09 March 2005 'Compliance' with poll rules a transparent
sham Dumisani Muleya
THREE weeks before Zimbabwe's crucial
general elections, there is fierce debate about whether or not they will be
free and fair. President Thabo Mbeki and his deputy, Jacob Zuma, have
already made their position clear: there is no reason to think anyone would
thwart a free and fair poll.
Their statements seem
calculated to lay the ground for yet another regional whitewash - the third
in five years - of what, by all indications, is likely to be a hotly
disputed poll result.
Everybody who follows events in
Zimbabwe will know that the measures its government touts as reforms are a
smokescreen, and woefully inadequate to protect the integrity of the
Either Mbeki and Zuma sincerely believe that the
half-measures taken by President Robert Mugabe suffice, or they are trying
to prepare everyone for another airbrushing. It is also possible they are
honestly ignorant of conditions in Zimbabwe.
Their position will
not help in resolving Zimbabwe's political and economic crisis, which they
have been battling to deal with for the past five years. If anything, it
will make the situation worse.
By any objective measure, Zimbabwe has
not been able to comply adequately with the Southern African Development
Community (SADC) principles governing democratic elections in the
As George Orwell said, we have sunk to a depth at which
restatement of the obvious is the first duty of all intelligent men. In a
time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary
The SADC's electoral guidelines are as clear as Zimbabwe's
failure to comply with them.
Member states should allow full
participation of citizens in the political process; freedom of association;
political tolerance; regular elections; equal access by political parties to
the state media; equal opportunity to exercise the right to vote and be
voted for; and voter education. The guidelines also urge impartiality of
electoral institutions and independence of the judiciary, as well as the
need to accept the results.
SADC member states are required to
establish "impartial, all-inclusive, competent, and accountable national
electoral bodies staffed by qualified personnel". Countries also have to
respect freedom of movement, assembly and expression, and "take all
necessary measures and precautions to prevent the perpetration of fraud,
rigging, or any other illegal practices throughout the whole electoral
Mbeki says Zimbabwe has set up an independent electoral
commission, opened up the public media and dealt with violence and
intimidation. While this is true, it is equally true to say the electoral
commission is stuffed with progovernment supporters.
Its chairman was
appointed by Mugabe, and has close ties with the ruling Zanu (PF). All the
key election processes were in place before his
Media curbs and closures remain, voter
education is still a state monopoly, observers are restricted, and
intimidation remains Zanu (PF)'s stock in trade. At least 10 opposition
candidates have been arrested while campaigning or putting up
Although there is now an
electoral court, its judges were appointed by a chief justice who is seen as
a government ally.
The other so-called reforms include the changing
of the number of voting days from two to one; the introduction of
transparent ballot boxes; and counting of votes at polling stations. While
these are important, they do not address the root causes of the problem: a
hostile political climate and a chaotic voters' roll which includes tens of
thousands of "ghost" voters.
The opposition Movement for Democratic
Change's rallies continue to be disrupted by the police, while Zanu (PF) is
given free rein. Antigovernment protests are as good as banned under
Of all the SADC conditions, the only one
that Zimbabwe meets is that of regular elections.
circumstances, distorting facts and ignoring the evidence of noncompliance,
as Mugabe and his supporters are trying to do, will only expose the charade
that Zimbabwe's election will be.
[ This report does not necessarily
reflect the views of the United Nations]
JOHANNESBURG, 9 Mar 2005
(IRIN) - In the run-up to Zimbabwe's legislative elections, access to public
media remains skewed in favour of the ruling ZANU-PF, according to media
Media freedom lobby group Reporters sans Frontieres (Paris)
alleged in a statement, "... the coverage that Zimbabwe's state media are
giving the main opposition party during the campaign for parliamentary
elections on 31 March is clearly unfair".
"With the election campaign
already officially under way, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) - the
main opposition party, with 50 representatives in parliament - is extremely
handicapped by the lack of coverage it is getting from the state media, when
not being actively disparaged," the press freedom organisation
The Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe (MMPZ), an independent
Harare-based watchdog, reported that in the official press during the week
of 14 to 20 February, 19 of 28 articles about the election campaigns
defended the ruling ZANU-PF party, while the other nine disparaged the MDC.
During the week of 21 to 27 February, 58 of 66 articles covering the
election campaigns were devoted to ZANU-PF.
Nhlanhla Ngwenya, a
monitoring coordinator of the MMPZ, told IRIN that "access to state [public]
media remains limited for opposition parties, although they [state media]
are trying to show they are giving space to the
"Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings [state media company]
initially claimed they would not cover the MDC, as it had not confirmed
whether it would participate in the elections. Then their excuse was that we
were not yet in an election period [so state media was not obliged to
provide airtime to the MDC]. But according to legislation, our election
period begins 30 days prior to the actual polling day - this means the
election period began on 26 February," Ngwenya said.
broadcasters have since said they would cover all the political parties
fairly and in a balanced manner, and have "managed to give the MDC space to
broadcast its manifesto - 12 minutes on national television - and have given
them equal time on [public] radio stations; the independent candidates been
given five minutes to broadcast their manifestos".
However, Ngwenya said,
"while giving them [opposition parties] space to air their promises to the
electorate, they are taking advantage of the fact that regulations
[governing election broadcasts] are silent on news coverage of
"They have just continued giving more airtime to the ruling
party than any other contesting party - almost every week, average coverage
of ZANU-PF in state media is about 80 percent. The rest share the remaining
20 percent [of political party coverage]. The little airtime accorded to MDC
- around 12 percent on a weekly basis - is mostly devoted to portraying the
party in a negative light," Ngwenya pointed out.
Smaller parties such
as ZANU (Ndonga), when covered at all, have also suffered negative
Zim snub leaves SA in 'difficult situation' March 09
2005 at 12:21PM
By Boyd Webb
Zimbabwe's refusal to
invite a Southern African Development Community (SADC) parliamentary forum
to observe the country's March election has left South Africa in a
"I don't know how to respond and have not
even spoken to my bosses about it. Obviously a difficult situation," a
visibly uncomfortable Ayanda Ntsaluba, director-general of the department of
foreign affairs, said in Cape Town on Wednesday.
parliamentary forum was the only African observer mission not to declare the
March 2002 Zimbabwean presidential elections free and fair.
Ntsaluba said he was aware and so were others, that the parliamentary forum
had not been complimentary about the outcome of the previous election. He
could see why Zimbabwe's latest decision would be greeted with
Zimbabwe had invited an official SADC delegation
and government-appointed delegations as observers from 12 SADC countries,
and five Asian and three Latin America countries.
explained it was possible to for a SADC delegation to be invited without the
parliamentary forum, "but what makes this difficult is the backdrop", he
With parliamentary elections due on March 31,
Zimbabwe police said on Tuesday there were fewer cases of political violence
than in the previous polls.
The campaign season was
"overwhelmingly peaceful so far, although there are isolated incidents that
have been reported ranging from common assault to malicious damage to
property", said police chief Augustine Chihuri.
that the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front had seen the
largest number of its members arrested - 67 - and charged with political
crimes since campaigning started last month.
supporters were mostly charged for beating up opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) supporters, disrupting their meetings and pulling
About 42 MDC members had been arrested and charged
with the same crimes, Chihuri said, dismissing claims that the police were
biased against the opposition. - Sapa
A powerful and despairing look at AIDS NEWPORT -
In Zimbabwe an astonishing 30 percent of the adult population is HIV
positive. Over 3,000 people die weekly from AIDS. There are over 800,000
orphans in Zimbabwe and the number is expected to grow to 1.4 million in the
next five years.
The Mother of Peace Orphanage in Mutoko, Zimbabwe,
was founded in 1994 in response to this crisis. In the11 years of its
existence it has grown into a community of 11 homes, each housing 10 to 15
children and two to three caregivers. The majority of the children are 5 or
younger, many are themselves HIV positive. At present there are
approximately 176 children of all ages being cared for at the
In addition to their own farming and self-reliance programs,
the orphanage is completely dependant on outside donations for much needed
support to help finance the homes, schools and an on-site health clinic.
Books and medication are in constant need.
