thank all the people of Zimbabwe for overwhelmingly responding to the call to
take action for national survival. Through this successful action we won a
big victory against tyranny and all its forces of oppression.
regime has ruled through fear and intimidation. It has taken pride in our
silence, which has come as a result of daily torture and murder of the
innocent people of Zimbabwe.
We also thank those members of the
police force who maintained law and order in a non-partisan
This action has demonstrated beyond any doubt to the regime that
we the people of Zimbabwe have no fear and will take concrete steps to
reclaim our power. This regime is now nervous. Their bags are now packed as
they realise who has the power. We have to prepare for the final push and
they will run. Then our victory will be complete.
It is important
to realise that this two-day action is just the beginning. The MDC leadership
and partners in the civil society will soon announce further dates and forms
of action soon. Let's all get ready for that call.
We must realise
that this victory is just the beginning of a sustained process that will
bring about peace to the people of Zimbabwe regardless of political
affiliation and ensure the beginning of a process of national healing. The
police and other law enforcement agents should enforce the law impartially.
The ongoing selective application of justice should have no place in our
This process will bring in development that will result in
the creation of job opportunities and ensure that the people of this country
are never again exposed to the threat of mass starvation and shortages of
It is for these reasons that we should prepare for
the final onslaught for a people's victory. Each and every one of us has a
part to play. In this regard, we cherish the efforts of each and every
Zimbabwean who has taken personal risk and sacrifice to bring about a free,
peaceful and prosperous Zimbabwe.
Sikhala to get treatment abroad after torture Blessing
Zulu MOVEMENT for Democratic Change (MDC) MP Job Sikhala and two colleagues
who were tortured by the police earlier this year have left the country
for specialist treatment, the Zimbabwe Independent has
Sikhala, Taurayi Magaya and Charles Mutama on Tuesday left for
South Africa where they will stay for two weeks before proceeding to
"The three of us are going for treatment outside the
country," Sikhala said before he left.
"Firstly, we are going to
the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation in Cape Town for a
"We will then be transferred to the Institute for Torture
Victims in Copenhagen. We will be getting treatment for various ailments that
are related to the torture we went through," Sikhala said.
Institute for Justice and Reconciliation is trying to broker a
political accord between the ruling Zanu PF party and the opposition
An affidavit signed by Dr Faith Ndebele, a specialist
psychiatrist, said Sikhala was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder
with depressive features.
"Mr Sikhala gave a history of having
been assaulted whilst in police custody in January," the affidavit
"A psychiatric evaluation done on 17-20 January revealed that
Mr Sikhala was having problems with sleep, nightmares and was anxious, with
poor appetite and poor concentration.
"He had recurrent intrusive
thoughts of his assault and was highly agitated. A diagnosis of acute stress
disorder was made. This condition is consistent with a history of severe
trauma or torture. He required treatment with medication as well as
psychotherapy," the affidavit said.
Sikhala promised to come back and
serve his constituents after undergoing treatment.
"I am different
from Tafadzwa Musekiwa in that I did not join the party as an opportunist. I
have a conviction and my mission from the beginning was to liberate the
people of Zimbabwe from the jaws of dictatorship," he said.
the former MP for Zengeza, resigned his seat while in exile in Britain saying
the government wanted to eliminate him.
Sikhala, Magaya, Mutama,
Gabriel Shumba and his brother Bishop Shumba, are suing Home Affairs minister
Kembo Mohadi for $35 million for their torture.
Zanu PF chefs look beyond Mugabe tenure Dumisani
Muleya ZANU PF's political barons have started looking beyond President
Robert Mugabe and are consolidating their factions for a final assault on
power, a London-based newsletter has revealed.
In an article
headlined "Coming out of the closet", Africa Confidential says the camps
jockeying to replace Mugabe are closing ranks to bolster their bids for an
The publication identifies three groups scrambling
for power and slugging it out behind the scenes for Mugabe's
It says retired army general Solomon Mujuru, Zanu PF
secretary for administration and Speaker of parliament, Emmerson Mnangagwa,
and Information minister Jonathan Moyo, head the three
Africa Confidential says Mujuru's group includes Defence
minister Sydney Sekeramayi, Zimbabwe National Army commander
Lieutenant-General Constantine Chiwenga, Airforce commander Perence Shiri and
former Finance minister Simba Makoni.
It says Mnangagwa's camp
comprises Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander General Vitalis Zvinavashe and
"rich Zanu PF businessmen".
The third group of "lightweights and
upstarts" includes Moyo - who is described as a "Mugabe's attack-dog" -
Agriculture minister Joseph Made and Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa. This
camp is seen as situated in the power struggle "to play only a spoiler's role
A recent International Crisis Group (ICG) report, titled
"Zimbabwe Beyond Mugabe: Danger and Opportunity", contains a similar
configuration in the current power play.
But the ICG includes
Special Affairs minister John Nkomo, "Zanu PF businessman" Ibbo Mandaza, and
"elder statesman" Eddison Zvobgo in Mujuru's camp.
politburo heavyweight Dumiso Dabengwa is also linked to Mujuru's faction by
"This group seeks initially to consolidate its control of
the army by ensuring that Shiri succeeds Zvinavashe when the latter retires
this summer, though the impatience of the top military brass over the
political stalemate is growing, adding to the general aura of uncertainty,"
"If this manoeuvre succeeds, the group will then concentrate
on ensuring that Mnangagwa is not well-positioned to succeed
The ICG observes that Mnangagwa's bid to succeed Mugabe is
now faltering due to Zanu PF's internal dynamics, while the Mujuru camp is
Africa Confidential says there are ethnic machinations
in the Mugabe succession drama.
The Mujuru camp is basically
described as a Zezuru faction, while Mnangagwa's is depicted as Karanga.
Foreign Affairs minister Stan Mudenge and other "Karanga ministers" are
connected to Mnangagwa's group, it said.
The Moyo squad is viewed as
a "band of opportunists" who want to use "professions of ultra-loyalty to
Mugabe" as a springboard to seize power.
Africa Confidential says recent
revelations that Mnangagwa and Zvinavashe wanted a power-sharing agreement
with opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan
Tsvangirai, who is said to be Karanga, to ease Mugabe out of power, have
triggered panic reactions and intensified horse-trading in Zanu PF, although
their plan failed.
"The first plan may have failed but finding an
exit route for Mugabe is now political centre stage," the newsletter
"The architects of the soft-landing plan for President Mugabe
are frustrated. Their efforts have produced the opposite effect. Mugabe is
now less inclined to negotiate a retirement than he was six months
Africa Confidential notes Mnangagwa is now exposed after the
foiled "palace coup", which Mugabe is thought to have initially been aware of
but lost its plot as events, accompanied by intrigues, unfolded
"Mnangagwa is now the target of a whispering campaign by his
rivals," the publication suggests. "They have told Mugabe the soft-landing
plan was designed chiefly to parachute Mnangagwa into the presidency and to
benefit his business backers."
AT last Kembo
Mohadi has thrown light on the current crisis in Zimbabwe. There isn't one.
"There is no disorder in Zimbabwe, everything there is just a figment of
anybody's imagination," he told a press briefing after talks with his SA
counterpart Mangosuthu Buthelezi.
Clearly we are all suffering from
What a relief to know that those long lines of
not-so-patient cars outside petrol stations are only a figment of our
imagination. The supermarket shelves are not really empty. And it's only in
our imaginations that prices double weekly on the few goods that are still
available. The scars and injuries from encounters with the ZRP and the Green
Bombers exist only in our minds.
Certainly the imagination is a
powerful tool, and when you've got a whole nation imagining the same thing
it's hard to comprehend how we failed both to win the cricket World Cup
(maybe we really did reach the semi-finals and only imagined that Kenya
bowled us out), or change the government.
