|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
From the Financial Times (UK), 1 June
Land reform tops MDC agenda
Johannesburg - The MDC, the main opposition party in Zimbabwe, said this week it would pursue land reform policies to remedy historical distortions between whites and blacks should it win power in presidential elections next March. In an economic policy document, the MDC placed land reform alongside debt restructuring and remedying a foreign exchange shortage as urgent priorities to reverse Zimbabwe's economic crisis. "The question of land reform is part of the unfinished agenda of independence," said the policy document. "It is not a party political issue and must be addressed on a national basis by any incoming administration... Agrarian reform must redress imbalances of ownership of land and the racial composition of land ownership in the large-scale farming sector."
The transfer of land ownership from whites to landless blacks in Zimbabwe has been at the centre of the political violence that has characterised a campaign by President Robert Mugabe and the ruling Zanu-PF to hold on to power. The government has earmarked 3,000 farms for expropriation and resettlement, many of which were occupied ahead of parliamentary elections last year by self-styled war veterans, apparently with official sanction.
The MDC, led by former trade unionist Morgan Tsvangirai, won almost half the parliamentary seats at the election. It has linked the government's antagonistic handling of land reform with a wider campaign of intimidation intended to clamp down on opponents. Critics of the MDC have said that its aspirations to power are hampered by poorly defined policy. Its economic recovery plan nevertheless makes land redistribution a top priority. Eddie Cross, the MDC's secretary for economic affairs, has proposed a non-political land commission to supervise the transfer of ownership in an effort to avoid disrupting agricultural production. "We need to address the obscene imbalances that exist between black and white landowners," said a senior MDC official. "The only way you can achieve objective conditions is by setting up all stakeholders within a depoliticised land commission that looks at matters in an objective manner."
Last week, the Commercial Farmers' Union, the Zimbabwe Tobacco Association and the Private Sector Initiative, submitted a land resettlement support package to the Cabinet in an effort to break a stalemate in negotiations with the government on the issue. It proposed that commercial farmers would deliver an initial 1m hectares of land, for acquisition by the government and the settlement of 20,000 families. Resettled farmers would receive support worth Z$60m (US$1.1m).
From The Daily News, 1 June
Ford audit report implicates Moyo
Documents which recently came into the possession of The Daily News contain what amounts to evidence that Jonathan Moyo, the Minister of State for Information and Publicity in the President’s Office, could indeed be implicated in the siphoning of about $6 million from the Ford Foundation in Nairobi. Moyo worked for the Foundation at the time of the alleged offence in 1997. The money, according to an independent audit report compiled by accountants PriceWaterhouseCoopers, came into Moyo’s hands through a Nairobi-based non-governmental organisation, the Series on Alternative Research in East Africa Trust (Sareat).
According to a copy of the draft audit, dated 20 March 2000 and addressed to Katharine Paterson, the Ford Foundation representative in Nairobi, Moyo benefited from two grants intended for Sareat. The audit shows questionable expenditures of US$61 644 (Z$3 390 420) out of a grant of US$127 000. Part of the audit report obtained by The Daily News reads: "Expenditure on unapproved projects include US$40 858 relating to scholarship costs to Milka Okidy (a former employee of the Foundation) and US$5 073 given as advance to support Generations activities under Professor Jonathan Moyo."
In another instance, the auditors questioned an expenditure of US$124 264. The summary audit reads: "Out of this, US$108 000 was paid by Sareat to Prof Jonathan Moyo through his lawyers, Messrs Edward Nathan and Friedlands Inc for the support of Generations activities." Generations is a South African-based television project said to be sponsored by Moyo, who was at the time a programme officer in Nairobi. The audit, carried out in June last year, shows that Moyo, then a programme officer with Ford Foundation in Nairobi, received the equivalent of Z$6 215 000 from Ford and used it for unclear purposes.
Moyo got US$5 073 (Z$279 015) from one grant and a subsequent US$287 000 meant for Sareat. Out of this, Moyo walked away with US$108 000 (Z$5 940 000), allegedly paid to him through his lawyers, Edward Nathan Friedlands Inc. The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has moved in to investigate allegations of impersonation and money laundering involving Moyo and his colleagues at the Ford Foundation offices in Nairobi. The audit covers the period between September 1997 and 31 August 1999 for one disbursement to Sareat, and the period between December 1997 to 30 November 1999.
