Loyalty, not race, propels Zimbabwe campaign
jailed white politician seeks his seat
By John Donnelly, Globe Staff |
March 13, 2005
HARARE, Zimbabwe -- Heather Bennett had never even given a
toast at a
private dinner. But on a recent day, Bennett, the wife of a
property was seized by armed gangs five years ago, stood
more than 2,500 people at a campaign rally in eastern
Speaking in the local language, Shona, she said she and her
husband, Roy, would never leave their impoverished constituents.
Bennetts are here to stay," she declared.
The scene bore no
resemblance to the stereotypes of Zimbabwe today. Here was
a white woman
addressing a crowd of cheering black supporters, running for
seat in parliament in elections set for March 31.
And she's the favorite,
showing that justice in Zimbabwe is not necessarily
Five years ago, many disenfranchised blacks supported President
Mugabe's decision to seize the majority of the 4,000 white-owned
Zimbabwe, arguing that it was long past time for blacks to own more
country's property and wealth. Still, voters in the town of
year elected Roy Bennett to parliament by a wide margin. He
had promised to
fight for their concerns.
Now, he is in jail,
sentenced to a one-year term by members of the ruling
party in parliament
for shoving to the floor Justice Minister Patrick
Chinamasa, who had called
Bennett's ancestors ''thieves" who had stolen
land. Many in Bennett's
district see the sentencing as a new kind of
injustice. After a judge ruled
that Bennett could not run for office from
prison, his constituents turned
to his wife to represent them.
She did not want to run, but reluctantly
''When Roy first ran for parliament, we discussed it together,
decided that we were going into it together," she said. ''Plus, Roy
has all his projects he wants to carry out in parliament," including
to schools and churches damaged from a cyclone four years
Her husband's enduring popularity, she said, ''is one of the things
infuriates the government. Roy defies everything they try to portray is
happening," she said a few days before the rally, sitting in the manicured
garden of a rented home in Harare, the capital. ''He's a white farmer liked
by labor forces."
In hindsight, the land grabs are not so popular
now, as fields lie fallow
and hundreds of thousands of farm workers have
lost jobs and homes. Mugabe
recently acknowledged that just 44 percent of
farmland was being used.
The Bennetts, whose families had been in
Zimbabwe for at least a
half-century, lost almost everything in 2000 --
their 7,000-acre coffee
farm, a $125,000 coffee harvest, their house and
their belongings inside,
vehicles, 900 head of cattle, even their children's
rabbits and guinea pigs.
And Heather Bennett, five months pregnant,
miscarried in May of that year, a
few hours after gangs invaded the farm for
the first time. One person held a
machete to her throat and forced her to
repeat slogans praising the ruling
party, Zimbabwe African National
Union-Patriotic Front, or ZANU-PF.
That year, Roy Bennett received 11,410
votes -- compared with 8,072 for the
ZANU-PF candidate -- in an election
that, nationwide, was deemed by most
international observers to have been
rigged by the ruling party. He was one
of five whites and 115 blacks who won
seats in parliament.
His campaign manager, James Mukwaya, said he was not
surprised when Roy
Bennett's supporters asked him to enlist Heather Bennett
Mukwaya, who is black, called Roy Bennett ''white in complexion,
heart is black. . . . There is nobody who can separate Roy's family
people of Chimanimani. That is why the government of Zimbabwe made a
big mistake arresting Roy, putting him in jail for no apparent reason.
people will actually vote on emotion. They say, 'Although you jailed
will elect his wife.' "
David Coltart, another white member
of parliament, said that what the
government did to Roy Bennett reminds many
of tactics whites used against
blacks before independence in 1980. ''People
understand what happened to Roy
is unjust," Coltart said.
was not easy for Heather Bennett to run for parliament against
Udenge, a former diplomat who served in Zimbabwe's embassy in London.
has been living quietly with her 17-year-old daughter, a high school
in a rented house. A 19-year-old son is studying in England. Friends
protect her. To meet her, two foreign journalists were asked to
on the way there -- a precaution in case state security officers
But inside the security wall of her home, surrounded by
her four dogs,
Heather Bennett, 42, seemed relaxed as she slid her pink
flip-flops on and
off her feet.
Every two weeks, she said, she is
allowed to see her husband for a half-hour
in jail. ''The conditions are
absolutely awful," she said. ''They get two
meals a day -- a cup of rice and
cabbage stew, which is basically cabbage
and water. Three times a month they
get a little bit of meat on their
She said her husband and
14 others share a cell that is 12 feet by 8 feet.
''The guy next to him is
dying of AIDS, and he is retching in the middle of
the night," she said.
''Roy says the poverty and absolute desperation of
psychologically the hardest thing to deal with."
For Christmas, prison
officials allowed family members to bring food, but
she said her husband
told her he did not want anything special. ''I brought
a ham sandwich," she
said. ''He said he couldn't possibly eat something nice
when no one else has
it." Of the 200 prisoners at the northern Zimbabwe
jail, only 20 had
visitors on Christmas because most relatives could not
Their daughter no longer can bear seeing her father in jail.
she sobs and sobs for hours," Heather Bennett said. ''He wrote
to her. They are in her desk. She won't read them until Roy
Before Roy Bennett's sentencing in parliament, she urged him
to leave the
country to avoid jail time. He refused, she said, saying other
faced far worse yet had no option of leaving.
Bennett is not thinking of leaving now, although she worries about
impact their plight has had on their children. ''I think everyone,
us, must ask themselves if it's worth it," she said.
She paused, then
answered her own question: ''Yes, it's worth it."
In part, that is
because Zimbabwe is their home. And in part, it is because
she thinks life
eventually will improve. ''Democracy will come to Zimbabwe
because of the
good nature of the people," she said. ''I think this whole
race thing will
be put to bed. There's no way evil reigns forever."
But for now, there is
campaigning to do -- which means more public speaking.
''I was absolutely
a nervous wreck," she said by telephone a few days after
the campaign rally.
''I ended up reading most of my speech. But we were
completely swamped by
the people there. They were delighted. It was a
really, really good
John Donnelly can be reached at email@example.com.
© Copyright 2005
Globe Newspaper Company.
Sunday March 13, 01:27 PM
battle food shortages
ESIGODINI, Zimbabwe (Reuters) - Two orphan
children kneel on the side
of a highway in Zimbabwe's drought-hit south,
picking up kernels of the food
staple maize which have spilled off a passing
"We hope to gather enough maize to boil for a meal for the
two us and
our grandmother, with whom we have lived since our parents died
says Thandiwe, an 11-year-old girl. Her 9-year-old brother
Their desperate mission is testimony to
escalating food shortages in
southern Zimbabwe, which have worsened the
plight of villagers grappling
with unemployment and the scourge
After six years of recession, there are
tentative signs of a recovery
in Zimbabwe's economy, but analysts say its
frailty will be a key issue in
parliamentary polls on March 31.
President Robert Mugabe's government has insisted since last year that
is enough food in the country's reserves and from the current crop to
districts with low harvests, but villagers in one such area say
"Food has been a problem here because we have had
erratic rains for
the past five years," said Ishmael Ncube, traditional
headman at Esiphezini
village in Esigodini district.
not seen people actually starve to death, but you can tell by
most of them that they don't get enough to eat," he told Reuters.
Most of the crop in Esigodini, 40 km (25 miles) southeast of
second city of Bulawayo, has shrivelled after rains in the
November to March
season came too little, too late.
The latest dry spell has worsened
the impact of four consecutive years
of drought and disruptions to
agriculture linked to the government's
controversial land reforms, in which
white-owned commercial farmland was
seized for landless blacks.
AID WORK HALTED
But most international aid agencies have halted
after the government said last year their services were no
accusing some of using their work as a cover for
furthering the agenda of
the main opposition party.
put pressure on villagers whose only source of income is
cannot afford to buy food from the state Grain Marketing
Board (GMB), which
is responsible for ensuring that the country has
"In the past we were buying 50 kg bags of maize meal at
now the price has gone up to Z$30,000 and we understand that
the next lot of
grain will be sold at Z$42,000 a bag," Ncube
"People here don't have that kind of money. Added to that, we
sometimes go for weeks without seeing deliveries from GMB. My appeal would
be for other countries that can, to help us with imported maize because
other than that I don't see a way out."
The emerging food
shortages are mostly hitting the elderly, and
hundreds of children orphaned
by the HIV/AIDS pandemic, which health
officials say kills some 2,500
Zimbabweans a week.
"Each week we bury about three people killed by
the disease ... in
some cases we have young women forced into prostitution
because they have no
other forms of employment," Ncube said.
Bulawayo itself, shortages of maize-meal have also surfaced, with
accusing retailers of hoarding food as a campaign tool to cause
anti-government disgruntlement ahead of this month's parliamentary
Mugabe, in power since independence from Britain in 1980,
the seizure of white-owned farms has undermined agriculture. He
sharp decline in food output in southern Africa's former bread
largely on the drought.
South African Government Is Badly Misinformed on
MDC is increasingly perplexed by
claims by the South African Government that the elections in
Zimbabwe will be
free and fair and by its claims that it does not see any problems in
MDC does not understand the South
African Government’s ignorance about the situation in
Zimbabwe and the
basis for such optimism and believes that the position adopted by the South
African Government is not only misinformed, but also dangerously premature.
At present it is clear to each and every
objective observer that conditions for a free and fair election do not exist in
There is therefore nothing whatsoever to suggest that the elections will be free
and fair, or indeed legitimate. The electoral environment is actually worse than
it was during the March 2002 presidential elections.
Contrary to the view propagated by the
South African Government, their counterparts in
Harare are not taking
any meaningful steps to ensure the elections will be free and fair.
The voters’ roll is in a shambles, violence
and intimidation remain prevalent, equal access to the state media is a myth and
the elections will be managed and run by the same biased electoral bodies which
have manipulated the electoral process to the political advantage of the ruling
party in previous elections.
The much trumpeted new electoral commission
has no direct role to play in this election. It was established far too late to
have any meaningful influence on the process. More importantly, anything it does
do is subject to the authority of the Mugabe appointed
Electoral Supervisory Commission. This compromises its independence.
MDC and other progressive forces
in Zimbabwe are
therefore deeply concerned to hear the South African Government praising the new
‘independent’ commission and citing its establishment as proof that the
government is complying with the new regional election standards. Nothing could
be further from the truth.
