The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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2 June 2005






Dear Friends


In the course of last week thousands of poor Zimbabweans living in Harare, Bulawayo and other urban centres have had their lives destroyed by an increasingly vicious, brutal and paranoid regime. On the pretext of a “clean up” the regime’s police and army have systematically gone through our cities and towns arresting street vendors, confiscating their goods and destroying homes of poor people.


Whilst there is no doubt that some of these road-side shops and shacks are an eyesore and unhygienic, and whilst there is no doubt that virtually all are strictly speaking “illegal”, they have to be seen in the context of the fastest shrinking economy in the world which in turn is characterized by 80% unemployment and rampant inflation. The state of the economy is a direct result of the insane policies implemented by the Mugabe regime since 1997 when it first decided to send troops to protect its leaders’ interests in the Congo.


The chaotic land invasions orchestrated by the regime from 2000, to secure its grip on power, have dealt a near deathblow to the economy. Its dual exchange rate policy, designed to protect the ruling elite’s standard of living (by giving the elite ready access to cheap foreign currency), has devastated the productive sector. The low interest rate policy, designed to lessen the State’s debt, has all but destroyed the pensions of hundreds of thousands of ordinary Zimbabweans. The regime’s excessive spending on protecting itself and maintaining the elite’s luxurious lifestyle has resulted in greatly reduced spending on health, housing and education.


The vast majority of the people affected by this callous campaign are victims of these policies. Through no fault of their own they have been driven out of the formal sector and to survive have had to try to earn an honest living by street vending. Because the regime has spent billions on a huge military and a bloated, inefficient and corrupt cabinet, rather than on housing, hundreds of thousands have been forced to build shacks so that they have a roof above their heads. What is more is that these practices have been allowed to develop for years under a succession of Zanu (PF) governments which have done nothing either to allocate sufficient resources to build vending sites and low cost houses or to police these breaches of the law.


What is particularly outrageous about this pogrom is that no warning of it has been given and no alternative arrangements have been made for homeless people to move to or for unemployed people to get an alternative source of income. No plans have been announced as to how these people will be provided with an income or where the dispossessed will be housed. Indeed given the collapse of the economy it is hard to see how this regime will be able to do either. This regime cannot even find sufficient resources to pay for fuel so how is going to provide jobs and homes for the thousands of people affected?


What is particularly egregious, sinister and callous about this pogrom is that it has been done at the commencement of winter and at a time when millions are already facing starvation and are affected by Aids and have no access to medication.

I have no doubt that this pogrom will dramatically increase the number of deaths of poor Zimbabweans afflicted by the deadly combination of Aids, no access to drugs and malnutrition. The sudden removal of a source of income and a warm bed will condemn many to death in the coming weeks and months.


What is astonishing is the callousness of this regime, graphically illustrated in the two recent extracts from the regime’s Herald newspaper set out below. It is interesting that these articles are written by journalists who owe their allegiances to the regime for even they capture the desperation of the innocent poor. The words “panic stricken”; “distraught”, “shocked” and “grim faced” are used to describe the feelings of the poor. In contrast Robert Mugabe and the Police Commissioner use dismissive and aggressive language. The poor are criminals whose “illegal source of livelihood has been hemorrhaging the economy”. The poors’ “insatiable desire for corruption” has permeated the economy. The poor areas are “havens for illicit and criminal activity” in the words of Mugabe. He says there is a need to “remedy such ills”.


The truth is that it is Robert Mugabe’s regime that is primarily responsible for massive corruption which is not only some of the worst type of criminal activity but has also destroyed the economy and forced these poor Zimbabweans into penury. During the same period that millions of Zimbabweans have been impoverished and rendered homeless Robert Mugabe and his ruling elite have become fabulously wealthy, evidenced by their construction of mansions costing billions of dollars. A photograph of Mugabe’s new mansion, nearing completion in Harare, is attached. It should be stressed that his mansion is just one of many built by the Zanu elite in the last few years. The Governor of the Reserve Bank, whose recently announced policies appear to promote and at least endorse this pogrom, has himself recently built a mansion which according to reports rivals Mugabe’s.


The truth is also that this exercise has very little to do with a genuine desire to improve the lives of Zimbabweans. It has everything to do with a campaign of retribution against people who are, correctly, perceived to oppose the regime. It has everything to do with their fear that these same people will rise up in revolt against a regime that has been responsible for the destruction of the lives, hopes and dreams of millions of Zimbabweans. It has everything to do with instilling fear in the hearts and minds of these people before they rise up.


One thing is for certain: the good Lord knows everything and sees everything. The Lord knows the truth and the real motives behind these actions. The Lord also abhors actions by the rich and powerful that trample on the poor. This regime should soberly consider the application of Amos 5 to their actions:


“You who turn justice into bitterness and cast righteousness to the ground 

You hate the one who reproves in court and despise him who tells the truth.

You trample on the poor and force him to give you grain. Therefore, though you have built stone mansions, you will not live in them; though you have planted lush vineyards, you will not drink their wine. 

 For I know how many are your offenses and how great your sins.

 You oppress the righteous and take bribes and you deprive the poor of justice in the courts. 

 Therefore the prudent man keeps quiet in such times, for the times are evil. 

 Seek good, not evil, that you may live. Then the Lord God Almighty will be with you, just as you say he is. 

 Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts.

 Let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream.”


The Bible is replete with other verses which set out the consequences for rulers who act in such a heartless and callous fashion.  History also shows that autocratic rulers who have employed similar policies have been the authors of their own demise through their actions. I have no doubt that the same fate is going to befall this autocratic and brutal regime. Ironically actions such as these speed up a regime’s end.


In the interim we, for our part, will do everything possible to protect those affected by the depredations of this regime. We will do all in our power to expose the extent of the devastation, to use the courts to suspend these immoral actions and to mobilize communities to oppose the regime lawfully, peacefully and non-violently.


In doing so we hope that people everywhere will also express their outrage and condemn these actions. Now is the time for the international community to intensify pressure on this regime to respect basic human rights, to restore the rule of law in a just and humane manner and to respect the democratic will of the electorate through the holding of free and fair elections that comply with international electoral standards.


Let Justice, indeed, roll on like a river.


Yours sincerely


David Coltart MP

Shadow Justice Minister





Illegal homes destroyed


Herald Reporter

POLICE Commissioner Augustine Chihuri warned yesterday that police would deal decisively with anyone resisting the ongoing Operation Restore Order as illegal homes built through bogus co-operatives around Harare were demolished.

Hours before the pre-dusk blitz on Nyadzonia and Chimoio housing co-operatives near the Harare International Airport, and Hatcliffe Extension near Borrowdale, Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri said the ZRP had the capacity to deal with anyone who chose to be combative and confrontational.

"I would want to warn any miscreants within our society who may wish to show their discontent against the current clean-up operations to stop the daydream forthwith as the ZRP has adequate resources to ensure that peace and tranquillity prevails

"Let no one be used as cannon fodder by criminals whose illegal source of livelihood has been haemorrhaging the economy," Comm Chihuri said

He was addressing senior police officers at a workshop jointly organised by the ZRP and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in Harare.

At Nyadzonia and Chimoio co-operatives, there was drama and pandemonium when about 250 police officers in 25 ZRP trucks and two bulldozers descended on the settlement at about 4pm.

Within minutes, the two bulldozers had razed to the ground the illegal structures while panic-stricken residents rushed to pull out a few of their belongings.

At Hatcliffe Extension, many settlers were also caught unaware as about 150 officers descended on the settlement to effect the demolitions. By late last night, most of the settlers were busy removing items of moveable property from the houses as the police waited to raze the structures down with poles and mattocks.

Those who were coming from various workplaces were shocked to find some of their structures razed to the ground while others immediately joined their families in removing furniture from their homes and other building materials such as asbestos.

ZRP and Harare City Council trucks could also be seen making several trips as they ferried people to their preferred destinations or to Caledonia Farm near Mabvuku.

In Chitungwiza, tuckshop owners and furniture manufacturers began removing their goods as word spread that police would today bring down their illegal structures.

At around 7pm, The Herald observed truckloads of furniture being carried to safe houses.

Mr Elia Chinheya, who owns Elch Furnitures in Zengeza 4, said he had nowhere to store the at least 48 sets of sofas and several other furniture items he has.

His sofas sell at an average price of $10 million a set. The sofas were being loaded into a truck under police guard.

The situation was the same in Unit J, K, D, H and B where tuckshop owners and furniture manufacturers were removing their goods.

There were, however, no signs of resistance at the time of going to Press.

Officer Commanding Harare Senior Assistant Commissioner Edmore Veterai said the affected people were to be taken to a farm near Mabvuku.

"There is no going back and we are going to pull down all the illegal structures. They must go back where they came from," he said.

He said those who were still residing at some of the illegal settlements should pack all their valuable goods as the police would not spare them.

Snr Asst Comm Veterai said some of the settlers were made to pay money to bogus housing co-operatives.

"We are going to crack down on the top officials of the bogus housing co-operatives and bring them to book," he said.

Earlier, Comm Chihuri said the actions by greedy vendors and vagrants had almost resulted in the cities of Harare and Bulawayo being branded "filthy shack townships", which was unacceptable by any standards

"This discussion comes at a time when the Zimbabwe Republic Police, city councils and other stakeholders have stepped up efforts against belligerent and unscrupulous businesspeople whose misdirection and insatiable desire for corruption has permeated the entire economic fabric of our beloved nation," he said.




Police storm Mbare

By Nelson Chenga
A DARK cloud of doom and gloom hung over Harare’s oldest suburb, Mbare, yesterday as police demolished some illegal structures in their clean-up swoop dubbed Operation Murambatsvina (No Tolerance to Filth).

It was a hive of activity as shack dwellers — mainly in Mbare’s Jo’burg Lines section — ripped down structures, jam-packed their bags and headed for various destinations.

Police said the operation in Mbare would be intensified today.

Mbare — the country’s most densely populated urban settlement — has been a notorious criminal hideout for decades. Police last week recovered 30 tonnes of sugar worth $300 million, 8 000 litres of diesel and 13 500 litres of petrol at an illegal warehouse.

This comes at a time when the former illegal settlements of Tongogara Park in Whitecliffe, Hatcliffe Extension, Nyadzonia, Chimoio and New Park near Mt Hampden in Good Hope now resemble the aftermath of a devastating earthquake.

Officer Commanding Harare Police Senior Assistant Commissioner Edmore Veterai yesterday vowed to clean up all the illegal settlements around Harare and its satellite towns of Chitungwiza, Ruwa, Epworth and Norton.

He urged residents to pull down any prohibited structures on their properties, adding the clean-up campaign was at full throttle in Mbare and other suburbs.

He said the demolition of illegal structures would continue today in Glen View 7, New Park near Mt Hampden in Good Hope and Chitungwiza.

Hundreds of distraught people still adjusting to the situation were busy going through the debris picking up their belongings and organising transport yesterday.

Still in shock and grim-faced, others were milling around their former homes that were now just heaps of rubble.

"I have no idea where to go and I have been told that they (police) don’t want to see me here again," said one settler at Tongogara Park, moving about a thriving garden of cabbages and carrots

Yesterday, police patrolled all the settlements around Harare which were razed to the ground last week to ensure the illegal former occupants moved out as required.

For the past few days, police have been moving around Mbare, which thrives on the formal, informal and black markets, with loud hailers ordering all illegal settlers to move out immediately or face the wrath of the law.

Original houses that once formed the suburb are now slowly emerging from the maze of wooden and brick dwellings that had sprouted around them over the past 25 years as the illegal settlers comply with the police order.

Still coming to grips with the unfolding new reality, many were too stunned to speak while those who could, said there was just one option still open.

That was to head back to their rural homes.

Although the numerous illegal vendors have virtually disappeared, it was business as usual for others who are keeping their fingers crossed that there might be a change of heart from Government.

"We were told they would be coming here today and when they come we will move out. What can we do but to comply, difficult as it is given that we have children still in school?" said one resident who identified herself only as Mai Chapungu.

However, police clad in riot gear again patrolled the suburb’s narrow streets in several trucks indicating that the operation would go ahead as planned.

The operation -- turning out to be the biggest clean-up ever carried out in the country since independence in 1980 -- has seen several cramped and sprawling illegal dwellings around the capital and across the country razed to the ground.

Police have arrested more than 11 000 people for engaging in various illegal activities, and goods worth billions of dollars have been confiscated since the launch of Operation Murambatsvina in tandem with the Harare City Council’s Operation Restore Order.

Substantial amounts of local cash, foreign currency and several firearms have also been recovered.

President Mugabe on Friday threw his weight behind the clean-up campaign as police razed to the ground Harare’s biggest illegal settlement – Tongogara Park at Whitecliffe Farm along the Harare-Bulawayo Road.

Cde Mugabe, who was addressing the 162nd Zanu-PF Central Committee extraordinary session in Harare, said Government was fully behind the clean-up campaigns by the police aimed at restoring the status of the towns and cities to their previous famed cleanliness and safety.

"Our cities and towns had deteriorated to levels that were a real cause for concern. Apart from failing reticulation systems and broken roads and streets, our cities and towns, including Harare, the capital, had become havens for illicit and criminal practices and activities which just could not be allowed to go on," said President Mugabe

Cde Mugabe, in his wide-ranging speech, said even during the election campaigns for the March 31 parliamentary polls, he had reiterated the need to provide a remedy to such ills.

” From the mess should emerge new businesses, new traders, new practices and a whole new and salubrious urban environment.

"That is our wish and vision. Our tourists and visitors first look at our capitals and towns. Capitals, cities and towns are what shape the impressions of a country," he said

Although it is still not clear how long the exercise will take, police have indicated that once through with the urban areas, the clean-up would immediately move to the farms, where thousands of people have been resettled, to deal with the "culture of lawlessness".



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From a subscriber:
3:15 pm Friday 3 June as I write this a K6 jet of the Zimbabwe airforce has been circling the Western townships of Kambuzuma & Kwadazana for the past 30 minutes. It has made over 10 circled flights. At 3:20 pm it seems to have returned to its airbase.
This morning at 7:45am I witnessed the mass movement of armed riot police moving west wards along the main Bulawayo road towards the western townships.
There must have been 500+ or so police and plain clothes police, moving in marked Police B1800 pickups, Police Santana Landrovers, personnel carrier armoured Trucks, even ZRP support group pickups, City of Harare pickups, and even City of Harare Tripper trucks (empty).
They were accompanied by Police Mercedes and Police Peugeot 306s' with sirens blaring, moving at the speed at which the Presidents' motorcade normally does.
All in all possibly 40 vehicles, which forced the outgoing traffic on this two double lane highway to pull over to the one side of the road.
Apparently this mass of Police movement went through the centre of town a few minutes earlier, so they were probably assembled at Morris Depot in Highlands and departed at 7:30am sharp for the western townships.
I heard through the word today that Kambazuma was the target for todays' evictions, I wonder if this is what transpired?
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Sister Walsh's account

Family and friends, thank you for your telephone calls, your e-mails and all
your support and encouragement in these dreadful days and hours - it is a
great help.