Correspondence between Moyo and Gowher Rizvi, the then deputy director of the Foundation in New York, suggests that Moyo wanted Rizvi to secretly inflate the budget on a Sareat project. Moyo wrote a letter to Rizvi on 7 December 1997 in which he outlined details of a plan to have US$88 000 (Z$4 840 000) made available to him. Part of Moyo's letter to Rizvi reads: "However, and this is very important, all of this would have to be informal . . . I have discussed all this with Nick and he is supportive, but he does not want to 'know' anything - officially that is. I am copying this to him for his information only - not for the record." Nick Menzies was the then acting representative of the Foundation in Nairobi.
The Ford Foundation has since sued Moyo and some officials within Sareat for allegedly defrauding the donor agency. While the case is still pending in Nairobi, Mutahi Ngunyi, the director of Sareat and a defendant in the civil suit, has called in the FBI to investigate the matter, alleging that Moyo and his colleagues in Nairobi and New York used his organisation as a conduit to siphon funds. Sareat officials alleged that Ford officials would forge letters and add extra funds onto their budgets, which they would then be asked to transfer to, among others, Moyo. The FBI is expected to interview Ford officials and staff at PriceWaterhouseCoopers. The auditors have only released a draft audit and not the full report which chronicles the alleged fraud by Moyo and his colleagues.
From The Zimbabwe Independent, 1 June
Manyika launches reign of terror in Bindura
A Reign of terror has rocked Bindura as Mashonaland Central governor Elliot Manyika launches his campaign to succeed the late Border Gezi as member of parliament for the area. Police in Bindura yesterday confirmed the escalation of violence in the constituency but referred all questions to their spokesman, Superintendent Bothwell Mugariri, who was said to be in Bindura yesterday to investigate the reported cases of violence.
On Wednesday about 100 Zanu PF youths and war veterans who were transported by a UD Nissan lorry destroyed two cars and a shop belonging to the MDC Mashonaland Central provincial co-ordinator Joseph Mashinya at Chidembo business centre 35km from Bindura. Speaking to the Independent, Mashinya, the losing candidate for Shamva in last year’s poll, said at around 4pm a truckload of war veterans and Zanu PF youths descended on Chidembo with the intention of abducting him. "They came here looking for me but I managed to find somewhere to hide. That is when they started beating everyone who was at the shopping centre. Their reason for this terror is to wipe out any MDC element in the province," he said.
"Before departing from the business centre they turned on my two cars and several others which were parked nearby. They smashed the cars and shattered all windows. My Toyota Cressida station wagon was set ablaze before they attacked my shop with stones, iron bars and hammers," Mashinya explained. He said in the attack property worth more than $1,5 million was destroyed. The trucks are believed to have been supplied by the governor who is alleged to have spearheaded a spate of attacks on the suspected opposition members.
Last Sunday Manyika is also said to have led a group of Zanu PF supporters in attacking an MDC "safe-house" which accommodates victims of violence from Mashonaland Central province. The Zanu PF supporters then effected "citizens’ arrests" on 15 of the 25 victims. The arrested victims are alleged to have been in possession of petrol bombs which the police have been classified as "arms of war". In the attack on the safe-house several neighbouring houses were also attacked on suspicion that they also housed MDC supporters. Among the arrested youths is Tafadzwa Pfebve, son of the late Mathew Pfebve, who had fled from Muzarabani in fear of his life. Manyika is said to have personally assaulted the Bindura MDC district chairman, Felix Kunaka, at gunpoint while the war veterans accompanying the governor also assaulted him. The case was reported at Nyawa Police Station.
(See also the reports on the Dawmill Farm siege in yesterday's ZWNEWS)
From The Mail & Guardian (SA), 1 June
ANC advice for Zim opposition
Presidents Thabo Mbeki and Robert Mugabe stay in regular contact, but the government is also strengthening ties with Zimbabwe’s opposition
The African National Congress has adopted a more benevolent attitude towards Zimbabwe's opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). MDC secretary general Welshman Ncube told the Mail & Guardian this week that there has been a "significant shift" in the ANC's stance towards their party. Ncube, who is professor of law at the University of Zimbabwe, was in South Africa at the weekend. "Of late the ANC is talking to us regularly and openly. We had talks with the ANC secretary general, Kgalema Motlanthe. They have consulted with us from time to time on information and certain areas. They have also advised us," he said. Ncube refused to divulge the nature of the advice being dispensed by the ANC. Senior ANC sources say they are merely maintaining an "open dialogue" policy with all the parties in Zimbabwe since last year.