MDC meetings and rallies
continue to be banned or disrupted by the police under the notorious Public
Order and Security Act. 16 MDC candidates have
already been the victims of arbitrary arrest and police harassment and scores of
MDC activists have been arrested for such
innocuous crimes as putting up posters. No Zanu PF
supporter has yet to be arrested for this ‘crime’. The complicity of members of
the police and army in incidents of political violence casts a dark shadow over
the legitimacy of the entire electoral process.
MDC urges the South African
Government to re-think the wisdom of publicly expressing its confidence in the
capacity of Mugabe and Zanu
PF to host free and fair elections when there is a dearth of evidence on the
ground to support such an optimistic outlook.
Positive signals from regional neighbours provide unnecessary succour to the authorities in
and often serve to galvanise those bent on engaging in
To the people of
the optimism expressed by the South African Government is increasingly viewed as
misplaced solidarity and a deliberate attempt to frustrate the new beginning
they so desperately desire. This perception undermines public confidence in the
objectivity and impartiality of South African and SADC observer missions.
There is a growing suspicion in Zimbabwe
that the sole objective of the SADC and South Africa observer missions is not to
ensure the full expression of the ‘one person, one vote’ principle but to legitimise a Zanu PF ‘victory’,
regardless of the manner in which this ‘victory’ is achieved.
There is an urgent need to demonstrate that
this is not the case. However, the decision by the Zimbabwe Government not to
invite the SADC Parliamentary Forum (who published an adverse report on the 2002
Presidential poll) to observe the elections, and the public defence of this decision by South Africa, sows further
doubts in the minds of the people vis-à-vis the impartiality of the observers
who have been invited.
We all fought bitter struggles to secure
the right to freely elect leaders of our choice. The people of
want food, jobs and better living standards. They must be free to vote for the
party they believe is best equipped to address these basic grievances.
Any moves to compromise the exercise of
this basic and hard earned right would severely damage the credibility of both
the South African Government and the SADC.
Rhetorical commitments to promoting good
governance have to be followed up by concrete action if they are to be taken
seriously. The elections in
provide the first real test of this commitment.
Finally we are again appealing to the South
African Government to stop aiding and abetting the Mugabe regime’s denial of the basic rights of the people of
to freely elect the government of their choice.
Sunday Times - UK
March 13, 2005
Protesters come out in Mugabe election 'truce'
"CHINJA!" The demand for "change"
roared out from hundreds of
hoarse throats at the first opposition rally
ever held in Marondera, a small
town 45 miles east of Harare, the capital of
On the other side of the road, a silent crowd stared
from behind a police line, afraid of declaring their loyalty to
for Democratic Change (MDC), whose supporters are often beaten,
The rally would nevertheless
have been unthinkable four years
ago, when Zimbabwe's last parliamentary
elections were held amid a wave of
murders, widespread torture and the
hounding of thousands of farmers from
the government wants credibility, they want to be seen as
Ian Kay, who is standing for the MDC on March 31, election
day. He hopes to
unseat Sydney Sekeramayi, the defence minister known as
"There is lots of international pressure to make this
a free and fair election, although intimidation is still going
on," he said.
The opposition is keen to capture the seat,
which it lost by
just 63 votes last time despite widespread intimidation and
vote-rigging on behalf of President Robert Mugabe's ruling
Many MDC supporters are wary not so much of
what will happen in
the run-up to the election but of the retribution they
"There has been no violence yet,
but Zanu are warning people,"
confided one man sporting an MDC T-shirt.
"They say, 'We will not beat you
now, because the observers are here. But
watch what happens after the
elections. We will get you when they have
Despite a torrential downpour, 600 singing and
supporters turned out to hear Morgan Tsvangirai, the opposition
was one of several rallies that his party has held in recent
weeks in rural
areas such as Marondera, traditionally a Zanu-PF
Nobody knows the risks better than Mercy, 33, who
arrested, raped twice and seen her children beaten to the ground in
Yet she was there with an MDC scarf around
her head. "Those
people over there remember the beatings of the last years,"
gesturing to the silent crowd. "But I am not afraid any more.
They have done
their worst to me and I have survived."
After the speakers left she peeled off her scarf before setting
off home. "I
told my neighbours I was going to the hospital," she admitted.
T-shirts, the longed-for chinja is still just a hope.
Sunday Times - UK
March 13, 2005
of officials who devour African aid
RW Johnson and Tom
IT IS unlikely that Malawi's Superior hotel
attention from Tony Blair while he helped craft the new
Africa report. Yet this gleaming new edifice in Blantyre, the
capital, symbolises just the kind of tangle that makes many aid
wince at the prime minister's planned doubling to £37 billion of the
aid budget to Africa.
The hotel belongs to Friday
Jumbe, Malawi's former finance
minister and a close associate of Bakili
Muluzi, who retired as president
years before that, Jumbe was the boss of the state
Marketing Corporation (Admarc), which notoriously
sold off Malawi's grain
reserves just as the country lurched into a famine
that threatened the lives
of one-third of its 11m people.
At the time both Jumbe and
Muluzi insisted the sale had been
instructed by the World Bank, though this
was later shown to be untrue.
Jumbe was subsequently arrested last October
as he was about to fly to South
Africa, and charged with having pocketed
£2.1m, £420,000 of which had
allegedly been used to build the
Thus far Jumbe has failed to come up with any
explanation as to
how he came by the money.
Commission for Africa has made a noble commitment to
alleged corruption, and wants to introduce punishments for
offer bribes to African politicians while putting western
pressure to repatriate ill-gotten gains placed in offshore
dictators and their cronies.
But sorting out the aid flows
and identifying the beneficiaries
is an investigative
The Malawi case is dwarfed by the most spectacular
of recent African history: the late President Mobutu Sese Seko
of Congo is
said to have looted up to £2.6 billion, or 40% of all aid
received by his
country, and Nigeria's former president Sani Abacha is
believed to have
salted away the equivalent of between £1 billion and £2.6
billion in foreign
Repatriating such stolen assets
has proved far from easy: in the
Abacha case, Nigeria is reported to have
seen little over £26m handed back
from banks in London and
"One is left with the impression that too much
is left to the
privacy of the corporate-client relationship," said Don
secretary-general of the Commonwealth, who next week begins a
African states in which he will discuss the commission's proposals
"I know from what I'm told by the
Nigerians that they don't feel
they're making much progress with the
existing legal processes."
Since he was elected last May,
Malawi's new president, Bingu wa
Mutharika, 71, has launched an inquiry into
the Muluzi regime's dealings,
and the Anti-Corruption Bureau recently hired
a British investigator to help
with the Jumbe case, along with inquiries
into several other former
Muluzi, who had
wrongly regarded Mutharika as a faithful lackey
in his United Democratic
Front party, has reacted furiously, and in January
he and a number of UDF
bosses made their intentions plain by rolling up at
residence armed with guns and machetes.
Mutharika, who claims
that Muluzi is planning to assassinate
him, has since left the party - and
the residence, which he says is
haunted - and founded his own Democratic
Progressive party, attracting
enough support to stay in power. His tough
stance has won plaudits from the
One criticism levelled at the commission is that by
chancellor Gordon Brown's recommendation to write off the bad debts
African states, it may endorse past theft.
estimated that, in all, Nigerian politicians have spirited
abroad. Wiping out their national debt would make some very
breathe more easily. And who wants to forgive the bad debts of
president, Robert Mugabe? Many African states have absorbed
of aid over the past 40 years - in all, Africa received
more than £260
billion in that period - but are far poorer today than they
However, Tidjane Thiam, a businessman from
Ivory Coast and one
of the 17 members of the commission, said African
ultimately make or break the new plans.
"It's always been an easy line to say they're a bunch of corrupt
they get what they deserve," said Thiam. "But it's far more
that. Most Africans accept that it's their own governments
that are at
fault, but greed is not an African exclusivity. There are many
making money too."
Mugabe defends decision on EU observers
Posted Sat, 12 Mar
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has defended his decision not to
EU countries to monitor this month's parliamentary polls, saying
should stay out of Zimbabwe's internal affairs.
invited many countries but not whites ... the likes of (British
Minister Tony) Blair and other Europeans," Mugabe told supporters in
populous opposition stronghold of Chitungwiza.
"They should not
intervene, they should stay in their countries where they
Only Russian observers welcome
Russia is the only European
country out of 32 nations invited to monitor
elections on March 31.
Zimbabwe refused to allow EU countries to monitor
its presidential elections
in 2002, which were tainted by widespread charges
of violence, intimidation
and poll fraud.
The European Union and the
United States responded by imposing a travel
embargo on Mugabe and members
of his inner circle, which remains in place to
against MugaZANU-PF "a betrayal"
Mugabe told would-be voters in
Chitungwiza it would be a betrayal to him and
his party if they voted for
"If you reject these people you would have betrayed me,"
Mugage told about
5,000 supporters and schoolschildren, introducing his
party's candidates in
the upcoming polls. "You would have betrayed
The ruling Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front
seats in all major towns in the country's last parliamentary
Mugabe, who has travelled across Zimbabwe drumming
up support for his party,
donated 50 computers to 10 schools in the
Chitungwiza, home to about two million mainly poor people, is
perennial problems of poor housing, transport and high
town was meant for 30,000 people when it was built in the
late 1970s, but
the population has swelled over the years.
Mugabe rebuked opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, of the
Democratic Change (MDC), saying he was a "sorcerer" who has
with the country's former coloniser Britain to topple his
"Tsvangirai ... in broad daylight you walk hand-in-hand with
whites whom we
defeated when we went to war with them," he said.
and night you go to Blair and Blair himself has said that he is working
the MDC to effect what he calls regime change.
"Now don''t you see you
are being used ... you are stabbing your own heart
with a knife ...
Mugabe has dubbed the March 31 polls "the anti-Blair
vote" and vowed to
crush the MDC that he accused of working in league with
Zimbabwe won independence from
Britain in 1980 after a seven-year liberation
elections will be closely watched as a test of Harare's
commitment to adhere
to regional principles on the conduct of free and fair
Concerts, marches at Zim border
Posted Sun, 13 Mar
Protesters gathered at the South African and Zambian border posts
Zimbabwe on Saturday for concerts, marches, and protests against
of people in that country.
The streets of Musina were
filled with thousands of toyi-toying marchers on
Saturday afternoon, said
Hassen Lorgat, spokesperson for the South African
Organisation Coalition (Sangoco).
"Black people in southern Africa are
taking a stand against people who are
against liberation," he said from the
The marchers planned to head back to the Skoonplaas stadium for a
and all-night vigil.
"Symbolic" marching was also taking
place at the Victoria Falls border post
in Zambia, said David Kalete,
Civicus, and the international citizen
Speaking to Sapa from the scene, Kalete said authorities
had restricted the
march to less than 200 people, but the concert grounds in
were "extremely crowded".
