Fri Jun 8, 9:51 AM ET
HARARE (AFP) - Eleven Zimbabwean opposition supporters who had been detained
for two months for an alleged "terrorism" plot have been released after a
court ordered the charges to be dropped, a party spokesman said Friday.
The 11, which included seven party workers for the main opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC), had been rounded up in raids in March when the
police claimed to have thwarted plans for a campaign of petrol-bombing.
Twenty others however who were arrested at the same time remain in custody,
including MDC lawmaker Paul Madzore.
"The ones freed were charged in connection with the petrol bombings and the
court found nothing linking them to the petrol bombings and those who remain
in detention were charged with undergoing military training in South
Africa," party spokesman Nelson Chamisa told AFP.
"All these charges are frivolous and a desperate attempt to implicate the
MDC. What is disturbing is that innocent people have been made to serve a
prison term by being detained all this time on false charges."
Madzore and the 30 others were arrested days after security forces beat up
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai and scores of his supporters during a rally
against the regime of veteran President Robert Mugabe.
June 08 2007 at 01:57PM
Harare - There were growing concerns in Zimbabwe on Friday over the
fate of two leading women's rights campaigners arrested earlier this week.
Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu were arrested on Wednesday when
they handed themselves in at a police station in the second city of
Bulawayo, following the arrest of members of their Women of Zimbabwe Arise
(WOZA) organisation during a demonstration.
Five WOZA members were due to appear in court on Friday on charges of
causing a nuisance or obstruction in public, WOZA said in a statement.
But lawyers have been denied access to Williams and Mahlangu,
according to the statement.
There was concern that police may try to detain the two further, it
added. The pair claim to have received death threats in the past.
Lawyers have made an urgent court application for their release.
The US state department has added its voice to the growing concern
over the fate of WOZA activists and Williams, who was earlier this year
awarded the International Women of Courage Award for Africa by US Secretary
of State Condoleezza Rice.
A spokesperson for the state department said on Thursday it held
President Robert Mugabe's government accountable for Williams' safety and
called for the immediate release of the detainees. - Sapa-dpa
By Tichaona Sibanda
8 June 2007
It's reported that Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi on Thursday confirmed
that a number of soldiers are being held in military detention for what he
called 'misconduct.' This follows reports of a coup plot against Robert
Wilf Mbanga, publisher of The Zimbabwean newspaper that carried the story,
said Sekeramayi was not prepared to say anymore than that. Coincidentally
Mugabe last week urged the country's security forces to remain on high alert
to thwart attempts to topple his government by the opposition and what he
called his western foes.
The Zimbabwean reported on what they said was the secrecy surrounding the
recent arrest, court appearance and imprisonment of a group of army and
police officers charged with plotting a coup. It added that the group was
arrested at an office in central Harare last week, following a tip-off to
the Central Intelligence Organisation and police.
'We actually stumbled on the story when our reporter happened to be at
Rotten Row magistrates court where some of these soldiers were put on trial,
but the court case was held in camera,' Mbanga said.
Another weekly independent online paper, The Zimbabwe Times, published the
names of two senior defence forces commanders who they said were ringleaders
of the attempted coup plot, Air Vice-Marshal Elson Moyo from the Airforce of
Zimbabwe and Major General Engelbert Rugeje, the Quartermaster General at
The Zimbabwe Times also reported that another senior army officer, Colonel
Ben Ncube has also been fingered in the attempted coup but his whereabouts
were still unknown as of Thursday. Citing a source still in the army they
also say 360 junior soldiers have been placed under arrest as investigations
We have been unable to get any sources of our own to confirm these details.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
The Zimbabwean economy is managed through a mixed bag of policy
contradictions. The current inflation levels of more than 3700%, is a clear
indication of policy compulsion with in the government and its administrative
arms. In this first issue of the Weekly Economic bulletin we analyze the reasons
why our inflation levels have reached to an all time high outside a civil war
environment. We also make recommendations on the measures which the government
can implement in order to curb the further collapse of the economy. The Zimbabwean situation can be said to be emanating from two main angles
namely demand pull and cost push inflation. The former is when the liquidity
levels in the economy outstrip the supply side. This is the current situation in
the country whereby ‘too much money is chasing few goods.’ This has been
triggering a vicious cycle of inflation since the citizenry will be competing
for the few goods which are being manufactured by our industries currently
operating below 30% capacity. Zimbabwe requires 2 000 000 tonnes of maize to
survive till the next harvest. However, the supply side of the economy can only
produce 700 000 tonnes. This leaves the country with a demand deficit of 1 300
000 tonnes. Crippled with such a food deficit, the government has been printing money to
buy foreign currency for its international obligations such as paying the
foreign debt currently pegged at US$3.9 billion whilst the internal debt stands
at US$208 million. In May 2006, the government printed ZWD 60 trillion which it
injected in the economy, purchasing foreign currency to settle the International
Monetary Fund (IMF) debt. With a 1 300 000 tonnes food deficit, the economy was
flooding with 60 trillion surplus cash, by so doing, it stimulates demand pull
inflation. If the government is committed to fighting inflation, then it has to start
implementing prudent macro-economic policies. The first critical step to take is
to stop printing money. Economists may differ on the interpretations of economic
activities but they concur that printing money is inflationary. The solution is
also supported by renowned economist, Fisher who propounded the Fisher Equation
of Exchange which outlines that the immediate step any country has to embark on
in its drive to curb inflation is to regulate the supply of money (M3). The government must reduce its compulsive expenditure model of governance,
through its fiscal policy. The government expenditure on principle is not
productive since it borrows to consume. The current cabinet is too big for a
country currently going through economic turmoil. Since 2000, the economy has
been run through budget deficits with supplementary budgets equal to or
exceeding the initial budget. On the other hand the inflation is a function of costs of production. Due to
the current exchange rate of 1USD: 250ZWD, which does not make economic
rationality, the country’s foreign currency supply is mainly supplied from the
‘grey/black’ market where the USD is floating between ZWD50 000 and 60 000. At
such expensive rates the imports will become expensive passing on the price to
the final consumer, in the process pushing up inflation. At this stage, Zimbabwe has reached a stage of stagflation, a process whereby
an increase in the prices does not lead to an increase in the quantity of goods
produced in the economy. The general principle in functional economies is that
an increase in the prices of commodities would lead to supplier’ incentives to
produce more goods to the market as it becomes profitable and sustainable to
cover costs of production. The Zimbabwean economic situation on the other hand is abnormal, increase in
prices are not stimulating supply in the market. Inflation and unemployment are
at hyper levels with unemployment pegged at 85% implying that the national
fiscus is heavily strained as the government has to lure taxes from the 15%
employed. Zimbabwean inflation rates since
Independence Year Rate Year Rate Year Rate Year Rate Year Rate Year Rate 7% 14% 15% 19% 10% 10% 15% 10% 8% 14% 17% 48% 40% 20% 25% 28% 16% 20% 48% 58% 56% 132% 139% 385% 624% 586% 1281% 3714% Adapted
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zimbabwean_dollar) The inflation
figures from the year 2001 to 2007 depicts a governance crisis in the country
which must be addressed as a matter of urgency. The current government
expenditure is not justifiable. The excess money floating in the markets must be
curbed and most critically, the government must ensure an environment that
promotes investor confidence such as upholding the rule of law, and respecting
property rights. This will stimulate Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), local
investments and market confidence which are very critical element for economic
The Zimbabwean economy is managed through a mixed bag of policy contradictions. The current inflation levels of more than 3700%, is a clear indication of policy compulsion with in the government and its administrative arms. In this first issue of the Weekly Economic bulletin we analyze the reasons why our inflation levels have reached to an all time high outside a civil war environment. We also make recommendations on the measures which the government can implement in order to curb the further collapse of the economy.
The Zimbabwean situation can be said to be emanating from two main angles namely demand pull and cost push inflation. The former is when the liquidity levels in the economy outstrip the supply side. This is the current situation in the country whereby ‘too much money is chasing few goods.’ This has been triggering a vicious cycle of inflation since the citizenry will be competing for the few goods which are being manufactured by our industries currently operating below 30% capacity. Zimbabwe requires 2 000 000 tonnes of maize to survive till the next harvest. However, the supply side of the economy can only produce 700 000 tonnes. This leaves the country with a demand deficit of 1 300 000 tonnes.
Crippled with such a food deficit, the government has been printing money to buy foreign currency for its international obligations such as paying the foreign debt currently pegged at US$3.9 billion whilst the internal debt stands at US$208 million. In May 2006, the government printed ZWD 60 trillion which it injected in the economy, purchasing foreign currency to settle the International Monetary Fund (IMF) debt. With a 1 300 000 tonnes food deficit, the economy was flooding with 60 trillion surplus cash, by so doing, it stimulates demand pull inflation.
