Court judge, Justice Benjamin Paradza, on Monday said lice and mosquitoes
feasted on him and other inmates while in cells at Borrowdale Police Station
where he was detained after his arrest for allegedly obstructing the course
Paradza gives the graphic account of his incarceration
in his application to the Supreme Court, challenging the constitutionality of
his arrest and remand.
Paradza, a former freedom fighter, has
cited Patrick Chinamasa, the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliament
Affairs, and Augustine Chihuri, the Commissioner of Police, as the
respondents in the matter.
He accused Chihuri of effecting his
unlawful arrest and detention. In the application filed with the
Supreme Court on Monday, Paradza through his lawyer, Jonathan Samkange,
said: "The decision to incarcerate me in the police cells was
unreasonable, unjustified and without basis, especially when one takes into
account the nature of the allegations and also my status in
"The conditions in the cells were appalling and
contravened Section 8.15 of the Constitution.
"The toilets did
not flush and the smell emanating from the chambers was unbearable. The
blankets were full of lice.
"The other inmates and I were at the
mercy of mosquitoes which were biting us unchecked. I felt humiliated and
degraded as a sitting judge. I should never have been subjected to such
Other respondents are Andrew Chigovera, the
Attorney-General, Mishrod Guvamombe, the provincial magistrate who presided
over the matter, and one Chief Superintendent Nyathi, the arresting
Paradza was remanded out of custody to 21 March and
ordered to surrender his passport. Paradza was arrested for
allegedly calling Justice Maphios Cheda in Bulawayo, to ask him to handle an
application to have Russel Wayne Luschagne 's passport released by the court
Luschagne, facing trial for murder, is Paradza's friend
and business partner. Paradza, out on $20 000 bail, said soon after
his arrest, Samkange immediately informed the Judge President, Justice
Paddington Garwe, who allegedly told him that the police had assured him that
he would be released from police cells, which did not
Instead, Paradza, who was arrested on 17 February, was
detained overnight. Paradza said: "I consented to remand purely
because I had no other option. I was fully aware that my rights as Judge as
enshrined in the Constitution had been and were still being violated, but at
the time of the remand, my only thought was to be freed from the police
"I did not want to challenge the remand and face the
possibility of not being able to meet the bail conditions. That would lead me
to being remanded in custody and possibly incarcerated with inmates whom I
had dealt with in the High Court, especially notorious criminals who have
been convicted of armed robbery.
"The thought of being remanded
and meeting these criminals was horrifying."
Paradza said he was
forcibly removed from his chambers the day he was arrested, in contravention
of Sections 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 18, and 87 of the
The judge said the principle of judicial independence
was totally disregarded and the rule of law threatened by his arrest,
incarceration and subsequent remand.
"It is important that the
principle of separation of powers, namely the Executive, the Judiciary and
the Legislature, be religiously observed by all stakeholders," Paradza
"The Executive cannot act in a manner so as to threaten,
intimidate or ridicule the Judiciary.
"The Executive could have
achieved its objective to prosecute me and still have complied with Section
87 of the Constitution without undermining the Judiciary and also without
giving the internal and international community an opportunity to ridicule
Zimbabwe about the rule of law not being observed in this country."
Judge sues Zimbabwe over night in lice riddled
HARARE, March 5 - A Zimbabwe High Court judge is suing the
government for wrongful arrest over a ''humiliating'' night spent in a jail
infested with lice, branding it an assault on judicial independence, his
lawyer said on Wednesday. Justice Benjamin Paradza was detained
overnight in February over allegations that he interfered in the case of a
business partner which was being handled by another judge. He was
subsequently charged with corruption and released on bail until a court
appearance on March 21. Paradza's aides say the charges were
politically motivated, designed to punish Paradza for embarrassing President
Robert Mugabe's government the previous month when he freed Harare's
opposition mayor, held for holding an illegal political meeting.
Lawyer Jonathan Samkange said Paradza had filed a wrongful arrest suit
against the government in the Supreme Court over his detention. ''The
judge is saying he was wrongfully arrested, that the way in which his case
was handled was heavy-handed and amounts to interfering with the independence
of the judiciary, and that his detention in a police cell full of mosquitoes
and lice was degrading and humiliating,'' Samkange said. Samkange
confirmed a report in the independent Daily News that Paradza, a veteran of
Zimbabwe's 1970s independence war, was suing Justice Minister Patrick
Chinamasa, police chief Augustine Chihuri, Attorney-General Andrew Chigovera
and a magistrate who placed him on remand. In his court application,
Paradza, who was appointed to the bench last year, challenged his arrest last
month on constitutional grounds. ''The decision to incarcerate me in
the police cells was unreasonable, unjustified and without basis, especially
when one takes into account the nature of the allegations and also my status
in society,'' Paradza said, according to the Daily News. ''The
executive could have achieved its objective of prosecuting me...without
undermining the judiciary and also without giving the internal and
international community an opportunity to ridicule Zimbabwe about the rule of
law not being observed in this country,'' he added. Police say the
corruption charges against Paradza are not politically motivated. He stands
accused of trying to influence a fellow judge to release the passport of
Russel Wayne Luschagne, his partner in a safari hunting business
venture. Luschagne's passport had been held by a court under his
bail conditions on a murder charge, and police said Paradza had said he stood
to lose $60,000 if he Luschange did not get his passport back in order to
make a business trip to Spain.
ABOUT 70 MDC members have allegedly been denied food in
the police cells at Marimba Police Station in Harare amid increasing reports
of police brutality, particularly against perceived supporters of the
The supporters were still being detained
yesterday. The MDC supporters were arrested as they left a rally
addressed by Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader in Mufakose, which had been
authorised by the police.
Rhodah Mashavave, an MDC information
officer, was among those arrested. Witnesses said the police went on
the rampage, beating up people indiscriminately. Paul Themba Nyathi,
the MDC spokesperson, said yesterday: "They are not only being denied food
but legal representation as well.
"Our lawyers are making frantic
efforts to try and represent them, but the police are denying them access to
their clients. The arrests are really unwarranted. "This was a rally
which had been cleared by the police. For the police to come back after the
rally, round up innocent MDC supporters, detain and assault them, is really
"More disturbing is the fact that police carried out
door-to-door visits assaulting innocent civilians for a crime that they do
Meanwhile, Nyathi dismissed a story carried yesterday by
the government-controlled Herald newspaper that 26 MDC members were
arrested outside State House for allegedly insulting members of the
He said: "The only crime committed by the 26
supporters who were detained and assaulted in State House premises was that
they were wearing MDC T-shirts.
In a separate incident, 19
National Alliance for Good Governance members, including that party's
candidate in the parliamentary by-election, were arrested on Saturday and
detained for about two hours at Kuwadzana 2 Police Station. They allegedly
contravened a section of the draconian Public Order and Security Act when
they went door-to-door campaigning for MDC candidate Kempton Chiwewete.
Thirty million dollar irrigation scheme on the
World Vision International Regions: Africa, Zimbabwe
Forty-three families in Insiza District in Matebeleland South, 100 kilometres
south of Bulawayo, are set to benefit from a ZW$30 million irrigation scheme
set up by World Vision Zimbabwe.
The Zhulube Irrigation Scheme,
which is nearing completion, is going to offer food security to almost 6 000
people in the ward. The area is prone to recurrent droughts and this year it
is already proving to be the worst in living memory, as people did not even
plough because the rains were late.
The scheme will draw water from
Zhulube Dam with a carrying capacity of 800 000 cubic metres, which was built
by the community with the assistance of World Vision Zimbabwe at a cost of
To ensure fairness and transparency in the allocation
of land, preference was given to the families displaced by the construction
of Zhulube Dam, those with fields taken up by the development of the
irrigation scheme and farmers with the technical background to allow the
cross fertilisation of ideas.
