Then I said:
'I will not do that, I have done so much work and there is a lot of trust in
me as an individual, even though I am not an economist.' I can't take this
country back by four or five months. I will not be diverted, I have a job to

The waiting room in Biti's sixth-floor suite at the "new" government
building, with its wide, empty corridors, dodgy lifts and little furniture,
is full. "I don't work there, it's bugged," he says, gesturing towards the
minister's office as he moves to a side room with no decorations, whispering
when he talks of sensitive matters. A portrait of President Robert Mugabe,
the same one that is on the wall of almost every office in Zimbabwe, looks
down at him. Biti glances at it, smiling: "I am going to put pictures of
former finance ministers in here," he says. They will include Simba Makoni,
who was forced out in 2002 by Mugabe for wanting to devalue the currency,
and Chris Kuruneri, who was locked up for a year before being acquitted on
charges of "externalising" millions of dollars to build houses in Cape Town,
as well as two more emasculated by Gono's takeover. Everyone in Zimbabwe who
could - including Mugabe - "externalised" forex. Gono was the biggest trader
and the market knew when he was on the streets with trillions of Zim
dollars, because its value would plunge.

"On my first day," Biti says, "I had absolutely no idea. I thought of going
to the law firm, and then I phoned Patrick Chinamasa (the justice minister),
who I knew from (SADC) negotiations. So I went to his office across the
street, and he brought me here and I was given the latest minutes, standing
right here in this very room, and they said I have to pay salaries. So I
said: 'How much?' I was told US$30 million and we had $2m. So I said: 'What
is the deal about salaries?' I was told, oh, the (Reserve Bank) bank has
printed US dollar vouchers, so employees were going to be given vouchers. I
said that cannot work, the bank cannot print US dollars. We managed, that is
one of the biggest achievements. I can't tell you how, but there was no
outside help. The other thing I quickly realised was that we needed a policy
because business was crying out." Sworn in on a Monday, he recalls: "We
worked so hard, and by Thursday the first draft of the emergency recovery
and stabilisation plan was ready. I called the (closed) stock exchange to
this room and said: 'You guys will not get out of this room until you assure
me you will open.' So we opened the stock exchange on the 19th. I am looking
at legislation, reforms of the central banking act, state enterprises,
privatisation, tax administration, tax collection.

"If you are domiciled in Zimbabwe for more than 180 days a year, then you
are obliged to pay tax. Seven percent of gross income is direct taxes, PAYE
and corporate tax. VAT is now 42 percent of monthly income, from 3 percent
in February, so there is consumption, an economy we ought to be taxing, but
few are employed and civil servants are on untaxed allowances ($1 000 a
month). By July civil servant allowances will be converted to salaries and
we will collect taxes with our threshold of $150, the same as South Africa.
Private sector employers who are paying up to $300 a month to employees are
not paying us taxes. It's laxity. Last year was the worst in our history,
the Zimbabwe dollar was moribund, employers executed innovative ways of
paying employees, fuel coupons, food hampers. Now fuel coupons don't work.
Food is in the shops, but the tax-free mentality is still there. We have to
quickly get it from 7 to 60 percent." Biti is deeply frustrated with the
West, which "obsessively" refuses to give aid, beyond humanitarian, even
though he has effectively ring-fenced Gono and the "toxic" Zanu PF breaches
of the political agreement are being whittled away. "The West is being
unscientific and ahistorical," he says. "If this experiment fails, we have
no cheaper alternative, no cheaper option. I speak as one who knows. The
only thing the struggle has not done to me is kill me. I can write a guide
book on Zimbabwe prisons. If the West doesn't come in, the price of undoing
the mess will be much higher, like Liberia, Sierra Leone. Look at the cost
of Somalia‚€¶ how will anyone ever reconstruct Somalia?"

Biti gasps, laughs, perhaps in surprise, when asked why Zimbabwe, with an
economy the size of Bloemfontein, needs a central bank, especially since it
doesn't even have its own currency. Er, well, you see, um, it is still the
bank of last resort, it supervises our banking sector. Fidelity (the mint),
which used to print money, now also has the key business of assaying gold,
which it can no longer buy as in the past, but the bank has a role. Monetary
policy is not dead, it is just constrained." Perhaps he hadn't thought about
closing the central bank, but his eyes gleam like a lizard about to stick a
fly. Gono doubled the staff in five years to 1 200 with fantastic perks.
"That's an administrative issue," Biti says. "Rationalisation will happen."
He adds: "The MDC is not talking about sanctions," but most say travel bans
against Zanu PF and others are not going away any time soon. Senator Richard
Luga of Indianapolis wrote asking about 'sanctions' on two banks (Zimbank
and Agri Bank), and I said lift them as a matter of urgency." The two banks
serve communal and small-scale farmers in particular. While Gono forced
banks to remit 50 to 60 percent of overnight deposits to the central bank,
Biti says he will drop that to between 5 percent and 10 percent. "Open a
bank account, get a credit card - they work. I lived off my Zim credit card
at the spring (IMF) meeting. Zimswitch is back." The madness of Zim's
economy is that unless debts are pegged in US dollars, all Zim dollar debts,
bonds, mortgages and overdrafts are wiped out. Gone.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Botswana compelled to rehabilitate Zimbabwe's transmission lines

