June 26, 2007
HARARE President Mugabe plans to transfer majority control of "public
companies and any other business" to black Zimbabweans, a move that critics
say could deepen the country's economic crisis.
A new Bill published yesterday requires indigenous black Zimbabweans to
receive at least a 51 per cent share of the companies. Parliament is
expected to approve the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Bill.
Analysts say that the move is likely to damage investor confidence in
Zimbabwe further. The country is suffering from the world's highest
inflation rate and severe food, fuel and foreign currency shortages in its
eighth year of recession.
John Robertson, a Zimbabwean economic consultant, said: "For a start, it's
not very clear how they are going to implement this, but going by their
record it could be another chaotic and disastrous exercise." (Reuters)
International Herald Tribune
The Associated PressPublished: June 25, 2007
HARARE, Zimbabwe: The government published proposed legislation Monday
providing for Zimbabweans to take control of a 51 percent stake in the
nation's businesses and companies, but stopping short - at least for now -
of a sweeping takeover of foreign owned companies.
Announcements in recent weeks by President Robert Mugabe and ministers that
the government was poised to seize control of private businesses sent shock
waves through an economy already reeling from the seizures of thousands of
white-owned commercial farms since 2000 in the former regional breadbasket
and repeated threats to nationalize foreign mining interests.
Central bank governor Gideon Gono last month cited uncertainty over property
ownership rights as the biggest single cause of an eight-fold drop in
investment since 2000.
Independent assessors said that, at face value, the Indigenization and
Economic Empowerment Bill was not as severe toward foreign, white-owned and
multinational companies as some commentators had predicted.
"The bill does not contain anything directly obliging existing businesses to
set about indigenization forthwith," the Veritas assessors said.
The draft legislation required government approval of mergers, business
acquisitions, changes in controlling interests and new investments.
In those cases, approval would be denied if such activities did not result
in 51 percent Zimbabwean control.
However, there is nothing to prevent Mugabe from using special instruments
to push through more draconian measures on foreign ownership.
The bill defined indigenous Zimbabwean as "any person who before April 18,
1980, (the nation's independence from colonial era white rule) was
disadvantaged by unfair discrimination on the grounds of his or her race."
Lawyers said minorities of mixed race and Asian origin were included for the
first time, and the clause could possibly be claimed by whites who opposed
or campaigned against colonial rule.
Since independence the term indigenous, widely used in an affirmative action
campaign, has applied almost exclusively to blacks and left out whites and
other minorities born in the southern African nation - some the descendants
of several generations of settlers.
Whites and minorities account for an estimated 100,000 in the 12 million
population, and most businesses are already black-owned and run.
The bill, scheduled for debate in the Harare legislature after it reconvenes
next month, outlines a program announced by the government for Zimbabweans
to take control of a 51 percent stake in the nation's businesses and
Economic meltdown has led to acute shortages of hard currency, food,
gasoline and most basic goods. Official inflation at around 4,500 percent is
the highest in the world and compares to single figure inflation in most
UN Integrated Regional Information Networks
25 June 2007
Posted to the web 25 June 2007
Zimbabweans are switching to barter, payment in kind and the use of foreign
currencies, such as neighbouring South Africa's rand, instead of the local
dollar to survive hyperinflation and the accelerating economic meltdown.
Zimbabwe's currency is still officially pegged at Z$250 to one US dollar;
early last week the informal market price was about Z$100,000 to US$1, but
by Monday 25 June it had crashed to Z$400,000 against the US dollar. In
January this year US$1 was being traded for Z$3,000.
The country's inflation rate - the highest in the world - is officially at
more than 3,700 percent, although independent economists believe the real
rate of inflation is around 20,000 percent and could reach 1.5 million
percent by the end of 2007.
Purses and wallets have become redundant; Zimbabweans have been using
shopping bags, suitcases, sacks and other large containers to carry cash
Purses and wallets have become redundant; Zimbabweans have been using
shopping bags, suitcases, sacks and other large containers to carry cash.
Bank tellers are hidden from view by huge piles of the increasingly
worthless currency as long queues wait to withdraw as much as they can in an
attempt to beat the galloping inflation that has crippled the country, once
a regional economic power house.
Conversations in banking halls are drowned out by the constant drone of
money-counting machines - importing the machines is one of the few remaining
growth industries, but this mini-boom could also be ending, as Zimbaweans
are increasingly forced to resort to barter, payment in kind and using
"We pay for soya beans and can swop one tonne for a drum of fuel," said a
recent advert in the state-sponsored daily newspaper, The Herald; bartering
is becoming commonplace as individuals, traders and markets seek an
alternative method of determining value.
Thomsen Siziba, a newly resettled farmer in the prime farming area of
Chegutu, Mashonaland West Province, told IRIN that farm workers no longer
wanted to be paid in cash, but rather in kind.
"The gazetted [monthly] wages for farm workers is about $70,000 [US$0.17 at
the current parallel market exchange rate of Z$400,000 to US$1] - which
basically is not enough to buy two litres of cooking oil, which costs
$350,000 [US$0.87] - or a bar of soap, which costs $270,000 [US$0.67], or a
bottle of beer which costs $75,000 [US$0.18]," he said.
Siziba said they knew the economy was collapsing and "a lot of the farm
workers say they no longer want long-term contracts which would tie them to
me; the farm workers say they would rather work for food and clothing
handouts instead of money, which they say is now worthless".
More than a third of the population will require food assistance by early
next year, according to a recent joint report by the UN Food and Agriculture
Organisation and the UN World Food Programme.
Ditching the Zimbabwean dollar
Onward Chabvepi, a vegetable hawker in the capital, Harare, told IRIN he had
lost confidence in both President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF government
and the local currency.
The prices of just about everything are increasing every day. I am not a
sophisticated economist, but one thing that I know is that our currency is
now worthless, and that it is safer to convert most of the money which I
earn to South African rands, the US dollar or the Botswana pula
"The prices of just about everything are increasing every day. I am not a
sophisticated economist, but one thing that I know is that our currency is
now worthless, and that it is safer to convert most of the money which I
earn to South African rands, the US dollar or the Botswana pula, which are
much more stable currencies."
A tenant in Belvedere, an upmarket suburb of Harare, told IRIN his landlord
had given him notice that from July his rent should not be paid in
Zimbabwean dollars but in fuel, which currently sells for about Z$220,000 a
litre. His monthly rent will now cost him 80 litres of petrol, or Z$17.6
Analysts said the growing use of the South African rand or US dollar for
day-to-day trading was a watershed in Zimbabwe's economic malaise. "It's a
clear sign that people no longer have confidence in the Zimbabwean dollar,"
said Prof Tony Hawkins of the Graduate School of Management at the
University of Zimbabwe.
He said the hyperinflation cycle, fuelled by the government's printing of
money, has led to too much currency in circulation and people were opting to
keep their money in foreign currencies that were more secure.
"The key cause of inflation is government and the central bank printing
money - they are no longer publishing the figures of the total money in
circulation," he said.
Hawkins told IRIN that although some people were engaging in barter trade,
the chances that it would become widespread were minimal. "Logically, you
could see that happening, but on a wider scale people prefer to sell their
products in foreign currency, which is more secure and does not lose its
Since 2000, more than a quarter of the population - over three million
people - are believed to have migrated to neighbouring countries in search
of work, or further afield to England and the United States. Only one in
five people in Zimbabwe is employed.
As government, we are concerned about the daily price increases and we have
set up a taskforce that will work with security ministries and curb the
Industry and International Trade Minister Obert Mpofu told IRIN: "As
government, we are concerned about the daily price increases and we have set
up a taskforce that will work with security ministries and curb the price
increases. They will also investigate the causes of basic commodities
shortages, which are only found on the black market." Cross-border buying
has also increased.
The freefall of Zimbabwe's economy has many commentators believing that the
endgame of Mugabe's 27-year rule is at hand, and cite last week's talks in
South Africa between the main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic
Change, and representatives of the ZANU-PF government as an indicator of
Donor countries, including Britain, the former colonial power until 1980,
are reportedly compiling a list of Zimbabwe's requirements in a post-Mugabe
era, although there is no indication that Mugabe is contemplating stepping
down from office and has publicly stated that he intends running in
presidential elections scheduled for next year.
A US$3billion, five-year stabilisation programme, which includes food aid,
land reform and health assistance, would be required, according to reports.
[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations ]
The Herald (Harare) Published by the government of Zimbabwe
25 June 2007
Posted to the web 25 June 2007
MOST supermarkets were yesterday busy putting up new prices on all
commodities with a standard loaf of bread now pegged at $44 000 and super
white bread now costing $59 000.
A loaf of bread cost $8 000 in May but has been going up virtually every
week this month.
It went up to $22 000 last week and barely seven days later, it has gone up
by 100 percent.
The shocking price increases come in the wake of a Cabinet Taskforce on
Price Monitoring and Stabilisation and the National Incomes and Pricing
Commission set up by the Government in the last three weeks.
Most of the increases were pegged to the value of the US dollar on the
Other shock increases include 2kg salt which is now selling at $184 000 in
OK supermarkets, peanut butter 375ml $172 000, 250g tea leaves $287 000 and
a bar of washing soap selling at $268 000.
OK's 250g value kapenta now costs $158 000, 500g sugar beans $95 000, cotton
wool $107 000, 2kg Mahatma rice $711 000 while the Red Seal brand is going
for $645 000.
Consumers could be seen scrutinising the new prices and shaking their heads
Relentless increases in prices have worsened the plight of workers who also
have to contend with high transport fares, soaring rentals and prohibitive
Workers at OK Marimba said they were not immune to the price increases.
"For us it is even worse because we sell commodities that we cannot afford
to buy with our paltry salaries," complained one till operator.
Secretary for Industry and International Trade Retired Colonel Christian
Katsande said a permanent solution to the price spiral was now in the hands
of the recently appointed Cabinet taskforce.
"The matter was raised to that level. The taskforce is the one that directs
us on what we should do now," Rtd Col Katsande said.
The chairman of the taskforce, Cde Obert Mpofu, could not be reached for
However, the chairman of the National Incomes and Pricing Commission, Mr
David Govere, said it was too early to comment but promised to issue a
statement on Friday this week.
Mr Govere, however, said stabilising prices was no mean task.
"We are visiting supermarkets everyday and we are trying to manage a
situation we did not create. We are not sleeping and have so far attended 40
meetings since our appointment," he said.
Mr Govere said the commission's objective was to find long-term solutions to
the price spiral that has seen the prices of basic commodities double or
treble in a matter of days.