"The scheme was open to everyone
upon payment of a joining fee and those who worked on the construction of the
dam naturally got some preference," said Mr Daniel Muchena, World
To kick start the project farmers are set to engage in
intensive market gardening where they are to grow vegetables and tomatoes,
the farmers are expected to grow food crops and sell the surplus to other
families in the ward, which is expected to empower them
World Vision Zimbabwe is also working closely with
local government authorities to ensure that the food from the irrigation
scheme does not leave the programme as it is meant to benefit the local
"The food that is going to be grown from the irrigation
scheme is mainly for the community's consumption and the surplus is going to
be sold within the community and we are working closely with the local
authorities to enforce that," said Mr Muchena.
To ensure the
sustainability of the project a local committee has been set up and is
already active in the day- to- day management of developments within the
project and the catchment area to avoid siltation of the dam.
plan to grow food crops using irrigation in Masvingo could result in the loss
of a wildlife sanctuary that environmentalists this week said could be
ploughed through as part of the project, scaring off foreign hunters who are
tomorrow expected to bid for hunting concessions at the park.
Under the Nuanetsi irrigation project, the government has contracted
a Chinese company to develop 100 000 hectares of land in a deal it says
will lead to Zimbabwe, facing severe food shortages, being restored as
southern Africa's bread basket.
Environmentalists said Hurungwe
Safari Area, located in the lower Zambezi valley, could be affected by the
project and in fact officials of the District Development Fund and
Agricultural Development Authority had set up a base in the safari
The two government-controlled departments are spearheading
ploughing under the Nuanetsi project.
Sources said a manager had
already been deployed to the area in preparation for ploughing and planting,
despite objections from the Department of National Parks and Wildlife
Management Authority base station in Marongora.
Safari Area, a sanctuary for several wild animals including cheetahs,
leopards, elephants and black rhino, is under the management of the National
Environment and Tourism Minister Francis Nhema confirmed
that his ministry had been warned of the danger to the wildlife
He told the Financial Gazette: "I have heard about it,
someone called me on the issue. I am told that there is a farm located in
that area, maybe that is where they want to plant.
"I have since
asked for maps from National Parks to see if the parks area is being
He said he would take "appropriate action" once he was
satisfied that the area that would be affected by the irrigation project was
part of the National Parks.
He said: "We do not want to make
noise about it then at the end of the day this place turns out not to be a
national parks area."
But officials with the National Parks, who
spoke on condition of anonymity, said they were concerned that the presence
of agricultural machinery at Hurungwe Safari Area could affect the sale of
hunting concessions, scheduled for tomorrow.
They said foreign
hunters would want to be taken around the sanctuary for onsite inspections
and they might be put off by the presence of the machinery.
National Parks officials said if the safari area was affected by the
irrigation project, it would be another blow for wildlife sanctuaries in the
Zambezi valley, which have been hit by a spate of invasions by
They said many of the settlers had begun
planting crops on parks set aside for wildlife.
such as Chiufe area that is located in the Charara estates have been affected
by people settling themselves where they want," said one
"There are also people from Hurungwe area who have
resettled themselves illegally in the national parks area. Now we are being
told that Hurungwe Safari Area has to be ploughed for the Mashonaland West
He added: "Every time we raise these issues of
people settling themselves in our weekly meetings, we are told this is a
politically sensitive matter which can only be solved by
Zimbabwe's wildlife industry is estimated to have
lost more than $6 billion and 50 percent of its wild animals through poaching
in the past two years, which has been worsened by the invasion of white-owned
farms by ruling ZANU PF supporters.
Some villagers who were
carried away by the euphoria of the land invasions settled themselves in
wildlife areas, causing damage to habitat that environmentalists say could
take more than a decade to restore
THE US$35 million Murowa project, set to become
Zimbabwe's largest diamond mine, is expected to take off soon following the
successful resettlement of 142 families.
Viability problems besetting
the mining industry as a whole had cast further doubt on prospects of the
project ever taking off the ground.
However, prospects in the
sector now look bright following the introduction of a new export support
rate of $800 for every one United States dollar last month.
reserves at an estimated 16,5 million tonnes at an average grade of
0,9 carats per tonne, the Murowa kimberlite-hosted diamond project would,
once operational, be the biggest in the country.
Mining giant, Rio
Tinto Zimbabwe, which is bankrolling the project committed US$25 million to a
feasibility study since 1997, would initially mine some 500 000 tonnes of
kimberlite annually, with the possibility of expansion in later
The diamond project has the potential of creating over 300
permanent jobs and earning the country massive foreign currency inflows from
the precious mineral.
Murowa Diamonds is understood to have secured a
multi-million dollar loan to finance the resettlement of the 142 families who
resided on the project's location.
"The resettlement exercise made
steady progress in the second half of 2002 and the 142 families affected took
occupation of their plots.
"A company, Murowa Diamonds (Pvt) Ltd has been
formed to progress the project and, for accounting purposes, is being treated
as a subsidiary of RioZim," Rio said in a statement.
A project team is
now in the process of investigating means of using existing equipment to
accelerate production from the ore-body.
This would ensure that mining of
kimberlite-hosted diamonds from the Zvishavane mine would begin within a
short space of time.
"As well as resulting in some production being
achieved within a short time, the success of this approach would assist in
financing the main project."
The Murowa diamond project, located 40 km
out of Zvishavane, had been stalled by problems in resettling people from the
area for exploratory and exploitation purposes, since August
However, RioZim said all was now set for progress on the Murowa
Clark keeps pressure on Zimbabwe Prime Minister Helen Clark
is backing an extension to Zimbabwe's suspension from the
Australian Prime Minister John Howard, who is the current
commonwealth chairman, and the leaders of Nigeria and South Africa, form a
Commonwealth troika, set up to oversee the year-long suspension from the
The suspension is due to expire in March but Howard wants
it to remain in force until the next leaders meeting in
Nigeria and South Africa want the suspension lifted. Clark says
it would be bizarre to do lift the suspension when things have got worse in
the strife-torn nation.
WASHINGTON (AP) - The State Department says the
government of Zimbabwe and its supporters are using intimidation and violence
in a ``sustained campaign'' to suppress civil society and
Spokesman Richard Boucher said Tuesday that more than 100
participants in various political events have been arrested since Friday
while pursuing basic rights such as attending rallies and engaging in free
speech. In some cases they have been beaten.
In addition, he said, 23
members of the clergy were detained while seeking to present a petition
concerning police brutality to the police chief.
Recent suggestions by
government officials and some members of the international community that
conditions are improving in Zimbabwe ``have no basis in reality,'' Boucher
Zimbabweans ``continue to suffer greatly under an economic collapse
of enormous scope and severity,'' he said.
He said the Zimbabwean
government has done nothing to address fundamental concerns about human
rights, rule of law and basic respect for democratic values that led the
United States and other countries to take steps last year against Zimbabwean
leaders, including denial of visas.
``The United States will continue to
assist the citizens of Zimbabwe and to maintain pressure on the Zimbabwe
government until it reverses its assault on human rights and on the rule of
law,'' Boucher said.
BANKS yesterday adjusted the mid-rates for
major foreign currencies in response to a Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)
directive to devalue the Zimbabwe-United States dollar rate from $55 to US$1
to $824, which the Ministry of Finance says will apply to all sellers of hard
cash, not just exporters.
Central bank director for banking
supervision Steven Gwasira directed financial institutions to make the change
last Friday after the Ministry of Finance announced an export incentive
scheme under which exporters would be paid a rate of $824 for their foreign
Last Friday's Government Gazette specifies that the rate
of $55 will now apply to cases "where the state is the buyer or seller of
foreign currency using the foreign currency pool managed by the Reserve
"The mid-rate at which the Zimbabwe dollar may be exchanged
in the inter-bank market with the United States dollar shall be $824 to the
United States dollar in every other case," the Government Gazette
Finance Secretary Nicholas Ncube told the Financial Gazette
this week that the new mid-rate would apply to all sellers of foreign
currency and not just exporting companies.
He said: "What we
have said is that anyone who brings in foreign currency is technically an
exporter and this we did to harness as much foreign currency as
Banks were yesterday quoting the mid-rate of US$1-$824
to all of their customers, including ordinary individuals.
banks have also devalued the Zimbabwe dollar-British pound rate from $92 on
Tuesday to around $1 300 yesterday.