If the government is committed to fighting inflation, then it has to start implementing prudent macro-economic policies. The first critical step to take is to stop printing money. Economists may differ on the interpretations of economic activities but they concur that printing money is inflationary. The solution is also supported by renowned economist, Fisher who propounded the Fisher Equation of Exchange which outlines that the immediate step any country has to embark on in its drive to curb inflation is to regulate the supply of money (M3).
The government must reduce its compulsive expenditure model of governance, through its fiscal policy. The government expenditure on principle is not productive since it borrows to consume. The current cabinet is too big for a country currently going through economic turmoil. Since 2000, the economy has been run through budget deficits with supplementary budgets equal to or exceeding the initial budget.
On the other hand the inflation is a function of costs of production. Due to the current exchange rate of 1USD: 250ZWD, which does not make economic rationality, the country’s foreign currency supply is mainly supplied from the ‘grey/black’ market where the USD is floating between ZWD50 000 and 60 000. At such expensive rates the imports will become expensive passing on the price to the final consumer, in the process pushing up inflation.
At this stage, Zimbabwe has reached a stage of stagflation, a process whereby an increase in the prices does not lead to an increase in the quantity of goods produced in the economy. The general principle in functional economies is that an increase in the prices of commodities would lead to supplier’ incentives to produce more goods to the market as it becomes profitable and sustainable to cover costs of production.
The Zimbabwean economic situation on the other hand is abnormal, increase in prices are not stimulating supply in the market. Inflation and unemployment are at hyper levels with unemployment pegged at 85% implying that the national fiscus is heavily strained as the government has to lure taxes from the 15% employed.
Zimbabwean inflation rates since Independence
Adapted from ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zimbabwean_dollar)
The inflation figures from the year 2001 to 2007 depicts a governance crisis in the country which must be addressed as a matter of urgency. The current government expenditure is not justifiable. The excess money floating in the markets must be curbed and most critically, the government must ensure an environment that promotes investor confidence such as upholding the rule of law, and respecting property rights. This will stimulate Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), local investments and market confidence which are very critical element for economic growth.
UN Integrated Regional Information Networks
8 June 2007
Posted to the web 8 June 2007
Industrial action for better wages at Zimbabwe's major hospitals, coupled
with economic recession and hyperinflation, is resulting in the closure of
critical medical units and the descent of health services to levels more
commonly seen in a war zone, an international humanitarian organisation
Last month doctors embarked on industrial action for the second time this
year, after returning to work in March from a stay-away called late last
year, in protest against salaries that equate to less than US$1 a day.
The government has said it hands were tied in the dispute as it was broke,
an explanantion that received little sympathy and saw ancillary departments,
such as morticians and administrative personnel, embarking on industrial
action with the striking medical staff, severely crippling public health
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) recently said the
deterioration of health delivery had reached "war situation" levels.
Sebastian Brack, the ICRC spokesman for southern Africa, told a human rights
workshop in Zimbabwe's second city Bulawayo, that his organisation was
compelled to source US$4.5m to alleviate the situation, citing the shortage
of personnel, drugs and equipment as the major problems bedeviling the
He said although it was not the organisation's core mandate in Zimbabwe, the
ICRC was establishing clinics and training health personnel across the
When my mother died, I was told that I would have to help carry her body to
the mortuary because of the shortage of staff but then, that was the
beginning of my nightmare
facility normally availed to countries affected by war
In the capital, Harare, both Parirenyatwa and Harare hospitals, the city's
major referral centres used mainly by the poor, a skeleton staff was in
operation, but vital units such as the maternity department were closed by
the industrial action and the operation of the mortuaries severely
disrupted. The hospital's kitchens were not in operation, while a few nurses
were turning people away from casualty, insisting only cases deemed as an
emergency would be attended to.
Zimbabwe's seven year economic recession has gradually seen strike action
becoming the norm, as the more than 3,700 percent inflation rate - the
highest in the world - rapidly erodes sa"When my mother died, I was told
that I would have to help carry her body to the mortuary because of the
shortage of staff but then, that was the beginning of my nightmare. The
mortuary was overcrowded, with bodies lying on top of each other on the
floor and we had no option but to dump her in a corner to wait for a
postmortem, which has not been conducted up to now," laries and wages for
the one out of five people who have jobs.
Municipal health workers have also embarked on strike action, in a bid for
higher wages, in Harare and the dormitory town of Chitungwiza and similar
industrial action has been reported in Bulawayo and the eastern city of
Mutare, about 300km from Harare.
Bodies pile-up in mortuaries
Cosmas Dauti told IRIN about the "go-slow" at the mortuary attached to
Harare hospital, which caters for the populous and capital's mainly poor
southwestern suburbs, and the problems he had experienced with the death of
his 75-year-old mother.
His mother was admitted to the Harare hospital seven days ago after she had
suffered heart complications, but there was no consulting doctor, only a few
student nurses supervised by a senior nurse.
"When my mother died, I was told that I would have to help carry her body to
the mortuary because of the shortage of staff but then, that was the
beginning of my nightmare. The mortuary was overcrowded, with bodies lying
on top of each other on the floor and we had no option but to dump her in a
corner to wait for a postmortem, which has not been conducted up to now,"
Dauti told IRIN.
For three days after her death, Dauti - employed as a municipal toilet
cleaner on a monthly salary of a Z$250,000 (US$5 at the parallel market rate
of Z$50,000 to US$1)- was having to feed scores of mourners gathered at the
"I strongly believe that my mother would not have died if the situation was
normal. We are losing many of our beloved relatives and friends because
health centres are now rotten," Dauti said.
The collapse of health services
When an IRIN correspondent visited two Harare hospitals, under the pretence
of visiting a sick relative, he was advised by hospital staff that he should
bring food for the patient, as no food was being prepared for the sick.
Wards had not been cleaned and beds remain unmade, while the few staff at
the clinics spent their time basking in the sun.
Unemployed, Stella Ncube, 29, had registered at a relatively affordable
council clinic in the Harare suburb of Warren Park for the delivery of her
baby, and with the onset of labour pains was rushed there by her elder
sister, only to be told on arrival that there were no midwives on duty. A
midwife was traced to assist with the birth of the child, after they had
agreed to pay the midwife Z$1,5 million (US$30) for her services.
My heart bleeds when I see a patient writhing [in pain] on the floor but
cannot get help because we are on strike. But there is a limit to charity
"Even though the delivery was carried out successfully, I am still concerned
about my child's health since he is always coughing and is refusing to take
breast milk," Ncube told IRIN. "The midwife did the job hurriedly and my
son's umbilical cord seems to be developing an infection."
A nurse at Parirenyatwa hospital, who declined to be named, conceded to IRIN
that embarking on strike action had been a difficult decision, "but my
welfare comes first". Junior nurses earn a monthly wage of about Z$600,000
"My heart bleeds when I see a patient writhing [in pain] on the floor but
cannot get help because we are on strike. But there is a limit to charity. I
have a family to feed, children to send to school, and if I remain on this
kind of salary, we will all end up in hospital," the nurse said.
The Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR), said in a
statment this week, that "inadequate remuneration and unacceptable working
conditions for health workers across the country have resulted in a crisis
that has left the country's major referral hospitals unable to function."
"ZADHR considers that it can no longer be said that the health service is
near collapse. The emptying of central and other hospitals of staff, and
therefore patients, means that the health service has collapsed," the
[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations ]
Fri 8 Jun 2007, 13:52 GMT
HARARE, June 8 (Reuters) - Zimbabwean journalists launched a voluntary media
council on Friday, hoping to show the government the media can oversee
itself and does not need what critics say is increasingly draconian state
President Robert Mugabe's government introduced tough media laws five years
ago, forming an official media commission, imposing state permits on local
reporters and barring foreign journalists from working permanently in the
About 150 journalists -- mostly from private media organisations -- attended
the launch of the voluntary media council, which seeks to supervise and
maintain professional and ethical conduct among the country's media
A 14-member board -- which includes a retired high court judge, a cleric, a
media law expert, lawyers and some senior journalists -- was elected to
steer the Media Council of Zimbabwe (MCZ). The country's publishers and
editors' associations will also be represented on the board.
The government has accused the country's journalists of being unprofessional
and willing tools in the hands of Western nations plotting to unseat Mugabe.
Dozens of journalists have been arrested on charges of violating stringent
media laws, while the country's largest circulating private newspaper, the
Daily News, and its sister Sunday paper, as well as two other weeklies, were
forced to close after failing to comply with the regulations.
Matthew Takaona, head of the journalists' union which was instrumental in
the establishment of the voluntary council, said the self-regulating body
would be more effective in promoting high standards in the media.
"An independent, non-partisan and apolitical media council, as opposed to a
mandatory regulatory body, is the best system for promoting freedom of
expression," Takaona said.