The international press says that the police are destroying "illegal
structures" in Zimbabwe. Let me share with you a little of what is very
legal but has been destroyed. In 1992 many thousands of people were put into
a holding camp at a place called Hatcliffe Extension. They were not allowed
to build permanent structures because this was going to be temporary. In
1995 one of our student Sisters, Tarisai Zata, who was a student at the
School of Social Work and was doing some studies for her degree, one evening
she came back home and said "we must do something to help these people to
live like human beings" and that was the beginning of the Dominican
Missionary Sisters involvement in Hatcliffe. We have worked with the people
there for the past ten years, people of all religions and none, people of
all political persuasions and none. Over the years through the generosity of
you all we were able to sink eight boreholes, help to feed thousands of
people, build and run a crèche for AIDS orphans (180) of them. We visited
once a week and two of our nursing Sisters, Gaudiosa and Carina treated
people, helped to get about 100 people on to an anti-retroviral medicine
programmers, etc, do home based care, took people to hospitals, etc. The
people of Hatchliffe have become friends and family of us the Dominican
Sisters. Yes, some people had moved in illegally, but the majority were
there because they were put there and were repeatedly told that they would
be moved to a better place at some time, most of them paid their monthly
"rent" for their little square patch.

On Friday morning last week I got a call that the riot police had come into
a section of the area and demolished everything - most of the wooden shacks
are just broken to pieces. I went out on Friday and Saturday - people were
sleeping out in the open, many of them sick, cold and hungry. On Saturday I
visited again. Some had managed to leave (those who have Z$500 000 - and
have some relatives in "legal" places". On Sunday morning I got a call that
the police had given instructions that all structures in the original
section have to be demolished within 24 hours, including the crèche, clinic
and other structures which we had built with and for the people. Where do I
get people on Sunday to come and dismantle all the buildings? I decided to
wait until Monday. On Sunday evening I received one phone call after another
saying "come quick They are going to kill us" - others would say "don't come
you might be killed".

Early on Monday morning I drove out to Hatcliffe, already in the distance I
could only see smoke rising up - nothing else. I arrived, I wept, Sister
Carina was with me, she wept, the people tried to console us - they were ALL
outside in the midst of their broken houses, furniture and goods all over
the place, children screaming, sick people in agony. Some of the people who
are on ARV drugs came to us and said we are phoning Sister Gaudiosa (Sister
is doing the ARV programme) but she is not answering us, we are going to
die". We explained that Sister was on home leave but that we would help in
whatever way we could. It was a heartbreaking situation. The structures
mentioned above that we the |Dominican Sisters were working from were left
untouched but had to be dismantled immediately otherwise they too would be
destroyed. Sister Balbina from the House of Adoration came With carpenters
and other staff members and started dismantling the structures. We are
distributing all of them to people who have nothing, they will be OK if we
leave them lying on the ground. Some friends arranged for a crane to come in
to lift out two containers where we had medicine and food stored - it was
one of the saddest days of my life.

How does one say that Peter aged 10 and his little brother (John) aged 4
(not their real names) are "illegal". We had provided them with a wooden hut
when their Mother was dying, she has died in the meantime, these two little
people had their little home destroyed in the middle of the night, we get
there, they are sitting crying in the rubbish (that was their home until
Sunday) - what do we do with them? they are only one example of the many
vulnerable orphans whose little lives are destroyed. Veronica (not her real
name) is an elderly widow who is chronically ill herself, she has 3 young
grandchildren from her dead daughter - her home is destroyed. She is wearing
a Rosary Beads around her neck, an apron with the picture of the Sacred
Heart and a tee shirt with President Mugabe's photo - she has tried all
means to survive! Some people came and said, "Sister there are two people
who are dying please come." One of them Mary (not her real name) who is out
in the open all night lying on an old damp mattress can't move with pain,
she has shingles, which is open and bleeding, what is worse her tears or her
bleeding wounds? I felt/feel paralyzed. Anne (not her real name) delivered a
baby a week ago, she is Critically ill and is on the verge of death, what do
we do with her? We give her pain killers, we give her blankets, we give her
food (which she in unable to eat) - what is going to happen to her baby?

Some of you have asked if I am safe, don't worry we are well "protected" by
the riot police who are cruising around this disaster area all day, I was so
relieved to see them eating sugar cane which means that they are not hungry
and will have the strength to "protect us", I don't for a minute believe
that they accepted this sugar cane from "illegal people" on an "illegal
settlement". A Grandmother asks, "Sister why has God abandoned us? I do not
try to answer. people call out "Sisters pray for us". An emergency taxi
(mini bus) stands in the middle of this "war zone" with the words "God is
Faithful" written on it! Just now we are going back there with food,
clothing, medicine and cash, we can only try. I am NOT cold, I am NOT hungry
but I am very ANGRY. I pray that this will pass. We stand in shock and cry
with the people but we also have to try to keep them alive. When will sanity
prevail. Where is the outside world? Busy talking about a "NO vote by
France". How can the "little ones of this world be brutalized in this way" -
Their only crime - they are poor, they are helpless and they happen to live
In the wrong part of town and in a country that does not have oil and is not
very important to the West. One bystander told me that he had phoned the Red
Cross asking for help but was informed "it is not a war situation" so there
is nothing we can do!

PRAY FOR US. God bless and reward you for your concern.

Patricia Walsh OP
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From BBC News, 3 June

Final phase of Zimbabwe crackdown

Zimbabwe's police say their operation against street traders and illegal
housing is entering its final day. More than 22,000 people have been
arrested and tens of thousands left homeless in the two-week crackdown. The
government says the move is needed to clean up Zimbabwe's cities but some
feel it is punishment for areas which voted for the opposition. Lobby group
Amnesty International has called for an end to the demolitions, which some
are calling the "tsunami". Whole shantytowns and markets have been razed to
the ground, while the police are now targeting houses illegally built on
farms around the capital, Harare, some of which were seized under the
government's controversial land reform programme. "Amnesty International is
appalled by this flagrant disregard for human rights. Forced evictions
without due process, legal protection, redress and appropriate relocation
measures, are completely contrary to international human rights law," said
Amnesty's Africa Programme director Kolawole Olaniyan. "Everything was
destroyed without notice," Ernest Rautavaara told the Reuters news agency,
standing in front of a half-demolished concrete building which was once a
vegetable market. "This is the true meaning of tsunami," he said.

Amnesty said it had received reports that people had been forced to pull
down their own homes but police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said this was a
sign that people were co-operating with "Operation Restore Order". The
police say the operations is targeted at criminals and black marketeers who
are subverting the economy. Reuters reports that open spaces in the poor
Mbare district near Harare city centre have been turned into giant
warehouses for goods salvaged from the police "tsunami". People are sleeping
in the open, even though Zimbabwe's winter has begun. "We are suffering, we
have nowhere to go. Our houses were destroyed," said Victoria Muchenje. "Our
children are not going to school, we are sleeping outside everywhere... if
you walk, everywhere you see people sleeping in the road."

Meanwhile, Social Welfare Minister Nicholas Goche has denied that Zimbabwe
needs food aid. He told state radio that the government had bought 1.2m
tonnes of corn from South Africa to cover poor harvests. Earlier this week,
World Food Programme chief James Morris said Zimbabwe faced "an enormous
humanitarian crisis", with between 3 and 4 million people needing food aid
in the next year. Mr Goche, however, said that Zimbabwe would welcome any
food it was offered. Zimbabwe has been accused of manipulating food aid for
political reasons - downplaying shortages ahead of elections and depriving
opposition areas of food. The government denies that its seizure of
white-owned farms has led to the food shortages. It blames poor rains and a
western plot to remove President Robert Mugabe from power.
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U.N.: Gross violations by Zimbabwe
Friday, June 3, 2005 Posted: 2:10 PM EDT (1810 GMT)

GENEVA, Switzerland (AP) -- The United Nations on Friday urged Zimbabwe's
government to halt its campaign of mass evictions, saying it was a clear
violation of human rights.

Zimbabwe's policy of evicting urban poor and demolishing their shacks around
the country -- in what the government calls a cleanup campaign -- represents
a form of apartheid and must be halted, said Miloon Kothari, a U.N. expert
on the right to adequate housing.

"We are seeing in the world, and Zimbabwe is a good example now, the
creation of a new kind of apartheid where the rich and the poor are being
segregated," Kothari told reporters.

Over 200,000 people have already lost their homes and a further 30,000
people have been detained since the government began the crackdown on May
19, he said.

"The vast majority are homeless in the streets," Kothari said. "This kind of
a mass eviction drive is a classic case where the intention appears to be
that Harare become a city for the rich, for the middle class, for those that
are well-off ... and the poor are to be pushed away."

Amnesty International has also condemned the crackdown, saying it has left
whole communities without shelter and destroyed thousands of livelihoods. It
said police and other security forces are using excessive force -- burning
homes, destroying property and beating individuals.

The evictions "have been accompanied very often by massive force from the
police," Kothari said.

Thousands of street vendors have been arrested and their wares seized.
Police using torches, sledgehammers and bulldozers have burned and
demolished kiosks and homes of the urban poor in shantytowns around the
country, leaving thousands homeless.

"If the current eviction drive continues, the estimates are that 2 to 3
million people could be affected, which is about a quarter of (Zimbabwe's)
population," Kothari warned.

Kothari reminded Zimbabwe of its obligations under the International
Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The agreement, which
Zimbabwe ratified in 1991, says that evictions should never leave victims

"Where do they go back to?" Kothari said. "There is no resettlement being
offered, no compensation being offered for the properties that have been

The evictions apparently are a result of the notice Harare's
government-appointed Mayor Sekesai Makwavarara gave in May to dwellers in
the city's myriad backyard shacks. He told them they had until July to
vacate, citing health grounds.

About half the city's poor live in such shacks. The government has not
explained why it began demolitions before the July deadline.
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Zim Independent

Zanu PF majority 'a fraud'
Dumisani Muleya
THE ruling Zanu PF's claimed two-thirds majority in parliament came under
court challenge yesterday as the party tries to make a series of
constitutional amendments to consolidate its shaky hold on power.

Former Information minister Jonathan Moyo filed a court application fighting
the ruling party's alleged two-thirds majority.

Moyo argued Zanu PF did not have a two-thirds majority because the 10 chiefs
in parliament could not in terms of the constitution be counted as Zanu PF

Moyo's contest - which could scuttle Zanu PF's legislative agenda - came as
other MPs planned to challenge the counting of the 12 non-constituency MPs
and eight provincial governors, also MPs, as Zanu PF legislators.

The expected litigants want to argue President Robert Mugabe appoints the 12
MPs to represent special interests and eight governors - ex-officio MPs - in
parliament in his official capacity as head of state and not as leader of
Zanu PF.

As a result these 20 MPs in total should not be officially counted as Zanu
PF although they have a right to vote with the ruling party if they so wish.

Moyo is seeking a court order declaring that chiefs are not Zanu PF MPs as

claimed. He also wants a court declaration saying no party won a two-thirds
majority during the March 31 general election.

Moyo's challenge is a reaction to an official document presented by Justice
minister Patrick Chinamasa to the Zanu PF central committee on Friday
claiming the ruling party has a two-thirds majority consisting of 78 elected
MPs, eight provincial governors, 12 non-constituency MPs, and 10 chiefs.

This gave it 108 MPs and more than a two-thirds majority out of the
150-member parliament, he said.

Moyo said although there had been numerous misleading media reports saying
Zanu PF had a two-thirds majority, he was forced to take action after "the
matter in question took a dramatic turn for the worse, with far-reaching
consequences for the rule of law and good constitutional governance of our
national affairs" on May 27.

Moyo, now an independent MP, said Chinamasa had "falsely alleged that Zanu
PF emerged from the elections commanding a two-thirds majority in the House
of Assembly" during the party meeting last week.

Chinamasa, Moyo argued, has "a legal duty to present the true legal and
constitutional position of the lawful outcome of the election".

Moyo said while "outlandish and false political claims" were common in
uninformed political debates, Chinamasa's memorandum to the Zanu PF meeting
was "scandalous insofar as it goes beyond uninformed and misinformed
political discourse and seeks to give legal effect to the prevailing
political claim that Zanu PF won or has a two-thirds majority".

He said the memo was a "backhanded way of aiding and abetting Zanu PF's
attempt at committing political fraud with the result of tearing apart" the

He said if chiefs were to have a party-political affiliation in parliament
then Zimbabwe would end up with "Zanu PF chiefs, MDC chiefs, and independent
chiefs and so on".

"Such an arrangement would corrupt our constitution and make a mockery of
our tried and tested traditional values and practices," he said.

"Chiefs should not only be independent (in terms of party affiliation) and
impartial but they should also be seen to be such through their words and

The respondents in the case are Chinamasa, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
chairman George Chiweshe, Zanu PF, the Council of Chiefs and the
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Zim Independent

Zesa to hike tariffs 600%
Shakeman Mugari
THE Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) will next month hike power
charges by a massive 600% in some cases, a move likely to trigger a wave of
increases in industrial production costs and basic commodities.

Documents being circulated in Zesa show the new tariffs will be introduced
at the beginning of July.

The hikes mean that those using energy for commercial purposes like private
companies will have their power charges increased by 600%. This will be the
biggest once-off hike since Independence in 1980.

Companies likely to be affected include manufacturers, mines and hotels,
which use a lot of power but are already under siege from rising costs.

Consumers will also be affected by the ripple effects of the power costs
escalation at a time when electricity black-outs are rampant.

"The new tariffs will be introduced next month (July), at least that is the
plan unless government interferes as it has done in the past," a Zesa source

Tariffs for domestic users will be increased by an average 230% on a sliding
scale. Domestic users currently paying between $15 000-20 000 per month -
the lowest rate - will have their charges increased by as much as 400%. This
means after the new tariff regime, they will end up paying between $200 000
and $250 000 per month.

"The percentages will vary according to what the users are paying now. Those
who are paying the lowest figures will have the highest hikes," said the
source. "For the domestic sector the increase is likely to be between 230%
and 400%."

Power charges for the agricultural sector will be raised by 200%. These
include energy used on farms for irrigation, water pumps and other

Another source at the power utility said the tariffs had already been set
but were awaiting government approval. The source said Energy and Power
Development minister Mike Nyambuya would take the proposals to cabinet for
consideration soon.