"We need to come up with something fundamentally solid and, of course, this
does not mean prices are going to go down. We want to stabilise them," he
Mr Govere said the commission was engaged in talks with various stakeholders
with the aim of stabilising prices, but declined to say why prices continued
Mr Govere, however, noted that it would be difficult to stabilise prices
without addressing other economic fundamentals, notably the availability of
By John Makura
SKY-ROCKETING prices of basic commodities in Zimbabwe have hit consumers
where it hurts most following a 300 percent increase of bread leaving the
poverty stricken southern African nation without any immediate solutions to
the price hikes.
Before the latest increase last week, the price of bread was pegged at Z$12
000 but as of Monday this week, the price of bread had drastically risen to
a whopping Z$50 0000, an increase of more than 300 percent within a week.
Zimbabwe's economist, Eric Bloc could not immediately comment on the latest
price increase of bread, but consumers have blamed both the inflation and
the Zanu PF government for implenting solutions that are "not practical".
Zimbabwe's inflation has reached above 20 000 percent this year alone, and
the out going United States of America (USA) ambassador to Zimbabwe,
Christopher Dell, strongly believe the hyper-inflation would reach world
record 1, 500 000 percent.
Dell believes the latest economic climate would be enough to drive president
Mugabe out of office before the next presidential election in March 2008.
Dell, who described the Zimbabwean inflation as catastrophic argues would be
a pushing factor for Mugabe to leave office in the next six months.
Over 3. 500 000 Zimbabweans citizen are believed to be living in South
Africa escaping abject poverty whilst others are political victims.
"The latest bread price increase would force all the low income workers to
compeletely abandone bread. Some of us have since replaced bread with sweet
potatoes every morning.
"As that is not enough, I pay monthly sum of Z$300 000 per room, pay over
Z$120 000 electricity bills and my two children need a daily average of
Z$240 000 for transport to and from school whilst my salary is Z$1.3
million," said 47-year Shadreck Juwayeyi, a Chitungwiza resident, some 30
kilometres east of Harare.
Juwayeyi commits every morning from Chitungwiza to the capital where he
works as a manager at a local shoe company-CAJ News.
By Patience Rusere, Blessing Zulu & Ndimyake Mwakalyele
25 June 2007
The prices of essential commodities have soared again in Zimbabwe,
reflecting the scarcity of goods and the latest steep downturn in the value
of the currency.
The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe said Monday that the price of petroleum had
climbed from Z$130,000 to Z$180,000 (US$1.20) a liter recently, while the
price of maize meal soared to Z$200,000 for five kilos from Z$110,000 last
week. The council further stated that two liters of cooking oil that cost
Z$250,000 last week were now fetching Z$600,000. Prices of beef, chicken and
other meats also soared.
Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe Chief Executive Officer John Mufukari
told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 For Zimbabwe that prices
change periodically throughout the day as sellers try to keep pace with
A cash crunch in Harare and other cities, meanwhile, has led to a new
wrinkle in forex dealings on the parallel or black market whereby those
holding bank notes demand a premium of up to 15% to accept a check or bank
transfer in exchange.
Business leaders last week pleaded with Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono to
put more cash into circulation, but the central bank chief refused, saying
injecting cash would simply fuel black market currency transactions and
Financial sources said businesses and individuals are hoarding cash. Such
shortages surfaced in 2003 but the current crunch is more severe with
12-month inflation running into several thousand percent, requiring more
cash for simple transactions.
Director Godfrey Kanyenze of the Labor and Economic Development Research
Institute told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe, that
those in possession of physical currency can now command a premium.
Amid such developments, the rate at which the economy is sinking has become
the subject of the latest war of words between outgoing U.S. Ambassador
Christopher Dell and Harare. Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu,
disputing Dell's recent statement saying inflation could hit 1.5 million
percent by year's end, driving President Robert Mugabe from power,
characterizing his comments as "malicious propaganda."
While some economists said Dell's forecast is debatable, most agree Harare
must take urgent steps to check inflation and stabilize the economy.
For perspective, VOA turned to two economists: Eric Chinje, head of
communications at the African Development Bank, and Eddie Cross, an economic
advisor to Movement for Democratic Change founding president Morgan
Cross told reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyelye that there can be little doubt
about the dire condition of the Zimbabwean economy.
By Davison Makanga
HARARE, Jun 25 (IPS) - Zimbabwe's escalating food crisis comes amid
resurgent accusations that food aid is being abused as a political tool.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Food Programme
(WFP) have said that more than 2,1 million Zimbabweans in both rural and
urban areas will be in dire need of food aid in the third quarter of this
The figure is set to escalate to 4,1 million by early 2008, more than a
third of Zimbabwe's population. The organisations estimate a 44 percent
decline in tonnage from last year's harvest to this year.
Zimbabwe has suffered poor harvests since the government started its chaotic
land reform programme in 2000. Over a number of years the ministry of
agriculture's predictions of a ''bumper harvest'' have come to nought.
''Zimbabwe's looming food crisis is the result of another poor harvest,
exacerbated by the country's unprecedented economic decline, extremely high
unemployment, and the impact of HIV/AIDS,'' said Amir Abdulla, WFP's
regional director for Southern Africa.
''This year's crisis is partly caused by the drought but we cannot deny the
fact that the economic crisis and poor planning are the major causes,''
emphasised Vincent Gwaradzimba, secretary for agriculture in the opposition
political party the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
Furthermore, at the height of the 2006/7 cropping season, the government
bungled by purchasing sub-standard fertiliser from South Africa. The
fertiliser boob did not only cost the treasury but also impacted on the
The FAO/WFP report says perennial drought regions such as Matabeleland
South, Matabeleland North, Midlands, Manicaland and Masvingo have reached
the red light stage with many families having harvested nothing. They could
run out of food as early as next month.
''It is not even true to say that we will only start starving by July. The
facts on the ground show that there is no food in the granaries. Pupils are
staying away from school because of this,'' a primary school teacher in
Masvingo province told IPS.
''We only received maize two weeks ago when Zanu PF was campaigning for a
parliamentary by-election,'' the teacher added on condition of remaining
Moreover, some senior government officials are reportedly threatening relief
agencies. Manicaland province governor Tineyi Chigudu was quoted lashing out
at the WFP's implementing partners for working ''in cahoots'' with the MDC.
In Matebeleland South, ruling ZANU PF member of parliament Abednigo Ncube
threatened to close World Vision Zimbabwe. Ironically, these are provinces
hardest hit by food shortages.
The accusations have led National Association of Non-Governmental
Organisations (NANGO) to again refute ZANU PF members' allegations that it
is pursuing the MDC's agenda.
''To the best of our knowledge, there are no non-governmental organisations
that seek to buttress opposition politics. NGOs are there to implement
government plans to develop communities,'' said Fambai Ngirande, NANGO
President Robert Mugabe announced that the government will institute a
mechanisation programme aimed at providing agricultural equipment to
promising new farmers, regardless of political affiliation.
''It is a national event... the realisation is important that there must be
occasions when we must be together. After all, we eat together,'' Mugabe was
quoted as saying in the state media.
Experts from the FAO and WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission (CFSAM)
have cautioned that the urban areas are equally affected by the food crisis.
They estimate that around one million people in urban areas will face food
shortages over the coming months and could need food assistance.
The government of Zimbabwe has entered into a contract to receive 400,000
tons of maize from Malawi and is expected to import a further 239,000 tons
of wheat and rice.
Another estimated 61,000 tonnes of maize could be brought into the country
through informal cross-border trade and remittances in kind, especially from
South Africa. This leaves a gap of 352,000 tons of cereals to be met by food
Meanwhile, the climate change office in the ministry of environment and
tourism has pointed to global warming as being the cause of erratic climate
trends in Zimbabwe. Washington Zhakata, the coordinator of the office, said
a number of factors linked to global warming are affecting the country.
''We have realised that of late there is less rainfall and more drought, so
we are going to be affected by this trend,'' said Zhakata. (END/2007)
ALERT: Residents without water for three days
25 June 2007
RESIDENTS of Glen View and Glen Norah have been without water for the past
three days and there are fears there might be a disease outbreak if ZINWA
and the City of Harare continued to ignore distress calls coming from there.
In separate interviews with CHRA, Tungamirai Madzokere, the Ward Coordinator
for Ward 31 and Naome Kazingizi, a CHRA member in Glen Norah, both said they
feared residents would contract diseases like cholera and dysentery if the
situation remained as desperate.
Ms Kazingizi said Glen Norah residents have been fetching water from the dam
between Glen Norah 'A' and 'B' since Friday, creating a fertile situation
for cholera and dysentery outbreak.
'That dam receives most of its water from a stream originating from
Highfield and imagine the burst sewerage from upstream," she said. "The
ZINWA officials and the District Office have continued to ignore our reports
and we do not know where to make our reports now."
Another resident Timothy Mufunga, the Ward 27 Coordinator, said he has
failed to take a bath since Friday.
Mufunga said: "Our toilets have become no-go areas. The stench is too strong
for comfort in our homes. Those women with children have nowhere to wash
their napkins and the situation is so terrible. Promises to redress the
situation have yielded no positive results."
Mr Madzokere, who is also the chairperson of the CHRA Welfare Committee,
said people have been made frantic efforts to get a response from both the
City of Harare and ZINWA without success.
He said: "There are queues emerging at Amalinda Plots where residents are
fetching water from open water sources. Residents in Amalinda have no
toilets and use the bush to relieve themselves.
He said teachers at Glen View 4 and 1 Primary Schools turned away their
pupils due to acute water shortage and feared the continued presence of
pupils at the school could create a health hazard.
Officials from the two affected primary schools were unavailable top comment
on the latest crisis.
Since ZINWA was imposed on residents in urban centres, including Harare,
citizens have experienced severe and long spells of water shortages,
threatening the health of residents.
For further details please contact Mr Mufunga on 011 914 128, Ms Kazingizi
0912 869 291 and Mr Madzokere on 0912 869 295 or email us on email@example.com
Combined Harare Residents' Association
Mobile: 011 612 860 or 0912 869 294
"Stand Firm. Be of Good Courage"
By Lance Guma
25 June 2007
The collapse of essential services came to the fore once again with reports
from the Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) that residents in Glen
View and Glen Norah have been without water for 3 days. There are now
widespread fears of a disease outbreak if both the Zimbabwe National Water
Authority (ZINWA) and the illegal commission running Harare, continue to
ignore pleas from residents. CHRA Information Officer Precious Shumba told
Newsreel it was possible the water authority had now introduced a 'load
shedding' exercise to compensate for the dwindling water pumping capacity of
the city. He said ZINWA officials are claiming they have no resources to
solve the problem.
Tungamirai Madzokere and Naome Kazingi who are ward coordinators for the
suburbs said residents risked contracting diseases like cholera and
dysentery. People in Glen Norah are said to be fetching water from a dam
between Glen Norah A and B since Friday last week. Kazingi is quoted as
saying, 'that dam receives most of its water from a stream originating from
Highfield and imagine the burst sewerage from upstream. The ZINWA officials
and the District Office have continued to ignore our reports and we do not
know where to make our reports now."