"As ZUJ (Zimbabwe Union of Journalists), we support the launch of the
voluntary media council and hope it ushers in a new era for the media in
Although all the country's media organisations were represented at the
launch, there was a low turnout from journalists working for state media.
The government has previously said the voluntary council would be of very
little significance because it did not have statutory powers to rein in
The MCZ launch was deferred last January after Leo Mugabe, the president's
nephew and chairman of a parliamentary committee on transport and
communications, warned journalists against forming an independent body
without government approval.
You have assets - but don't think your retirement finances are guaranteed.
Look at what's happening to retired executives in Zimbabwe.
08 June 2007
You own several properties, have an impressive share portfolio and perhaps
some collective investments. Maybe you're a high income earner with a
company pension perk.
Don't think, just because the money comes easy now, that your financial
security is guaranteed.
Look at what's happening in Zimbabwe. Our northern border was once an
economic model for Africa, with the Zimbabwe dollar scoring two rands to one
in the late 1980s. Today South Africans don't want Zimbabwe dollars and
Zimbabweans generally have to rely on illegal deals to score foreign
Previously an attractive wildlife-watching option for international
tourists, Zimbabwe has become best known for its hyperinflation. Officially,
the rate is more than a staggering 3 700%, but the locals say the figure is
much higher - and much closer, in fact, to around 9 000%. Prices go up
everyday on supermarket shelves.
No-one's salary can keep up with that, let alone a fixed income. Anyone who
retired on an ordinary life company pension has been financially wiped out
soon after stopping work.
Even former executives of banks and other corporates have found themselves
reliant on others for survival.
The Zimbabwe case seems so far fetched, so extreme - and so unlikely when
you live in a country like South Africa, where economic growth is not as
fast as it could be, but certainly on the up. Our interest rates are higher
than perhaps we'd like, though thanks to Reserve Bank Governor Tito Mboweni
stable for quite a few years now.
It wasn't so long ago that the current economic scenario in Zimbabwe was
unimaginable to those who lived there. Few people could have contemplated a
situation where poor political and economic decisions have left all but a
small group of people desperately poor.
Giving insight into how economics and politics can catch you off-guard in
your financial planning is a recent e-mail newsletter from charities for
pensioners in Zimbabwe. It appeals to family members of elderly people who
live there to recognise that many are too proud to ask for R800/month to
The SOAP (Supporting Old Age Pensioners) organisation recounts a letter from
a pensioner reliant on food parcels, in which "oldy" says he or she sold
three houses and two three-bedroom flats and "invested the proceeds" to
cater for retirement income. "It is hard to believe that this sum is now
worth the equivalent of about US$13," says the writer.
It is quite possible that person's investment decisions were foolish,
however the broad tale is of people having to pay for one loaf of bread
today with the same amount of cash used to buy a middle-market house on a
large property ten years ago.
With inflation numbers like Zimbabwe's, the value of your money is eroded
very quickly if you don't spend or invest it. Leaving it in an
interest-bearing account, where rates are much lower than the rate of
inflation, is the same as setting fire to your cash in such an environment.
Thankfully, in South Africa our economic concerns are modest compared to
those of our northern neighbours.
Don't let that lull you into complacency. Regardless of how good our
government and policymakers are right now, it's essential to plan ahead.
Inflation numbers can and do change, and low inflation figures mask the fact
that your money is still deteriorating in value if you don't put it to use
where it can grow by more than the inflation percentage.
Asset classes also vary in terms of attractiveness depending on a range of
factors. Quite often, asset classes perform in a similar way to each other -
and sometimes that performance is poor. So, simply spreading investments
across asset classes is not necessarily the answer.
The average pension, meanwhile, has proved to be a disappointment for many,
not least of all because the companies involved with them have helped
themselves to huge fees.
The bottom line is that wherever we are, international - also called
geographical - diversification is essential. You need savings over-and-above
compulsory investments, like pensions.
Use your offshore allowance, which is currently a maximum of R2m per person,
provided you are up-to-date with your tax affairs, to invest wisely in
hard-currency producing assets elsewhere in the world.
That way, you will have some financial security in retirement, regardless of
how the economic wheel turns back home. And, if things keep ticking along
nicely here, well your greenbacks or euros will provide some extra pocket
money for fun spending in your latter years.
By Tererai Karimakwenda
June 08, 2007
Power shortages are making life miserable for residents of Zimbabwe's
lowveld area. Electric pumps that fill up tanks on hilltops, which in turn
feed water to the population, are not working. Sugar is grown in the lowveld
but they say life is not sweet these days.
We received reports that the whole of Chiredzi township is starting to smell
because of the unflushed toilets. The sugar cane fields are beginning to
show signs of stress because they are also not getting watered. And animals
are going thirsty for long periods because pumps that bring water to pans in
the conservancies do not work without electricity. The power shortages are
creating health hazards for both people and animals.
Chiredzi farmer Gerry Whitehead said the high-density areas of Chiredzi Town
where the majority of the people live are very crowded and they have no
lights and no water to drink or flush toilets. Whitehead said the situation
is so sad you can see it on the people's faces.
The electricity blackouts are also affecting wild life in the Conservancies.
Herds of animals are often seen waiting at their usual watering places which
are now dry. Water carts drawn by tractors are being used to try to provide
some water. Whitehead told us that temperatures have risen in the last few
days causing animals to visit the pans more often.
Companies are suffering as well without power. According to the Chiredzi
farmer, many have almost stopped working in the Lowveld, and shops are
nearly empty. Whitehead said there is no variety of food and people are not
Fuel supplies are getting worse with the price going up daily by a thousand
Zimbabwe dollars. "Today it is Z$70,000 per litre and tomorrow it will be
Z$71,000 per litre. This is causing food prices to increase," said
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
Zimbabwe Independent (Harare)
8 June 2007
Posted to the web 8 June 2007
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe will once again come under the international
spotlight when a group of Australian filmmakers release a double documentary
titled Zimbabwe Countdown and Zimbabwe: Secrets and Lies, on June 14,
Independent Xtra can reveal.
The release of the documentary comes at a time when government last month
blew over US$1 million on a 70-page supplement in the London-based New
African magazine to spruce up its battered image.
Running for 90 minutes, the documentary will cost AU$34,95 a copy upon
release. According to Australian motion picture database website
www.allAboutMovies.com.au, the documentary gives personal accounts of
Zimbabwe's political and economic decline under Mugabe.
"With Zimbabwe on the brink of collapse under the dictatorship of President
Mugabe," reads a brief synopsis on the website, "this double feature brings
together two very personal accounts of the decline of the country once
considered the shining beacon of democracy and independence in Africa."
This is not the first time that filmmakers have taken an interest in Mugabe.
In 2005 South African director Mark Dornford-May released Son of Man, which
portrayed Mugabe as a political liberator of an oppressed kingdom. The film
was inspired by Dimpho Di Kopane's theatre piece, The Mysteries.
In the same year veteran Hollywood director, Sydney Pollack produced a
controversial political thriller, The Interpreter staring Sean Penn and
academy award winner, Nicole Kidman, which was about an octogenarian African
leader who planned to address the United Nations General Assembly to ward
off an indictment by the International Criminal Court.
The then acting Information minister, Chen Chimutengwende, dismissed the
film as a CIA- sponsored project to vilify Harare adding that it was a
"thinly-disguised swipe at Mugabe".
Mugabe's spokesman, George Charamba this week said there was nothing unusual
about the new Australian film adding that Australia has never been flattered
"The Australians have not been flattered by the president (Mugabe) so what
else can you expect from them? This is just a film and that's all it is. If
I produce a film on Howard (Australian prime minister) do you expect me to
be flattering?" he asked.
Globe and Mail, Canada
Don't confuse President's interests with his countrymen's
Special to Globe and Mail Update
June 8, 2007 at 12:52 AM EDT
HARARE - Either we Africans are blind, selfish and greedy or something worse
is holding us back. As a Zimbabwean, I have seen my country turned from
breadbasket to basket case and I can tell you that our educated and
hard-working people are not fools, but victims.
Although we are an extreme case, these oppressive economic and political
policies are not exclusive to Zimbabwe.
The fallacy of Ghanaian Kwame Nkrumah's African dawn of self-rule has been
exposed by the brutal failures of governments with a revolutionary history.
Julius Nyerere, Kenneth Kaunda, Milton Obote and perhaps even so-called
models of excellence such as Yoweri Museveni and Thabo Mbeki all espoused
Nkrumahism, meaning state control of the economy and even of society.
Just down the road from where I live, there is President Robert Mugabe, who
was not only a student of Nkrumah's but taught and married in his country.
Many Africans believe we should co-operate with each other instead of
overseas markets to achieve the economic, political and cultural integration
that could raise our continent to the level of Europe or the United States.