The local currency-pula rate is
now $160 from $10.95, the euro $903 from $61.62, the rand $105 from $7 and
the Japanese yen is around $7 from $0.48.
But Ncube denied that
the government had devalued the Zimbabwe dollar, which has been pegged at $55
since 2000 despite the country's severe foreign currency shortages and
inflation differentials with its trading partners.
hard cash squeeze has led to the birth of a thriving parallel market, has
inflation of 208.1 percent compared to the single or double-digit inflation
of most of its trading partners.
Ncube said: "Those who import will
use the rate of $55, which kills your argument of devaluation."
He said the rate of $55 would still be used for those requiring forex for the
importation of critical commodities and goods such as fuel, electricity and
But analysts questioned the government's decision to
use the rate of $55 for importers while those selling hard cash would be paid
They said that by buying foreign currency at
$824 and selling it at $55, the RBZ would be forced to fork out the
difference, which amounted to a direct subsidy.
economist John Robertson said given Zimbabwe's dwindling revenues, the RBZ
could either run down its reserves or would be forced to print more money to
meet the difference.
"They (RBZ) are going to run down their
reserves and to me the current arrangement will not last long," he
"They can print more money but that's where all the
distortions like inflation and money supply growth come in," he
First Mutual Life fund manager Nyasha Chasakara added: "It's
not economically practical (and) you risk creating chaos and allowing
the parallel market to come back."
The government hopes to curb
the parallel market by adjusting the fixed exchange rate.
Banking executives said the devaluation would go a long way
towards reflecting the real value of the local currency and this could result
in increased inflows of foreign currency into the official
But foreign currency dealers yesterday said it was too
early to determine whether the new mid-rates would result in the
immediate improvement of foreign currency inflows.
weekly foreign currency inflow statistics released by the central bank
yesterday show that inflows totalled US$1.3 million in the week February 27
to March 5 2003, an improvement from US$600 000 for the week ending February
NMB Holdings deputy managing director James Mushore said
the government, through the RBZ, should constantly review the Zimbabwe dollar
in line with inflation and this would assist in eradicating the
"In our view, it is a step in the right
direction but I believe the government should review the rates in line with
the rate of inflation and get our currency to where it should be," Mushore
told the Financial Gazette.
"In reality this is a devaluation by
any name you can call it."
- Staff Reporter
RBZ ponders $1 000 note
3/6/03 9:08:13 AM
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has resolved to
introduce a $1 000 note and is now awaiting approval from the Ministry of
Finance, an official in the central bank said this week.
official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Reserve Bank officials
had discussed introduction of the higher denomination note at a meeting last
month and had agreed "in principle".
"The introduction of the new
note was agreed at but we are just awaiting for regulatory approval," he
"When we introduced the $500 note, this was meant to be a
store value currency, but due to the economic meltdown, there is now need for
a higher denomination note."
The central bank this week did not
respond to questions sent by the Financial Gazette.
introduction of the $1 000 note has been necessitated by soaring inflation,
which rose 208.1 percent in the year to January.
While the cost of
commodities escalates, Zimbabwe is experiencing a shortage of $500 notes,
presently the highest denomination, forcing consumers to carry around large
bundles of $100 notes to pay for their purchases.
officials say the shortage of notes is the result of foreign currency
shortages, which have affected the RBZ's ability to import special paper. -
Saturday, a colleague of mine had to fork out $600 for a one-way trip from
Chitungwiza to the city centre, after enduring a three-hour wait for
He told me that there were more than 2 000 people
stranded at Chitungwiza's Makoni shopping centre, all of them jostling and
shoving to get into the few buses that could take them to their
They were disgruntled and tempers were high because
many people had missed crucial appointments.
According to my
friend, a distraught mother unashamedly wept when it became apparent she
could not make it to the bank on time to withdraw money to pay school fees
and buy uniforms for her son. He was due to start his Advanced Levels on
Welcome to Zimbabwe, a land of queues.
any major high-density suburb in Harare and the situation is the same.
Commuters to Kuwadzana, for instance, have to fork out as much as $500 for a
Almost a week after prices went up, fuel shortages
actually seem to be worsening, although no one seriously expected the price
hike to resolve the crisis, whose causes are deep-seated and will not go away
But it's painful to queue for a commodity that is
expensive and at the same time not available.
It is even more
painful to be still queuing for fuel five long months after the President
himself assured the nation that he would personally handle the crisis. We are
still eagerly waiting for the ultimate presidential solution.
would like to believe that the President is still shooing away the arrogant
British imperialists who are hijacking our oil ships on the
The scandalous revelation that the British were
pirating ships full of petrol and diesel bound for Zimbabwe was the scoop of
the century for the state media. Unfortunately, they have never bothered to
follow it up, even though it is of tremendous public interest.
Anyway, queues and shortages have become the order of the day, if not a way
of life in Zimbabwe.
Now there is even a shortage of money!
Millions of Zim kwacha in your bank account will not save you from the
unpleasant experience of going to an automated teller machine (ATM) to be
told that the bank is "afraid (it) cannot offer any services".
Why? Because most people are anxious to avoid being loaded down with the $100
bills the banks are giving out in their banking halls because of a shortage
of $500 notes, and would prefer to queue at the ATM, which eventually runs
out of notes.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, supposedly the national
granary of foreign currency, has itself been hit by a serious hard currency
squeeze and is unable to procure special paper to print money.
Can things get any worse?
A former work mate recently arranged that
I have a 25-litre container of cooking oil that I can share with my relatives
for the next four months. This is what we have been reduced to.
Everywhere you go, you are bound see a queue for fuel, bread,
sugar, mealie-meal, margarine, tampons, you name it.
consuming and time wasting as these queues might be, they offer a golden
opportunity for the people of Zimbabwe to indulge in some introspection about
their lives and the problems faced by this country.
these queues are now being patrolled by the police, let's use them to
converse with each other and freely exchange ideas. After all, with all the
restrictions now placed by the laws against public gatherings and free
speech, these queues are Godsend.
As you push your car along that
10-kilometre queue to close that all-important gap between you and the fuel
tanks, you must ask yourself and fellow motorists: what have we done to
As you queue for two days waiting for mealie meal
from donors at Siboza shopping centre in Zvishavane, ask yourself and fellow
hungry villagers: is this the Zimbabwe that we fought for?
you queue for tampons and cotton wool at Juru growth point, ask yourself and
other women: is this the Zimbabwe that our mothers sang for when they
chorused "hona Mukoma Nhongo, bereka sabhu tiende (Comrade Nhongo, take up
your gun and fight for freedom)"?
As you queue for cooking oil at
Renkini in Bulawayo, ask yourself and others in the queue whether Umdala
Wethu would have been proud of the results of the liberation struggle for
which he sacrificed so much.
As you wait at three o'clock
in the morning for margarine and a pint of fresh milk at Machipisa shopping
centre at my beloved home suburb of Highfield, ask yourself and others: is
this what the much harped about sovereignty is all about?
the teller at your bank politely tells you he or she can't give you your
hard-earned money because the bank has no notes, ask if this is what the
Third Chimurenga means for Zimbabwe.
Ask yourself and fellow
sufferers how best you can improve your lot, how you want to be governed and
how this can be achieved.
It is actually in the best interests of
the once-people's government to make sure that Zimbabwe's restive population
doesn't spend its time in these queues, stoking its resentment day by
It would be in the best interests of the government to put
things right so that Zimbabweans can return to living their normal
Otherwise who knows what might happen when they begin to use
the opportunity afforded them to take a long, hard look at what has become
of this country.
JOHANNESBURG- An assessment to determine the
number of farm workers and resettled farmers in Zimbabwe in need of food aid
is currently underway following reports that this sector may have to be added
to the list of at least 7.2 million people who already need food aid in the
"We have concentrated on people in the communal areas but
we recognise that there are (food) needs in some of the communal farming
areas," World Food Programme (WFP) Zimbabwe country representative Kevin
Farrell told IRIN.
