BLOEMFONTEIN: Zimbabwe's fast
bowler Henry Olonga claimed on Monday that he had been banned from talking
about his anti-Robert Mugabe protest on orders from the very top of the
"I would love to talk to you guys but I am not
allowed to," Olonga said at Goodyear Park here where Zimbabwe play their next
Super Six match against Kenya on Wednesday. "You can guess who has got the
power to prevent me from speaking to you."
played in Zimbabwe's World Cup campaign since the opening group match against
Namibia in Harare on February 10 although he has carried out 12th man duties.
The bowler and leading batsman Andy Flower won worldwide praise for their
decision to wear black armbands and issue a statement condemning what they
called the "death of democracy" in Zimbabwe.
to carry on their protest throughout the World Cup despite coming under
severe pressure to abandon the gesture with both men threatened with having
their international careers terminated.
Olonga has already
been sacked by his domestic club while Flower was on the verge of being
dropped from the national team only to be reprieved when other senior players
refused to take part if he wasn't chosen.
difficult to assess your form when you are carrying drinks all the time,"
added Olonga who is likely to sit out the game against Kenya which Zimbabwe
must win to qualify to the semi-finals.
10 Mar 2004 Zimbabwe Beyond
Mugabe: Danger and Opportunity Maria
International Crisis Group (ICG) - Belgium Regions: Africa,
Harare/Brussels, 10 March 2003: Behind the scenes in
Zimbabwe, a succession battle appears to have begun following indications
that senior ZANU-PF officials are exploring possible retirement scenarios for
President Robert Mugabe. A new report from the International Crisis Group,
Zimbabwe: Danger and Opportunity, details the splits in the ruling party and
the dangers and opportunities involved in a post-Mugabe transition. In
this context ICG urges the African Union to create a new mediation effort
that involves all relevant Zimbabwean stakeholders and aims to restore
legitimacy to the Harare government.
Ever since President
Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party rigged the presidential election last year, the
country has been heading ominously towards potential state collapse. The
economy is imploding, a government-created food crisis is turning Zimbabwe
into a beggar nation and deepening state sponsored violence could degenerate
into unstructured conflict across the country.
the face of this dangerous crisis and the possibility of real political
change, the international community has become even more divided. In the
Commonwealth, South Africa and Nigeria are arguing against all the evidence
that Zimbabwe's suspension should be lifted. The Southern African Development
Community (SADC) and the African Union (AU) have yet to engage in a sustained
fashion. The European Union is rent by division, with France's invitation to
Mugabe to participate in a pan-African summit in Paris almost putting an end
to the targeted sanctions regime imposed shortly after the election. The U.S.
remains a weak actor, implementing a promised asset freeze almost a year
after it promised because of its own mid-level policy
ICG Africa Program Co-Director John
Prendergast said: "As long as the international community is split, President
Mugabe will win the public relations and political battle. A fresh effort is
urgently needed to try to resolve Zimbabwe's political crisis, in particular
by restarting negotiations between ZANU-PF and the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC)."
Similar talks under the
leadership of Nigeria and South Africa were abandoned last year when the
ruling party walked out of the process. New talks should preferably take
place under the leadership of either the African Union or the Commonwealth.
They should build on the efforts of Nigeria and South Africa, but also
involve a country like Senegal, Ghana or Kenya, which have all made the
transition from post-liberation leadership to government by the former
opposition. The focus of the process should be on creating a transitional
administration, restoring the rule of law, finding an electoral compromise,
reforming economic policies, ensuring a more orderly land reform program, and
creating an exit strategy for President Mugabe.
CONTACTS Katy Cronin (London) +44-(0)20 7981 0330 - email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Francesca Lawe-Davies (Brussels) +32-(0)2-536.00.65 Jennifer
Leonard (Washington) +1-202-785 1601
Commonwealth's McKinnon believes "quiet diplomacy" answer to
March 10, 2003 9:37am
Text of commentary by
John Dludlu entitled "Hope springs eternal - instead of beating up Zimbabwe,
Commonwealth Secretary-General Don McKinnon believes a solution is possible"
as published by South African newspaper Sowetan on 10 March
optimist is a phrase that comes close to accurately describing the character
of Don McKinnon in his job as secretary-general of the Commonwealth, the club
of mainly former British colonies and Britain.
This is particularly the
case when it comes to dealing with the worsening crisis in Zimbabwe, the
suspended member of the 54-nation club. The crisis, which has been worsened
by drought, is the subject of many forums.
The African Union has a
committee dealing with it. So does the Southern African Development Community
The Commonwealth leaders asked South Africa's President Thabo
Mbeki, Nigeria's Gen Olusegun Obasanjo and John Howard of Australia,
the Commonwealth chair, to deal with Zimbabwe. Informally, Mbeki and
Obasanjo have respected envoys deployed there.
Still, three years down
the line, the crisis is far from easing. At the weekend, US President George
Bush took time off his war preparations and slapped economic sanctions on
Zimbabwe. Bush's sanctions are an addition to a set of measures aimed at
inspiring behavioural change in Zimbabwe.
For a year now, western powers
have watched President Robert Mugabe and his ministers carrying on in their
business-as-usual style while their "smart sanctions" fail to prompt the
Harare strong man to flinch.
During the year Mugabe's wife Grace, has
been able to pursue her other love - shopping - in Paris. That was after her
husband was invited by the French authorities for dialogue - a move that
angered other western powers.
Bush's new sanctions - which, like the
smart ones, do not have Africa's support - reflect his growing frustration
with the events in Zimbabwe.
While McKinnon, formerly New Zealand's
respected foreign minister, would share Bush's perspective that very little
progress has been achieved in getting Zimbabwe out of self-destruction, he
would differ on the approach and would not share's Bush's
Unlike Bush, he still believes in quiet diplomacy. The time
has not come for "megaphone" diplomacy publicly scolding the Zimbabwean
authorities for intransigence. "Sometimes, megaphone diplomacy is an
exasperation of the end of the line. If you're not achieving anything, you
lash out in the media. It's the last thing you do. We have not reached that
stage with Zimbabwe," he said in an interview with Sowetan during a brief
stop-over in South Africa.