The challenge, however, is not co-operation but how we should learn from
When Zimbabwe overthrew white rule in 1980, a pothole on the highway was a
disaster. A late train would cause a public outcry. Now we have unfinished
roads, bulldozed neighbourhoods and hyperinflation, while our dictator
blames the West.
Why is it that when the white man handed over Air Rhodesia to a black
manager, the airline had 30 airplanes but now there are only three left? Why
is it that before 2000 there were only 4,000 white commercial farmers in
Zimbabwe and we were the breadbasket of Southern Africa, yet now there are
40,000 black commercial farmers and we have to import maize from poor
I know. There is a fine line between self-criticism and self-loathing. But
our problems are not caused by our being black but by authoritarians with
incompetent and even murderous policies.
Today, Zimbabwe's health system has totally collapsed. Our main university
once had 1,000 staff; now there are 300. A typical high-school teacher now
earns about $20 (U.S.) a month. As you read this, my car is grounded due to
lack of petrol. Service station owners cannot sell it for the controlled
price of 450 Zimbabwean dollars ($1.85 U.S.) a litre when they have to buy
it for between Z$30,000 ($125) and Z$40,000 ($165).
My home has neither running water nor electricity. Mr. Mugabe's ZANU-PF
government inherited one of the most sophisticated hydroelectric power
plants in Africa, Kariba. But because of a gluttonous army, expensive
anti-riot gear and military adventures in Mozambique and Congo, Mr. Mugabe
has failed to maintain Kariba. It is about to stop completely.
Hwange Colliery Mine has some of the richest coal deposits in the world, yet
the thermal power station across the road does not have enough coal because
the railway has collapsed.
In Harare, raw sewage flows openly in residential areas, contaminating
scarce treated water because of rotten pipes inherited from the white regime
27 years ago.
No private radio or television station is allowed to operate in Zimbabwe,
while it is almost impossible to register a private newspaper.
Yet Mr. Mugabe masquerades on the regional stage as the spokesperson for the
beleaguered citizens of Zimbabwe. He has absolutely no right to speak on our
behalf: Those who do are the citizens protesting in the streets and some
judges and lawyers struggling valiantly to hold together the shreds of the
rule of law.
The lessons of history include the basic principles of good governance:
There are plenty of examples for us to emulate, but the Mugabes of the world
ignored them in favour of ideology.
Africans need each other in order to develop, but our ability to learn from
each other's mistakes is miserable.
Even our neighbour, the democratically elected South African President Thabo
Mbeki, repeats with nauseating frequency that Zimbabweans have the capacity
to solve their own problems. But during Mr. Mbeki's protracted struggle
against apartheid, he had the front-line states - Zimbabwe, Zambia,
Botswana, Mozambique and Tanzania - backing him.
Today, Mr. Mbeki and his ilk treat Mr. Mugabe like a hero but Zimbabweans
like dirt. South Africa goes on military "peacekeeping" forays to faraway
Sudan and Burundi - why does Mr. Mbeki not believe those countries can solve
their own problems?
We Africans will remain smothered in self-deceit until this generation of
Nkrumahists, the greedy, the corrupt and the accidental democrats, has
expired. Then African citizens may become free to co-operate with each
other, economically and politically.
The one form of co-operation we need right now is world pressure on Africa's
democratically elected leaders, not the avoidance seen at this week's G8
summit. Only then might they face up to their moral, political and economic
obligations to embrace freedom and boot out the gangsters.
Rejoice Ngwenya is a Zimbabwean columnist.
7th Jun 2007 23:57 GMT
By Nothando Motsipe
HARARE - Zimbabwe's economy will continue to implode as long as the
government does not cut down on expenditure, economists have said.
The economists said the government must cut down on unrealistic trade
missions and embassies to save foreign currency which is in critical short
supply as one of the measures to arrest the seven year free fall of the
They said the failure by government to pay realistic salaries to civil
servants was a result of its unbridled expenditure patterns.
The government has awarded teachers a 639% salary increase which came into
effect on 1 June. The increments came after the teachers threatened to go on
a strike after they failed to agree with the government on a 200% salary
increment two weeks ago.
Transport and housing allowances have been increased by 245% and 110%
respectively. The increments, which are effective from June, will see the
lowest paid teacher at grade C earning a net salary of more than $2,5
Teachers have been on a go slow and some schools had reported that few
teachers were turning up for duty.
Progressive Teachers Union secretary general Raymond Majongwe said teachers
could not afford to attend classes as what they have been getting was not
enough to meet transport costs.
Although the economists were unanimous that the salary adjustment for
teachers was long overdue, they were concerned that the salary increases
must be awarded with a corresponding revenue generating streams and a
culture of spending within means.
Bulawayo based economist Eric Bloch said government was failing to pay
realistic salaries but was financing expenditure patterns that are not
"The economy will continue to implode if government continues to award
salary adjustment which are not commensurate with its revenue base," said
"Although the government must pay realistic salaries which are above the
poverty datum line, it has no capacity to fund such increases if it does not
cut down on other expenditures," Bloch said.
He said the army and other civil servants were now in line to receive salary
adjustments and this would push government debt above the $2 trillion mark.
The government's domestic debt rose to over $2 trillion from $500 billion
since the beginning of the year because of increased expenditure demands by
the government to finance the budget deficit.
"It is unrealistic for the government to establish missions and embassies
all over the world when it does not have foreign currency to maintain these
embassies. This has put a strain on the meagre government revenues and
increased government borrowings," said Bloch.
He said by maintain a very high number of embassies, government was
accelerate total collapse of the economy.
"I do not see the reason for government to have such a vast army when the
nation is at peace. They must also cut down on international travels by all
in government," he said.
It has been reported that president Robert Mugabe has blown more US$1
million on public relations stunts to prop up his battered image.
Some economists were of the opinion that the government was taking advantage
of the people ahead of the elections next year but this would back fire.
Robertson said government's interventionist policies were inflationary as it
continues to print money finance its activities.
"The problems need a holistic approach and not just inconsistent salary
reviews. You cannot solve economic problems by increasing salaries. Loss of
production on the farms and in industry has caused these problems and
government must find a solution to these problems," said Robertson.
"Industry has become smaller and is down by more than half and this has
slashed by half tax revenue from companies," said Robertson.
He said if government were to increase minimum wages most people would lose
their jobs as firms had no capacity to pay high wages.
Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) spokesperson Nelson Chamisa
said the government had no capacity to intervene in the economy as it had
exhausted all its fiscal and monetary policies without success.
"The government has lost capacity to intervene to save the economy. In fact
it is overwhelmed because it has exhausted all the policy instruments but
has failed to achieve desired results," said Chamisa.
In the past seven years Zimbabwe's economic performance has slipped
substantially. The social sectors are deteriorating. Over the past three
years, economic growth has been close to zero.
A weakened currency during this period demonstrate the fragile state of the
economy and the government's inability to respond.
The economic meltdown has been lamed on president Mugabe who has been
accused of a lack of vision and short-sighted economic management.
8th Jun 2007 00:02 GMT
By Thabang Mathebula
BULAWAYO - Zimbabwe's dreaded spy agency, the Central
Intelligence Organisation (CIO), has dispatched dozens of officers to
various stations in the rural areas to monitor the activities of
non-governmental organizations which are set to deliver and distribute food
aid in Matabeleland South.
Intelligence sources who spoke to zimjournalists.com after a provincial
drought crisis meeting in which NGOs pledged massive food aid deliveries to
the drought-stricken province said every organization would be watched by
"The deployment has already begun and it is hoped that all the agents will
be in place, either within the organizations or in civil service
appointments like teaching, nursing and agricultural extension. A number are
already members of the various drought mitigation committees set up to deal
with the emergency," said the source.
He added that more officers had been called in from other provinces and
would operate under the cover of various jobs that will arise when the
relief programmes begin. Government is reportedly concerned that NGOs will
meddle in politics and use the food aid as a way of turning the people
against ZANU PF and government.
"The party (ZANU PF) wants to make sure that the people get food and not
political re-education and this will be done at all costs. There are council
elections coming early next year and parliamentary and presidential polls a
little later. So the NGOs are being strictly monitored to ensure that they
leave the politics to the party.
"We know a lot among them that have been linked to the opposition MDC and
those are being very closely monitored. I know of several that will be
kicked out of the country well before the relief programme ends," said the
Didymus Mutasa, the minister whose responsibilities include state security
told zimjournalists.com that there was nothing abnormal with the CIO
deployment as the monitoring of NGOs was a routine act.
"When you invite strangers to help you feed your children, you take measures
to ensure that they comply with your rules. The only thing Zimbabwe does not
have is food, but we have enough politics and politicians. That is why we
have to make sure that foreigners do not confuse our people with this regime
change business of theirs," Mutasa said.