The ANC shares historical links with the President Robert Mugabe-led Zanu-PF, and has often pointed out that their relations are "sealed in blood". Ncube had accompanied the vice-president of the MDC, Gibson Sibanda, to Johannesburg, where they held talks with the ANC and officials of the South African Department of Foreign Affairs to brief them of the situation in Zimbabwe. The MDC also launched the party's campaign for the presidential elections to be held next year, targeting Zimbabweans resident in South Africa.
Ncube said that at their talks with the Department of Foreign Affairs in Pretoria the MDC had commended the South African government's harsh criticism of the invasion of white-owned businesses in Zimbabwe by war veterans. At least 16 businesses owned by South Africans were affected in the attacks last month. "We have urged the South African government to adopt a similar hard line on other issues as well and become more proactively involved," he said. Ncube said the MDC had also asked the department to use international instruments such as the Southern African Development Community and "whatever leverage they can to prevail on the Mugabe-led regime diplomatically and otherwise".
Well-placed sources in the South African government point out that talks at the diplomatic level have experienced a setback with the resignation of Zimbabwean Minister of Industry and International Trade Nkosana Moyo last month. Moyo quit after his call to end invasions of business premises went unheeded. He was among four Zimbabwean ministers to visit Pretoria in March for a meeting with their South African counterparts. The meeting between the ministers was part of the new thinking in government circles to try to influence the Zimbabwean government to take a proactive approach in addressing the crisis in their country.
The South African side had viewed Moyo -- a technocrat drawn from the Standard Chartered Merchant Bank, where he was its managing director, last year by Mugabe to set the economy on track -- as one of those in the Cabinet who were receptive to suggestions. "We had been making progress," said a senior source. President Thabo Mbeki, answering questions on Zimbabwe in the National Assembly this week, indicated he had received a report-back with suggestions of possible approaches from the ministers involved in the talks. The report was to have prepared the ground for a meeting between Mbeki and Mugabe, said foreign affairs sources. Meanwhile, Zimbabwean officials maintain that Mugabe and Mbeki have been in regular contact.
|Court throws out Mutare service charges proposal|
6/2/01 9:32:23 AM (GMT +2)
Daily News Correspondent, Mutare
The High Court has
declared null and void the new service charge enforced by the cash-starved
Mutare Municipality, in its 2001 budget.
The Mutare Residents and
Ratepayers' Association (MRRA) had opposed the revised rates, levies and charges
in court, describing them as way above the current inflation rate of 60 percent.
The pressure group argued residents were not consulted over the increases, a charge denied by council officials.
Justice Yunus Omerjee, nonetheless, declared the increases invalid in a ruling made in Harare on 16 May.
Part of the judgment reads: “The owners' rates, levies and charges set by the respondent for the year 2001 be and are hereby set and declared of no force and effect.”
Omerjee said the council should call a full council meeting in terms of
Section 219 (3) of the Urban Councils Act Chapter 29:15 o reconsider its proposals.
The judge said the council should deal with each of the objections raised by the pressure group. It was ordered to pay the legal costs of the case.
Advocate Fitches represented the association.
It was not immediately clear whether the council was represented by Tinoziva Bere or Francis Bere of the city law firm, Bere Brothers.
Lawrence Mudehwe, the executive mayor, said on Wednesday he was not aware of the ruling.
“But I believe our lawyers at Bere Brothers are doing something about it.”
“With immediate effect all charges revert to those of December 2000,” said Geoff White, chairperson of MRRA.
“It has always been the aim of the MRRA to assist the council improve its services and efficiency. “
But while his organisation would open dialogue with city officials, the rates boycott would continue, he said.
“Every business and residents have the right to withhold their payments for unfulfilled poor services.”
The residents owe the municipality more than $120 million in unpaid service charges, with city officials blaming “failed politicians” for the mounting bill.
The figure excludes unpaid government grants which have accumulated to more than $131 million.
The council is trying to raise $300 million from the open market for water projects and the repair of its pot hole-filled roads.
The council, desperate to balance its books, recently launched an aggressive publicity campaign of its own, warning defaulters to pay up or risk punitive action.
In the campaign, Mudehwe, took a thinly-veiled swipe at White.
|Girls High workers strike|
6/2/01 9:34:55 AM (GMT +2)
About 40 workers
employed by the School Development Committee (SDA) at Girls High School in
Harare went on strike yesterday demanding a pay increase of between 30 and 40
Never Nyamupandu, the
workers’ committee chairman, said: “We have been trying to negotiate with the
SDA since November last year without success.”
The workers, mostly groundsmen, general hands, cooks and guards, said their basic pay ranged from $3 300 to $3 800 a month.