"Here I am ... I matter"
is an exhibition of photographs of the Mother of Peace Orphanage by Katheryn
Demicco, a resident of Savannah, Ga., and Barrington. The exhibit will be on
display now through April 3 at the Salve Regina University
Demicco, a former nurse turned photographer, has become a
tireless advocate and fund-raiser for the good work Mother of Peace has
undertaken and has waged a personal campaign to bring an awareness of the
African Aids pandemic to the United States. To this end she has photographed
the workers and children of the orphanage, following in the tradition of
American documentary photographers such as Dorthea Lange and Walker
To say these images are difficult is an understatement. Demicco
gives us large black and white digital prints pinned directly to the wall
with no frames, the photographs insisting on their own presence as objects
to carry their message. We see photographs of children and caregivers
quietly confronting the camera or just as quietly going about their
We see children lying asleep on a floor in a classroom, asleep
on a blanket in the yard, asleep under netting embraced by the image of The
Holy Mother. Children stand just as quietly in chapel or beside an open
grave. The pale of death can't be avoided here, a roadside sign offers
discount coffins, rows of graves are presented without context and a woman
(a mother or caregiver?) quietly holds a child's coffin.
are the portraits. Close-up shots of painfully beautiful children and young
adults fixing their gaze on the camera. Some of these children are obviously
ill, some just as obviously dying, all are quiet. A thin and bruised child
takes on a whole new meaning in this world. We have no idea who is healthy
or not, and we are appalled at ourselves for even asking the
Still, Demicco's photographs respect the humanity and
dignity of her subjects. She is committed to her work and cause, and her
love and concern for the people of Zimbabwe is apparent throughout this
But looking at the Mother of Peace website I'm struck by the
contrast between her work and photographs of the children taken by visitors
to the orphanage. Smiling, laughing children beam at the camera. These are
amateur photographs, none of the messiness of art here; these pictures are
full of the noise of children and sunshine. Yes, there are pictures of the
graveyard here, too, but our eyes are drawn to the smiles of the soccer
team; the sea of grins of a wedding party. A little hope can go a long
There will be an artist's lecture on March 9 at 11 a.m. at the Pell
Center for International Relations and Public Policy, corner of Bellevue and
Ruggles avenues. Demicco will then host the exhibit's opening reception at
the Gallery from 5:30 to 7 p.m.
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Southern Africa could face worse food
shortages than last year if rains fail in the next couple of weeks, with a
late season drought already threatening maize harvests, aid workers and
Zambia -- until recently a major source of grain
for the United Nations World Food Programme -- has banned exports until the
extent of shortages can be assessed, while the situation in other countries
also looks precarious.
"It is certainly worse than last year
although it is too early to start making full forecasts," WFP spokesman Mike
Huggins said. "We're now into the final stages of the growing season but and
unless the rainfall improves then parts of the region will face widespread
In 2002, the effects of drought, poverty and the
AIDS pandemic left 16 million people hungry across the region, but aid
workers say agencies and governments are now better prepared, helped by a
huge expected surplus in South Africa.
"Even if we had a
similar situation to 2002 we are now in better shape," Oxfam food security
co-ordinator Ann Witteveen told Reuters. "South Africa's huge grain stock
will help keep prices low."
Crop shortages had eased in recent
years, with the WFP estimating some 3.5 million people currently needing
Farmers and aid workers say the next week to 10 days will be
crucial if a dry weather-weakened crops across a drought band affecting
Botswana, northern Zimbabwe and Mozambique and southern Zambia and Malawi is
to stand any chance of recovery.
Selling property and livestock
has helped many southern Africans stave off starvation during recent
shortages, but aid workers worry many may all but have exhausted their
"coping strategies" in a region heavily affected by HIV/AIDS.
On Tuesday, the head of Zambia's commercial farming union said parts of the
country could face a 30 percent or greater fall in production without
imminent rain -- although aid workers say it is early to say how bad things
EARLY TO SAY
"The March rains could
change the situation and allow the farmers to pull through," said John
Service, Zambia co-ordinator for food aid programme C-SAFE. "It's too early
In neighbouring Malawi, aid workers say late rains would
help even at best the situation looks worse than last year. Botswana farmers
say they face the worst year on record, and drought has also hit Southern
Aid workers are reluctant to talk about the situation
in President Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe, but many say poor rains and a lack of
seed and fertiliser has led to widespread crop failure and a dramatic fall
from last year's crop.
Aid agencies have cut back their
operations in Zimbabwe, but some South African traders say shortages may
force the government to call for international help once parliamentary
elections in March are out of the way.
The shortages may be rare
good news for South African farmers and traders, facing good summer rains --
and who had been struggling to compete with the now-banned Zambian
"It might create an opportunity for us," said one trader.
South African maize prices have slumped from over 1000 rand a tonne in
November to under 500 a tonne now.
But finding money for food
aid could be more difficult. The WFP says cash from donor countries has all
but dried up in the aftermath of the Asian tsunami, with the agency only
having $50 million of the $216 it says it will need in 2005.
"The majority of this money is needed now," said WFP's Huggins. "We've had
to cut back rations or the number of people receiving rations in some
Last week Witness Mangwende died. Someone wrote
to me and reminded me that he and I were at University together. He was not
one of Zanu PF's most outstanding characters. Perhaps he was the worst
Minister of Agriculture this country has ever had - before the present
incumbent of course, who is in a league all by himself.
But it was a
useful reminder that the clock ticks and that one-day the bell will toll for
all of us without exception. Tyrants do not last forever, in fact when you
look back in history they seem to have been around for just a short time
while they lived and terrorized their countries and regions. We will be no
The big question in peoples minds here - is this the moment of
truth for Zanu?
The MDC is not short of critics both here at home and
outside, but I personally think they have handled the past year with
consummate skill and enterprise. The decision to suspend participation in
elections in August was a strategic decision and it achieved what was
intended. Zanu fell apart as they fought each other for what they imagined
were "safe seats". The region and the international community were forced to
examine in detail the conditions for elections in Zimbabwe and this gave a
new clarity to the situation and more understanding. The SADC electoral
protocols were one outcome.
While the suspension lasted we lost a
number of seats we had won in the previous 4 years as Zanu PF candidates were
ushered in without opposition, but this just exacerbated the competition for
power in Zanu itself. The 5 months gap in political campaigning was not
wasted by the MDC - the Party rebuilt its structures in areas where the
government had tried to destroy them, it cleaned up its accounts and wiped
out its debts and it started preparing for re-entry to the political campaign
So when Mugabe finally announced a date for the elections - March
the 31st 2005, he was stunned to be faced, within 48 hours, with a resurgent
MDC. 120 MDC candidates in the field, many of who had already been
campaigning for months, a Party manifesto ready and even a campaign programme
on the table and now rolled out for implementation. Secretly we were even
pleased that the election was in March, even though we protested and demanded
a delay! It just goes to show - do not ever take what a politician says in
public as what he or she really intends!
I think even our most
vociferous critics must now be asking if they were right? The MDC campaign
has so far swamped that of Zanu PF. Zanu rallies are meager affairs compared
to the 20 rallies a day being held by MDC teams across the country. The
country is ablaze with red posters of MDC candidates from Kariba to
When Zanu planned this whole thing they thought that a
weakened MDC would not be able to field more than 80 candidates. They felt
confident that with up to 40 Zanu candidates unopposed plus the 30 appointed
seats, Zanu would already be nearly there for a two-thirds majority. They
also prepared up to 2 million false ballot papers in readiness for a massive
ballot stuffing exercise facilitated by a new electoral Act that allows
ballots without the stamp of the polling station to be admitted to the count
and by the fact that nearly all polling stations would be staffed by the
military and secret service agents who can be relied upon to do "whatever is
required" to ensure victory.
In fact back in August 2004, Zanu was
actually debating just how many seats they would allow the MDC to take! They
thought that 15 to 20 seats would be sufficient to maintain the façade of
democracy in Zimbabwe while giving them a free hand to alter the constitution
so as to allow a hand picked successor to the man at the top. They should
never have forgotten that a week is a long time in politics.
Zanu faces the ultimate nightmare for tyrants - an electoral test which may
or may not be under his control.
They certainly are running scared - the
Daily News, expected back on the streets in February, has still not seen the
judgment handed down even thought it was finalized some months ago. After
coverage of one MDC rally and 10 minutes of time on national TV for the MDC
Secretary general and the Chairperson of the MDC Women's Assembly, the State
radio and TV stations have reverted to a stony silence on all MDC activities
except for shrill propaganda and even that has lost its edge since Moyo was
sent into exile in Tsholotsho. The State controlled newspapers will not even
accept MDC paid adverts.
Internationally things are even worse for
Zanu PF. The MDC "Protocol Watch" relentlessly lists and publishes for all to
see, the continuing violations of democratic principles by the State in every
sphere. The US has renewed sanctions and has harshly criticised the whole
process, the EU has toughened its stance and major new initiatives for Africa
launched by the leaders of the G8 have become conditional on Africa taking
appropriate action to curb the excesses of some of its leaders - Mugabe as
the number one culprit. No matter where Zanu turns, the spotlights bring out
every wrinkle and gray hair, every flaw.
Even Mbeki is slowly turning
against his former stance of being unquestionably pro Zanu. Reluctant but
realistic, he is beginning to realize that he may have to change his stance.
I watched his interview last week when he said he expected the Zimbabwe
elections to be in accordance with the SADC protocols and be declared free
and fair. He was immediately faced with a barrage of criticism at home and
abroad but what he actually said could be interpreted very differently. I
watched him closely, it was firstly, a one on one interview with SABC -
therefore it was a planned action. Secondly, what he actually said was that
he expected all SADC countries to adhere to the protocols and that Zimbabwe
was no exception. It could have been a pubic warning to Mugabe that he was
not to over step the mark, as he had done in 2002 when the Zimbabwe elections
had embarrassed the leadership of Africa and forced them to suspend us from
Just today, SADC has stated that their observers will
have "real power" in the electoral process. Does this mean they actually are
going to try and stop the rigging? Because if they do and are successful,
then Zanu is finished.