(Oops! - we fondly imagined we
had, but registrar-general Tobiah Mudede effectively put paid to that
This reliance on illusion also explains the fictitious
land audit and the amazing consistency of the Zimbabwe dollar against other
currencies. It's all in our minds. Thank you Kembo Mohadi.
WHAT planet has the CZI's Anthony Mandiwanza been living on? Asked
by the Herald about the impending mass action on Tuesday, he said that "as
business people they were not aware of any mass action and business should
continue like any other day.
"No one approached us to inform us about
the stayaway," he said.
Leaving aside that questionable claim, it would
seem Mandiwanza doesn't have the support of his CZI colleagues. Business
overwhelmingly backed the mass action. The industrial sites were deserted on
Tuesday and Wednesday.
Why does Mandiwanza think it ispart of his mandate
to join govern-ment and the police in scuppering the mass action before it
takes place? Is that the CZI's position? Its members had better tell him that
collaboration of this sort is unacceptable.
Even the government heeded
the strike call. Post offices were closed. So were other parastatal offices.
In its frantic attempt to stop the stayaway, the Herald resorted to quoting
primary school headmasters, some of whom demonstrated a pathetic grasp of
"We will continue with our normal programmes as the mass action
was never declared legal by the government," said one headmaster who
evidently hadn't proceeded beyond Grade 7 in terms of his own
Aeneas Chigwedere was quoted on Tuesday as saying:
"Today's mass action is a non-event to us and business would be as
Evidently his svikiro misled him!
It is a sad fact that
the Catholic church in Zimbabwe has not lived up to its responsibilities in
opposing oppression and evil. The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace
(CCJP), once a standard bearer for civil society, has in recent years become
a prisoner of supine and cowardly bishops who have even gone to the extent of
trying to silence their South African colleagues when they speak out in
support of Archbishop Pius Ncube.
Just to illustrate how misdirected the
church has become, last Sunday a network of eight Catholic Commissions for
Justice and Peace in the region called the Alliance for Justice and Peace in
Southern Africa advertised for a Desk Coordinator. His/her duty will be to
promote CCJP initiatives in the region. Where did they place their ad? In the
Sunday Mail, a paper that promotes Zanu PF!
The International Monetary
Fund, one would suppose, has a policy of cultivating a free press as an
essential element in accountable governance. Not so here. Its policy in
Zimbabwe is to give all statements to the Ministry of Finance which in turn
gives them to the Department of Information to be suitably spun in the
Last week we were told how supportive the IMF was of NERP, a
delusional scheme with no chance whatsoever of success in the current
political environment. The fact that there will be no more money for Zimbabwe
until it has paid its arrears was omitted from the Herald's
The IMF should adopt an even-handed approach to information
management and ensure all newspapers are supplied with its statements. That
should be part of its mission in developing countries, not aiding dishonesty
in official circles.
On the same subject, we were intrigued to note
how our enquiries at the Daily News last Thursday prompted an announcement
about the launch of a Sunday paper. Our reporter spoke to CEO Sam Nkomo who
said the project was still on the drawing board and there was no decision on
a name for the publication. It was all much too early to say anything
definite, he said.
The next day the Daily News carried a story saying the
new paper would be called the Daily News On Sunday and that the project would
be headed by Francis Mdlongwa as editor-in-chief.
The last time we
spoke to Mdlongwa he denied any connection to the project, saying it was all
Muckraker wishes all those involved good luck. Media
diversity and consumer choice should be encouraged. But we do hope executives
at ANZ adopt a policy of openness and honesty in dealing with the media.
There is enough deception around without them adding to it.
fugitive David Nyekorach-Matsanga has threatened to sue the Johannesburg
Sunday Times for allegedly linking him to leaks from the Buka report. He had
not seen the report nor had he any connection to deputy minister Flora Buka,
he said in a fulminating letter sent to newspapers.
Matsanga, it will be
recalled, has published articles and advertisements in the pro-government
press that are at best scurrilous and at worst defamatory regarding foreign
correspondents and journalists working in the local media. Any attempt now to
claim the moral high ground in a suit against the South African paper would
inevitably be open to a charge of double standards. Further, Matsanga appears
to have problems getting his facts right and easily confuses one target with
In his latest epistle, which none of his former associates seem
prepared to publish, he accused the Zimbabwe Independent, among other things,
of being foreign-funded. He cited a NatWest bank account at Piccadilly Circus
in London as evidence of certain suspicious transactions.
Independent has not received any funding from such a source and we would love
to know where Matsanga, the inept researcher, is getting his
false information. Perhaps from his spooky sponsors. He is welcome to
publish whatever information he has to hand. In fact we challenge him to do
so. We do know that he had a little trouble with his own bank account not so
long ago. Meanwhile, as Ari Ben-Menashe could tell him, his increasingly
demented rantings are likely to put paid to any hope of him being taken
seriously as a credible witness in a court case. Here he is on the subject of
the leaked Buka report:
"Who in Zimbabwe politics is trying to damage
my good work I done (sic) for the Zanu-PF in Britain against the British
oligarchy? How on earth can I spoil the same plate that I am trying to
repair? I am a voluntary lobby group that defends President Mugabe in Europe
and I don't see any slightest chance of me leaking anything that will harm
him or his ministers in the eyes of the imperialistic monsters. The
government of Zimbabwe must find this hidden hand of evil who has seven
satanic heads and is going to destroy and kill friends of President Mugabe
abroad. The British press hunts me because of my support for the president in
Britain and then the African brothers want me killed."
you killed, Matsanga. You are of more value to us alive discrediting Zanu PF
with your semi-literate ravings.
Last week the US State Department
published a report exposing the reality that Matsanga and his friends are
attempting to hide.
"Zimbabwe is in a state of crisis today because those
who govern thecountry have systematically under-mined the rule of law," the
report said. "Through their actions, Presi-dent Robert Mugabe and his
colleagues in the Zanu PF party have placed themselves above the law. Rather
than serving the state, the state now serves their personal interests.
Although they have employed the rhetoric of liberation to portray their
actions as a defence of the Zimbabwean people, their real agenda has been and
remains the defence of their own privilege.
"President Mugabe, his
family, and his inner circle have prospered while 7 million of their
compatriots have reached the brink of starvation. They have enriched
themselves while 400 000 of their fellow Zimbabweans have lost their jobs.
They have acquired valuable real estate while hundreds of thousands of their
people have been internally displaced or driven into exile. Their bank
accounts have grown while the economy of Zimbabwe has contracted. In their
hands, the Zimbabwe dollar has great value; in the hands of an ordinary
Zimbabwean, their national currency, their salaries and their savings are
Isn't that the truth? No amount of deception by
Matsanga, the incorrigibly stupid Ben-Menashe, and the other hired apologists
of the regime can obscure that cold reality. Mugabe and his inner circle have
destroyed the very fabric of the nation. But that doesn't stop the endless
torrent of self-justification from them. And they evidently have no
As Chido Makunike pointed out in the Standard last weekend, you
would have thought "the haughty, grandstanding, loud-mouthed president of a
country that the whole world can painfully see is not working very well"
would show some sense of embarrassment.
"For the normal person who is
capable of feeling shame, surely the embarrassment of widespread official
violence, hunger, shortages, worsening poverty and unemployment would make
that person draw more into himself to seek ways of grappling with those
"Instead, in Zimbabwe we have the fascinating situation of a
ruler who wants to be more noticed by the world in direct proportion to the
growing evidence of his failures and lack of concern at the plight of his
Also apparently without any sense of embarrassment are media
moguls who use their publications to advance their predatory proprietorship
of vast tracts of land. It all started with the leaking of Flora Buka's
interim report to the London-based newsletter, Africa Confidential. It then
found its way into the Financial Times and the Johannesburg Sunday Times. The
report exposed abuses in the land resettlement process including
multiple-farm ownership by the usual suspects. It catalogued the listing,
delisting and relisting of some farms and the non-production of crops on
others because chefs could not agree among themselves on how to divide the
spoils. Above all, it revealed how peasant occupiers had been chased off
farms taken over by ministers, governors and other Zanu PF
At first we had dust thrown in our eyes. A senior government
official denied that there had been any such report, describing it as "an
invention of the enemies of the state". We suspect he was among those
Then copies of the report were sent to foreign correspondents. The
contents were shocking. Everything the independent press had said about the
anarchic, self-serving, thieving nature of the resettlement programme was
confirmed. This was a help-yourself scheme for Zanu PF chefs.
inevitably, the search began for the whistle-blower. We mentioned earlier how
Matsanga found himself implicated in the South African press. But it was the
Sunday Mirror that identified land consultant Prof Sam Moyo as the culprit.