The power increases will further stoke inflationary pressures at a time when
inflation has started climbing after a steady decline last year. Inflation
is currently at 129,1%, up from March's 123,9%.

"The tariff issue is being handled by the Ministry of Energy and Power
Development and the regulatory commission as per the Electricity Act
(Chapter 13:19). Zesa has no control on this issue," said Obert Nyatanga,
Zesa's general manager, corporate affairs.

Power Development permanent secretary Justin Mupamhanga said he was in a
meeting when contacted for comment.

"The plan is to eventually raise the tariffs to about US$0,6 in line with
what other regional countries are charging in US dollar terms. But we will
probably get to US0,4 cents," a source said.
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Zim Independent

Controversy dogs Senate
Dumisani Muleya
CONTROVERSY surrounds the ruling Zanu PF's attempt to re-establish a
"stop-gap" Senate which President Robert Mugabe wants to use to expedite his
succession plans.

Government sources say Mugabe is trying to railroad the Senate proposal to
accommodate short-term interests and mobilise support for his succession
initiative that could be met with determined resistance in Zanu PF

Official documents in the Zimbabwe Independent's possession show that plans
have been finalised for a Senate of 65 members. But it will last for only
five years.

A confidential document presented to the Zanu PF central committee on Friday
by Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa - who is currently working on a raft
of amendments to the constitution to facilitate Mugabe's succession -
reveals the Upper House will only be in place between 2005 and 2010.

"The proposal to introduce a Senate at this hour, at this juncture, should
correctly be regarded as a stop-gap measure for the period 2005 and 2010,"
Chinamasa says in his document.

"The structure and composition of the Senate will again be reconsidered in a
more holistic manner within the context of the more comprehensive
constitutional proposals I shall propose later in the life of parliament."

The document says the soon-to-be 10 administrative provinces will have five
members each in the Senate elected from the constituencies delimited for
that purpose.

There will be 10 chiefs, including the president and vice-president of the
Council of Chiefs who will be relocated from the Lower House to the Upper

This means each province will have a chief in the Senate. Five of the
remaining senators will be appointed by Mugabe, "representing special
interest groups".

The positions left by the president and vice-president of the Council of
Chiefs in the National Assembly will be filled by Harare Metropolitan
resident minister David Karimanzira and his Bulawayo counterpart, Cain
Mathema, who will be elevated to governors. This means there will then be
eight chiefs in the Lower House and 10 in the Upper House.

"The Senate will be presided over by a president and a deputy president...
The deputy president of the Senate must be one of the 55 senators, that is
to say, he/she must come from members of Senate who are not traditional
chiefs," the documents say.

"The president can be elected from outside the membership provided that
he/she qualifies to be a member of Senate. Senators need to be at least 40

Official sources say Mugabe is racing against time to re-establish the
Senate, abolished in 1990, to accommodate Small-Scale and Medium Enterprises
Development minister Sithembiso Nyoni, appointed to her current position
without a parliamentary seat. The constitution requires that all ministers
be MPs.

Mugabe now has just over a month left to sort out Nyoni's predicament
because she can only remain a minister for three months without being an MP.
Parliament, initially expected to open on June 28, will now be summoned on
June 9 to work on Mugabe's party-political agenda.

The Senate project is mired in further controversy. Sources said Zanu PF has
been debating whether or not to use results of the disputed March general
election to allocate seats in the Senate or call for a fresh election.

But fearing possible defeat, Zanu PF has now decided to use results of the
last election. The problem with this plan, however, is that it does not give
Zanu PF a two-thirds majority in the proposed Senate.

Zanu PF has also explored if it was possible to combine the Lower and Upper
houses during voting on constitutional amendments, but again it discovered
it would not command the necessary two-thirds majority. In the end it was
decided to fast-track the constitutional changes before the Senate is

"It was then resolved that all constitutional amendments should be pushed
through parliament before Senate is established to avoid it blocking Zanu PF's
legislative agendas," a source said. "If needs be Mugabe will have to
appoint more senators to give his party a two-thirds majority."
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Zim Independent

Byo mayor slams 'war against poor'
Loughty Dube
BULAWAYO mayor Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube said the country's second largest local
authority is opposed to government's demolition blitz that has left a trail
of destruction nationwide.

Ncube said government's crackdown against alleged "illegal structures" and
informal businesses was an "illegal action".

He said government's "war against the poor" was not justified, at least in
Bulawayo where council has designated vending areas and set aside sites for
informal sector businesses.

He said informal traders were paying rents and rates to council but was
shocked to see that police had in some areas razed the structures without

"The Bulawayo city council is not involved in this illegal action being
undertaken by the police and we do not know government's intentions in this
whole exercise," Ncube said.

"The police did not consult us because some of the properties they are
destroying are legal structures operated by legal vendors licensed by the

Ncube's comments came against a background of a brutal police clean-up
operation that has seen them pull down structures at the main Renkini bus
terminus, Fife Street vegetable markets and other areas around the city.

Police also stormed the country's largest foreign currency trade centre in
Fort Street - the so-called "World Bank" - and confiscated goods and foreign
currency from parallel market traders.

The "World Bank" was deserted during the week and resembled ruins as mangled
metals and destroyed shacks bore testimony to the sweeping campaign that has
engulfed all major cities and towns.

Ncube said the action by the police was affecting the smooth operation of

the city and said council had "civilised means of dealing with illegal
vendors and such structures".

"What police are doing is affecting council operations, the structures they
are destroying are legal and were created by council. We collect taxes from
vendors because they are licensed," he said.

He however could not quantify off-hand how much council was going to lose in
revenue but said the treasury department was working out the figures.

Ncube became the first mayor to condemn the demolition blitz. Harare
commission chairperson Sekesai Makwavarara has come out in full support of
the clampdown, which has provoked the ire of civic society groups. Harare
has been the major victim of the crackdown. Residents have tried to resist
the attacks but failed to match police brutality.

In Harare police have destroyed shantytowns, flea markets, hair saloons,
tuckshops, and a vast swathe of small-scale informal industries, leaving
thousands homeless, jobless, hungry and stranded.

Main opposition parties, churches, human rights groups and civil society

organisations have condemned government's "Operation Restore Order" - which
has created more disorder and suffering than there was before - but have not
done anything beyond verbal resistance.

In a move likely to rapidly intensify calls for his resignation, Zimbabwe's
main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said yesterday he will not lead a
mass protest against the ongoing demolition blitz in his party's urban

Tsvangirai, who leads the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), said it was
not the responsibility of his party's leadership to organise mass action but
that of the people. People had been calling on the MDC to rise and fight
President Robert Mugabe's "war against the poor".

Although pressure has been mounting for the MDC to confront Mugabe's

regime since the hotly disputed general election in March, Tsvangirai said
his party would not do it.

But he admitted after touring scenes of destruction in Harare that the
"picture is shocking".

"The picture is shocking. Hatcliffe, Tongogara and parts of Mbare have been
smashed into a huge heap of debris," he said. "Pieces of timber, scraps and
junk, normally recycled by the poor for use and for resale, are strewn all
over the place."

Tsvangirai said he was dismayed by the "disastrous consequences of the
demolition campaign".

"A trail of destruction evident in these areas resembles a site in a war
zone," he said. "Property worth millions of dollars has gone up in flames.
Families are out in the open - without jobs, without income, without
shelter, without support. Overnight, Zimbabwe has a massive internal refugee
population in its urban areas."
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Zim Independent

Chief Tangwena turning in his grave
Ray Matikinye
WHOEVER demolished a roadside tuckshop that marked the entrance to a
sprawling settlement outside the capital Harare did the job with comic
finesse by ensuring the landmark announcing "Third Chimurenga" lay crumbled
like jigsaw puzzle pieces.

The jigsaw pieces are a tragicomic relic of how war veterans were used as
cannon fodder by President Robert Mugabe's party in its desperate effort to
win crucial elections that presaged the onset of Zimbabwe's economic

Hundreds of Independence war participants who, five years ago acted as
Mugabe's storm troopers during the land invasions, were on the move again
last Sunday.

They were forcibly evicted from White Cliff Farm in a fresh wave of removals
under the guise of a clean-up operation from Tongogara camp about 20km from
the city centre where they had settled themselves along the Bulawayo

World Peace Foundation president Robert Rotberg who is director of
Government Intrastate Conflict and Conflict Resolution at Harvard University
says: "This land grab might have served to right an historic injustice.
Instead, it drove Zimbabwe headlong into penury and hunger. It also threw
400 000 Zimbabwean workers out of jobs, caused food scarcities and sent
Mugabe rushing to China for help."

Nearly three million Zimbabweans desperate for work and food have fled to
neighbouring South Africa, Botswana and beyond.

Trudging along the main highway in search of alternative homes, they
portrayed scenes reminiscent of villagers evicted by the colonial regime
from Gaeresi Ranch under the Land Tenure Act of 1965. But this time there
was no famed traditional chief like Rekayi Tangwena to lead them in
resisting state-sponsored removals.

The racist Land Tenure Act prohibited Africans from having permanent homes
in urban centres. Forty years down the line, black Zimbabweans are being
forcibly removed from urban centres and ordered to go back to the
poverty-stricken rural areas.

"This is no different from the treatment we got before Independence. How can
they reverse their promises to regularise the settlements as they said they
would?" complained Chido Samaita, an Independence war collaborator.

The destruction of property has incensed black empowerment groups more for
breaking the burgeoning spirit of self-reliance among indigenous people than
the "callousness" that accompanied the demolitions.

"Police have impounded goods from poor Zimbabweans struggling to fend for
their families and their actions are set to reverse whatever gains had been
made through indigenisation," said Paddington Japajapa, president of the
Zimbabwe Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Organisation. "We are
shocked by the malicious destruction of property,"

He said his group had lobbied government to adopt a deliberate policy of
affirmative action towards black empowerment of "millions of Zimbabweans who
had been marginalised for decades under colonialism".

Lazarus Mupande (48) watched helplessly while municipal police demolished
his tuckshop, built a decade ago in Kuwadzana suburb when a textile firm he
worked for closed down. Each jarring strike of the hammer on the
pre-fabricated walling or the ear-piercing screech of a crowbar unhinging
the roof trusses sounds a death knell to Mupande's sole source of

"I don't know how I will pay school fees for my children or feed and clothe
them now," a dejected Mupande said.

The tiny shops have proved an alternative source of employment for the
thousands who would have roamed the streets jobless.

But Harare city fathers are having none of those excuses. Criticised for
allowing the city to degenerate through official neglect, council officials
unleashed demolition teams on unsuspecting informal traders.

Thousands of Zimbabweans had resorted to informal trading due to shrinking
formal job opportunities as a result of economic recession largely blamed on
President Mugabe's mismanagement.

Flea market traders, informal sector manufacturers and tuckshop owners lost
billions of dollars worth of goods and property when police swooped in a
demolition blitz.

"They are killing the goose that laid the golden eggs," Tafadzwa Ruzvido of
Mbare said of the demolished stalls.

"Most of us paid rents and other charges to council. Council will get a lot
more rent defaulters on its books than in the past because people will not
be able to pay," added his companion, Joseph Musipani, who showed the
Zimbabwe Independent a rental payment receipt for his tuckshop from council.

The cash-strapped Harare council has been battling to pay its workers for
months now due to serious cashflow problems.

For 70-year old pensioner Ruwizhi Banda the demolition of two lean-tos along
Rusike Road in Mbare spells doom. "These lodgers enabled me to survive. I
don't know how I will cope with the small pension I receive," the retired
railway general hand lamented.
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Future uncertain as old guard ails
Shakeman Mugari
REPORTS that President Robert Mugabe underwent a heart test last week raise
fears that the country could find itself led by officials whose health is

Mugabe was last Thursday examined by a heart specialist at the Diagnostic
Heart Centre, only a few weeks after Vice President Joseph Msika was
admitted to hospital with an unknown ailment.

Sources said he was taken to South Africa for medical attention. It is
thought he could be back there for further treatment.

Government sources say Mugabe's other vice-president, Joice Mujuru, has a
problem of swelling feet if she stands for a long time.

Mugabe's health has been of particular concern with unconfirmed reports of
him collapsing due to his failing health. He was reported by the Zimbabwe
Independent to have visited a cardiologist last Thursday.

Mugabe is understood to have undergone an echocardiography test, used to
diagnose most heart ailments, last week. It is also used to diagnose certain
cardiovascular diseases.

Msika was recently admitted to hospital before he was reportedly flown to
South Africa for treatment amid speculation he could have suffered a mild

He however re-emerged a few weeks ago on public television looking frail, a
picture that seemed to confirm fears that his condition was serious.

The health problems associated with the three leaders have fuelled concerns
that the country is effectively under the direction of an ailing old guard.
There have also been questions about the health of some of Mugabe's senior

Mugabe has always kept his ailing vice-presidents until they die in office.
The late vice-president Joshua Nkomo died in 1999 in office after a long
illness and reported attempts to retire. Mugabe's other deputy, Simon
Muzenda, also died in harness.

Reports at the time indicated both Nkomo and Muzenda had wanted to step down
but Mugabe refused.

Presidential spokesman George Charamba was not available for comment. Nor
was deputy Information minister Bright Matonga.

There have been examples in recent history of ailing leaders ceding power to
their wives or associates. In Malawi late dictator Kamuzu Banda ended up
with his mistress literally running the government. In the United States
President Woodrow Wilson allowed his wife to assume a key role when he was
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Zim Independent

Byo faces water rationing
Loughty Dube
THE cash-strapped city of Bulawayo is facing serious water problems which
might result in stringent water rationing in the country's second largest
city, it has been learnt.

Council sources say the water situation is so serious that Bulawayo mayor
Japhet Ndabeni Ncube was forced to approach President Robert Mugabe to
discuss the problem during the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in April.

Ncube confirmed meeting Mugabe to discuss the city's water situation.
"President Mugabe is always concerned with the water situation in Bulawayo,"
he said.

"I impressed on him that the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project was the only
solution for the city but our worry now is the issue of siltation caused by
gold panners and the dwindling water levels in our dams."

A council report indicates the city's supply dams are only 40% full. Earlier
projections by council indicated that the water would last the city 18

"This (water projections) however did not include a provision for reduced
capacity of the dams due to siltation that has been happening due to gold
panning activities and demand by downstream users," the report said.

"Current supplies are being depleted at a fast rate and stringent water
rationing measures could be introduced in the city soon."

The report was compiled by the city's Engineering Services department.