The world has said that our future is in our
own hands and that Zimbabweans have to do what is necessary to remove Mugabe
from power and effect change. Well we are doing just that in the form of a
massive nation wide programme of poll supervision and control. Reinforced by
an effective regional effort in the form of poll observers this could make
the difference. I have no doubt about how the people are going to vote, the
question is will their vote be subverted for the third time in front of the
watching world by a desperate regime operating behind a curtain raised by its
Well we have just 22 days to go - you can help by sending us
some money or volunteering to help in your constituency. This is our chance
to rescue our country and our future from those who have shown they are only
concerned for themselves and their own comforts. For all of us the bell
tolls, for some a rallying cry, for others a warning that the end is
PRETORIA - The South
African labour movement, calling for the postponement of the March 31
elections, has begun its threatened series of actions against the Zimbabwean
government by picketing the Zimbabwean embassy here.
group of 100 members of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu)
staged the protest, which will culminate in the blockade of Beitbridge
border post next week and an all-night vigil as Zimbabweans go to vote on
The Zimbabwean ambassador to South Africa, Simon
Khaya Moyo, scoffed at the demonstration outside his offices calling it a
"I hesitate to give an iota of dignity to these
misguided malcontents," Moyo was quoted by Sapa as saying. He added that
Cosatu was acting like an un-elected government and did not want to answer
The deputy president of Cosatu, Joe Nkosi, said the
upcoming Zimbabwean elections should be postponed. "The elections in
Zimbabwe will not be free and fair under the current legislation," said
Nkosi , who took part in picketing.
Asked to give the
Zimbabwean government a mark out of 10 for its progress towards achieving
democratic elections, Nkosi gave it a zero.
"They do not even
qualify for a mark. There is duplication of names on the voters' roll. The
political climate is not right for free and fair elections," Nkosi
He said Cosatu wants the Zimbabwean people to be
liberated from oppression just as their South African counterparts
"The playing field before the elections still favours
Zanu-PF, as workers and political parties are unable to assemble in groups
of more than four," Nkosi said.
Patrick Craven, a
spokesperson for Cosatu, said reports coming out of Harare - and mainly from
the Zimbabwean Congress of Trade Union' - suggested that the government was
not conforming with the SADC electoral guidelines., SABC
The demonstrators also demanded that a fact-finding
mission be allowed to go to the country to investigate whether free and fair
elections could take place. Two previous attempts to visit Zimbabwe have led
to Cosatu officials being turned back at the airport, angering the union
into its present action.
IT is understandable that the MDC eventually decided to
reverse its decision not to contest an election which conventional wisdom
says they cannot win. The pressure was perhaps too great to
This way, the MDC maintains its profile and some (20
or so?) MDC MPs get to keep their seats in parliament. Coffers depleted by
protracted court cases can be replenished by the donations for campaign
ZANU-PF is spared an election victory that would
otherwise have been deeply embarrassing - with unprecedented voter apathy
due to the majority of eligible voters considering the outcome a forgone
conclusion, combined with a "stay away" by many ZANU-PF supporters in
protest at the imposition of candidates.
Now all of ZAN-PF
can be called upon to unite - like siblings suspending a family feud when a
snake enters the house.
President Thabo Mbeki and SADC get to
be spared the quandary of defending the results of a one-horse race (by and
large) when faced by the international community.
US administration and others get to be spared the quandary of how not to
recognise an election declared "free and fair" by regional African
governments, when there was no effective opposition party contesting to
prove or claim otherwise. The truth is that the EU and US will not recognise
this election's results - it does not even meet SADC's own guidelines, let
alone international norms.
So, now everyone is happy. After
much soul-searching, the MDC has taken the expedient, populist route. Time
will tell if this party has not just doomed itself to becoming a token,
minority opposition party for the next 10 years.
leadership requires standing your ground when this is the unpopular but
correct (in your estimation) thing to do.
MAPUTO - Shoddy
repair work on a section of the Beira Corridor railway line, which is an
alternative lifeline for landlocked Zimbabwe, is now proving costly to the
Zimbabwean government as traffic is hit by constant
Workers on the Mozambican side of the railway
line have expressed concern that the affected area, in Nhamatanda District
of the central Mozambican province of Sofala, has suffered many derailments,
including three in the last 45 days.
In the latest
incident, a goods train belonging to the Beira Railway Company, comprising
an engine and 15 wagons, was derailed between Beira and Machipanda two weeks
The chief maintenance officer with Mozambique Railways,
Arodlesh Kumar, said no-one was injured and no goods were stolen from the
train because the accident occurred in a sparsely populated
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwean government, which intends to
shift to the Beira Corridor as an alternative to the South African route to
the sea through Beitbridge border post, has expressed concern over the
shoddy work in maintaining the railway line.
is facing mounting pressure from the Congress of South African Trade Unions
(Cosatu), which has vowed to blockade Zimbabwe next week in retaliation to
the double deportation of its fact-finding mission by
Plans are currently at an advanced stage to upgrade
the Beira Corridor as a viable alternative to Beitbridge, which links the
country via the port of Durban. However, it is the security and durability
of the road and rail network which has become a cause for concern to the
On the one hand, the Mozambican
government has warned Zimbabwean truckers plying the route against damaging
the road. It has raised road tariffs for the heavy duty trucks, resulting in
a number of them opting for the South African route, which is longer but
cheaper and safe.
Trains and trucks which usually ply the Beira
Corridor are often attacked by robbers who loot anything on board. These
problems are rare on the Beitbridge route, which is a favourite with most
road haulage companies.
Handling facilities at Beira are also
said to be of an inferior quality to those in Durban, where larger ships can
HARARE - Zimbabwe's main
opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), has described as
unfortunate recent utterances by a delegation of South African traditional
leaders that Zimbabweans should vote for Zanu PF.
statement yesterday, MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi said the chiefs were
"obviously fed by Zanu PF propaganda during their short stay in Zimbabwe,
and did not have an opportunity to make an objective analysis of
developments on the ground."
He said Zanu PF was best known
by Zimbabweans for its culture of violence and intolerance, and was
certainly not the party that an objective observer with the interests of the
people at heart could persuade progressive Zimbabweans to vote
"The chiefs need to be made aware that while Mugabe and
Zanu PF may have publicly pretended to shun violence, Zanu PF officials at
grassroots level are leading attacks on suspected MDC supporters," said
He vowed that his party would, against all odds, win
the March 31 poll and that the traditional leaders needed to be reminded
that despite what anyone may do or say, Zimbabweans had resolved to vote out
the ruling Zanu PF regime.
The chiefs arrived back in
Johannesburg from Zimbabwe over the weekend after an invitation from
Zimbabwe's local government minister, Ignatius Chombo, to witness the
success of the controversial land reform programme.
delegation led by Mpiyezintombi Nzimela, the chairman of the National House
of Traditional Leaders, told the South African media that they had travelled
around the country visiting settlements and had also spoken to President
The visit was marred by the death of one of the
members of the delegation, Malungisa Gobe, in a car accident in which two
other chiefs and a Zimbabwean were injured.
Displaced farmers give Zambia a record
Date: 9-Mar, 2005
LUSAKA - Runaway
white commercial farmers from Zimbabwe who have settled in Zambia have
managed to record an all-time high bumper harvest of tobacco in
According to the Tobacco Association of Zambia's
executive director, Jewette Masinja, Zambia is set to harvest more than 52
million kilogrammes of the golden leaf, as compared to last year's national
harvest of 14,3 million kilogrammes.
In an interview with
Daily News Online yesterday, Masinja said Zambia was set to earn US$83
million from the sale of the crop, up from US$26 million which it earned
This, he said, had been achieved after the country
allowed distressed tobacco commercial farmers from Zimbabwe to work on large
tracts of land which had been lying idle for years.
investments by the Zimbabwean farmers and the introduction of good
agricultural practices by Zambian farmers who learnt it from their
Zimbabwean counterparts has led to the rise in tobacco production over the
past few years," he said.
Zambia's tobacco production has
for the past three years been gradually rising, with this year's crop
reaching an all-time high. Last year's production figure of 14,3 million
kilogrammes was a 321 percent jump from the previous year, according to
official data from the Zambian government.
Masinja, nearly half of this year's crop will be full flavour Virginia
tobacco, while the other half will be burley. Nearly all of it will be
exported to Europe.
Distressed Zimbabwean farmers, running away
from land grabs by the government, have significantly improved the
agricultural production capabilities of a number of countries within the
Southern African Development Community SADC and beyond.
White farmers have settled well in Malawi, Mozambique and even Nigeria,
where they have managed to prove their expertise in agricultural
Ironically, Zimbabwe has suffered a decline in
the production of tobacco, maize and other crops over the same
This has been blamed on beneficiaries of the land
reform programme failing to live up to expectations, either because they do
not have the necessary funds and inputs or they are mere speculative holders
of land with no intention of ever using it for farming. Last week President
Robert Mugabe had a go at these "cellphone farmers".