He had forwarded the Buka Report to Africa Confidential, it was
While in last Sunday's front-page Mirror article Moyo was
described as a "long-time friend" of Africa Con-fidential editor Patrick
Smith, hislong-time relationship with Saripswas not mentioned, nor were
the circumstances under which he leftthe regional research agency whichis
linked to the Sapes outfit of Mirror publisher Ibbo
Furthermore, we were treated to an inside puff piece entitled
"Govt gives Induba project the thumbs up" explaining how Mandaza's venture
was now the legal owner of the Induba Agricultural Development Project in
Bubi following the delisting of the various farms involved.
was released in a letter from the Ministry of Lands to Mandaza's lawyers,
Mzangaza, Mandaza and Tomana. The acquisition of the farms was a private
purchase, the ministry said in response to claims by occupants who had
allegedly been directed onto the properties by local politicians.
Sunday Mail however had a different view. "Politicians in Matabeleland North
said they were not happy about the apparent resolve by ministry authorities
in Harare to usurp powers of the district and provincial land committees,"
the paper said.
"Villagers have questioned why the ministry would support
Dr Mandaza to get four more farms at their expense when he already has got
one farm in the area."
The villagers said they were "more indigenous"
What could they possibly mean? Whatever the case, what all
this goes to prove is that newspapers whose proprietors have a vested
interest in land acquisition may have difficulty telling it like it
A driver negotiating the busy Tongogara/Second St junction recently
where the traffic lights were not working was amazed to see three police
officers standing under a tree to protect themselves from a light drizzle.
They were chatting among themselves ignoring the complete mayhem taking place
at the junction.
Perhaps they were waiting for the president to drive
by. Whatever the case, they had no interest in assisting motorists deal with
a potentially dangerous situation. What happened to that Charter?
correspondent in Paris has written to tell us of Grace Mugabe's visit to the
Musée Luxembourg last month. As the president was engaged in talks
with fellow African leaders at the Franco-African summit, Grace joined
other first ladies on a tour of the museum of modern art.
spellbound in front of the death mask of Amedeo Modigliani, the Italian
artist. As she gazed into Modigliani's withered features, moulded by his
friend Jacques Lipchitz, she appeared troubled. Above her, Modigliani's words
were projected: "As the serpent slithers free of its skin, so you will be
delivered from sin."
However, Mrs Mugabe quickly regained her composure.
And then the first ladies were gone, whisked to cocktails in the adjoining
Jardin du Luxembourg amid the bemused gaze of midday joggers and outdoor
A more comfortable environment. Close encounters with
reality can be so unsettling. But everybody liked the lavender suit.
ZIMBABWE: Rapes Linked To Groups Tied To Ruling ZANU-PF
Party Human rights workers and church groups in Zimbabwe say youth militias
and other groups linked to the ruling Zimbabwe African National
Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) party are using rape as a political weapon,
the London Guardian reported Tuesday.
"There is a serious problem of
political rape in Zimbabwe," said Tony Reeler, a human rights activist with
the Institute for Democratic Alternatives for Southern Africa.
documented cases are low, but there is considerable stigma and fear about
reporting rape," Reeler added. "From enormous anecdotal evidence we know the
number is much higher. The victims are mostly young females, relatively
uneducated, poor, rural, the most vulnerable members of society. Many
urgently require anti-retrovirals for HIV infection."
Documented cases of
political rape in Zimbabwe last year numbered seven, according to the
Guardian, although that is just a small proportion of the actual number of
rapes, according to human rights workers.
Human rights workers in
Zimbabwe cite several reports of rapes and beatings at ZANU-PF youth
"We have several reports of gang rapes and beatings at the youth
militia camps," according to a human rights worker. "The camps have become
centers of torture and sexual abuse. Reports are made to police, but they
take virtually no action."
Zimbabwean authorities deny ignoring
reports of rapes at camps run by militias (Andrew Meldrum, London Guardian,
Zim left to the whims of one man By Tafirenyika wekwa
Makunike ZANU PF as a party has remained cocooned in history and to all
intents and purposes has refused to look to the future.
Todini? What shall we do? Why is it necessary for a South African cleric to
mediate in the affairs of Zimbabwe?
What does this say about the
state of church affairs in Zimbabwe, or how the president or the opposition
leader perceives it? Perhaps the church has been busy taking sides instead of
playing its prophetic role of condemning sin without fear or favour? Where
are the national prophets who can stand boldly for the truth like Nathan
confronted David in the Bible for his adulterous behaviour?
was Joshua Nkomo only acknowledged as Father Zimbabwe after his death while
to do so during his lifetime was the fastest way to lose a limb? Why did
Zimbabweans, despite their profuse love for him shown at his departure, never
vote for him during the two attempts he made to rule this
country democratically? Are Zimbabweans tribalistic or have they just
allowed politicians to use tribalism for their own benefit?
the Ministry of Home Affairs always given to someone from a
perceived hot-spot part of the country, given that both the commissioner of
police and the registrar-general can report directly to the president? Is it
not just political humiliation? When Zanu PF for once broke with its
undemocratic tradition and John Nkomo was unanimously elected as the national
chairman by the party's rank and file, why was that position immediately
Why was a non-elected leader roped in through a parallel
political process to become the de facto successor in waiting after the
departure of the geriatric trio? Why has Zanu PF's national chairman
continued to subordinate his role to un-elected members instead of standing
his ground in fulfilment of the wishes of those who elected
If the president thinks Morgan Tsvangirai is a ghost because he
is a man of few letters, what does it tell us about his perception of his
deputy Dr Simon Muzenda, or even his dear Namibian friend Sam Nujoma? Does it
also mean, by extrapolation, the slogan-shouting commissars who gather at
Zanu PF congresses to re-elect him as first secretary are also ghosts? Why
has it become necessary for people to start questioning the tribal balance of
the people around Tsvangirai instead of simply looking at the
individual capabilities of the members?
They say every country
gets the government it deserves. What does it say about our situation? Why do
we think that Thabo Mbeki and Olusegun Obasanjo will help us in our quest for
democracy? Have we ever heard of a situation where African leaders in general
have supported the wishes of the people against a sitting head of state? Were
the people of Kenya, Senegal, Ghana or even Zambia and Malawi given any
support to effect regime change? What makes our situation a special
Would our current political architecture have been any
different if Josiah Tongogara and Herbert Chitepo had lived? Why is it that
those of us who left the country think it is the responsibility of those who
remained behind to effect regime change for us? Why is it that the whole
Zimbabwean nation seems to be resigned to the fate of queuing for everything
- a banana republic at the mercy of the whims of one man and his
Why does the political leadership of Zimbabwe imagine it can
bully economic fundamentals to submit to its ten-point plan? As a country,
can we afford to let a few people perpetrate economic hooliganism that
benefits a few while many are pushed deeper into poverty? What will we tell
our children 10 years from now about our situation?
What makes us
think that the whole world is waiting for Zimbabwe to solve its political
problems before rushing in with investments? What makes us think the seeds of
corruption that are being planted across the nation as a result of the
political decay will be easily uprooted? What has been the experience of our
friends in Nigeria or Kenya?