From The Sunday Standard (Botswana), 31 May

By Gowenius Toka

Plans by Botswana government to draw electricity from Mozambique through
Zimbabwe's existing electricity supply infrastructure, will help revive the
latter's economy, in more ways than one. This follows successful
negotiations between Botswana and Mozambique, through the Ministers of
Minerals, Energy and Water Resources of the two countries recently, Dr
Ponatshego Kedikilwe and Dr Salvador Namburete, to the effect that
Mozambique, through its power facilities, assist Botswana with firm power
supply up to a level to be agreed in the near future. In addition, it was
also proposed that Mozambique facilitates the conclusion of a Power Purchase
Agreement from its 50MW Natural Gas Fired IPP Power Plant. Kedikilwe said on
his return from Mozambique recently, that all things being constant, it is
expected that the arrangement between his government and the Mozambique
government "enables us to acquire more than sufficient electricity supply
between 2009 and the year 2013, when the Morupule B Power Station would be
commissioned". Mozambique currently supplies Botswana with 70MW, but it is
intended that upon finalization of discussions, it should be escalated to
120MW. Furthermore, Mozambique is embarking on a huge hydropower development
programme, which will translate in the development of Cabora Bassa North
(1250MW), Mphanda Nkuwa (2400 MW) and other projects which in total are
expected to generate up to (6030MW).

"Given that these are potentially lucrative ventures, from a commercial
point of view, we felt that Botswana could take advantage and explore the
potential to invest in the projects and for generating revenue in order to
enhance our economic diversification programme," said Kedikilwe, adding that
all power from the said projects will be exported. For this reason, the
Botswana Minister pointed out that rehabilitation of Zimbabwe's existing
electricity supply infrastructure remains the only feasible transit vehicle
for wheeling power across to Botswana. To this end, technical teams from the
two countries electricity authorities, Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) and
Zimbabwe Electricity Authority (ZESA) have been assigned to evaluate the
technical transition capacity limits on some key high voltage transmission
lines in Zimbabwe. It emerges that, in addition to evaluating the technical
transmission capacity on some key high voltage transmission lines in
Zimbabwe, it has also been agreed that BPC and ZESA evaluate the Bulawayo
Coal fired Power Station with a view to bringing it back into full
operation. Upon completing the stipulated evaluations, the two teams have
been given the express instruction to report by the end of this week (end of
May, 2009) to the Ministers of the two countries with recommendations
regarding cost, capacity and sustainability. Speaking at a Press briefing
early this week, Kedikilwe intimated that every possible means will be
explored to ensure that where feasible, Botswana injects its resources,
provided it is our best interest.

Although in the case of rehabilitating Zimbabwe's existing electricity
supply infrastructure for conveying power from Mozambique across to
Botswana, a lot of money will have to be injected, Kedikilwe pointed out
that subject to the outcome of the study by the Technical teams, Government
might entertain what was described as "Prior to Purchase" arrangement with
the Zimbabwean government. In that case, Botswana would make a commitment to
her northerly neighbour to the effect that she will require and therefore
pledge to purchase a certain amount of power upon production by Zimbabwe,
thus motivating them to resuscitate their transmission lines at own cost but
assured of cost recovery and attendant benefits accruing from such an
arrangement. Basing on a similar logic, "It is against this background that
we have previously stated our intention to offer supplying coal which
Botswana has in abundance, for stimulation of the Bulawayo Coal Fired Power
Station, upon completion of its rehabilitation, in exchange for
electricity." Thus, over and above relaying electricity from Mozambique
across to Botswana, Zimbabwe would enjoy the unfettered latitude to light
and warm her citizens, whilst at the same time powering the economy. On
account of the experience Botswana had when Eskom South Africa had problems
of power shortage, the Mozambique option as well as cooperation with
Zimbabwe could afford the country peace of mind.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mbeki's motives help to predict Zuma's actions on Zimbabwe

Comment from Business Day (SA), 25 May

Paul Whelan

For nearly a decade, the South African press and its columnists beat up on
former president Thabo Mbeki over the crisis in Zimbabwe. They were less
vocal about a Human Sciences Research Council report last year that
suggested elements of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) were undergoing military training. For SA's patriotic newspapers were
conscious of a more disturbing problem: that SA's undermanned, sickly and
perhaps less than neutral defence force was in no shape to take on a
peacekeeping role, let alone a serious outbreak of fighting, in our
next-door neighbour. Here is a crucial factor in Mbeki's policy towards
Zimbabwe. Other factors were also underplayed or overlooked. For instance,
the start of President Robert Mugabe's farm invasions was also a time when
Mbeki automatically got his way. In one interview, he dismissively asked how
he was expected to stop things happening in another country. The ugly events
broadcast on TV created no pressure on him at home or abroad. He did not
need to say there was no crisis. As Mugabe went from bad to worse and
international outrage grew, this approach could not work. Now to admit there
was a problem would mean having to take action, and Mbeki was well aware of
another stumbling block.

Mugabe enjoyed strong support in the African National Congress (ANC) and the
Southern African Development Community (SADC). SA's military back-up was
unreliable and the political will to impose western-style sanctions on a
former struggle ally was absent. The Presidency had no answer to the calls
to do something - except to assure everyone that quietly, behind the scenes,
Mbeki was using diplomacy. This innocent enough escape was soon labelled
"quiet diplomacy" . Intended only to fend off charges of inaction, these
words suggested Mbeki was "handling" a brother and comrade and could settle
everything peaceably. No one asked what Mbeki was using quiet diplomacy for.
Was it to rein in Mugabe's tyranny, or to get him to stand down? Was it to
bring the MDC to power? Was it to uphold universal human rights? No South
African government could have seriously contemplated such objectives.
Diplomacy unsupported by coercion cannot achieve them. The Zimbabwe crisis
for Mbeki was about the direction of SA's foreign policy. His prime aim was
to preserve SA's security and regional stability. That meant keeping out the
west and avoiding any action that divided the ANC.