In the past year he has worked, with little
success, alongside the troika on efforts to ease the crisis in Zimbabwe.
"When Zimbabwe wasn't suspended, we endeavoured to engage with them. We were
not successful. Now they've been suspended, we endeavoured to engage with
them and we've not been successful. So, either way, (it has not succeeded)...
[ellipses as published]
Last December, the group left Zimbabwe when the
United Nations Development Programme washed its hands off Zimbabwe, saying
the situation was too chaotic to continue.
That Mugabe has been
uncooperative with the Commonwealth secretariat has meant that McKinnon
spends more time "thinking about solutions rather than trying them out on
Zimbabwe". Still, together with the African element of the Commonwealth
troika, he remains hopeful that a solution may yet be found to help Zimbabwe
While the Africans have openly clashed with Howard,
McKinnon has been quietly talking to other Commonwealth leaders about
Zimbabwe. A week ago, he spoke with some on the fringes of the Non-Aligned
Movement summit in Malaysia. He says he has been "pleasantly surprised" at
the number of those who think a solution is possible in Zimbabwe. He is due
to report to the troika in days when Zimbabwe's suspension from the
Commonwealth councils - a less punitive form of suspension - is due for
Not surprisingly, the African pair in the troika is opposed to
the continuation of Zimbabwe's suspension, leaving Howard isolated. But in
days, Zimbabwe's fate has to be decided.
Complicating the Zimbabwean
issue has been the deterioration of Zimbabwe's relationship with Britain.
McKinnon's job is to ensure this does not interfere with the wider
As his first term draws to a close and
the next leaders' summit in Nigeria approaches, McKinnon looks back on a
hectic three years.
The bulk of his term has been spent on efforts to
promote good governance within the Commonwealth: a military regime in
Pakistan, a bad election in Zanzibar, a new election in Lesotho, crisis in
Fiji and Solomon Islands, Swaziland and, of course, Zimbabwe's controversial
elections last year.
The promotion of good governance is a fresh mandate
that Commonwealth governments gave to McKinnon when he took over. Ironically,
the principles of good governance are contained in a document agreed to in
Harare, Zimbabwe's capital, in the 1990s. "Everyone these days wants us to
observe their elections," he says.
He feels that there is more
democracy now in the Commonwealth than a decade ago, though the World Bank
feels democracy has receded. "Our slogan is, the more democracy you have, the
more development you get."
The focus on good governance has meant that
the Commonwealth's traditional business -technical assistance, health and
education -are taking the back burner. McKinnon acknowledges this danger. But
he has a plan.
The plan is to strike joint ventures with partner
organizations working in this area - such as the World Bank, UN and
"I have no desire of presiding over a Commonwealth secretariat that
sees the demise of education," he says. He is particularly concerned at
getting more children to primary schools than tertiary education. "If you
miss out on primary education, you can't get a PhD."
putting out political fires in the Commonwealth area, McKinnon has spent his
term trying to reorganize and modernize the organization. The change has been
staggering and painful.
Few things are recognizable. The traditions that
have been kept include: having the Queen of England as the body's ceremonial
head and holding the once-in-two-years meetings of leaders.
organization is slimmer. McKinnon slashed one post of
deputy secretary-general and five divisional directors.
include a much stronger ministerial action group, CMAG, and a new position of
the Commonwealth chair-in-office inaugurated by Mbeki.
"I have found
Mbeki useful, very candid. His advice gave me a comfort zone," he says of the
Source: Sowetan, Johannesburg, in English 10 Mar 03 p
Low turnout mars economic summit 10/03/2003 09:43 -
Abuja - Less than a third of invited African presidents
on Sunday attended a summit to advance a new economic rescue plan for Africa
and the meeting wound up with no decision on reviewing each other's
performance and democracy.
The peer review scheme is key to winning
Western support and billions of dollars in private investment for the New
Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad).
Only seven of an
expected 23 heads of state turned up for the meeting which had aimed at
kicking the review plan into action. They were the presidents of Nigeria,
South Africa, Senegal and Algeria - Nepad's architects - and of Ethiopia,
Angola, Republic of Congo and Mozambique.
Nepad aims to tap Western aid
for rapid development of the world's poorest continent in return for a
commitment by its leaders to good governance and democracy.
African states agreed in November to subject their governments to monitoring
of performance and democracy.
Sunday's meeting, chaired by Nigerian
President Olusegun Obasanjo, issued a communique mandating Obasanjo to carry
out further consultations. He said the process would be concluded by the end
of March ahead of the start of the peer review scheme scheduled for
Both the United States and Britain and the Group of Eight (G8)
comprising the world's industrial powers and Russia have pledged support for
But there is growing pessimism among Africans over what many see
as the slow pace of the transition from planning to action.
diversion of the attention of the United States and Britain to Iraq and the
fight against terrorism could also be at the expense of Nepad, some African
More critically, many analysts fear backing by South
Africa and Nigeria for Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe whose rule is
challenged by some Western nations, could cost Nepad support.
month, Mbeki and Obasanjo who are members of a Commonwealth troika, blocked
further sanctions against Zimbabwe.
Although Obasanjo spoke of dealing
with violence on the continent, African nations appear helpless as violence
ravages Ivory Coast, one of Africa's most promising economies.
Coast has been split along ethnic lines between the largely Muslim north and
mainly Christian south. Thousands of people have died and a million driven
from their homes.
CROCODILE TEARS By RALPH
PETERS ------------------------------------------------------------------------ March
10, 2003 --
I SPENT last month in Africa, pausing for a respectful visit
to Robben Island, the former prison that confined Nelson Mandela for two
decades. It was a physically beautiful setting spoiled by humankind's past
intolerance and by the crocodile tears of European tourists.
old, the German, French and Dutch visitors deplored what had been done to one
of the great men of the last century - who remains a powerful, if aging and
erratic, voice in the cause of freedom. I certainly shared their regret at
the suffering imposed on Mr. Mandela and his comrades.