According to the report, the dams currently hold 147 million cubic metres of
water, a figure far short of the 228 cubic metres the dams held the same
period last year.
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Zim Independent

NRZ fails to pay employees
Susan Mateko
THE National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) has failed to pay its workers'
salaries on time amidst reports that the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra)
has garnished part of the $6 billion debt owed to it by the rail parastatal.

Thousands of NRZ workers had not received their May salaries at the time of
going to press yesterday. The NRZ is reeling from financial problems which
are being compounded by its debt situation. This has now been worsened by
Zimra's garnishing order.

NRZ public relations officer Fanuel Masikati confirmed yesterday that the
parastatal had failed to pay its workers on time but said the issue was
being rectified.

"We have had problems with timely payment of salaries, but the problem this

time is with the banks who are taking long to process workers' salaries,"
Masikati said.

Like almost all parastatals, the NRZ has for years been a drain on the
fiscus. Government has done next to nothing to resolve the situation.

The impasse between the NRZ and Zimra attracted Vice-President Joice Mujuru's
intervention in February where it was agreed the rail company would pay off
its debt in instalments.

Masikati did not say exactly whether or not the arrangements to pay Zimra in
instalments had any impact on the salary delays. He was also not forthcoming
on the claims that Zimra had garnished the NRZ.

"The arrangement we have with Zimra is still smooth, we are paying in
instalments," he said.

The NRZ is still grappling with salary payments despite an injection of $25
billion by the Reserve Bank for re-capitalisation.
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Zim Independent

NCA to protest amendments

On Wednesday, President Robert Mugabe decreed through an Extraordinary
Government Gazette that parliament would start business on Thursday - two
weeks earlier than the initial date of June 28.

THE National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) has warned government to brace
itself for protests from next week against proposed amendments to the

Bringing forward the parliamentary session will facilitate government's
intentions to amend the constitution and accommodate the re-introduction of
the Senate.

NCA chairman Lovemore Madhuku said the civic group would mobilise for the
rejection of the amendments, although he conceded these would probably sail

"We are not going to work with government," he said. "In fact it should now
brace itself for protests from us. Mugabe should be prepared for
international attention because we are going to protest against the

"Amendments should not be centred on self-interest," Madhuku said. "The
problem we have with the current constitution is that there is too much
centralisation of power in one person. There still remain problems which
include the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the
Public Order and Security Act."

The ruling Zanu PF party wants to amend the constitution so that the last
vice-president to act takes over the remaining period of the president's
term of office in the event of the incumbent being unable to continue due to
ill health or other incapacity.

The amend-ments are also meant to cater for the reintroduction of the Senate
which will have 50 elected members from 10 provinces, and a delimitation
exercise would be carried out so that there are five constituencies in each
province to ensure proportional representation.

Madhuku said they had mobilised key members of civil society to demonstrate
against the amendments. - Staff Writer.
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Zim Independent

Editor's Memo


THE operation was anything you can imagine but clean. Barbaric, brutal,
heartless, vindictive, immoral, cynical and above all ruthless are more
accurate descriptions.

That is the grossly under-reported human rights calamity unfolding in
Zimbabwe's towns and cities under the guise of restoring order. I believe
only the survivors of South Africa's apartheid-engineered forced Bantu
removals would be able to appreciate the scale and ferocity of the

Ian Smith never managed anything so simple to keep the towns "clean".

The ZRP's Operation Restore Order is in full swing. The police are going
about the rapine with gusto, destroying everything deemed illegal. Never
mind that there has been no conclusive definition of what is illegal. The
police carry no papers from any recognised court of law as proof that a
particular shack was not approved by council.

There can be no worse lawlessness than the callous operation going on in
Zimbabwe's urban areas.

Many families have been rendered homeless and their sources of livelihood
destroyed in the senseless "clean-up". The popular Mupedzanhamo and Siya So
were razed on Monday. That was in addition to the destruction of many flea
markets in the city which were paying rent to council.

Furniture manufacturers at several small-scale industrial sites across the
city went up in smoke last week. Their customers will be seeking recovery of
their deposits!

While most urban workers were stranded on the streets because fuel shortages
and an ill-timed blitz on commuter omnibuses made transport scarce, the
police and their riot police siblings had many dozens of trucks at their
disposal to carry out their dastardly operation against unarmed civilians.
As was the case with the land reform programme, government is once again
guilty of doing the right thing in the wrong way.

Its land reform created poverty and scarcities which have in turn spawned
the so-called black market in virtually everything imaginable. It bred and
nurtured a culture of lawlessness and lack of accountability on the farms
which swiftly spread to the cities. All that one needed to break the law
with impunity was to produce a Zanu PF card, know how to chant the right
slogan and keep a Zimbabwean flag as a token of patriotism. That is how
so-called housing cooperatives mushroomed in undesignated urban areas
without local authorities doing anything.

That government condoned and seemed to abet lawlessness made the settlements
appear legal. Even if they were not, which is the case with most of the
structures built by war veterans in Harare, the brutality with which
government has gone about uprooting them should make the residents feel more
sinned against than sinning.

The most cynical reporting on this sordid affair came from the Herald. In
typical Jonathan Moyo fashion, against the clear evidence of their own
pictures, Herald reporters claimed informal traders "heeded" government's
call and "happily" destroyed their "illegal" shacks. To say a man would
happily destroy what he has spent his life building without alternative
accommodation or employment is dishonest as well as heartless. Places like
Siya So gained notoriety in the 70's as no-go areas even for Smith's
police - hence the Siya So and Skuzapo T-shirts that could easily get one

As for Newsnet, they are a cursed lot. They failed to record live history
being made under their noses. Here was a man-made tsunami that should shock
the entire civilised world going unrecorded because foreign journalists need
to be accredited first while local zombies are too spineless to justify
their membership of the journalism profession. Such disasters rarely happen
twice in a man's lifetime.

We have been told that alternative operating places will be found for the
victims of this tsunami. That is after all their wares have been destroyed
and most of them have been impoverished beyond recovery. That is surely to
stand logic on its head and they expect us to believe them. Why didn't those
responsible build the new structures and then move people into them?

We are inclined to believe those who see retribution in the whole operation
rather than the authorities' twaddle about cleaning up the city. Unless the
clean-up means removing all anti-Zanu PF vermin. That fits in nicely in the
Gukurahundi scheme that has followed all previous Zimbabwean elections.

What we however cannot take away from the Zanu PF leadership is their
inventiveness. In the midst of swingeing fuel and transport shortages and
unconscionable price increases, they have made sure we spend the period
before the next election thanking them for cleaning up the mess they created
in the urban areas by failing to build a solid formal employment sector.
Having failed to inspire citizens with their empty electoral victory, they
have decided to reduce unemployment by chasing out of town all those who
refused to take up land they could not use productively.

Where I don't agree with my colleagues is when they accuse the forever
effete MDC of complicity in this mad operation.

I believe they are still consulting on another "final push". Come 2010, they
will deliver the coup de grace. I also feel sorry for Zanu PF supporters in
Harare South, White Cliff and Caledonia farms who believed the propaganda
about Morgan Tsvangirai calling their settlements "mushrooms"!

His party's loss in the March election was a blessing in disguise. He didn't
have to uproot them. We all know who did!
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Zim Independent

'Look East' not policy but a slogan
Dumisani Muleya/Shakeman Mugari

CHINA'S recent delivery of two MA60 passenger planes, six fighter/trainer
jets and reportedly sophisticated jamming and snooping equipment to the
Central Intelligence Organisation appears to have given President Robert
Mugabe's "Look East" policy a dramatic impetus against a background of
Harare's damaging isolation from the West.
Following the recent Asia-Africa summit in Jakarta, Indonesia, attended by
key leaders from the two regions, including Mugabe and President Thabo
Mbeki, co-host with Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri, Mugabe has
escalated his rhetoric about his new "policy" to circumvent isolation over
political repression and human rights issues.
Analysts say Mugabe wants to capitalise on China's rising position as a
global economic powerhouse to integrate Zimbabwe's collapsing economy into
the "Asian Tigers" and thereby redefine the country's economic thrust in
line with his political designs.
But observers say while Mugabe's bid to explore new economic horizons and
develop alternative economic ties on the face of it sound innovative, a
rhetoric/reality gap is evoked in a way that conflates populism and
Analysts say the worry about the "Look East" policy is that it is not a
policy at all. They say it is more of a political slogan stemming from
Mugabe's problems with the West.
Former Information minister Jonathan Moyo, a political scientist and
independent MP, said the "Look East" mantra was not a policy by "any stretch
of the imagination".
"I'm not sure whether it is fair to ask me to comment on a policy which
doesn't exist. I don't think there is any serious student of politics and
policy studies, let alone policy-makers, who think there is such a policy,"
Moyo said.
"There is no such a policy. It's a political slogan. It's typical of the
Zanu PF leadership to parade slogans as policies. The 'Look East' slogan
lacks substance and that's why it was so embarrassing to see the president
and government officials wildly excited because of only two aircraft bought
from China by Air Zimbabwe."
Moyo said buying planes and getting a few trinkets from China could not be
reason enough for serious policy analysts to jump to conclusions claiming
there was now a policy of "only looking east in a modern, global world that
requires people to be open-minded and to interrelate in various ways
"Kwame Nkrumah who lived in a different era was wise enough to realise that
the idea is not to look east or west but forward. That's what we need to
 do," Moyo said.
"Mugabe's metaphor that we are now looking east where the sun rises and not
west where the sun sets is too simplistic to inform the thinking needed to
resolve our economic crisis. It is certainly not as profound as he wants us
to believe. At best it is unsophisticated and naïve and at worst dangerous
insofar as it seeks to camouflage reality."
However, economic commentator Jonathan Kadzura defended the "Look East"
policy. "It is a noble policy and we must not just look at the negatives but
concentrate on the positive side of it," Kadzura said. "Already there is a
lot that has come from the Chinese. Look at their deals with Net*One, NRZ
and Hwange. Surely those are the benefits we are looking for."
But John Robertson, an independent economic consultant, disagreed.
"There is nothing in the east that could replace what we have been getting
from the west. 'Look East' doesn't represent a policy at all," he said.
"There is need for urgent balance-of-payments support and lines of credit
and I don't think there are institutions in the east that can give us that
now and replace the west."
Analysts say there is currently no established framework for Zimbabwe's
economic integration with Asian countries except ad hoc measures largely
dictated by Mugabe's whims instead of economic realities.
The other problem - perhaps a very serious one - is that Mugabe is unable to
draw the line between his revolutionary or radical public posturing and
reality, analysts say.
While it is a good idea to widen economic opportunities for the country,
prevailing economic practicalities in the local and global context should
always be the guiding principle.
Critics say it is no use trying to persist with a dreadful charade in the
hope that the reality will vanish and be replaced by wishful thinking.
The reality is Zimbabwe inherited a set of international economic and
political relations which still and, in all probability, will continue to
heavily influence the country's future.
Political relations are dominated and defined by intergovernmental links and
are easy to refashion to suit the political agenda of a regime in power.
However, economic relations are forged by a combination of complex
historical circumstances and network of factors such as financial and
commercial linkages, international markets, commodity regimes, trade
treaties, and lines of communication such as transport routes and other
variables like public and private sector arrangements, production patterns,
import necessities and export opportunities.
International economic relations are far less responsive to government
intervention short of diktat and will almost inevitably remain at variance
with the pattern of political relations and alliances of a regime with
upside-down priorities.
The reality of the Zimbabwean economy is that it is dominated by British,
South African and American companies which hold sway across a vast swathe in
nearly all key sectors.
"The poverty of this shallow 'Look East' policy is it ignores the fact that
economic realities shape political relations and not the other way round,"
Moyo said. "Trade policy is fashioned out of a country's comparative
advantages and not political paranoia or prejudices."
"Countries have permanent economic interests and not permanent friends and
enemies. The 'Look East' slogan flies in the face of this fundamental
Moyo said the Zanu PF catchphrase cloaked as policy was exposing the
ignorance of its purveyors and turning Zimbabwe into a laughing stock.
"It is exposing Zimbabwe to ridicule by informed people who know how modern
economies work because in essence it is a discredited paradigm and a
disguised Cold War philosophy which went down with the collapse of the
Berlin Wall," he said. "We need to come to terms with the fact we are a
modern country in a globalised world that requires a critical shift from
redundant mindsets. That is why many people say we won't get out of this
situation while the out-of-touch Zanu PF old guard is in office."
Analysts say while China has investments in Zimbabwe and there is
significant trade between Zimbabwe and Asian countries, these pale in
comparison to links with the
The inevitability of a clash between the political desires of the government
and economic interests of the country in most developing countries with a
colonial past, analysts say, easily deteriorates into a crisis if there is
an unpopular and ostracised populist regime struggling for political
Populist regimes always try to arouse and exploit the sensitivities of the
people in the name of justice and economic equality. They are generally
transformist and revolutionary in origin and come up with programmes
directed at the political and socio-economic status quo, foreign powers, and
at times the so-called "Yankee imperialism" led by multinationals. Zimbabwe
is a case in point.
This is what Mugabe has been trying to do for the past five years. But it is
clear his actions are motivated less by his desire to help the people than
self-preservation, which is why he has largely failed in this mission.
Zhing-zhong is no substitute for balance-of-payments support.

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Zim Independent

The battle for the cities
By Brian Raftopoulos
WHILE the livelihoods of rural and urban areas in economies like Zimbabwe
are closely interdependent, the urban spaces have a specific set of dynamics
that have, in historical terms, marked out the urban as a particular set of
socio-economic and political relations. This has meant that the politics of
the urban areas has taken on specific characteristics, particularly in
relation to nationalist politics.

While mass nationalism grew out of urban struggles in the 1950s and 1960s
and broadened into rural struggles, the complexity of class, ethnic and
generational struggles in the urban areas provided a number of challenges
for nationalist mobilisation in the urban areas.

Such complexities were not of course absent in the rural areas, but as the
nationalist struggles became concentrated in the rural areas from the 1970s,
certain tensions and differences developed in the absence of sustained
nationalist organisation in the cities.

As the nationalism of Zanu PF has grown more intolerant of diversity and
insisted on a uniformity of outlook, the simplistic dichotomies of
citizen/alien and patriot/traitor that have marked the mobilisation
strategies of the ruling party have had difficulties in coping with the
heterogeneity of urban formations.

Hence the anti-urbanism that has become one of the hallmarks of the ruling
party's authoritarian nationalism, as it has repeatedly located national
authenticity in the rural population, and hurled insults at the "totemless"
strangers living "under the spell of the urban ill-wind" and outside of the
"Third Chimurenga".

There is a good deal of continuity with the colonial state in this
characterisation of urbanites who, under settler rule, were seen as
temporary residents in the cities, tolerated only as long as their labour
was required.