For Mugabe's desperate faction, the matter was simpler: power at all costs.
The despot threatened publicly that the MDC would never govern and must have
said the same to Mbeki in private. Powerless before naked power, Mbeki's
only option was to persist in trying to confine the fallout to Zimbabwe. He
kept SA's borders closed (at least technically) and never wavered from
lending Mugabe full diplomatic support. No wonder a common accusation is
that Mbeki was Mugabe's lackey or that the two are cut from the same cloth.
Both views are wanting. While Mbeki is a proud son of Africa and a dedicated
foe of neocolonialism, he is also every inch a politician. Mbeki had the
authority to disembarrass himself of the Zanu PF leader, if only
rhetorically. Jacob Zuma did so immediately after his election at Polokwane.
What stopped Mbeki doing so earlier? It is not because as South African
president, and later as SADC mediator, he could not take sides. It cannot be
explained away as incurable stubbornness. And it is faintly absurd to
suggest that it was purely out of sympathy for Mugabe. Maintaining the
regional status quo involved a major domestic benefit for Mbeki. As his
problems with Zuma and his union allies deepened at home, it kept a
like-minded, post-liberation opposition from coming to power on his
doorstep. Domestic and foreign policy are never separable. How SA's new
president acts over Zimbabwe will depend, just as it did with Mbeki, on how
he reads the situation at home.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 30th May 2009

There was much discussion at the Vigil about the forthcoming visit to the UK of Morgan Tsvangirai. We have been informed by MDC UK that he will be addressing a meeting in Kent as Prime Minister of Zimbabwe and not as leader of the MDC.† He is said to be keen to engage with all Zimbabwean groups in the UK. The date apparently set for the meeting is Saturday, 20th June. We are sorry that some of us will not be able to attend because we have the Vigil on a Saturday. But no doubt many Vigil supporters will go to the Tsvangirai gathering.

There was some debate at the Vigil about questions they should put to him:

-††††††† Why do MDC people on the ground in Zimbabwe feel let down?

-††††††† Why have we not heard any member of the GNU talk about the starving prisoners?

-††††††† How can anyone invest in Zimbabwe when there is no rule of law?

-††††††† If there is no security, how can Zimbabwe hope to feed the 80% of its population on food aid?

-††††††† Why is nothing being done by Parliament to ensure a free press etc?

-††††††† Do you want us to come home?

The Vigil is not surprised at the situation. Here is an extract from our diary of four months ago (31/01/2009).

Most people who stopped to talk to us seemed well-informed about developments and no-one was surprised the Vigil was continuing. Certainly, our supporters turned out in unprecedented numbers and few of them had any confidence that the deal would work, given Mugabe’s failure to honour his undertakings in the power-sharing agreement of last September.

We expect to see Morgan in London soon on a begging mission.† We believe there is a lot of support for extra humanitarian assistance but that he will face an uphill battle to get serious economic aid.† The UK and the US have already made clear that they will wait and see before committing real money. In other words they will have to be satisfied it will not drain into the hands of the Mugabe cronies.† This means the new government will have to prove a willingness to respect the rule of law: we do not believe that Zanu-PF has any idea what that means.†

We accept that there may be secret understandings between the parties that we don’t know about. Indeed, the bewildering policy flip-flops by the MDC would suggest that this is the case. But how do we know? Anyway, when Morgan comes to London we at the Vigil will still be protesting outside the Embassy with our banners ‘No to Mugabe. No to Starvation’ and ‘End Murder, Rape and Torture in Zimbabwe’. If he drops by the Embassy it will be the nearest he has come to us in our 6+ years here.†

We want Morgan to convince us that things have changed.

It was good to be joined by Kudaushe Matimba (formerly of the Bundu Boys) who spoke to us about the situation of Zimbabwean musicians (he was upbeat).† Thanks to Ruvimbo Claire Maneya and Effie Hicks for their help in setting up the Vigil.

One of our supporters Brightmore Mundandanda went to sign on at the immigration centre at Croydon for the first time.† He was immediately sent to detention in Dover.† We phoned the Zimbabwe Association for advice and they informed us that several people have been detained but the duration of the detention is short.† Apparently the Home Office does not have enough facilities at Croydon and other immigration centres to process all the Zimbabwean applications for asylum.† If you hear of anyone detained keep an eye on it and, if it stretches beyond a few days, contact the Zimbabwe Association.

For latest Vigil pictures check:

FOR THE RECORD:† 186 signed the register.


††††††† ROHR West Bromwich launch meeting. Saturday 6th June from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: West Bromwich Town Hall, High Street, B70 8DT. Contact: Pamela Dunduru 07958386718, Rejoice Moyo 07884126754 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070

††††††† ROHR Bournemouth general meeting. Saturday†6th†June†from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: East Cliff Reformed Church, Holdenhurst Road, BH8 8AW. Come in numbers lets make it our Zimbabwean Day soon after Africa Day. Zimbabweans lets Roooooh together in this Struggle for ROHR.†Contact: Mike Mhene 07774521837, Abigail Nzimba 07917458873 or Gift Pfupa 07909831158
Liverpool general meeting. Saturday 6th June from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: †Prescot Lodge, 52-56 Prescot Road, Liverpool L7 0JA. Contact: Desire Chimuka 07917733711, Anywhere Mungoyo 07939913688 0r Patrick Kushonga 07900857605

††††††† Service of solidarity with the torture survivors of Zimbabwe.† Friday 26th June from 7 – 8 pm. Venue: Southwark Cathedral. This is the 8th year the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum has marked UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. For more information, visit:

††††††† Zimbabwe Vigil Forum. Saturday 27th June at 6.30 pm. Upstairs at the Theodore Bullfrog, John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL.

††††††† Zimbabwe Vigil Forum. Saturday 25th July at 6.30 pm. Upstairs at the Theodore Bullfrog, John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL.