WHAT Zanu PF has suffered
from since independence is a paranoia against any media which criticises its
policies. This paranoia jelled perfectly with Jonathan Moyo's own delusions
of grandeur, to give birth to their joint testament to a persecution mania
to end all paranoia - the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
The government's reaction to Wilf Mbanga's latest
media venture, The Zimbabwean, is typical of this psychological malady,
which manifests itself in hysterical outbursts against any attempt to find
fault with Zanu PF, the government or President Robert
Mbanga once worked for the government, in case some
people believe he has always been this rabid, diehard critic of Mugabe's
policies. He and Geoff Nyarota were the moving spirit behind the formation
of Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (Pvt) Limited, the publishers of The
Daily News and, for a very short period in 2003, The Daily News on
Nyarota, for those short on memory or history, worked
for the government too. At one time he was the media attache of the first
President of the Republic, Canaan Banana.
journalists, loyal to their country and driven only by that loyalty, fell
out with the government because they dared to criticise it. Other
Zimbabweans, not necessarily journalists either, have fallen out with the
ruling elite for the same reason.
Critics have spoken of the
intolerance of criticism that bedevils Zanu PF. They have spoken of how the
party has a one-track mind, an obsessive faith in the correctness of its own
policies. It may not be accepted as gospel truth today, but this is what has
brought this country to its present crisis: the incapacity of Zanu PF to
embrace any other doctrine except its own, apparently crafted by candlelight
in the jungles of Mozambique during the struggle.
Mbanga is operating outside the country, although as far as anybody knows,
he is not prohibited from re-entering the country of his birth. But, like
Nyarota, the government could cook up all kinds of offences under which to
These men have not committed murder or embezzled
government funds. They are not spies nor have they sold official government
secrets to foreign governments. But a government so steeped in the belief
that everyone who criticises their policies is a traitor can find any
pretext on which to hang them, literally.
Why anybody in
their right senses would swear that such a government embraces the
democratic dispensation promised to the people of Zimbabwe by Zanu PF on 18
April 1980 is beyond belief.
Hope dies at a bridge too far March 09 2005 at
By Bruce Venter, Angela Quintal and Sapa
Family members and friends of the 62 suspected mercenaries held in Zimbabwe
waited anxiously at the Beit Bridge border post on Tuesday. But as the day
faded, so did their hopes for the men's release.
In a surprise move
on Tuesday afternoon, Zimbabwe's attorney-general filed an appeal against
the early release of their loved ones.
Waiting at the bridge,
Justin Teubes had been delighted that he would be seeing his grandfather,
flight engineer Ken Pain.
"I didn't go to school because I am going
to see my granddad for the first time in a year," the 10-year-old said on
Tuesday. "I am so excited."
But this morning there were tears
as Justin's parents and grandmother, Marge Pain, told him the reunion
wouldn't take place.
"We are obviously very disappointed but what
can we do," asked Marge Pain on Wednesday morning.
Zimbabwean High Court last week reduced the sentences of the suspected
mercenaries by four months, meaning that they could be released
But SABC radio news reported last night that
Attorney-General Sobuza Gula-Ndebele reportedly asked the Supreme Court to
overturn the High Court's decision.
Gula-Ndebele said the
suspension of a sentence for early release of a prisoner only applied to
That legal provision was "superfluous" for
foreigners, because they weren't controlled by Zimbabwe.
men had been expected to return to South Africa either on Monday or
On Wednesday morning an extremely frustrated Alwyn
Griebenow, the legal representative for the men, was wondering what to do
"The state's application will only be heard on Friday so they
definitely won't be released this week," said Griebenow, who had also been
waiting at the border post since early on Tuesday.
Ntsaluba, the department of foreign affairs director-general, said on
Wednesday that Zimbabwe should decide as speedily as possible whether to
release the men early.
"We were told that they were returning home
- that would be okay with South Africa but the (Zimbabwean) attorney-general
is countering that," Ntsaluba said.
Speaking at a breakfast
meeting in Cape Town, he said the situation had to be resolved as quickly
possible so as to prevent as much pain and confusion for the families as
He said there was not much Pretoria could do about
Gula-Ndebele's decision to appeal the early release as South Africa's
position was guided by its approach that the way its citizens were handled
in Zimbabwe should be line with "due legal process".
It was not
a "comfortable situation" for families who had expected to see their loved
one to find the situation had changed in this way, he said. South Africa's
only wish, whatever the outcome, was there should be certainty, Ntsaluba
Ronnie Mamoepa, spokesperson for the department of foreign
affairs said on Wednesday that South Africa's high commissioner to Harare,
Jerry Ndou, had not been officially advised of the situation.
"The foreign ministry has noted the intended appeal by the Zimbabwean
attorney-general to appeal the decision to reduce the sentences of the
alleged mercenaries held in Zimbabwe," he said.
matter proceed to court, our embassy will maintain a watching brief over the
legal process and outcome thereof."
The families' year-long
nightmare began last March when the South Africans were arrested in Harare
for allegedly plotting a coup in the West African state of Equatorial
Guinea. The men denied the charges, claiming they were on their way to the
Democratic Republic of Congo to guard mines.
They were convicted of
breaching Zimbabwe's aviation, immigration, firearms and security laws.
Seventy men were arrested.
Two were acquitted, two freed for
medical reasons, and one died in jail.
Of the remaining 65, 62
would have been free to come home. Two pilots and alleged coup leader Simon
Mann would have to remain in Zimbabwe to serve the remainder of their longer
sentences, according to Griebenow.
The pilots got 16-month
sentences, and Mann was sentenced to four years'
.. This article was originally published
on page 1 of The Star on March 09, 2005
WOZA Communications - 3 documents News Release post protest. Release pre
protest. Person Testimony Sinini Mhlanga
News Release - Women of
Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) 8 March 2005 (Please see the March Edition of WOZA
Moya for further background - on http://www.kubatana.net/)
International Women's Day Protests Harare and Bulawayo (See News release 8
March 2005 before protest at the end of this doc)
"Endai Muno Vhota -
Hapana Bonde". Go and Vote but NO to sex'
In Harare today, Five
hundred WOZA women march peacefully chanting "Endai Muno Vhota - Hapana
Bonde". Go and Vote but no to sex' loosely translated from Shona. The
women were part of peaceful protest lobbying women to vote to free their
'sisters' from suffering. They distributed the WOZA newsletter - WOZA MOYA
and carried placards and banners. None of the women were arrested or
intimidated by police.
In Bulawayo, a similar march with the same message
was planned with approximately the same number of participants. However
police were present throughout town especially in the spots WOZA normally
march to. Police patrols came upon women carrying placards at the starting
point and immediately arrested them and further women were picked up as they
arrived at the venue some 30 minutes before the starting time.
Police Defenders were observed with women inside and information to hand
indicates that 15 women were arrested and taken to Ross Camp, Bulawayo
Headquarters and 9 others were taken to Mzilikazi but these were released
within a short period. Those held at Ross camp were searched but were
released early evening after illegal searches in their homes. The women
said Police searched their homes to look for WOZA material. Police
officers indicated that they were not interested in Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) material. The MDC is an opposition party and police said MDC
are allowed to campaign freely. WOZA material found in their homes was to be
One of the women, Sinini Mhlanga, said her bedroom
was searched by male police officers. She and the others, who included 2
grandmothers the same age as Robert Mugabe, over 80 were interrogated and
intimidated by plain-clothes officers. They were placed in a police cell
but were finally released because they failed to find a charge. Sinini and
the others were sitting outside a church on the pavement.
The 8 March
is International Women's Day and WOZA sought to observe it for the third year
running but it is apparent the Mugabe regime fears peaceful women speaking
the truth. This is the third year running WOZA women of Bulawayo have faced
arrest on this their special day. On Valentines Day this year 53 women
were arrested with some spending 3 days in custody before being released
on admission of guilt fines. Information reaching WOZA early on 8 March
via children of WOZA women in the police force was that the Police were on
high alert to catch WOZA women at it. Apparently after the successful
Valentines Day procession went ahead for 45 minutes without an arrest,
Riot Police officers whose vehicle was under repair were given a 3-hour
punishment. The same Riot Police had also failed to arrest the WOZA women
when they demonstrated at the Government offices in January calling for
the Minister of Education to resign. Evidence of this 'High Alert' was seen
on the streets of Bulawayo from as early as 9 am. The testimony of Sinini
Mhlanga indicates that a Police defender stopped at the sight of a woman
holding a banner! What a state of high alert for peaceful mothers,
sisters, and grandmothers telling the nation to go out and vote but to
abstain from sex during this crucial time.