Many of the struggles in the colonial period were precisely around this
position of the colonial state, and despite the discriminatory policies they
face, Africans made the cities their home and fought for their rights to
live and raise families in urban areas.

The act of an independent government destroying informal settlements and
displacing thousands of workers is in every sense as destructive as its
colonial precedent. The great urban African leaders of the past like Charles
Mzingeli would have recognised the marks of such destructive interventions.

As in the colonial past the current regime has used the arguments of
criminality and urban squalor to "restore order" to the cities, and as with
past attempts this one will not solve the problem of urban squalor. For the
basis of this urban poverty is the crisis of the reproduction of labour and
the continued failure of current economic policy to stabilise the
livelihoods of urban workers.

In fact, labour is now more vulnerable in livelihood terms than it was in
1980, having had to endure the eroding effects of falling real wages,
increased food prices and the massive cutbacks of the social wage. This
condition of labour has also been further exacerbated by the inefficiencies
of the current land policy.

As several commentators have already pointed out, the current campaign
against the informal sector has sinister political overtones.

After a series of electoral defeats in the urban areas, the state responded
to the urban population by undermining their elected representative at local
government level and corrupting such structures through a series of
appointments and policy decisions on service provision that allowed
patronage politics to enrich the few and impoverish the city.

The current Harare Commission, appointed by the responsible minister to do
the dirty work of the ruling party, is an absolute disgrace. At no time in
the post-1980 period, and perhaps even before that, has the capital city
been so badly run and with so little regard for the majority of its

The latest clean-up operation is an extension of the assaults of the ruling
party on a sector of the population considered "the enemy". Moreover, it
should be seen as an extension of land politics to the cities, for in the
urban areas the housing question and the informal settlements constitute an
important element of the land question.

The threats uttered and songs sung by the invading police units of
"Operation Restore Order" had all the hallmarks of the militia violence that
marked the land occupations, this time under cover of police uniforms. It
may well be that the ruling party is looking to remove the "surplus"
elements of the urban population ahead of the next presidential election by
drawing them into more controllable rural political relations. We will need
to watch this trend.

In addition, listening to Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono's
last monetary statement, it is clear that he had little to offer formal
industry in the cities, and was more concerned with satisfying the emerging
black elite on the land and turning Zimbabwe into one big export processing
zone, dotted with penal institutions.

There is in all spheres of government policy a continuous use of punitive
language designed to discipline, confiscate and expropriate for the benefit
of our new ruling elite. The language of public policy has been decisively
damaged by the ruthless acquisitiveness of the state, and the destructive
belief that this state is the property of Zanu PF alone.

It is also important to relate "Operation Murambatsvina" to the ongoing
state attacks on the labour movement. For when examined together it becomes
clearer to see the attempts to combine controls on the city's surplus
population with the destruction of a major institutional representative of
urban labour, the labour movement. It would not have escaped the notice of
the state that the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions has put in place a
programme to work with the informal sector.

In short Zimbabweans are experiencing very dangerous changes in the country's
social structure that combine the structural shrinkage of urban spaces with
a repressive anti-urban political establishment. The long-term implications
of this process do not bode well for democratic politics.

*Brian Raftopoulos is associate professor at the Institute of Development
Studies, University of Zimbabwe.
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Zim Independent

Blair and Mbeki hold the master keys
By Peter Lovemore
THERE have been two elections in the world this year that have had and are
having a deep impact on the hapless citizens of Zimbabwe.

In the first of these elections, the great anti-Blair poll held on March 31
in Zimbabwe, Zanu PF, the architect of our unfolding disaster these past six
years, was "swept" back into power. Six weeks later, Zanu PF's arch-enemy on
the global stage, Tony Blair, led his equally dubious party to an
unprecedented third term at the helm of Britain's affairs.

Blair's majority was pruned quite considerably, while Zanu PF purported to
have won a substantially increased majority, though both results, it will
emerge in time, will yield little for the citizens of these two countries to
cheer about, even if it is fair to state that the average Briton is almost
certainly better off than his Zimbabwean counterpart.

Whereas in Britain it will take a little longer for the negative impact of a
third new Labour term to be felt, the crunch has come a lot sooner in
Zimbabwe. Two months after their election, Zimbabweans, particularly those
suspected of having voted for the "traitorous" Movement for Democratic
Change, are truly counting the cost of the liberation party's latest
electoral triumph.

And the only two countries that can do anything to relieve the desperate
plight of the majority here, Britain and South Africa, are doing precisely
nothing. The British government, as British governments have been wont to do
down the ages, moralises feebly and ineffectually about the Mugabe
government's "lack of democracy, transparency and accountability", while the
South African government wrings its wretched hands and remains almost
equally supine in the face of its neighbour's disastrous decline.

On the one hand, Blair and company pursue their largely ineffectual regime
of soft, targeted sanctions, while on the other South African President
Thabo Mbeki and his compliant ministers insist on pursuing the illusion that
"quiet diplomacy", a euphemism for looking the other way while Zimbabwe
rots, will produce the desired effect.

These observations are neither new nor original, nor are they of the
slightest help or comfort to the greater generality of Zimbabweans
struggling to keep body and soul together, not to mention their daily battle
to source life's basic necessities and then pay for those commodities.

But a ray of comfort was offered in the Zimbabwe Independent of May 20 by
Richard Dowden ("We must talk to Mugabe now"). Dowden states, quite
correctly in my opinion, that the Blair government must swallow its pride
and initiate some sort of meaningful dialogue with President Robert Mugabe,
and the sooner the better.

It was the ultra-conservative Tory, Margaret Thatcher, who shifted the
logjam in the Zimbabwe-Rhodesian impasse of the late 70s. Now it is Blair's
turn to step forward and perform at least one act of international
statesmanship before he is usurped at number 10 Downing Street by the dour
Scot, Gordon Brown.

Twenty-five years after Independence, and 42 years after the advent of Ian
Smith's foolhardy and myopic regime, the people of this small country are
still waiting for the first genuine rays of hope that accompany development,
prosperity, jobs, the return from abroad of their loved ones and, above all,
freedom. Of false dawns we have had an elegant sufficiency.

Blair holds the master keys to this process. It's Lancaster House time all
over again. Mbeki, given a positive lead, must, and almost certainly will,
follow suit.

Everybody, inclusive of, I am willing to bet, many in the hierarchy of the
Zimbabwean government has had a bellyful of oppression, inflation, crisis
administration, threats, the criminalisation of the innocent and the poverty
that now sweeps the land. We are on the edge of an extremely perilous
situation in Zimbabwe and the clock is ticking.

Passive as most Zimbabweans appear to be, even they will soon cry "enough"!
The events of the past few weeks have already produced acts of violence on
both sides of the divide. Before this develops into the general
conflagration that we all dread action must be taken.

Blair, reach for your diplomatic telephone. This little country was your
country's colony and, like it or not, your responsibility for its wellbeing
has still to be discharged.

Mbeki, clear your desk and make Zimbabwe your prime external priority. If
freedom and democracy were what your people deserved, then the same applies
to us, the people of Zimbabwe. We are, and always have been, your closest
relations on the African continent of which you are now the undoubted

Do it, both of you, for posterity and for the preservation of your own
reputations as world statesmen.

*Peter Lovemore is a freelance writer based in Harare.
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Zim Independent

A 'queuevolution' in the making!
By Rejoice Ngwenya
FROM the time that I join a petrol queue at 4:30am to the stage when I
eventually get served at 2:00pm, or even when standing patiently but in a
perpetual state of anxiety waiting for sugar, I could easily transform my
country from being a bankrupt, third world totalitarian state to a jovial,
world class US$10 000 per capita income all within a couple of hours!

This miraculous transformation is made possible by the invaluable encounter
with the new subjects of quenomics, quelosophy, queligion, quelitics and
quemigration. I am truly blessed to be part of the pioneers of this
queuevolution. May my name be emblazoned in neon lights for my contribution
to the liberation of Quembabwe. Take me to my own Heroes Hectare!

Quenomics is a set of perceptions and predispositions developed at petrol
queues, specifically relating to hallucinations by our government of an
imaginary economic turnaround. So far, I possess a world-renowned toolkit of
how to treble the foreign reserves of Quembabwe by doubling the export price
of the world's poorest tobacco crop to China, a crop developed by a drip
irrigation system on barren A2 farms!

The toolkit is sold at all dry service stations in Quembabwe, but only to
quenomics licensees who must first prove that they have spent not less than
three weeks running on empty tanks to and from their workplaces.

Quenomics was first tested at a perennially empty service station in Ruwa,
popular for dispensing petrol from empty pumps at a world competitive price
of $3 450 per litre.

Of late, the shelf-price of quenomics licences has trebled, having responded
positively to the post-election monetary policy sermon on Mt Reserve Bank.
Cardinal Gono added another rare inflation control formula to the study -
Quembabweans can reduce inflation from 200% to 50% year-on-year by doubling
the size of the cabinet. A world first!

There is also a high possibility that the price of quenomics licences may
reach an all-time high if proved beyond reasonable doubt that "Operation
Murambatsvina" will increase Quembabwe's foreign currency inflows by 1 000%.
What a true queuevolution!

Quelitics is the study of how governments with zero-tolerance to political
competition can practise free and fair elections to create conditions ideal
for turning entire countries like Quembabwe virtually into export processing
and tourist paradise zones.

The toolkit was extremely difficult to come by, but eventually found hidden
in stacks of sugar at a house in Mbare. My only disappointment was that it
had already been licensed to a consultant in Mauritius who insists that I
have to first prove my government's total compliance with Sadc PF electoral

Now this is ridiculous!

How else could the ANC have passed our elections free and fair on March 28
2005 if Quembabwe had not fully complied with Sadc PF norms? This is
sabotage; he must be an agent of the FBI! Ah, perhaps with a bit of
quelosophy, I might just persuade him to part with the licence.

Quelosophy is the study of how queues positively and negatively impact on
the mental, social and cognitive behaviour of citizens. It has revealed that
Quembabweans simply love queuing because they have nothing else better to

During elections, they use their idle time at queues to debate important
political options - like why big toes are not used for dipping into red ink
as proof of bussing voters! At bus termini, quelosophy proves Quembabweans
share solutions to their problems better when they spend more time together.
This also instils a higher degree of patriotism and appreciation of
political independence!

How then do Quembabweans manage to keep their tempers manageable under such
trying conditions? Queligion is the answer, a set of beliefs founded and
based on spiritual interaction between members of the same queue.

I managed to trace the toolkit to a dustbin at a service station on Fourth
Street. The licence agreement states that for one to qualify as a user, you
have to prove a state of advanced civic and political docility, having
long-suffered for 25 years, possession of a valid Dead BC licence and accept
that you are not grateful for being emancipated from the bondage of

One of queligion key values is a marvel - if a Border Gezi recruit slaps you
on one cheek, give him not only your other cheek, but also your next of kin's,
and forgive him 70 times!

Quemigration is a beauty - the science of hopping from one queue to another
in search of scarce commodities. I was lucky that an informer in the
Registrar-General's office slipped the licence agreement to me hidden in an
expired Canadian passport engraved with a current minister's name.

Quemigration was first tested at a service station kwaBhora, when a resident
of Old Windsor Park was coming from a funeral and drove straight into a
petrol queue. Two cars away from the pump, he overheard that there was sugar
at a nearby supermarket. He left his car promptly and stood patiently in the
sugar queue.

On seeing shoppers passing by with bread, he marked his position with a
shopping basket and walked over to the bakery section.

Meanwhile his car alarm went off while someone tried to push it off the
queue, prompting him to dash out. He not only found a dry petrol pump, but
also by the time he returned to the supermarket, there was no sugar or
bread. How romantic!

Talking about romance, I bumped into a toolkit called quemance - the science
of relationships between people of the opposite sex developed on and around
queues. Some quemance results in lasting marital bonds; at times it is a
known cause of divorce. Whatever way, join Quembabwe's queuevolution at a
queue near you!

*Rejoice Ngwenya is a freelance writer based in Harare.
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Zim Independent


Can the MDC provide a lead?
MABVUKU and Tafara residents this week took to the streets to protest
incessant water cuts by the inept authorities running Harare. On Sunday at
the National Sports Stadium there were skirmishes after Harare soccer side
Dynamos lost a third league match on the trot.
If popular mass action was ever going to grip the capital, thirsty residents
of Mabvuku and Tafara or angry Dynamos supporters should have provided the
trigger. It didn't happen because there has not been sufficient popular
support for the water or football cause.
Discontent with Zanu PF's suspected theft of the March 31 general election
did not provoke a spontaneous mass uprising either.
Six weeks after Zanu PF was declared the winner, the opposition MDC, it was
reported this week, are still brainstorming on the idea of mass action.
A meeting held by the party's leaders, we hear, did not come up with a
definite position on how popular discontent can be ratcheted up to drive
people onto the streets.
There is definitely disenchantment with the present regime. The March
election, other than handing President Mugabe a two-thirds majority, has not
solved anything. In fact, the situation is degenerating fast, yet people are
not massing on the streets.
The MDC would like to see the Zanu PF government under some form of popular
pressure; something akin to the velvet revolution in Georgia.
But this requires leadership and the capacity to organise and direct. This
is not apparent in the opposition set-up and the so-called broad alliance
encompassing civic groups. The fact that the party is discussing mass action
when the main impetus to trigger popular response - a stolen election - has
evaporated, does not inspire confidence in the party's ability to take the
lead in raising public consciousness.
Any attempt to pressure Mugabe and Zanu PF should focus on the manifest
shortcomings of the establishment. The MDC should identify the chinks in
Mugabe's armour. But no, the opposition would like to use its most
ineffectual weapon to tackle Zanu PF's strongest front - repression. No
amount of international condemnation and censure will stop Mugabe from
unleashing the army and paramilitary police onto demonstrators in the
high-density suburbs. Instruments for that exercise are available and honed
to perform the task effectively.
The MDC, if it is indeed keen to use the confrontational route, has to
perform better than it did in the past. Mass action in Zimbabwe has
unfortunately taken the form of youths throwing stones at the police and
running away. The mass action of 1998 was hijacked by criminals who looted
supermarkets for food, clothes, television sets and even beds.
Any popular demonstration of discontent should be cleansed of these actions
which only give the police and the army justification to crush skulls.
Compare this with the 1980s protests in South Africa where demonstrators
linked arms and marched against the apartheid regime in a well-organised and
disciplined way led by bishops and other notables. Can Zimbabweans achieve
that level of commitment and discipline in expressing their displeasure with
Mugabe if there is no strong leadership?
The planned March on State House - dubbed the final push - two years ago did
not get very far. Repetition of that would be disastrous for the opposition
as it exposed inherent weaknesses in its structures which are in great need
of revamping and reorganisation so that the party remains relevant.
In politics the parties derive strength from the weaknesses of their
opponents. A weak opposition movement in Zimbabwe will hand Zanu PF the
opportunity to consolidate, sit back and do nothing.
The opposition, which is scheduled to hold its congress in the second half
of this year, should start to think strategically about leadership renewal.
This should not just be an exercise in shifting around personnel but putting
together a team that can articulate the party's position on key areas
in-between elections.
Successful parties require people who can carry the vision of the leadership
to the voter. That is partly the reason why British premier Tony Blair
reappointed Gordon Brown as chancellor before the heat of the election
But for starters, the party requires vision. It needs to be more than just a
government-in-waiting. Sometimes we sense a lack of cohesion in the party's
"Top Six' and this reverberates through the party structures.
The era of a loose amalgam of students, trade unionists, civic activists,
business owners, academics and eccentrics glued together by their distaste
for Mugabe's rule is over. There is an aching need for leadership on how the
nation can move forward. Zanu PF evidently can't provide that. Can the MDC?