But I wanted to
smack the lot of them and yell, "What about the Iraqis? Don't they matter,
you smug, little hypocrites?"
As deplorable as conditions were on Robben
Island during the imprisonment of South Africa's champions of freedom, they
were civilized compared to the treatment of uncounted thousands of Iraqis at
the hands of Saddam and his henchmen.
I do not underestimate the
crimes of the apartheid regime. Yet, despicable though that government was,
it didn't use nerve gas on thousands of men, women and children, torture
children in front of their parents, rape wives in front of their husbands,
exterminate entire families and clans on a whim, or slaughter minority
Those Euro-trash tourists were right to mourn what had been
done. But why on earth didn't they care about the present sufferings of their
fellow human beings?
The sorry truth is that Europeans love to cry
over corpses, but won't lift a finger to prevent the killing in the first
place. They shake their heads over the Holocaust, though their parents were
happy enough to pack the local Jews off to Auschwitz.
grudgingly accept that their intellectuals defended Stalin long after
evidence of his crimes came to light, but they avoid the issue of how many of
their thinkers and artists admired Hitler and profited from the Occupation
(French cafes and cabarets boomed under the Nazis).
Was there ever an
African dictator the French didn't adore? The Dutch criticize America's
military as trigger-happy, but their own troops didn't fire a shot in defense
of the Muslims of Srebrenica, who they had been tasked to protect and whose
slaughter was the worst single massacre on European soil since the end of the
Second World War.
When I served in Europe in the '70s, Chairman Mao
prefigured Viagra in his effect upon the European Left. Of course, the Soviet
Union remained noble and virtuous until the end, its failure to construct
heaven on earth explained away by American scheming and malevolence. Today,
Europeans dismiss their historical guilt toward Jews by insisting that Israel
is as bad as Nazi Germany - a Big Lie worthy of Hitler and Goebbels -
while cheering on Israel's genocidal enemies.
What can we do in the
face of such a profound lack of honesty, morality or even decency? How can we
work constructively with those for whom evidence only matters when it
supports their prejudices?
What shall we make of those who would let
millions die at the hands of tyrants while accusing America of aggression for
opposing the killers?
The short answer is: Not much. In the longer term,
though, we must accept the fact that states such as France and Germany have
declined to the mentality of yesteryear's Mexico, blaming the United States
for all their failures and defining themselves not in positive terms, but
merely as the anti-America.
We must accept, from today onward, that
America shall often need to act alone or with a handful of courageous allies.
Increasingly, we will need to do that which we recognize as strategically and
morally necessary, disregarding those states, in Europe and elsewhere, that
weep so readily for the dead while caring so little for the living.
must accept the world's jealousy as a given and must not become distracted by
attempts to placate European racists who refuse to set high standards for
governance in developing states. Indeed, nothing so abets tyranny and
oppression today as French and German condescension toward black, brown or
yellow populations - and their unspoken conviction that nonwhites remain
When Robert Mugabe, the Stalin of Zimbabwe, is welcome in
Paris, while the French government takes pains to insult Colin Powell, you
have a very clear illustration of the ethics of French diplomacy. The current
wave of jokes about the French are ill-judged only in the sense that the
French impulse toward racial totalitarianism is no laughing matter. Ask the
populations of Ivory Coast or Rwanda. Or Algeria. Or of the brown and black
suburbs of Paris.
Of course, sincere allies will always be welcome in
this new century of struggle between post-modern freedoms and the bankrupt
sur-realpolitik of Paris and Berlin. And we must distinguish, of course,
between Europe's freedom-loving frontier states, either on the Atlantic
periphery or in the east, and the twilight states of "Old Europe."
natural allies are those who either have pioneered democracy, such
as Britain, or who have struggled long and hard for their freedom -
Poland, Hungary, Spain and so many others who suffered under Communism or
Saddam looks very different to a Romanian or Latvian than he
does to a German or a Frenchman. The Frenchman sees a tantalizing
business proposition, while, as a friend of mine serving in the Gulf
remarked, "The Germans can't help loving Saddam. He's a dictator with a
mustache . . ."
Beyond Europe, America's efforts to face down tyrants are
resisted by - surprise! - tyrants. The United Nations never had the strategic
relevance its partisans insist Washington's liberation of Iraq will destroy.
We should not seek to harm the U.N., but we cannot prevent it from slashing
its own wrists.
We Americans can expect neither gratitude,
understanding nor support from the baroque regimes of France, Germany and
their fellow travelers. Chancellor Schroeder? Bill Clinton without the moral
fiber. President Chirac? The mouth of de Gaulle, the soul of Petain, and the
morals of a pimp. Humanitarian Belgium? Yeah, just ask the Congolese. The
European anti-war movement? Necrophiliacs licking the corpse of Josef
Europeans will always be willing to weep over the dead. The
United States must take a stand for the living. In Iraq. And
Ralph Peters just returned from a monthlong trip to South Africa
and Zimbabwe. He is the author of "Beyond Terror: Strategy in a Changing
Harare residents yesterday said they welcomed the call by the
MDC to boycott businesses and banks run by people linked to ruling Zanu PF
and urged the man opposition party to publish a list of such
They said the MDC needed to publicly identify the banks and
businesses bankrolling the Zanu PF machinery because the party derived its
dictatorship and authority from those institutions whose funds were being
used to abuse Zimbabweans.
In a snap survey carried out in the streets
of Harare, most people said they believed in the MDC's new strategy to
cripple Zanu PF financially.
The boycott call was first made by Tendai
Biti, the MDC shadow minister of Home Affairs and the party's secretary for
economic affairs, at a rally in Msasa.
Joel Maronda, 39, of Marondera,
said the MDC's call for business boycotts was the best idea that Zimbabweans,
fed up with "the illegitimate regime of President Mugabe", could effectively
implement without bothering themselves with street protests which potentially
could result in the death of protesters.