The WOZA theme for the day
was: Women will vote to free their sisters from suffering, whilst the UN
theme for International Women's Day this year is "Gender Equality Beyond
2005: Building a More Secure Future
Ends 8 March 2005
release - 8 March 2005 Women of Zimbabwe Arise - WOZA
ONE hundred and
eighty member of Women of Zimbabwe Arise - (WOZA) met at a secret location
from the 4 to 6 March 2005, to reflect on the role of women in Zimbabwean
society. Members were mainly drawn from Bulawayo and Harare, but
representatives came from as far a field as Nkayi and Kariba. The
main resolution was to proceed with peaceful protest on 8 March
As a result of reflecting on the political and economic
environment, women decided to go forward and vote to overcome
the suffering faced on a daily basis by women. They resolved to "Vote on
31 March to free their sister from suffering".
Women described the
hardships they face in graphic terms: One said her eyes now remain red from
perpetual crying day in and day out and she has pinned her hopes that her
tears can be wiped away by casting her ballot where there is
Another women explained that her cat now sits upon her stove.
Perhaps the cat remembers that food was once cooked there on a daily
Informal traders dominate the WOZA membership and one woman
testified about the challenges in trying to sell enough to put food on the
table. She lamented that she is frequently arrested and her goods confiscated
to the tables of the police officers houses. She said "they feed their
children whilst I am killing mine with hunger."
background of starvation and deprivation, WOZA will continue to campaign
tirelessly in the month of March to get women to go out and vote for the
candidate of their choice with whom together they can create more freedom
and democracy in Zimbabwe.
Recognizing the grave importance of this
election, the women of WOZA call on their sister to observe the cultural
practice of sexual abstinence within the crucial dates of 28th March to
2nd April. This cultural practice is called "ukuzila amacansi" in Ndebele
"Hapana Bonde" in Shona.
Mother WOZA, the leadership body of WOZA
endorsed this resolution by saying, "Sisters do not boycott casting your
ballot but boycott sexual practice for the sake of a better tomorrow. To
their husbands, we say, we know you understand our culture, many a day your
children go without food - we must sacrifice together. Woza Moya, Huya
Mweya, Come Holy Spirit and help heal our land!"
Members of WOZA take to
the street peacefully in Bulawayo and Harare to urge women and men to Vote
and to lobby for the separation of men and women - a sexual boycott, come
month end. The women of WOZA practice a unique brand of civil disobedience
called "Tough Love" denoting their love for their country and families
above all else.
Ends 8 March 2005 for more information, please
contact Byo based: +263 11213885 +263 91300456 +263 91362668 +263 23514
895 Harare based: +263 91377800
Sinini Mhlanga - (35yrs) Mother of
It was approximately 1230pm; five of us were sitting in the shade
outside St Patrick's Church. Suddenly a police vehicle stopped beside us.
They ordered us to open the placards we were carrying, they read
the message. One placard read - Our pots are empty, please vote wisely.
Another - Please abstain from Sex, ukuzila amacansi. We were told to get in
the Defender and were taken to Ross Camp police station, whereupon we were
thoroughly searched by male police officers.
They interrogated us
demanding the names of the leadership, when we refused they told us that we
are being used by France (The Country?). They threatened to detain us for
three days. They demanded to know how much we were paid since France is
giving WOZA a lot of money. I think they made this up because they like
to say MDC support Blair so maybe they though France suits
After about fifteen minutes ten more WOZA women joined us, then
the arresting officer phoned his boss and excitedly told him that finally he
had managed to arrest WOZA, only to be disappointed when the boss said
that he was only keen to interrogate the leaders.
We were then
separated into two defenders and driven to our homes and they conducted an
illegal search. They said they were not interested in MDC material as they
could campaign but were interested in WOZA material. They of course found our
WOZA scarves, which they took. They took us back Ross Camp where they
read the fliers (Woza Moya March edition) we carrying. They demanded to
know the political party we are aligned to, or whether we are a political
party ourselves - we told them we are a women's organisation. They
then said there was nothing wrong with our fliers, we must reveal the
source, and we were not naïve to fall for that.
At one time when they
were interrogating us, they took us into the cells and kept Nolwandle, the
youngest, back for questioning. We were worried about this but when they
brought us back, they told us that we should discipline her are she is very
cheeky. Eventually we were released one by one, because they had failed to
charge us, even though one female officer was advocating that we should be
detained without a charge.
From Pamenus Tuso in Bulawayo issue date
FIVE Zanu PF parliamentary candidates in Bulawayo have
accused the MDC of using dirty tactics to derail their campaigns. One of
the candidates was also not amused by the fact that some youths blew
whistles in the middle of the night, disturbing the peace in the
neighbourhood. Minister of Small to Medium Scale Enterprises Sithembiso
Nyoni (Bulawayo South), national secretary for education Sikhanyiso Ndlovu
(Mpopoma South), national youth secretary Absolom Sikhosana (Nkulumane),
Sihle Thebe (Makokoba) and Molly Mpofu (Magwegwe-Lobengula) accused the
opposition party of pulling down their posters and harassing their
supporters. The MDC won all the seven seats in Bulawayo in the 2000
parliamentary elections, and Zanu PF this year vowed to reclaim the
constituencies in the March 31 parliamentary elections. "The MDC is
removing my posters and by doing so it is making my campaign difficult,"
alleged Nyoni who will square up with incumbent MDC legislator David Coltart
and independent candidate Charles Mpofu. Former cabinet minister Ndlovu also
claimed that the MDC had engaged the youths to pull down his campaign
materials. Ndlovu said: "I have already informed police about the barbaric
behaviour of the MDC youth. They are tearing our posters. Their youth also
masquerade as ours before causing mayhem in the constituency." Ndlovu is
challenging MP Milton Gwetu of the MDC.Sikhosana, who is facing MDC vice
president Gibson Sibanda in Nkulumane constituency, said although some of
his posters had been removed, it was unfair to blame the MDC. "My posters
have been removed, but I cannot point fingers to anybody because I do not
have any evidence to implicate anyone. These days it is very dangerous to
implicate people without evidence because one might be sued," said
Sikhosana, before referring further questions to the police. Makokoba Zanu PF
candidate, Thebe - facing MP Thokozani Khupe of the MDC - accused the
opposition of using "young boys" to destroy her posters. "MDC has resorted to
abusing young boys in their bid to win. These young boys - some of them of
school going age - come in large numbers and destroy our posters before
running away," alleged Thebe. She also accused the MDC of being a nuisance by
blowing whistles during the night. Mpofu, who is eyeing
Magwegwe-Lobengula constituency currently held by MDC's Fletcher Dulini
Ncube claimed: "These people had their campaigning posters on for two weeks
and my supporters did nothing to them. But ours are only three days old and
they have been destroyed." Mpofu said she had since reported the matter
to Magwegwe Police Station. But the MDC Bulawayo spokesperson Victor Moyo
denied the accusations by Zanu PF parliamentary hopefuls, instead claiming
that the ruling party was perpetrating a violent campaign in the
province. "These guys know that they are losing. People like Mpofu are
tearing our posters in Magwegwe. In the MDC we have disciplined youth," Moyo
said. Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena said he had
not received reports of posters being ripped off in Bulawayo. "I have not
been briefed of such incidents from Bulawayo. Maybe the report is still on
its way to my office," said Bvudzijena. This campaign has generally been
calm compared to the previous one.