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Zim Independent

Eric Bloch Column

Air Zimbabwe's commitment has flown
FOR many years, Air Zimbabwe loudly proclaimed its "commitment to
 excellence", although passengers who frequently had occasion to suffer
delays of many hours were understandably sceptical as to any such commitment
More recently, with the national airline' acquisition of two new aircraft
from China, Air Zimbabwe has been trumpeting that Zimbabwe is crossing the
threshold to better, passenger-conscious air services.
In heralding a new era for Zimbabwean commercial air traffic, the national
carrier has been strongly supported by the government, with the president
and his ministers eulogising China, which is striving vigorously to become
the new master of the Zimbabwean economy. They have waxed eloquently on the
role that Air Zimbabwe will now be able to play in bringing about recovery
for the tourism sector, and resurrection of the economy.
In this, the politicians and the airline have been very greatly assisted by
the state-controlled media, with headlines such as "Zim air travel will
never be the same again". (Of course, that could mean that it will be even
worse, but undoubtedly that was not the intent of the headline).
There was and still is great credibility of the claim of a "commitment to
excellence" insofar as Air Zimbabwe's flight crews, check-in personnel and
other airport ground staff are concerned. The cabin crews have for years,
with virtually no exception, been professional, cheerful and smiling, while
being exceptionally attentive and helpful to all passengers, especially in
the case of the aged, disabled and others in need of assistance and minor
children. The cabin stewards and stewardesses unhesitatingly seek to be
friendly and to address all their passengers' needs.
The same can be said about the cockpit crews, who have evidenced their
intense concern for the safety of their passengers and to keep passengers
informed on any significant matters. There has been clear evidence that they
place safety above all else, refusing to take off on any flight if there is
even the slightest suggestion of any technical fault, howsoever minor it may
And an equal awareness of the need for customer care is exhibited by the
mechanics on the ground, determined to allay the concerns of the pilots by
expeditious and effective attention to the causes of those concerns.
Similarly, the willing helpfulness of the airline's check-in personnel is a
demonstration of a "commitment to excellence". With a cordial greeting for
all, they strive to deal with the processing of passengers efficiently
despite having to cope, more often than not, with computer failures, and
notwithstanding the irrascibility of many passengers frustrated by flight
delays, although those delays were not occasioned by the check-in staff.
Unfortunately, however, that "commitment to excellence" has not permeated
into those who man the desks at Air Zimbabwe's head offices. Over the years
there have been countless examples of an arrogant disregard for passengers
and their needs.
That disregard has ranged from a studious failure to respond to
correspondence to inadequate endeavour to ensure availability of all normal
and usual passenger service needs. As for the former, this writer has failed
to elicit responses to several letters over a period of time, while the
latter is apparent by the frequency of there being no soap in aircraft
toilets, extraordinarily limited selection of beverages - even in the
business class - and either no newspapers, or day-old local papers only, for
issue to business class travellers, and by the non-availability at some
airports of benefits to which Rainbow Club members are entitled.
But, with the introduction into service last week of the new MA60 aircraft,
Air Zimbabwe's head office has excelled in abandoning its "commitment to
excellence", for it is beyond doubt that the only consideration given to the
new flight schedules was to achieve maximum aircraft usage over the greatest
possible number of routes.
It is very commendable that the airline will be providing for greater route
coverage than heretofore. Its domestic routes now cover Bulawayo, Victoria
Falls and Kariba from Harare, and from those airports to Harare, while the
much-expanded range of regional destinations includes Lilongwe, Mauritius,
Johannesburg - interlinked with Harare, Bulawayo and Victoria Falls -
Lusaka, Lumbambashi, Luanda, Kinshasa, Nairobi, Dar-es-Salaam and Entebbe,
and international destinations are London, Bangkok, Beijing, Singapore and
It is, however, regrettable that at this stage the flight schedules do not
include destinations of Hwange National Park, Buffalo Range, Maputo or
Beira, Francistown and Gaborone, or any South African cities other than
However, the overriding criticism that must be directed at Air Zimbabwe is
that not only, in formulating the new flight schedules, has it failed to
consult stakeholders - for it has been authoritatively stated that the
airline did not interact with the tourist industry and with economic
representative bodies such as the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries and
the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce in order to ascertain the needs of
the air travel market - but it particularly gave no consideration to its
Bulawayo-based passengers requiring air services to Harare.
The new airline schedules provide for a daily flight departing from Bulawayo
at 06.00. As passengers are required to check in at the airport not later
than an hour prior to the scheduled departure, being 05.00, they must leave
home at some time between 04.15 and 04.30, depending upon the distance from
home to the airport. Allowing for time for normal daily ablutions and
ancillary activities, they must rise from their bed no later than 03.30. The
passenger then arrives in Harare (in the event that there is no flight
delay) at 07.00.
It is unlikely that his first business engagement would be earlier than
09.00, and he must therefore while away the time, effectively "cooling his
heels" unproductively for up to two hours.
That night, his flight departs Harare (other than on Tuesdays and Thursdays)
at 20.00, and arrives in Bulawayo at 21.00. Therefore, after driving home,
having dinner and completing evening ablutions, it is likely that he will
retire to bed no earlier than 23.00, having been without sleep for at least
19 hours.

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Zim Independent


"YES, the goods are cheap, yes the goods are of cheap quality, but surely no
one should begrudge or blame the Chinese business people for getting their
marketing strategy spot on," gushed Munyaradzi Huni about substandard
Chinese products that have been dumped on the Zimbabwean market as part of
the "Look East" policy.
During his shopping for the zhing zhong goods, Huni eavesdropped on fellow
shoppers, one of whom remarked: "The products are very, very cheap, but if
they last for more than a week, consider yourself lucky." Huni goes on to
claim that Zimbabweans "just love" these cheap imports.
He might be right about one thing, that is that Chinese business people got
their marketing strategy right after the Zanu PF government managed to
pauperise a whole nation in just 25 years. The economy has been so ruined
that the only products we can afford are rejects from China. That does not
approximate to "love" by any stretch of the imagination - when you buy
something you know won't last a week! Especially Chinese footwear.
When Zimbabweans still had some pride left and valued quality, one of the
best marketing punchlines came from Eric Davies: "It pays in the end to buy
the best in the beginning." Which makes a lot of economic sense! We wonder
what its converse would read like.
P/S: Muckraker has just been warned that it is now considered offensive to
criticise Chinese junk, sorry quality products. It is said this is
disrespectful of the Great Leader. Long live our Chinese comrades!
There was a curious letter in the Sunday Mail from one Boswell. He
complained that war veterans were being unfairly treated by Zanu PF after
they helped the party win the March 31 parliamentary election. He said the
$1 million monthly pension they were getting was "peanuts" as some of them
needed to pay school fees for their children.
"These people are very loyal to the party. They don't revolt but are the
least paid in Zimbabwe," he said.
We don't know about them being the least paid, but we wonder what they are
being paid for? If they owe their loyalty to Zanu PF first then they should
be paid by the party.
Boswell didn't say if he was a war veteran. What was evident was that he
doesn't have to pay anything himself from his rural enclave of Mberengwa.

The commission running Harare council affairs has resolved to "unbundle" so
that various departments operate as business units, we were told last week.
As usual we can expect water shortages, poor refuse collection and
problematic commuter transport to become "things of the past" as state media
always make a point of reminding us. But as in the case of fuel shortages,
nothing wants to be relegated to the past.
Reporting on the unbundling process, Robert Mukondiwa quoted a sceptical
journalism student who said there had been similar endeavours at ZBC, but
the corporation has nothing to show for it.
"Maybe behind the scenes something is happening, but from where we stand,
there is just a whole lot of confusion and the unbundling has only passed as
a name-calling exercise," said Tawanda Mutyisa.
Simon Pitt of the Mukuvisi Woodlands Association said it was "ridiculous" to
expect the city to provide clean water when residents were paying peanuts
for services. Mukondiwa appeared to agree, saying part of the solution to
the city's service delivery headaches lay in charging commercial rates
instead of those dictated by what he termed "politicking and populist
Could someone pass that on to Ignatious Chombo and his blue-eyed girl
heading the commission. So long as council relies on the services of people
appointed for their loyalty to the party and not for their skills, it is
difficult to even imagine how this unbundling will work. There is no
incentive for anyone to perform, and no threat to their jobs in the event of

Meanwhile, the Herald reported on Tuesday that the Zimbabwe National Water
Authority had taken over Harare's bulk water requirements to alleviate
chronic water problems in the capital. Council will now deal only with
distribution from city reservoirs and billing consumers, it was reported.
We can only hope that the minister in charge of that parastatal, Engineer
Munacho Mutezo, will acquit himself better than Chombo whose unprofessional
fingers in council affairs have been an unmitigated disaster. We don't need
"two bad superstars" to botch council affairs.
It was also salutary to see the Herald for the first time conceding that
Harare's water problems started seven years ago in 1997 due to lack of
sufficient storage capacity and financial resources. It's a seismic
departure from the usual mantra of incompetent MDC councillors.
It also exposes Chombo as a liar who dismissed Elias Mudzuri and other
councillors from Town House simply because they were elected on an MDC
ticket and not because of corruption and mismanagement as has been the
official line hitherto.

We all enjoyed ZTV's little joke, complaining that the general election in
the UK was "marred by lack of transparency, suppression of media freedom,
and fraud".
News agencies picked up the story and ran with it giving the international
media much scope for amusement.
Those at ZTV who thought up this wheeze should have first anticipated the
cost as attention focused on what real fraud and suppression of media
freedom look like. Two Telegraph journalists were able to testify.
We are not aware of anybody being arrested and detained in Britain for
reporting on its election. Nobody had to ask for permission to travel there
to cover it. And the possibility of postal fraud became a big issue which
was not swept under the carpet but dealt with openly and rigorously.
There were no police spokesmen to wave their fists or order the arrest of
editors because the story might cause embarrassment to government!
And can you imagine ZTV, the original home of third-class journalism and
tendentious reporting which ensured the opposition voice was barely heard,
actually complaining about lack of transparency in electoral conduct!
No wonder the world laughed when that report appeared. Zimbabwe got a little
more well-deserved publicity!

Speaking of which, can you imagine a Minister of Information holding a
reception and then attacking his audience.
Tichaona Jokonya and his deputy Bright Matonga presided over a belated World
Press Freedom Day event at the Sheraton last Friday. Although thirsty
scribes were grateful for the hospitality, even if it was at taxpayers'
expense, they didn't appreciate having their intelligence insulted by a
minister who is so obviously out of touch with today's Zimbabwe.
Jokonya, who has spent the past two decades abroad defending the
indefensible, slammed those journalists who concealed their identity when
working outside the country. He said there was a disturbing trend among
younger practitioners to masquerade as nationals of their host country. This
opened them to manipulation by foreign forces, he suggested.
He didn't mention his own record as ambassador to Ethiopia pledging Zimbabwe's
unyielding support for Mengistu's blood-soaked Dergue.
Has Jokonya thought for one minute why Zimbabweans working outside the
country may not feel so proud to wave the country's flag?
Firstly, there is the shame of representing an oppressive regime that
persecutes journalists to prevent them exposing its misrule. And secondly,
Zimbabweans living abroad quickly become the target of surveillance and
punishment by the regime. Ask the staff of SW Radio Africa who were
illegally forbidden from returning home.
As for being used by foreign forces, Jokonya didn't say why it was OK for
journalists to file gullible reports from China which make no mention of
that country's press-freedom record. Zimbabwean journalists are being
manipulated by the regime every day in pursuit of dubious foreign policy
objectives that result in economic exploitation.
What all this says to us is very simple: We cannot have ministers defining
our patriotism or our agenda. They have their own reasons to want a
compliant media. Our job is to deny it to them.
In the meantime it might be a good idea for the minister to get the measure
of his audience before telling silly stories about his grandmother rising
from her grave in defence of the revolution. He probably told Mengistu the
same story! And by the way, nobody in the media is insulting rural folk for
voting the wrong way, as Jokonya suggested. But they are castigating
deceitful politicians who mislead gullible rural voters with promises of
food and a
better life that never seems to materialise.
It is the fundamental role of journalists to hold this bankrupt class of
political parasites accountable, something the new minister doesn't appear
to understand!

Our front-page story last week, "Knives out for Gono", appears to have
stirred the Ministry of Information into action. It promptly issued a denial
saying such "crusading articles" were based on "cheap gossip and rumours"
and did not in any way help the country's economic turnaround programme.
Gideon Gono had the government's "full and unstinted (sic) support", we were
So again it's OK for the state media to "crusade" on behalf of government's
"Look East" policy but not OK for the independent media to report
difficulties in fiscal-policy implementation?
Clearly, we touched a raw nerve there. The difficulties Gono has been facing
in recent weeks are no secret. His monetary policy has been thwarted at
every turn by a government spending money hand over fist to appease
ex-detainees, accommodate superfluous ministers who don't even know what
their job descriptions are, and clinging to a damaging exchange rate which
is sabotaging industry.
While the ministry's statement says Gono's latest monetary policy update is
"widely anticipated", it doesn't say that he had to defer it while
government got its act together. The IMF was similarly told to wait.
Now the turnaround programme is clearly in trouble, newspapers have an even
greater responsibility to point out its structural flaws -like parastatals
helping themselves to trillions of dollars in RBZ aid while continuing with
the same old incompetent and party-directed management.
The ministry seems to think the press are "stakeholders in the economic
turnaround programme" and therefore shouldn't criticise it. How can we be
stakeholders in a programme that was entirely delusional in the first place?