††††††† Zimbabwe Association’s Women’s Weekly Drop-in Centre. Fridays 10.30 am – 4 pm. Venue: The Fire Station Community and ICT Centre, 84 Mayton Street, London N7 6QT, Tel: 020 7607 9764. Nearest underground: Finsbury Park. For more information contact the Zimbabwe Association 020 7549 0355 (open Tuesdays and Thursdays).

Vigil Co-ordinators

The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London,†takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which†started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe.†

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Nkomo diverts attention from serious national issues

May 31, 2009

By Jakaya Goremusandu

THE debate over remarks by Samuel Sipepa Nkomo suggesting an imaginary
theory to slice Zimbabwe into tiny territories is, to put it mildly, based
on a puerile and careless intention to divert attention from pressing
national issues that urgently require Zimbabwe to rise from its own ashes.

Nowhere in the MDC policy documents, private and public positions or even
the party constitution is there a plan now or in future to dismember
Zimbabwe into little pieces reflecting the supposed various ethnic
demographics of the country. Over the past two centuries, Zimbabweans have
developed a common blood among themselves through inter-marriages, other
indelible links and complex kinships.

The MDC was born out of a vibrant civic movement, initially calling for
comprehensive political and economic reform, none of which anchored itself
on a secession agenda, or a separate geographical autonomy arrangement. The
party mirrored a strong national sentiment for inclusion - away from the
divide-and-rule tactics and the arrogance of Zanu-PF.

The subjunctive mood at the time knew no tribal or ethnic boundaries, hence
the election of Gibson Sibanda, Welshman Ncube, Fletcher-Dulini Ncube, Esaph
Mdlongwa, Paul Temba Nyathi, David Coltart - all Ndebeles - to the majority
of top leadership positions in the party. At no time was the issue of
Matabeleland a main building block of this comprehensive initiative, nor was
there any need to brand the new party supporters, their views and their
motivations, according to their ancestry.

It is common cause that when Mzilikazi and his warriors landed in what is
today Zimbabwe, escaping the wrath of their Zulu kinsmen for whatever crimes
they had committed in KwaZulu and barely 30 years before whites colonized
the country, they did not bring along their women and children with them as
they headed north, raiding and plundering.

They raided villages north of the Limpopo, pillaging for food and taking
women hostage as sex slaves, domestic workers and wives. These women bore
children and enabled the warriors to start new lives and new families. They
raised offspring, needless to say, totally without any pure Zulu blood in

No Zimbabwean Ndebele person today can honestly claim to be totally free of
the blood of the pre-1850 indigenous people they found north of the Limpopo
at the time. It therefore does not make sense for anyone to push for an
agenda that promotes the separation of Zimbabweans on the basis of some
mischievous assumption that their ilk carries a completely separate
identity: genetic, biological or otherwise.

In case Nkomo may not know, which is highly unlikely, there is, in fact, no
tribe called the Shona. The word was a bastardized version of Mzilikazi's
warrior derision of the indigenous people whom they referred to as the
AmaSvina, just as foreigners, especially non-Ndebeles from Zimbabwe in South
Africa are unkindly called AmaKwerekwere today.

Acting on the advice of the Ndebeles, white hunters, missionaries and
fortune-seekers, including Frederick Courtenay Selous - called the
indigenous people Mashuna, that is, the people of Mashunaland. The word was
widely then used to define the various clans whose language was made up of
related dialects: the Korekore, the Zezuru, the Karanga, the Kalanga, the
Ndau and the Manyika.

The key dialects of Shona are Kalanga, Karanga, Korekore, Manyika, Ndau and
Zezuru. The Kalanga were cut off from the main concentration of the Shona
people by the invading Ndebele. Their speech shows considerable influence
from the Ndebele language, which now distinguishes Kalanga from the rest of
Shona dialects. Kalanga is, for instance, the only Shona dialect to have the
"l" sound; the rest of the Shona dialects have "r" only.

The word "man" is "murume" in Zezuru, Manyika and Karanga. In Kalanga it is
"n'lume", while in Ndebele they call a man "indoda".

In November 2003 Gerald Chikozho Mazarire prepared a paper, "Who are the
Ndebele and the Kalanga in Zimbabwe?" for the Konrad Adenuer Foundation's
Project on 'Ethnicity in Zimbabwe'. He states in the paper that there is
very little known about the Kalanga before the year 1800.

He says: "In conclusion the Ndebele and Kalanga are different people with
entirely different origins, language and culture as has been demonstrated
above. Their experiences however have of late come to be shared more often
than not this has given rise to a common imagined identity of belonging
among other things to Matabeleland. This imagined identity is however unique
in its ability to appreciate and acknowledge differences between the two

Zimbabweans with a good memory will recall that when Gibson Sibanda told a
rally in Binga late 2005 that his breakaway MDC group had moved away from
the mainstream MDC to fight for a separate state of Matabeleland, such
utterances cost him and the faction, dearly. A few days later, Sibanda was
confronted by, among others, Joseph Msika at Bulawayo airport and was
advised to retract the statement and that he was misguided to talk about a
separate Matabeleland.

Ordinary party supporters were left speechless by Sibanda's views in Binga,
for that matter, and this weakened the group's support substantially in
Matabeleland North and Bulawayo - as shown by the results of the 2008
council, parliamentary, senatorial and presidential elections in which
Sibanda and almost the entire leadership of the Arthur Mutambara led MDC
lost dismally. That they now stand in the forefront of Zimbabwe's politics
of national unity is testimony to the wicked machinations of former South
African president, Thabo Mbeki.

