Zimbabwe a Textbook Case of Bad Governance, U.S. Official
United States Department of State (Washington,
February 28, 2005 Posted to the web March 1, 2005
Greenberg Washington, DC
State Department's Woods says country's
government in need of restoration
As many countries of sub-Saharan Africa
work to strengthen their democracies, Zimbabwe seems to be rushing headlong
in the opposite direction, a U.S. State Department official said February
With "free and fair elections" such as those in Ghana, Niger and
Malawi becoming the norm, said Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for
African Affairs Thomas Woods, Zimbabwe's government, once seen as making
progress toward a free-market democracy, "has now become a textbook case of
bad and illegitimate governance."
Woods spoke at an American
Enterprise Institute forum on Zimbabwe held at the institute's headquarters
The "overall trend towards good governance and democratic
rule among the nations of western and southern Africa" makes the downward
spiral of Zimbabwe even more tragic and disheartening, Woods
What once was the "breadbasket of southern Africa," he lamented,
cannot now feed itself. "Over the last five years the country's economy has
imploded, shrinking by more than 40 percent, and giving it the distinction
of being the world's fastest declining economy," he pointed
Woods added that with some 3 million Zimbabweans in exile, many of
them highly educated, and most fleeing to South Africa and neighboring
regions, "Zimbabwe has become a drain on the region.
political, press and individual oppression. Only the selected members of
Zimbabwe's ruling party (ZANU-PF) are prospering. When democracy and market
economics have put down solid roots in many parts of Africa, Zimbabwe offers
a clear counter-example of a leader [President Robert Mugabe] willing to do
anything to stay in power and thwart the will and best interests of [his]
people," Woods said.
While citing the recent testimony of Secretary of
State Condoleezza Rice before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in
which she called Zimbabwe "one of six outposts of tyranny in the world,"
Woods affirmed that "helping to advance the president's call for greater
freedom in the world is our core mission in Zimbabwe."
To that end,
he said, the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act remains the
cornerstone of U.S. policy toward that country. Through its provisions, the
United States -- joined by the European Union [EU] and others -- maintains
financial and travel sanctions that signal international disapproval of the
way that Zimbabwe's ruling elite have trampled on democratic freedoms, and
give an incentive for moderate behavior.
At the same time, the United
States has never taken actions to harm the Zimbabwean people, Woods
emphasized. "There is no blockade, nor trade sanctions, because we don't
want to harm innocent people. We continue to [implement] the largest
HIV/AIDS program of any donor in Zimbabwe. And we are helping to feed over
five million Zimbabweans" who have been adversely affected by the
agricultural policies of the Mugabe government.
Referring to the
parliamentary elections that will be held March 31, the diplomat said many
fear they will be tainted by intimidation of the main opposition party, the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), and the electorate in general.
Nonetheless, he said, these elections, "even if imperfect, can be a turning
point, and a first step toward national restoration -- if they result in a
parliament that reflects Zimbabwe's entire electorate and gives voice to all
the elements of the political spectrum."
"All political groups must
have access to the media; there must be free and open political debate with
candidates to be able to communicate with all segments of the population.
Robert Mugabe has it in his power to meet all these conditions. Anything
less will ensure that the elections are a farce and will achieve nothing
except to perpetuate Zimbabwe's isolation and economic
Despite the negatives, Woods emphasized, there are many
conditions in Zimbabwe that bode well for a successful transformation to
democracy: an educated populace, vestiges of a productive economic
infrastructure, and a large and vocal civil society.
said, the key to democracy in Zimbabwe lies within the region. "Regional
governments and public opinion have more potential to influence events in
Zimbabwe than anything done by faraway countries such as the United States.
The government in Harare cares about its standing in the region."
Mugabe 'disappointed' by new black farmers March 01 2005
Harare - Less than half of the millions of acres seized
from white farmers and given to black commercial farmers is properly used,
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was quoted as saying by state television
"President Mugabe expressed disappointment with the
land use by A2 (commercial) farmers, saying only 44 percent of the land
distributed is being fully utilised," television cited Mugabe as
"He warned the farmers that government will not hesitate to
re-distribute land that is not being utilised," it said.
was speaking at a rural school near his birthplace, where he donated 40
computers to four schools in the area.
A government land audit
report released late last year showed that 4.2-million hectares of land had
been allocated to fewer than 200 000 black commercial farmers and ordinary
Zimbabwe embarked on its land redistribution
programme in February 2000, taking away prime farm land owned by 4 500 white
farmers and handing it over to the landless black majority.