"Mass protests will only
succeed once the government and its sidekicks have been reduced to paupers,"
he said. "It's the money that is financing this regime. The MDC should now
help desperate Zimbabweans by compiling a comprehensive list of businesses to
be targeted. The people are ready to silence Zanu PF as long as the MDC
carries this campaign to the masses."
He said any business needed money
to function properly and Zanu PF remained in authority simply because its
financial base had not been confronted.
Frank Moyo, 29, a correspondent
for the independent Short Wave Radio Africa, said if the government could
make its people suffer economically, then Zimbabweans should
Chimuti Tongoona, 56, from Gokwe, said the effectiveness of
that strategy depended on the MDC's information dissemination and
Zimbabweans' seriousness. "There are people who are getting rich through
dubious means," he said. "This idea has come out as a result of the
prevailing economic hardships. Out of that suffering, people are desperate
for ideas that can save them."
Shadreck Maruma, 32, of Hatcliffe, said
the MDC's call was dangerous as it sought to destroy other people's
He said the only solution to Zimbabwe's economic hardships was
through dialogue between the MDC and Zanu PF. "The economic hardships we face
are complex," he said. "The best way to get out of the crisis is
through peaceful discussions where differences are resolved. "You can't
punish your children by refusing them the right to buy things they want from
some businesses because they are run by Zanu PF supporters."
Hawkins, 62, a businessman from Borrowdale, said boycotting businesses and
withdrawing money from banks run by Zanu PF officials was the best the MDC
could have thought of, given the readiness of the police and army when
dealing with demonstrators.
"That boycott call is one thing that can
counter the current Zanu PF strength," he said. "I appreciate the MDC's new
approach because the government has a tradition of using force to cow people
into submission. But Zanu PF and its diehard businessmen will have no control
over people withdrawing their money from their banks. Those banks will
collapse within months if people just make the sacrifice."
Mazorodze, 26, of Gutu in Masvingo, said it was useless for Zimbabweans to
continue supporting institutions that oiled human rights abuses,
dictatorship, rape, torture and starvation of opposition supporters.
said it was better for Zimbabweans to suffer once and for all and enjoy the
rest of their economic life.
"At least the boycott will bring the
much-needed change. Some of these people are getting richer and richer
through our suffering. We put our money in their banks and they take that
money to support Zanu PF projects which have not benefited us."
THE Zanu PF MP for Chegutu, Webster Shamu
last Wednesday criticised the government for a lack of a consistent housing
policy to reduce the number of home-seekers, now estimated at one
Shamu was contributing to the sixth order of the motion on the
first report of the Portfolio Committee on Local Government, Public Works and
"We have to be more serious in our approach to
housing provision," he said. "In the past, housing has only been viewed as a
social service, when in fact it's part and parcel of economic development.
Housing should be treated as a basic human right. We have to place emphasis
on providing housing for the lower income brackets."
Shamu said the
government's housing strategy and the provision of decent accommodation
should be rated as a high priority.
He said housing provision was an
economic activity which helped to stimulate economic growth and created
employment for people engaged in housing projects.
"My worry, Mr
Speaker, is that Zimbabwe does not seem to have a consistent housing policy,"
he said. "Housing projects and programmes have not been consistently
implemented, thereby jeopardising our efforts to reduce the national backlog
which is estimated at over one million. This is only a conservative figure
which does not reflect the actual demand for housing."
Shamu said in
urban centres such as Harare, houses were being turned into offices when
people were desperately in need of accommodation. He said many flats along
Samora Machel Avenue had been converted into offices, all the way to
"The local authority is just approving these conversions
willy-nilly without regard to the plight of the people," he said. "There is
no real thrust for the provision of housing for the people. The current
scenario whereby residential properties are converted into offices neglects
the people and serves the bourgeoisie."
Shamu said in the end there
would be no houses for the people within the vicinity of the central business
district. He cited how Trafalgar Court was converted from a residential
property into offices.
Shamu said Parliament needed to revisit the laws
governing the conversion of residential properties or land into business
properties to safeguard the suffering people.
As a solution to the
housing crisis, Shamu proposed the establishment of a bank to finance housing
development by providing loans to home-seekers at low interest rates.
tough on Zimbabwean pensioners, who had to find out that their
pension cheques from Harare had been dishonoured by Standard Bank due to a
lack of funds.
But I think there is a more serious problem than merely
an overdrawn account.
Robert Mugabe's own personal mouthpiece, the
state-controlled Herald newspaper, has admitted that even the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe has run out of foreign currency.
The central bank has failed
to print desperately-needed Z$500 notes (worth about R70). Judging by Grace
Mugabe's recent shopping spree in Paris, the Mugabes probably have their own
printing press in their backyard.
Because of the Mickey Mouse value of
the currency, Zim businesses complain that cash is either not available or
too bulky to move.
With official inflation at about 208percent
(economists say it is in fact between 300 and 400percent), Z$500 bills have
become the standard denomination for most transactions.
Reserve Bank imports special "security paper" for printing currency but has
failed to pay debts to the paper's suppliers. (Why call it security paper,
when nobody wants it?).
Seems the saying "not worth the paper it's
written on" originated in Zimbabwe.
retail operator, the Food Chain Group, has launched a twenty-four-hour
supermarket in Harare.
This becomes the first round-the-clock supermarket
to be opened in the capital, and the second in the country after another in
Mutare that has been operating for the past six years.
supermarket, operating as Muchira Makoni Trading, has created at least 129
jobs and operates 12 hours more than most of the retail shops
"We decided to embark on that kind of service because of
what we see in our existing outlets, people trying to do shopping in a hurry
and shopping under pressure to catch up with the normal business closing
"FCG is aiming at introducing new shopping trends that have never
existed before," managing director Mr Teddy Makoni said.
started with only15 supermarkets two years ago, has grown to 26 this
The group intends to expand to other towns
However, Mr Makoni expressed concern over the shortage of
basic commodities, and the existing black market, which hampered smooth
"Our country is going through economic hardships and
as an organisation we are forging ahead, creating employment and introducing
innovative shopping ideas," he said.