What is the ultimate effect of
politicising the police force? Will this not eventually lead to the formation
of Somali-style warlords and militias? All this so that one man can continue
to satisfy his appetite for power? Can a man honestly say he loves the people
if he cannot subordinate his personal lust to those of the needs of the
Why is it that right-thinking people immediately become
foul-mouthed, conniving people the moment they enter politics? Are we victims
of the myth that education and leadership are the same? Is this not the same
myth that propelled Kamuzu Banda to one of the worst dictatorships in Malawi
and systematically devaluing education as a vehicle for developing a
Tafirenyika Wekwa Makunikeis based in Johannesburg and can
be contacted on lmakunike@ hotmail.com
We would like to introduce you to 'The Team Zimbabwe Project' - a new resource
centre for Zimbabweans living abroad, especially in the UK, but also further a
field. It is funded, run and sponsored by private concerned individuals, so all
resources, information and services are entirely free.
Team-Zimbabwe Project is the culmination of over a years work and comes as a
result of collaboration between several groups and many individuals.
has been set up to provide a focus and possibly a helping hand to Zims who are
trying to make a new life, or indeed are out of the country for a brief respite.
There is information available on all aspects of setting up in the UK, and we
hope to be able to expand this to other countries as soon as we can, but this
depends on community feedback. The site has been designed to run with as little
input as possible from administrators, and many of the functions and services
will ultimately only be as useful as the people who use it.
other things you will find information sections on...
Jobs Accommodation Getting Started Charities working for
Zimbabweans Zimbabwean Events and Gatherings
as well as interactive
sections like ...
Forums Classified Adverts (Jobs, accommodation and
many other sections) Polls Searchable Database (finds your friends and
allows them to find you)
Please log onto the site, see if there is
anything useful to you, and even if there is not then share your experiences,
your tips, your knowledge ... for someone it is invaluable! And pass on the URL
to anyone you can think of who may benefit ... that is what it is for.
Worldwide Faith News <email@example.com> Date Fri, 21 Mar 2003 13:18:25
In the face of great criticism from the people of Zimbabwe that
the Church is silent, herewith is the recently published joint Lenten
Pastoral Letter by the Catholic Bishops in Zimbabwe regarding the crises
facing the troubled country.
LENTEN PASTORAL LETTER MARCH
A CALL TO METANOIA: LISTEN TO THE INNER VOICE
and Sisters in Christ,
We greet you and we pray that the grace of our
Lord Jesus Christ, the Love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit
be with you.
During this Lenten Season, Our Lord
is once again calling us to genuine repentance: "The time has come, and the
Kingdom of God is close at hand. Repent, and believe the Good News" (Mk.
1:15). We your Bishops would like to invite each one of you to seriously
reflect upon these words so that they may not remain mere words, but
transform the life of each of the faithful and have a positive impact on
the lives of all people of goodwill. In the Liturgical cycle
of ther Church, this Lenten Season is meant for every Christian to
scrutinize oneself, reflect on one's ways of living, call upon God for
forgiveness of sins and be renewed in righteousness and grace. Only
through true repentance can we be healed and live. For Jesus clearly says: "I
have not come to call the virtuous, but sinners to repentance!" (Lk.
5:32). In this proclamation Jesus states the programme of his ministry: to
call all mankind in and through His life, death and resurrection to
conversion and witness. People of every culture and every age a re
called to this conversion and to respond in commitment and faith.
In order to realize and acknowledge our own sinfulness, we need to look
into our conscience, a God-given gift that inwardly teaches us what is good
and what is evil and how to make the right choices.
2. The Mission
of the Church
We your Bishops have spoken many times through our Pastoral
letters, Statements and Instructions on various matters affecting the
lives of our people. Our mandate and mission came from Christ himself who was
anointed by the Father in order to bring about the Kingdom of God: "The
Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to preach the Good
News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and
recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are
oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord" (Lk. 4:18-19).
Before he ascended to heaven, Christ gave clear instructions to the group
of Apostles he had carefully chosen to continue his mission so that all
mankind may come to the knowledge of the Gospel and bear witness to
the Gospel values and teaching. Christ said: "Go, therefore, make disciples
of all the nations; baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son
and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all the commands I gave
you" (Mt. 28:19- 20). It is in this spirit that we, your leaders in faith,
come to share with you in conviction what this faith invites us to do as a
church in Zimbabwe today. This sharing is aimed at both challenging our
conscience as well as inspiring us to respond in faith to those same Gospel
values land commands of Christ that we are meant to bear witness to in our
daily lives. The purpose of this letter therefore is not to accuse anyone,
but to fulfil a prophetic mission in the face of common
3. Compassion and Concern
Our Lord Jesus Christ spent
his whole life doing good, teaching, healing, forgiving, comforting and
showing compassion and concern for all forms of human suffering. At the
same time, he openly confronted the evils that oppress people. The Church
as the visible sign of Christ today imitates him in showing compassion and
concern for the suffering. We, your Bishops, note with great concern the
various complex factors that continues to bring this suffering to our
people. The greatest of these factors is sin, which is both personal
and structural. During this time of Lent, we intend this letter to arouse
the conscience of the people as well as to be a word of encouragement to all
who hear or read it and turn to God. A change of heart is needed of
each believer in order to transform our society and rid all of
suffering and oppression by ridding ourselves of our sinful ways. Our social,
economic and political structures should also be a means for expressing this
compassion and concern for people.
We stress what we already said
before as we appealed for 'change of heart' in our country, "It is at this
point that we must appeal to you, our brothers and sisters in Christ, and
to your Christian consciences. Your own personal contribution and sacrifice
is needed". (Socialism and the Gospel of Christ, ZCBC Pastoral Statement,
Jan. 1984,p.4). Therefore we need a change of heart and a radical
transformation of the structures of sin.
4. The Social Teaching of the
Following the mission of the Church, the social teaching of the
Church emanates from the teaching of the Gospel of Christ. The Church
Fathers have articulated from the Gospel teachings and God's commandments,
principles and guidelines that indicate how every human being and society
should act and live. They also should inform the way we structure our
society. The principles include respect for life and the dignity of the
human person; the need for social solidarity especially with the poor and
marginalized; the search for the common good,
the principle of subsidiarity which requires that decisions are made as
close as possible to their points of implementation; the stewardship of the
environment - the creation of God. These are indeed basic requirements that
should be respected and honoured by every human being.
requirements summarized in the social teaching of the Church act as
a thermometer to our conscience and test our way of living. It is during
this season of Lent that we should give ourselves time to reflect on some
of these important principles so that our own lives may truly bear witness
to Christ's call to uprightness. While all human beings have recognized
rights as well as duties, the God-given right to life is of paramount
importance and must be upheld by all. For a balance of rights and duties to
prevail, mankind needs dutifully to obey God.
Pope John XXIII clearly
states, "Peace on earth, which all men of every era have most eagerly yearned
for, can be firmly established only if the order laid down by God be
dutifully observed" (Peace On Earth, John XXIII, no.1,p.7). IN January
2003, Pope John Paul II wrote for the 'World Day of Peace'
a document to commemorate forty years of Pacem in Terris (Peace on
Earth) of Pope John XXIII. "The Encyclical spoke to everyone of their
belonging to the one human family, and shone a light on the shared
aspiration of people everywhere to live in security, justice and hope for the
future" (Pacem in Terris: A permanent Commitment, John Paul II, on World Day
of Peace, 1 Jan. 2003, no.3,p.4). What is of great importance is to
highlight the four pillars of Peace that the Pontiff enumerated. "With the
profound intuition that characterized him, John XXIII identified the
essential conditions for peace in four precise requirements of the human
spirit: truth, justice, love and freedom" (World Day of Peace, John Paul
I I, 1 Jan. 2003, no. 3,p.5).