He said he had been informed that "some"
far-mworkers and resettled farmers in Mashonaland, Matabeleland and Masvingo
faced uncertainty about their food security but the numbers of people
affected and the extent of their needs was currently being
"We are conducting surveys to get a handle on the numbers
involved and hope to have reliable information soon," Farrell
"The issues farmers face now are a result of the past growing
season where the country had an unmistakeable drought which affected
production in the 2002 season," he explained. "This is the hungry season," he
said referring to the period that farmers' stocks from last year were
finished while new crops are not yet ready to eat.
He said that
in addition, farmers resettled on vacated land, had battled with seed and
fertiliser and did not have heavy equipment for ploughing. Some did not even
have draught power.
A recent Famine Early Warning Systems Network
(FEWS NET) report said that the number of commercial farm workers affected by
the fast-track resettlement programme had increased from about 488 000 in
August to about 1 million in December 2002.
This was due to the
government's fast track resettlement programme which, the report said, left
between 600 and 1 000 commercial farms operational. This was a sharp decrease
from about 3 000 farms last year and about 4 400 when the land reform
programme started in 2000.
Compounding difficulties associated with
the land reform programme has been a drought in many parts of the country and
an economic crisis that has increased inflation and made food purchases
difficult for families.
Earlier last week, FEWS NET urged NGOs,
donors and the government, to prepare to extend the current Emergency
Operation, which ends in March, for another year, due to worrying indications
that the next harvest will not meet the country's food needs.
Current maize imports were coming in at less than half the national demand of
about 150 000 metric tones per month and, combined with poor harvest
prospects and anticipated low stock levels, initial estimates suggest that
Zimbabwe will need to import between 930 000 metric tones and 1.3 million
metric tones of maize for 2003/4.
Meanwhile, Farrell and Brian
Donnelly, the British High Commissioner, signed an agreement last week for
Britain to donate US$8.5 million to WFP.
The money will contribute
to WFP feeding programmes in Zimbabwe until the middle of this year, when a
new appeal is expected for the country.
In exchanging the documents
with the British High Commissioner, Farrell said: "WFP is very grateful for
this extremely generous donation and ongoing support from the United
There can be no
gainsaying the fact that our nation is going through a political and social
and economic crisis.
This turbulence has been further highlighted
by the confrontation between the forces of liberation and the forces of
However, the representatives of the forces of
liberation and freedom seem to be non-committal or simply lack the requisite
strategic know-how to eradicate the oppression being meted out to the
ordinary people of Zimbabwe.
As it is, the ZANU PF government is
bent on maintaining a stranglehold both on the seat of power and also on the
minds of the people. The continued harping about anti-colonial rhetoric at
the expense of concrete delivery of services expected of government appears
to be the only trick in the bag of the government.
this trick is aimed at mass hypnosis. Whether the mass hypnosis has really
worked remains to be retold in history but this must not deter us from our
quest for a new and better future. Suffice to state that any system based on
a foundation of fabrication will inevitably collapse under the weight of its
own incredibility. For the majority, the sooner this happens, the
Already, the Establishment is exhausted of its own lies,
and as hunger gnaws the spirit of the nation; the truth will speak for
itself. Beneath the surface, the Zimbabwean society is increasingly
re-orienting itself toward the ideal of community, responsibility and
opportunity with respect for freedom, peace, justice, security and
No one will stop the future from descending on our
The only question is: what are the good-hearted
sons and daughters doing in preparation for tomorrow's arrival? We must
strive to prepare our fields, in our own individual capacities, knowing fully
that when the time for harvest comes, our individual efforts collected
together, will construct a humane vision for our children, future generations
It is idle to believe that the underlying cause of the
ongoing turmoil in Zimbabwe is essentially about land.
land-ownership has been skewed in favour of the white minority, the events of
the past two years have tilted the arrangement in favour of a few black party
The skins may have changed, but the heart
of the game is still the same. Because of this, the potential of another
revolt surrounding land distribution in the country, is highly
It is clear that the Establishment has successfully used
the question of land as a pretext to hoodwink the gullible, and suppress
dissent. What could have been a glorious human revolution was hijacked to
fulfill a few selfish desires that have little to do with the people's
While regrettable, the land-reform related beatings,
torture, and killings have exposed the exercise for what it is: the greatest
bloody fraud in the name of the dispossessed.
We must fight for
our emancipation. The primordial right for the sons and daughters of Zimbabwe
to speak out and access the nations' resources in a fair and equal manner
must be re-affirmed. The continuation of the dehumanising aggression amidst
us must be apprehended, and sanity brought back to the House of
The crisis of our age consists of our quest to become
authentic Zimbabweans, free to express and become who we want to be. It
certainly does not consist of a mere change in the face of leadership, but a
change, which will affect our traditions, culture and actions in the form of
Today, the nation seeks, not a cosmetic change but a
skin-deep and fundamental change that will address numerous unfinished
beginnings of our independence.
In this endeavor, it is critical
to recognise that the circumstances that surround us cannot change unless we
make a definitive choice to change ourselves. The capitulation of the
majority to the selfish and crooked schemes of the Establishment only serves
to gives credence and makes it easy for that Establishment to continue
plundering and prescribing.
The more completely that the
Establishment has reduced the people to breadwinners, the more it has
hoodwinked, confused, and manipulated.
In the face of this
confusion, we must strive to know ourselves, because in self-knowledge lies
power, self control and success. At the moment, there is too much clutter
within the spirit of the nation. To clear it requires a doubling of effort on
In order to progress, we must acknowledge history,
including all its ugly faces - but this acknowledgement should not in any way
be self-defeating as is the case in the country today.
it should serve as a starting point for us to recognise what needs not be
repeated in the present and in the future that we envision.
Clearly, a lot that the nation could have gained through re-opening the past
in the form of addressing the land issue has been lost mainly due to the
selfishness of our political leadership. Totally negating our past
is perilous. We cannot risk ignoring our past but a past that imprisons
us loses its purpose in our present being.
In my opinion,
history should be forward-looking, in the sense that it should encourage
introspection of present circumstances, based on past experience, an active
introspection that ushers the nation into the unexplored world of tomorrow
with a foundation and a resoluteness never to repeat mistakes of history.
History should not consist of doing the same things all over again. That's
The freedom that we seek in this nation is not to be
found in the past or the future. We seek freedom in the present, because it
is in the present that freedom only exists. Freedom cannot be backdated, or
postponed or mortgaged. It exists in only one place: here and
In Zimbabwe, it is non-existent. We must fight for it rather
than expect it to rain on us like manna. Freedom without struggle is a
passport to new forms of enslavement.
The inevitable birth of a
new dawn in Zimbabwe will be preceded by a period of pain. We must brace
ourselves, knowing fully that in the end we will prosper, and the Zimbabwean
flag will once again fly proudly in all our hearts. We were not born to
suffer, but to stand up against the concoction of circumstances and
IT is a year after President Robert Mugabe was sworn in
following his controversial win over Morgan Tsvangirai in last year March's
It is perhaps unfair to ask where are we
now, a year after, because everybody knows that we have done badly, very
badly on every front in everything.
In March last year,
inflation was 104 percent now it is over 200 percent; unemployment is now
running over 70 percent; The Zimbabwe dollar was valued at $650 to the
American dollar at the "real" market value in March last year now it is $1500
to the US dollar. There is no end insight. By all social indications we are
less stable now than we were a year ago.
Internationally, we had
many friends as we entered the March presidential election, now we are a
pariah state; even our great Libyan hope seems to be taking a second look at
The French neo-imperialists are looking at us covetously in
what appears to be the "second scramble" for Africa, which we naively think
we are playing them against the British.
We have lost a
strategic neighbour Botswana that finds our human rights violations and
governance generally offensive. It is only a matter of time before we lose
two or even more neighbours as the crisis deepens.
In March last
year there was milk and bread in the supermarkets, now there is none.
Occasionally, you could find cooking oil and butter on the shelves, now there
In March last year, petrol and diesel were expensive
but at least these could be found, now the number of cars in queues waiting
indefinitely is depressing - all over the country.
watching ourselves decay.
The question is: for how long can this
Basically there are two issues here: issues of the
current drought and issues of governance.