Other residents like Timothy Mufunga told CHRA they have not bathed since
Friday, 'our toilets have become no-go areas. The stench is too strong for
comfort in our homes. Those women with children have nowhere to wash their
napkins and the situation is so terrible. Promises to redress the situation
have yielded no positive results.' The association reports long queues
emerging at the Amalinda plots where people are getting the water. More
worrying is the fact that residents living near the water source have no
toilets and use the bush to relive themselves.
Teachers at Glen View 4 and 1 Primary Schools have also started turning
their pupils away due to acute water shortages. It is feared if they attend
school it will create a health hazard. Several other suburbs in Harare, like
Msasa Park, are reported to have also gone without water for 3 days.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
WOZA news update
Monday 25th June 2007
WOZA delivers open letter to Mbeki at South African Embassy in Harare
Approximately 200 members of Women and Men of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA/MOZA)
delivered an open letter to President Thabo Mbeki at the South African
Embassy in Harare this morning. The letter was pressing for a genuine agenda
to the South African mediated-talks that is more transparent, inclusive and
addresses socio-economic issues.
WOZA gathered at the Embassy in suburban Harare today to highlight the
unfairness of talks that only involve politicians who will be not be
addressing issues of social justice - the 'Bread and Roses' Zimbabweans
need. It was also to pressure for the inclusion of voices at the negotiating
table that will raise socio-economic issues - issues at the heart of
When the group arrived, they affixed placards and material strips carrying
their messages to the fence.
Some of the messages read - 'The talks should be about Bread and Roses',
'all Zimbabweans have views - lets all talk about talks' and 'politicians
don't cut deals in our name'.
Whilst the peaceful group gathered outside the gates to the Embassy, male
and female representatives went inside to deliver WOZA's open letter, as
well as their vision for a new Zimbabwe and a plan on how to get there
through the People's Charter and '10 Steps to a New Zimbabwe'. Embassy staff
received the letter, and having delivered their message, the group
There have been no reports of arrests since then.
Please see below for a copy of the open letter. WOZA's '10 steps to a new
Zimbabwe' and People's Charter can be found on our website at
As the protest was carried out during a time of great repression and police
brutality, only a select group of the very brave participated, acting as
representatives of their communities.
WOZA would like to thank the staff of the South African Embassy for
receiving both the open letter and the peaceful gathering in the spirit that
they were intended.
25th June 2007
For more information, please contact Jenni Williams on
+263 912 300 456 or +263 912 898 110 or Magodonga
Mahlangu on +263 912 362 668 or Annie Sibanda on +263
912 898 112 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Updates can be found on our
website at www.wozazimbabwe.org
His Excellency Mr M W Makalima
The South African Embassy
Talking about TALKS - WOZA/MOZA's view - ten steps to a new Zimbabwe
WOZA has been reading and hearing about 'the talks'
and wish to express our views about these. We ask that you kindly relay this
letter to President Thabo Mbeki.
Women and men of WOZA have initiated a non-violent campaign with the aim of
mobilising Zimbabweans to demand social justice from their leaders. Our
mandate is to hold leaders accountable and mobilise people to demand leaders
who will deliver all aspects of social justice and a genuinely people-driven
constitution. We will not vote in an election without the latter.
As we deliver this letter, Zimbabweans are living in a state of fear and
uncertainty. They suffer discrimination in all its forms and are unable to
earn a living. Levels of poverty are high; unemployment is at 82% and
inflation at four figures. Non-existent service delivery also makes life
difficult. Access to education, housing and other basic needs is now only
for the rich. The HIV/AIDS pandemic, which has created thousands of orphans
and child-headed households, is a social catastrophe compounded by a failed
healthcare system and little or no access to ARVs. Further loss of valuable
human resources is happening due to people leaving the country in large
numbers. People have been unsuccessful at holding their government
accountable due to a raft of repressive laws and shrinking freedom of
expression/media space. Corruption at all levels of government and the
politicisation of all aspects of society has led to chaos and
disorganization in every sector.
We believe that only including politicians in the SADC initiative will
perpetuate the problem rather than deliver a solution. We have an alternate
view, which we drew up after consulting widely with our membership, and have
attached it below - '10 Steps to a New Zimbabwe'.
We would like to know what mandate South Africa has from SADC? What do
Presidents Mbeki and Kikwete wish to achieve by this mediation? We are
hopeful that they wish to bring about a new government AND assist this new
government to bring about meaningful political, economic and social reform.
We wish to suggest that for the South African government to establish itself
as a genuine mediator, it would need to secure the cooperation of the
present Zimbabwean government. They must be persuaded to allow a
transitional process to go ahead without interference; this will obviously
mean that they have to step down from office. WOZA leaders and members
commit to working hand in hand with any political or civic leaders who will
honour the wishes of the Zimbabwean people and deliver social justice. By
our peaceful presence outside your embassy gates, we demonstrate to you that
we will continue to exert nonviolent pressure for them to step down by
exposing the injustices they have brought down on the heads of their
citizens. Please help us to birth a new Zimbabwe where Zimbabweans can enjoy
equality and live with dignity.
We also attach our vision document, a resolution made after an eleven-month,
nationwide consultation process. During 2006, over 284 meetings, consulting
almost 10,000 rural and urban people on social justice were conducted. The
people spoke clearly about what they want in a new Zimbabwe and their
contributions are contained in the People's Charter attached below.
We ask that you read it knowing that it contains the dreams and desires of a
Members and supporters of Women of Zimbabwe Arise
(WOZA) and Men of Zimbabwe Arise (MOZA)
By Lance Guma
25 June 2007
A venue hired by the MDC UK executive turned out to be too small when over a
thousand Zimbabweans turned up for Morgan Tsvangirai's rally in Luton, 54
kilometres outside London. The opposition leader took time out from a
European trip of the Save Zimbabwe Campaign to address members of his party.
National Constitutional Assembly Chairperson Lovemore Madhuku, Luton North
Member of Parliament Kelvin Hopkins, ZINASU student leader Tendai Mudehwe
and the entire MDC UK executive were present. You could have been forgiven
for thinking Luton was a suburb in Harare as the local police constabulary
had to deploy officers to monitor the large crowds who could not get into
A sombre atmosphere briefly took over the rally as Tsvangirai asked the
children of the late National Chairman Isaac Matongo, Stanley and Vongai, to
stand up and be acknowledged by the crowd. Eldest son Stanley broke down
into tears and had to be comforted by friends. Tsvangirai's speech itself
was measured and cautious. He avoided dismissing mediation efforts by South
African President Thabo Mbeki instead using a Shona idiom about three
different bulls in a kraal. Loosely translated he implied that Mbeki had the
ability to put Mugabe under pressure and this was the advantage in having
him as broker. He challenged Zimbabweans in the diaspora to also contribute
in any way they could to the fight for freedom in their homeland.
Answering questions from the crowd on what the MDC was doing to improve the
plight of asylum seekers in the UK, the MDC leader said his party could not
tell the British government what to do. Turning to Luton's Labour party MP,
Tsvangirai urged him to press his colleagues in parliament to ensure
Zimbabweans are treated humanely while in the UK.
One party member stood up to query the appointment of Hebson Makuvise the
MDC's Chief Representative in the UK. Tsvangirai said this appointment was
not unique to the UK and that worldwide he had appointed several individuals
to act as diplomats on behalf of the party.
MDC UK Chairman Ephraim Tapa criticized party members who did not turn up
for party activities in the UK, but only attend meetings when Tsvangirai was
around. He said out of the hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans in the UK
only 4500 were registered party members. Meanwhile on Monday Tapa issued an
apology to party members who failed to get inside the hall. In an interview
with Newsreel he said a last minute cancellation of the open-air venue in
Kent had created the problem. The police in Kent advised the owners of the
grounds that the expected crowds were too big for them to handle. This left
them with only 5 days to find a venue and in the end they were forced to use
the community centre in Luton. 'The hall we ended up using had been booked
for the end of the month for our fundraiser,' Tapa explained. He said they
had to negotiate a change of dates and use it for Saturday's rally, as a
NB: The full address by Morgan Tsvangirai and Lovemore Madhuku in the UK can
be heard on Reporters' Forum this Wednesday. Lance Guma presents a special
edition of the programme covering everything that went on.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
24 June 2007
By Brilliant Pongo
Once in a while we get to meet as Zimbabweans in our hundreds and that is
usually at music gigs, this week we met in Luton not for a music gig but an
audience with Tsvangirai. Luton's Lewsey community centre was abuzz with
activity yesterday as hundreds of Zimbabweans from all over the UK thronged
Luton for a Tsvangirai rally.
Tsvangirai who is part of the delegation of political, civic and church
leaders on tour in Europe as part of an initiative to engage the
international community on the situation in Zimbabwe under the Save Zimbabwe
Campaign banner, found time to meet with his supporters in the UK at a rally
organised by the MDC UK branch.
Hundreds of Zimbabweans overwhelmed the tiny Lewsey community centre hall
leaving many to sit outside, they did not even get to see Mr Tsvangirai or
hear what he had to say. Those who made it into the hall were uncomfortably
pac cramped in the hall which had little ventilation, with the temperature
high people were sweating in the heat. However the crowd patiently waited to
hear Tsvangirai's address and had to endure the long introductions and
slogan chanting of all those who sat at the high table.
What the people had come to hear was Tsvangirai's address however the MDC UK
executive could not resist the opportunity to reintroduce themselves to a
crowd that already knew who most of them were and perhaps show the president
their slogan chanting abilities and of course for the likes of Ephraim Tapa
(MDC UK chairman) this was a relished opportunity given him to pontificate
something which is now fast becoming a trademark Tapa style at any
gathering. (Simply put in Shona they say Va Tapa vanorebesa munamato.)
Tsvangirai began by giving what he called a graphic illustration of the
state of affairs in Zimbabwe in which he ran the crowd through the current
foreign exchange rates of the Zimbabwean dollar versus the US dollar and the
British Pound and then spoke of the escalating inflation rate in Zimbabwe he
also spoke of the shrinking life expectancy in Zimbabwe which he said had
dropped to 35 years. He then spoke of the need to keep the Zimbabwean issue
on the international agenda and promised to deal with the land issue in what
he called a proper and orderly fashion, Tsvangirai encouraged those in the
UK in particular and those in the diasporas to recruit more people to join
up in the membership of the MDC and the straggle to restore democracy to
Lovemore Madhuku of the NCA was also given chance to speak and he spoke of
the need to have a new constitution for Zimbabwe, this reporter had a chance
to talk to him outside the meeting and asked if it was necessary to change a
constitution that the people did not really understand, arguing that it is
perhaps best to get the people of Zimbabwe to first understand the current
constitution and then try to correct its short comings at the same time
emphasizing the importance of a peoples constitution, citing examples of
what Hugo Chavez of Venezuela who educated the Venezuelan people about the
importance of a peoples constitution did.