MORE Zanu PF supporters
than those from the MDC have been arrested for politically motivated crimes
since February this year, Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri said
yesterday. Addressing a news conference in Harare ahead of the March 31
parliamentary elections, Chihuri said the police had arrested 67 ruling
party supporters from the 23 cases reported, while the main opposition
MDC had 42 of its members nabbed from 17 reports received so far. "Zanu
PF had 67 of its members arrested since February from 23 cases and they are
minor crimes, mostly common assault. 31 of those arrested are from Norton
and the remaining, which is just over half the number of arrests are from
the rest of the country. This shows that there is intermittent and sporadic
cases of violence," he said. The commissioner stressed that contrary to
widely held perceptions in the West that the MDC was under siege from
security agents, the party had fewer of its members arrested in similar
situations than before. The statistics showed that 26 MDC and three Zanu
PF supporters had since been convicted for politically related
offences. Chihuri said the situation in the country was calmer now than in
the run-up to the 2000 parliamentary elections, which were marred by
widespread violence. He said: "With only 42 cases and less than three
weeks to go (before the general elections), there is nothing to write home
about." Chihuri also defended the controversial Public Order and Security Act
(POSA), saying the 2000 elections violent campaigns had necessitated the
promulgation of the law. Said the commissioner: "We must not forget
the background that necessitated this piece of legislation, a background
which was characterised by disruption of other political parties' meetings,
double bookings of rally venues and the violent campaign process of the 2000
elections." Chihuri also commended Zanu PF and the MDC for being vocal and
coming out strong against political violence. He said the police would
not hesitate to arrest anyone found on the wrong side of the law,
irrespective of political allegiance or status. "As a police organisation
we will apply the law as it is, against anyone who infringes it. There are
no laws that are designed for any political party, neither is anyone forced
to commit any offence," Chihuri said. He also said that from next week, the
police would launch press updates on the prevailing political situation in
Zimbabwe. "From today onwards and until a reasonable time after the
elections, I have directed that press briefings be held every Tuesday and
Friday," he said. Chihuri said the Police Elections Committee chairperson,
Senior Assistant Commissioner Mary Masango, would address the press
THE Electoral Court yesterday
reserved judgment in the case in which jailed Chimanimani MDC legislator Roy
Bennett is contesting his disqualification from contesting in the March 31
general elections. The matter was heard in Justice Tendai Uchena's chambers
in accordance with the Electoral Act. "The judge heard the arguments and
said judgment will be made available early next week," Bennett's lawyer,
Beatrice Mtetwa of Harare firm Kantor and Immerman said. In his petition
lodged with the elections court on February 21 and quoting the Electoral
Act, Bennett argued that incarceration was not cited as one of the reasons
disqualifying would-be candidates. Chamanimani constituency electoral officer
and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) are cited first and second
respondents. Ruling Zanu PF candidate Samuel Undenge and the MP's wife,
Heather, who subsequently replaced Bennett as MDC candidate, are third and
fourth. Bennett has also filed an urgent chamber application in the High
Court seeking his immediate release when Zimbabwe's Fifth Parliament
dissolves on March 30, a day to the polls. Like yesterday's outcome, the
High court also reserved judgment in this case. So far, two cases have
been filed with the Electoral Court including Renson Gasela, the MDC shadow
agriculture minister and MP for Gweru Rural. The former Grain Marketing Board
(GMB) general manager is seeking the disqualification of Zanu PF candidate
and main rival Josphat Madubeko on grounds he is a headman. In his court
papers, Gasela said by electing to stand for the public post, Madubeko was
violating the Traditional Leaders Act barring traditional leaders from
seeking political office while still holding their posts.
Rushwaya Business Editor issue date :2005-Mar-09
In a dramatic turn of
events, court records concerning the controversial SMM Holdings saga reveal
a different picture to that publicly portrayed by President Robert Mugabe,
where he claims that the parent company of asbestos producer, African
Associated Mines (AAM) under-invoiced its asbestos sales, with the
deliberate intention of foreign currency externalisation. In a hard hitting
statement in Chinhoyi last week, President Mugabe took a swipe "at corrupt
businessmen like Mutumwa Mawere who was so corrupt that he bought the entire
Shabanie Mashava Mines (SMM) through fraudulent means." A local daily further
quoted him as saying Mawere established another company in South Africa that
bought asbestos from SMM at low prices before later reselling it at much
higher prices without remitting foreign currency to Zimbabwe. However,
information at hand reveal that Zimbabwe actually benefited more than South
Africa in terms of the sale of asbestos. In Southern Asbestos Sales (SAS's)
reconciliation of SMM's account, data obtained reveals that the latter was
paid a total of US$14 million from March to June 2004. In addition, a
total of US$9 million and R57 million was also paid out on behalf of SMM to
related companies. In actual fact, SAS is still owed by SMM a total of US$2.7
million. SAS was the marketer of Zimbabwean asbestos and is based in South
Africa. In case number 2257 of 2005 before the South African High Court
(Witwatersrand Local Division) where SMM is the applicant and is seeking the
closure of SAS, the director and chairman of SAS, Parmanathan Mariemuthu
claims that the affidavit deposed to by the former CEO of SMM, Charles
Chipato for the winding up of SAS should be declared null and void. "At
the outset, I deny that the respondent is indebted to the applicant or that
the applicant has locus standi to claim payment of moneys allegedly due. In
truth, it (application for winding up) is one of a series of applications by
the Zimbabwean government to victimise and ostracise the respondents
founding member, Mr Mutumwa Dziva Mawere. In what follows hereunder, I shall
demonstrate that the purpose of the application is not to seek the execution
of a debt lawfully and bona fide due. On the contrary, it is motivated by an
ulterior purpose culminated by recent events in Zimbabwe," claimed
Mariemuthu. Mariemuthu added that Mawere was the founder of a number of
companies registered and incorporated in South Africa with the aim of
assisting the applicant in the supply of raw materials, services as well as
the marketing distribution and sale of asbestos produced by AAM. "In this
regard the respondent served as the applicant's marketer and distributor of
asbestos by distributing and selling asbestos acquired from AAM to companies
worldwide. Petter Trading served as a supplier of raw materials, goods and
other services to AAM. Coma Transport served as a dedicated transport and
logistics provider to the applicant." Mariemuthu added that given that the
Zimbabwean economy had been "faltering and on the brink of collapse",
multinational institutions such as the Credit Guarantee Insurance
Corporation refused to insure exports destined to Zimbabwe and, given the
volatile Zimbabwean currency, purchasers of asbestos were unwilling to liase
directly with a Zimbabwean company and/or mine. "These attempts (to strip
Mawere of his assets) constitute by and large political and legislative
interference that in South Africa and in other democratic countries
constitute infringements of the worst type...As far as I am aware, no other
company has been placed under such a reconstruction order. The applicant in
any event was neither insolvent nor unable to pay its debt." On May 22
,2004, attempts were made to extradite Mawere on charges of alleged
externalisation of foreign currency worth Z$300 billion. However in the
applicant's application, there is no mention of this. The Zimbabwean
government's extradition application was dismissed by a South African court
due to lack of evidence, but Mawere was then "specified by a ministerial
order, the effect of which was to freeze and ultimately acquire all of
Mawere's business interests in Zimbabwe. " The South African based director
said in this context the application was a "tit for tat response to the
applications launched by Mawere and the respondent to regain control of what
was unconstitutionally taken away. The application is therefore an abuse
prompted by an ulterior motive and should for this reason alone be dismissed
with an appropriate punitive costs order." He alleged that the
applicant was "blowing hot and cold" depending on which set of circumstances
suits it. "In the application aforementioned under case number 26770/2004 it
no doubt suited the applicant to argue that the agreement concluded between
the parties was void ab initio. In this application, however, reliance is no
longer placed on the lack of validity of the agreement, as to have done so
would endanger the very claim relied upon by the applicant. Instead, no
reference is made at all of the contestations raised by the applicant under
application number 26770/2004. SMM, currently, under the control of an
administrator, alleges that the respondent's indebtedness arises from a
written buying agreement entered between the two and is in respect of
purchases made in terms of the buying agreement. However SMM has failed
to provide documentary evidence to prove this: "Moreover, the applicant does
not allege when the debts replied upon became due, owing and payable; when
demand was made, if any; how such debts were made up; the amounts,
transactions and other details necessary to support its contentions that
such cumulative amounts are owing and payable." Mariemuthu further questions
the validity of SMM's application, which was filed on February 2 2004, when
the company's administrator, Afaras Gwaradzimba fired Chipato as CEO, on
January 28 2005. "Chipato, in any event had no personal knowledge of the
alleged indebtedness by the respondent to the applicant. He was only
appointed as CEO of the applicant during or about June/July 2004 when
Hillary Munyati, the applicant's previous CEO resigned...This, combined with
the fact that the affidavit attached as that to be deposed to by Gwaradzimba
is unsigned, creates doubt as to whether in fact either of them have been
properly deposed to. In these circumstances, no reliance can be placed on
the affidavit of Chipato." In the court case SMM is represented by Brink
Cohen Le Roux Attorneys and SAS by Dockrat Incorporated Attorneys.
Zanu PF Manicaland ZANU PF held three (3) campaign meetings
on March 4 and 5 in Chipinge North and South constituencies. In Chipinge
North, the meetings were held at Emerald Primary School and Gaza Community
Hall. The two meetings were addressed by, among others, Morris Sakabuya,
the ruling party's candidate for Chipinge North, and Timothy
Mapungwana. In his address, Sakabuya promised the people of Chirinda
three hectares each if voted into Parliament. The other speakers urged the
people to vote for Sakabuya and took turns to explain the party's manifesto
as well as chronicle the party's achievements since independence. In
Chipinge South the campaign meeting was held at Mwacheta Primary School.
Zanu PF candidate for the constituency Enock Porusingazi told the gathering
that Chipinge did not have meaningful projects because the electorate had
all along been voting for the opposition. He promised to avail maize to the
area by yesterday in order to avert hunger and urged the people to vote for
him and the party.
Bulawayo Zanu PF held six campaign meetings in
Nkulumane, Bulawayo North East and Makokoba. A central committee meeting was
also held at the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project offices. The campaign
meetings were addressed by Vice President Joseph Msika, national chairman
John Nkomo, Politburo member Dumiso Dabengwa and Sihle Thebe, the ruling
party's candidate for Makokoba. In their addresses, the speakers emphasised
the need for Zanu PF campaign teams to focus on MDC shortcomings during the
last five years. The people were urged to be mindful of their obligations to
the party to at least have a respectable showing during the forthcoming
elections. The ruling party heavies said that Zanu PF would still win the
impending general elections regardless of the decision by its supporters in
Bulawayo not to vote. They emphasised the urgent need to bury
factionalism and rally behind Absolom Sikhosana and Joshua Malinga, the
party's candidates in Nkulumane and Bulawayo North East Constituencies.