Nature controls the
current drought but certainly we control issues of governance. These came
long before the current drought. At times we did not see the drought because
of the way the governed blinded us to the obvious.
even if nature were kind to us and ended the current drought, our fundamental
problem, the problem of governance would not have been solved.
So, while we wait for the drought to end, let us put our heads together, as
responsible citizens and address this issue. Accordingly, let us start
talking to each other.
I am inclined to accept the view that,
ultimately, the solution to our problems of governance will come from the
people of Zimbabwe themselves; that way we can feel ownership of whatever
government we establish. If it is Mbeki or Obasanjo or Gaddafi (God forbid)
who establishes such a government, it is behoven to them not to the people of
Zimbabwe. Outsiders can only facilitate dialogue. Even then, that should be
only in rare circumstances when it is impossible to talk among
Frankly, I am not convinced we have failed to talk among
ourselves as Zimbabweans. We did it in the 1980s right here without Mbeki or
Obasanjo under even more severe and extra ordinary
Former President Banana is still here. Father
Mukonori and Bishop Pius Ncube are here. Bishop Patrick Chakaipa and Bishop
Hatendi and Reverend Wutaunashe, etc, where are you while the nation bleeds?
Why don't you see the President and Tsvangirai for God's children
Civil society where are you? Is it not the task of civil
society to facilitate these discussions and this dialogue? Why wait for Mbeki
and Obasanjo? They have their own countries to run, you know.
is almost certain that we are headed for civil unrest unless serious
discussions involving the ruling party and the MDC start soon. We don't have
too much time to squander anymore. We have to be seen to be
Professor Masipula Sithole is a lecturer of
political science at the University of Zimbabwe and director of the
Harare-based Mass Public Opinion Institute.
. .and now to the notebook. . .Ordinary newsprint will
3/6/03 9:36:08 AM (GMT +2)
As reported in this
newspaper earlier this year and repeated by the state-controlled Herald this
week, the reason queues in banking halls are now so long is because the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has run out of foreign currency to print the
required amount of money.
But Mukanya wonders what the fuss is all
Why doesn't the RBZ just go ahead and print the money on
ordinary newsprint? In fact, the central bank should have started doing this
long before now given the deplorable value of the Zim kwacha.
And for students of economics please note, if the examiner asks you what
happens when a government wantonly prints money to fund dubious wars
in foreign lands, violent and corrupt land reforms as well as national
youth service projects, the answer is: they will soon run out of even the
paper to print their worthless money on.
The evidence is too glaring for even the most
sycophantic of government supporters not to see that far from being the
professional force it claims to be, the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) could
use a serious overhaul.
First ZNA commander-in-chief President
Robert Mugabe is blamed by many of his countrymen for running down a country
that was once the pride of Africa.
And as if not to be outdone,
the ZNA's top military commander, Vitalis Zvinavashe, stands accused by the
United Nations of looting Congolese resources while his men died at the front
during the senseless war in the Democratic Republic of the
Meanwhile, ZNA soldiers seem to think they can kill innocent
women and children just to blow off steam.
Mukanya brings you
here the ZNA's latest killing list:
Last week a private from the
army's All-Arms Battle School shot dead his wife, daughter and mother-in-law,
as well as his sister-in-law and her son before turning the gun on himself. A
12-year-old who was at the private' s home was seriously wounded but survived
In December last year, another ZNA soldier smuggled
his service rifle all the way from Chipinge to Gweru where he shot dead his
wife and her 11-year-old cousin before again turning the gun on
Last June, another ZNA man, Allen Zimunya, shot and
seriously injured five people at the Presidential Guard headquarters in
Harare's Dzivarasekwa high-density suburb. He also turned his firearm on
Mukanya grieves for the many defenceless women and
children killed by men they clearly trusted and the many more that are sure
to die at the hands of our professional and patriotic ZNA men.
Clearly the army needs to take a long, hard look at itself.
Amnesties don't work
Addressing re- gional magistrates and
chief law officers at a community service workshop in Harare last weekend,
Judge President Justice Paddington Garwe had this to say about the
presidential pardons Mugabe has lately generously granted convicted
"The granting of amnesties has become a stop gap measure
that has not always produced the desired effect."
So, if Mukanya
may ask, who has been advising Mugabe to be so generous with these
presidential amnesties of his?
Apart from ensuring that dangerous
criminals are quickly back on the streets, the only other result Mugabe
appears to have achieved is to ensure the freedom of ZANU PF militants jailed
for a variety of violent crimes committed against opposition
Which makes Mukanya wonder whether this in fact
explains why we have continued to have these presidential pardons being
extended despite the fact that the stated result is never really
ZANU PF's strange bedfellows
ZANU PF's unofficial public relations officer David Nyekaroch- Matsanga
also loves the good world the British have created on their muddy
According to Britain's Sunday Telegraph, Matsanga is a
refugee in Surrey England where he lives together with his wife and four sons
when he is not at his favourite watering hole at the Harare
In case some of you don't know who Matsanga is, he is a
former spokesman of the Ugandan bandit outfit the Lord's Resistance Army
(LRA). The LRA is well known for raping, killing and maiming ordinary
Matsanga, in order to please his ZANU PF friends,
regularly writes articles, especially in the Sunday Moyo, castigating
If one is to read between the lines of a comment
made by a British Home Office official in the Sunday Telegraph, Matsanga's
days in the UK might be numbered.
The official made it clear
that the British government is "not prepared to offer sanctuary to people who
abuse our hospitality".
What strange fellows ZANU PF is bedding
these days! There is this Matsanga guy and of course that Ari Ben-Menashe
LAST Friday the riot police arrested 23 members
of the clergy as they walked peacefully to the Police General Headquarters in
Harare to present to the Police Commissioner a petition ironically protesting
several incidents of forceful detention of clergymen.
same day in Bulawayo, 42 cricket fans were arrested and detained after
Zimbabwe's World Cup match against Holland.
Their crime? Exercising
their democratic right to criticise a government that has become intolerant
of the least sign of opposition. At the time of writing this comment on
Tuesday, lawyers for the detained cricket fans believed their clients would
be kept in custody until yesterday.
In an attempt to prevent
them from returning to the Queen's Sports Club for Zimbabwe's Tuesday match
against Pakistan perhaps?
Intriguingly, these arrests all took
place on the same day that President Robert Mugabe was at pains to tell his
allies in the Far East that Zimbabwe's problems could be laid at the door of
Western powers who were spreading destabilising misconceptions.
"We in Zimbabwe have realised that the powerful nations deploy their powerful
global media systems to undermine economics through misconceptions and
downright misinformation," he said when he launched an exhibition
of Zimbabwean products in Singapore.
"The world has been fed
with so much lies and misinformation. While their entrepreneurs are busy
expanding their agro-industries, they are busy telling the world that
Zimbabwe is in the throes of chaos."
This is a refrain that the
government has been singing for about four years and which tragically fails
to acknowledge the chaos in the country and the ruling ZANU PF's own immense
contribution towards that meltdown.
For all intents and purposes,
Zimbabwe is a nation adrift, limping daily from one crisis to another, all of
them self-inflicted except the drought and all of them played out in the full
glare of the world's gaze.
The government would do well to remember
that the world's eyes are fixed unblinkingly on Zimbabwe even as it attempts
to woo investors and trading partners to replace the Western countries that
have turned their backs on it.
ZANU PF's increasing use of its
mail fist against citizens who are merely exercising their democratic rights
of free expression and assembly is being observed by the French, the Thais,
the Malaysians and the Singaporeans, the very people the government seems to
believe hold the key to Zimbabwe's economic salvation.
So too is
the escalating repression of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change,
especially in the run-up to this month's by-elections in Highfield and
No doubt these countries take note of reports of ongoing
farm seizures at a time international agencies have made it clear that
Zimbabwe faces another year of food insecurity, partly because of the
government's own misguided policies.