However, Madhuku contended that what the NCA was doing was the best way
forward he claimed that the NCA had spoken to the people on the ground in
Zimbabwe and the way forward was to come up with a new constitution all
together. But my argument remains if its just windows that need replacing on
a house why destroy the whole structure is it not easier to just replace the
Speaking to the people after the rally this reporter got a mixed reaction to
Tsvangirai's speech with some saying they were well pleased with Tsvangirai's
speech. However, Alois Mbawara and Wellington Chibanguza of the Free
Zimbabwe Youth Movement said they were not impressed by Tsvangirai's speech
at all. " He is not saying much at all, all he seems to be doing is dance
round the real issues, he mentioned the land issue but we all know the MDC
is not laying out how they will deal with that issue which is close to the
hearts of the majority of Zimbabweans". Argued Mbawara.
Sanderson Makombe who traveled from Wolverhampton was not amused by the
choice of venue as he was one of those who could not get inside the building
to hear what was said " it was a waste of time for me I did not get to hear
anything" However Zachariah Nhira an activist from Wolverhampton was well
pleased with the way the meeting had gone " President Tsvangirai has
recharged my batteries and I am motivated to continue with the struggle to
free Zimbabwe from the evil dictator" said Zachariah.
Colin Freeman (chief foreign correspondent) for The Sunday Telegraph
expressed to this reporter the lack of professionalism on the part of the
information department of the MDC UK branch in deal with the press/media who
were trying to cover the event. " we found it difficult to get in and even
arrange to meet with Mr. Tsvangirai" said Freeman.
This reporter experienced harassment by the ill-trained green bomber like
security personal that were drafted mostly from the MDC UK membership as he
tried to go about his business. Journalist who had come to cover the event
hustled their way to the front trying to position their equipment so they
could record the proceedings. At the end of the rally even the
better-positioned journalist failed to talk to Tsvangirai as he was rushed
away by his security personal.
Nehanda Radio: Zimbabwe's first 24 hour internet radio news channel.
By Tererai Karimakwenda
June 25, 2007
June 26 is a day recognized by the United Nations as the International Day
in Support of Victims of Torture, and this year Zimbabweans have organized
commemorative events in Johannesburg and London. 2007 saw an increase in the
number of torture victims in Zimbabwe after the government banned a prayer
session in March and arrested opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai. The world
saw images of how badly beaten and tortured he was. And since then, hundreds
of pro-democracy activists have been abducted and tortured.
In London, a UN Torture Day service of solidarity will be held at St. Paul's
Church in Covent Garden. It is sponsored by several organizations including
the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum,
Amnesty International, Redress, International Bar Association, International
Rehabilitation Council for Victims of Torture and the Zimbabwe Association.
Carla Ferstman from Redress said these church services are to commemorate
not only victims of torture who died, but those who survived and need
healing. She explained that acts considered torture are not just the
physical and psychological acts can be considered torture. The act simply
needs to have a serious impact on the individual being victimized. The
London service will end with a procession to Zimbabwe House where flowers
will be laid in memory of those who have died.
The Johannesburg service is being organized by the Crisis in Zimbabwe
Coalition South Africa team, along with the Zimbabwe Torture Victims
Survivor Project. Khetani Sibanda from Crisis is encouraging people to
attend, saying there would be presentations based on research done by the
Survivors Project. There will also be a video highlighting the experiences
of women who were subjected to torture by state agents. Sibanda told us
there has been an increase in the number Zimbabweans crossing into South
Africa since the government intensified it's terror campaign against
perceived enemies in March. He said most of those who have suffered this
year have been women.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
FROM THE ZIMBABWE VIGIL
SERVICE OF SOLIDARITY WITH TORTURE SURVIVORS OF ZIMBABWE
The Service is taking place on 26th June, UN International Day in Support of
Victims of Torture and is organised by Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum in
association with Amnesty International UK, Redress, International Bar
Association, International Rehabilitation Council for Victims of Torture,
Zimbabwe Association and the Zimbabwe Vigil.
Venue: St Paul's Church, Bedford Street, Covent Garden WC2E 9ED.
Date and Time: 6 - 7.30pm, Tuesday, 26th June 2007
Main speakers: Chenjerai Hove, John Makumbe and Brita Sydhoff.
All welcome to join the service and post-service procession to lay flowers
on the steps of the Zimbabwe Embassy in memory of those who have been
tortured. The service will mirror similar services in Zimbabwe and South
Africa. Between January and March this year the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO
Forum documented 254 cases of torture in Zimbabwe.
For further information, contact: Wiz Bishop, Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO
Forum: 020 7065 9048, 07963 521160.
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 by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in
October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair
elections are held in Zimbabwe. http://www.zimvigil.co.uk
Tuesday 26 June 2007
By Nqobizitha Khumalo
BULAWAYO - Human rights activists on Monday said torture was on the rise in
Zimbabwe with 300 cases of torture reported so far this year and the figure
is expected to rise sharply as the country inches closer to key presidential
and parliamentary elections next year.
Politically motivated violence, human rights abuses and torture - mostly
blamed on state agents and militant supporters of President Robert Mugabe's
ruling ZANU PF party - have since 1999 escalated in the run-up to key
"So far this year we have recorded about 300 cases of torture in Zimbabwe
and the cases are still going up," Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum (ZHRF)
official Tendai Chabvuta told a regional Southern African Development
Community (SADC) conference held in the city of Bulawayo to mark the
International Day of Torture.
The cases of torture recorded in the first half of this year are more than
the 136 cases recorded for the whole of 2005 and more than 75 percent of the
380 cases of torture recorded last year.
Chabvuta, whose ZHRF documents cases of political violence and human rights
abuses in Zimbabwe, said Zimbabwe and Angola were the only two countries in
the 14-nation SADC that have not signed the International Convention on
Another expert on torture, Fidelis Mudimu, said the use of torture in
Zimbabwe was no longer limited to political cases but had become widespread
in the country with the police increasingly using torture to obtain
information even from common criminals.
"Torture is the standard form of investigation in Zimbabwe and the police
use it to extract confessions on cases whether they are political, social or
economic cases that the police are handling," said Mudimu, who works for the
Counselling Services Unit of Amani Trust, a local group that provides
counseling and support services for victims of abuse.
Torture, which Chabvuta said had become entrenched in Zimbabwe, is
prohibited under the country's laws.
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa and his Home Affairs counterpart Kembo
Mohadi were not immediately available to respond to charges that the use of
torture was on the rise in Zimbabwe.
However, Harare has in the past rejected criticism of its human rights
record by the ZHRF and other non-governmental organisations that it accuses
of seeking to use false claims of human rights abuses by state agents as
part of a wider Western-led plot to tarnish and vilify Mugabe's
government. - ZimOnline
Tuesday 26 June 2007
HARARE - Zimbabwe's main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
party on Monday accused the government of "negotiating in bad faith" in
talks led by President Thabo Mbeki after it renewed at the weekend a ban on
political rallies in Harare.
The MDC said the ban, first imposed in March and which the opposition party
says is meant to cripple it by preventing it from interacting with
supporters, was against the spirit of the Mbeki-led initiative to broker
dialogue between the opposition party and President Robert Mugabe's
governing ZANU PF party.
"The ban is against the spirit of the South Africa-led SADC (Southern Africa
Development Community) initiative to broker dialogue between ZANU PF and the
MDC," the opposition party said in a statement.
"There cannot be honest dialogue while ZANU PF is busy undermining our basic
rights and freedom of assembly. It simply means the regime is negotiating in
bad faith," it added.
But the MDC, which accuses the police of using powers granted them under
government security laws to stop its rallies while allowing ZANU PF to hold
rallies whenever the ruling party wishes to do so, did not say it would pull
out of the SADC-brokered talks.
Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena was not immediately available to clarify
the reasons why the law enforcement agency extended the five-months ban on
political rallies in Harare, a bastion of MDC support.
The police, who are fiercely loyal to Mugabe's government, first banned
political rallies and public demonstrations in Harare in February over fears
of an opposition uprising in the face of a deepening economic crisis.
Zimbabwe's economic crisis - marked by inflation of more than 4 500 percent
and the highest in the world, shortages of food and nearly every basic
survival commodity - has driven political tensions in the country to
Mbeki was last March asked by SADC heads of state and government to lead
efforts to resolve Zimbabwe's eight-year political and economic crisis by
facilitating dialogue between Mugabe's government and the MDC.
The South African President has said he is making headway in his mediation
effort and promised to brief SADC leaders on the progress made so far by the
end of this month. - ZimOnline
Tuesday 26 June 2007
By Tsungai Murandu
HARARE - Zimbabwe currently tops the list of countries that have forced the
largest number of journalists into exile, according to a new report from the
Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).
The report released last week showed that 48 Zimbabwean journalists had
escaped persecution by the government between July 2001 and this month.
This accounts for about 20 percent of the total global number of scribes
forced to flee their countries in the past six years.
"The 243 journalists surveyed by CPJ came from 36 countries, with more than
half hailing from just five: Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Colombia, and
Uzbekistan," explained the CPJ report.
Sixty percent were from African countries, where porous borders and harsh
press freedom conditions contributed to a steady exodus of journalists.
The main destination countries for the exiled Zimbabwean scribes were
Botswana, Canada, Kenya, South Africa, United Kingdom, United States and
Other countries cited in the CPJ report as having a large number of
journalists in exile were Haiti, Afghanistan, Liberia, Rwanda, Gambia and
Most of the journalists cited death threats, likelihood of imprisonment and
harassment as reasons for escaping from their countries.
Zimbabwe has some of the toughest media laws in the world. For example, the
government's Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act requires
journalists to obtain licences from the government's Media and Information
Commission in order to practise in Zimbabwe.
The commission can withdraw licences from journalists who fail to conform.
Journalists caught practising without a licence are reliable to a two-year
jail term under AIPPA.
Besides journalists being required to obtain licences, newspaper companies
are also required to register with the state commission with those failing
to do so facing closure and seizure of their equipment by the police.
The Public Order and Security Act imposes up to two years in jail on
journalists found guilty of publishing falsehoods that may cause public
alarm and despondency, while another law, the Criminal Codification Act,
imposes up to 20 years in jail on journalists convicted of denigrating
President Robert Mugabe in their articles.