By: Barnabas Thondhlana
Published: 8 Jun 07 - 0:00
Zimbabwe's central bank is mulling a possible relaxation of exchange control
regulations to stop massive skills losses in the mining sector.
The country's embattled mining sector has a deficit of more than 3 000
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono said last week that the
central bank might have to move in to avert worsening skills losses across
Skilled mining professionals are leaving the country for regional countries
like South Africa, Namibia and Zambia, where they are remunerated better.
Gono would not give a timeframe for the new measures, but this would mean
that executives and key skilled people in the mining sector might have to be
paid in foreign currency.
"The country's skills base is diminishing in the sector and we should do
something. We might have to relax the exchange regime so that those who can
pay can do so," he said. "We will look at whatever they are paid in those
countries and we will match that. But, again, I am thinking aloud," he
Gono's comments come a few months after the Chamber of Mines raised concerns
with his office, highlighting the problem of skills across the sector.
Zimbabwe's mining sector employs between 30 000 and 35 000 people and
requires at least 7 000 professionals. Currently, the sector has between 3
000 and 4 000 professional, leaving a deficit of around 3 000.
RioZim human resources and external affairs manager Aaron Mudhuwiwa says the
situation is "desperately critical", especially in the technical
RioZim is Zimbabwe's second-largest gold producer, after Metallon Gold.
Mudhuwiwa said: "When mining-industry professionals started to leave, we
said, and we continue to say, 'Pay them better, give them a Nissan Wolf
double cab . . . sorry, rather use a Toyota Vigo 3000 TDI' and again say to
them, 'You will stay, won't you?'
"Well is it really working . . . The mining industry is in dire straits with
regard to skills today. "Do you realise that even if all the wrongs in our
economy were righted and we had a great site for a new mine, [we would not
be able] to open it [owing] to the fact that we cannot man it skillswise -
effectively," Mudhuwiwa warned.
He said Zimbabwe was los- ing the majority of its profession- als to
better-paying countries, dismissing the myth that mining professionals were
"There is an almost mythical belief that we are losing our skills mainly to
South Africa. This is not really true. "The fact is that our people pass
through South Africa en route to other parts of Africa and the broader
world," Mudhuwiwa said.
He indicated, however, that South Africa had a huge skills gap in the mining
"They (South Africans) have 15 000 vacancies in the petro-chemicals, mining
and power- generation industries," he said.
Mudhuwiwa said it was unlikely that Zimbabwe would succeed in retaining
professional staff because of poor remuneration.
"Whatever levels of salaries we choose to pay the young professionals will
still not enable them to buy a car or work towards owning a house. "As long
as the situation remains like this, we will not be able to keep our own
people in our country," Mudhuwiwa said.
He said the country's tertiary institutions were experiencing a serious
skills flight because of poor remuneration and poor working conditions.
Lecturers could not afford to do research work because of a stifling
environment, he said.
"A case in point here is the infrastructural state of the Univer-sity of
Zimbabwe, where buildings and related infrastructure are in a poor state of
repair. "With very few lecturers left, the institution can only churn out a
small number of degreed personnel for industry. "People are also now sending
their children to 'better universities' outside Zimbabwe. Chances of such
children coming back soon after quali- fying are very slim," Mudhuwiwa said.
The skills haemorrhage has hit Zimbabwe as a result of the seven-year
economic recession plaguing the country.
It is believed that, of the country's estimated 13-million people,
four-million now reside in the Diaspora.
As a result, Zimbabwe has been reduced to a training ground for the world's
Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu
The Herald (Harare) Published by the government of Zimbabwe
8 June 2007
Posted to the web 8 June 2007
THE tobacco industry has been hit by a critical shortage of tobacco wrapping
paper, forcing farmers to resort to buying it from informal traders who are
now selling it at prices ranging between $9 million and $11 million a roll.
The paper costs less than $1 million on the official market.
"We have been forced to acquire the tobacco paper for as much as $11 million
per roll, which is enough to wrap six bales. The shortage has been going on
for the past two weeks and it seems there is no solution in sight.
"We are appealing to both Government and the Tobacco Industry and Marketing
Board to quickly address the situation so that the momentum reached in the
delivery of crop to the floors is not broken," said one farmer.
Others accused some players in the tobacco sector of diverting the wrapping
paper to the informal market so as to make a killing.
Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers' Union president Mr Wilson Nyabonda confirmed
the state of affairs saying this could erode farmers' profit and affect
preparations for the 2007/08 cropping season.
"I am aware of the shortage of the wrapping paper and have requested the
Government authorities to intervene by availing foreign currency to import
"In fact, when the selling season started the country had enough paper to
wrap 18 million kilogrammes and has since been exhausted as more than 19
million kg of the golden leaf has so far gone under the hammer.
"The industry has requested US$167 000 to import the paper to cover the
anticipated 80 million kilogrammes expected to be delivered to the floors
this year," he said.
An official with the Zimbabwe Industry Tobacco Auction Centre said the
company regretted the shortages of wrapping paper and was doing everything
within its power to assist growers.
"These are circumstances beyond our control, but as Zitac, we are is doing
everything we can to make sure that we give farmers this assistance very
soon to enable them to sell their tobacco. Currently, we are only assisting
all our farmers to buy the hessian bags (that wrap the bales)," said a Zitac
Tobacco Sales Floors Limited operations manager Mr Lodwin Gatsi could not be
reached for comment, while an official at Burley Marketers Zimbabwe said
foreign currency applications to import the wrapping paper had been made.
"At the moment we have nothing, but we are informed that the sector has made
representations to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and we hope by next week the
situation will improve," he said.
By end of day on Tuesday -- Day 28 -- the country's three auction floors had
taken delivery of more than 20 million kilogrammes worth US$43,631 million.
The deliveries are more than twice the 10 million kilogrammes delivered to
the auction floors over the same period last year. Statistics released by
TIMB revealed that the by end of business on Tuesday the floors had received
a total of 20 303 030 kilogrammes, with 12 211 762 sold under contract while
8 091 268 went through the auction system.
Daily sales continued to soar with 1 295 221 kilogrammes up from 150 285
kilogrammes delivered last year while the average US price remained firm at
US$2,15 per kilogramme.
Two hundred and twenty-one bales of tobacco have so far been sold with
Government paying $1,2 trillion in support price.
TIMB acting chief executive Dr Andrew Matibiri said he was happy with the
level of support the industry was getting from Government.
Government has in recent years adopted a policy of awarding tobacco farmers
a top-up price rather as an incentive to growers and to ensure viability in
Growers who sell their tobacco before September 30 this year are entitled to
a top-up price of $40 000 for every kg delivered which fetches a price of
US$1,50 and above.
Deliveries that fetch prices below US$1,50 per kg will be paid the support
price on a pro-rata basis.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Agriculture, Mr Rugare Gumbo is expected to meet
stakeholders in the tobacco industry at the BMZ tobacco floors to map the
The First Post
Moses Moyo in Harare
An attempted uprising by senior military personnel has been put down with
the help of the secret services
An apparent attempt at a military coup in Zimbabwe was nipped in the bud on
Sunday by Robert Mugabe's secret service and resulted in the arrest of three
senior military officers. Another 400 junior soldiers are believed to have
been detained. Details are sketchy, but sources in the government told The
First Post it is believed the signal for the coup to begin was a power
black-out in the capital.
Two military planes were intercepted while fueling at the Manyama military
airbase on the outskirts of Harare. They were carrying bombs, and their
targets were believed to be Zimbabwe House, Mugabe's official residence, and
his mansion in the suburb of Borrowdale Brook.
It's understood the pilots were detained. There's no information on where
they are being held.
The three senior officers are
currently under armed guard at their Harare homes, apparently because the
government is anxious to isolate them from other officers. They are Maj Gen
Angelbert Rugeje, Quartermaster at Army HQ, Col Ben Ncube, of the army
public relations directorate, and Air Vice Marshal Elson Moyo, deputy
commander of the air force.
Moyo is the younger brother of July Moyo, a former government minister who
was fired by Mugabe in a disagreement over the vice-presidency. Vice
Marshall Moyo was previously notorious for being sued for adultery with a
The government is desperate to keep news of the attempted coup from the
general public, and the power black-out was attributed to technical problems
at the Hwange power station.
Today I asked the Minister of Defence, Sydney Sekeramayi, for a comment. He
told me: "I do not discuss military issues with journalists."
But in a speech to a police cadet passing-out parade last Friday, President
Mugabe said the country was on high alert in order to counter any attempts
to topple his government. Observers believe he may have been referring to
this attempt, which would mean the plans were known by the government in
advance of the attempt.