Before the land seizures, 70 percent of the most fertile land in the country
was owned by white farmers who were mainly descendants of British
Of the 4 500 large-scale commercial white farmers
operating in Zimbabwe five years ago, there are about 600 now. Many have
relocated to neighbouring countries and as far afield as
In December last year, government officials reported that
less than a quarter of planned Zimbabwean land had been put under crop,
raising fears of looming food shortages this year.
combination of factors, including poor planning, lack of resources, Aids and
drought have led to a huge slump in agricultural production in recent years
in the southern African country, once a breadbasket of Africa and a food
exporter. - Sapa-AFP
New commercial farmers who benefited from Zimbabwe's
fast-track land reform programme are now hamstrung by a lack of labour to
work their fields.
Unions representing farmers and farm workers admit
that the shortage of labour is acute, and have warned that urgent action is
needed to revive the agricultural sector, thrown into disarray by the land
redistribution programme that began in 2000.
An estimated 300,000
farm workers were displaced during the government's accelerated land reform
programme, when white commercial farmers were removed from their farms to
make way for black settlers.
Only a small number of the workers remained
on the land because of the poor wages being offered by the new farmers, who
were struggling to get on their feet. Some preferred to return home, while
others sought employment in nearby towns or took up illegal gold
"The problem is very serious, and even though there are other
factors like drought, there is hardly anything going on the farms. Farm
workers are shunning us for a number of reasons, but the foremost factor is
that of wages," acknowledged Denford Chimbwanda, chairman of the Grain and
Cereal Producers' Association.
"The workers are asking for
unrealistic wages", he told IRIN. "Farmers are still struggling to
consolidate their activities and there is no way in which the workers should
ask for so much, otherwise we will collapse."
There was a real danger,
Chimbwanda said, of the maize and wheat that had already matured rotting in
the fields because the new commercial farmers could not get enough labour to
harvest their crops.
The minimum monthly wage for a general farm worker
is currently Zim $169,000 (about US $28), but according to the latest report
by the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe, an average family requires Zim $1.5
million ($248) a month to live on.
Memory Murombedzi, a veteran
journalist who now owns 300 hectares of land, acknowledged that she was
battling to find labour she could afford to help with her 10 hectares of
She has only nine full-time workers and has to rely on part-time
labour from the nearby town of Chegutu. Every morning she sends a tractor 30
km to town in search of workers, but it sometimes returns empty because the
going daily rate was more than she could afford.
"I have been forced
to contract workers, but they do not report for duty regularly," said
Murombedzi. "They mostly prefer go to the farmer paying the
Julius Ngorima, president of the Zimbabwe Association of
Tobacco Growers, said if the current labour shortage persisted, production
would continue to suffer. "This tragedy could not have come at a worse time.
The production of tobacco is a labour-intensive process and the leaf could
rot if it is not speedily cured," he told IRIN.
Before the advent of
the land reform programme, Zimbabwe accounted for 19 percent of the world's
total tobacco exports, but since then production has slumped from 237,000 mt
in 2000 to 60,000 mt in 2004, according to a US Department of Agriculture
Ngorima said most of the displaced farm workers preferred to work
two or three times a week, adding that some of the contract farmers now also
owned their own plots, which required their attention.
"While it is
desirable to pay these workers more than the minimum wage, the economy is
generally in bad shape. Inflation also affects the employers, who have to
contend with spiralling prices of inputs, farm equipment and huge
electricity bills," he explained.
The official daily newspaper, the
Herald, recently reported that the electricity supply of a significant
number of new farmers had been discontinued because of unpaid bills,
jeopardising the tobacco curing process.
However, the General
Agricultural and Plantation Workers Union of Zimbabwe (GAPWUZ) has accused
farmers of exploitation. "We have had a tough time trying to negotiate for
better wages for farm workers through the National Employment Council
because the new farmers keep on insisting that they do not have the money,"
GAPWUZ general secretary, Gertrude Hambiya told IRIN.
Ngorima urged the
government to assist farmers with loans, to be disbursed in good time, part
of which could be used to pay workers proper wages.
But GAPWUZ cautioned
the not all farmers had the welfare of their labourers at heart.
are aware that farmers misrepresent facts, by and large. They go and obtain
funding from government departments and state that 60 percent of the money
they apply for will go towards wages and salaries. Instead, they will divert
the money to other uses, sometimes totally unrelated to agriculture, hence
their failure to pay the workers," Hambiya alleged.
[ This report does
not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations ]
of the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) will picket overnight at
Zimbabwe's border post the day before elections take place in that
The protests on March 30 would be the culmination of other
blockades and demonstrations throughout March at the Beit Bridge border post
and at the Zimbabwe High Commission in Pretoria.
secretary-general Zwelenzima Vavi said the protests signified how little
faith workers in Zimbabwe and South Africa had in the elections set to take
place on March 31.