For the avoidance of doubt, the Daily Mirror of November 8, 2005, quoted
Sibanda - while campaigning for the controversial 2005 Senate election - as
saying: "Ndebeles can only exercise sovereignty through creating their state
like Lesotho, which is an independent state in South Africa and it is not
politically wrong to have the state of Matabeleland in Zimbabwe."

Although the Daily Mirror was a daily newspaper, it took the group's
official spokesman, Paul Themba-Nyathi, speaking perhaps on Sibanda's
behalf, 10 days to undertake some damage control, through the Zimbabwe
Independent by merely saying: ". not only is the allegation untrue, it also
appears to be a deliberate attempt by the newspaper to fan ethnic tensions
in the MDC and the country as a whole".

Back to Sipepa Nkomo.

It is true that Nkomo may be totally unaware of the founding documents and
the main spirit behind the MDC as he is a recent arrival at the
organization, notwithstanding his meteoric rise, even after with Welshman
Ncube in October 2005 and returning to rejoin Tsvangirai early in 2006.

Tsvangirai must, therefore, be excused if he found himself completely
surprised by Nkomo's utterances in Lobengula this week. It appears they were
meant to camouflage some unclear agenda to steer himself away from dealing
with pressing water problems of Bulawayo, an assignment Nkomo must undertake
as a matter of urgency under his Johnny-come-lately political leadership.

Nkomo has known problems of political credibility, given the corrupt
activities for which he was forced to resign from the Mining Industry
Pension Fund where he was chief executive in 2000. He miraculously escaped
proper prosecution and possible conviction, given the abundance of published
evidence that could easily have nailed him. He was still in court over the
same case as recently as 2007. Nkomo's credibility issues also arise from
his dismal performance at Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe, publishers of
The Daily News, a newspaper which he arguably assisted then Information
Minister, Prof Jonathan Moyo to destroy within months of Nkomo's taking over
as chief executive officer of the company.

Nkomo became minister by default at the last in February Minister after MDC
president Tsvangirai was arm-twisted into dropping Eddie Cross from his
line-up of cabinet ministers through a campaign about representation of
Ndebeles orchestrated in online publications, especially The Zimbabwe Times.

In Lobengula this week Nkomo decided to speak about a matter that does not
concern his constituents in order to occupy them with a mundane agenda at a
time when 90 percent of those people are without work; they have no food;
inadequate medical care; no school fees; and no access to their democratic
rights because of Mugabe's dictatorship - which they rightly think are
priorities at the moment.

A separate state, federalism, devolution or outright secession is a warped
theory which has been spontaneously rejected time and again by the people of
Matabeleland and elsewhere in Zimbabwe. Older Zimbabweans will remember a
party led by Chief Kayisa Ndiweni before and after independence in 1980
which put up a spirited campaign for a federal state.

The party failed to obtain even a single seat in Parliament.

Bulawayo resident Paul Siwela has spent much of his adult life campaigning
for a federal state in which Matabeleland could achieve what is in his mind
a form of self-governing status. Siwela and his team have never won an
election either, whether on the city council or for the national
legislature. The people in this area dismiss him outright, with some even
suggesting that he could be mentally unhinged, allegedly.

The argument for Ndebele separateness or quasi-autonomy is not only common
currency among a few die-hard black tribalists in Matabeleland. White
Rhodesians always had a fondness for the "manly" and "loyal" Ndebeles, who -
according to eminent Zimbabwean historian Terence O Ranger - they contrast
with the "treacherous" Shona.

After the 1980 election, writes Ranger in his book Voices from the Rocks, p.
253/4, some Bulawayo-based ex-Rhodesians found it intolerable that
Matabeleland whites, together with the Ndebeles were to be under the rule of
the "Shona" and Harare. A pertinent example is that of Bulawayo dentist Dr
Frank Bertrand who in 1981 was prosecuted and convicted for pandering to
some strange fantasies designed to hive-off Matabeleland from Zimbabwe by

Bertrand found himself embroiled in a fantastic conspiracy, which never
excited the Ndebele people, when he went to Entumbane Hills to appeal to the
spiritual powers of the late Princess Violet Khumalo whose powers Bertrand
thought could be used to induce former Zipra fighters to a rebellion.

Violet was a direct descendant of Lobengula, being a grand-daughter of
Famona, the daughter of Lobengula.

Many Zimbabwe have probably forgotten about Bertrand, but for the record, he
told the court: "We had tried all the orthodox techniques. We had failed. So
I tried to obtain the help of Princess Violet to obtain the state of

For his trouble Bertrand ended up in jail. Ndebeles, presumably including
Sipepa Nkomo, hardly recognized or noticed his efforts.

New, the website that exclusively carried the Nkomo proposal,
quoted the water Resources Minister as saying the proposal had the backing
of Tsvangirai and his mainstream MDC party.

The Lobengula MP told a constituency meeting on Monday that the MDC would be
championing the proposals when the country draws up a new constitution. No
other MDC official has so far independently confirmed Nkomo's allegation.

It is arguable that Tsvangirai would be the last person to argue for
separate development, given that his grandmother "MaTshuma" was an Ndebele
in Buhera. Many may be unaware that two wards, together with their chiefs,
in Buhera North have been a natural home for Ndebele people since the late
1940s. The story is that they were moved from Lalapanzi, north-west of Mvuma
to make way for a white commercial farm. When the trucks that were taking
them further south ran out of fuel near what is called Gwebo Business Centre
today, they were dumped there and told to negotiate for asylum among the
local villagers.

That is how they came to be permanently settled there.