Here is a government going
all out to lure investors and trading partners, but at the same time doing
all it can to ensure that no sane investor will set foot in
For surely, despite their ill-considered bleating in
support of the Zimbabwean government at the Non-Aligned Movement summit last
week, these countries use the same criteria as the rest of the world before
risking their money in any investment destination?
support have most of these allies offered to fuel, forex and food-starved
Zimbabwe in the last four years? What real assistance and investment is
likely to come from them in the future given the instability prevailing in
Flowery statements cost the French and the Non-Aligned
Movement nothing in material terms, for they are unlikely to put their money
where their mouths are.
It is unfortunate that ZANU PF is
allowing itself to be hoodwinked into believing the opposite so that it can
comfortably continue with its disastrous policies at the expense of millions
of long-suffering Zimbabweans.
By Zhean Gwaze
Staff Reporter 3/6/03 9:14:10 AM (GMT +2)
FACED with the
prospect of more than 840 000 potentially HIV-positive AIDS orphans,
Zimbabwean orphanages are canvassing for donor funds to build clinics to care
for children who would otherwise have to endure opportunistic infections
without the medical care that is beyond the reach of many Zimbabweans living
According to statistics from the National AIDS Council
(NAC), there are more than 700 000 children orphaned by the AIDS pandemic in
Zimbabwe. At least 30 percent of them are cared for by orphanages and the
rest are living within the community.
But a survey by the United
Nations' Children's Fund last year found that the number of AIDS orphans
could have risen by more than 20 percent in 2010 in Botswana, Lesotho and
A large number of these orphans will themselves be
infected by HIV, the virus that causes AIDS and will require frequent
treatment for the opportunistic infections that will plague them because of
their weakened immune systems.
Joyce Chavarika, deputy
superintendent of Matthew Rusike Children's Home in Harare, told the
Financial Gazette that Zimbabwean orphanages had decided at the end of last
year to build clinics to cater for the needs of the growing number of AIDS
"We agreed that we are no longer only caring for destitute
and abandoned children because the number of HIV/AIDS orphans in the society
was increasing at alarming levels," she said.
is to set up a clinic to cater for the orphans in the homes as well as those
in their outreach programmes in the community," she added.
Representatives of children's homes would not disclose how much
the initiative would cost, but said they expected it to run into millions
of dollars because of the escalating cost of building materials and
The price of building materials shot up by 300 percent in the
last 6 months partly because of rampant inflation - which rose 208.1 percent
in the 12 months to January - and shortages of the materials.
Cement shortages are expected to worsen because of the suspension
of production by Zim-babwe's major producers.
will also be faced with very high prices of drugs and medical equipment, most
of which are imported and will need foreign currency at a time the country's
is battling a severe hard cash sqeeze.
Matthew Rusike Children's
Home superintendent Astonishment Mapurisa said the proposed clinics would
also need to pay competitive remuneration to the health care workers who
would run the facilities.
"Each home has individually forwarded
proposals to various local and international donors for them to pledge their
assistance to the project," he said. "Some are trying to negotiate with their
councils to be allocated land to set up the structures."
orphanage official who spoke on condition of anonymity added: "Donors now
acknowledge that we are battling with escalating medical costs and they have
shown some willingness in supplying us with the money, essential needs and
drugs for free."
Representatives of children's homes said they had
a five-year plan that would lead to the mostly donor-funded clinics being
fully operational by 2007.
The clinics would treat the
opportunistic infections associated with HIV infection and also provide
counselling to patients.
Officials of local orphanages said they
had decided to undertake the initiative because they could no longer rely on
state assistance to care for HIV/AIDS orphans.
declining allocation of revenues to the health and social sector has meant
that state hospitals and clinics, as well as the social welfare department,
do not have the capacity to care for the growing number of Zimbabwe's AIDS
State health facilities are losing staff to other
countries because of poor pay and also have very little resources to import
drugs to treat opportunistic infections or the anti-retrovirals that would
slow down the progression of AIDS.
The shortages of health
professionals, drugs and medical equipment has forced many state facilities
to discharge HIV-positive patients into the care of their families, who do
not have the skills to meet their needs and cannot afford basic medication,
let alone anti-retroviral drugs.
A snap survey of local pharmacies
revealed that a variety of anti-retroviral drugs available in Zimbabwe ranged
in price from $20 000 to $700 000 for a month's course.
spokesperson for the NAC said: "We don't have the mandate to
import anti-retroviral drugs but the government has and we can only lobby for
their provision. Because of the economic situation and the high cost of the
drugs, not everyone has a chance to access them."
Village director Carol Smith said even though her organisation was not
supplying anti-retrovirals to the children in its care, its medical bill was
still very high because of the cost of other drugs.
The cost of
medication has risen by more than 200 percent in the past two years, partly
because of the country's foreign currency crisis and shortages of
Smith, whose organisation cares for 3 000 orphans, added:
"Although we don't pay for anti-retroviral drugs, the cost of our medical
bill is so high because the drugs are not available at the clinics and we
have to purchase from the pharmacies where they are quite
Representatives of orphanages said the worst affected
children were those in the rural areas, where shortages of drugs and other
resources have combined with Zimbabwe's food crisis to worsen their plight of
Children of Hope Foundation director Anne
Kaunda said that out of the more than 10 000 rural orphans registered in the
Midlands, the organisation could only look after 500 because of a shortage of
The foundation relies entirely on handouts from the
community, well wishers and donors.
Kaunda told the Financial
Gazette that the Department of Social Welfare only provided financial
assistance for orphans in children's homes, prejudicing the majority of
Zimbabwean orphans, who are cared for within the community.
Children of Hope Foundation director said the financial assistance that was
made available by the department was also inadequate to meet the needs of the
country's children's homes.
The homes are each given $600 000 a
year when most of their annual budgets actually exceed $20
Orphanage officials said children's homes were supposed to
receive free medication from the Department of Social Services, but they
had recently realised that the department was no longer renewing the
medical permits of children who were terminally ill.
"So we are
getting ready (through the proposed clinics) for the possibility that one day
we will have children that need palliative care," Chavarika said.
BULAWAYO - St Mary's Cathedral in Bulawayo is
buzzing with tension before the Prayers for Peace service begins on
Survivors of torture are going to speak at the service,
which is being led by Archbishop Pius Ncube of Bulawayo. The archbishop has
taken a firm stand against human rights abuses in Zimbabwe, leading a protest
at a cricket match.
He is a smallish man with a smiling face and
he is joined in the sanctuary of the church by other Zimbabwean church
leaders, and a delegation of South African clergy led by Archbishop Rubin
Phillip of KwaZulu-Natal.
The dim, candle-lit interior of the
church begins to fill - the congregation is made up of torture survivors,
some of whom will speak, and members of the opposition.
begins by saying that the service is vital because the church has become the
last open space for democracy in Zimbabwe.
"The people have been
muzzled by the government, but they have the right to testify to what has
happened to them," he says.
Phillip's greeting to the congregation
is of "warmth and affection".
He says, "God did not decide to sort
out a world gone astray from above, but by sending his own son into the world
to suffer and redeem".
The archbishop says the South African
delegation of churchmen are with the people of Zimbabwe to identify with the
pain of their struggle against the regime and to protest against gross abuses
of human rights.
He thanks God for those who are prepared to stand
up and be counted on the side of good, and that the struggle is a peaceful
Peaceful it might be, but there is a moment of tension when
Shari Eppel stands up to give a statement on behalf of survivors of "torture
and organised violence".
"There are a number of members of the
CIO - state security police - here. We have taken note of you and we know who
you are. If you are here to pray you are welcome, if not we ask you to
Members of the congregation
light candles from flames held by the bishops and then place them on the
altar. They are to commemorate those who have been the victims of torture and
Later, wooden crosses will be brought up to the altar to
mark the lives of those who have died.
It is time for the
survivors to stand up and tell their stories. There are representatives from
Harare, Bulawayo, Midlands, Matabeleland and Manicaland who
One of those to speak is Sithabile Dube (not her real
She hands her baby to a man, who carries her to the back of
the church, and Moyo ascends the stairs to the altar. In the
flickering candlelight she is an impossibly thin figure, dressed in a navy
skirt and sleeveless blouse.