In a previous failed coup, a number of officers were arrested in late 1998
on charges of insurrection. The episode was reported in the independent
newspaper the Standard, in January 1999, and the editor and writer were both
arrested and tortured.
FIRST POSTED JUNE 7, 2007
Catholic Information Service for Africa (Nairobi)
8 June 2007
Posted to the web 8 June 2007
The Order of Carmelites has sent a message of solidarity to the people of
Zimbabwe who are suffering serious political and economic hardships, the
Independent Catholic News reports.
Zimbabwe, once the granary of Southern Africa, is in its seventh year of
economic recession with 80 percent of the people living below the poverty
line and inflation at a rate of 3700 percent.
In their message the Carmelites say: "As people of faith of many countries
and continents, we stand with you in solidarity as members of the body of
Christ; that you may be strengthened in your distress."
"As violence and unrest continue to intensify in Zimbabwe, our concern for
you and especially the poor, the neglected and the persecuted people in your
country is also deepening."
Echoing the Zimbabwean Catholic Bishops statement issued at Easter, they say
they will "follow the bishops' call to prayer and fasting", concluding that
they "fervently hope that you will soon know peace rooted in the rule of law
and human rights at every level in your communities and. your nation."
Zimbabwe has had the longest continuous Carmelite presence in Africa. The
Irish Province has been there since 1943.
Carmelite Donal Lamont became the first Bishop of Umtale in what was then
Southern Rhodesia, in 1957. He founded a congregation of African Carmelite
sisters, the Handmaids of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in 1959.
He was tried by the white Rhodesian government and sentenced to penal
servitude, commuted to deportation, for supporting the Independence movement
.He returned as Bishop for Independence celebrations in 1980, resigning in
1982 as Bishop Emeritus of Mutare, as the diocese was renamed.
Today there are nine communities of Carmelites in Harare and Mutare Diocese;
more than half of their members are Zimbabwean as is the Provincial. They
work in parishes, hospital chaplaincies and schools.
Dear Friends and Campaign Supporters,
ZIMBABWE: A CALL FOR THE UK GOVERNMENT TO TAKE ACTION
I am delighted to say that following a successful meeting with Ian Paisley
Jnr at Stormont last night that we have an excellent opportunity to raise
the profile of our campaign. Instead of presenting the petition on Monday
11th June, Ian Paisley Jnr is facilitating getting a session in the long
gallery on a Monday afternoon later this month - date to be finalised asap.
The session will include the Zimbabwe Solidarity Campaign making a 15 minute
presentation to MLA's and trying to get all 108 of them to sign the petition
in the presence of the press etc.
This would be a massive boost as they would be signing a petition that
effectively calls on the UK government to take unilateral action and a
leading role in resolving the crisis in Zimbabwe! A powerful message from
all in power in Northern Ireland.
I know that this means cancelling next Monday mornings march at short notice
but believe it is for the long term good. We will keep you posted as things
develop, please let me know if there is any way we can maximise this great
opportunity. In the meantime, it is a good opportunity to get more people to
sign the petition online
(http://www.PetitionOnline.com/ZSC02/petition.html) - so please forward it
to your friends if you haven;t done so already..
Mark & Marcella
ZIMBABWE SOLIDARITY CAMPAIGN
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place
every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of
human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in
October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair
elections are held in Zimbabwe. http://www.zimvigil.co.uk
RESIDENTS of Mbare have expressed concern at the introduction of a
supplementary 'special housing scheme' which they never knew of until their
May statements arrived a week ago. It remains unclear when and how the
illegal commission arrived at that scheme.
Mrs. Margaret Matienga, the CHRA Ward 12 Coordinator showed CHRA her May
statement from the City of Harare that indicates that a supplementary
housing scheme for 1980/81 and others, costing $11 288 has been introduced
on residents' and should be paid.
Mrs. Matienga says she does not even have a housing scheme that she is
required to pay such a supplementary fee.
She said the City of Harare must explain why it has introduced this
supplementary charge to residents, yet none of them has any housing scheme
CHRA will approach its lawyers for immediate action to stop this madness
from the City of Harare.
The City of Harare has been failing to deliver to residents. Service charges
have continued to increase without any corresponding services being
rendered. The City Commission has remained in office despite a High Court
ruling on 2 March by Justice Lawrence Kamocha that declared the commission
illegal and without mandate to act on behalf of the City of Harare.
Combined Harare Residents' Association
Mobile: 011 612 860
June 8, 2007
By Mark Gilbert
London - In Zimbabwe, about the only thing faster than the country's annual
inflation rate is the percentage gain in its benchmark stock market index in
the past year.
The nation's industrials index has increased close to 39 000 percent in the
past 12 months. The value of the index, composed of 77 companies, has
doubled in the past two weeks.
"Share prices have risen... even faster than Zimbabwe's inflation rate has
soared, so even as the country crumbles, the Zimbabwean investor is keeping
up rather well,'' according to Dennis Gartman, economist and editor of the
Suffolk, Virginia-based Gartman Letter.
The nation has the highest inflation rate in the world, at 3 714 percent.
Zimbabwe's dollar, officially pegged at Z$250 to its US counterpart, trades
at about Z$45 000 on the black market. In April, the central bank devalued
the rate that exporters get for generating overseas revenue by 98 percent to
"Last year, investors of the country suddenly understood that the only
logical investment was the stock market,'' Gartman wrote in his newsletter
"Debt was out, land might be taken from you by the government, but equity in
the nation's viable businesses was the least likely place for the government
On May 29, trade and industry minister Obert Mpofu said Zimbabwe might force
foreign-owned companies to sell 51 percent of their shares to black
citizens. This week, minister of mines Amos Midzi told a conference in
Namibia that Zimbabwe planned to increase local control of mining
resources. - Bloomberg
The Statesman, Ghana
South African President Thabo on Monday noted a worrying trend of jailing
journalists in Africa as leaders try to balance sometimes competing
interests of press and governments, especially in young democracies.
While acknowledging difficulties journalists working in Africa face, Mbeki
also urged them to report accurately on the region and to do so in a
"properly contextualised" manner.
"There are some countries on our continent where journalists are in prison
and this is worrying for all of us," Mbeki told delegates at the 60th World
Newspaper Congress and the 14th World Editors Forum in Cape Town.
African countries consistently appear on media groups offenders' lists,
notably countries like South Africa"s neighbour Zimbabwe where President
Robert Mugabe has shut down independent media.
Two African countries - Equatorial Guinea and Libya - are among the top five
on the Committee to Protect Journalists' global list of most-censored
The press freedom watchdog has also counted two African countries - Eritrea
and Ethiopia - among the top four of 24 countries that imprisoned
journalists in 2006.
In a widely condemned incident, Kenyan police last year swooped on a local
private television station and shut it down, denting Kenya"s reputation for
Mbeki noted the concern such cases generate but said they may be simply be
growing pains of Africa's emerging democracies.
"There is particular anger around what is seen as impunity enjoyed by some
governments in their perceived or actual actions against journalists and
editors," he said.
"I am also aware of the feeling of African editors that libel and similar
laws are used to deal with a media that is seen as uncomplimentary to the
He said efforts were under way between the African Union and the African
Editors' Forum to deepen the understanding of the role the media in
Mbeki's government has itself come under attack over perceptions that it
wants to curb media freedom in one of Africa's most respected democracies.
Earlier this year, opposition parties and the media thwarted a proposed law
that would have required media outlets to have controversial material like
sex and violence vetted by a state board.
Mbeki's own relationship with the media in his country has at times been
fraught. He has often accused white journalists, along with other critics
that focus of South Africa's high levels of crime and government corruption,
of being racist.
published: Friday | June 8, 2007
The Editor, Sir:
'Leave out bad company, you hear me' is an advice most well-thinking and
decent Jamaican parents give to their children, and if most children heeded
that advice, many would not find themselves in difficulties.
Sir, I do not like dictators, as I have watched people like Saddam Hussein
bring destruction down on Iraq from which I do not think the hapless people
of that country will recover in our lifetime. We are now watching our friend
and former freedom fighter Robert Mugabe mutating into one egotistical
horror, transforming Zimbabwe into a foodless, nasty dictatorship.
Now, right at our back door, there is a new toy soldier, Hugo Chávez,
creating a Satan out of himself, closing down media houses and wanting the
world to believe that he is walking in the footsteps of a Fidel Castro, to
be the leader of a socialist bloc. This is at best a socialist illusion,
because 'socialism is dead', as declared by none other than Professor Trevor
Munroe on a morning radio programme some years ago.
However, the Jamaican govern-ment seems intent on turning a blind eye on the
atrocities of their dictator friends. They 'see and blind, hear and deaf,
take and sell', while continuing to keep bad company and solidifying
relationships with people like Chávez.