"There are thousands of
people gathered there."
The events, organised by civil society groups in
both countries, were
supposed to have been mirrored by events in Zimbabwe
and Mozambique, but the
governments of those countries refused permission,
"Positive vibe for democracy"
The protesters were
uncowed, however. "It is essentially a positive vibe for
violence and intimidation. We hope that this vibe will
spread throughout the
subregion," said Lorgat.
Saturday's proceedings were to protest against
the "abuse of fundamental
rights and closure of civic space" in Zimbabwe,
the press statement said.
Local musicians, poets and gospel singers were
on the programme at both
concerts, after which there would be an overnight
Sangoco supports the Congress of SA Trade Unions, which staged the
a number of similar protests at the Beit Bridge border post last
This event, however, only gathered a few hundred
South Africa's side of the event was organised by Amnesty
Sangoco, Civicus, and other civic bodies.
Church building torched in Marondera violence
MARONDERA - Despite official denials, political violence
continued in the
early hours of Saturday last week, when a building at the
Church, was torched by suspected Zanu PF
Ian Kay, the MDC candidate for Marondera East, provided
assistance when the
building was constructed.
Kay is challenging the
Minister of Defence, Sydney Sekeramayi, on 31 March
in the battle to
represent the constituency in Parliament.
Residents from Mupazviriho
village alleged that Zanu PF supporters were not
happy that locals were
worshiping at a church built with the assistance of
an MDC official and
particularly a white one.
In addition, the villagers said the church's
links to retired Bishop Abel
Muzorewa was being used by Zanu PF supporters
as an excuse to harass the
Muzorewa is a retired
Bishop of the United Methodist Church and was a
political foe of President
Robert Mugabe, particularly during the first
decade of independence. He led
the United African National Congress (UANC).
A house used as a kitchen by
the head of the congregation, Pastor Nyasha
Kazembe, had its roof gutted by
fire. Kazembe, who was away on business has
not returned to his flock amid
reports that he now fears for his life.
Munorwei Mubvuma, an eyewitness,
said the church had on numerous occasions
been linked to the opposition MDC
because of the assistance it received from
He said on Saturday
last week, Pastor Kazembe asked him to guard the church
In the early hours of Sunday morning, he heard voices, calling
priest to come out. He did not respond as he did not recognise the
outside. He only went outside to investigate after he saw the kitchen
A few yards from the church, a house belonging to, Isaac
Rosemary Katutu, who was sleeping in
the second house told The Standard that
she was fast asleep when the house
was torched. "The three of us managed to
salvage a few belongings before the
roof collapsed,"she said.
By Kumbirai Mafunda
national currency, the Zimbabwe dollar, has crashed down to a new
against major trading currencies on the nascent parallel market as it
emerged that the number of bids at the foreign currency auction last week
swelled to a record 5 488.
The Zimdollar was on Thursday changing
hands at $13 500 to its US
counterpart, $23 000 to the pound sterling, $2
500 to the South African rand
and $3 000 to the Botswana Pula.
and bankers say the latest fall in the Zimdollar was largely caused
private sector demand for foreign currency to import raw
Despite the Zimdollar's free fall on the thriving parallel
central bank remains unmoved and the local unit is still trading
at $6 065
against the greenback, $11 660,32 for the pound sterling, $1
the rand and $1 377 against the pula on the
Economic analysts were unanimous to StandardBusiness saying that
falls in the Zimdollar are inevitable given the poor outlook for
main exports - tobacco, maize and minerals. The continued slide
dollar on the parallel market, the only viable source of foreign
the moment since government coffers have ran dry, is bound to
add to more
woes for Zimbabwe's long suffering masses.
At the RBZ's
twice-weekly auctions, worried company executives were reported
putting through multiple bids through various bankers in a desperate
to maximise their chances of getting the scarce foreign currency
In the auctions held by the RBZ since the end of
February, the amount of
bids at each auction have been increasing mirroring
firms' mounting crave
for foreign currency.
"There is a mess up with
bids," said an insider at the RBZ's currencies and
markets division. "A lot
of companies are banked with quite a number of
banks and they are using
Bids for hard currency have since February 24 been
steadly increasing. On
February 28th, 3 206 bids were lodged and bulged to 4
393 at the March 3rd
auction. Tenders submitted by 16 of the participating
banks rose on Thursday
to 6 247 from Monday's 5 488.
"Demand is very
high," said one leading dealer, refusing to shed more light
The central bank introduced a controlled foreign currency auction
January 2004 in a bid to narrow extreme differences between the
The auctions were aimed at bolstering
foreign exchange inflows to the
official market and eradicating the parallel
market, which had been blamed
in part for skyrocketing inflation but the
system has since failed to rein
in the illegal trade in hard
Although the total amount of bids reached US$145 495 948,87 at
auction, only US$11 million was allotted. Since February 24 the
amount has been static while the bids have increased as the auction
A banker with a leading financial
institution confided to StandardBusiness
that the multiple bidding by firms
was actually driven by desperate company
executives keen to sustain their
"It is a survival strategy," he said.
the RBZ's deputy division chief in the currencies and markets
refused to entertain enquiries on the charges of multiple
central bank sources say the authorities are not merely
watching from the
"The authorities are aware of it (multiple bidding) and Gono
has said it in
one of our meetings," the source said.
Eric Bloch, an
economic analyst and adviser to Reserve Bank Governor Gideon
Gono, urged the
government to mend its badly impaired image abroad for
Zimbabwe to realise
an improvement in foreign currency inflows.
"As long as there is more
demand for foreign currency the parallel exchange
rate will move up. That is
inevitable," says Bloch.
"We should repair our international relations
instead of frightening away
non-governmental organisations (NGOs)," Bloch
added in reference to the
government's strong threats to ban some NGOs.
Harare voters scoff at Mugabe plea
HARARE voters have scoffed at President Robert Mugabe's recent
they reconsider their support for the opposition Movement for
Change (MDC) and instead turn to the ruling Zanu PF.
snap survey conducted by The Standard last week established that most
residents blame Mugabe and Zanu PF for the country's economic
believe the country's salvation lies in a change of government.
usually uses funerals as a political platform from which to
critics and political opponents, begged Harare residents to
and vote for Zanu PF during the 31 March Parliamentary
Speaking at the burial of the Governor and Resident
Minister of Harare
Province,Witness Mangwende, Mugabe said the people of
Harare had sold out by
voting for the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) in the 2000
"In Harare, if you had
changed and said you now belonged to (British Prime
Minister Tony) Blair,
you should change again," Mugabe told thousands of
mourners at the National
"You are Zimbabweans... you belong to Zimbabwe, which was
brought by the
blood of our heroes lying here and others scattered
throughout the country.
Should we give it away to sell-outs here in Harare?
This is our capital
city. You are sons and daughters of revolutionaries...
What wrong have we
done you? Harare ... think again, think again, think
again," Mugabe pleaded.
But most people who spoke to The Standard last
week were not impressed by
Timothy Banda of
Chitungwiza said the pleas by Mugabe were just a desperate
attempt by the
ruling party to try and win back the urban electorate's vote.
"How can we
vote for a party which has presided over the collapse of the
have destroyed the employment sector, there are no factories
and no jobs.
Transport costs have sky-rocketed while the health and
including many other sectors of our economy have
The opposition MDC won all the seats in Harare during the hotly
2000 Parliamentary elections. Since its formation in 1999, the MDC
become the biggest threat to ruling Zanu PF's hold on
Sunningdale resident and secondary school teacher, Loveness
Chiromo, said no
matter how much the Zanu PF leadership grovelled before the
electorate, they would never win back the hearts of Harare
She said in the early years of independence, Zanu PF had
offered a lot of
hope but the euphoria of attaining independence had worn
out with the
emergence of corruption, cronyism and the systematic
destruction of a once
"It would almost be impossible
for Zanu PF to win in Harare. People have
been enlightened. Zanu PF has
failed to improve the lives of the people over
the past 25 years and I think
they have had their chance," she said.
Tariro Shumba of Zengeza also
shared the same sentiments. "I don't think the
people of Chitungwiza and
Harare will ever vote for Zanu PF. If the
situation remains like it is right
now, the MDC is going to win all the
seats in urban areas as happened in
MDC candidate for Zengeza, Goodrich Chimbaira, said Zanu PF had
people wanted change. "The people are fed up. Their lives have
over the years because of Zanu PF. The MDC is their last hope,"
This year's general elections come at a time when all
social and economic
sectors have virtually collapsed including a struggling
economy, a health
delivery system that is on its knees, rising unemployment
and serious food
Dennis Mlambo of Mabvuku believes that
unlike the 2000 general elections
when people went out in their numbers to
vote, this year's elections are
likely to be marred by voter
But not all the people heard Mugabe's plea, with others saying
surprised he made such a statement
The MDC recently
predicted that they now had more that 30 safe seats before
even going to the
polls and were working towards winning another 30 for them
to attain a
two-thirds majority in Parliament.
Police detain MDC supporters as campaign rallies
By our own staff
HILDA Mafudze, the MDC candidate for
Manyame, last night reported that
nearly 50 MDC supporters were detained by
police after being beaten up by
war veterans at Tongogara
Tongogara Park is home to illegally settled war veterans and
Mafudze told The Standard last night that more than thirty MDC
were at Marimba Police Station while another 20 were taken to
"The so-called war veterans said Tongogara Park was a no- go area,"
President Mugabe held a rally at nearby
In Chinhoyi more than 3 000 people thronged Orange Groove
motel for the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) campaign rally where the
president, Morgan Tsvangirai, addressed supporters.
was held at the motel after they were frustrated from using
"For us to be in power everyone has to vote so that we get as
in parliament as possible to fight the undemocratic laws like
the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
Mugabe holds a rally, he alleges that I work with Tony Blair and
WBush but he forgets that he is the one using a British constitution.
high time that Zimbabweans came up with our own constitution and that
only possible through change."
From Chinhoyi Tsvangirai travelled to
Chegutu where he addressed more than
15 000 supporters.
Chamisa the Member of Parliament for Kuwadzana, who also addressed
members, blasted the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings for distorting MDC
whenever they covered the opposition party's rallies.
held another rally at Zengeza Four High School in
Chitungwiza that was
attended mainly by school children, Zanu PF women's
league members and
He donated 50 computers that will be distributed to five schools.
secondary schools that received the donations are: St Mary's; Zengeza
1; Zengeza High 4; Seke High 1; and Seke 5.
on British Prime Minister, Blair and Tsvangirai whom he
He said the government had deliberately left out western election
and invited pro-Zanu PF Americans Coltrane Chimurenga and Sister
Plummer - known for being Zanu PF praise singers.