At least four independent newspapers including the country's biggest
circulating daily, The Daily News, were shut down over the past four years
for breaching government media laws. Close to 100 journalists were also
arrested by the police over the same period. - ZimOnline
Tuesday 26 June 2007
By Regerai Marwezu
MASVINGO - Ruling ZANU PF youths last weekend stormed a village in
Bikita in southern Zimbabwe and evicted about 20 members of the Ziki family
for allegedly supporting the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change
In a fresh sign of rising political tensions in Zimbabwe ahead of next
year's presidential and parliamentary elections, the youths raided the
family in the middle of the night and looted property worth over millions of
The Simon Ziki family, whose support for the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC
is well known in the area, has since fled the homestead following the
The family's lawyer, Tongai Matutu, on Monday confirmed the incident
adding that he had since challenged the family's eviction in the courts.
"I have since successfully obtained an order for the evicted families
to return to their homestead. As I speak right now, the homestead is
deserted and the family members have fled.
"They were bundled into a government truck and were taken to unknown
destination. Their property was looted by the ZANU PF youths who accused
them of supporting the MDC," said Matutu.
Matutu, who is also the MDC legislator for Masvingo Central
constituency, said he had also obtained a court order that allowed his
clients to safely return to their home. The order also demanded that the
police return the family's looted property.
It could not be established yesterday whether the police, who have
been accused in the past of ignoring court orders involving ZANU PF, had
complied with the ruling to allow the MDC supporters back on their property.
Matutu said cases of MDC supporters being evicted from their rural
homes were on the increase as Zimbabwe edges closer to next year's
"We also have a recent case in Gutu south in which three families were
harassed and intimidated by members of the ruling party because of their
links with the MDC," said Matutu.
Zimbabwe has grappled with cases of political violence in the run-up
to every major election held since 2000.
The MDC and human rights groups accuse President Robert Mugabe of
unleashing political violence on his enemies to stay in power, a charge he
Last month, ZimOnline reported that ZANU PF was mobilising youths and
veterans of the country's 1970s liberation war to seal off rural areas from
the MDC ahead of elections that political analysts say Mugabe could lose. -
SW Radio Africa (London)
25 June 2007
Posted to the web 25 June 2007
A delegation of political, civic and church leaders is winding up a tour of
Europe as part of an initiative to engage the international community on the
situation in Zimbabwe. The group, working under the Save Zimbabwe Campaign
banner, includes MDC leaders Morgan Tsvangirai and Professor Arthur
Mutambara, ZAPU leader Paul Siwela, National Constitutional Assembly
Chairman Dr. Lovemore Madhuku and leader of the Zimbabwe Christian Alliance
Bishop Levee Kadenge.
Dr Madhuku said the group held joint meetings with European leaders to also
demonstrate that they are a united group of people who are fighting for
democratic reforms and lobbying international opinion in relation to
elections due to be held next year.
However the Mugabe regime has accused the group of acting in bad faith and
"launching an anti-Zimbabwe campaign in Europe," but Madhuku dismissed this
saying this is a pro-Zimbabwean campaign not just in Europe but worldwide.
The leaders are expected to return to Zimbabwe this weekend where plans
would be made to tour parts of Africa and North America.
Dr Madhuku said: "Each part of the world has a specific role to play. Africa
has its role, which is more or less to take a prominent role in advocating
for reforms in Zimbabwe. Europe has its own role - it will have to play an
important role in mobilizing resources for reconstruction when change takes
place in Zimbabwe. So we are not fools who are just moving around."
The civic leader said it was important to inform people, as each part of the
world has its own misunderstandings about the crisis in Zimbabwe. He said
some leaders in Europe did not know the full extent of the flawed electoral
process and did not understand why the opposition was threatening to boycott
the elections. While in parts of Africa, Robert Mugabe had hoodwinked some
people into believing that the fight was against former colonial power
The group said they stressed to the European leaders that they should help
push for reform via African institutions like the Southern African
Development Community (SADC). "So what we are telling Europe is, it must
play its role via institutions that have been created in Africa to resolve
On the issue of the ongoing talks between the political parties Madhuku said
civic society is still not happy because it is not being informed adequately
on the progress. Madhuku pointed out: "What has happened so far is simply
discussions about an agenda. It says nothing about whether these parties
will agree. We still are very skeptical about the SADC initiative and we
know for sure that that there is not a lot of seriousness by South Africa on
He said even though he is moving around with the opposition leaders one of
the issues which keep complicating the situation is the lack of openness on
the issue of talks. "The opposition would want at given times, and when it
becomes convenient to itself, to remain as an opposition political party and
then at other times it wants to work as a pro-democracy movement. These are
The outspoken civic leader said: "The fact that we are moving together and
the fact that we share certain points does not mean we have completely
resolved some of the problems that we have faced in the past. There is still
that difficulty that the opposition is not open. Its not transparent in some
of its initiatives and some of it is on how the opposition has been handling
the whole mediation effort. We are very unhappy about this situation."
Meanwhile, Morgan Tsvangirai is due to address supporters at a rally in
Luton in the UK on Saturday afternoon. The event will be held at Lewsey
Community Centre, Landrace Road, Luton LU4 0SW.
Hate speech can kill and maim just as censorship
Published 2007-06-26 07:25 (KST)
For a long time, hate speech has been a key player on Zimbabwe's acrimonious
As the country seeks a way out of it political mess, the process of national
purification and healing to rid itself of the clutter of hate is virtually
Hate speech in all its forms has such an insidious power that it can easily
rip apart a whole society especially when it is propagated by those that
occupy the high echelons of power.
Paradoxically, hate speech exploits diversity, which is a defining
characteristic of the social fabric, to enhance itself and sow seeds of
disharmony. As someone put it, words can turn into bullets; hate speech can
kill and maim just as censorship.
The political leadership, especially within Zimbabwean President Robert
Mugabe's ruling party, the Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front
(ZANU-PF), has been at the forefront of sowing words of hate within
With a stronghold on all mainstream mediums of communication -- radio and
television -- Mugabe himself has been at the forefront of spreading the
message of hate. The spew of tirades has gone without questioning in the
A simple definition of hate speech, at least according to the United States
Supreme Court, is speech that is abusive, insulting, intimidating and
harassing, fosters hatred and discrimination, and at its worst promotes
violence and killing.
That kind of speech promotes prejudicial action against a person or group
based on their race, gender, age, ethnicity, nationality, religion, sexual
orientation, gender identity, disability and moral or political views, among
Using a repressive stranglehold over the broadcast and print media, leaders
of Mugabe's ruling party have disseminated a constant stream of hate speech.
Although hate statements have been made by leaders throughout Zimbabwe's
post-independence period, since 1980, they have been particularly pointed in
the past seven years of the country's political and economic freefall.
A content analysis of the statements made by Mugabe and his cronies
conducted by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum shows that the statements
have been antagonistic to all opposition and dissent with the aim of
inciting violence and vengeful action against political opponents and
"The ruling party uses virulent language to condemn its opponents and
critics, not infrequently stooping to racial and ethnic abuse, and the
vituperation is aimed at intimidating and silencing these persons," says the
organization in a report titled "Their Words Condemn Them: The Language of
Violence, Intolerance and Despotism in Zimbabwe," released in May 2007.
Since 2000, many ordinary Zimbabweans have experienced gross human rights
abuses at the behest of the political leadership. At the same time, the
country has witnessed an increase in the incidence of hate speech and
intimidation correlated to the growing discontent against the incumbent
In many societies, during times of challenges to power or heavy criticism,
leaders with repressive tendencies condone a language that paints critics as
enemies of the state that need to be annihilated.
In such circumstances, rather than using language to liberate minds and
espouse a national vision, dictatorial leaders using privileged access to
mainstream avenues of expression use language as a weapon to encourage
violence against perceived enemies.
In the absence of a legal framework to address the poisonous effects of hate
speech on society, leaders in Zimbabwe's ruling party have purveyed hate
speech with impunity.
For example, in 1992, Mugabe described white farmers as "hard-hearted, you
would think they were Jews," setting the tone to the botched expropriation
of land from whites to landless blacks, which began in 2000, marking the
country's economic downfall.
Speaking at a ZANU-PF Congress in December 2001, Mugabe shouted "Death to
the teaboy!" in reference to opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, whom he
accuses of being too accommodating to whites.
In reference to parliamentary elections held in 2002, Mugabe said:
"What we are now headed for is real war, a revolutionary war. We have to
move like a military machine and you must prepare your own unit to move
forward. This is no longer a contest. This is a revolutionary war."
Not surprisingly, political violence, including torture and murders, largely
perpetrated by ruling party supporters against members and supporters of the
opposition followed Mugabe's vitriolic rhetoric. Perpetrators were allowed
to go free.
"Mugabe's rhetoric was followed by a series of violent mob attacks on the
opposition, the burning of offices and assaults and abductions of hundreds
of members in a wave of terror shortly before presidential elections," says
the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum.
In the past seven years, Mugabe has also uttered numerous vitriolic and
undiplomatic statements against the United States' George Bush and Britain's
Tony Blair, accusing the opposition of being Bush-Blair puppets and
therefore agents of neo-colonialism.
This has been laced with homophobic statements.
In February 2002, Mugabe said he challenged Blair "to parade his cabinet
against that of Zimbabwe" and said that the Zimbabwean government had
doctors, married men and women with families, while Blair had a homosexual
"We were laughing yesterday and saying was it lack of knowledge of biology
that led these people to do what my dogs and pigs know. My dogs and pigs
know which one is female and which one is male and it is never the other way
among them," he said.
In January 2003, Mugabe was quoted saying, "Our party must continue to
strike fear in the heart of the white man, our real enemy!"
What Mugabe and his cohorts' choice of language has inevitably done is to
create a society at siege; a society with a deep-seated schism between those
that call themselves nationalists and those perceived as enemies of the
As the country seeks a way out of its ongoing crisis, there's no doubt that
the language of its leaders will have to change to reflect a mood of
compromise, reconciliation and healing.
Hate speech is more than an expression of ideas; coming from leaders, it
creates conditions of social and political unrest, sowing seeds of violence
and conflict within and between societies and nations.
It is clear that a post-Mugabe, democratic Zimbabwe will have to draft a
hate speech legal instrument that holds leaders accountable to the words
that they utter. As with other countries' experiences, the challenge will be
how to balance the prevention of hate speech and the right to freedom of
expression, because the line between the two can be very thin.
25th Jun 2007 14:47 GMT
By Ian Nhuka
CHIREDZI - Tucked away near Zimbabwe's remote south-eastern border with
South Africa and Mozambique is a small community that is threatening the
development of one of the world's largest cross-border wildlife conservation
When thousands of villagers, with President Robert Mugabe's backing, invaded
hundreds of white-owned farms in 2000, a traditional leader, Chief Chitsa of
Ndali village in Chiredzi area, some 600 kilometres south of Harare, thought
the countrywide invasions were a chance for him and his people to reclaim
what they regard as their ancestral land.
Then he and his 750 subjects settled on the northern tip of Gonarezhou,
Zimbabwe's second largest national park. They soon got technical support
from the provincial government to parcel out five-hectare plots, among
themselves and set aside vast swathes of land in the protected area for
pastures for thousands of their cattle.