"Clearly we can see what will happen beyond March 31;
the winner will be the one with the odds skewed in his favour," Vavi said at
a press conference in Johannesburg.
He said Cosatu expected to have
to continue to fight for worker's rights after the elections, and were
"bracing ourselves for further actions".
Cosatu would not call for
economic sanctions against the country unless requested to by the Zimbabwean
Congress of Trade Unions, Vavi said.
"We are not leading the struggle, we
are supporting the Zimbabwean workers. The main struggle must happen in
Zimbabwe," he said.
Protests at the Zimbabwe High Commission would take
place on March 9 and March 16, with a mass march to the commission on March
23, Vavi said. The border blockades would occur on March 11, and 18, with
another mass march and night vigil on March 30.
He said the regional
branches were in the process of submitting applications to the police and
local authorities for permission to demonstrate.
Vavi said this sort of
border mass action was neither abnormal nor illegal. He would be "very
worried" if permissions were not granted, he said.
"We would have to ask
what is special with Zimbabwe?" Asked what Cosatu hoped to achieve with its
actions this month, Vavi said: "A struggle is not an event. It is a process
that may, in time, produce a result.
"We were asked the same question
when we were struggling against apartheid, but we persisted." The trade
union federation also revealed the programme for its 20th anniversary
conference which will take place from March 5 to 7 in
Speakers include Deputy President Jacob Zuma, labour minister
Membathisi Mdladlana, and critics of Cosatu from left and right of the
political spectrum, Vavi said.
"We are not just inviting good friends
who agree with us." He said the conference aimed to spark critical thinking
about the performance of Cosatu over the last 10 years, and its future
The Scotsman Tue 1 Mar 2005 Straw Accused of 'Deafening Silence' on
By Trevor Mason, PA Parliamentary Editor
Secretary Jack Straw was accused by the Tories today of a "deafening
silence" over human rights abuses in Zimbabwe ahead of the general election
Shadow foreign secretary Michael Ancram warned that "quiet
diplomacy" was simply not enough in the face of President "Mugabe's
But junior Foreign Office minister Chris Mullin rejected
the charges and insisted "strong" objections had been raised with the
Zimbabwean ambassador late last month over the "continued intimidation" of
the media and opposition politicians.
"I made clear that we wanted to
see free and fair elections and that these developments augured badly. We
had a robust exchange," he told the Commons at question time.
no sign at all that Zimbabwe is preparing for a fair election. As in the
past, the electoral register contains thousands of ghost voters and many
entitled to vote have been left off.
"Journalists are being harassed,
independent newspapers suppressed and opposition meetings are broken
Mr Ancram, however, was critical of the Government's
"Given his vocal support for democratic elections in Iraq and
the Ukraine, why the deafening silence from the Foreign Secretary on
Zimbabwe's coming election?" he asked.
"With opposition candidates
being beaten up, newspapers being banned, with politicians rather than
judges imprisoning political opponents ... quiet diplomacy and quite words
with the High Commissioner for Zimbabwe are simply not enough.
is the Government going to do to protect the the democratic rights of the
people of Zimbabwe from Mugabe's tyranny or is he, once again, for the third
time under this Government's watch, going to be allowed to laugh in the face
of democracy, while this Government walks by on the other side?"
Mullin said: "We're always in the market for constructive suggestions but we
don't hear many from you. What we hear is a great deal of huffing and
puffing ... which frankly won't make the slightest
"Indeed it plays straight into Mr Mugabe's hands because one
of the planks of his electoral platform is that the opposition in Zimbabwe
are British stooges.
"That is not the case but every time you and
your colleagues start letting their mouths go, it does rather give that
"We haven't been at all silent on what is going on in
Zimbabwe. One thing we have achieved is the rollover for another 12 months
of EU sanctions."
Senior Tory Sir Peter Tapsell (Louth and Horncastle)
asked: "Has this Labour Government explained to Mr Mugabe the splendid
opportunities for electoral fraud offered by the widespread introduction of
Amid laughter, Mr Mullin replied: "No we haven't. When it
comes to electoral fraud there's not a lot we can teach Mr Mugabe."
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) hoped
to speedily set up a team to observe Zimbabwe's March 31 elections, South
Africa's Deputy Foreign Minister, Aziz Pahad, said on
South Africa, as chair of SADC's organ on politics,
defence and security, has sent letters to member countries asking for
nominations for the observer mission.
The team would not
be limited to observing the actual elections, but would also be tasked with
ensuring that conditions were conducive for a free and fair poll, Pahad told
reporters in Pretoria.