EDITORIAL March 10, 2003 Posted to the web March 10,
AIDS has killed close to seven million agricultural
workers in 25 of the hardest hit countries in the world since 1985, the Food
and Agriculture Organisation has said.
The United Nations agency said
in a report for 2002 that the countries included Namibia, Botswana,
Mozambique, South Africa, Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, Tanzania and
The epidemic, FAO said, had undone decades of socio-economic
development and rural development.
These African countries could lose
26 percent of their agricultural labour force within two decades, the agency
Zimbabwe, like other countries in sub-Saharan Africa, relies on
agriculture as its engine for rural development, but rural communities have
been plagued by recurring droughts and floods.
The pandemic had only
worsened the situation.
The pandemic has a negative impact on households'
ability to produce food because of labour shortages and the loss of
knowledgeable farmers as they die before passing on knowledge to their
FAO said Aids was affecting a family's ability to buy food
owing to the loss of productive family members bearing in mind that
statistics had shown that HIV/Aids was attacking mostly those in the 15 to 50
The ability of communities to produce and buy food was being
affected as every home was becoming overburdened to help each other with
food, loans, or as labour in the fields.
Medical bills and funeral
expenses being incurred by rural households were rising as the number of
productive family members declined while the number of dependents increased,
resulting in the growth of child headed families.
Food donations from
Non-Governmental Organisations had helped in fighting against food insecurity
in Zimbabwe and the rest of Africa.
The Government said the World Food
Programme had so far assisted a total of 2,5 million people in drought
More than 13 million people in southern Africa were in
need of food aid and 7,8 million of them were from Zimbabwe where 5,9 people
live in the rural areas.
A National Aids Council official said
Zimbabwe had more than 2,2 million people living with HIV/Aids and that more
than 300 000 had full-blown Aids.
The official said more than 600 000
deaths were being recorded every year and that there were 700 000 Aids
orphans including those that have lost a single parent.
It was being
projected that by the year 2010 there would be 40 million orphans living in
Dossier says repression is continuing in
Zimbabwe By Tony Hawkins in Harare Published: March 10 2003
4:00 | Last Updated: March 10 2003 4:00
Claims that the Zimbabwe
government is relaxing some of its more repressive measures have been
dismissed in a detailed dossier by the country's main opposition
The 15-page dossier by the Movement for Democratic
Change challenges recent statements by Thabo Mbeki, South Africa's president,
who said Harare was revising laws that had provoked international
The MDC accuses the government and police of continuing to
harass its members, including members of parliament and Morgan Tsvangirai,
According to the document one MP, Job Sikhala, has
been arrested 15 times since being elected in June 2000. On all but two of
these occasions charges were dropped. Another, Roy Bennett, has been arrested
eight times without any attempt at prosecution.
Some 63 MDC
activists have been arrested on 260 occasions. Only 22 of the 260 arrests -
just over 8 per cent - resulted in attempted prosecutions.
party also cites recent detentions of members of the clergy, women in a
Valentine's day peace march, dozens of spectators at a World Cup cricket
match in Bulawayo last week and party supporters canvassing votes for two
Harare by-elections due in late March.
Political analysts attribute
the intensified police action to a number of factors, one being the need to
prevent embarrassing demonstrations at the World Cup while another is to
hamstring MDC electioneering efforts.
There is little doubt, too,
that the government is concerned by the prospect of street unrest arising
from food and fuel shortages and the impact of inflation.
Consumer prices rose 208 per cent in the year to January.
a 93 per cent devaluation of the Zimbabwe dollar from last week, and the
near-doubling of fuel prices, inflation is set to accelerate in the months
ahead. The IMF has forecast 522 per cent inflation for 2003.
some ministers admit privately that the mood on the streets is becoming
Analysts also say the government is convinced it
has a licence to do as it likes. With the leading powers focused on the
Middle East and North Korea, ministers are confident Zimbabwe is no longer
being watched so closely.
Opposition politicians believe
regional neighbours, especially South Africa, have abandoned any attempt to
mediate in the crisis.
A 12-month suspension from the 54-member
Commonwealth, imposed after Robert Mugabe's controversial re-election as
president last year, is due to expire on March 19.
Both Mr Mbeki
and Nigeria's President Olusegun Obasanjo, his African partner in the
Commonwealth "troika" charged with monitoring the Zimbabwe situation, appear
to have accepted the claim by Jonathan Moyo, Zimbabwe information minister,
that "normalcy has returned to Zimbabwe" and Mr Mugabe's assertion that the
land resettlement programme is over.
However, Justice for
Agriculture, representing the 500 or so white farmers who have remained on
their land, reports that at least 25 new acquisition and eviction orders were
issued during February alone. The Commercial Farmers' Union says 314 farms
have been listed for compulsory acquisition since August.
Embargo Date: 10 March 2003 00:01 GMT Zimbabwe: Appeal
to Commonwealth leaders on Commonwealth Day.
On the occasion of
Commonwealth Day on 10 March, Amnesty International is calling on the
Commonwealth to take rigorous action in response to escalating state
repression of human rights defenders, opposition officials and the
independent media in Zimbabwe. Supporters and officials of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the independent media, church leaders
and human rights defenders continue to be subjected to harassment, arbitrary
arrests and ill-treatment by the Zimbabwean authorities," Amnesty
Since the start of 2003, politically motivated
violence has intensified largely linked to state efforts to silence dissent
prior to scheduled World Cup cricket matches and in the run up to
parliamentary by-elections in Kuwadzana and Highfield, two high density
suburbs outside of Harare. As parliamentary by-elections scheduled to take
place on 29-30 March approach, MDC members of parliament, opposition
officials and supporters are being subjected to intimidation, arbitrary
arrest and torture by government authorities and militia.
On 2 March,
up to 72 MDC supporters were arrested on their way back from a rally
addressed by MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai, in Harare. They were taken to
several police stations where they were assaulted and beaten by police before
they were later released.