Muckraker was interested to note Air Zimbabwe chief executive Dr Tendai
Mahachi saying he will axe non-performing employees at the airline.
They had no role to play in AirZim's "turnaround" programme, he said.
A scorecard system would result in having "the right people in the right
jobs", Mahachi said.
The obvious question: why have the right people not been in the right jobs
up until now - 25 years after Independence? Why has the state, which is
responsible for the airline, not taken steps previously to have the right
people in the right jobs?
Mahachi says AirZim is now "accounting for every action that it takes and
the company is moving away from the cultural mindset that is inherent in
most workers at parastatals".
That's a start. But it doesn't help to have Mahachi talking about
"turnaround" programmes when we all know that is the lexicon used by
government spokesmen when pretending things are getting better despite the
evidence on the ground.
Departing on time and putting passengers at the centre of the airline's
policy-making would be helpful. Schedules between Harare and Bulawayo don't
suggest that. It would also be helpful if senior public relations officers
and other top-tier corporate managers could return phone calls.

AirZim has been advertising new schedules to the Middle and Far East. Asked
by this newspaper when they were due to commence, we were told that
information could not be released yet. We published the dates last month but
AirZim remains coy.
Given the hype surrounding the airline's acquisition of two Chinese
"aircrafts" and how this fits well with government's "Look East" policy, it
must be doubtful that a technical partner will be willing to come aboard
when routes to destinations such as Beijing appear unsustainable and
Dr Mahachi sits on the Harare commission, a body that has no popular mandate
and is a product of government's campaign to thwart democratic outcomes in
the capital. It is bitterly resented by the city's residents.
How equipped is he to stand up to ministerial interference at Air Zimbabwe
when he serves on the apparatus of ministerial interference in Harare?
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Business in Africa

Will Zimbabwe's leaders please stand up?

Published: 03-JUN-05

By Thabo Masemola

Zimbabwe has a government and a sitting president, with a mandate to run the
country until 2010 and 2008 respectively. But barely two months into the new
government, that task already appears beyond it, despite a whimsical
declaration by President Robert Mugabe that it is an "economic recovery

Zimbabwe is now sitting on a power keg of public discontent. No sooner than
the results of the elections were declared - and disputed by the opposition
and condemned by the West as flawed - than things started to fall apart.

Shortages started of basically everything started. And two months into the
shortages, despite bold declarations and strident rhetoric against the West,
Mugabe and his government appear bereft of any coherent ideas to bring the
situation under control.

Zimbabwe is like an aircraft with a captain who has lost his bearings and is
not particularly concerned about the fact that his plane is heading straight
for a black hole.

"Mugabe may be the president, but he does not rule the country," noted
Daniel Makina, a local political scientist. "He does not seem to know what
is going on in the country. Either that, or he has no idea how to solve the
situation," he added.

The current litany of woes started as foreign currency shortages, already
weighing down the economy for the past three years, worsened as the official
auction market failed to supply at least 95% of company needs. Companies
turned to the irrepressible black market and inevitably, prices of
commodities stated to shoot up by as much as 300%. Mugabe reacted by banning
price increases and shortages resurfaced.

Already facing food shortages following a drought in most parts of the
country, now essential commodities such as fuel, bread, sugar, cooking oil
have all but disappeared from the stores. Without international support,
average daily foreign currency shortages on the auction system worsened in
April 2005 to $155.73m from $123.11m the previous month and US$41.24m at the
end of 2004.

"Truly, the foreign currency shortages have become a major challenge in the
Government's noble efforts to turn around the fortunes of the economy,"
noted Kingdom Bank.

Economists blame the government for keeping prices of essential commodities
such as food and fuel at artificially low levels to secure votes during the
election. "It is incredible that Mugabe has been quiet while chaos reigns in
the country. We know that the army and the police are in a state of
readiness to quell any public uprising, but for a country to descend into
this chaos without a remedy in sight is pure madness," said Makina.

Zimbabwe is already a country on the brink after the March parliamentary
elections, in which the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
claimed another poll theft by the ruling Zanu-PF party. Despite threats of
action, the opposition and pressure groups have been inactive but analysts
say that government and its critics have to sit down to prevent spontaneous
uprising like the food riots in 1998.

In spite of declarations of support from the region and a seal of approval
from the Southern African Development Community, Zimbabwe's government still
lacks international legitimacy after the West declared the poll a fraud. And
Zimbabwe's neighbours appear to want nothing to with the country.

Botswana recently erected an electric fence around its border with Zimbabwe
ostensibly to keep foot-and-mouth infested cattle from crossing over, but
mainly to keep hundreds of desperate Zimbabweans from crossing into the
country daily as they escape the misery at home.

Statements by Mugabe at a private prayer meeting appear to indicate that he
has no idea how to tackle problems he is facing.

"The president said he had no idea how the country was running and asked God
to lead him and show him the way. He admitted that he was powerless to
control the events," said a praying partner.

He has reason to worry. According to a recent UN report, foreign donors are
so discouraged with Zimbabwe that the country attracted just $4 in outside
aid for every person with AIDS in 2004, compared to $74 on average in the
whole of the Southern African region. Zimbabwe is one of the worsthit
African countries suffering from the triple threat of a soaring AIDS
pandemic, drought and weak or bad governance, said the UN report.

It noted that a lack of dialogue between the government of Zimbabwe and
potential donors was also to blame for the country's poor showing in AIDS,
which kills one child every 1 minutes, according to UNESCO.

Aid agencies say at least 6 million Zimbabweans will need food aid this
year, about twice the official figure.

They also warn that malnutritionrelated illnesses are increasingly occurring
across the country as a result of inadequate food supplies.

Zimbabwe's business confidence has slumped to new lows. In the past year,
the economy appeared to be on the up under a turnaround programme driven by
central bank governor Gideon Gono, which saw inflation slowing to 123% in
April from more than 620% the year before.

Unofficial sources say Gono was facing resistance from Mugabe's Cabinet over
plans for a big devaluation of the Zimbabwe dollar against the US currency,
aimed at wiping out the damaging parallel market.

There are also concerns about Mugabe's bloated cabinet at a time when the
central bank has managed to rein in State expenditure. Mugabe has created
new ministries to appease his restive party cadres, who are split over
Mugabe's choice of Joice Mujuru as vice-president ahead of former Speaker,
Emmerson Mnangagwa.

The country was once a breadbasket for Africa but its economy has virtually
collapsed during the last six years and it now depends heavily on
international aid to feed its people. Mugabe's government accuses its
domestic and foreign opponents of a "vicious economic sabotage" campaign to
undermine national confidence, but critics blame the President's fiscal
policies, including the seizure of white-owned farms, which has disrupted
the country's commercial agricultural sector.

"At this rate, there are no prospects for growth, and government'
projections for a 5 percent growth need to be revised," noted independent
economist John Robertson.

To add to Mugabe's problems, the respected human rights body Amnesty
International says abuse of human rights activists in Zimbabwe has not
abated since elections in March that gave his party another five-year

The records show that Mugabe's Zanu-PF party won 78 of the 120 contested
seats in the elections. But with no solution in sight and Mugabe's
rose-tinted spectacles appearing foggy as the crisis deepens, there is no
end in sight to Zimbabwe's five-year old economic decline.
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      UB student assaulted by Zimbabwean police

      Staff Writer
      6/3/2005 2:20:30 PM (GMT +2)

      FRANCISTOWN: A University of Botswana (UB) law student, Ashley
Manyethelo was badly beaten by Zimbabwe Police officers in Plumtree over
what she claims was a misunderstanding.

      Manyethelo (21), who will be a second year student at the UB in
August, revealed her harrowing experience at the hands of Zimbabwean police
to Mmegi yesterday from the back of an ambulance, which transported her to
Nyangabgwe Referral Hospital for a medical examination. "I was sent by my
mother to fetch her medical cards at Plumtree Private Clinic on May 28. On
arrival, I found that the family clinic had not opened yet. Whilst I was
moving in the area around the hospital, I realised I was being followed,"
said the student that was nearly in tears and visibly in pain. "Bored of
waiting, I went for a walk where I was later confronted by a hostile woman
who claimed that I had urinated on the stairs of the building. I tried to
explain that she was mistaken, but a crowd gathered around me and started
accusing Batswana of victimising Zimbabweans on this side of the border. The
whole group turned against me and said they were going to teach me a lesson
and I could not understand why."

      A cleaner at the building claimed that she saw Manyethelo urinating on
the stairs. "They forced me to wipe the urine even though I was not even
sure who had urinated there. All this time I was pushed and insulted and
told I was going to pay, as Botswana police and Batswana in general, are
fond of assaulting Zimbabweans."

      Manyethelo was dumbfounded when police officers later came, handcuffed
and bundled her into their van. "As they shut the door to the van, I heard
the driver instructing a woman officer to deal with me". All this time,
passers-by were just looking on as I was treated like a strange animal by
fellow human beings under the guise of revenge," Manyethelo said emphasising
how humiliated she was.

      "The woman officer descended on me with blows, kicks and claps and all
for nothing. I was just an offering of some kind," she related.

      At the police station, when she was bundled out, blood oozing from her
nose, the Zimbabwe police would not even assist her out. "They told their
colleagues that I was drunk and a mad person and I was not to be given food,
after I was thrown into the police cells." She said the police continued to
emphasise as they threw her into the cells that she was going to suffer for
the rest of Batswana.

      "I requested water and food during the period of detention but nothing
was forthcoming. As I bled from morning to evening fear for my health
troubled me, as I grew weaker and weaker in the police cells. This also
threw the officers into a panic." Her continuous call to be taken to
hospital, fell on deaf ears. "I had lost so much blood that day, but this
did not move my torturers an inch. Even when I was offered blankets to sleep
in the office, my priority was not to sleep but to access a hospital."

      At a later stage, she was shocked when some officers who took over the
next shift insisted that she be detained. After getting her side of the
story, they insisted that she should forgive the officers who had humiliated
and tortured her. "They requested that I forgive the officer, who had
tortured me as she had acted on impulse. I was made to pay 20,000 Zim
dollars, for an offence that I had not committed. The intention was to buy
my freedom as talking had already drained me and I was too weak to even

      In an interview yesterday, Manyethelo who was accompanied by her
mother, Susan, was still bleeding from the nose following the May, 28
assault. Detective Assistant Superintendent, Mosalagae Moseki of Kutlwano
Police Criminal Investigations Department (CID) confirmed yesterday to have
received a report from Manyethelo's mother last Saturday complaining about
her daughter's assault.

      "We were supposed to have accompanied them to Plumtree Police Station
to attend to their report as we work closely with our Zimbabwean
counterparts. The problem has been that we could not travel to Plumtree as
the assaulted woman is still bleeding and she can not travel in such a
state," said Moseki.

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Global Politician

African Immigration to Europe
Jan Lamprecht - 6/4/2005
I was just interviewed by Jeff Reese, an American radio talk show host. While Jeff and I were discussing AIDS (a topic about which he wrote a book some years ago), he quoted from a news article in the USA. It said that African strains of AIDS have now been discovered in Minnesota. Blacks are fleeing Africa, and they are mainly fleeing to Europe where in certain countries they are causing serious problems. I have heard of organized crime and prostitutes from Africa causing chaos in Italy, among other countries. And Spain is experiencing a serious problem with "boat people" from Africa. Black Africans will cause a lot of serious problems in Europe because they are flooding it in large number, bringing AIDS with them.

I noticed that the British National Party put up a link to the farm murders in South Africa. And I would like you to read what they wrote, because it underlines a lot of what I have been saying:

"With the G8 summit planned for 5 weeks time and Bob Geldof forcing Africa and that continent's suffering high on to the agenda for the summit of world leaders, it behooves the BNP to have a clear stance on the issue of aid to Africa. In Brimstone, Lee Barnes argues that a stable Africa will be one which retains its own people, rather than giving rise to an exodus of refugees and migrants. If bringing about a stable continent means, amongst other factors, persuading the world banks to "drop the debt" that we should be echoing that message and further making sure that any increase in western aid donations is tied to widespread political change on the continent. As always Brimstone brings a timely issue to our screens and presents a controversial and thought provoking stance, worthy of debate and discussion. We make no apology for the disgusting picture of brutality above. The victim was a wife of a South African farmer, she was lucky', after her operation she survived; a survivor of a savage attack by anti-white racist Blacks, thousands of others haven't. A fuller story and some truly gruesome pictures of sickening violence and brutality can be found here."

Blacks are now fleeing from Africa in larger numbers than ever, thanks to the collapse brought on by putting the wrong people in power there. I would like to remind people around the world about the objections many of us had with regard to people being put in power here, whom we said, upfront, were dictators or mass-murderers-waiting-to-happen. We said these people were not fit to rule countries - and everyone ignored what we had to say on the subject.

But those who ignored us will find that problems are now bouncing right back at them. Many people in Europe and the US thought they could ignore Africa, but are now discovering to their horror that Africa is coming to their own back yard. The problems of yesteryear, the problems of Rhodesia, of South Africa, of Angola, of Nigeria, are all coming to a town or city near you - especially if you live in Europe.

The disaster of Africa is affecting everyone. If not through Blacks who are fleeing the continent, then through aids that Western Governments are providing. And if that aid from your tax money is not spent properly in Africa, then even more of it will be needed in the future.

So you may think, you can ignore Africa - but you will find, to your horror, that the scale of the disaster here is so enormous, that it will affect you. Europeans have already had first-hand experience of seeing masses of African immigrants coming into their countries and causing serious social problems. It is only a matter of time before Britain or even Finland begin to become more and more like the Third World countries!

Africa has already become everyone's problem. The world helped people like Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe to come to power. I think the world should also start taking stronger and more effective steps to solve the problem because Africa's negative impact on the world could be enormous. And maybe next time, people should listen a little more closely to those of us who live here, who actually make things over here work, because you will see that our concerns are not overblown.

Jan Lamprecht was born and raised in Zimbabwe, then called Rhodesia, during the "Bush War", which resulted in Robert Mugabe coming to power. He was educated in Harare, the capital of the country, before leaving for South Africa, where he spent some time in the Navy. He wrote a book called "Government by Deception" about African politics related to Zimbabwe and the effects Mugabe's policies may have on other countries.

He publishes a popular, highly "politically-incorrect" web site
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Mail and Guardian

      Mugabe comes to crony's aid

      Godwin Gandu | Harare

      03 June 2005 09:00

            The Zimbabwean government has cracked the whip on an errant
deputy minister for violating government policy and has ordered the minister
of anti-corruption and anti-monopolies to launch an investigation into his

            Deputy Information Minister Bright Matongo has been personally
instructed by President Robert Mugabe to vacate land owned by Tom Beattie.