We your Shepherds see it as relevant and
urgent to uphold these four pillars and invite all of you to reflect upon
them, especially in our context in Zimbabwe and during this period of Lent.
We must also reflect on the character of our social institutions to see
how they can fulfil the conditions for peace. The Social teachings of the
Church have become more relevant to us than ever before and hence we call
upon all the faithful and people of goodwill to have a sincere
introspection and utilize this season for true repentance and turn to God
in our everyday lives.
5. The current situation
acknowledge with gratitude to God, the good efforts you as Christians are
making in response to your Christian call to be light and salt
in society and thus bear witness to Christ. Further, we appreciate your
contribution towards the material, spiritual and moral development of the
Church and our beloved nation. We also appreciate efforts made by various
people and social organisations in working towards the establishment of a
better society. In spite of all these efforts economic inequalities have
become worse, the gap between the rich and the poor has continued to
widen. People have continued to suffer social and political violence.
There is no sign that corruption is being dealt with effectively.
Government has failed to provide leadership that enables the creation of
an environment that enhances truth, justice, love and freedom. This can be
seen in how the media has been polarized and how
democratic institutions and processes have been tampered
However, we cannot ignore some elements which need to be challenged
by the Gospel if we are to be more faithful to and better witnesses of Christ
our model. "Do not model yourselves on the behaviour of the world around
you.." (Rom. 12:2). We note with sadness that at times as Christians we have
failed to adhere to the standard of Christ and have followed the model of
the world and hence we come into suffering and pain that only Christ can
set us free from. As Paul says: "But it is not just creation alone which
groans; we, who have the Spirit as the first of God's gifts also groan within
ourselves, as we wait for God to make us his sons and set our whole being
free" (Rm. 8:23). While our nation is in a transitional period at the moment,
the majority of people are experiencing hardships and suffering. Due
to the decline of the economic situation, basic commodities have
become scarce. The majority of ordinary people in this country struggle and
often fail to get basic commodities like mealie meal, bread, sugar,
cooking oil, paraffin, petrol, sanitary pads, cotton wool and peace of
mind. This is without mentioning jobs, homes, security, freedom of
expression and association as scarce commodities. On the other hand, the few
commodities that are available are often sold on the black market at
unaffordable prices. The sense of concern for one another is completely
submerged in an attempt to make as high a profit as possible. Again, we
implore all those who supply, particularly basic commodities to others, to
rekindle their spirit of honesty and solidarity with the ordinary people,
particularly the less fortunate members of our society.
6. Aspects that
We are fully aware that our nation has inherited a
complexity of inequalitiesfrom the colonial period to the present. Some
of these complexities havebeenengraved into our culture so that not even
our laws have managed to rectifythem. We all rejoiced, when we gained
independence in the hope that we were allgoing to work in unity as a
nation to remove the inequalities and injustices that prevailed then. We also
know that change and development are a process and not an
There are, however some developments which are a cause of some
concern to us.
6.1 The culture of violence in our society
historically true that our country was colonized in a violent
manner. Our forefathers fought for their land, but were violently defeated
by the new settlers. After the first phase, the nationalists tried to
negotiate a power sharing settlement with the new occupiers, but to no avail.
The response to this failure was a resort to armed struggle where violence
was used on both sides. For instance the Bishops' Commission of Justice
and Peace stated: "Both sides pursue their aspirations in the name of
justice and peace. While the politicians push their strident rhetoric, now
for black majority rule, now for white power, the focus of the fight - the
people who live in the country - experience increased violence and a
desperate helplessness" (The Man in the Middle, by CCJP and Catholic
Institute for International Relations, 1975, p.1). Evenutally the struggle
brought independence. The philosophy that if you wanted to attain success,
violence is the means, seems to have been sown into our nation.
independence, for a while there was peace in the land, but with
the development of Opposition parties in the last parliamentary
elections, violence once again erupted. The competing parties engaged in
acts of political violence as a tool to success. There were accusations
and counter accusations from all those involved. The faithful too belong
to the various parties and were also perpetrators as well as victims of
violence. Violence once more came to the forefront during the period of land
occupation and land redistribution. Some members of our society felt that
only through violence could injustice be rectified. But violence breeds
violence. Not only on the national level, but at times on the community
and family level the culture of violence has been witnessed. We, your
Shepherds condemn all acts of violence,
including inherited institutionalized violence of injustice. Our society
needs to develop and cultivate more a culture of tolerance and unity in
diversity. We remind you of what we already sa id, "We, the Catholic
Bishops of Zimbabwe, urge the government, the private sector and indeed all
the people of Zimbabwe to make every effort to foster this culture of
tolerance and to work for unity to rebuild our nation"
(Tolerance and Hope, ZCBC Pastoral Letter, May 2001). The acts of
violence, especially in the recent past, render a disservice to the
processes of nation building, unity and peace. Even when we have cause to
correct injustices, we need to remember the ethical principle that the end
does not justify the means.
We your Pastors,
remember the remarkable start that the Government had at independence. We
re-state that it "made remarkable efforts at reconciliation ever since it
first took office at Independence in 1980. Its essential task is to forge
the many peoples of Zimbabwe into one nation, living at peace with itself and
with others" (Reconciliation is still Possible, a Pastoral Statement of
ZCBC, Easter, 1983, no.1). We call upon the government to continue
to create an atmosphere of nation-building and peace. It is sad to
note that attitudes and entrenched positions have become polarized rather
than accommodative. The responsibility of government is to govern
all citizens including persons and groups of communities of
differing persuasions. The government is not only for the ruling party,
but must protect all its citizens, their rights, as well as their welfare.
All arms of the government must do their duties and be allowed to carry out
their responsibilities with impartiality. Preferential treatment and
selective justice undermines the stability and credibility of the government.
We condemn some members of Government who have practiced partiality, have
openly refused to serve people who do not belong to their own party, for
this discredits the proper manner of governance. "When a country assumes
political independence and becomes self governing, there is a need for the
participation of all the people in the governance of the country. Hence, the
citizens of an independent nation have the right to participate i n the
decision making process of the country directly or through
their representatives" (The African Bishops on Human Rights, pub. Paulines,
We as teachers, therefore call upon government to carry
out its duties to all its citizens with fairness and commitment. It should
be clear to citizens as well as government that "no social group or political
party has the right to monopolise power". (The Conscience of Society, ed.
Mejia, SJ, pub. Paulines, 2001, p.95). In face, power rests with the people
who should duly elect whatever party or whoever they choose according to
the just laws of the country. The question of just laws is absolutely
important. Hence the need to safeguard just laws and develop a balanced
Constitution that removes unjust structures.
African Bishops during the Africa Synod in Rome in 1994 highlighted
many of the cultural values found among the African peoples. These are
values not only to talk about but to adhere to and live by them. The
Bishops said, African cultures have an acute sense of solidarity and
community of life in the extended family. Feasts are celebrated with the
whole village. Africa must preserve this priceless cultural heritage and
never succumb to the temptation of individualism which is so alien to its
best traditions" (Africa Synod, simplified text, no.43, pub. Paulines,
p.28). Unfortunately, we are witnessing the erosion ofr some of these
values within our society. Both in the private and public sectors corrupt
practices are becoming increasingly common. It is demoralizing to witness
that at times even some law-enforcement agents are also found
participating in corrupt activities for selfish reasons. People have
tended to become more individualistic in pursuance of hedonistic values.
Because the principle of survival of the fittest seems to apply as people
become more materialistic, values of community and concern for each other are
no longer appealing. As people want to get rich quick, and at times without
seat, corrupt practices are slowly eating our values away. The level of
corruption is in fact frightening as it has embraced both the leadership
levels as well as many of the ordinary citizens. In addition to corruption,
there is a high degree of abuse of women, children, public offices, all
driven by a high degree of human greed which has been demonstrated
in the context of current shortages of commodities. Current shortages
of basic commodities have provided an opportunity for corruption by people
in strategic positions including government ministers and other government
In appealing to the conscience of everyone, we remind you of
what we have already said before; it is disheartening that, "Those with
strong elbows grab a big slice, trampling the weaker ones underfoot.