The team's departure date would
"depend on the capacity of the [SADC] secretariat to get the delegation
ready". Its size would be determined by available
As to South Africa's own participation, Pahad said
the country has been invited to observe the Zimbabwean poll in at least five
It has been invited as a member of
SADC, as chairperson of the organ on politics, defence and security, and as
a neighbouring country. The ruling African National Congress has also been
asked to send an observer team, while Parliament has set up a multi-party
The Cabinet was expected to discuss on Wednesday
how the country would approach the matter and how many teams to
"We hope to get them there as soon as possible," Pahad
He added that the Zimbabwean government has not
objected to any of the SADC observer team's mandates, and it was expected to
be allowed to deal with complaints from all political camps. - Sapa
treatment of the independent media displays an arrogance which cries out for
some form of punishment. The closure of The Weekly Times is an example of
the impunity with which this government has trampled upon the people's
inalienable right to consume any and all information available to
The newspaper, the latest victim of a government
frightened into hysteria by the truth, was duly registered under the
Stalinist Media and Information Commission, headed by The Sunday Mail's
regular columnist, Tafataona Mahoso.
The Sunday Mail is a
weekly newspaper in which the government has a majority stake. Although The
Weekly Times came out on Friday, and not Sunday, it can still be considered
a competitor of the government newspaper which carries the thoughts of the
MIC chairman every week.
But apart from that the reasons for
shutting down the newspaper sound monumentally obtuse. The definition of
"development" news could be highly subjective.
An editor or
publisher could argue convincingly that publishing news of a political
nature, which involves the development of the country, is a legitimate
pursuit of the objectives set out in the paper's application to the
Mahoso may be unaware of this, but there has been a raging
debate on the definition of "development news" in the African context.
Regimes with traces of dictatorship, of which Zimbabwe has been identified
as one, tend to define "development news" as news about government
Such news is confined to reports on the opening of
new roads, bridges, hospitals, schools, lavatories or soup kitchens. To such
regimes news of demonstrations against government policies, or the
opposition parties' thoughts on any subject under the sun, does not fall
under the category of "development news".
The closure of
the newspaper brings to four the number of publications banned under
Jonathan Moyo's Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act. It has
a particular poignancy because it has been done only a few weeks before the
March 31 parliamentary elections.
The Southern Africa
Development Community (SADC) should take note of this timing. Its guidelines
specifically call for free media participation during the election
In banning the newspaper at this time, the government
of Zimbabwe is thumbing its nose at the SADC guidelines. For that it ought
to deserve the severest punishment of the grouping.
people could, of course, signify their contempt through the ballot box. They
could vote to reaffirm their commitment to a free press, which this
government has abused.
JOHANNESBURG - The
Southern Times newspaper, a joint venture propaganda project between Namibia
and Zimbabwe, has failed to make an impact amid reports of poor sales in the
About 20 000 copies of the paper were sold during its
first two months in circulation last year. Namibia's main newspapers sell
this number of papers daily while Zimbabwe's largest paper, the banned Daily
News, sold an average of 100 000 copies daily.
Times, a brainchild of disgraced former Zimbabwe Information Minister
Jonathan Moyo, got off the ground through a partnership agreement between
New Era and Zimbabwe Newspapers (1980) Limited (Zimpapers) last
New Era is owned by the Namibian government while
Zimpapers is also state-controlled. The paper was touted as a weapon to
fight western-influenced propaganda peddled by what Moyo called the
Namibia's Minister of Information and
Broadcasting, Nangolo Mbunda, however remains optimistic that the
newspaper's fortunes will improve.
According to The Namibian
newspaper, he told the Namibian National Assembly last week that the
publication was "gaining momentum" and "acceptability" in the region as it
was telling "stories from a Southern African regional perspective". He had
been asked to explain in parliament how the paper was
The Southern Times was set up to challenge the
influence of South Africa's top selling weekly, The Sunday Times, which
circulates widely in Southern African countries, including
It was one of the self-serving media projects
launched by fired former Minister of Information in Zimbabwe, Professor
Jonathan Moyo, and meant to neutralise voices bent on exposing Moyo's
scandals in South Africa and Kenya.
The weekly is edited by
Moses Magadza, a former assistant editor at The Herald and one of Moyo's
Initially, the paper was going to be called The
New Sunday Times and in its efforts to confuse readers, it adopted a
masthead with lettering identical to that of the original Sunday Times. It
took court action for the new paper to change its name to The Southern
Times, although it still maintained the copy-cat colour and fonts of the
The Sunday Times had become a target of vitriolic
attacks by Moyo after it embarrassed him several times with revelations of
his shopping sprees, the auctioning of his house in Johannesburg over debts
and the scandal over research funds Moyo was alleged to have embezzled at
But things don't seem to be working out
well for the paper, which is printed in Harare and has headquarters in
Windhoek , and is supposed to be sold throughout the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) region.