But Samuel Chiganze, the SDA vice-chairman, said the least paid worker earns $4 000.
- Staff Reporter
|Nyarota off to Hong Kong|
6/2/01 9:33:59 AM (GMT +2)
The Editor-in-Chief of
The Daily News, Geoffrey Nyarota, left Harare
yesterday for Hong Kong where he will attend a major newspaper congress and a forum for editors.
Nyarota is one of hundreds
of editors from around the world travelling to Hong Kong to attend the 54th
World Newspaper Congress and 8th World Editors’ Forum taking place from 3 to 6
The Daily News editor has been invited to speak at a round table which will explore recent Press freedom success stories, of which his newspaper is considered as one.
Mugabe Urges Developing Nations to Regulate Information
UN Integrated Regional Information Network
May 31, 2001
Posted to the web May 30, 2001
President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe told a summit of developing nations on Wednesday that the information age should be regulated so that the Internet does not "poison societies", news reports said.
Mugabe, speaking at the summit of the Group of 15 developing countries in Indonesia, said that globalisation was "extending the economic dominance that the United States and Europe have enjoyed over the world since the days of colonialism and slavery". Mugabe added that "undesirable" information should be regulated, including pornography, disinformation, popularisation of crime and the "character assassination of public office holders and governments".
"The toll-free and regulation-free information highways and the Internet threaten the very being and essence of our nations and communities," Mugabe said. Information providers had a "heavy responsibility" over their content, he said. The summit is expected to issue a declaration urging a united stand to bridge the gap in information technology with rich countries. Many leaders called the gap a handicap preventing the poor from benefiting from globalisation.
|Land issue: time to act |
5/31/01 7:28:33 PM (GMT +2)
THE recent offer by the Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU) to stop court proceedings against the government's fast-track land reform programme is welcome news to Zimbabweans tired of the never-ending story of litigation and counter litigation.
June 1, 2001 Posted: 7:33 p.m. EDT (2333 GMT)
By By Paul Tinsley
Special to CNN.com
HARARE, Zimbabwe (CNN) -- Here the country's capital is seething. The calm face of the city barely conceals the tremors of violence that are undermining the country's democracy and it's economy.
A year ago, Zimbabwe's farmers were hit. Today, it is workers and business owners who are fending off blows.
"I was doing my normal duties, and a group of about 10 people can into the office and grabbed me, starting beating me up ... someone grabbed an iron bar and hit me on the head," describes local worker John Slade.
The culprits in the farm occupation and the attacks on businessmen appear to be the same: Zimbabwe's self-styled war veterans. Even the government admits they're not all veterans and their ranks include the unemployed and even criminals. What they all do have in common is their loyalty to the ruling party, ZANU-PF. They gather at party offices in Harare. The opposition claims they are now attacking and abducting politicians of the Movement for Democratic Change, the party that aims to unseat President Mugabe in elections next year.
May 30, 2001 Posted: 4:31 AM EDT (0831 GMT)
JAKARTA, Indonesia -- Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid has opened a summit of developing nations, calling for Third World solidarity even as his Parliament was taking steps to impeach him.
Only a handful of leaders from the 19 African, Asian and Latin American nations invited turned up. Most sent vice presidents or lower officials for a meeting which has quickly become a humiliation for its host.
A few hundred meters away from the convention center where the summit was held, Indonesia's Parliament met to vote on demands to have him impeached.
Vice President Megawati Sukarnoputri, whose Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle has decided to endorse the impeachment motion, stood with Wahid to meet officials representing the Group of 15 developing nations.
The nations are meeting to explore ways to help poor nations benefit from information technology and globalization.
Megawati, who leads Parliament's largest party, smiled, waved and chatted with photographers. Defeated by Wahid in her bid for the presidency 19 months ago, she now appears likely to succeed the embattled president.
His face showing no expression, Wahid gave the opening address, calling on developing countries to stand together against globalization.
"Several times, we've proven again and again that only we can defend our rights, not others," he said.
He then invited Megawati to speak.
Inexplicably, she did not take the podium, and Zimbabwe's president, Robert Mugabe, was hurriedly asked to speak.
It was unclear whether the move was a deliberate snub or a miscommunication in a gathering that would normally showcase the host country.
Indonesian officials have guaranteed the safety of summit delegates against a backdrop of violent protests. The visiting officials have refrained from commenting on the domestic turmoil.
The G-15 countries comprise Algeria, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Iran, Jamaica, Kenya, Malaysia, Egypt, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.