"We did not
invite the whites, with their white faces to observe our
"Instead we invited our friends from America to observe
the elections for
us," Mugabe said.
He confirmed that Zanu PF was
going through several crises characterised by
in-fighting, factionalism and
The rally was also attended by Zanu PF candidates from
them Christopher Chigumba, and Sabina Mangwende from Glen
Mpofu accused of intimidating voters
By our own
BULAWAYO - Two weeks before the general elections,
Governor, Obert Mpofu, is reportedly intimidating
resettled villagers in the
Nyamandhlovu area telling them that they risk
losing their land if they vote
for the Movement for Democratic Change
Nyamandlovu falls under Umguza constituency, which Mpofu wants to
The Standard has learnt that posters for the MDC
candidate for Umguza
constituency, Jacob Thabane, were being removed from
trees and buildings by
Zanu PF supporters.
Thabane beat Mpofu during
the 2000 general elections and the two will lock
horns again at the end of
Contacted for comment, Mpofu said: "Ngikutshelile ukuthi
lawe, uyagula yini? (I have told you that I do not want
to talk to you. Are
you mad?" Mpofu said before switching off his
Thabane alleged his campaign posters were being removed by
suspected Zanu PF
supporters. "My campaign posters are also being torn by
people whom I know
are from Mpofu's camp and we have made a report to the
police in Insuza.
This shows that the elections will not be free and fair,"
A villager resettled in the Nyamandlovu area under the land
told The Standard that Mpofu threatened them during his
that those who vote for the MDC would be kicked out of
because they were opposition supporters.
that the government is the one which gave us land and can take
it away if we
vote for the MDC," added the villager.
Mpofu's campaign team is also
accused of going around Ntabazinduna area in
Umguza constituency asking for
identity particulars from villagers in what
the country's main opposition
party, described as intimidation of voters.
Villagers accused Zanu PF
teams of posing as workers of non- governmental
names of those in urgent need of food aid.
Elizabeth Hadebe, from Khahlu
Village near Mbelesini Dam, said she was
approached by a Zanu PF campaign
team led by a Mrs Mthimkhulu and Timothy
Dube last and were asked to produce
their identity documents but refused.
Msika scuttles Bulawayo's bid to recover $97million
our own staff
BULAWAYO - Vice President Joseph Msika has thwarted efforts
by the Bulawayo
City Council to recover $97 billion owed by residents, the
and government departments, after he warned the municipality
disconnecting water supplies.
Addressing Zanu PF supporters
at Ndwande Secondary School in Bulawayo last
week, Msika warned the city
council against disconnecting water supplies. He
said the government would
not allow the local authority to disconnect water
City Council has embarked on an exercise to disconnect water
residents and organisations in arrears.
Msika's statements are believed
to be an attempt to win votes for Zanu PF,
which performed dismally in
elections, held since 2 000 after the formation
of the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) in 1999.
Since 2 000, Bulawayo residents have
voted in favour of the MDC in general,
Presidential and municipal
"I want to warn the Bulawayo City Council and ZESA to desist
dirty tricks. I am going to see to it that there are no water
"I really know that the enemy has directed its
efforts towards Matabeleland
because it thrives on the politics of divide
and rule," said Msika, who
accused the Bulawayo City Council of having a
Surprisingly, Msika has not meddled in the affairs of
like Harare, whose commission has been disconnecting
water supplies to
residents and organisations in arrears.
city treasurer, Middleton Nyoni, was defiant, saying the
continue disconnecting water supplies to residents and
He said water disconnection was the most effective
way of ensuring residents
and the corporate world paid up.
have routine water cuts in order to encourage payment.
water supplies is the only effective way of making
residents and the
corporate world comply with payment demands," Nyoni said.
residents and the corporate world owe the council more than $71
while the government has a ballooning debt amounting to $26
Recently, the Bulawayo Executive Mayor Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube
government ministries and residents asking them to pay for water
face water cuts.
Death costs everyone's 'funeral'
DEATH is supposed to rally people together, uniting them in grief.
current hardships are redefining how Zimbabweans mourn their loved
Outside a Harare funeral parlour, people with faces clearly worn
grief stood impatiently. They were waiting to collect the body of a
who died earlier that day, before heading for the rural areas where
burial was to take place.
"We lost our sister this morning and we
have been running around processing
the relevant documents. Once we get the
body, we're heading straight for
Hurungwe, where we will bury her tomorrow,"
explained Dorothy Hamandishe.
She said the rushed arrangements to bury
the deceased as soon as possible
were necessitated by the need to avoid
escalating funeral costs.
"I hupenyu hwacho hwaoma (Life is hard these
days). We are trying to cut
costs because we have many bills to settle which
include the hospital bills,
funeral expenses and the upkeep of the children
who have been left behind,"
This is not an isolated case in
today's Zimbabwe, where prices of virtually
everything are rising on a daily
basis. For many, a sudden death in the
family poses a daunting dilemma to
meet the unbudgeted expenses which can
run into several millions of dollars.
This in addition to the daily struggle
to make ends meet under the current
harsh economic environment.
With funeral expenses soaring and food prices
skyrocketing daily, most
families can no longer afford to keep mourners
gathered at their homestead,
a common practice in the past.
traditional custom the body of the deceased is supposed to spend a
his/her home before burial.
While the bereaved families grapple with the
costs of hosting a funeral,
there is yet another dimension to the problem.
Some township lay-abouts have
earned themselves a reputation as "free
loaders" on account of their
propensity to sniff out a funeral and join in
the mourning assured of a free
plate of sadza and, sometimes a few drinks
particularly if it is the
communally quaffed chibuku beer.
colleague once related an incident during which a "mourner" at his
grandmother's funeral, after a few drinks, suddenly asked who had died. It
turned out that the man, who had no idea who the funeral was for, was
passing by when advent of the funeral presented him with the opportunity of
a free meal and drinks.
In some instances employers and funeral
assurance policies have provided
some relief for the bereaved although this
option has not been spared the
When Norah Chemhere
died, her relatives believed that her employer, a
horticultural exporter and
the National Social Security Authority (NSSA)
would bear the bulk of the
funeral expenses. But her employer said despite
working several years, she
was a contract worker and was therefore not
entitled to anything. NSSA
offered less than $20 000. At that point her
relatives gave up. Her funeral
was a pitiful sight.
A visit to funeral parlours in Harare last week
revealed that burial
patterns have changed drastically due to escalating
costs of funeral
It costs between $170 000 and $200 000 a
day to keep a body in a mortuary,
while coffins range from $270 000 to $5
Although dressing of the body, consultation fee and coffin lace
compulsory they cost up to $1,2 million. As a result, most families
collecting the bodies of their loved ones as soon as possible in order
avoid incurring huge costs.
An official with Vineyard Funeral
Services confirmed that families were
trying hard to cut burial costs. "Once
they see that their relative is
terminally ill and realise there is no hope
of survival, they take him or
her to the rural areas because transporting a
corpse is more expensive. If
the person dies at the rural home they do not
incur as much costs as they
would if the person dies away from the final
resting place," he said.
An official with Doves-Crocker Morgans Funeral
Services said only those with
relatives in the Diaspora and "the well-to-do"
in the country could afford
to keep the deceased for a couple of days in the
"The rest are burying their loved ones within a day or two,"
official, who refused to identify himself.
spoke to scores of people who all expressed concern at the
Lawrence Gweru, from Harare's Westlea suburb, said
families could no longer
afford to feed mourners for a couple of days due to
prohibitive costs. "This
has led people to burying their relatives a day
after death or if they are
to be buried at their rural homes, the body
transported on the same day of
death," he said.
Sekuru Gudyanga of
Highfield echoed the same sentiments: "Because of
poverty, people can not
feed hundreds of mourners for many days. People
expedite the documentation
and paper work so that they bury the deceased the
next day after
Rudo Ndlovu, who was outside Moonlight Funeral Services, said:
rate is just too high. As employees we can not stay at funerals
absent from work for more than one day because each month one attends
number of funerals such that productivity is reduced."
Primrose Chinembiri from Warren Park said that burial proceedings
changing due to the high cost of living. "The close relatives want to
over with the job as soon as possible and after the burial they expect
mourners to disperse. Years back mourners would stay for weeks
each other, and to receive others coming to convey their
(vanozobata maoko) "
It now costs more than Z$700 000 to feed about 100
mourners for the whole
day, but costs vary with the number of
However on the other side of the economic divide, wealthy
been known to spare no expense in holding lavish funerals
friends and relatives.
Stories are told of the death of
a notorious criminal whose funeral caused
the closure of whole street in
Harare's sprawling Mbare suburb. It is said
millions of dollars were spent
on food and drinks for mourners to say
nothing of the expensive casket in
which the man was buried.
Campaign posters blight Harare city
THREE years after the Presidential elections, campaign posters
President Robert Mugabe holding his fist in the air as if
everyone in sight, remain plastered all over the city as does
those of a
smiling Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for
Anyone seeing these posters together with an
array of new faces of aspiring
members of parliament campaigning for the 31
March elections, must wonder
how the system works - old posters and new
bills carrying their sometimes
conflicting political messages both in time
In addition, the weekly musical shows and the gospel
crusades around the
capital have left the streets festooned with tonnes of
formerly referred to as the Sunshine City, has increasingly
lost its shine
in mountains of uncollected rubbish while buildings and
security walls ar
covered in ubiquitous political graffiti and election
The Harare Central Constituency, which also includes the Central
District, (CBD) is arguably one of the most affected by the
campaign posters that are pasted on walls but no body seems
to care whether
or not they are removed after they have served their
Independent candidate for Harare Central, Margaret Dongo
concurred that the
city had become unsightly as people and organisations
continued to paste
posters all over the city while there was no follow up
action to remove the
posters after the event.
"It is the
responsibility of the council to clean up and remove all expired
"I see nothing wrong with the council coming up with a
by-law that compels
people who put up posters to remove them afterwards, "
A spokesperson for Environment Africa, which monitors
June Muchemenyi-Nazare, said the random pasting of
posters on walls and
buildings had contributed towards wiping off the
glamour away from the face
of the capital.