It remains to be seen if
it survives the wholesale changes to Moyo's legacy in the state-controlled
media which the Zimbabwe government is reported to be ready to
Namibia's Mbunda, however, remains
"It is imperative to point out that since The
Southern Times only started its operations in September 2004, it would be
inappropriate to judge its performance in a time frame of six months,"
Mbumba said, maintaining that it would become a "force to be reckoned with"
in the near future.
He said New Era, as 50 percent shareholders
in the joint venture Namzim Newspapers (Pty Ltd) had contributed N$1
million, while Zimpapers had put in N$1, 4 million.
THE chairperson of the
commission running the affairs of Harare, Sekesai Makwavarara, who ditched
the MDC for the ruling Zanu PF last year, has moved into the controversial
$2 billion mayoral mansion in the plush suburb of Gunhill. Harare City
Council spokesperson Leslie Gwindi confirmed that Makwavarara had moved into
the mansion last week. Gwindi scoffed at legal efforts by fired executive
mayor Elias Mudzuri to bar anyone from occupying the mansion. He said:
"She moved in last week. We do not care about Mudzuri's court application.
We cannot wait while a State asset is not being used. We thought Mudzuri was
a reasonable man from his claims but this was a waste of time and we are
taking the mansion. The mansion was meant for the incumbent mayor, not a
dreaming one like Mudzuri." Makwavarara is occupying the mansion amid claims
that the cash-strapped municipality gobbled millions purchasing furniture
for her. When The Daily Mirror visited the mansion yesterday, council
employees were busy sprucing the yard and confirmed Makwavarara had moved
into the mansion. "She began staying here a few days ago and property worth
millions of dollars was bought for her by the municipality. What is
surprising is that council is buying her property when it is struggling to
pay us our salaries in time. We are suffering," complained the
employees. Mudzuri yesterday said he was bitter with the occupation, which he
said was illegal. He said: "The case is still outstanding and the courts
have been sitting on the case. The courts are not willing to resolve the
Harare crisis as they have not done anything relating to the matter since I
was dismissed in July 2003." Mudzuri said by allowing Makwavarara to stay
in the mansion, the municipality had breached the Urban Councils' Act, which
states that the mansion was reserved for an elected mayor only. "That
house is meant for the mayor and not the deputy or chairperson of a
commission - the Act spells this clearly," Mudzuri said. Asked what
action he was going to take, Mudzuri replied: "I have been going to court on
several occasions, they do not want to hear me. I am waiting for the day the
court will address my case as it is in the court right now." He lambasted the
courts for not being interested in resolving governance issues in the
council, saying his case should have been prioritised. "Everything taking
place in the municipality has been unlawful. The commission running Harare
itself is unlawful." Mudzuri also said he had keys to the guest cottage he
had occupied while he was mayor, and that some of his personal effects were
locked up in the cottage. Efforts to reach Makwavarara were fruitless
yesterday. The mansion has sparked an uproar among some Harare residents
since construction started in the mid-1990s, with an estimated cost on
completion of about $5 million then. As it took shape, experts in the
construction industry estimated the cost to be way beyond $50
million. However, the cost kept on soaring to beyond the billion-dollar mark
as residents complained at what they saw as extravagance on the part of the
council. The Combined Harare Residents' Association once took the
commission which ran the affairs of the city prior to the 2002 municipal and
mayoral elections to court in a bid to bar it from making a decision on
whether the mansion should be occupied or not. Only an elected council
should come up with a decision, the association argued. Makwavarara once
raised the ire of her fellow councillors when the council moved her into a
rented house "on security reasons" following the pelting of her Mabvuku
house by suspected MDC youths said to be unhappy with her alleged siding
with the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing,
Ignatius Chombo. Then, she was still a member of the MDC, although problems
between her and the party had started simmering.