On the same day, Nelson Chamisa, the MDC
candidate for Kuwadzana, was arrested by the police along with 10 MDC
supporters, while distributing pamphlets ahead of the parliamentary
by-elections in Kuwadzana. All were released on the same day but were
prevented by police from carrying out door-to- door canvassing.
February, 23 church leaders were arrested by the police when they tried to
deliver a petition to the police calling for an end to police violations of
human rights. The church leaders were detained for several hours and then
released without charge.
"The Commonwealth should clearly signal to the
Government of Zimbabwe that these acts are in clear violation of the human
rights principles enshrined in the 1991 Harare Commonwealth Declaration," the
Amnesty International urges Commonwealth governments
to use all possible influence to encourage the Zimbabwe authorities to bring
an immediate end to human rights violations perpetrated by the government.
The disparity between the principles enshrined in the 1991 Harare
Commonwealth Declaration, and the reality of human rights violations in
Zimbabwe creates an urgent need for renewed action by the
"The Commonwealth should send a strong and clear message
that the worsening situation in Zimbabwe can not be ignored and that the
Zimbabwean authorities should not allow human rights to be violated with
impunity. The Commonwealth should take all necessary steps to ensure that the
Zimbabwean authorities live up to their responsibilities under the Harare
Commonwealth Declaration," Amnesty International said.
"On a day when
the 54 member countries of the Commonwealth celebrate their links with one
another, the citizens of Zimbabwe should not stand alone in the face of
escalating state repression and violence," the
Commonwealth Day is an
annual event during which all the fifty-four member countries of the
Commonwealth celebrate their links with one another. The day is celebrated
around the world on the second Monday in March.
PRESIDENT Mugabe's groans and moans of
"headaches and stomach aches" over petrol and diesel shortages, will be with
him for a long time to come as the gravity of the crisis
The more significant piece of memory from the crisis
could, however, be the disastrous effects that the shortages have had on the
social, economic and political landscape in the country.
country's fuel supplies have been erratic for the past five years due to a
crippling shortage of foreign currency.
The forex crunch worsened
in February 2000 due to depressed export performance, a decline in tourist
arrivals as violence gripped the country in the period preceding the
parliamentary election in June 2000. Violence, intimidation and general
lawlessness worsened before and after the March 2002 presidential election
which the international community declined to endorse.
said Mugabe won the election through violence, massive rigging and
intimidation which prevailed in the country then. The opposition party has
since taken the ruling Zanu PF to court contesting the outcome.
international community responded by imposing sanctions on Mugabe, his
spouse, his entire Cabinet and people closely associated with Zanu
The move compounded the country's forex shortages, leading to
the now familiar fuel crisis. The government does not have enough forex to
purchase the precious fluid.
The International Monetary Fund and
the World Bank withdrew balance-of-payments support four years ago after the
government continually failed to adhere to macro-economic targets, presaging
the current problems. The present phase of fuel shortages commenced in
September last year.
In a speech delivered last October at Zanu
PF's national conference, Mugabe angrily complained that he suffered
sleepless nights, headaches and stomach aches over the fuel supply and
Many party cadres were saddened that the
health of their President was under attack. But greater multitudes
of citizens have been angry for the past four years, particularly the past
four months, over the perennial failure by Mugabe and his government to solve
the fuel crisis once and for all.
Last year's Christmas, which fell
just about two months after the "headaches and stomach aches" speech, was
described as the saddest festive season in living memory. Motorists spent the
24 hours of 25 December 2002 in fuel queues. Commuters resigned from
attempting to travel to rural homes after failing for five days, to catch a
bus to their respective destinations.
It was a sad Christmas;
graver than the headaches and stomach aches at the leafy State
Public transport has ever since remained awful. Urban
commuters have had to wait from 4pm when they finish work, until around 10pm
for transport to go home.
In the morning they have to work up
between 3 and 4am, to be in time for work at 8am. The crisis has
resulted in various personal tragedies.
The death of a woman in
Harare in January, while queuing up for fuel was described by many readers as
In another incident, a Kuwadzana man stored 40 litres
of fuel in his house, to minimise the amount of time spent in fuel queues.
Fire broke out one fateful day, reducing the entire house to ashes. The man
died from burns sustained in the fire.
But so widespread has
been the fuel crisis that even the dead have also been affected.
Since the onset of the crisis, the operations of funeral parlours have been
severely hampered, resulting in burial delays. Crematoria in various parts of
the country have failed to cremate bodies for lack of petroleum gas, used to
fire up the cremation furnaces.
The wheels of justice could not
turn at the beginning of the year due to lack of the precious liquid. The
Harare Magistrates Courts' operations were slowed down as the Zimbabwe Prison
Services failed to bring dozens of remand prisoners to court for
trial. The wheels of industry and commerce have not been spared
In the company's financial report several months ago,
Delta Corporation Limited said the shortage of paraffin had had a knock-on
effect on businesses dependent on the product. A Ruwa businessman
said: "Business is quiet because there is no paraffin available. We aren't
doing anything and that is terrible. But with the fuel shortages, what can we
Even the realm of the government's campaign motif - "the land
is the economy, the land is the economy", that is agriculture - has been
severely affected by the fuel crisis.
In economic highlights
published at the end of last year, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe said the
performance of the agricultural sector had been crippled by the fuel crisis.
In agriculture fuel is used on tractors, generators, harvesters, and other
mechanised farming equipment.
The negative effects of the crisis on
the sector was particularly catastrophic in that agriculture remained, to the
end of last year, the largest contributor to the national economy. It
accounted for 15,9 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), and 26,3 percent
of formal employment.
Performance in the manufacturing sector also
dwindled, partly as the result of fuel shortages. Several cement
manufacturers such as Zim-Cement, Circle Cement, Sino-Zimbabwe and Pretoria
Portland Cement were in the past seven months, forced to either suspend
operations or totally wind up due to input shortages, including
In a pre-closure statement last month, Portland Holdings
Limited said: "The company wishes to advise all valued customers that our
stocks of coal and diesel fuel are critically low and that we have no choice
but to stop production at Colleen Bawn with immediate effect."