My advice to the Jamaican Government is to leave out bad company because, in
the long run, the evidence is that it is the ordinary people, either in
Zimbabwe, Venezuela, Iraq, Jamaica or South East St. Ann, who suffer along
with the poor who they declare their love for at every photo or media
I am, etc.,
P.O Box 630
Liguanea, Kingston 6
The Herald (Harare) Published by the government of Zimbabwe
8 June 2007
Posted to the web 8 June 2007
The Agricultural and Rural Development Authority needs to fulfil its
Arda is mandated to drive crop and livestock production to ensure food
It should be on the forefront of Zimbabwe's agricultural revolution, taking
full advantage of its vast tracts of land and its state-of-the-art machinery
Sadly, this has not been the case in the last couple of years where we have
seen little coming out of Arda. Previous Ministers of Agriculture as well as
the current one, Cde Rugare Gumbo, have expressed concern at the state of
affairs at the parastatal, but nothing has changed.
Problems that have ranged from failing to pay workers on time, falling
production and, lately, wheat that has failed to germinate, have dogged
While the authority employs some of the most highly qualified agricultural
experts in the country, they are failing to deliver in order to improve
operations at Arda.
Only last year, President Mugabe lambasted the authority for not using the
land productively while the former Minister of Agriculture, Dr Joseph Made,
read the riot act to management.
The authority was expected to change its way of doing business after the
President expressed concern and we even thought the riot act read to them by
the minister would spur them into action but this has not happened.
The parastatal runs about 30 estates, measuring almost 293 000 hectares.
Out of this hectarage, 134 226ha are arable and how the authority fails to
produce enough maize, wheat and other crops to feed the nation and export
the surplus is difficult to explain.
Of the arable hectarage, 25 000 is under irrigation, meaning cropping can
easily be done throughout the year.
The authority is well mechanised from tractors to irrigation infrastructure,
yet every year the country is forced to import food using scarce foreign
There is no doubt that Arda's problem lies with management, which must be
held accountable for the failings at the parastatal.
The authority should be seen to be leading by example.
The maize and wheat we so desperately need should be coming from Arda
estates, with other commercial and communal farmers augmenting their
But all we get is that 500 hectares of wheat failed to germinate, this
against the fact that Arda boasts of highly qualified agronomists.
The mess at Arda has resulted in the national army and police initiating
Operation Maguta to ensure food security in the country. This is a serious
indictment on the authority.
The surrounding A1 farmers in Middle Sabi are performing wonders on their
small pieces of land while Arda is struggling.
These are farmers with little resources and very limited mechanisation yet
Arda, with all the resources at its disposal, continues to sing the blues.
Only a few years ago, Arda was the pride of the nation in terms of
agricultural output and this performance is achievable with right thinking
The Namibian (Windhoek)
8 June 2007
Posted to the web 8 June 2007
Alfredo Tjiurimo Hengari
IN his recent book on Africa, 'Negrologie: Pourquoi l'Afrique meurt', the
French author Stephen Smith makes a sober assessment of Africa's problems:
"il faut cesser de transvestir les realites de l'Afrique en mêlant ce qui
serait souhaitable a ce qui existe le present n'a pas d'avenir sur le
continent' (we need to stop dressing up the realities of Africa in mixing
what is wishful to what exist..the present does not have a future on the
As pessimistic as Stephen Smith sounds, his book to a large extent does
highlight what is wrong with Africa and why, as the title suggests, the
continent is dying.
Such Afro-pessimistic analysis is fitting at two levels.
First for obvious reasons, most of the speeches that marked Africa Day (May
25) and the founding of the Organisation of African Unity didn't contain the
therapy needed to lift the African Union out of its current impasse.
They essentially bore the déjà-vu hallmarks of idealism.
As such, pessimism could be a crucial entry point for a debate about
Africa's fate, especially if it has to be driven by the OAU's successor, the
Second, we can make the claim about the African Union that just like the
post-colonial state in Africa, it lacks any historicity and originality,
ontologically that is, and it can't be analysed outside the framework of
existing state attempts at regional or continental integration, notably the
most advanced attempt there is, the European Union.
And this is particularly the case because the AU came into being in 2002 as
a wishful ambitious project, loosely modelled around the EU.
Yet in reality it is just a fusion of intentions without any meaningful
institutional and programmatic follow-up.
To illustrate this point, the AU even went further than the EU and is the
world's only regional or international organisation that recognises the
right of members to intervene in a member state on humanitarian and human
However, it is possibly the most ineffective when it comes to acting in this
domain, as we have noted in various theatres of conflict, from Darfur to
This problem is not necessarily institutional or one of resources, but it
arises chiefly from the fact that AU membership is based on formal
sovereignty rather than a substantive definition of justice and values.
It makes no practical demands on its members to be democratic or to respect
This carte-blanche accommodation has in so many ways tainted the activities
of the AU, which from the beginning was populated by authoritarian, abusive
or unrepresentative states.
As a consequence, the AU has serious legitimacy problems because a big part
of its membership does not share the same values: Libya's Muammar Gaddafi's
vision of democracy or human rights (if at all he has one) is substantially
different from that of President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa or Amadou
Toumani Touré of Mali.
And one would have thought that after the ideological conflicts of the Cold
War and the transformation of the OAU into the AU, there would henceforth be
greater consensus around broad principles of human rights and democracy,
both in theory and practice.
In fact, most of the members pay lip service to these principles, as is
evident in Sudan or Zimbabwe.
These two members, despite flagrant human rights abuses and genocide in the
case of the first, continue to be treated as members in good standing and
they continue to operate à la carte within the AU.
Students of comparative regional integration would note that one of the most
successful engines of national institutional reform has been the European
Union accession process, which has transformed the political landscape of
The reason why it has been successful is that EU accession is a form of
conditionality that provides large political and economic incentives to
It is completely back-loaded, rewarding countries only after reforms are
completed based on transparent and hard-to-dilute criteria.
The initiative moreover lies with the countries wanting to join the EU; if
they don't have the political will to join, no one is forcing them to.
In the case of the African Union, all states irrespective of their polluted
democratic credentials are full members and this hinders collective action,
which in fact is the foundation of this continental body.
Even the NEPAD African Peer Review Mechanism as a post-facto attempt at
rewarding and naming exemplary AU members is still locked in its tracks with
democracies such as Namibia (for unknown reasons) not even acceding to this
For the AU to bottom out of this impasse so early in its life, a vanguard of
democratic states, (invoking the notion of variable geometry) to be led by
South Africa must emerge.
This could include democracies such as Namibia, Ghana, Mali and so on.
Such an alliance of democratic states will have to think about a foreign
policy that tries to hammer the language of good governance and democracy
Additionally it is also these states that should be at the heart of
promoting the NEPAD peer review mechanism.
To conclude, African leaders have not been sincere enough to look at the AU
through what it wants to be and what it cannot be.
The AU is not only weak on economic leverage, but it is most importantly
weak on values and political will.
Without change, the AU as an institution is bound to fail, not only because
it was constructed from the top, but also because it is in so many more ways
than one rotten at the top.
* Alfredo Tjurimo Hengari is a PhD fellow in Political Science at the
University of Paris Panthéon-Sorbonne, France.
Institute for War & Peace Reporting
People sell all they have to get private treatment as a nationwide strike
brings the state health system to a halt.
By Florence Gobo in Harare (AR No. 115, 8-June-07)
As Zimbabwe's major public health institutions close their doors to patients
because of strike action by staff, desperate families are selling their
possessions to pay for treatment at expensive private hospitals.
The strike, which began in mid-May, is over poor salaries and worsening
working conditions. It is the second strike action this year, and involves
virtually all hospital staff from canteen workers to nurses and surgeons. It
comes shortly after the end of a period of industrial action that paralysed
the healthcare system countrywide.
Patients, even those in critical condition, are being turned away from
public hospitals. Accident victims are going untreated for days. When they
are turned away or discharged, they are advised to seek treatment
elsewhere - meaning at private institutions.
One patient who gave his name as Tendai said he had to sell two head of
cattle to raise the deposit for the fees at a Harare private clinic.
"What could I do? I want to survive, and possessions become meaningless
compared to life. If I had to make a choice to sell my house or allow myself
to die, I would sell the house," he said.
"This is what Zimbabwe has become - a person can lose everything in just an
hour or in just a day. We have learnt to value
life over any other possessions."
Another patient, 30-year-old Sean Marwizi, lay on a couch in the reception
area at a Harare private clinic gasping for air. He was unable to breathe
properly because of lung injuries sustained in a car accident, and his lips
and face were turning blue from oxygen starvation.
Marwizi begged the receptionist for urgent medical attention
while his family looked for the 170,000 Zimbabwean dollars, ZWD,
consultation fee and another two million ZWD for ventilating him.