FORMER Zimbabwe Union of Democrats
(ZUD) president Margaret Dongo is fuming over reports that her campaign
rally at the weekend was a flop. This is despite the fact that less than 30
people are reported to have attended the former Harare South MP's "Meet the
People Tour" on Saturday out of families she invited from about six blocks
of flats in the Avenues. In one of her invitations to residents of Burnbury
Court for the Saturday meeting, Dongo, who is standing on an independent
ticket in Harare Central, wrote: "You are invited to meet your candidate
Margaret Dongo who is contesting in the parliamentary elections as an
independent on Saturday the 26th of February from 10.00am to 12.00
noon." There are at least 32 families at Burnbury Court, but the number
increases to about 400 if others from surrounding courts like Moffat
Heights, Charingira, Spencer Cook, Alderbury, Montague Heights and others
are included. Responding to the story that her "rally" at Montague
Shopping Centre had flopped, Dongo said: "To start with, I never held a
rally at the stated venue. A simple definition of a rally will indicate that
it involves busing people from all over to boast (sic) the crowd. On the
same token, the number of attendees, excluding my team far exceeded 30 at
the 'Meet the People Tour' that I held at Montague Shopping Centre. I
intended to meet a crowd of not more than 30 people at a time, as it was an
exchange forum. "The figure 30 which your reporter stated in his article is
an estimate that I had forwarded to the police as the expected number of
people I would meet as I had only invited people from the flats in the
vicinity of Montague Shopping Centre," Dongo said. Dongo will contest
with Murisi Zwizwai of the MDC and Zanu PF's Florence Chideya.
TOBACCO farmers have urged government
and Zesa Holdings to consider reviewing power charges downwards to ensure
viability in the sector amid revelations that international tobacco prices
have begun falling and would affect the crop's output. Last season tobacco
was selling at US$2,50 (or Z$13 000) per kilogramme and is earmarked not to
fetch more than US$$2 per kilogramme this year. Prices have already
nose-dived in Malawi where the golden leaf is selling at 87 cents per
kilogramme. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has successfully campaigned
against the use of tobacco products and at least 40 countries are expected
to sign a protocol banning tobacco consumption. Nevertheless the banning
of tobacco products may not seriously affect Zimbabwe for some time because
the Zimbabwean crop is in high demand due to its high quality. President
of the Zimbabwe Association of Tobacco Growers (ZATG) Julius Ngorima last
Friday said the government should support the farmers as production costs
were shooting up, when the selling prices were declining. He suggested a
subsidy for such overheads like electricity. "Government should support
tobacco farmers because tobacco is the country's largest foreign currency
earner. "The high electricity bills are severely straining farmers and
impacting negatively on operations." Ngorima regretted that government
had ignored farmers' pleas for a review of electricity tariffs by the power
company. Electricity charges in Zimbabwe have been rising regularly, with
Zesa effecting a 526 percent increment early this year. Ngorima, who was
addressing stakeholders at a field day in Beatrice, said many African
countries were producing tobacco of an inferior quality. "We are still
producing quality tobacco that is in great demand at international
markets. "I attended a meeting of leaders of tobacco growers in Africa held
in Malawi two weeks ago where I learnt that the tobacco price in Malawi was
this season pegged at US87 cents. "Unless we continue to produce quality
tobacco here in our country, we shall suffer the same fate and prices will
fall." Other hitches farmers faced were interest rates that banks were
charging. "Last year banks were charging 30 percent interest. The financial
institutions this year are charging 70 percent - up by 40 percent. "Yet
when we sold our crop, it fetched US$2,50 per kilogramme. The price this
season is pegged at not more than US$2 per kilogramme." Ngorima also
complained of high telecommunication costs. "No farmer can work efficiently
without using telephone services. "When telephone bills are added to Zesa
electricity bills, you will find that farmers are in a tight
spot." Meanwhile the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) has urged
the WHO not to penalise developing countries that continued to produce
tobacco after the ratification of the Framework Convention on Tobacco
Control (FCTC). In a statement yesterday, TIMB said while Zimbabwe complied
with FCTC, WHO should initiate diversification programmes that can sustain
the economies of the developing countries before the banning of the crop's
production. "While a lot of work and efforts have been made on elimination
and banning of tobacco, not much has been done or is being done about
funding alternatives," TIMB said.
THE trial of Zanu PF
deputy director of security, who doubles up as a music promoter, Kenny
Karidza, was yesterday postponed to today after State witnesses failed to
turn up. Karidza, who pleaded not guilty to contravening the Official
Secrets Act, was remanded in absentia because prisoners had not been brought
to court by the time proceedings kicked off. However, defence lawyer George
Chikumbirike and prosecutor Lawrence Phiri agreed to remand Karidza in
absentia to today since the State had indicated it would plead for a
postponement. After the court proceedings, Chikumbirike said: "The trial has
been postponed to tomorrow because State witnesses are not
available." Zimbabwe's ambassador-designate to Mozambique, Godfrey Dzvairo
was early last month sentenced to six years in prison on the same charges,
while ex-Metropolitan Bank secretary Tendai Matambanadzo and the ruling
party's director of external affairs, Itai Marchi were each slapped with
five-year jail terms. However, out-going Member of Parliament for
Chinhoyi and businessman Phillip Chiyangwa was acquitted of the same charges
by High Court judge Justice Charles Hungwe on February 18 this year after
spending over two months in remand prison. Releasing Chiyangwa, Justice
Hungwe said regional magistrate Peter Kumbawa had been overzealous and
injudicious in incarcerating the businessman. He said that the press had
influenced the magistrate's judgment. Meanwhile, the trial of Kingdom Bank,
facing allegations of illegally dealing in foreign currency involving more
than $5 billion, failed to kick off as the financial institution's lawyer,
Chikumbirike was engaged in Karidza's case. The trial was postponed to
March 24. Kingdom Bank pleaded not guilty to flouting the Exchange Control
Act. Prosecutor Obi Mabahwana alleged that between March 2002 and July 2003,
the bank illegally sold US$5 822 095 and 4 011 861 rands on the parallel
market. The financial institution allegedly realised $5 129 687 549 instead
of $1 756 401 000, the State alleged.