Almost every day the media tell us about embezzlement, corruption and
large-scale theft. There is much irresponsibility in the use of public
assets. There is much dishonesty: even people who consider themselves
respectable engage in stealing at the workplace, bank fraud, and
white-collar crime, while pick pocketing, burglaries and violent robberies
are on the increase. Leaders have been hiding immoral
behaviur behind facades of respectability"
(Responsibility-Honesty-Solidarity, ZCBC Pastoral Statement, April 1997, p.2)
We therefore strongly condemn all such corruption that will surely destroy
our society. We encourage the re-cultivation of our cultural values that will
enhance the sharing and solidarity of our nation. 6.4 Food
We deeply appreciate the humanitarian assistance that the
international community, churches and NGOs are giving to our needy people. We
appeal to them to continue the good assistance in the spirit of
solidarity. There is immense starvation in the country due to drought and
poor planning on the part of our government. It is no longer a hunger
confined to rural areas, but to urban areas as well. However we are
disappointed by the bureaucracy and cumbersome processes that have been
put in place by government in order to procure the much needed food and
grain for the people. The situation calls for concerted effort by government,
churches, NGOs and all people of goodwill to assist each other in the
spirit of solidarity in providing food for all the people of Zimbabwe. We
want to acknowledge with gratitude the response of our brothers
and sisters in Christ, to our appeal for food. Many organisations have
taken it upon themselves to assist our nation in these difficult times.
However, we are greatly disturbed by corrupt practices mainly by some GMB
officials, drought relief committees, some councilors, chiefs, headmen, as
well as war veterans. Some NGOs have been intimidated and harassed by
political activists and some stopped distributing food all together. The need
for food is so great that the government cannot feed all the people alone.
It needs help, and therefore must facilitate easier distribution of food,
as in the previous droughts that this country has gone through. People's
lives are at stake and the nation cannot afford to entertain the
politicization of food while people are starving. This is immoral. It is
our sincere hope that everybody has learnt from these mistakes. From
the standpoint of moral concern, we call upon government,
especially the individuals that represent government on the ground, to
deal urgently with those elements in our society that have placed
themselves above the law and are constantly harassing other citizens. The
demand for citizens to produce a party card before receiving food should
be stopped forthwith. This violates the individual's freedom of association.
Those harassing other citizens should be brought to book. We are one
nation and the food should be distributed to all the needy people of
Zimbabwe without fear or favour.
6.5 The state of the
Zimbabwe's economy was one of the strongest economies on the
whole continent. Such an economy assisted the state to maintain the rights
of every individual to an adequate standard of living. These rights
includes the right to adequate food, the right to health, the right to
adequate clothing, the right to shelter and housing and the right to
continuous improvement in the conditions of living" (The African Bishops
on Human Rights, pub. Paulines, 2001,p.193). Unfortunately the same
economy was controlled by a few. In the attempt to have a broad based
economy there were many forces and factors that militated against the
process. On the one hand there was selfishness of wanting to
continuous control over the economy, on the other, there was bad planning
with political decisions dictating economic processes. Other factors such
as :stay aways: by employees, lack of enough export produce, growth of the
parallel market, lack of foreign currency, lack of proper funding for
the land-reform programme, disruption of farming activities, lack of
confidence of investors, and other factors, culminated in the drastic
weakening of the Zimbabwe dollar and non-growth of the economy. Because of
the decline of the economy the lives of the citizens are affected
adversely and poverty has increased. It therefore follows that the rights of
individuals stated above can no longer be sustained. In these
circumstances the rich become richer while the poor drown
into abject poverty. Explo itation of each other has become the order
of the day, for the sake of making ends meet.
In his message of
Lent this year, the Holy Father says, "Exploitation of others, indifference
towards the suffering of our brothers and sisters and the violation of
basic rules of morality are just a few fruits of the thirst for gain. Faced
with the tragic situation of persistent poverty which afflicts so many
people in our world, how can we fail to see that the quest for
profit at any cost and the lack of effective, responsible concern for the
common good have concentrated immense resources in the hands of a few
while the rest of humanity suffers in poverty and neglect?" (John Paul II
Message for Lent, 2003, no.2) For our economy to turn round, all involved,
the private sector, government, donors, should engage in meaningful
dialogue and have the sincerity and commitment for real
6.6 Adequate health services for all
with appreciation the great strides that the government of Zimbabwe made in
the health sector after independence. Many rural hospitals were upgraded
and renovated, a lot of clinics were built to bring health services nearer to
the thousands of people who had no easy access to these facilities. The
dream at independence was "Health for all by the year 2000"! Alas, this dream
was never to come true.
The situation in hospitals and health centers has
deteriorated to shocking levels. Drugs are scarce and if available, the
ordinary people are unable to buy them. To make matters worse, the
HIV/AIDS pandemic is ravaging our society and Zimbabwe has one of the
highest rates of infection in sub-Saharan Africa. We call upon government,
especially the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, to get priorities
right. Caring for the sick is a calling from God of special dignity and
importance. It can never be seen as just another job or another way of
earning one's living. While we greatly value the generous dedication
to service of many of those who work in the medical field, we cannot ignore
the fact that the quality of medical care is often seriously inadequate,
e.g. patients being unattended to for long periods of time; the lack
of commitment on the part of some personnel, the failure to recognize
each patient as one's brother or sister in need. We therefore remind the
ministry and all health workers that:
I Equity among citizens and the
demands of justice call for policies which aim to provide adequate health
care for all without distinction. The following principles have always guided
us in this vital area of concern. I Life is sacred. It is a gift from God to
be valued from the moment of conception until natural death. I Human
beings can never be reduced to the status of objects We recognize that our
bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. I Every person is of equal dignity.
The value of life is not to be measured by one's age, possessions, or
position in society
6.7 The young are an essential asset for any nation.
They represent the future of a nation. The values and virtues of a society,
its structures and institutions are passed on through the youth. For any
society to service, it ought to pass on to its youth those values which are
life-giving. We have said, as the Church the pillars of peace, namely:
truth, justice, love and freedom are the values that will build up our
nation. It is disheartening to observe the systematic undermining of these
essential values through the National Youth Service. The current means and
facilities for the programme could be used to teach our youngsters out of
school, skills, and give them professional training for a job and
employment that will give them a future, and the nation and economy better
service. Further, we urge all those who train the youth in different for that
they should teach them our African heritage and the objective history of
our country. In particular, they should cultivate in the youth the spirit
of unity a nd patriotism and thus prepare them to be responsible citizens and
good future leaders. One should guard the youth against the spirit of
indiscipline which can easily degenerate into a culture of
7. Way Forward
We call upon government to re-establish
an environment of peace and justice which encourages full participation of
all citizens in the affairs of their nation. The state machinery and the
government must be seen to uphold the rights of its nationals. We are in
some sense blessed that our structures and institutions have not completely
collapsed, as has happened elsewhere. This is therefore a basis for having
hope to reconstruct our society in a positive way. But this will require
the effort and participation of everyone. Therefore we encourage meaningful
dialogue to take place so that our country can resolve the issues at
stake. Without dialogue, a spirit of give and take, we cannot get far to
resolve our impasse. Government has to take the lead in encouraging
7.1 Purpose of public authority
Pope John XXIII
clearly stated that the purpose of public authority is to attain the common
good. This is the guiding principle for all in public responsibilities and
offices. The task is even more imperative the greater the area to be
served. This means that the government has a duty and responsibility to
work for the common good and see to it that all its arms and
state institutions strive for the same goal. This important goal is to be
attained through the four pillars already mentioned above, truth, justice,
love and freedom. Pope John XXIII quoting Pope Leo XIII said, "The civil
power must not serve the advantage of any one individual, or of some few
persons, in as much as it was established for the common good of all"
(Pacem in Terris, no.56,p.19). As your Shepherds, we once again remind
those with public office that they have a duty to the nation, the whole
nation, and must carry it out with diligence, and honour, that befits the
office that they occupy.