It is hard to translate these sums - at the official exchange rate two
million ZWD works out as 8,000 US dollars while at the widely used parallel
market rate it is 80 dollars - but for comparison, it represents about six
months' wages for the average teacher.
The receptionist was unmoved. She told him he could only
see the doctor after paying the consultation fee.
To experience first hand the impact of a second crippling strike just a few
months after the end of the first one, this IWPR reporter accompanied the
Marwizi family throughout their ordeal after meeting them at the private
Fearing that he was close to death, Sean Marwizi's family rushed him to one
of the city's major government referral centres, Parirenyatwa Hospital,
where they were advised to seek treatment at a private health institution.
The admissions doctor at Parirenyatwa told them that even though it was a
critical case, there was nothing she could do to treat him as most of the
key staff members, including the nurses, were out on strike.
She said referring them to a private institution was the best advice she
could give them. When they said they had already been to a private clinic
and had come to Parirenyatwa as a last resort, she said it was not her fault
that the government could not pay realistic salaries to its doctors and
other health workers.
Marwizi's face was deathly pale as family members helped him out of the
Just outside, two other families were wailing after losing loved ones at the
hospital, one in the casualty department and the other in a ward where no
doctor had visited since she was admitted three days earlier. She had
received no medication.
For Sean Marwizi, this seemed like the end of the road, but his family were
determined to ensure that he survived. After a few calls to friends, they
were able to raise just over 2.5 million ZWD and he was admitted to the
private clinic that had turned him away earlier.
However this was just the beginning of his problems. His condition meant he
had to be transferred to a bigger private hospital, which required a deposit
of 15 million ZWD for every five days he stayed there. The doctor told them
to budget for between 60 and 80 million ZWD for hospital fees, surgery and
other procedures like scans and x-rays.
This was just too much money for a family whose combined monthly income was
less than 10 million ZWD.
They sold their furniture, including sofas, a television set, radio, two
beds, a dressing table and a dining room suite. They are even
considering selling their stove and fridge to pay the hospital bills, which
after 10 days had accumulated to more than 35 million ZWD.
IWPR conducted several interviews at the private hospital where Marwizi was
admitted and found that other patients have had to sell cattle or household
items to pay for medical costs.
The International Committee of the Red Cross, ICRC has described the health
delivery system in Zimbabwe as comparable to "a war situation".
Sebastian Brack, ICRC communication officer for Southern Africa, told a
human rights workshop in Bulawayo that the crisis could no longer be ignored
if lives were being lost.
The health workers' strike has only worsened an already critical situation.
The system has already collapsed, there is serious understaffing, low
morale, a shortage of essential drugs including anti-retrovirals, and
essential equipment is old or not functioning. Doctors and nurses battle
with shortages of items such as surgical gloves, saline drips, syringes,
painkillers and drugs.
Health workers earn well below the official poverty line, currently
estimated to be just over two million ZWD. Currently, a junior doctor at a
state hospital earns a basic salary of 240,000 ZWD plus allowances amounting
to about 700,000 ZWD.
The industrial action came after Health Minister David Parirenyatwa admitted
that state nurses could no longer afford the bus fare to work. His ministry
has since announced an adjustment in allowances of up to 332 per cent for
Doctors working at state hospitals have gone on sporadic strikes over pay
issues since last year. In December, the government had to bring in health
personnel from the army to cover for striking doctors and nurses, but they
were unable to cope with the large number of patients.
The situation looks set to get worse as the strike, now in its third week,
continues, and more lives are bound to be lost.
Florence Gobo is the pseudonym of a reporter in Zimbabwe.
October 4, 2002
Dear Aunty Grace
Thank you very much for the food that arrived yesterday. Mother was thrilled to see
it. She cried because she had not seen so much mealie meal for months.
Straightaway she cooked a really big meal of nshima. We ate really well last night
and I still feel full today.
Some days when I'm unable to write at home, too lazy to make breakfast, or just need a better cup of coffe than I make around here, I head for a local Internet Cafe. Java Street is a very pleasant spot run by a gracious friend named Stacy and habituated by a generally interesting and diverse group of people.
Yesterday as I settled in, plugged in the laptop and
ordered breakfast I spoke to a couple of the regulars who play chess most
mornings trading quick coffee house greetings. As I opened the morning paper I
noticed at the next table a very pretty young woman (I'm a professional, a
trained observer, it's my job) wearing a headset, engrossed in her work and
seemingly oblivious to the coffee aromas mixed with the lingering memory of
burnt toast and the low murmur of breakfast banter wafting in her
I wonder where you managed to find all that food? There has been nothing in the
market here for weeks now and the last maize that came was so expensive that we
could not afford it. The harvest from our farm ran out in July, after only a few
weeks. Since then father has been walking to the next village to work as a brick
maker. He gets really tired with the long walk and the hard work but the boss pays
him in food so at least we have had something to eat, even if it is often only one
meal a day.
I decided when I got up yesterday, to not try to write and instead, take care of some of the administrative jobs on the website, fixing links, window dressing, doing a little promotion, responding to comments at other sites etc. I had written several short things in the last week and felt myself reaching, grasping for more, and knew that I should take a day off lest I succumb to my inner literary greed.
Unfortunately he has been told there is no more work after next week
and so no more food. Mother says my brothers and I will probably have to leave
school for a few weeks to look for food in the bush and to help in our fields in the
hope that we get a harvest this April.
I'm not sure how but after breakfast, after the the checkmate at the next table, after the headset was removed, and my busywork was done I caught the eye of the lovely young woman (blue eyes filled with wit and humor, with intelligence, curiosity and charm) and asked her what she was working on.
I hope things are better for you in Lusaka. We always imagine the capital city will
be really rich, with plenty of food and it must be wonderful to be able to watch
television! Lots of my friends want to come there to get jobs and get rich, but I am
not sure, what do you think?
Please write soon
Her gaze was direct, her smile pleasant, if somewhat quizzical, and her tone frank as she explained that she was a graduate student in anthropology, preparing to leave in a few days for a summer research project in Africa.
I heard the roaring of lions, the gentle thrumming of rain on the jungle canopy, the rhythm of distant drums, I was smitten, smitten with Africa and of course, ancient though I am, with this, this, young lady, this girl really, younger than my shirt, so lovely and young so brave and earnest.
Half a century ago, when I was a boy, before high school, before John
Kennedy, Vietnam, marriage, a dozen years before the birth of my son there was a
great dam built in what once was Northern Rhodesia on the Zambezi River. Kariba Dam
among the worlds largest was built to interrupt the flow and harness the power
of the mighty river, power that was needed to run the colonial towns and cities
in what would become Zambia and Zimbabwe.
As the river rose, foot by inexorable foot behind the dam, as the great fertile valley became Lake Kariba, now one of the worlds largest man made lakes, great efforts were made to save and relocate the wildlife of the area.
The wildlife of Zambia is the stuff of legend, of history merged with legend, Livingstone and Stanley, Great White hunters, safaris, a magnificent remnant of some ancient Eden.
Project Noah it was called, a great relocation of wild creatures which preserved untold thousands of wild and exotic animals who made their home in the Zambezi valley. They commemorated this rescue with a plaque in Kariba.
There were other residents of the valley of the Zambezi, the Tonga of the Gwembe valley, they called themselves "Basilwizi" the river people. They were the river, a part of the Zambezi and the river was part of them, flowing through them body and soul as surely as the blood that courses in their veins.
They had been there for centuries, living, farming in the rich alluvial soil along the banks of the Zambezi, year after year planting and tilling their crops and and erecting rain shrines all over the basin where they performed Mpande, ceremonial rites to ensure that the rains would come and the the harvest would be plentiful and there would be food to eat.
The Noah project neglected to treat the River people with the same care shown to the animals, the same sensitivity in their relocation. The British made promises, promises of good housing, of schools and roads and loan opportunities, their area, the new one that is, would be a showcase of clinics and wells and grinding mills.
Promises made to nearly sixty thousand who were relocated on higher ground where the sandy soil no longer supported their crops, where no amount of prayer and supplication or appeasement of the spirits would bring the rich harvest of the past or provide fodder for their cattle, their goats.
The Basilwizi, the River People describe now how their shrines are submerged by the waters, "there was no way the shrines and some of the spirits could be carried with us," they say.
"Life was very good in the Valley when I was growing up. We had more than enough food," they say.
"If fields could be carried, we could have carried them with us," they say.
I've had breakfast this morning and coffee and writing was easy with the grass and the rabbits, the leaning blue spruce and the breeze blowing through the window from the back yard.
I'm going to the coffee shop anyway this morning ,
I want to find that earnest and lovely and brave young woman.
I want to ask her to be my friend, to write to me and share what she finds in that place, that Africa.
I want a piece of the adventure she is about to embark upon and I want her to share with me,
to share, these Basilwizi,
her people of the river.