The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent


Thank you brave Zimbabweans

WE 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.

The Mugabe 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 way.

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 society.

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 basic commodities.

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

Morgan Tsvangirai,

MDC president.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent


Too little, too late

THE proposed $1 000 note is too little, too late. I suggest that all our
worthless coins are re-cycled into $100 and $500 coins.

Print $5000 $10 000 and $20 000 notes. Tie our currency to the South African
rand at $100 to R1.

Rex Sardonnicus,


Zim Independent

The Financial World

This week's world currency rates VS Zim dollar

US Dollar 824

British Pound 1,300

SA Rand 105

Botswana Pula 160


EU average: 2,2%

Japan: 0%

USA: 2,4%

Botswana: 11,1%

Malawi: 16,7%

South Africa: 11,8%

Tanzania: 4,4%

Zambia: 25,0%

Zimbabwe: 220,9%

UK: 2,9%

Zim Stock Exchange

Top Five Gains for the week

1. Bindura 52,4%

2. Zimre 42,9%

3. Turnall 36,0%

4. TPH 33,3%

5. Century 32,1%

Top Five Losses for the week

1. RTG -21,1%

2. Astra -12,5%

3. NMB -10,8%

4. P/Speed -10,0%

5. Gulliver -9,8%

Top Five Value Traded (Z$000's)

1. Meikles 1,454,633

2. Delta 763,028

3. Cottco 232,730

4. Interfresh 228,731

5. Old Mutual 188,701

Industrial Index (Thursday)

173,752,10 (-164,467,61)

Mining Index (Thursday)

11,686,64 (+13,626,99)

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

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 learnt.

Sikhala, Taurayi Magaya and Charles Mutama on Tuesday left for South Africa
where they will stay for two weeks before proceeding to Denmark.

"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 fortnight.

"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.

The Institute for Justice and Reconciliation is trying to broker a political
accord between the ruling Zanu PF party and the opposition MDC.

An affidavit signed by Dr Faith Ndebele, a specialist psychiatrist, said
Sikhala was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder with depressive

"Mr Sikhala gave a history of having been assaulted whilst in police custody
in January," the affidavit said.

"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

"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.

Musekiwa, 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.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

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 eventual takeover.

The publication identifies three groups scrambling for power and slugging it
out behind the scenes for Mugabe's throne.

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 factions.

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

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 at most".

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

Zanu PF politburo heavyweight Dumiso Dabengwa is also linked to Mujuru's
faction by the ICG.

"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," it says.

"If this manoeuvre succeeds, the group will then concentrate on ensuring
that Mnangagwa is not well-positioned to succeed Mugabe."

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 gaining clout.

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 says.

"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 ago."

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 quickly.

"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."
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent


Thank you Mohadi

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 collective delusion.

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 illusion.)

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.

Jackie Cahi,

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent


Chigwedere's svikiro got it all wrong

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 issues.

"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 self-education!

Aeneas Chigwedere was quoted on Tuesday as saying: "Today's mass action is a
non-event to us and business would be as usual."

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 Herald.

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 account.

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

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 "bar talk".

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.

Ugandan 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 another.

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.

The 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."

Nobody wants 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 virtually worthless."

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 shame.

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 problems?

"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 subjects."

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 mobsters.

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 named!

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.

Then, 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 alleged.

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 Mandaza.

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.

The news 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.

The 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

The villagers said they were "more indigenous" than Mandaza.

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 is.

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

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?

Our 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.

She paused 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 chess players.

A more comfortable environment. Close encounters with reality can be so
unsettling. But everybody liked the lavender suit.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

UN Wire

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.

"The 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 camps.

"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, March 18).

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

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.

Senzeni? 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

Why 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?

Why is 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 devalued?

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 him?

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 case?

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 wife?

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 country?

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 country?