In addition to setting up permanent homes for themselves, they also built
two makeshift pole and dagga primary schools, manned by teachers on
But seven years on, the community is locked in a bitter wrangle with
President Mugabe's government which now wants to push them out of the giant
wildlife conservancy despite previously encouraging them to settle in the
The government's bid to evict them comes amid accusations from the media in
Mozambique and South Africa that Zimbabwe is not living up to the agreement
they signed five years ago to link up Gonarezhou with Kruger and Gaza
national parks of South Africa and Mozambique respectively to form 35 000
square kilometre Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park (GLTP).
South Africa is understood to be losing patience with the Zimbabwe
government over the stand off. It wants the cross border park to be fully
operational by 2010 when it hosts the FIFA World Cup.
President Mugabe and his South African counterpart, Thabo Mbeki and Joachim
Chissano, formerly president of Mozambique signed the international treaty
to establish the mega park in December 2002.
Touted as the world's largest conservation area, the GLTP is home to
hundreds of animals, including the "Big Five" of lion, elephant, rhinoceros,
leopard and buffalo.
Since the signing of the pact, the Zimbabwe government let the villagers
stay on, but now hopes for financial rewards from the FIFA World Cup in
South Africa resulting in financial benefits superceding the political
expedience that saw the villagers being allowed to invade and live in the
But, chief Chitsa and his people are stridently resisting the move, vowing
to defend their rights to the land with their blood.
They accuse President Mugabe's government of betraying them by evicting them
to create space for game.
"If they want to see another Chimurenga let them try to evict us. This is
our land, our fore-fathers lie buried here and no-one will remove us from
here," charged the traditional leader.
The governments of Zimbabwe, South Africa and Mozambique say the GLTP is
likely to be a big drawcard for hordes of tourists, expected to throng
Southern Africa to witness the global soccer showpiece.
Zimbabwe is desperate to capitalise on the soccer showcase to revive its
tourism sector after years of declining arrivals from traditional source
markets in Europe, Australia and America over safety fears. As a result, it
has lately escalated its campaign to clean up the park by relocating the
settlers, accusing them of violating the Parks and Wildlife Act.
But as part of their defiance campaign, the villagers have made their homes
a no-go area for strangers and government officials - almost making
Visitors to the area need clearance and armed escort from a local police
station at Ndali business centre.
At one point last July, villagers armed with knives, knobkerries, sticks and
other weapons, chased away the district administrator for Chiredzi after he
addressed a meeting telling them to leave.
Oral history says that the Chitsa ancestors left neighbouring Mozambique and
settled in Gonarezhou in 1695. They lived there since then and as their
population and influence grew, founded the Chitsa chiefdom, which covers a
significant part of the northern part of Chiredzi district in Masvingo
In 1958, the colonial government relocated them to an area 20km to the west
to pave way for a tsetse-fly control programme.
But 17 years after the eradication of the tsetse fly, which killed
their cattle, the Chitsa were not allowed back, the traditional leader
Soon Gonarezhou National Park was pegged, swallowing up their original home
"Our people have built permanent homes and took their property and cattle
there. In 2001, the government, through its provincial leadership led by
former governor, Josaya Hungwe, officially told us this was our land. We
were given certificates and the land was clearly surveyed and demarcated,"
says Chief Chitsa as he produced a file of the residence permits.
Since the launch of the land seizure campaign in 2000, the majority of the 4
500 white farmers have been evicted from their farms. They have been
sub-divided and allocated to some 300 000 blacks. But apart from invading
white-owned farms, some people also occupied game parks.
Land is an emotive issue in the country. Zimbabwe's 1970s liberation war
against British rule was mainly fought on a platform of land, among other
grievances. President Mugabe has sought to make it a vote catcher, making
the land question the theme of his populist political campaigns over the
During the farm invasions, an estimated 30 white farmers were killed in
clashes with blacks, while others were injured and valuable property lost
And the Chitsa villagers, like Msisinyane Mugiba threaten to unleash
violence on anyone seeking their eviction.
Mugiba, who has with 337 cattle grazing in the occupied area says he does
not care about the benefits the economy, stands to derive from the GLTP.
He is more concerned about the welfare of his cattle and family.
"This area has very fertile soils. We are growing maize and selling surplus
grain to the Grain Marketing Board and people who stay in the area we left
in 2000. It shows that we made a good decision by coming here," he said.
"This area was properly surveyed, planned and divided and the government
drilled 11 boreholes for us. So I do not understand when we are told we are
living here illegally."
President Mugabe is pursuing a conciliatory approach, fearful of inflaming
anti-government emotions as next year's elections approach.
However, government officials hint they might resort to force, possibly
after elections next March, if the villagers refuse to move
Vitalis Chadenga, a director the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management
Authority said the villagers risk arrest for violating the law.
"They are in breach of the law. Gonarezhou, like other national conservation
areas, is not for human settlement," he said.
"The people are an impediment to conservation schemes earmarked for the
park. We cannot allow a few people to frustrate a regional project like this
one. The entire economy is set to benefit from the GLTP."
He claimed that alternative land has been identified in Chizvirizvi
farming area in the same district, to resettle the villagers.
Before the land grab exercise, tourism was one of the country's key sectors,
contributing greatly to foreign currency earnings, gross domestic product
and employment. But now tourists have dwindled to a trickle.
South Africa's Environment minister, Mohammed Valli Moosa, recently said his
country was keen to see the success of the mega park.
"The park will open to the world the biggest ever animal kingdom. It will
increase foreign investment into the region and creating much-needed jobs
for our people, further acting as a symbol of peace and unity for the
But Misheck Kamundela, chairman of the Gonarezhou settler community vowed to
"The land redistribution programme that the government implemented was our
last chance to reclaim our ancestral land. Where will we get land if we are
evicted from here? We are not going anywhere," he said.
Kamundela said he does not mind living among predators like lions and
hyenas, as their original homes in nearby villages are overworked and
"I do not think our government cares more about animals than us," he added.
However, Masvingo provincial administrator, Felix Chikovo, maintained that
despite the resistance, the Chitsa community would be relocated.
"The GLTP holds promise for the country in terms of tourism development. We
cannot allow a few people to threaten its success," he said.
Monday 25 June 2007 06:10.
By Danna Harman
June 25, 2007 (PALOICH, South Sudan) - Li Haowei's girlfriend gave him a
silver ring when he left Liaoning, his home province in China, nine months
ago. Before he boarded the flight to Sudan, Mr. Li had never even left
Liaoning before. "You are so lucky," his girlfriend said, then, enviously.
"I was happy to go abroad and see the world," says Li, an accountant for
Petrodar, a multinational oil consortium. "But I did not know enough to know
I did not want to come here."
Paloich is not a particularly welcoming place. The heat surrounds and
suffocates you like a plastic bag. The dust in the dry season sticks to your
eyelashes and fills your nostrils. Mosquitoes buzz in your ears
Li is making three times the salary he would at home. But he misses his
girlfriend, he says, twisting his ring around. He misses Liaoning. He misses
real Chinese food. Sometimes he can't sleep. Fear of malaria is a constant.
He broke down crying when he read a tender letter from his mother last
month. He does not like it here.
The local Sudanese are not too keen on his presence here, either.
Sudan's oil production averages 536,000 barrels a day, according to
estimates by the Paris-based International Energy Agency. Other estimates
say it is closer to 750,000 barrels a day. And there is an estimated 5
billion-barrel reservoir of oil beneath Sudan's 1 million-square-mile
surface, almost all of it in the south of the country, an area inhabited
mainly by Christian and animist black Africans who fought a 21-year civil
war against the Arab-dominated Muslim government of the north.
The vast majority of this oil, 64 percent, is sold to China, now the world's
second-largest consumer of oil. And while neither Khartoum, China, nor
Petrodar release any statistics - this is generally believed to be an oil
deal worth at least $2 billion a year.
China's National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) is the majority shareholder in
both Petrodar and the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company, two of the
biggest oil consortiums in Sudan.
CNPC has invested billions in oil-related infrastructure here in Paloich,
including the 900-mile pipeline from the Paloich oil fields to the tanker
terminal at Port Sudan on the Red Sea, a tarmac road leading to Khartoum,
and a new airport with connecting flights to Beijing.
But they have not invested in much else here.
Locals live in meager huts, eating peanuts with perch fished out of the
contaminated Nile. There is no electricity. A Swiss charity provides
healthcare. An American aid group flies in food and mosquito nets. Most
children do not go to school. There is no work to be found. Petrodar, for
one, has its own workers - almost all of whom are foreigners (mostly
Chinese, Malaysians, and Qataris) or Sudanese northerners. The consortium
hires Paloich residents only rarely, for menial jobs.
It's a picture of underdevelopment not unusual in Sudan's semiautonomous
south. While some pockets - like the regional capital of Juba and the bigger
towns of Rumbek and Wau - have seen some economic revival since the signing
of the 2005 peace agreement, the majority of the south remains mired in
Locals blame their lot on oppression by Sudan's Islamist government and the
long war with the north. But they also blame the Chinese.
"[The Chinese] moved us away so we would not see what was going on. They
were stealing our oil and they knew it," says Abraham Thonchol, a
rebel-turned-pastor who grew up near Paloich. "Oil is valuable and we are
not idiots. We were expecting something."
US-based Chevron was the first oil company to arrive here, setting up
operations in the 1980s. "They employed us," says Mr. Thonchol. "We helped
with the drilling, drove them around, and worked as cooks. "
The second group of oilmen to show up was not as benevolent, say many
locals. Thonchol's cousin, Peter Nyok, a 6-foot, 6-inch, member of the Dinka
tribe with traditional lines carved on his forehead and six missing front
teeth, says it took a while for locals to differentiate between Westerners -
and the Chinese that came later. "They looked like whites to us. We could
not detect any difference, except, maybe, that they were shorter," he says.
"But then we found they behaved differently."
Chased out by civil war in the mid 1980s and '90s, and later kept away by
pressure from human rights groups, Chevron and other Western companies left
the oil fields for others. Canadian Talisman Energy, faced with a divestment
campaign, was forced to sell its 25-percent stake in the Greater Nile
Petroleum Operating Company in 2002.
Chinese firms were more than happy to fill the void.
But the Chinese operations were marked "from the beginning," by a "deep
complicity in gross human rights violations, scorched-earth clearances of
the indigenous population," says Sudan activist Eric Reeves, a professor at
Smith College in Northampton, Mass. Giving expert testimony before the
congressionally mandated US-China Economic and Security Review Commission
last August, Mr. Reeves claimed the Chinese gave direct assistance to
Khartoum's military forces which, in turn, burned villages, chased locals
away from their homes, and harmed the environment while prospecting for oil.