"A lot of individuals and
institutions are putting up posters around the
city but they do not make
follow ups to remove them when the advertised
Muchemenyi-Nazare said litter caused by posters was a growing
many cities in the country. "The other problem is that most
people use glue
to stick posters to walls and trees and this makes it very
"On 5 June, the United Nations Environment
Programme (UNEP) will be
commemorating World Environment Day and the
emphasis will be on clean
cities." The theme will be: Green Cities-Plan for
African countries commemorated Africa Environment Day on
Friday with the
theme: Clean Cities-Lets Plan for them.
spokesperson for the Harare City Council, Leslie Gwindi, said the
had a cleaning department responsible for removing posters.
designated areas where people are allowed to put up posters. If
them up at undesignated areas we will just remove them."
hostile when pressed to explain why posters from the 2002
still around if they had a department responsible for
cleaning up the
When asked to mention the designated points for the benefit of the
residents, Gwindi said he could not do so at the
Movement for Democratic Change spokesman, Paul Themba-Nyathi, said
constraints had stalled the clean up exercise of removing campaign
from the 2002 presidential elections. "We have cleaned up most parts
country but Harare has been a problem because of financial
will certainly try to remove all our posters after the
because putting up campaign material defaces our cities
and our countryside
and makes them very ugly," Themba-Nyathi
Zanu PF secretary for education, Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, who is a
member, said political parties needed to develop a culture of
for their surroundings. "Right now we have people spraying
the roads while others are using glue to paste their posters
cities, making our beautiful cities very ugly.
must be responsible for removing their posters," he said.
Political violence - one case is one too
THE government never learns. The way to deal with a crisis is
pretend it does not exist because that does not cause it to
For the greater part of last week, the government devoted its
attempts to dismiss reports of a surge in violence ahead of the
Its own assessment, the government
asserted, was that there was "general
calm and peace" in the country. Anyone
holding a contrary view was denounced
as an unrepentant merchant of fear,
alarm and despondency.
Police Commissioner, Augustine Chihuri, poured
scorn on the reports saying
they were appearing with "increasing and
His explanation: "It could be for political
expediency that peddlers of such
information sacrifice fact for fiction .
It, therefore, remains wishful
thinking by such pen-pushers, who would
rather have anarchy than peace and
What is tragic about
the response is that it is illustrative of an official
confront reality even when it's staring them in the face. In
they come out with some of the most bizarre of explanations.
Yet the only
sense Chihuri's assertion makes is if it is juxtaposed to
statistics on the
level of violence witnessed during the 2000 and 2002
presidential polls respectively.
Sometime last month, President Mugabe
and the Police Commissioner declared
zero tolerance to violence during the
run-up to this month's general
elections. What in normal circumstances that
means is that no violence would
be countenanced. Period. No, Mr Police
Commissioner, one more case of
violence is one too many. The people of this
country deserve peace in order
for them to freely and fairly decide their
choice of who to represent them
The point that the
government missed is that the reports were designed to
help in identifying
areas that required investigating. By Friday, the point
seemed to have
filtered through, because a Police Elections Committee on the
violence had been put in place.
The establishment of the Committee,
headed by Senior Assistant Commissioner
Mary Masango, is in itself an
admission that violence does exist and will be
encountered as part of the
But as happens with all attempts to wish away reality,
by Friday the police
were admitting there have been 56 cases of violence
since January involving
the arrest of 172 people.
duties are about law enforcement and if conditions were normal
be taken care of under normal duties of the security agencies.
pointless to set up a committee to monitor a non-occurrence.
government must not repeat the mistakes that Ian Smith made throughout
1970s and 1980, when he and his advisers believed blacks were naïve and
would be converted to his regime's cause by the simple fact of feeding them
a diet of propaganda.
People in areas where violence is being
perpetrated are witnesses to the
violations of people's rights and no amount
of attempts at whitewashing or
intimidating those who expose the deficit
pronouncements and actions will render violent
If anything, what last week's drama helped to
reinforce is the necessity for
other independent groups of people to come
and assist in monitoring the
levels or absence of violence and help in
holding the government accountable
for its failures.
It is also for
this reason that it would have been helpful if the stillborn
human rights platform were active, because eventually they would
be able to
document cases of victims of violence treated by members of the
Anyone against the establishment of such a grouping of medical
could only be opposed to their existence because they would be
exposure. Evil deeds thrive in the dark - away from the glare of
scrutiny. Anyone acting in the interest of fairness and justice would
welcome any attempts at exposing any shortcomings in the system because this
provides the first step in addressing the problem.
In 2000 and 2002
law enforcement agents refused to deal with numerous cases
of violence even
where the perpetrators of the abuses were known, identified
and located. In
some instances the courts actually ordered police
murderers of Elliot Pfebve in Bindura, Talent Mabika and Tichaona
in Buhera, David Stevens in Macheke and Gloria and Martin Olds in
Nyamandhlovu were identified, yet many of them still roam the countryside,
free and uncensured.
The existence of violence cannot be wished away.
It is the resolve to act
against any cases of violence that will bring it
The government's panicky reaction demonstrates that they
are fully cognisant
of the impact and consequences of an election held
against the backdrop of
violence, in particular in circumstances where it
has shown reluctance to
allow outsiders to come in and observe the process.
Perhaps it knows the
truth and the cost of allowing that truth to gain
In the final analysis it is the people on the ground who know
happening and the truth will eventually come out despite attempts to
When reports of people dying of hunger in Bulawayo appeared
newspaper, there were angry and shrill denials from the government,
it established the truth. Those denials have not altered
When the country suffered from acute shortages of fuel, the
response was first to deny there was a fuel crisis. Instead of
reality, it chose to indulge in fantasy, suggesting sabotage and
the high seas.
Facts and reality have a stubborn way of
It would be more helpful if the government spent its
time, energy and
resources in doing things right first. Then it would not
need to waste time
in acts of self-deception.
OTT bows out - bye bye!
overthetop By Brian
NOTHING lasts forever, but now Over The Top has gone over the top
reached the end of the line. An unceremonious and hurried departure from
land of my ancestors sees OTT shivering in the cold of Harare North,
Some of you may have heard of our flight from the forces of Zany
order." Facing imminent arrest, three upstanding Zimbabwean hacks,
nothing more than plying our honest craft, spent Valentine's Day in
company of some very sarcastic policemen. They vowed we were off to
Four raids in two days, illegal searches and endless threats persuaded
that it would be safer elsewhere. So did our lawyer.
Home, be it the
loveliness of the troubled central African regime or the
simple ease of life
in Avondale, was removed instantly. Now one of our
number is kicking his
heels in Lusaka, another in Cape Town and me in Unit
K. Nothing could be
sadder, except a drawn out stint in a fetid, disease
ridden cell for
committing the crime of journalism.
Still, other charges were also
threatened. Spying being the most obvious,
because anyone who isn't a Zany
party supporter can be accused of being a
spy. Publishing material likely to
be detrimental to the State was another
charge laid at our feet. Of course,
we wouldn't have written anything
detrimental to the State had the State not
committed numerous acts of
blinding stupidity that were . detrimental to the
The last, truly laughable, charge was economic crimes. Three
journos, barely able to afford lunch, were accused of
economic well being of the country.
It would be
stupid, of course, to look too closely at those people who have
destroyed a once prosperous economy, who have destroyed agriculture,
the banks and made the Zim dollar the laughing stock of bankers from
Town to Cairo. No, that wouldn't do, because it is far easier to blame
local journalists, plodding away in a rundown office in the Avenues,
But then so very little makes sense in the troubled African
police State. So
very, very little.
Being evicted from one's own
country is an ignominious business, but not
unusual these days. It has
happened to many and will happen to many more.
Still, the regime achieved
less than nothing. In these days of digital
media, it's as easy to report
the wrong doings of the Zany Party, and the
excesses of war vets and green
bombers, from outside as it is inside the
troubled central African banana
republic. Apart from a glitch of a very few
days while we were on the road,
the coverage has continued as it did from
our little office. Life on the
front line can be wherever you choose to make
So. the pompous
posturing of certain cretins at the alleged Media
Commission, not to mention
the insane rants of oleaginous slime balls like
George C have made no
difference at all. We carry on - and one day when
freedom comes, we will
return home to watch cowardly sycophants like those
who drove us out being
hanged by their thumbs on First Street. It will be a
In the meantime, we seek cold comfort where we can, confident at
the rot at home will consume itself in good time.
sad having to end this weekly jibe at authority, sadder still, sadder
words can say, to leave home and family. No doubt someone will carry on
where Over The Top stops. I sincerely hope so.
Let's compile dossier on corrupt
I felt the need to write in order to warn the rest of the
country, on why
our once outstanding police force can no longer be relied
upon. My father,
who unfortunately is now late, was a policeman and a very
proud man he was.
Lack of professionalism has become a common practice. I
have had a brush
with the law and witnessed incidents, which I will relate
A friend tells me that rape is on the increase because most cases
to the police are not being recorded and dockets opened. Instead,
victims are lectured to, called names such as "slut" and then advised
The second incident was when I was going home late from
work. I was stopped
at a roadblock by a police officer, who appeared tipsy.
I had not been aware
that my brake lights were not working. I was shouted at
during the hour-long
ordeal. He kept coming to me and asking how much I had
for the fine. Of
course, I told him I did not have any money.
this incident, I noted in the space of five days nine police vehicles
lights were defective.
The third incident was what I witnessed while
walking towards Angwa City. A
motorcade was about to pass when a vehicle
just managed to cross the road
before the first police officer on a
motorbike came down to clear the road
The next thing I
noticed was that one of the officers on a motorbike made a
U-turn and drove
up to the vehicle, which by now had come to a standstill.
hurled abuse at the driver and proceeded to slap him on the
face. I was
horrified and so were some of the onlookers. The assault was not
especially as the driver was not in any way obstructing the
The officer on the motorbike then called out to another
officer who was
controlling traffic at the intersection saying that he
should accompany the
driver to the police station and "sort him
I was ready to defend the poor driver but an onlooker advised that
would be "sorted out".
As I indicated, my father was a police
officer and he brought us up with
certain values. Where is the justicein all
I am afraid that if the MDC wins, it will have to remove every
police officer and replace them with men and women of integrity. In
do so, it needs to document all the corrupt cases and the officers
That is how it will be able to identify the culprits.
would also be helpful if members of the public began to compile such
where they happened, what the nature of the corruption or abuse of
were, who the officer in question was, who the victim was and the
They can send these to the MDC, which I hope will set up and
existence of a unit dealing with such cases.
I just hope that with all
the greed that has crept into our society, there
are still people we can
entrust with the duties of enforcing the law.