POLICE in Harare have barred Zanu PF
and MDC supporters from toyi-toying, arguing that it was an uncouth
political tactic that could spark politically-motivated violence ahead of
this month's parliamentary polls. The call came on the backcloth of pressure
on Zimbabwe to adhere to Sadc guidelines on democratic polls, which
guidelines Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said were not legally
binding. National police spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Wayne
Bvudzijena said toyi-toying contravened provisions of the Miscellaneous
Offences Act. He said police had since arrested five Zanu PF women and five
MDC youths on Monday in Zengeza for toyi-toying, as police intensify
operations to curb the eruption of politically-motivated violence ahead of
the March 31 parliamentary polls. "They were charged under the
Miscellaneous Offences Act for conduct likely to provoke a breach of peace,"
Bvudzijena told The Daily Mirror. Bvudzijena said the accused persons were
detained at Chitungwiza police station, but could not immediately provide
more details on the matter. However, MDC aspiring candidate for Zengeza
Goodrich Chimbaira said his party's youths were released yesterday after
they paid $25 000 admission of guilt fines each. He claimed the youths
carrying MDC banners were arrested on their way to an MDC rally in Zengeza 4
and accused of toyi-toying. On Zanu PF women, Chimbaira alleged that they
were arrested because of their hostility to MDC supporters and that they had
moved around the constituency ordering the closure of all tuckshops and
coercing people to attend a ruling party rally. But incumbent Zanu PF
legislator for Zengeza and also candidate in the March 31 polls, Christopher
Chigumba, claimed that his supporters only started toyi-toying when they
realised that their MDC counterparts were doing the same, without being
arrested. Chigumba was not aware of the fate of his supporters in police
custody, saying he was attending the funeral of the late national hero,
Witness Mangwende. "Toyi-toying is outlawed. Our people complained that
MDC supporters were toyi-toying, but were not being arrested," said
Chigumba. Last year, The Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Shadreck Chipanga
told Parliament that toyi-toying was a banned activity. This was after
the MDC's shadow minister of justice, David Coltart complained over the
arrest of youths in his Bulawayo South constituency for
toyi-toying. Coltart had argued that the arrests were against the spirit
of Pan Africanism as blacks used the practice - mostly by South Africans
during apartheid - as an expression of opposition to a suppressive
system. Toyi-toying was also popular during and soon after Zimbabwe's
Peace, the road to unity and prosperity Students
Christian Movement of Zimbabwe (ZSCM) February 2005
'We want peace, we
don't want war, no more war, stop the war' goes the famous song by a South
It is presumed that the singer had seen the African
nations were lagging behind in development and in catering for the needs of
their people. Wars had crippled African economies even after attaining
independence. All the efforts and resources were being diverted into dealing
with the calamities and the effects of these wars. The musician thus had to
make a call for a peaceful continent if development and prosperity had to be
Some people might argue that Zimbabwe is not at war at the
moment. Yes it is true, we are not in the battlefield but we have a war with
us. This war is slowly making the people of this land between the Zambezi
and Limpopo become hopeless and defenceless citizens. The war that Zimbabwe
has is hampering national development. The war has divided the people of
once a beautiful nation.
Since the famous 'NO VOTE' in the
constitutional referendum to present-day, the ordinary person in the street
has been made to live in fear. People can no longer voice their concerns or
exercise their democratic rights of association and assembly.
become a crime to belong to an opposite party or have views that contradict
the status quo. A famous Zimbabwean scriptwriter lamenting on the violence
being perpetrated to the innocent citizens as they try to air their
grievances or exercise their democratic rights wrote, 'Freedom to say,
Freedom to ask, Freedom to query, or shut down by batons and tear
This state orchestrated violence has become an everyday occurrence
as people who try to express themselves against oppression and unjust laws
are beaten. To add to this state sponsored violence the so-called war
veterans, the youth militia and other youths are in the forefront of
perpetrating violence against the otherwise peace-loving communities.