Tafirenyika Wekwa Makunikeis based in Johannesburg and can be contacted on
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent


'Get lost' West must say

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe and his gang must be feeling very pleased that they
are succeeding in murdering Zimbabwe, its people and its future. Mugabe has
a moustache, a small one, so did Hitler.

If any European state behaved as Zimbabwe is doing it would be called all
the names under the sun.

The main problem apart from Mugabe is the absolute ignorance of the
population. All must realise that you reap what you sow. You are sowing
hatred, that is what you will get back.

Gangs of thugs steal, rape, pillage and destroy people's homes.

It is those same people who wish to destroy what you have built.

Who built the economy of Zimbabwe, provided schools, hospitals, sanitation
and a system of law. What have Mugabe and his ministers done for the

Soon most of Africa will be asking for help from the West. I wonder what the
answer will be. If it were up to me it would be "get lost" in addition to
telling the West to stop all aid to Zimbabwe.

Eric Bateman,
Back to the Top
Back to Index

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.

Find the site at

The Team-Zimbabwe Project is the culmination of over a years work and comes as a result of collaboration between several groups and many individuals.

It 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.

Amongst other things you will find information sections on...

Getting Started
Charities working for Zimbabweans
Zimbabwean Events and Gatherings

as well as interactive sections like ...

Classified Adverts (Jobs, accommodation and many other sections)
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.


Please do not reply to this email address... it is used for mailing out only and replys are not read. Use the one above.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zimbabwe Crises - Catholic Bishops Statement

From Worldwide Faith News <>
Date Fri, 21 Mar 2003 13:18:25 -0800

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.

MARCH 2003


Dear Brothers 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.

1. Introduction:

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 concerns.

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 Church

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.

These 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

We must 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 with.

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 raise Concerns

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 event.

There are, however some developments which are a cause of some concern to us.

6.1 The culture of violence in our society

It is 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.

After 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.

6.2 Governance

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, 1995, p.97).

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.

6.3 Corruption

The 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 officials.

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 distribution

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 economy

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 development.

6.6 Adequate health services for all

We acknowledge 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 violence.

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 this dialogue.

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 life

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 public life.

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 unity.

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 world.


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
Back to the Top
Back to Index


S.Africa attacks Commonwealth over Zimbabwe ban

By Nicholas Kotch

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
       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.
Back to the Top
Back to Index



Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.


Letter 1: H O'Neill

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 acknowledged.

Please forward this e-mail to anyone you think could help. Our e-mail is

List of Contributors:

O'Neill Meats - 2 Sides of Beef
Kockotts - 25000
Percy and Linda Sharp - 15000

Letter 2: Ben Norton

Dear Sir.

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

Your most unhappy and worried ex farmer .

Ben Norton

Ps .I would appreciate an answer ASAP.

Letter 3: R. Mac

A Blunder that Defies Belief

Dear JAG.

I 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 it!

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 !

Roy Mac.

Letter 4: A.I.C. McCormick

United Nations Development Programme
P O Box 4775

Dear Sir


I 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

I 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.

Certainly, I 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.

Yours faithfully
A I C McCormick

Letter 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.

If anyone has a contact or any idea of how I can contact Mr Burton, please
could they either revert by e-mail or call me on my
cell 091 302 840.


All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice
for Agriculture.

Justice for Agriculture mailing list
To subscribe/unsubscribe: Please write to
Back to the Top
Back to Index





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 advocated previously.

In order to have a lever for police, DA's or A2 settlers get:

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 ruling.

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 up!

Justice for Agriculture mailing list
To subscribe/unsubscribe: Please write to

Back to the Top
Back to Index

ZIMBABWE: Election observers invited to apply for forthcoming by-elections

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 Gwisai.

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.

ESC 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.

Only Zimbabwean 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.

Security is expected to be tight for the elections after two separate clashes between MDC and ZANU-PF supporters in Kuwadzana in the last two months.


Tel: +27 11 880-4633
Fax: +27 11 447-5472

Back to the Top
Back to Index