Equally arguable is the fact that Tsvangirai has proved himself that he is
not a tribalist. Five, out of seven, senior members of the inaugural
leadership of the MDC in February 2000 had Ndebele ancestry. They were the
vice president, secretary general, treasurer-general, organizing secretary
and information and publicity chief. No tribal balance-sheet was used here
to determine the type of leadership for the party. They were all Zimbabweans
with a mandate to direct the affairs of an alternative political party,
regardless of their places of family origin.

It is the same leadership, acting under secretary general Welshman Ncube,
that deserted Tsvangirai in October 2005 to form a breakaway MDC party,
which they later invited Arthur Mutambara to return to Zimbabwe and lead,
with quite predictably disastrous consequences.

Unless the situation has changed so radically, there is no way Tsvangirai
can agree with Sipepa Nkomo that the country be parceled out to various
groupings. Even Tsvangirai himself, a descendant of the Ndau-Msikavanhu-Save
clan, with roots along the Save River in the far south-east of Zimbabwe,
could easily find himself without a territorial claim if the Nkomo plan were
to become reality.

Zimbabweans have long moved away from ethnic out-bidding, score-settling and
traditional tribal identities, common two centuries ago. The people cannot
be seduced by the Nkomo idea - even if it may still appeal to some, today.
The idea is totally unnecessary and an unmanageable proposition.

Above all, it is not the policy of the MDC, contrary to Nkomo's claim.

"Here, we cry that we are marginalised," Nkomo told his constituents on
Monday. "The time is now to talk about regional governments."

But, truly speaking, Nkomo did do too badly in Harare. He landed the top job
of chief executive officer of the wealthy Mining Industry Pension Fund.
After he screwed that one up he miraculously landed the even more powerful
post of executive chairman of ANZ. He screwed that one up as well. Meanwhile
he had built a business empire of his own right in the centre of Harare. Now
that he is back in Bulawayo, after he abandoned his family in the capital
city, he complaints about being marginalised there.

Jonathan Moyo, hailing from the same Tsholotsho District as Nkomo, did not
perform too badly in Harare either. In quick succession he spearheaded
government's constitutional amendment campaign in 1999, then took charge of
Zanu-PF's election campaign before landing the most influential job of
Minister of Information.

He virtually became Mugabe Number Two. He was in charge of Zimbabwe
Newspapers, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, Ziana and the Community
Newspapers Group. He appointed the nation's editors and influenced the
content of the main newspapers; that was apart from writing a regular and
vitriolic column of his own under the pen-name Nathaniel Manheru.

Far from being marginalised in Mashonaland, Sipepa Nkomo and Moyo, in fact,
marginalised many in both Mashonaland and Matabeleland. The fact that the
majority of Zimbabweans have poor memories does not mean that their victims
have all also forgotten.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zesa to resume meter readings

Monday, June 01, 2009

Business Reporter

ZESA consumers will start receiving electricity bills reflecting amounts
based on actual meter readings by end of this month.

Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company has been
experiencing problems within its meter reading section resulting in
customers receiving estimated bills instead of actual bills since the
inception of foreign currency billing in February this year.

In a statement, the power utility said it was working towards improving the
situation and in the absence of bills, customers were urged to pay average
bills based on their actual bills.

The power utility has since dispatched meter readers and June bills will
reflect amounts due based on actual meter readings.

The company secured motor cycles for efficient and effective meter reading.

Meanwhile, customers can pay up to US$30 for high-density suburbs and US$40
for medium and low-density areas every month starting February until actual
bills are received.

Zesa reversed all foreign currency domestic bills for January and encouraged
customers to read their own meters and present their readings to their
nearest ZETDC customer service centres for actual bills.

Customers have been for some time complaining of the poor services being
offered by Zesa while the company was blaming consumers for not paying up

Zimbabwe generates power at Kariba South Hydro-Electricity plant and Hwange
Thermal Power Station.

Kariba produces 750 MW when operating at full capacity and Hwange generates
about 900 MW.

However, due to the recurrent breakdowns and coal shortages, Hwange is
producing less than 250 MW.

South Africa's power utility Eskom, cut electricity exports to Zimbabwe
owing to recurrent breakdowns at its power station.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Chiadzwa deaths not linked to diamond mining - ZNA

Monday, June 01, 2009

Herald Reporter

THE death of four soldiers around Chiadzwa diamond fields recently was not
related to illegal diamond mining but misconduct, the Zimbabwe National Army
has said.

In a statement yesterday, army director of public relations
Lieutenant-Colonel Overson Mugwisi said investigations into the misconduct
were underway.

"The two reported incidents involving our soldiers that took place in the
Chiadzwa area are related to misconduct, which the army is investigating,"
he said.

"The deaths are not related to illegal diamond mining or any other nefarious
activities in the area," said Lt-Col Mugwisi.

Following the publication of the story of the death of the four last week,
there had been speculation the four could have been involved in diamond

Two were found shot under unclear circumstances two weeks ago. They have
since been identified as Private Gurure and Private Tshuma.

The other two died in suspected murder and suicide and are Lance Corporal
Musonza and Sergeant Pfavai.

Last week police said investigations to ascertain the causes of the deaths
were in progress.

Private Gurure and Private Tshuma's bodies were found lying about 400 metres
from a base established by security agents deployed to bring order to the
diamond fields about a fortnight ago.

Both Gurure and Tshuma had guns in their hands.

In the second incident, Lance Corporal Musonza and Sergeant Pfavai were part
of a detachment manning a roadblock between Mutare and Chiadzwa.

It is alleged that Lance Corporal Musonza and Sergeant Pfavai were involved
in a heated argument.

Lance Corporal Musonza is said to have been disarmed by Sergeant Pfavai. He
was given back his rifle a few hours later and then threatened to shoot his
colleague manning the roadblock.