Brad Phillips, director of Persecution International, an aid group working
in South Sudan, has seen the destruction firsthand. "The Chinese are equal
partners with Khartoum when it comes to exploiting resources and locals
here," he says. "Their only interest here is their own." He would love to
see the Chinese sponsor a school here, he says, or a clinic, or an
agricultural program, or "anything for the people." But there is nothing
like that in sight. Just miles of desolate land.
"The Chinese simply do not care about us," says Martin Buywomo, Paloich's
mayor. "They have no contact. They never even came to my tent to pay
respects. They think we are lesser people." A member of the Shilluk tribe
who attended British mission schools, Mr. Buywomo puts down the worn copy of
George Eliot's 19th-century classic "Silas Marner" he is reading and
continues sadly. "We see them in their trucks but they overlook us. If they
saw us dying on the road, they would overlook us."
Buywomo rearranges the Chinese-made plastic pink flowers on his desk. "This
is colonialism all over again."
THABO MBEKI, for one, might not rush to correct such an impression. Last
December, the South African president - whose country is Beijing's largest
trading partner on the continent - cautioned against an unequal and
"colonial relationship" with China.
Across the border, in neighboring Zimbabwe - a country that can ill afford
to offend the few friends it has - Trevor Ncube, a respected newspaper
publisher, devoted a recent issue of his Zimbabwe Standard to whether doing
business with China was "merely swapping our old colonial master for a new
Perhaps most worrying for the Chinese is the grass-roots reaction to their
advances in the southern African nation of Zambia.
China, the world's largest copper consumer, has pledged $800 million in
investments in Zambia, one of the world's largest copper producers. Beijing
has written off nearly $8 million of Zambia's debt and announced the
establishment of a showcase free-trade zone which, according to China's
ambassador to Zambia, will create tens of thousands of jobs.
Nonetheless, in the lead-up to Zambia's Sept. 28 elections, presidential
candidate Michael Sata turned lack of safety at Chinese owned mines (50
Zambian mine workers were killed by an explosion in 2005) into a major
campaign issue. Mr. Sata fumed about what he called the plunder of the
country's mineral wealth and disregard for the environment - and promised to
kick out the Chinese and recognize Taiwan if he won. He did not. But a few
months later, Chinese President Hu Jintao cancelled a visit to the Zambian
copper-mining town of Chambishi due to fear of mass demonstrations against
This negative image of Beijing as a neo-colonizer could not be further from
the way China - a country never involved in either the colonial "Scramble
for Africa" of the 1800s or the African slave trade - wants to be perceived
"Over the last half decade, the Chinese and African people have built a deep
friendship in the course of the struggle for national liberation,
development, and rejuvenation," then Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing told
reporters after Mr. Hu's Zambia mine visit was canceled. "African friends,
from leaders to civilians ... called China a 'brother of Africa,' an 'all-weather
friend,' and the 'most important partner,' " waxed Mr. Li.
The Chinese, who, unlike the European powers who came before them, have no
direct rule over any population here and negotiate the terms of their stay
with the ruling government, say abuses of power are exceptions to the way
they do business.
"We always encourage Chinese enterprises to be in equal-footed cooperation
with their African counterparts, to abide by local laws and regulations,"
Liu Guijin, China's new special representative to Africa told journalists in
Beijing in April. "If they did something not so pleasant, that is not
consistent with government policy."
Xu Weizhong, director of the department of African studies at the China
Institute of Contemporary International Relations, a government think tank
in Beijing, refines this point. First of all, he says, many Chinese
enterprises are independent and cannot be controlled. "Now even state-owned
enterprises have room to maneuver ... and will sometimes refuse government
policies. This is a dilemma for the Chinese government."
But furthermore, he says, while China is indeed aiming to be a fair business
partner, the definition of what "good practice" might be should not be set
by outsiders. "The Chinese government respects African rules and regulations
if there are any, [but] it is less willing to respect rules that Western
governments impose on African issues," he states.
Petrodar accountant Li dismisses the whole debate, calling the stories about
stealing oil, degrading the people and the environment, and becoming new age
colonizers "Ali Baba tales."
"I am here to make money. My company is here to do the same," he says. "I
know this is a very poor and insecure place, but I am not responsible for
fixing all the things that are wrong in Sudan," he adds, not quite
understanding the complaints. "That's life. That's business."
. Peter Ford contributed to this report from Beijing.
How China compares with Europe's colonists
The Chinese are far from the first to be accused of taking advantage of this
continent. In fact, they are walking down a path well traveled by many of
those very nations now pointing an accusatory finger at them.
Duringthe so-called Scramble for Africa era, which started in the
1880s,imperialist European nations vied for control of chunks of the
little-known continent, eventually taking control of almost the
entire,massive, region. This rule by outsiders, in one form or
another,continued until after World War II.
France set itself up in a dozen West African nations, including what are
today Senegal and the Ivory Coast, as well as in Chad, Madagascar, and the
Comoros.Germany, for a while, ruled in parts of what are now Burundi,
Rwanda,Tanzania, and Namibia. Italy carved out its niches in Eritrea and
some of Somalia. Spain had a foothold in the West. The Portuguese - the
original African colonizers - held onto Angola, Mozambique, and other
smaller territories. Belgium infamously ran the Congo with a cruel hand, and
Britain created its mandates throughout East Africa and in what are now
Sudan, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Ghana, and Nigeria.
In Sudan (1956) and in Ghana (1957) became the first African nations to
achieve independence, with other nations quickly following suit, many after
long years of struggle.
The Europeans were, not surprisingly, loath to let go of "their" lands. For
decades, Africa offered them both open markets for goods and fertile ground
for missionary efforts. Also important, the continent supplied the Europeans
with cheap (or free) raw materials, such as cotton, rubber,tea, and tin
and - of course - with free human labor.
Some colonial powers behaved in a relatively benevolent, even if
paternalistic, manner in Africa - building up infrastructure, starting
schools, and involving locals in administration, note historians.
For the most part, however they say, the European colonial masters repressed
the development of nation-welding institutions in order to ensure easy
administration. Over a mosaic of tribal loyalties and languages were laid
arbitrary "national" boundaries, where the foreigners exercised their
authority, often brutally, with contempt for existing local structures and
traditions. The deep wounds of these times are still being dealt with by
When the Portuguese finally left Angola in 1975, for example, their legacy
of underdevelopment was staggering. After close to 500 years of rule,they
took off having trained hardly any African civil servants,technologists, or
military commanders. When freedom finally came,Angolans tell visitors today,
there was not one local doctor, lawyer,or engineer in the capital Luanda.
Civil war quickly ensued.
The Chinese, who do not govern any country in Africa directly or impose
their culture or religion on the local population, might be considered tame
"Despite growing skepticism as to China's intentions in the continent,"
argues China's government-run Xinhua News Agency in a commentary, " ... its
approach to Africa has been markedly different from that of its Western
counterparts - past and present."
Andrew Small, a China specialist at the German Marshall Fund, a public
policy institute, points out that many of Beijing's worst practices in
Africa today stem not from colonialist attitudes, but from China's own level
of development. "Every mining disaster in Zambia, forced resettlement around
[Sudan's] Merowe dam,and corrupt deal with government officials, has its
counterpart in[China's] Dongbei, the Three Gorges dam, Shanghai, and
elsewhere," he points out. "The central government's current exhortations to
Chinese companies operating internationally to be conscious of China's
international image and respect local conditions are virtually asking for a
higher standard of conduct in their dealings with the rest of the world than
exist at home."
Furthermore, says Mr. Small, China's approach to Africa is completely
different that of the European powers of the past.
"There is an attitude among many Chinese that Africa - like Asia decades
before - is primed for a developmental take-off ... making it a business and
investment opportunity rather than just a benighted part of the world that
needs to be saved or solely a repository of natural resources," he says.
"[China] will be in the unusual position of being both a superpower and
developing country for some time to come, with parts of the Chinese interior
having far more in common with Africa than with the West."
True, perhaps, but the colonial comparison itself is meaningless, says
Robert Rotberg, director of Harvard University's Kennedy School program on
"I would not say this is colonialism, as that term was specific to
aparticular place and time," he says. "But I would call it apostcolonial
exploitation, in which the Chinese are stripping thecontinent of raw
material as fast as they can and are fairly ruthless about bringing their
own laborers for projects and ignoring locals."
Mens News Daily
June 25, 2007 at 1:23 am ·
Afrikaans has been denigrated in recent years as the language of apartheid
but that does the language less than good service. In fact Afrikaans is
spoken in South Africa as a first language by more people than any other
language and is a marvelous means of describing exactly what you want to
say. I am told that the Afrikaans translation of the Bible, for example, is
much closer to the original languages simply because it is so descriptive
Vasbyt, means literally "bite hard" or "fast" in the English sense of "hold
fast" in the face of a threat. My advice to my compatriots who live and work
in Zimbabwe is just that. Not many of us have been white water rafting on
the Zambezi River. I have done it once, my son several times. I am told it
is the best white water in the world. It is a great river and at the
Victoria Falls it thunders over a drop that makes it the greatest waterfall
in the world.
Below the Falls the river is confined to a narrow basalt gorge for many
kilometers. The gorge is about 200 to 300 meters deep and the river is often
over 30 to 50 meters deep. In places the water moves at speed and you can
actually see the slope on its surface, where it meets impediments it is
really rough. When I went down the river on a raft with a dozen others, we
spent about as much time in the water as out.
When you are thrown out of the raft, you have no control over where you are
going, swimming is a waste of effort and you are often dragged deep into the
water by the currents and the occasional whirlpool. When this happens your
guide tells you not to panic - just trust your life jacket and make sure it
is tightly tied to your body.
We are in white water here in Zimbabwe, events are moving fast and you can
be dragged down in the river by its currents and eddies. You need a life
jacket and then some courage and a bit of a sense of adventure. If you then
can adopt the right frame of mind you really can enjoy the experience. It
can even be exhilarating!
Prices went up 100 per cent in April, 200 per cent in May and in June they
have started doubling every week. In July they will accelerate even further.
Already firms are closing their doors while they work out what to charge and
some are simply planning to close until this storm is over. The US
Ambassador said this week that he would not be surprised if we hit 1,5
million percent inflation this year.
The question I want answered is where is this all going? On the Zambezi
River you know where you are going - down river. In the case of Zimbabwe we
also know that this particular bit of white water is also leading us towards
regime change in some form. What sort of change and what emerges from it is
We as a people have been often criticized for not taking up weapons and
throwing the Zanu PF regime out. Look at Hamas - one week of mayhem on the
streets of the Gaza strip and hey presto - they are in control. There are
many examples of violence being employed to achieve regime change. Sometimes
the media even urge us to go that route because by doing so we would capture
the headlines. It makes great photography and sells papers and TV rights.