Nkomo urged the electorate in Makokoba to vote for Thebe in line with the
1999 Victoria Falls Zanu PF declaration to empower women.
West The Zanu PF Mashonaland West acting provincial chairman and political
commissar, John Mafa and Phillip Muguti addressed three meetings in Kariba
constituency at Nyamakate Business Centre, Mahombekombe Township, and
Nyamhunga Council sub-offices. At Nyamakate, Mafa and Muguti expressed
satisfaction that party structures were in place and functional. They urged
the supporters to vote for the Zanu PF candidate for Kariba constituency,
Shumbayaonda Chandengenda. Mafa promised the people that they would get
maize from the Kariba Grain Marketing Board depot. At Mahombekombe, the
two were disappointed that party structures were not in place at a time a
crucial election was on the horizon. They urged the party supporters to put
their act together as a matter of urgency and vote resoundingly for the
party's candidate. At Nyamhunga sub-offices, Mafa invited the attendants to
air their grievances, to which the following were raised: shortage of
mealie-meal, not being allocated stands by council; exorbitant rents/rates;
non-availability of commercial banks; unemployment; need for fishing
permits; and unavailability of party regalia. Mafa promised that the
issues would be addressed.
Harare The opposition party held
two campaign rallies at Shawasha Grounds in Mbare and Zengeza 2 Shopping
Centre in Chitungwiza on March 6. The Mbare rally was addressed by
Chitungwiza Mayor Misheck Shoko and candidates Paurina Mpariwa, (Mufakose),
Job Sikhala, (St Mary's), and Gift Chimanikire (Mbare). Mpariwa dwelt on the
details of the party's manifesto while Shoko addressed council matters.
Shoko claimed the Zanu PF government was an obstacle to the smooth running
of local authorities in the country. He said he was a war veteran with a
desire to fulfil the goals of the liberation struggle, unlike some of his
colleagues who were being used by Zanu PF. Sikhala blasted outgoing MP for
Mbare East Dunmore Makuwaza for failing to develop the constituency and
labelled him a gold digger seeking to profiteer from the
electorate. Chimanikire promised to rehabilitate flats and ease overcrowding
by relocating some tenants to other housing developments that he would
initiate if he won the election. He said he would rehabilitate
infrastructure like halls, stadiums and public toilets that had been
neglected for a long time. Chimanikire also said that he could evict those
unlawfully occupying council flats and return the flats to their rightful
owners who had been evicted for supporting the MDC. He further articulated
the party's manifesto. Shoko, Sikhala and the party's candidate for Zengeza
Goodrich Chimbaira addressed the Zengeza rally. Shoko blamed his council's
problems on Local Government, Public Works and National Housing minister
Ignatius Chombo's refusal to approve the council budget. He said rents being
paid for council accommodation were too low and charged that some MDC
councillors were working in cahoots with Zanu PF to remove him from
office. Chimbaira told the meeting that Sikhala had already won the St
Mary's seat, saying that the Zanu PF candidate Patrick Nyaruwata had no
campaign funds. He alleged that the Police Riot Squad was conducting
door-to-door campaigns on behalf of Zanu PF, which did not have enough
youths for the exercise. In his address, Sikhala said that he would win
against the "imposed" Nyaruwata. He alleged independent candidate for St
Mary's Tendekai Maswata and the CIO were distributing fliers meant to
tarnish his image and popularity. Sikhala said that Jonathan Moyo had left
Zanu PF after realising that it lacked direction and was full of uneducated
Mashonaland Central The MDC held rallies at Bradley, Madziwa
and Chiwaridzo Business Centres on March 5. The meetings were addressed by
the party's deputy secretary-general, Gift Chimanikire, Phillip Mabika
(national youth executive), Godfrey Chimombe parliamentary candidate for
Shamva and Brian Mufuka, the party's candidate for Rushinga. The speakers
lambasted Zanu PF for alleged corruption, mismanagement of the economy and
rising unemployment levels.
Matabeleland North The MDC had
campaign rallies at St Paul's Business Centre in Lupane constituency and at
the Colliery Stadium in Hwange on March 5 and 6 respectively. At both
rallies, MDC vice president Gibson Sibanda, national organising secretary
Esaph Mdlongwa and Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, the party's candidate
for Glen Norah, reiterated that corruption and selling out were vices
inherent in Zanu PF. They blamed President Mugabe for starvation,
unemployment and corruption in society. They also articulated the MDC's
manifesto, paying particular attention to the resuscitation of the national
economy, the public health services and job creation.Misihairabwi-Mushonga
sarcastically thanked Joseph Chinotimba and Jonathan Moyo for bringing
development to Glen Norah and Tsholotsho. She further said Jonathan Moyo
had always been working closely with the MDC with the aim of destroying Zanu
PF from within. At Hwange Colliery Stadium, the party's secretary-general
Welshman Ncube castigated Vice President Mujuru for giving "unfulfilled
promises" of better salaries to Hwange Colliery workers.
CHITUNGWIZA City Council is to receive about $30 billion
from the local government ministry to upgrade its sewer system to avert the
outbreak of waterborne diseases, the dormitory town's executive mayor,
Misheck Shoko has revealed. Responding to assertions by Zengeza
legislator, Christopher Chigumba last week that the council had failed to
solve perennial problem of sewage bursts, Shoko said his council had applied
to the ministry for $35 billion, but were informed that they would get $29,5
billion. Shoko conceded that the problem had gone out of hand and was a
health threat. "There is a health threat from the unclean environment
owing to frequent sewage bursts especially in St Mary's and at Chaminuka
School. However, to solve this problem, it requires billions of dollars,"
Shoko said. He added that the council could not upgrade the sewer system from
the resources because it was generating little revenue from rates and
service charges since the government shot down its proposal to hike the
tariffs by 300 percent last year. The local government ministry last year
instructed city and town councils not to hike their tariffs by more than 70
percent. As a result most of them are facing critical challenges in service
delivery, as they cannot match revenue with expenditure. Chigumba last
week blasted the MDC led council, accusing it of complacency and lack of
care for the residents.
Lawyer of alleged mercenaries shocked at latest twist
09, 2005, 08:45
Alwyn Griebenow, the lawyer for the 62 suspected
mercenaries, has reacted with shock to the new turn of events regarding the
release of the men.
Zimbabwe's attorney-general has filed an application
to appeal against the release of the men being held in Harare. Last week,
Zimbabwe's High Court reduced the jail sentences passed on the men, meaning
they had completed their terms. However, the attoney-general's office now
wants the Supreme Court to overturn the High Court's decision. This means
the men will remain in prison in Zimbabwe.
Griebenow, says Zimbabwean
authorities are playing for time and he is not sure whether the visit of
Equatorial Guinea's attorney-general to Zimbabwe is anything to go by.
Griebenow, says the men will have to serve their full sentences if
Zimbabwe's Supreme Court overturns the decision of the country's High
Sobuza Gule-Ndebele, the Zimbabwe attorney-general told the SABC
that the suspension of a sentence for early release of a prisoner only
applied to Zimbabwean citizens.
[ This report does not necessarily reflect
the views of the United Nations]
JOHANNESBURG, 9 Mar 2005 (IRIN) - A
planned inter-country trade expansion corridor between South Africa and
Zimbabwe has failed to take off due to a lack of investor confidence in
In 2000 the two countries signed an agreement on the
Trans-Limpopo Spatial Development Initiative (TSLDI), with the objective of
establishing a commercial corridor between South Africa's Limpopo province
and Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. Among its major components, the initiative
would pave the way for increased agri-businesses, eco-tourism and
infrastructure development programmes.
The TLSDI included
opportunities for cross-border private sector joint ventures to exploit
untapped mineral resources, such as the methane gas beds in Zimbabwe's
Matabeleland North province and the revival of the country's only diamond
mine near Beitbridge. Twinning arrangements between South African
municipalities in Limpopo province and those in the Matabeleland provinces
of Zimbabwe were also on the cards.
Developments along the corridor were
planned to take place within 50 km of either side of the Bulawayo-Polokwane
Zimbabwean business executives who spoke to IRIN said the
project had effectively collapsed, as potential South African and
international partners were unwilling to go into joint ventures with
Zimbabweans because of the economic problems and political instability in
the country. Investors considered it a high-risk investment destination and,
apart from co-operation and exchange visits between twinned towns, there had
been no progress.
"The deal is dead. There are no foreign partners,
and they all cite the unstable political and investment climate; there is
also a general suspicion that the whole thing was a government talk show.
The other problem is that businesses on both sides generally doubt the
sincerity of the Zimbabwean government, and its ability to protect their
interests, once established," said Salatiel Muleya, an executive member of
the Beitbridge Business Association (BBA), on the border between the two
Because of existing business links with the business community
in South Africa's Limpopo province, the BBA was identified as a key
facilitator of investment in the corridor. Muleya said Zimbabwe's economic
meltdown, coupled with the turmoil in the banking sector last year, were
impediments to foreign investment.