            Matongo and 15 war veterans invaded Chigwel farm in Chegutu in
the prime commercial farmland in Mashonaland west, about 100km outside
Harare, in May. The estate employs 1 200 workers and exports produce to the
Middle East, Russia and Europe, raking in more than $1-million a year.

            Two weeks ago the Mail & Guardian reported that on August 31
2004 the Administrative Court of Zimbabwe issued a "notice of withdrawal" by
the minister of lands, agriculture and rural resettlement from interests in
"Tom Beattie family farms".

            Beattie claims he has already voluntarily allocated a "sizeable
portion" of his land for resettlement purposes.

            A government source said: "Beattie is a Zanu-PF supporter and
had brought his problem to the attention of the party and government."

            Beattie has obtained a new court order preventing Matongo from
coming within 100m of his property. The police have also removed the war
veterans from his farm. Beattie told the M&G that he would be suing the
deputy minister for damages and loss of production totalling Z$25-million.

            Workers have started repairing damage to the farm and production
has resumed.

            Several studies have pointed to the government's fast-track land
redistribution programme as the main reason for food and nutrition
insecurity in Zimbabwe. A recent country-wide survey of communities
indicated that 82% of districts reported widespread crop failure after poor
rains in the last growing season.

            Mugabe this week told the United Nations humanitarian envoy and
World Food Programme (WFP) director, James Morris, that he would welcome
help in feeding about one-third of the population.

            "We want to see that hungry people will get the food they need,"
Morris said in Johannesburg, after leaving Harare on Wednesday. Extra food
supplies are expected in about two months.

            The WFP will not distribute food directly to the general
population but will be limited to school feeding programmes, home-based Aids
care, and food for work schemes. The restricted scope of the aid will leave
the Mugabe government in charge of providing food for the general

            Food security concerns have escalated in the past two weeks
after a crackdown on informal traders and illegal shacks in urban centres,
forced thousands of people to flee to rural areas where local chiefs have
complained to Mugabe that rural folk are starving. More than 22 000 people
have been arrested in police raids since last week.

            Meanwhile, the first session of Zimbabwe's Parliament since the
March elections will be held on Thursday. The ruling Zanu-PF is expected to
table a proposal to create an upper house of Parliament for the first time
since independence in 1980.

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Not Again, Chigwedere

Financial Gazette (Harare)

June 2, 2005
Posted to the web June 3, 2005


THE Zimbabwe Schools Examinations Council (ZIMSEC) is clearly in a crisis. A
series of monumental blunders and bungling at the examinations authority has
discredited the country's examination system.

This terrifyingly swift decline is the reason for the justifiable shaken
public confidence in the local high school examination system administered
by the blundering and much-maligned ZIMSEC.

The oft repeated embarrassing examination blunders seem to give credence to
claims that the country made a tactical mistake when it switched from the
internationally acclaimed Cambridge examinations and localised the Ordinary
and Advanced Level examinations. Many have been at a loss to understand
whether the mess in the country's examination system is due to laxity or
incompetence on the part of those tasked with running it.

Others look askance at the official disdain and contempt for the peasant
parents practising back-breaking subsistence agriculture and the generality
of the hard-pressed workers bearing the brunt of the economic meltdown - who
are all trying to give their children a life-time meal ticket. These
questions are inevitable given that not long ago, before the targeted
sanctions, most of the government officials' children were educated outside
the country where they wrote the more reputable Cambridge examinations
denied the common ruck of folk.

Not only are the results for these examinations sometimes unnecessarily
delayed but also prospective candidates are not always registered in time
with the scapegoating officials in the Ministry of Education advancing, to
no less a stakeholder than the Parliament of Zimbabwe, the specious and
spurious claims that delays in registering the candidates were due to
drought, of all things! Many are still wondering what in God's name is the
link between the delayed registration of candidates and the drought.

There has also been unprecedented confusion when pupils reportedly studied
wrong set books while examination papers were at times leaked. As if that
was not enough, other pupils were said to have received results of subjects
they did not sit for! And this in a country which claims to have education
at the centre of its social development agenda with the government saying
that the salvation of the nation depends very much on the scholastic
development of the children? Is what ZIMSEC doing then the behaviour of the
arm of a government which has, since 1980, regarded the right to quality
education as a mantra? The mind indeed boggles.

And it never rains but pours. Now, we are being told that examinations for
these levels, initially slated for the end of last month, have been
postponed. Reason: The truck carrying the examination papers was hijacked by
robbers on its way from South Africa to Zimbabwe. Can anything be more
telling or conclusively prove the ineptitude and lack of seriousness on the
part of those running the country's examination system than this bungling?
Is this ministry jinxed? Why is there so much bungling?

Why was the truck carrying these important papers allowed to travel all the
way from South Africa without an escort? Why were there no precautions to
guard against such eventualities? And Professor Phineas Makhurane, the
chairman of ZIMSEC, wants us to believe that there wasn't much anyone could
have done about the incident because "it happened outside our borders".
Please! What about the debacles of the past? Was there anything anyone could
have done about them?

Of course, with all due respect to Makhurane this is, for want of a better
expression, absurd and ludicrous. A lot could have been done to ensure that
the truck would arrive safely in Zimbabwe. Unless of course Makhurane, in
his less-than convincing explanation, is saying that Zimbabwe does not have
the capacity to administer its own internal examination system, which might
just be the case.

Underneath all this is a more profound question - the question of the future
of a more credible internal examination system for Zimbabwe and indeed the
whole education system. We have never believed that the ruins must obstruct
the prospects. But we don't believe that Zimbabwe will find it easy to
restore integrity and credibility to the local examination system and return
it to its pre-crisis levels. Nor do the majority of frustrated Zimbabweans
because the public's confidence in the whole system is, to all intents and
purposes, irretrievably battered. In the court of public opinion, the
education system's obvious merit is the increased number of pupils going
through it and not the quality that it produces.

Restoring integrity and credibility in the examination system would be
particularly difficult if the vital Ministry of Education is being headed by
Aeneas Chigwedere who, in his ruinous "wisdom" believes that private schools
in the country are a bastion of capitalistic privilege and racial
discrimination. These were unfounded claims he made at a time when the
evidence on the ground showed that nothing could be further from the truth
because the majority of pupils at these schools are black.

Zimbabwe also needs no reminding how, intoxicated by the irresistible opium
of Zimbabwean politics - the magical influence of populist policies -
Chigwedere last year almost destroyed the little that was left of the
country's education with a single swing of a political blade when he
demanded that private schools charge uneconomic fees. Who would also forget
the minister's hollow assurances that government would take over private
schools when it is an open secret that government does not have the
financial wherewithal to do this as can be seen through the collapsing
government schools across the country?

While Chigwedere's antics in education have created a false impression of
novelty, they have singularly been destructive. His policies have long-term
consequences to be borne by the people. And this will be a long nightmare
whose ramifications will be felt for a very long time to come. This is why
we feel that he will be a stumbling block to any efforts to overhaul the
education system because he doesn't seem to have a clue as to how a serious
institution should function.
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$997 Million Loss for Zimsun Leisure As Invaders Scare Away Tourists

Financial Gazette (Harare)

June 2, 2005
Posted to the web June 3, 2005

Rangarirai Mberi

ZIMSUN Leisure's Hwange Safari Lodge has made a loss of $997 million, but
the hospitality group says a resolution of the illegal settlement problem at
Hwange National Park could reverse the losses at the lodge this financial

Hwange Safari Lodge, once a key revenue driver for the country's largest
hospitality group, had made a $700 million loss in the half-year to
September last year due to depressed volumes, leading to the full-year loss.

However, Shingi Munyeza, group chief executive officer of Zimsun, said the
lodge could swing back into profit this year, although he said it would be
difficult to achieve that in the first half.

"I think we will be able to turn it around, definitely before the end of the
year," Munyeza told The Financial Gazette.

Hwange Safari Lodge has been turning in a string of losses after settlers
reportedly linked to new Industry and International Trade Minister Obert
Mpofu invaded Hwange National Park, where the safari lodge is located.

Although Zimsun officials have remained silent on details, The Financial
Gazette understands that the company had been issued with a formal letter
from John Nkomo, then Special Affairs Minister in charge of Resettlement,
confirming the group as leaseholder of the disputed land.

Munyeza insisted that his management had never been tempted to discard
Hwange Safari Lodge, saying Zimsun continued to see huge potential going
forward for the business once the controversy that has paralysed operations
there was cleared.

Zimsun has reported a 50 percent rise in the number of visitors from the
United States of America, a 43 percent increase in United Kingdom visitor
figures and a 58 percent jump in Japanese visitors.

However, overall international and regional arrivals to Zimbabwe fell 18
percent over the same period. Crucially, Zimsun has given no figures of
arrivals from China, touted as the new priority source market by the

But while there is encouragement from marginally improved figures from
Zimbabwe's traditional source markets, inflation and fuel shortages have
seen Zimbabwean tourism slipping below that of regional rivals South Africa
and Namibia, although Zimbabwe has superior tourism infrastructure.

The continuing decline in revenues has come against rising costs for tourism
operators. For instance, according to Zimsun, revenue for April at Carribea
Bay in Kariba was last month dwarfed by a water bill from the Zimbabwe
National Water Authority.

The rising costs have forced operators to cut back on spending, but Munyeza
said there was a limit to how deep those cutbacks should go, lest they eat
into earnings.

"We can't cut further to the bone any more; we'll end up with no hotels,"
Munyeza said.

Tourism has taken a heavy knock since the government's "fast-track" land
reforms began in 2000. Industry experts estimate game parks and
conservancies have suffered losses exceeding US$600 million through

Zimsun's basic earnings per share of 1491.34 cents was largely in line with
analysts' forecasts.
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Global Politician

Foreign Aid to Africa: Waste of Money
Jan Lamprecht - 6/3/2005
South African President Thabo Mbeki has just met with President George W. Bush, demanding a huge increase in Aid to Africa. Nelson Mandela was the first one to ask for this several weeks ago. Now Mbeki is following Mandela's lead. They also want all the debt for Southern African countries written off. This is such a scam! Those of us who live in Africa, especially those, who like myself lived further north, know just what a scam this is. All this money, all this aid, is wasted to a degree that would shock anyone who truly understood finances in South Africa. Even food aid is wasted. Corrupt local officials steal food donated by the UN or the US, and then sell it for personal profit. This donated food normally has some sort of label on it which reads: "Donated by the USA" or something of that ilk. Food - and medicines - have been known to be stolen on a large scale and then sold off. It never even reaches those who need it.

Most of Africa's problems cannot be solved through foreign aid anyway. The reason for Africa's problems is the people's skill - or rather a lack thereof. That is why Colonialism was such a huge success. All Africa needed were a few million skilled Whites and then suddenly everything started working - and the minute they left, it fell apart again.

If the world wants to help Africa, then rather send in doctors or teachers. That will be much better than cash. Don't give them money on a large scale - it is wasted in ways that will stun you. Use the money in your own society - then at least it will truly help someone.

Many people over the years raised enormous sums of money for Africa. I dare anyone to show me any one of those instances which resulted in any kind of long-term benefit to Africa at all. Pop stars and movie stars have popularized the concept of aid to Africa. But more often than not, it ends up changing little - if anything.

Those of us who live here and watch the situation daily have been saying for decades that money alone cannot solve the problem. Africans just don't really know how to use the money wisely.

Africa is currently receiving $25 billion in aid - a staggering number. I wonder if Africa is not living more out of a begging bowl, than it earns through its own efforts? Africa is already getting far too much aid and not appreciating any of it. Africans need to learn to earn their own money instead of stealing and wasting money which comes from other people.

I have said it before, and I'll say it again: You kind, generous people from overseas can band together and give the Black Africans a trillion dollars or more if you wish, and they will still not advance to your level or anywhere near it. It is a waste of time.

The USA and other countries now have a policy of only giving money when there are strings and various conditions attached. This is definitely a better method.

You have now seen Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki personally using their positions, power and fame to get as much foreign money as possible. But when are foreigners going to have to learn to ignore these demands for aid?

This sounds cruel, does it not? I don't care if you people don't believe me. I'm telling you this bluntly, and you can hate me for it as much as you want, but I know Africans, and one day, the world will admit the same thing I am saying.

You will see Africans pleading for money, for aid, for help - year in and year out, decade after decade. And yet, a closer examination of their problems will reveal that they are to blame for their own problems. In time, people will learn what Whites in Africa learned to do a long time ago - and that is to ignore the pleas of Blacks and to use one's own common-sense to develop proper solutions, much like when you are dealing with a naughty child. If you don't do this, they will take advantage of you. They are currently scamming the West of $25 billion a year. If you keep giving in to their demands, they will want $50 billion, then $100 billion and so on. And even if you give them more money, you will be amazed at how little, if anything positive, comes from it.

You will wonder, for example, why is it, that a peasant in ice-cold Russia, or a farmer in Arctic Canada or a farmer in the deserts of Australia; can get a higher return on investment than a Black African, in warm tropical Africa where there is no winter and it rains much of the year round. You will wonder why it is that people who live in a perfect farming climate are starving to death year after year, while others, who live in snow-fields or in deserts can provide for themselves.

There is nothing wrong with African land, climate or soil. Africa is heaven-on-earth - as long as you use common sense and logic. The problem is not Africa. The problem is the Black African people. That is the problem that you cannot solve with all the money in the world. You can give until it hurts, and you will still be amazed at how little you managed to help them.

Africa's greatest prosperity occurred during the short of colonialism. If we had been left alone for another hundred years, Africa could have been a super-power. In recent decades Africa has been moving backwards faster than ever before. Now to those of us who live here - none of this comes as a surprise. We just look at it and remark: "We told you so!"

Our enemies like to portray White Africans as a bunch of hard-headed, evil people who enjoy treading on Blacks. But they will see (to their utter shock and amazement) that as the decades go by, we actually saw through these Black African "Liberators". We knew African leaders were nothing more than liars and criminals and that they didn't even care about their own people. Let me repeat that: Black leaders don't even care about their own people. We said a long ago that these people are not fit to govern. We are being proven right, and will be proven even more right in the future.

Jan Lamprecht was born and raised in Zimbabwe, then called Rhodesia, during the "Bush War", which resulted in Robert Mugabe coming to power. He was educated in Harare, the capital of the country, before leaving for South Africa, where he spent some time in the Navy. He wrote a book called "Government by Deception" about African politics related to Zimbabwe and the effects Mugabe's policies may have on other countries.

He publishes a popular, highly "politically-incorrect" web site
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