But I think we have been right in our decision to stick to our adopted task
of achieving a democratic, peaceful, lawful, change of government through
the ballot box. We have paid a price. 450 political killings - not one
prosecution. 500 000 people physically tortured or beaten in custody, 4,5
million have fled the country. We have fought four violent political
campaigns - won one and lost the other three through electoral fraud and
Our opponents know no other system of achieving regime change but violence.
They split in 1964 and both before and after fought each other in a violent
and bloody campaign for supremacy in the political arena of the time. They
took up arms against the Rhodesian government and although they did not
prevail in the battlefield the war created the political impetus that
eventually led to change. Change was not violent only because South Africa
and the global community intervened and forced a democratic transition on
Even now, they only know how to use violence and intimidation against the
MDC and our supporters as a defence. When confronted at the ballot box,
fraud and open manipulation. In the Courts they have simply manipulated the
legal system and denied us any chance of getting a hearing.
But think for a moment of the consequences of us taking up arms or even
stones to press our case. Would it have brought change any faster? In the
end would the new Zimbabwe that rises from the ashes be any better? We need
to see more of real democratic transition in Africa, not less. If we can
(with the help of the economy and perhaps the SADC) get a real democratic
transition in March 2008, it will be a great day for us and for the
The recent stories of an attempted coup look to me like either a set up or a
childish amateur effort that simply played into the hands of the Zanu PF
propagandists. Certainly it was not a serious challenge and for once no
claims that the British or the MDC were behind the effort. I am also
mystified by the huge collapse of the local currency last week. The upsurge
in buying of hard currency that triggered the collapse did not come out of
the private sector - State actors, probably the Reserve Bank, drove it. Was
this a carefully calculated effort to push the people over the edge and to
sponsor real street violence? Perhaps an effort to upstage and upset the
process now under way in South Africa? Whatever the reasons it sharply
accelerated the pace of inflation and has significantly shortened the fuse
on this particular situation.
But whatever is happening the river of events rushes towards regime change
here. It's very tough for us on the water itself but just remember the
advice given to me when I went down the river. Trust your life jacket, tie
it on tight and enjoy the ride! What is our life jacket? Its found in all
the all things we can do to get by. Friends sending small sums of money to
help people here with the cost of living, (you can actually live here on
US$100 a month). Standing together and helping each other (we have 2000
pensioners in Bulawayo whom we assist with essentials each month through a
voluntary organization). Feed your staff at work, pay more frequently, do
not hold cash, and do not save in any form except hard currency and
Then when we finally get to our destination - wet and exhausted - we can
help each other climb out of the gorge these idiots have got us into and let
me tell you, that cold beer or coke at the top, plus the view will make it
all worth while. Vasbyt!
Bulawayo, 25th June 2007
June 25, 2007
The future of the West Indies A-team tour of Zimbabwe was thrown into more
doubt with a statement from Keith Mitchell, the Grenada prime minister, that
in his view it is not safe for the side to travel.
"The West Indies A team has many very young players who need to be developed
in a nurturing environment. I am not convinced that given the instability
existing in Zimbabwe that this tour will provide this kind of environment. I
am sure that the parents and guardians of these players will be concerned
about them touring Zimbabwe."
Mitchell stated that while he understood the need for the WICB and the ICC
to broaden the appeal of cricket by taking games to as many countries as
possible, player safety should be one of the most important considerations
in deciding on venues.
Cricinfo has learned that the WICB is still calling round players trying to
get them to join the tour, although given that an announcement of the squad
has still not been made, despite assurances last week that it would be,
there remain questions as to whether the board has enough players.
Zimbabwe Standard (Harare)
24 June 2007
Posted to the web 25 June 2007
DECADES of Terror promises to be a thrilling play but already fears are
there of a government clampdown because its content could be seen as
Standardplus watched the play during rehearsals and it was clear that its
robust handling of dark moments such as the Gukurahundi atrocities will
invite intolerance from an increasingly paranoid government.
Former Studio 263 scriptwriter Sam Ravengai, who remained adamant that the
play would defy the obstacles that Cont Mhlanga's The Good President
encountered, is directing the play.
"The play is there to retell the history of violence in this country since
1980," Ravengai said. "A people without a history are lost and without a
future. And to omit any part of a people's history for whatever reason is to
distort it, a misrepresentation of a people's being, for a people are who
they are because of their history."
Its cast includes award-winning actress Eunice Tava, Silvanos Mudzvova,
Priscilla Mutendera new comers Antony Tongani and Tichaona Mutore.
Mutendera, playing the role of Mutongi, looks set to impress. She is
complemented well by Mudzvova who is an errant-boy in Mutongi's office.
The two show how the government uses secret police to commit brutal crimes.
Mutore represents the youth and the dilemma they find themselves in as the
generation gap with their fathers plays out on their political ideologies,
which are as different as the colour white is to black.
Decades of Terror is a bold artistic initiative that forces the nation to
confront the other part of its history that for long has sadly been swept
under the carpet.
The play asks: What happened to the objectives and promises of the
liberation struggle? When did "partyism" become patriotism? Are the people
free when they cannot talk or gather without police clearance in a country
Daniel Maphosa, director of Savanna Trust Production which is producing the
play said: "We gave the script to the censorship board but whatever the
decision, we are staging the play next week. As artists we are there to
speak of things that are already in the eyes of everybody. This is not a
repetition of The Good President -- we are telling the story of Zimbabwe in
our own way -- many should also talk about it."
25 June 2007
The Proposed Harare Supplementary Budget is out!
The City of Harare has released its Proposed Supplementary Budget for the
period 1 July to 31 December. It was advertised in the newspaper on 8 and 15
June 2007. The budget is set to become effective from 1 July while
objections can still be lodged with the City of Harare until 8 July, making
a mockery of the whole process.
The proposed charges in the budget are ridiculous taking into consideration
the fact that service delivery in Harare has gone from bad to worse. There
is no guarantee that services will improve in spite of the exorbitant
charges that have been proposed.
Charges that have shocked residents include cemetery, parking, hall hiring,
waster management, health, recreation and towing of vehicles.
Despite the fact that municipal clinics are short-staffed and under-equipped
in terms of medicinal drugs and machinery, health charges have increased by
more than 400%.
Adults will now pay $20 000 consultation fees at municipal clinics and $100
000 at hospitals. Consultation fees for children are up from $2100 to $10
000 and $18800 to $50 000 at clinics and hospitals respectively. Maternity
bookings will attract a staggering $200 000 from the previous $63 300.
Lodge Your Objections!
The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) urges all residents of
Harare to object to the Proposed Supplementary Budget. We should object to
the budget because;
The first advertisement came out in the Herald on 8 June. According to the
provisions of the Urban Councils' Act (Chapter 29:15), residents should have
30 days to lodge their objections to the budget before it can be effected.
Eight days had already passed by the time of the advert. The new charges
will be effective from the 1 July.
Residents lodged their objections to the Harare 2007 budget in January but
the illegal Commission connived with the Minister for Local Government and
went ahead to approve the budget. The City of Harare cannot derive a
supplementary budget from the one that was rejected. Residents should still
maintain their position of rejecting the budget.
Service Delivery in Harare has almost collapsed but the City of Harare has
constantly hiked rates for its services. Condition of public halls has
deteriorated to alarming levels. Most Harare suburbs are littered with piles
of uncollected refuse. Residents cannot pay for non-existent services.
The High Court on 2 March declared illegal the Commission running the
affairs of Harare saying it had no mandate to act on behalf of the City of
The City of Harare has proposed that the hire for weddings at public halls
in high-density areas be increased from $75000 to $2 million. Water and
electricity charges are excluded from this amount. Hire for church services
will attract a charge of $240 000 while social service groups will pay $500
000. These charges do not include VAT.
Parking charges, towing and clamping
Hourly parking prepaid discs will cost $2 500 up from $600 while 18
passenger commuter omnibuses will pay an annual parking fee of $150 000.
Towing fees for light-motor vehicles remains at $400 000 while clamping fees
will increase from $100 000 to $150 000.
DYING in Harare has gone beyond the reach of the majority after the City of
Harare raised the fees to $150 000 for adults at the Granville Cemetery up
from $$30 000 in the 'B' Section while children will pay $75 000 up from $15
This translates to an increase of 500% percent for adults and 300% for
In Area A charges have been raised from $100 000 to $700 000 and from $50
000 to $350 000 for adults and children respectively.
Grave space in Warren Hills, Greendale and Pioneer cemeteries is now worth
$5 million, up from $300 000 and $3 million, from $150 000, a cumulative
increase of about 1 667% and 2 000% for adults and children respectively.
Refuse collection charges have skyrocketed to $60 000 a month and $120 000 a
month for high and low-density areas respectively. Previous these services
were pegged at $ 3 063 in high-density while those in the low density paid
Combined Harare Residents' Association
Mobile: 011 612 860 or 0912 869 294
"Stand Firm. Be of Good Courage"
Tuesday 26 June 2007
By Nigel Hangarume
HARARE - Zimbabwe face an anxious moment this week as the International
Cricket Council (ICC) weighs recommendations that the country be kept out of
Test cricket for longer than planned.
Zimbabwe, who voluntarily gave up their Test status for the second time in
as many years in January last year, had planned to resume playing the longer
version of the game against West Indies in November.
But the ICC, led by the legendary Sunil Gavaskar, early this month
recommended that Zimbabwe should not be allowed to play Test cricket until
they had assembled a competitive team.
The ICC proposed that Zimbabwe play a number of four-day cricket against A
sides of Test nations before they can be allowed back to the elite game.
Zimbabwe have been struggling to rebuild a competitive side since a player
revolt in April 2004 that triggered a flight of experienced players and left
the country unable to compete in Test cricket.
The ICC began a series of meetings in London on Sunday, where developments
in Zimbabwe cricket and their Test status are high on the agenda.
"The ICC Board will discuss a host of issues, including the appointment of a
vice-president to take over from current president Ray Mali at Annual
Conference 2008, and matters surrounding Zimbabwe including its possible
return to Test cricket in November," said Brian Murgatroyd, the ICC media
and communications manager.
Zimbabwe Cricket managing director Ozias Bvute attended the ICC Chief
Executives meeting that began on Sunday and ended yesterday, while chairman
Peter Chingoka will be in the two-day ICC Board meeting starting tomorrow.
The ICC Board will either endorse or disapprove the recommendations on
Staying out of Test cricket beyond November will be a major blow to Zimbabwe's
financial coffers, while players will also be tempted to leave in search of
greener pastures abroad.
Meanwhile the British Embassy in Harare had recommended that Chingoka and
Bvute be denied UK visas because of their close links with President Robert
However, British Sports Minister Richard Caborn overruled the British
Foreign Office recommendation as he feared denying the Zimbabwean
administrators visas would jeopardise England and Wales Cricket Board
chairman David Morgan's bid for the ICC presidency. - ZimOnline