She stands next to Ncube, who is
going to translate for her, and begins to tell her story. It begins well,
although the archbishop has to bend close to her as she speaks
Then suddenly she is falling; in what looks like
slow-motion, she pitches sideways off the pulpit and stumbles before running
towards the door of the cathedral.
Eppel gets to her before she
falls and she is hustled out of the cathedral through a side
There is a stunned silence among the congregation who
minutes before had been expressing their solidarity with murmurs of
Another person who gives evidence of abuse and torture is
Job Sikhala, Movement for Democratic Change Member of Parliament for St
Mary's constituency. He was picked up by the security police and told that he
was to be charged with trying to overthrow the government and planning
an uprising against (President Robert) Mugabe.
He denied these
allegations and, after a number of days at Harare central police station, was
booked out by a number of policemen, who took him to an unknown
"They stripped me and beat me on my buttocks and feet,
but I would not admit to the lies they were trying to force me to admit to.
All the time I had a hood over my face. Then they attached electric gadgets
to my second toes and shocked me.
"After that they shocked me on
my private parts and then put electrodes between my teeth and under my
tongue. At this stage I collapsed. One of my tormentors seemed to be drunk
and urinated on me. I had also lost control of my bladder and they screamed
at me and told me to roll around on the floor to clean up the urine. Then
they made me lick it up."
Sikhala was then taken back to Harare
Central and released.
After the service, buses begin to leave for
various destinations. There is concern about getting those who have told
their stories out of the cathedral and to safety.
especially, for Sithabile Dube who has exposed the ZANU PF training
After the crowd has left, the security branch move in to
take away Archbishop Ncube. The other ministers and bishops, including Rubin
Phillip, remain with him, offering some form of protection.
Eventually the security police give up and leave.
On Friday, they
are back waiting for Ncube and once again Archbishop Rubin Phillip and other
churchmen go to wait with him.
This time, however, the standoff is
reasonably brief. Ncube agrees to speak to the security police. He is warned
that the church service the night before was too political to be a religious
Archbishop Phillip leaves for South Africa after giving a
hasty interview to the SABC. And he leaves by air.
worried about that young woman, Dube," he says. At the time Dube and her baby
were safely out of harm's way.
For how long is anyone's guess. -
(Sithabile Dube's real name has been withheld for
BULAWAYO - State security agents have
warned outspoken Roman Catholic Archbishop Pius Ncube to stop dabbling in
politics after a prayer service during which female recruits from the
national service programme made allegations of rampant sexual abuse, it was
learnt this week.
Ncube, who has taken a firm stand against human
rights abuses in Zimbabwe, said the warning was delivered by two members of
the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) at St Mary's Cathedral at the end
of last week.
It was conveyed after a "prayers for peace"
service held at the cathedral last Thursday, at which victims of torture and
political violence gave testimonies of their experiences.
who was in the company of clergymen from Matabeleland as well as a delegation
from South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal led by Archbishop Rubin Phillip, was told
that the government was not happy with his politicisation of sermons during
He said the state security agents wanted to arrest
him soon after the Thursday night service, but failed when other church
ministers and bishops, including the visiting clergymen from KwaZulu-Natal,
resisted attempts to whisk him away.
Ncube said the CIO
operatives however returned on Friday and spoke to him, telling him that
Thursday night's service was too political to be a religious
"The CIO came to the cathedral on two occasions, I was
with other clergy," he told the Financial Gazette. "They told me that they
were not happy with some of my preaching, especially the church service on
"If it was not for the clergy that were with me,
I think they intended to arrest me. They failed because of our
He said he had told the security agents that the
church could not divorce hunger, economic hardships and political violence
from religion, nor could it turn a blind eye while people were
"I'm now afraid and am now staying in different houses,"
Ncube said. "There are more victims of torture out there who are not willing
to talk, but if we are to fight this, we need to be strong and
During last Thursday's service, seven victims of
political violence - six former female national service trainees and Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) legislator Job Sikhala - testified that they had
been tortured in the last few months.
They made allegations of
physical abuse and rape against state security agents, supporters of the
ruling ZANU PF and male recruits being trained under the so-called national
youth service programme.
The controversial programme has been
slammed by critics for training ruling party militia that have terrorised
opposition party supporters.
Allegations of sexual abuse of female
recruits as well as MDC supporters and members of the public have also been
made against some of the male recruits and their instructors.
The government has denied the allegations of torture and sexual
However, a former recruit, who said she was a fugitive from
one of the youth training centres, reduced members of the congregation to
tears as she recounted how she was sexually abused and impregnated by a
senior Bulawayo war veteran at one camp.
The former recruit, who
is from the Midlands province, showed the congregation a child she claimed
was conceived after one of the rapes. She also alleged that she had
contracted HIV, the virus that caused AIDS, because of the sexual abuse she
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) candidate in the
Kuwadzana by-election, this week charged that the Zimbabwe Republic Police
(ZRP) had refused to open a docket against a high-ranking officer for death
threats that have been denied by the ZRP.
Chamisa says Assistant
Commissioner Langton Tagwira, the officer commanding Harare province,
threatened him with death on Tuesday if he continued to campaign for this
Tagwira has denied the
Chamisa told the Financial Gazette he had attempted to
report the alleged death threat at Harare Central Police Station and at a
police sub-station on First Street, but had been told by officers that they
could not take a report because this might compromise their
He said: "We wanted a docket to be opened against Tagwira
for threatening me with death but the police officers refused.
"The police officer we saw (at Harare Central) immediately phoned his bosses
to ask for advice and later told us that he had been ordered not to record
anything from myself or any of my associates.
"We then went to the
First street sub-station where the officers there told us that the case was
complicated and they would be fired if they opened any docket against their
"They advised that the best I could do was to make a report
to the Complaints Against Police Desk."
Police spokesman Wayne
Bvudzijena denied that Chamisa had been threatened, saying therefore there
was no basis for a docket to be opened.
"To suggest that he was
threatened with death is seeking cheap publicity because that never happened.
It is just a way to appeal to the local and international community and act
as if they (MDC) are being harassed," said Bvudzijena.
is a candidate and we normally call these candidates in to advise them on how
best they can campaign without causing violence. That was the purpose of the
meeting. Why should anyone threaten him?"
But Chamisa alleges that
Tagwira made the threat in the presence of his campaign manager, Charlton
Hwende, during a meeting on Tuesday.
He said he had instructed his
lawyer, Sheila Jarvis of Atherstone and Cook, to demand an explanation from
Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri on why the police had refused to open a
The lawyer will also seek clarification on whether the ban
allegedly imposed by Tagwira reflected the ZRP's official
Jarvis would also write to the Electoral Supervisory
Commission and protest against the ban, Chamisa said.
confirmed yesterday that she was handling the matter but said she could not
comment until she had been fully briefed by Chamisa.
Marawanyika Senior Reporter 3/6/03 8:57:51 AM (GMT +2)
Ministry of Energy and Power Development has proposed that foreign motorists
travelling through Zimbabwe should pay for fuel in hard cash, as part of
short-term measures - including fuel rationing and decontrolling the price of
blend petrol and Jet A1 fuel - to alleviate the country's liquid energy
The proposals are contained in a document entitled Position
paper by the Ministry of Energy and Power Development on the short-term
proposals to improve the fuel situation in the country, which was submitted
to the government-business-labour Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF) last
TNF sources said the document was debated last Tuesday and
would be the subject of further discussion next week.
at next week's meeting, the three partners could either fully endorse the
document or suggest further adjustments before the proposals were considered
by the government.
In the document, a copy of which is in the
possession of the Financial Gazette, the Ministry of Energy says that
Zimbabwe has to stop subsiding foreigners and curb the illegal cross border
trade of fuel.
It says: "Foreigners have taken advantage of the
existence of the foreign currency parallel market, which has made Zimbabwe's
fuel cheaper for them. Foreign motorists therefore drive into the country
with empty tanks for them to fuel in Zimbabwe.
"By ensuring that
foreigners pay in hard currency, this will make them pay a reasonable price
for the fuel and it will also go a long way in channelling foreign currency
into the formal market. The ministry is therefore recommending that
foreigners should pay in hard currency."