Most other major companies in the manufacturing or mining sectors also rely
heavily on the availability of fuel for operations.
the clothing industry have failed to deliver orders timeously to clients.
Certain Bulawayo firms have resorted to asking customers to collect finished
orders from their factories, an unlikely occurrence in a normal
Wankie Colliery Mine in Hwange, Ziscosteel in Kwekwe, the
Zimphos concerns dotted in different parts of the country, Triangle Limited
and Hippo Valley Estates in the Lowveld, and other strategic companies have
all acknowledged the importance of fuel to industrial
They employ significant percentages of the country's
population. Operational disturbances as occasioned by fuel shortages would,
therefore, leave thousands of families stranded - and sad.
Zimbabweans do not sympathise with Mugabe on his headaches and stomach aches
over the fuel crisis.
Industry and commerce has suffered from more
than "headaches and stomach aches", due to the fuel crisis. Companies have
been paralysed and liquidated as a result.
The government is yet
to come up with credible policies to halt the crisis. It is does not even
admit failure to resolve the crisis.
For now citizens have to make
do with headaches, stomach aches, walking to and from work, or waiting for
hours on end for transport as business and the economy continue to
TWO renowned South African academics have called on that
country's president, Thabo Mbeki, to impose sanctions against Zimbabwe by
closing the border between the two countries, saying his "quiet diplomacy"
had failed as a policy.
South African parliamentary researcher,
Tim Hughes, and South African Institute for International Affairs director,
Dr Gregg Mills, said in a joint statement on Friday silent diplomacy hardly
qualified as a policy. "Silent diplomacy hardly qualifies as policy. It has
no clear aims as a benchmark for progress nor can local and international
communities understand it. It is a totally inadequate reaction to a
catastrophe," Hughes and Mills said.
Calling for smart sanctions
both said: "In extraordinary circumstances it should result in drastic
action, including closing the border for exports and imports and suspending
Zimbabwe from international bodies. These measures should include a
resignation clause for Mugabe and possibly leadership amnesty," they
Mbeki has been widely condemned for his "quiet diplomacy" on
the Zimbabwean crisis. Mills and Hughes' call comes in the wake of
revelations that South African utility companies are owed more than R140,5
billion (Z$983,5 billion at the official rate and Z$22 400 billion at the
parallel market rate) as a result of the political crisis in
The International Crisis Group has estimated investment
losses in southern Africa as a direct result of the Zimbabwean disaster at
Zimbabwe owes Eskom, Sasol, Telkom and Transnet
millions of rands since it cannot pay for electricity, fuel,
telecommunications and transport services in southern Africa.
Zimbabwe owes Eskom R80m (Z$560 million at the official rate and Z$1,24
billion at the parallel market rate).
Paul Kruger, Sasol chairman,
said in his annual report to shareholders: "The South African government's
silent diplomacy has no effect on devastating events in
The former Posts and Telecommunications Corporation owes
Telkom R60m ($9,3 billion at the parallel market rate).
South African Reserve Bank has imposed an overdraft limit of R75 million on
its Zimbabwean counterpart, but its northern neighbour had already exceeded
South African Foreign Affairs Minister, Dr Nkosazana
Dlamini-Zuma, told parliament two years ago: "Our foreign policy is based on
the responsibility that South Africa offers hope to all of
humanity. Internationally we are to continue the struggle for a better world
by offering the following values: democracy, good governance,
people-centred development, peace, stability and safety, promoting
co-operation, partnerships and good neighbourliness."
Mills say it is "simply impossible" to reconcile the above-mentioned policy
statement with the current approach to Zimbabwe.
Last week Mbeki
said South Africa was not prepared to push Zimbabwe over the
Meanwhile United States President George Bush on
Saturday issued an executive order blocking President Mugabe's assets and
those of his colleagues for their continued human rights abuse.
Bush banned American companies from dealing with Zimbabwe. He called for
similar sanctions by the United Nations, the Southern African Development
Community, European Union, the African Union and the Commonwealth.
effort to please his shallow-minded supporters and hangers-on, President
Mugabe always finds it worthwhile to throw vitriol on his arch-rival Morgan
Tsvangirai of the MDC at every opportunity.
Recently he repeated
his customary tirade against the opposition leader at Harare International
Airport, saying Tsvangirai was not educated enough to rule
Mugabe called Tsvangirai a ghost who lacked proper
education to lead the country. He repeated his now tired trivia while
attacking Tsvangirai for allegedly betraying Zimbabwe and being a British
puppet who thrived on violence.
"Desist from violence,
Tsvangirai. Who the hell are you anyway to want to rule this country? Chikoro
hauna, unongovawo chipoko zvako (You are not educated, you are just a
spook)," Mugabe said. How ironical when none other than Mugabe himself has
boasted that he has degrees in violence.
Mugabe thinks and has been
misled by his supporters into thinking that he has a God-given right to rule
this country "until donkeys have grown horns" like his deputy, Simon Muzenda,
Mugabe and all his degrees - whether of the academic or
violence variety - does not have a right to mess up this country and its
economy because he was in the liberation struggle. He thinks his
liberation war credentials, if we are to call them that, give him the right
to order his supporters to descend on anyone perceived to belong to the main
opposition party and cause them untold suffering.
Even the Press
has not been spared that violence and intimidation. Members of the
independent Press have been called British-sponsored puppets for daring to
point out this government's political mistakes, misdemeanours and corruption
of the highest order.
He thinks he has a God-sent right to starve
people of this country for supporting the MDC.
Mugabe, with most of his degrees gained while in detention, might be the most
educated president in this region, but he has still failed to rule this
He has created one economic disaster after another despite
boasting a Master's Degree in Economics. Mugabe, with his degrees, has failed
to rein in his faltering deputies and party supporters. They have bled the
fiscus dry as they blundered from one economic plan to another.