7.2 Participation of all in public
god has given various gifts to dirrerent people for the purpose of
building the body of Christ. Similarly different people have been bestowed
gifts to work together in unity of purpose. "On each one of us God's favour
has been bestowed in whatever way Christ has allotted itr To some his gift
was that they should be apostles; to some prophets; to some
evangelists; to some pastors and teachers.." (Eph. 4: 7-16). African
society has traditionally captured this value in its proverbs, e.g. Gunwe
rimwe haritswanyi inda! (Many hands make work lighter). This is a recognition
of the gifts of all in the community and of allowing these gifts to
flourish and be used for the building up of the same community. This means
each member of society is valuable. Therefore those who guide and
lead the nation, of necessity, should allow the participation of all the
members, directly or through genuine representation to participate in issues
of national affairs. It is again relevant to repeat what we said in our
Pastoral Statem ent Working for the Common Good, that "Our conviction is that
if we are able to dialogue constructively, openly and widely, with a
special concern for those who are vulnerable or in any way marginalized,
we will unite together, whether religious or not, as people of good will, for
the common good of Zimbabwe and its future generation" (Working for the
Common Good, ZCBC Pastoral Statement, May 1998, p.2). We therefore urge
our government, its institutions and all those who are in public office,
and all the citizens of Zimbabwe, to participate positively in the affairs of
7.3 A call on Catholic leaders
"It is the right and
duty of Catholics and all citizens to seek the truth with sincerity and to
promote and defend, by legitimate means, moral truths concerning society,
justice, freedom, respect for human life and the other rights of the person
should be upheld" (Doctrinal note, no.8, 2003). We your Shepherds call upon
all those Catholics who hold special responsibilities in society, be it
government, the business community or other spheres of influence to
exercise your duties according to the social teaching of the Church.
It is your rights and also your duty as lay faithful to participate in
'public life' that is, in the many different economic, social,
legislative, administrative and cultural areas which are intended for the
common good of the people. We fully support you in your positive
contribution to nation building, as long as you follow the Gospel teachings
and values. "The social doctrine of the Church is not an intrusion into
the Government of individual countries. It is a question of the
lay Catholic's duty to be morally coherent found within one's conscience,
which is one and indivisible. There cannot be two parallel lives in their
existence, the Pope reminds you" (Christifideles laici, no.59). We
therefore, dear brothers and sisters, cannot lead a double way of life,
one for Sunday services in Church and another for our public tasks, be
they political, economic, social or other kind. We are always called to be
guided by our conscience and to live our Christian faith as an integral
7.4 Call to Prayer
We learn from the life of Jesus who
prayed and kept in constant communication with his Father that prayer is
very important in our life. He prayed when he selected the Apostles, he
prayed when he fed the hungry, he prayed in the garden before his arrest,
crucifixion and death, and on many other occasions. If Jesus prayed, we
need to pray much more ourselves. The Holy Father has called for intensified
prayer for peace at the beginning of this Lent. He has also encourage all of
us to pray the rosary more, during this year of the rosary, to make
intercession through Mary, the Mother of Jesus. We therefore call
upon all the faithful to pray incessantly and fast for justice, peace,
love and freedom in our country and in the
We are aware that there is a lot to reflect upon
during this time of lent, but it is necessary for us to transform
ourselves and our nation, so that we can live in the Joy of the risen Lord,
when we have overcome the difficulties we are going through. We are
confident that when we all play our part, and fulfil our god-given call in
truthfulness, God will bless our efforts and we will succeed. Zimbabwe has
been a star, and this beautiful country can continue to shine when we are
united and work together in truth, justice, love and freedom.
We conclude with part of the Holy Father's message of Lent: The love of
God poured into our hearts ought to inspire and transform who we are and
what we do. Christians must not think that they can seek the true good of
their brothers and sisters without embodying the charity of Christ. Even
in those cases where they might succeed in improving aspects of social
or political life, without charity every change would remain short-lived. The
possibility of giving oneself to o thers is itself a gift which comes from
the grace of God. As Saint Paul teaches: 'God is at work in you, both to will
and to work for his good pleasure' Phil.2:13 (John Paul II, Message of
Lent, 2003, no.4.) +Mt Rev. Patrick F. Chakaipa of Harare +Mt. Rev.
Pius Alec V. Ncube of Bulawayo +Rt. Rev. Michael D. Bhasera of Masvingo (ZCBC
President) +Rt. Rev. Francis Mugadzi of Gweru +Rt. Rev. Alexio C.
Muchabaiwa of Mutare +Rt. Rev. Helmut Reckter SJ +Rt. Rev. Robert C.
Ndlovu of Hwange (Vice-President) +Rt. Rev. Angel Floro of Gokwe +Rt. Rev.
Patrick M. lMutume, Auxiliary Bishop of Mutare
JOHANNESBURG, March 21 - South Africa has broken its
official silence about Zimbabwe's continued suspension from the Commonwealth,
saying the decision to extend the punishment was a ''political and procedural
travesty.'' Commonwealth Secretary-General Don McKinnon said on Sunday
he was extending the 12-month ban, imposed in protest at alleged
election-rigging and the seizure of white-owned farms for landless blacks,
until December's Commonwealth summit in Nigeria. ''Neither the
Commonwealth Chair nor the Secretary-General has a mandate to extend the
suspension. Any such decision must be after consultation with all member
states and must be by consensus,'' South Africa's high commissioner
(ambassador) in London, Lindiwe Mabuza, said in a statement. A
foreign ministry spokesman in Pretoria confirmed that Thursday night's
statement reflected government views on the issue, which has split the
54-nation Commonwealth on largely racial lines.
It was unclear on Friday what South Africa intended to do, if anything, to
try to get the suspension lifted. McKinnon told Reuters after Sunday's
announcement that the ''clear majority'' of members were in favour of
extending the suspension, originally imposed in March last year, and that
South Africa and Nigeria had reluctantly accepted his decision. The
two African powers are in a troika with Australia which was set up to pilot
the Commonwealth's Zimbabwe policy. But the triumvirate has broken
down because the Africans say President Robert Mugabe has done enough to earn
readmission to the group, while Australia says his abuse of political and
civic freedoms is so bad that tougher sanctions are justified.
Mugabe, 79, has ruled the southern African country since 1980. Zimbabwe's
urban centres were virtually paralysed for two days this week in a mass
protest by the main opposition. Mabuza's statement said consensus was
mandatory in the Commonwealth ''otherwise there is no consistency and the
outcome is a consequence of a political and procedural travesty.''
''It is thus important for us all to know precisely which countries were
consulted and what positions they communicated to the Secretary-General,''
the statement said, adding that African members of the Commonwealth were
opposed to Zimbabwe's continued suspension. McKinnon's assertion that
the troika had accepted the decision ''does not represent the views of the
troika,'' it said.
As you may know, Roy Bennet's farm in Ruwa was visited
yesterday (20/3) by an army contingent who severely beat the couple who
manage for Roy, the Gardeners, and a large number of his workers - men, women
and children. The beatings were in retaliation for Roy being viewed as one of
the major orchestrators of the recent stayaway. Understandably, Roy's people
are severely traumatised and frightened. We have just heard that they
are beating Roy's people again today (21/3).
We would like to start a
fund to support and encourage Roy's workers to stay on the farm and pay for
their medical expenses. If you are in any way able to contribute in KIND OR
IN CASH, please phone us on 011 - 403327 or drop off anything you can
contribute to O'Neill Meats offices in the Colcom Complex at 1 Coventry Road.