Madhuku should just shut up!
me space to comment on some of the recent remarks that were attributed
Lovemore Madhuku, the chairman of the once-vibrant NCA which, under his
leadership, has now become neither an assembly of individuals nor a national
I specifically want to respond to some of the recent
statements made by
Madhuku on the MDC, particularly regarding the decision
by the MDC to
participate in the forthcoming elections. Madhuku, like many
of his armchair
political activists who are fond of criticising without
alternatives, has argued that the MDC should have boycotted
elections and that by participating in the elections the
party would have
legitimised a flawed process.
On almost every occasion
he has had a chance to open his mouth, Madhuku has
not only tried to demean
the contributions of others in the fight for
democratisation but, through
his twisted reasoning, also tried to convince
every Zimbabwean that the only
solution to the country's current crisis of
governance lies in rallying
behind the NCA and its fight for the adoption of
In all his pontificating, what Madhuku has never bothered
to explain is how
the mere adoption of a constitution, written on a
dispensable piece of
paper, is supposed to solve a problem of a political
and economic nature as
In his warped logic, the struggle
against Zanu PF repression and corruption
is not a political struggle, but a
constitutional struggle. For his twisted
mind, it is not the political
culture of our country that is supposed to
change but simply the
constitution. To the Madhukus of this world, the fact
that of late
dictatorships have emerged even in countries like the US which
have one of the best crafted constitutions does not in any way
limitations of constitutional democracy.
That recently Africa witnessed
the arbitrary amendment of the country's
constitution in Togo by an elected
Parliament, working in cahoots with the
army, is a clear expose` on the kind
of weaknesses associated with
democracies guaranteed only by dispensable
pieces of paper rather than those
rooted in deep seated cultures of
More importantly, the fact that in the last five
years in this country
certain aspects of the constitution of the country has
been amended to meet
certain political agendas clearly show the dangers of
placing so much faith
in constitutional reform. What the Madhukus of this
world need to know is
what is now needed is a multi-pronged approach and not
one based on a
fixation with constitutional reform.
In a veiled
attack on the MDC which has been described by the government as
foreign-backed, Madhuku, on the occasion of his receipt of a $25 000 (Z$2,5
billion) award by the American organisation, The North Cote Parkinson Fund,
for his alleged bravery, also reportedly remarked that there is need for the
formation of a new organisation which does not look for outside
Yes, I fully agree with him that foreigners need not get
involved in our
internal problems as has been the case in US involvement in
Afghanistan and French involvement in Cote d' Ivoire. Outsiders
absolutely no right to weep more than the bereaved! Nor do they have
right to direct burial proceedings. Let the bereaved bury their dead and
they need assistance such assistance should only be rendered upon
However, what I find disgusting in Madhuku's case is that he
remark when he was nowhere near Zimbabwe but in far away America,
his "booty" from some dubious organisation for his alleged acts of
What kind of hypocrisy and double-standards is that?
when has the bravery and sacrifices of freedom fighters been rewarded
monetary terms? This award has finally exposed Madhuku for what he really
is: a publicity-seeking stuntman who has no personal ethics or political
morality. The very moment Madhuku accepted that reward he placed himself in
the same category as soldiers of fortune: the Simon Manns of this world. The
distribution of the booty, as explained by Jessie Majome, his spokesperson,
clearly confirms that Madhuku is a soldier of fortune. Madhuku and his
family, according to his spokesperson, was going to pocket a whopping Z$1,25
billion (half the amount) as a "reward for the sacrifice", while the
remaining was supposedly going to be shared among the other remaining
charlatans who include Madhuku's long-time friend Douglas Mwonzora, Majome,
Mudzengi and others.
University of Cape
109 cases of violence more than
I am intrigued by the statement made by the Police
Chihuri ostensibly to debunk the lead story in The
Standard issue of 6
The Police Commissioner says only 109
people had been arrested for
politically-related crimes, most of these not
of a serious nature.
But in a peaceful and calm environment, is just one
crime not one too many?
What is the ideal number
of of politically related crimes, never mind
whether it is the MDC to Zanu
PF that is responsible, that would cause
concern to the Police Commissioner,
especially that he and no less than
President Mugabe declared "zero
tolerance" of political violence.
And if indeed, 109 cases of political
violence have been recorded, can this
not be described as "Flare up of
violence" since this heading does not
quantify the number of incidents
I do not wish to indulge in semantics as Chihuri was obviously
doing, but I
think the police chief should pre-occupy himself with ensuring
that not even
a single case of violence or any other crime for that matter
instead of calling presss conferences to deny the
Chihuri should appreciate the old adage that you can foool some
people some of the time but you can not fool all the people all the
Tafataona Mahoso should be the next
AFTER the demise of the axeman, Jonathan Moyo, the
spotlight should focus on
his surviving sidekick, the hangman Tafataona
Mahoso has pursued his wayward path of closing down newspapers
impunity. What we have been subjected to under the aegis of this grand
man of yesteryear Marxism leads one to the inescapable conclusion that
is something rotten in Mahoso's mind.
His latest escapade has been
the closing down a few weeks ago of the
Bulawayo-based newspaper The Weekly
Times and the unwarranted attack earlier
on newly launched, The Zimbabwean,
a UK-based newspaper.
According to the Media and Information Commission
chief, The Weekly Times
had contravened Section 71(1) (a) of that obnoxious
law - the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa) by
focusing on political
reporting instead of so called developmental
journalism as indicated by the
publishers in their application to the Media
and Information Commission
Curiously, Mahoso reckons the
newspaper that was granted a licence was
different from the one which was
being published, because "instead of
development journalism characterised by
impartial reporting promised by the
publisher at the time of registration,
the paper was now dedicating itself
to partisan political
In my life I have heard many stupid things but in terms of
lack of reason I
cannot recall anything that beats this statement. This one
really takes the
biscuit! Mahoso went on to give examples of Moto magazine
and Catholic News
that carry Catholic church news and The Worker, which he
said reflected the
partisan views of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions
organisation he said was allied to the opposition MDC. He also
example of The Voice, which belongs to Zanu PF.
Ah - Mahoso!
- Are you sure about what you are saying. I thought you knew
about Moto. In
its heyday, Moto was rabidly anti-establishment to the extent
that to had
frequent run-ins with the government of Ian Smith.
The Voice, on the
other hand castigates MDC week in and week out. Did it
occur to Mahoso that
that is what it was going to do? Can he please close it
down citing Aippa?
What is the mandate, for example, of The Herald, The
Standard, The Financial
In any case, who is Mahoso to determine what should be published
Who is Mahoso, to be setting the parameters of what
Zimbabweans should read,
view or listen to? Freedom of the Press does not
belong to Mahoso. It
belongs to the people of Zimbabwe. Can you get any
other newspaper in this
country which is more partisan than The Herald? Come
on Mahoso. Think about
it. Why have you not moved against The Herald if what
what you are saying
You have been conducting an
unremitting campaign of destruction of the
independent media from day one -
how different are you from the oppressors
of yesteryear who closed down The
African Daily News and other publications
in the sixties and seventies? In
an ironic way, you have taken us back to
those tragic years. You have
forgotten nothing and learned nothing.
You have been promiscuous in your
selective application of Aippa. Like that
dinosaur Jonathan Moyo, you have
been corrupted by power. I cannot think of
anything that describes your
actions. more aptly than writer Rudyard
Kiplings' verdict: "Power without
responsibility - the prerogative of the
harlot throughout the
Other people have to pick up the pieces (not you) in the form of
unemployment, destitution etc. I want you to know that you have sentencing
fellow Zimbabweans to poverty and physical depravity for the past four
First it was The Daily News and The Daily on Sunday, then The
The Weekly Times. What next? What will it take to stop you in
How do you live with your conscience? Do you have one in the
The point must be forcefully made that these papers' patriotism
to Zimbabwe are certainly no less than yours or
And do not think that you are helping the ruling Zanu PF by your
conduct. You are actually doing a gross disservice not only to
but to the country as a whole. Ours is an information age. You
may kill the
messenger legally using a bad law but you cannot kill the
Ultimately, it will be counter-productive. It is not in the
government to have the Mahosos and Moyos of this world in their
Mahoso's actions are more damaging to the image of Zimbabwe,
making the work
of friendly countries trying to intervene in our crisis even
to say nothing of the collateral consequence of discouraging
Certainly, Mahoso alone has contributed so much to our
isolation that he deserve a special place in the hall of
Need I remind Mahoso and those of like mind that for a viable
thrive, ideas must compete in the market place for acceptance
We are facing parliamentary elections slightly over two weeks
from now and
it is pertinent to remind you Mahoso that vigorous public
exchange of information and opinions is an essential prelude
exercising their choices not only at election, but in the
participation that citizens or people must be able to enjoy in
The forthcoming elections are yet another landmark event for the
Zimbabweans who count on the media to give them more than one
from which to interpret issues and help them realize their hopes
Zimbabweans know the kind of news they want. The
electorate in this country
is certainly a more discerning and questioning
one than the evil duo of
Mahoso and Moyo would like us to believe. The test
of the strength of a free
and democratic society is its capacity to
undertake debate and accept honest
dissent. And the more information
channels available to the public, the
better and the freer the society. In
fact, I know of no government in the
whole wide world which has benefited in
the long run from closing down
It is not enough to say
that Zimbabwe has faithfully held elections every
five years. That is not,
by any stretch of imagination, a test of a true
democracy. It is the process
leading to that one-day election that is more
important. Regular elections
have taken place and are still taking place in
countries that are far from
being democracies. What constitutes full
democracy is the nature of the
environment prevailing in a given country,
the pre-election phase, the
election phase itself and the post-election
period. Merely pointing out to
1980, 1985, 1990, 1995 and the year 2000
leaving out the environment and
context in which they took place
particularly the 2000 one is to indulge in
a crafty twist of the truth.
We do not need Mahoso and his MIC to punish
newspapers. Readers can do that
by simply not buying the publications if
they deem them unworthy of their
time and money. Banning a newspaper is an
act not of triumph but of
desperation and defeat. In addition to their
well-being, Zimbabweans care
deeply about their freedom and democracy and
may take a terrible revenge
come 31 March upon those like Mahoso, who
It needs to be pointed out to
him that as journalists we are merely seekers
of the truth so that
government could be accountable.
Mahoso rightly belongs to the Stone Age.
We have nothing against him as a
person. It is what he is doing and
represents that we take issue with. The
key point to be made is that he has
no place in this modern world. He has
totally failed to read the sign of the
The sooner an epitaph is written of him the better it will be for
Bornwell Chakaodza is the Associate Editor of The
Daily News online edition
Games political parties play at election
Date: 13-Mar, 2005
LAST year, the ruling
party in Spain blamed a bomb blast which killed
many people on a train in
Madrid on the Basque separatist organisation, ETA.