It was not possible to
ascertain from Energy Minister Amos Midzi how this system, if it was
implemented, would operate.
But sources within the TNF said foreign
motorists might be asked to pay forex at points of entry, where they would be
given coupons that they could redeem at chosen service stations around
They said the ministry was considering involving the
Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, which would collect forex from motorists at entry
points and which would also station officials at service stations
participating in the scheme.
The sources said the modalities of
the scheme would, if the Energy Ministry's proposals was adopted, also be
worked out in conjunction with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
its proposals, the Ministry of Energy pointed out that a system in which
foreigners paid in forex for goods and services in Zimbabwe was not new and
was already operational in the tourism industry.
in Zimbabwe usually have to pay hotel bills in hard currency.
But analysts this week warned that foreigners might be unwilling to part with
their money at entry points since holding coupons would not guarantee them
that they would be able to secure fuel once in Zimbabwe.
Chinyama, the chief economist of Kingdom Financial Holdings, said the
foreigners might be forced to queue for petrol and diesel like local
motorists, even though they had already paid for fuel.
has to be worked out properly otherwise it could create trade division
instead of trade promotion," he said.
Other proposals by the
Ministry of Energy include a sustainable pricing structure that would
contribute towards increased fuel inflows.
The government last week
almost doubled the price of fuel but some oil industry executives believe
this is inadequate to encourage companies to begin procuring fuel now that
they have been given permission by the government to do so.
the past, only the state-controlled National Oil Company of Zimbabwe has been
allowed to purchase fuel, but the company has no foreign currency, leading to
The Ministry of Energy is also proposing "price cross
subsidisation" and the de-regulation of the prices of unleaded petrol and Jet
According to the ministry's document, product cross
subsidisation is a pricing system that would take into account the economic
value of each product.
"Considering that diesel is mainly used
by the productive sector, any upward price adjustment would lead to price
increases across the board," the document said. "Any price review should
therefore take product cross subsidisation into consideration.
"Paraffin is a product used mostly by the poor who need protection from huge
price hikes. The use of blend is two-dimensional. It is used significantly in
supporting the business sector and also for luxury purposes. In our price
proposals, upward price adjustments are heavier on blend than on diesel and
The ministry said by decontrolling the prices of
unleaded petrol and Jet A1, the government could encourage companies to
import the products.
It said it was also proposing price trigger
mechanism, fuel rationing and price discrimination for the near
A price trigger mechanism would result in pricing that was
responsive to both international and local market forces, the ministry said,
adding that price discrimination would allow fuel price differences based on
"Consumers driving non-commercial vehicles with
large engine capacities should pay relatively higher prices," the ministry
said. "In any case, such people, who can afford these luxury vehicles, should
be able to pay such prices.
"In the face of continuing
difficulties associated with shortages of foreign currency to purchase fuel,
the ministry is actively considering fuel rationing so that everyone gets
something from the available fuel stock."
The rationing would
involve allocating agreed quantities of fuel to "specific organisations,
companies and individuals".
By Sydney Masamvu
Assistant Editor 3/6/03 8:56:45 AM (GMT +2)
Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) last week had to urgently supply foreign currency to
prevent the eviction of Zimbabwe's ambassadors to Rome and Switzerland, whose
residential rents had not been paid for the last five months, according to
Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials.
It was not possible to
ascertain how much money had been paid by the central bank, but the officials
said the foreign currency supplied last Wednesday was only enough to
temporarily stave off the evictions of Zimbabwe 's ambassador to Italy,
Margaret Muchada, and her counterpart in Switzerland Chitsaka Chipaziwa from
Chipaziwa is the Zimbabwean government's
permanent representative to the United Nations (UN) in Geneva.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials, who declined to be named, said the
evictions of the pair was scheduled for last Thursday after the government
failed to pay their rents for the past five months.
could not say whether rents for Zimbabwe's chanceries in Rome and Switzerland
were up to date.
But they said several written warnings to settle
the rent arrears on the ambassadors' residences had not been heeded because
of the country's severe foreign currency crisis, which has also affected the
payment of salaries to Zimbabwean diplomatic staff.
"We made a
hasty plea last week to the Reserve Bank to provide whatever amount of
foreign currency it had to make part-payment for the rental arrears in Italy
and Switzerland," an official told the Financial Gazette.
(ambassadors) were left with barely a day before they were kicked out of
their homes. We had to work to avert a
The Foreign Affairs officials said
the ambassadors' landlords were now demanding a commitment from the
Zimbabwean government that full settlement would be made shortly or else the
diplomats would be evicted.
They said threats of eviction had
dogged several Zimbabwean missions abroad.
One official said:
"Of late, we have been dealing with these issues of threatened evictions from
our embassies in Europe. Recently, we had to deal with the Belgrade issue,
which we have resolved."
Foreign Affairs senior secretary Willard
Chiwewe yesterday admitted his ministry was facing problems in paying
diplomats' rentals and salaries because of acute hard cash
The government has had to prioritise imports of food,
electricity and fuel with the little forex it has.
true there are problems with payment of diplomats' rentals and salaries
because of the foreign currency issue, which has become a national crisis
known by everyone," Chiwewe said.
"We are however working flat out
to address these issues and I am happy to say our diplomats abroad have been
soldering on under difficult conditions," he added.
meeting the salaries of its diplomats abroad, the government also has to pay
allowances for their spouses, who are not allowed to work in foreign
Ministry of Foreign Affairs sources say some of the
spouses of diplomats have been forced to breach these regulations because
of non-payment of salaries.
They said a series of crisis
meetings were held this week within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs resulting
in recommendations to close some missions and merge others, reducing staffing
But only President Robert Mugabe has the power to open or
close embassies in any country. The Foreign Affairs officials said
earlier recommendations by the Public Service Commission to close some
missions had been shot down
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has committed an apparent diplomatic faux
pas, by claiming that President Thabo Mbeki gave him details of his
confidential discussions with British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
was quoted in the state-owned Herald newspaper as saying that Mbeki told him
that Blair had admitted his government was wrong in opposing Harare's
sweeping land seizures.
Mugabe says the admission came in Mbeki's talks
with Blair at Chequers, the British premier's country residence. If Mugabe's
claim is true, it would be the first time he had leaked details of talks with
other heads of state.
Mbeki's office and the British dismissed the claim
yesterday. Mbeki's spokesman, Bheki Khumalo, said Mbeki always followed the
practice of not repeating what any leader told him.
A British diplomat
said: "There is absolutely no way the prime minister could have said that. It
is simply a fabrication."
In the report, Mugabe said: "Blair admitted to
President Mbeki that they were wrong and that we are right." He said Mbeki
also told him that Blair regretted his government "treated Zimbabwe as a
minor if not nonissue during its first two years in power".
admitted his government "did not realise the complexity of the Zimbabwe land
question during the run-up to the 1998 land donors conference. By then it was
too late as he (Blair) and his ministers had dug in and misled the public and
created an anti-Zimbabwe media frenzy."
Mugabe is provocative' : Page
Mar 05 2003 06:35:22:000AM Dumisani Muleya and Jonathan
Katzenellenbogen Business Day 1st Edition
Delegates in Pretoria to discuss Zimbabwe
March 05, 2003, 18:00
Talks that could point the way to a
brighter future for Zimbabwe are underway in Pretoria with a seminar
involving Zimbabwean government and opposition figures. The seminar, a
brainchild of the Institute for Democracy in South Africa (Idasa) is geared
at setting an agenda to get Zimbabwe out of the present
Paul Graham of Idasa says the delegates are to
discuss questions of constitutional reform, redevelopment of a culture for
democracy and the re-establishment of a human rights
Graham says President Robert Mugabe and his
government seem to be running out of options. Cracks are beginning to show
within Zanu-PF with senior members now also calling for
John Battersby, a journalist, says: "Although the
crisis is very far advanced in terms of the economic meltdown, in terms of
the famine and those kinds of things, the search for a political solution is
at a very early stage."
It might be a small beginning but
the delegates, including European Union and Southern African Development
Community representatives, believe it is a step in the right direction for