Zimbabwean municipalities that
were part of the project included Gwanda in Matabeleland South, and Bulawayo
and Victoria Falls in Matabeleland North. Gwanda mayor Thandeko Mnkandla
told IRIN there had been occasional but unproductive meetings between the
"The project started off with great enthusiasm on both sides,
but the change of mayors and council representation in all the participating
Zimbabwean towns led to a death of political will. Government still shows
great reluctance in taking up its role as chief facilitator of the project;
our partners have developed cold feet. The problem is that all towns elected
opposition councillors and mayors, so the project died a natural death.
[National] government would have supported it if its [local] representatives
had remained in charge," he alleged.
When the TLDSI agreement was
signed in 2000, Victoria Falls, Bulawayo and Gwanda were all run by ZANU-PF
mayors and councillors. Since then, the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change has won in all these towns, effectively turning the Zimbabwean side
of the corridor into an opposition enclave.
The Matabeleland Zambezi
Water Project (MZWP) also collapsed. The food and water security component
envisaged the building of a 450 km water pipeline from the Zambezi River to
the city of Bulawayo.
According to the TLSDI programme outline, several
large-scale irrigation schemes were to be established on either side of the
pipeline, as well as proposed mining ventures and lumber projects in the
state-owned forests of Matabeleland North.
In 2003, South African
investors pulled out of the Lupane methane gas-mining venture, citing lack
of commitment on the Zimbabwean side.
The governor of Matabeleland North,
Obert Mpofu, confirmed that no development had taken place since the signing
of the TLDSI agreement. He blamed this on a lack of resources, and refuted
allegations that government had abandoned the corridor for political
Mpofu said the Zimbabwean government had since opted to finish
the projects on its own, because there were no willing foreign investors. He
said negotiations were under way with Far Eastern investors, who might be
willing to become project partners.
"Some of them will be coming to
do the projects on a 'build, operate and transfer' basis. I cannot say who
they are at the moment, but government is still considering fulfilling those
obligations - there is plenty of political will to move our side of the
project. As for Zimbabwe being an unsafe destination [for foreign
investors], I do not understand how that can be true, because we still have
businesses operating here," Mpofu told IRIN.
However, a number of tour
operators in South Africa said they were still waiting for the Zimbabwean
economy to stabilise.
"We were all pleased with the project, but
political instability and economic turmoil makes Zimbabwe a very risky
investment destination. Everyone has adopted a wait-and-see attitude - but
we are all jittery about having the Zimbabwe government as a partner. In
investment we expect multiplying and not diminishing returns, as would be
the case if I relocate or expand into Zimbabwe," said Joan Fitzgerald, a
tour operator in Makhado, in South Africa's Limpopo
Officials at the Zimbabwean Ministry of Industry and
International Trade said government was only a facilitator in what was
essentially a private sector initiative.
"Government cannot be a
facilitator and an investor at the same time, so it is up to business
associations on both sides of the Limpopo [river] to revive the project if
they think it is collapsing," said an official who wished to remain
South African Trade Union Group Wants Zimbabwe Polls Postponed By
William Eagle Washington,DC 09 March
In Pretoria today, a top official of the Congress of South
African Trade Unions said Zimbabwe's elections should be postponed. COSATU's
deputy president, Joe Nkosi, is quoted as saying the vote will not be free
and fair under current election laws. Mr. Nkosi made the remark during a
protest outside the Zimbabwe High Commission. According to the South Africa
Press Agency, he also said, "COSATU wants the Zimbabwean people to be
liberated from oppression just as their South African counterparts
The trade union group plans to continue its protests against the
government of Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe until the March 31st
elections. The demonstrations will reportedly end with a vigil on Beit
Bridge, which connects the two countries.
COSATU spokesman Patrick
Craven told English to Africa reporter William Eagle that his group and its
union allies in Zimbabwe do not believe there is enough time to put into
place measures that would ensure fair elections. Among those measures are
updating voters rolls, putting into place independent elections authorities,
and providing enough time for observers to have a proper investigation into
all the conditions surrounding the polls. He also says laws such as the
Public Order and Security Act do not allow for the freedom of movement,
assembly, or criticism needed during parliamentary campaigns.
besieging Harare City Council and surrounding towns could be self-inflicted
as it has emerged the city is undercharging the commodity.
The first 10
cubic metres (50 drums of water) cost $280, which, according to town clerk
Mr Nomutsa Chideya, is cheaper than the price of a sweet, which costs
The tariff applies to high-density suburbs, which have the bulk of
the city's population. Water costs $450 per cubic metre in low-density
It costs $1 775 to treat and supply one cubic metre of
"We are practically donating water to residents," Mr Chideya
In its 2005 budget estimates whose announcement was postponed
indefinitely, the first 10 cubic metres would be charged at $800 per cubic
metre increasing to $1 200 with effect from July for the same quantity of
Quantities exceeding the first 10 cubic metres would be charged at
$1 600 beginning April and at $2 400 in July.
consuming more than 300 cubic metres would be charged at $4 500 with effect
from April and $6 750 from July.
The cost of water remains much lower
than the treatment and supply costs pegged at $1 775 per cubic
Mr Chideya said revenue from water sales was inadequate to fund
the maintenance of treatment plants as well as buy water treatment
The Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National
Housing, Cde Ignatius Chombo, last week disclosed his ministry was paying
suppliers of water treatment chemicals because the city had no
Harare has faced water problems for a very long time because of
mechanical and electrical problems at the Morton Jaffray and Prince Edward
water treatment plants.
At times the problems have been attributed to
shortages in water purifying chemicals and an ailing distribution network.
It costs at least $8 billion to provide water to residents every
Mr Chideya said council spends not less than $400 million daily to
produce water while its monthly electricity bill to power utility Zesa is
$1,9 billion. The water treatment plants use electricity in the purification
Mr Chideya said some residents who complain that Harare
water was expensive buy bottled water for over $5 000 for a 300ml
The pricing structure is expected to change with the assumption
of Harare water management by the Zimbabwe National Water Authority
In its proposed takeover document, Zinwa proposed to charge
Harare City Council $3 000 per cubic metre. Harare will add a surcharge to
cover distribution charges.
Yesterday, the city reported most of its
reservoirs were still very low because pumping was being affected by
mechanical and electrical problems at Morton Jaffray.
works Mr Psychology Chiwanga said the faulty transformer was being attended
to with the assistance of engineers from Zesa.
JAILED Chimanimani MP Roy Bennett yesterday criticised
the criteria used to disqualify him from contesting in the parliamentary
election as improper.
Arguing in his appeal against the decision by the
Nomination Court to reject his nomination papers last month, Bennett said
the disqualification was improper according to the laid down election
Bennett was jailed for an effective one year for contempt of
Parliament after he assaulted the Leader of the House and Justice Minister,
Cde Patrick Chinamasa.
He is seeking to represent the opposition MDC
in the forthcoming parliamentary elections in Chimanimani. Advocate Adrian
de Bourbon, who appeared for Bennett before the Electoral Court yesterday,
argued that the nomination process was flawed. He said his client was
eligible to contest in the election and met the requirements as set by the
Bennett, argued Adv de Bourbon, had his nomination papers rejected
because he is serving a prison term for contempt of Parliament, which is not
a criminal offence.
"It is not the case that a person found to be in
contempt of Parliament is convicted. It is merely a finding of the
legislative body," he said. Adv de Bourbon said a person could be
disqualified for election if he had been convicted of a criminal offence and
sentenced by a court to imprisonment for a term of six months or
He argued that the Supreme Court, in one of the decided cases, held
that Parliament is not a "court of law" in the accepted sense of the word,
therefore the criteria used to disqualify Bennett did not apply in his
"Therefore, the appellant was not disqualified from standing as a
candidate in the election and his nomination was accordingly wrongly
rejected," he argued.
At the time the nominations were held, he said,
there was no constituency elections officers as they were improperly
He urged the court to suspend the election of an MP for
Chimanimani pending the proper appointment of a constituency elections
officer and a proper nomination court.
He further asked the court to
make an order that a poll in the constituency takes place not less three
weeks and not more than 45 days after the nomination court.
nomination court itself should take place not less 14 days nor more than 21
days after the date of this order," he said.
Appearing for the
constituency elections officer Ms J Munamati, and the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission, Mr George Chikumbirike of Chikumbirike and Associates urged the
court to dismiss the appeal by Bennett for lack of merit.
Chikumbirike said the relief sought by Bennett was incompetent in this case
arguing that it was based on a misunderstanding of the relevant provisions
of the law governing the conduct of elections.
He said the nomination
process was not flawed as alleged as the majority of the cases clearly
showed compliance with the statutory provisions.
"The relief sought must,
therefore, be dismissed in its entirety," said Mr Chikumbirike.
said it was untenable for Bennett to argue that the findings of a
legislative body on a matter relating to a criminal act was not a