An election was in the
offing and the party, its chances of re-election then
very slim, hoped the
strategy would confound the critics.
The opposite occurred: it
lost the election, after proof emerged that
an Islamic organisation had
committed the outrage.
In Zimbabwe today, Zanu PF has built up
a case against Tony Blair. So,
when there is a shortage of roller meal in
the supermarkets, they manage to
insinuate that Blair is to blame. How many
Zanu PF supporters will be
convinced, by 31 March, that all our economic and
political problems are due
to the machinations of Blair and his Labour
Blair made the unfortunate statement that "we are
working with the
MDC" towards a regime change in Zimbabwe without
assiduously Mugabe and Zanu PF would exploit it to make
their attacks on the
opposition party even more
At the time, Welshman Ncube, the MDC
secretary-general, said there
would be a regime change if his party won the
election through the ballot
box. If the MDC wins the 2005 elections, there
will be a regime change.
How Mugabe, as president of the
republic, will handle the change is
open to speculation. All of it could be
determined by the number of voters
who fall for the Zanu PF trickery of
blaming all their mistakes on Blair,
and the British in
In both the 2000 parliamentary and the 2002
Zanu PF used more or less the same strategy - and won
by the narrowest of
margins, if you consider their performance in previous
In both elections, the ruling party realised it
was losing popularity.
All the gospel of being the party which won
independence could no longer
sell the party.The reason? Like the voters of
Spain, the voters of Zimbabwe
had seen through the ruse.
The party which won independence could no longer sell itself to the
with that tattered card. Independence had been won, but its rewards
elusive to the majority.
If the people are given a real chance
to make their choice in the
ballot box, they might decide that Zanu PF has
failed to make independence
the heaven on earth that Mugabe and Zanu PF
promised them. This was long
before Blair came on the scene.
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
Poll violence: more arrested
issue date :2005-Mar-14
AT least four more people were on Friday
hauled before the courts in Harare
for allegedly engaging in pre-poll
skirmishes, as police fight to maintain
calm ahead of this month's
Two were charged under the Electoral Act while
another two faced robbery
In Glen View, Rice Musomeri (29), of
Glen View and Petros Johannes (49), of
Budiriro, in the company of five
others still at large, allegedly entered
the house of Sabina Mangwende, the
Zanu PF candidate in the constituency, on
At Mangwende's home,
they encountered Beauty Chirimuta and Melody Tsandukwa.
Mangwende's posters from the walls of her house and replaced
them with MDC
candidate and outgoing Member of Parliament Paul Madzore's.
left the premises and destroyed more of Mangwende's posters,
pasted around a Zesa kiosk outside the Mangwende residence, once
replacing them with 12 of Madzore's.
Earlier, on March 3, the duo allegedly
encountered one Chirimuta, Tsitsi
Kakora and Lucia Kakoza putting up the
ruling party's campaign posters at
Glen View 3 Shopping Centre.
accused the three women of carrying posters that were bringing
the nation, before they snatched the posters and destroyed
also allegedly threatened to assault any Zanu PF supporters in the
two, who were arrested on Wednesday, appeared before magistrate
Chipere on Friday and were not asked to plead.
Arguing for bail their lawyer,
Tendai Hangazha, argued that there was no
basis at law to deny them bail on
grounds that it was a pre-election period.
There was also no evidence to
show that they would interfere with witnesses.
He also said even if his
clients were to be convicted of the alleged
offence, a small fine was likely
to be imposed on them. Therefore, they were
not likely to
Initially, the State had opposed bail against the two arguing that
they would intimidate voters in the Glen View constituency, and
to interfere with witnesses since they were of different
The State further argued that Johannes was of no fixed
However, the investigating officer in the matter, Tongesai Nduna, said
had verified Johannes' address and the two were not likely to interfere
In the other incident, which also happened on Wednesday,
two unemployed men
from Sunningdale allegedly robbed an MDC supporter of $1
million cash after
stripping him of the MDC T-shirt he was wearing.
also took away his pair of shoes and a wristwatch.
Kenneth Muchakata (26) and
Kaitano Mangwiro (20) allegedly met the
complainant at Sunningdale 2
Shopping Centre, where they assaulted him for
wearing the MDC
Chipere remanded these two, who are facing robbery charges, in
Ndabezinhle Moyo prosecuted in both cases.
week, Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri said so far police had
67 Zanu PF supporters from 32 reported cases and 42 from the main
party, MDC from 17 reports received in the run-up to the March 31
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
Makwavarara blasts former MDC council
Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Mar-14
SEKESAI Makwavarara, the
chairperson of the commission running the affairs
of Harare, yesterday
blasted the then MDC-led city council for allegedly
misusing public funds at
the expense of the capital.
Speaking at congratulatory celebrations for
Vice-President Joyce Mujuru,
organised by the Harare Zanu PF province at the
City Sports Centre,
Makwavarara claimed that the previous council, in which
she was deputy
mayor, was corrupt.
She said: "Kanzuru yaivepo yaiva
neuori. Taidya mari yakawanda kwazvo.
Mudzuri aidaidzira kuti kutengwe doro
rakawanda, mawhisky, usiku humwe chete
rinosvika $3 million. (The previous
council was corrupt. We misused a lot of
money. Mudzuri would order
expensive beer and whisky, costing at least $3
million in a single night),"
Makwavarara also told the Vice-President that water problems
city had not spared her either, as currently there was no
water at the
mayoral mansion she moved into recently.In an interview with
Mirror, she said water woes at the imposing residence and its
a result of an ageing water network.
She said the city
spends $382 million daily on chemicals and has over $182
million in debts
spanning from 1992.
However, Makwavarara expressed hope that funds provided
recently to local
authorities by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), some of
such as potholes, non-working streetlights and poor water
"We hope to utilise the funds made
available to us meaningfully in order to
solve the current problems
experienced in the city," said Makwavarara.
The RBZ provided $1 trillion to
local authorities from which Harare will
Vice-President Mujuru said Harare's perennial problems, such as
street-children, tarnish the image of the country and challenged
Zanu PF to
come up with solutions.
She said as part of marking her first
100 days in office, she had come up
with a project to support land reform in
"I said I want to come up with something in the first 100 days
in office. We
have $50 billion to support agrarian reforms, some of which
channelled towards urban farming," Mujuru said.
that instability of the economy fuelled squabbling in
Harare province chairman, Amos Midzi, underscored the problems of
accommodation and electricity in Harare, Chitungwiza, Ruwa and
Midzi also emphasised the need for a strong campaign strategy
ahead of this
month-end's elections since Harare province was
Yesterday's celebrations were the last of the provincial bashes
Mujuru's ascendancy to the presidium of the party and
Celebrity Oliver Mtukudzi, who hails from Dande in the
province, Mashonaland Central, performed at the
At least 5 000 Zanu PF supporters from different constituencies
and Chitungwiza attended the celebrations at Harare City Sports
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
Harare City fails to remit tax to Zimra
Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Mar-14
Harare City Council has failed to remit tax to the
Authority (Zimra) on the set deadline.
The capital city, which is also facing
problems in remitting workers'
contributions to the National Social Security
Authority (NSSA), failed to
meet its obligations to Zimra last
According to minutes from the council's executive committee held on
28 2005, acting city treasurer Cosmas Zvikaramba said the council's
financial position was still precarious. This had resulted in Town House
failing to remit Pay As You Earn (PAYE) to Zimra by the set date - February
"The acting City Treasurer also reported that the city would
problems with Zimra after failing to remit PAYE to the authority
by the set
deadline of 16th February 2005. A substantial amount of VAT was
also due to
the authority. However, the acting City Treasurer had indicated
that the city was not in a position to pay the amount," read the
The Town Clerk, Nomutsa Chideya, also admitted that there were
prospects of success in the negotiations with Zimra.
committee sought clarification on the prospects of negotiations with
and Zimra in view of the prevailing financial position of council. The
Clerk advised that negotiations with Zimra were not feasible since the
authority had targets from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development
to meet," said the executive committee.
Last year, Zimra garnished the
local authorities' Standard Chartered Bank
account after the city council
failed to pay taxes, a situation that forced
council to pay salaries from
its Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe (CBZ) capital
Last month, the
city council failed to pay some of its employees on time
Creditors, some of them unpaid since last August, are now
demanding cash on
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
Zanu PF Province
ZANU PF held a campaign rally on
March 8 at Rutendo Hall in Mufakose
constituency, attended by about 1 500
Reverend Obadiah Musindo, of the Destiny for Africa Network, who was
officials who addressed the meeting, urged people to vote for Sabina
Thembani, the Zanu PF candidate for Mufakose.
He donated, through
Thembani, $55m and two bales of second-hand clothes to
the informal sector
and the underprivileged.
Musindo promised to donate two peanut butter making
machines to the
- Zanu PF officials in Matabeleland South held two campaign meetings
March 7 at Mulambapela and Mbizo Business centres in Gwanda constituency.
Abdenico Ncube, the party's candidate for the constituency, and Central
Committee member Moddy Mbasera, addressed the meetings.
the need for party supporters to turn out in large numbers
on March 31 and
vote for Zanu PF.
Ncube highlighted the ruling party's achievements in areas
of land reform,
gender equality and indigenisation of the
MASVINGO - Campaign rallies were held in several
districts in Masvingo to
drum up support ahead of the parliamentary
These were held in Chiredzi South, Gutu South and Masvingo Central
7, with average attendances of about 1 000 people.
the party's candidate for Chiredzi South, addressed the
called upon people to unite for the sake of the party. He castigated the
opposition MDC and independent candidates and implored the electorate to
In Gutu South, sitting MP Shuvai Mahofa chronicled the
projects she had
initiated in the constituency, such as construction of
roads, clinics and
schools as well as rural electrification.
Central, Zanu PF national youth executive member Andrew Ruzengwe
He called for a huge voter turnout by party supporters. Ruzengwe
the prevailing peaceful atmosphere ahead of the general elections
on members to intensify door-to-door
MASVINGO - MDC candidate for Masvingo
South, Green Gwatinyanya, is
distributing fliers in the constituency urging
people to vote his party into
power for employment creation and
resuscitation of social services.
The fliers castigate Zanu PF for the rising
cost of living, deteriorating
communications infrastructure and shortages of
On March 7, the MDC held two campaign meetings at Matasai
Bikita East constituency and Makuwaza Business Centre in
addressed by party candidate Edmore Marima and John Nyika, the
Bikita district chairman.