Lance Corporal Musonza allegedly shot Sergeant Pfavai, who died instantly,
before turning the gun on himself. He died on the spot.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Conversation on 'Points of light'OL initiative

by Mutumwa Mawere Monday 01 June 2009

OPINION: The challenges and opportunities that Africa faces and offers can
only be addressed and unlocked if a genuine attempt is made to bridge the
knowledge, capital and execution gaps that exist partly because of the
colonial legacy and more significantly because of an inherent inability of
many Africans to embrace and celebrate the seemingly insignificant progress
that has been witnessed in pre and post-colonial Africa.

I was not surprised that in response to my challenge ahead of Africa Day
commemorations on 25 May, Joram Nyathi, deputy editor of the Zimbabwe
Independent, chose to personalise the initiative by describing it as:
"Mawere's 'points of light' exercise in escapism".

This is a predictable and typical response of Africans to any public
discourse. The initiative is a self-standing one and should, therefore,
attract its own candid assessment without invoking my name. The choice of
the title is instructive as it seeks to undermine the entire project as an
exercise in futility.

In Nyathi's mind, any attempt to profile the lives and exploits of Africa's
sons and daughters is a form of escape from confronting the reality of
history. However, it must be accepted that the reality of the post-colonial
African experience has produced outstanding people in many fields of
endeavor and it would not be correct to characterise such exploits as any
form of escapism.

The role and place of role models in human civilisation can never be in
doubt. The importance of showcasing the best and brightest is, therefore,
self-evident. Human beings are influenced and inspired by others.

Nyathi makes the point that the reality of African history paints a dark
picture to the extent that it is irrelevant how many points of light can be
identified. He observes that the dark hand of neo-colonialism, among other
factors, has helped to undermine the African promise.

He concludes without offering an alternative that the "points of light"
initiative is not the way forward, if anything, it is condescending,
completely retrogressive and escapist.

Nyathi is not convinced that raising the canvass of African achievers will
add value to the nation-building project on the continent. Rather he
contends that such an initiative represents "surrender" when African success
stories are paired with the success stories of other nations. He makes the
point that: "But the very idea of listing our own heroes smacks of a return
to negritude politics, the black is beautiful matrix. In other words, when
the West boasts about its heroes, we can also show them that we have our
own, that Africa is the cradle of humankind that Egypt was the home of
science or that Jesus was black, etc. Is this a source of hope or escapism?"

It is evident to Nyathi that an African can only be a black person which
represents a viewpoint that may not be shared by all people who classify
themselves as African. Another viewpoint that Nyathi may not subscribe to a
viewpoint that embraces and celebrates the achievements of all the people of
Africa irrespective of their race, class religious beliefs, and gender.

It must be accepted that Africa has produced world-class brands and
outstanding personalities. Such brands anchored by Africa's rich mineral
resources include: De Beers, Anglo American Corporation, Gold Fields etc.

The diamonds that led the late Cecil John Rhodes to establish De Beers were
made by God and hidden in the country's belly. There may be an argument that
the diamonds belong solely to the people who are fortunate to live in the
area in which they are found while forgetting that more is required to
identify and exploit such resources.

Should Rhodes, for example, be included on the list? There is no doubt that
Nyathi would argue that he should not. It is common cause that Rhodes lived
in Africa and benefited from the colonial dispensation and in fact he
represented what may be described as the most unacceptable face of
colonialism and capitalism. His success and that of many of his fellow
Randlords can easily be reduced to a direct consequence of unjust
colonialist policies.

One can argue that if Rhodes never existed, a company like De Beers would
have been formed anyway. In fact, it may be simplistically argued that by
Rhodes setting up De Beers he deprived black South Africans of a real
opportunity. However, it is important to acknowledge that no one can be
deprived of something that they do not see or hold. The diamonds in question
were hidden and needed capital and knowledge to identify and exploit them.

The effort to convert a resource that is resident in the geology of a
country into a commodity that can be exchanged for cash requires an
investment. However, knowledge and capital without the resources will not
produce a commodity that can be exchanged for value.

Africa's points of light need not exclude anyone who has added value to the
African cause. In identifying such individuals one has to appreciate that
they need not be saints but it is important that we attempt to identify an
aspect of their lives that should be celebrated.

Nyathi also has a problem with the expression "a point of light". He makes
the point that: "There can be no better homage to the concept of Africa as a
dark continent than to see only irregular "points of light" out of thousands
of its sons and daughters trained at great expense to the taxpayer. I would
have thought that it was in Europe, the US and Canada and Australia that
Africa's emigrant workers represented as points of light!"

The expression "point of light" was chosen for different reasons than what
Nyathi thinks. Human beings are privileged in that they can leave a legacy.
Each human being makes a difference to life. There must be point in each
human life but what is undeniable is that in life some individuals have more
impact on life than other people. It is only through the actions of human
beings that the future is shaped.

South Africa may be smaller in size to countries like the DRC and Nigeria
but with a white population of 5 265 300 and over 1 500 000 households
residing in South Africa, it is the largest and most developed African
economy. The reasons behind the country's economic success must be
understood properly if the model is to be replicated by other African

What explains South Africa's economic success story? Is it solely a result
of apartheid/colonialist policies? Is it a result of the mineral wealth? Can
the DRC, for example, develop without the involvement of whites? Why has it
not been possible for countries with small white populations in Africa to
chart their own development agenda? Should Africans continue to blame the
past for the lack of progress on the continent?

What were the dreams of our forefathers? I should like to think that they
dreamt of a progressive and inclusive Africa. They must have dreamt of an
Africa free from poverty, corruption, and disease. Whose obligation is it to
make Africa the kind of continent that we want to see?