Those degrees have not stopped the massive corruption and plunder of the
country's wealth by Zanu PF leaders, its supporters and hangers-on. To them,
ruling Zimbabwe is one endless ride on the gravy train without anyone lifting
Zanu PF and its leaders have the mistaken belief that
they can do as they please with this country - starve, rape, intimidate, kill
People in this country have woken up and realised that
Zanu PF has no divine right to rule this country until kingdom
They have long realised that educated as he might claim to
be, Mugabe has messed up their lives for the past 23 years with
Mugabe and his cronies have used all State apparatus at
their disposal to maintain a firm political grip on this
Those degrees have been used for nothing other than
spreading fear, alarm and despondency among the country's poor people who
continue to sink into unprecedented poverty despite having a President with
about seven degrees. Zimbabwe would be flowing of milk and honey if our dear
President used his degrees wisely for the country's benefit.
is not only Mugabe who is highly educated in his party. Zanu PF boasts one of
the most learned leaderships, but all that knowledge seems to be failing to
deliver Zimbabwe from its economic quagmire.
It seems the more
educated they are, the greedier, more corrupt, violent and power-hungry they
become. Those degrees are being used to further their own nests, not for
Zimbabwe's political, social and economic prosperity as they would like us to
Constitutional Assembly (NCA) members appeared before Maxwell Manyanhaire, a
Harare magistrate, on Saturday for allegedly breaching the notorious Public
Order and Security Act.
The group, which was represented by Alec
Muchadehama, was not asked to plead and was remanded to 28 March on $10 000
Prosecutor Mehluli Tshuma alleged the group gathered and
marched, thereby disturbing peace and induced people to riot and cause
disorder. The court heard that on 6 March this year, the group gathered
at the NCA offices along Herbert Chitepo Avenue, where they were addressed
by Lovemore Madhuku, the NCA national chairman.
It is alleged
during the address, Madhuku urged them to revolt against the Zimbabwe
government by staging a demonstration denouncing President Mugabe and his
Madhuku allegedly distributed some banners and T-shirts
during the demonstration and ordered the demonstrators to regroup later at
Africa Unity square.
On the same day, the court heard that the
group, which had swelled to more than 200 in the afternoon, met at Africa
Unity Square and marched into the city centre while chanting anti-government
slogans and displaying placards demanding a new constitution.
Tshuma alleged the demonstrators blocked the smooth flow of traffic and
obstructed road users. The police caught up with them in town and
four members were arrested. Nine more were arrested in police
In an interview on Saturday, Madhuku said
he would not tire in his fight for a new constitution.
POLICE in Mutare on Saturday barred the MDC from holding a
rally in Sakubva, questioning why the opposition party had Harare East Member
of Parliament, Tendai Biti, as the main speaker, a party official
said yesterday Pishai Muchauraya, the MDC spokesperson in Manicaland, said
Chief Superintendent Emilia Moyo, the officer commanding police in
Mutare district, told party officials around 5pm on Friday to call off the
rally scheduled for the Oval Grounds in the sprawling Sakubva
Muchauraya said Moyo, in the company of two other senior
police officers, refused to state in writing reasons for denying permission
for the rally, as is required under a provision of the repressive Public
Order and Security Act (POSA).
Said Muchauraya: "Chief
Superintendent Moyo and her colleagues questioned us why we had 'the
sensational Tendai Biti from Harare' among our speakers."
the shadow minister of home affairs in the MDC, last week called for the
boycott of ruling Zanu PF-linked businesses, saying funds from
these institutions were being used to prop up President Mugabe's regime
and oppress Zimbabweans.
On Thursday, Muchauraya said Moyo told
the MDC officials to seek clearance for the rally from Central Intelligence
Organisation (CIO) officers, despite initially promising to grant such
Oddly, Zanu PF is not being subjected to the POSA
requirements. On Saturday, the MDC held a public meeting on the pending
mayoral election at Beit Hall in Dangamvura, unhindered by the police and the
According to Muchauraya, the police said there was a
likelihood Biti's presence in Sakubva would incite violence at the
"They said we could go ahead with the rally but at our own
peril," he said. Several police officers milled around the empty
Oval Grounds for most of Saturday afternoon.
Meanwhile, at about
7.30pm on Friday at least 30 police officers in three Defender vehicles
descended on the Greenside home of James Mukwaya, the MDC's provincial
organising secretary, and thoroughly searched the premises.
police contingent left almost an hour later after confiscating a firearm and
its licence from Mukwaya, Muchauraya said.
He added: "The police
said they were searching for explosives and petrol that could be used to make
petrol bombs. They did not find any of these things."
DESPITE the heavy rains
that fell in Harare on Saturday, more than 1 000 women braved the chilly
weather and marched through the streets of Harare calling for their rights
and peace as they marked the United Nations International Women's
Led by MPs Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga (Glen Norah) and
Eveline Masaiti (Mutasa), the women who called themselves, "The Peace
Pathfinders", danced, prayed, marched and distributed white roses to men who
were passing by, as a sign of their quest for peace.
holding banners with "Respect Women," "Women of Zimbabwe Say No to Violence,"
"Contraceptives are Now Expensive," "Our Daughters are not Sex Slaves," and
"Disband the Militia now," among others.
The march was organised by
the Women's Coalition Organisation. Addressing the women, Jabu Mudzuri,
the Harare mayoress said: "This is a very important day for women as it is
the only day we can freely voice our concerns and reflect on our needs,
without fear. Since this day is aimed at asserting our rights and our
entitlements, we hope we will get all the necessary support.
"Women's basic health needs regarding family planning, HIV/Aids and even
sanitary ware are chronically inadequate. We appeal to the
responsible authorities to look into women's issues and make it a better
world for all of us to celebrate our contribution to society," she
Mudzuri urged women to be firm in their quest to restore
their dignity and reclaim their rightful place as daughters, mothers, wives
Meanwhile, Misihairabwi-Mushonga, commended the
Zimbabwe Revenue Authority for imposing a lower custom duty on tampons and
sanitary towels to make them affordable to women.