The meetings had average attendances of
about 50 people.
They urged people to vote for the MDC for the revival of the
promised free primary education.
The officials told
supporters to shun violence.
To complement its campaigns in Masvingo Central,
the MDC is also
distributing fliers in private letter-boxes.
outline the party manifesto's five major points and urge people
not to vote
for Zanu PF for the following allegations:
-that it was responsible for food
shortages in the country
-that it induced the current economic hardships
and high levels of
-that it is unperturbed by the crisis
in the health, education and transport
sectors and the HIV and Aids
-that it was responsible for the lawlessness in the country,
creation of a
biased judiciary and political instability.
nurtures a corrupt leadership bent on personal
NTABAZINDUNA - The Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) held two campaign
rallies at Singo Hall and
Chiefs Hall here, addressed by party provincial
people attended the rallies, which provincial executive members
Vundla and Sibobo Moses Moyo addressed.
They urged the people to vote for
MDC, castigating the government for
allegedly causing price hikes of basic
They promised that an MDC government would guarantee food
employment opportunities. The MDC candidate for the
Jacob Thabane, said Zanu PF is self-destructing as evidenced by
suspension of six provincial chairpersons over the Tsholotshlo
He predicted that the departure of former Minister of State for
and Publicity Jonathan Moyo would leave Zanu PF in a
MASVINGO - Independent Masvingo
Central candidate Silas Mangono is
distributing leaflets in the
constituency, explaining why he broke away from
the MDC to stand as an
He says in the fliers that:
- no MDC
primary elections were held in the constituency
Matutu, the MDC candidate, was imposed.
- he wanted to defend the seat from
Zanu PF and rejoin the MDC once
'Listen to our problems, Mr Mugabe'
2005 at 01:37PM
By Cris Chinaka
Zimbabwean voters told President Robert Mugabe about
their problems with
deteriorating public services at the start of his
campaign drive into the
opposition's urban stronghold on Saturday.
Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF
party lost most parliamentary seats in the
country's major towns to the main
opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) in general elections five
years ago, but has vowed to win them back in
a poll set for March
At a rally at the start of his campaign in urban areas on
Zanu-PF officials presented Mugabe with a list of pressing
said voters in the town of Chitungwiza south of Harare, and
wanted the government to solve.
faced a collapsed sewerage and transport system, water and
shortages and unrepaired roads, Zanu-PF's Harare provincial
There were also shortages of books in public schools
and medicines in
state-owned hospitals. Mugabe nodded in
"These are the problems here comrade president, but we
are saying to
the people we are going to solve all these issues," Midzi said
from about 4 000 people.
A group of school children
who also attended the rally staged a play
highlighting the deteriorating
Mugabe, 81, and Zimbabwe's sole ruler since the
country gained independence from Britain in 1980, denies
his government is
responsible for the problems in Chitungwiza, blaming the
MDC-controlled municipal council instead.
"I pledge that
we are going to attend to these problems, but you must
also pledge that you
are going to vote for us," he said in Zimbabwe's main
The labour-backed MDC says urban councils that it
controls have been
starved of money by Mugabe's government and denied rights
to borrow funds or
raise taxes to run efficient operations.
Political analysts say the MDC remains strong in urban areas where
have borne the brunt of a severe political and economic crisis
many critics on state mismanagement.
They are expected to retain
most of the urban parliamentary seats in
the March 31 vote, which many
analysts say is likely to be won overall by
also say Mugabe has failed to deliver on international
wide-ranging democratic electoral reforms, and has compounded
crisis with a set of cosmetic measures designed to keep his
Zanu-PF party in
The MDC accuses Mugabe of rigging both the 2000
parliamentary and the
2002 presidential elections, and says it will shock
his party with a
sweeping victory in the election.
'Mercenaries' count the hours until appeal
March 13 2005
By Fran Blandy
Johannesburg - The 62
alleged South African mercenaries and their
lawyer will be awaiting a
decision on the Zimbabwe government's application
for leave to appeal their
deportation to South Africa in the coming week.
Griebenow, who is back in South Africa, said there is no
indication of when
the decision would be made.
"Unfortunately you can't tell a judge
to hurry up," he said on Sunday.
The men received a four-month
reprieve on their sentences last
Wednesday following a successful
But their release was put on hold when Zimbabwe's
Sobuza Gula-Ndebele lodged an application for leave to
appeal against the
Supreme Court's reduction of the men's
If the application was granted then it would
suspend the men's
homecoming, however should it be denied then the men would
be in the same
position as they were last week, packing up to come home to
Griebenow was optimistic that the judge was aware of
the fact that the
men's freedom depended on his judgement and that he would
not delay the
Sixty-five of the original 70 men
arrested in March last year in
connection with an alleged coup d'etat plot
to topple the Equatorial Guinean
government remain in prison in
Two were acquitted, two more freed for medical reasons,
and one died
The group was arrested at Harare
International Airport when they
apparently landed to refuel and pick up
military equipment. - Sapa
DA calls for Zim sanctions
13/03/2005 19:18 -
Johannesburg - The breach of Southern African Development
protocol by Zimbabwe should trigger sanctions against it,
Alliance said on Sunday.
DA spokesperson Joe Seremane
said the country had breached the protocol by
excusing itself from failing
to invite the SADC parliamentary forum observer
mission to view its election
later this month.
"Zimbabwe cannot get away with a lie. It has
misrepresented the SADC
Parliamentary Forum as some sort of unofficial body
merely falling under
SADC," said DA spokesperson Joe
"Mugabe is punishing the SADC," he said, adding that the "South
department of foreign affairs was aiding and abetting this piece of
Seremane said ignoring the forum and pretending that it did
not exist was a
clear breach of the protocol.
"It is incorrect to
pretend that the forum, consisting of MPs from all of
the SADC countries was
of no account."
He said in a statement the protocol was accepted by all
SADC countries, who
enjoyed diplomatic immunity, including
He argued that the real reason why the forum was unwelcome in
because it was one of the few missions which declared that
previous election not free and fair.
"The South African
foreign affairs department is well aware of the
provisions of the protocol
and should not connive with Zimbabwe in breaching
"South Africa should be exerting pressure on Zimbabwe to comply by
belated invitation and receiving the observer mission," he
Vigil for Zim ends
13/03/2005 19:20 - (SA)
Thousands of protesters concluded an 18-hour vigil Sunday on the
African border with Zimbabwe to protest against mounting repression in
The protest featured poets, gospel singers and
other musicians, the Sapa
A candlelight vigil culminated
with a moment of silence at midnight, marking
a new beginning for Zimbabwe,
where key elections take place this month.
"We used music and poetry to
express our displeasure with what is happening
in Zimbabwe," Hassen Lorgat,
spokesperson for the South African National
Coalition, was quoted as saying.
"We just want clean and fair elections,
we are not supporting any political
The action follows
regional concern over President Thabo Mbeki's failure to
take a tough stand
against abuses in the neighbouring country, favouring
instead a policy of
The protest, organised by civil society groups in both
supposed to have been mirrored by events in Zimbabwe and
Mozambique, but the
governments of those countries refused permission, said
David Kalete, a
spokesperson for the organisers.
demonstration in the Zambian resort town of Livingstone, which
more than 5 000 people, also had to be called off for fear of a
Kalete told Sapa.
Mbeki was widely criticized for telling reporters
recently that Zimbabwe had
complied with all the regional protocols meant to
ensure fairness in its
March 31 parliamentary poll. Opposition leaders say
intimidation and violence have skewed the vote in
favor of the ruling party.
President Robert Mugabe, who has lead Zimbabwe
since the end of
white-minority rule in 1980, has increasingly cracked down
arresting opposition leaders, packing the courts with
sympathetic judges and
shutting down critical newspapers.
From SW Radio Africa, 12 March
We are still being
deliberately jammed - which obviously means that we're
doing a good job!
Please bear with us while we try to overcome this problem.
We now have a new
For the full three hours of
evening broadcasts (6pm to 9pm Zimbabwe time) we
will be on 3230 kHz in the
90 metre band.
For the first hour of evening broadcasts we will also be
on 6145 kHz in the
49 metre band.
And for the first hour of the
evening broadcasts we will also be on 11845
kHz in the 25m band.
We're broadcasting on 3 frequencies for the first hour each
Don't forget the short-wave and
medium-wave broadcasts between 5 am and 7 am
Zimbabwe time each the morning.
These are the frequencies to try:
Medium wave: 1197Khz
3230Khz in the 90 metre band
Daily News online edition
Zanu PF militia declares Bindura no-go
Date: 13-Mar, 2005
BINDURA - Political
violence has again raised its ugly head in
Mashonaland Central province as
Zanu PF militia, supported by the police,
have declared the province as a
no-go area for any opposition party.
The Movement for
Democratic Change provincial spokesman and
parliamentary candidate for Mt.
Darwin constituency, Henry Chimbiri, told
Daily News Online that two MDC
activists and himself had been the latest
victims of political violence in
He accused a councilor in the Bindura Town
Mtandadzi, Bindura mayor Martin Dinha and six other
councilors of assaulting
him during a nasty ordeal which resulted in him
being arrested by the
"The mayor and seven other
councilors who were attending a council
meeting locked us up in one of the
rooms at the council offices, alleging
that we were sell outs who needed to
be beaten thoroughly," Chimbiri
His ordeal started
when he visited the offices of the recently
established Zimbabwe Election
Commission (ZEC) for a briefing on the conduct
of candidates and their
"When we arrived at the government complex where ZEC is
based, we were
informed that the venue had been changed to the Bindura Town
chambers. We then dashed to the council offices, which are situated
metres from the government complex," he said.
arrival, they were locked up in one of the rooms and told that the
did not take kindly people who brought opposition politics into the
"We were only saved by the mayor, who said he did not
want people to
be killed at his offices. He then called the police, who came
us. We were charged under the Miscellaneous Offences Act for
conduct likely to provoke a breach of the peace," said
The three were ordered to pay admission of guilt
fines totaling $50
Efforts to get a comment from
the police spokesman, Assistant
Inspector Wayne Bvudzijena, proved fruitless
as his mobile phone was
switched off. Mayor Dinha did not return our call as
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe's police commissioner, Augustine
dismissed media reports that the police are selectively
applying the law
when dealing with issues related to political violence. At
conference on Wednesday, Chihuri said of those who had so far been
for politically motivated crimes, Zanu PF had 67 of their
the MDC had only 42.
the independent press for allegedly producing
biased reports that political
violence had flared up ahead of the country's
sixth parliamentary elections,
scheduled for the last day of this month.