Destruction of properties, killing of innocent citizens as well as raping of
our dear mothers and sisters has become a culture.
the people, Zimbabwe is at war with itself! At war with its people! But,
which country in this world has developed through violent means?
all this it is very saddening to note that the youths are the main
perpetrators of violence. The situation has gone out of hand to the extent
that these youths no longer differentiate between the young and the old, men
and women, boys and girls or even children. The politicians have made sure
that they indoctrinate the youths so that they can, with no guilty quality
conscience, cause chaos and mayhem in the communities. They see enemies
everywhere they go. The youths have become 'weapons of mass destruction'.
The most frightening 'animal' for the peace loving Zimbabwean which is
fighting against the wishes and the aspirations of many is the
The youths' focus has been diverted. Instead of using all the
youthful energy in building the future, they waste it in unleashing violence
on helpless citizens. And the returns for all this are not only unbelievable
but an insult? Beer and few dollars not even enough to buy a decent meal for
a week! The effects of violence on innocent citizens will one day come back
to haunt all those who have been used by politicians that they can get into
power. When the effects come, they don't affect the politicians but you.
Uchasara wava wega vagokuramba katatu. It is very important for the youths
to sit down and reflect on the kind of contribution they are giving to their
Youths should know that the future of this country is in
their hands. The old madalas came and did their part. Good or bad, they have
lived their lives. Youths are thus supposed to have a will to build their
nation. What has now become the trend, violence, is not productive. If
anything, through such activities, the youths are plotting their demise as
there will be no country left to speak about, but ruins. Zimbabwe will
never be built through violence. It is every citizen's right to participate
meaningfully and gainfully in the issues that affect the nation, respect
each other's views and beliefs. Today's Zimbabwe needs boys and girls who
are united in fighting violence that has brought untold suffering to the
It is only when we are at peace that we can contribute meaning
fully to the development of our nation. None other than us brings this
peace. The country is in our hands. Lets build it in peace and harmony and
together we will prosper.
Cosatu leaders seem to be at odds over Solidarity's support
of intended Zimbabwean protests. Zwelenzima Vavi, the union's general
secretary, says they cannot stop opportunists from jumping on the band
Solidarity has been invited to participate in the protest action
by Willie Madisha, the Cosatu president. Vavi says he's far more comfortable
working with traditional allies of Cosatu. Dirk Hermann, the Solidarity
spokesperson, says they are a little baffled by Vavi's statements,
especially after Madisha asked them to participate. Hermann says Solidarity
wants to overcome racial differences.
Vavi says he will be surprised
if they don't get support from the ANC for a series of protests aimed at
Zimbabwe. He announced a programme of pickets and demonstrations this month
at the Beit Bridge border post and at the Zimbabwean Embassy in Pretoria.
These will culminate with an overnight vigil at Beit Bridge the night before
Zimbabwe's election on March 31. Vavi points out that when Cosatu targeted
Swaziland in the past, the ANC had no objections.
Ronnie Mamoepa, the
foreign affairs spokesperson, says while it's support freedom of expression,
this has to be done within the confines of the law. Mamoepa says as long as
Cosatu complies with the law they do not foresee a problem.
Harare - A
Zimbabwean opposition politician who was handed a 12-month jail term last
year for manhandling a government minister on Monday applied in court for
his release, his lawyer said. Roy Bennett is seeking to be freed by March 30
when the current parliament is dissolved a day ahead of elections, because
he believes the sentence imposed on him only remains valid during the life
of the sitting parliament. "Our argument is that when parliament is
dissolved... the sentence imposed by that parliament comes to an end,"
lawyer Eric Matinenga told AFP. Further, Bennett is also arguing that he has
already served two thirds of his prison term, which means that, according to
the country's prisons law, he can qualify for release on grounds of good
behaviour. "A prisoner such as myself who has earned by satisfactory
industry and good behaviour, a clean record, is entitled to remission of the
sentence by one third," said Bennett in his affidavit filed before the high
court. "I believe that I have been a model prisoner who has duly employed my
skills industriously during my entire period of incarceration to the benefit
of my fellow prisoners," said Bennett, a commercial farmer by profession.
Bennett is jailed at one of the country's rural prisons. The outspoken
Bennett of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was accused of violating
his parliamentary privileges when he lost his temper during a debate in May
last year. He charged at and pushed justice minister Patrick Chinamasa to
the floor after the minister said his ancestors were "thieves" who stole
land from blacks. The court is expected to make a ruling on the case early