We are unfortunately not in a position to collect. Your donation will be
O'Neill Meats - 2 Sides of Beef Kockotts -
25000 Percy and Linda Sharp -
2: Ben Norton
Could you please give us a satisfactory
answer to these accusations in an Email communiqué. Those of us who have been
evicted from our farms and are currently living on the bit of capital gleaned
from the sale of a few implements and which is now subject to inflation in
excess of 200% are very concerned as to what the rest of the world think of
this infighting between commercial farmer organizations. There is a very real
fear that this sort of nonsense could jeopardise any chance of us getting
the compensation which is our legitimist due.
Why does not Mr.Cloete
consult in an open forum with a few of our ex C.F.U. presidents . I could
name a long list of those whose remarks I would be happy to go along with.
Should the said presidents refuse to be consulted, please publish their names
and reasons . I truly believe that the time has come for all EX and present
farmers to get together and speak with one voice.
Your most unhappy
and worried ex farmer .
Ps .I would appreciate an
3: R. Mac
A Blunder that Defies Belief
congratulate the writer of this extremely well written, inspired, succinct
and pertinent Communiqué. The only concern is that the people who are on the
ground, doing Zanu PF's bidding, (in my case being peasant relatives of well
heeled city gents who visit their A2 plots once a month), wouldn't understand
You have written the truth, and I believe the 'truth' will eventually
set us free. So be encouraged. I shall copy it and pass on to the settlers
and see what happens.
Well done !
4: A.I.C. McCormick
United Nations Development Programme P O Box
UNDP SUPPORT FOR LAND PROGRAMME
find it incongruous that the UNDP is contemplating seeking funds from donors
to support the Zimbabwe Government's current land reform programme, whilst
the Government has not implemented a workable alternative/ compensation
programme for the displaced farm workers and farmers. Indeed the Government
does not appear to have any clear programme for this whole debacle.
believe the Government has engaged in the wholesale expropriation of
the commercial agriculture sector relying on the world community to
bankroll them so the leaders can benefit from any funds coming into the
country from donors. I believe that this is the reason the Government is so
determined not to devalue the currency. It was hoping that funds would come
in at the artificial rate, it could then devalue and pay the farmers out, and
the ruling elite would keep the change. This would have been the
world's biggest fraud ever.
It is also not appropriate to ask donors
to fund any Government programmes when it is well known and documented that
all Government programmes end up benefiting the ruling elite. Recently we
have the Land Audit, Livestock Development Trust restocking scheme, District
Development Fund land preparation scheme and agricultural Imput Credit Scheme
which clearly show that the influential, and often rich, members of
Government and the ruling party enrich themselves further when using donor,
or taxpayer, funds to implement noble sounding causes. The last twenty three
years has seen a legacy of such noble sounding schemes that have served to
benefit the ruling elite.
It is time that the international community
insisted that third world governments stop abusing aid contributed at the
expense of donor countries taxpayers. Where humanitarian issues are
threatened by over avarice governments the international community should be
prepared to intervene militarily if necessary. I believe that we have
reached this stage in Zimbabwe if we are to avoid a major humanitarian
crisis. It amazes me that the UN Security Council has not seen fit to even
discuss the possible extermination of millions of Zimbabweans by a self
serving government, let alone take concrete action.
I believe that it
is immoral for the UNDP to assist the settlers on the expropriated farms
ahead of the displaced farmers and farm workers. It is they who have created
the current chaotic situation and food insecurity. They, and the Government,
must be given no encouragement by ill thought out statements from UN
personnel or other world leaders. This only helps to entrench them and
prolong the problem as they hope for further financial advantage. They are
banking on the international community to bank role them. These statements
raise their hopes that if they hang out a bit longer, they will win over
donors to finance them. This is one of the major reasons why they have not
bothered to crop the occupied farms. They sincerely believe that donors, or
Government, will give them their every need. Thus you are contributing to
the "dependency syndrome" afflicting most Zimbabweans.
will regard any donor organization assisting the occupiers of my farm as
accomplices in the losses and suffering inflicted upon my employees, family
and myself, and will be looking to them for compensation.
faithfully A I C
5: C. Travers
Please can anyone help me, I'm trying to find a Mr Ken
Burton who used to farm, I don't know what area he was in.
has a contact or any idea of how I can contact Mr Burton, please could they
either revert by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on
my cell 091 302
A number of section 8 orders
are currently soon to finish running their 90 days maturity period. Farmers
need to be legally proactive and ensure that they are:
1. not on the
wrong side of the law (irrespective of their political contacts), 2. and that
they have a lever to deter anyone from evicting them.
In order to remain
on the right side of the law go to your lawyer and get your section 8 and
section 5 nullified using the various grounds and precedents that we have
In order to have a lever for police, DA's or A2
a. a copy of the 11th October 2002 Bulawayo High court
Justice Cheda interim relief ruling which categorically states: "That the ZRP
be and are hereby interdicted from evicting any farmer from his farm until
such time as the Administrative Court has confirmed the acquisition and there
is a lawful court order evicting the said farmer" and "that any
farmer unlawfully evicted from his farm be and is hereby permitted to return
to the said farm."
b. A copy of the Quinnell case interim relief
c. Complete your JAG loss claim document. An abridged version
will suffice for this purpose containing: · Your section 8/section 5
nullifications. · The 11th October High Court order mentioned above. · The
Quinnell interim relief ruling. · Your valuation of fixed and moveable
assets. · A table of loss of income that would incur in each of your
farming enterprises backed up by your marketeers. · The costs of
relocation with rental in Harare etc. · The loss if income that would accrue
to your workers.
This should be accompanied by a formal lawyers letter
stating that should the illegal eviction take place a civil legal action will
ensue targeting the individuals and perpetrators of the eviction as well as
the beneficiaries. A full copy of this loss document should be given to
the individuals if eviction looks imminent.
In most instances this
strategy has proven most effective as it is all about accountability. Be
proactive. Fight for what is rightfully yours and don't give
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ZIMBABWE: Election observers invited to apply for forthcoming
JOHANNESBURG, 20 March (IRIN) - Zimbabwe's Electoral
Supervisory Commission (ESC) has invited election observers to apply for
accreditation ahead of this month's by-elections in the vacant Harare
constituencies of Kuwadzana and Highfield.
Kuwadzana fell vacant on the
death in custody of Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) member of parliament
Learnmore Jongwe, who was awaiting trial in connection with the murder of his
wife. The Highfield by-election follows the expulsion from the MDC of Munyaradzi
Both seats are seen as crucial for the MDC who have lost a string
of recent by-elections to the ruling ZANU-PF, and could inch ZANU-PF closer to
the two-thirds majority required to make constitutional amendments.
spokesman Thomas Bvuma told IRIN that to observe the 29 and 30 March elections,
applicants needed to supply a letter of authority from the justice minister's
office and pay a Zim $1,000 (US $18) registration fee.
citizens would qualify.
Bvuma said observers were usually members of
NGOs, interested parties, and eminent local people. Applications will be open
until 27 March.
The four candidates who had registered for the Kuwadzana
seat are: Nelson Chamisa (MDC), Kimpton Chiwewete of the National Alliance for
Good Governance (NAGG), Aaron Mandela of the United Party (UP) and David Mutasa
of the ruling ZANU-PF.
The seven candidates registered for Highfield are:
Everasto Chidhakwa (NAGG), Joseph Chinotimba (ZANU-PF), Egypt Dzimemumhenzva
(African National Patriots), the expelled Gwisai, who will stand as an
independent, Philip Kalongonda of the Zimbabwe People's Democratic Party,
Alphious Mapuranga of the UP and Pearson Mungofa of the MDC.
expected to be tight for the elections after two separate clashes between MDC
and ZANU-PF supporters in Kuwadzana in the last two