If white settlers who chose Africa as a home could build a little Europe in
Africa why has it been possible for the natives to be the change they want
to see. There can be no doubt that the colonial experience gave a good head
start to white Africans. However, it must be accepted that there are many
white people who have chosen Africa as a home after the end of colonialism
and yet have struck it rich. The continent continues to offer rewarding
opportunities to non-whites like Chinese and Indians who were not part of
the colonial experience and yet the main reason often used for lack of
advancement in Africa is that of white colonialism.

During the post-colonial/apartheid era, white Africans have continued to
prosper under black administrations. More importantly the disturbance, for
example, of less than 5 000 white farmers in Zimbabwe has produced a less
than desirable outcome. What is remarkable is that it is black Africans who
are electing to vote with their feet than white Africans who see nothing in
common between them and Europe.

There can be no doubt that former President Nelson Mandela is a "point of
light". He could have chosen to be a bitter populist but history compelled
him to look deeper in his soul to rise above the personal injuries that he
suffered and endured. He understood that any attempt to focus exclusively on
the past would not produce food on the table of South Africans.

He also had to acknowledge that South African citizenship was not
indivisible. South Africa is a Republic and one must accept that there is
only one class of citizenship. White and black South Africans are equal
before the law. By accepting the universality of citizenship, South Africa
has managed to attract more people who are willing to give up their
birthrights for South African citizenship.

South Africa has benefited from the creativity of its entire people
including the new citizens. Africa's future will and must be shaped by all
who can add value to the conversion of its resource endowments to tradable
goods and services. Such effort will require not just the input of people
who are born in Africa but people who may have the resources, capital and
knowledge that black people, who are in the majority, may not have.

I have no doubt that Nyathi will qualify as a "point of light". By choosing
to share his knowledge, I have no doubt that future generations will benefit
from the knowledge that our generation was seized with matters more
important than our personal welfare or stations in life. The conversation
must continue but to decide not to participate in the identification of
Africa's brand ambassadors i.e. "points of light" is one form of escapism
that must be avoided.

When I started reading Nyathi's article, I was encouraged that he at least
started the identification process and then surrendered. What is remarkable
is that his list excludes white Africans.

When one looks at the people responsible for producing goods and services
that dominate African markets as well as those responsible for generating
foreign currency, it is evident that white people including those that are
not African are involved in the supply chain process. It is, therefore,
important to recognize all the people who add value to the African
experience lest we forget to celebrate the contribution of those that are
critical in bringing light to life irrespective of their race, class, gender
or religious beliefs.

It would, therefore, be a sad day if we chose not to listen to the whispers
of the future and not dwell with the ghosts of the past. There is nothing
one can do to change the past but there is a lot that we can do working
together to better understand what has kept Africa going and what is
required to expand the "points of light" so that Africa's daylight can offer
more hope than the dreams that we share during the night.

We need to know more about the people that we may classify as Africa's
enemies. By investing in the knowledge on the lives of, for example, the
Randlords we should be able to know that it is possible for anyone to scale
the heights if we choose to be less cynical and skeptical of any initiative
that can bring more light to the issues that often blind us as we seek for a
better life for all Africans. - ZimOnline

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Film takes closer look at African UFO 'Sighting'

By Benjamin Bell
Sunday, May 31, 2009 - Added 43m ago

This June, we are told, there will be space aliens in Cambridge.

The tale of these interplanetary travelers began in the fall of 1994, many
time zones from the Charles River, when John E. Mack, the late Pulitzer
Prize-winning Harvard psychiatrist famed for his controversial UFO writings,
took a trip to southern Africa.

Mack was looking into a claim by 60 elementary school children in Harare,
Zimbabwe, that an oval-shaped silver spacecraft had hovered above their
playground one day.

What's more, the kids said, a strange being some 4 feet tall, dressed in a
black uniform, with black eyes the size of rugby balls, approached them,
while a similar being stood atop the alleged UFO.

There was talk of empathetic chit-chat, and Mack said 12 of the children
gave consistent accounts of the event, leading him to believe it was not a
case of mass hysteria.

"Something strange happened to the group of children that left them with the
impression some form of sentient life cared about the Earth and cared about
the environment and even cared about the children," said Will Buech, a board
member of the John E. Mack Institute in Cambridge.

He said telepathic communication reportedly took place between the children
and the being during the 5- to 10-minute encounter. Now, 15 years later, the
episode is still being investigated.

On June 12, the Mack Institute will present an unfinished film called
"Encounter in Ruwa: The Ariel School Sighting," a compilation of interview
footage shot by Mack and new footage by a New York-based filmmaker, Randall
Nickerson, 42.

Mack was killed by a drunken driver in London in 2004.

"I have more research to do, but there is a lot of corroboration that tells
me something did happen," Nickerson told the Herald by e-mail.

"It does make one think for sure and ask what we are, as a young species,
possibly unaware of."

Naturally, there are plenty of people who doubt the incident occurred.

Among the doubters is Robert Sheaffer, 60, a 32-year veteran of the
Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and author of the book "UFO Sightings: The

"The bottom line is that there is no evidence," he said of the case. "We don't
know what . . . pressure may have been placed on the children to tell the
stories the way they did."

Sheaffer said it's possible that the children, who had been left alone,
decided to pull a prank. He conceived of a scenario in which the older kids
in the group convinced the younger ones to go along with the "sighting,"
which was taken to the next level when the authorities became involved.

Nickerson says the film, which he hopes to complete later this year, will
feature interviews with some of the now-adult witnesses who are scattered
around the globe.

It will be up to viewers to decide whether the truth is out there.

"Encounter in Ruwa: The Ariel School Sighting" will screen June 12 from 7 to
9 p.m. at 38 Cameron Ave., Cambridge. Information at

Back to the Top
Back to Index