Church seeks refugee status for Zimbabweans in
March 07, 2004, 18:14
Church is to lobby government to improve the plight of
Zimbabweans in South
Africa. It will also - in conjunction with its South
African counterparts -
push for talks between Zanu(PF) and the Movement for
However, while the cleric seeks peace, the situation in the
remains oppressive. Six MDC members were injured when their convoy
attacked on the way to a campaign rally in Zengeza, east of Harare.
attack was allegedly carried out by Zanu(PF) militia. In addition,
members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise are incarcerated in a Bulawayo
At a special service for Zimbabwe
today, Pius Ncube, the Zimbabwean
archbishop, lashed out at Robert Mugabe's
government and South Africa's
quiet diplomacy towards the country. "I will
not excuse the government, they
are not going to get my sympathy, they have
gone around killing people,
raping the young," Ncube said.
Churchgoers also heard from Zimbabweans who claim to have suffered at
hands of Zanu(PF). Even those who defend human rights spoke of detention
brutality. Gabriel Shumba, a human rights lawyer, said: "They tied it to
genitals, some to my toes and in my mouth - I was asked to clamp down
The animosity between the ruling Zanu(PF) and the MDC is
increase ahead of next year's elections. "Next year you can be
parliamentary election will be rigged," Ncube said.
the same time - with Zimbabwean authorities saying no to talks with
opposition - the situation in Zimbabwe is not likely to change soon. A
why the church plans to talk government into giving refugee status to
Zimbabweans in this country. It also wants NGOs to form one body that
cater to the needs of Zimbabweans abroad.
Mail and Guardian
' Black Moses 'morally revulsed' by
07 March 2004
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe on Saturday lashed out anew
homosexuality and also promised to stamp out corruption, which he said
destroying the crisis-ridden southern African nation.
turned 80 last month, was speaking at a special thanksgiving
ceremony for his
long life organised by prominent Zimbabwean churchman
"I'm morally revulsed by homosexuality," Mugabe told the
also featured popular gospel singers and
Mugabe, who has called homosexuals "worse than pigs and dogs",
marriages also deserved outright condemnation.
Adam and Eve, not Adam and Adam, Eve and Eve," he said in biblical
to humanity's first parents.
"Let us never entertain the theory that man
and man can form a family."
Mugabe also waxed eloquent on corruption -- a
theme he has taken up
recently -- saying Zimbabweans had the right to
prosperity honestly gained.
But anyone guilty of corruption would be
brought to book no matter "who it
is that offends -- a relative of mine, a
great man in business, a great
would also be dealt harshly with because they were
"offending against the
rules of our society... ruining our own heritage".
The function was
attended by government officials, prominent Zimbabweans and
Reverend Musindo, the organiser of the function,
described Mugabe as a
"black, political, economic Moses" whose vision was "to
and billionaires" in the country.
The economy of
the former British colony has been in a nose-dive in recent
international support drying up, and rates of inflation and
skyrocketing to record highs of more than 600%.
Mugabe's reputation as an
African statesman started fading in recent years
after the country -- once
the region's breadbasket -- slid into economic
decline as land reforms which
had been left unresolved for years, were
jump-started with the violent
occupation of white-owned farms. - Sapa-AFP
Ncube asks churches to act against Mugabe
March 07 2004
By Christelle Terreblanche
African religious leaders are set to become the leading voice against
escalating human rights abuses in Zimbabwe after a series of meetings
appeals from their Zimbabwean counterparts.
An "in-principle agreement"
this week to take on a more pro-active role has
been given impetus by an
unprecedented cry for help from a Zimbabwean
archbishop, who asked the
churches to intervene urgently in the human rights
situation and not to wait
for approval to send a taskteam to their
appeal came from the Catholic Archbishop of Bulawayo, Pius Ncube, who
South Africa this week to garner support for increased pressure on
President Robert Mugabe to enter into talks with the opposition
ahead of the
proposed 2005 election.
Ncube, who has won several international human
rights awards, also wants
more pressure put on the South African government
to abandon quiet diplomacy
and give Mugabe an ultimatum to enter into talks.
community must assist us to force these people," Ncube
'So far and not further!'
"There is no other way of
dealing with such a dictator. There must be
pressure from a whole lot of
sides. We can't solve this problem alone... He
needs an ultimatum. So far and
Ncube met senior clergy this week, including the Anglican
Njongonkulu Ndungane, and Dr Molefe Tshele, the general secretary
South African Council of Churches (SACC). His visit coincided with an
principle" resolution this week by the SACC, after a first-ever
meeting with Zimbabwean clergy, to send a taskteam to Zimbabwe as
the organisation received a green light from all its
But the archbishop feared such a mandate might not be
"People are dying now," he said. "We can't wait for
protocol. It is their
duty to respond urgently to the
Ncube warned that religious leaders in Zimbabwe were divided
had "bought out" most of them and that the church in Zimbabwe
could not play
a meaningful role without help from neighbouring
"Mugabe gave them money and farms," Ncube said. "He even
offered me a farm
as part of his evil devices."
He said those clergy
who were anti-Mugabe felt that they couldn't "make it
urgent intervention from all churches, but South Africa is the
historically," he said, adding that some Zimbabwean church leaders
bedevilling efforts to garner support.
"They are trying to prevent South
African churches coming in on the grounds
that South Africa is playing 'Big
Brother' and that they themselves know
better about Zimbabwe."
said his discussions with Ncube on Friday had given momentum to the
agreement that the SACC would help reinforce the importance of the
resolving the Zimbabwean impasse.
"I agree with him that the churches in
South African and Zimbabwe should
jointly become the voice against moral and
human rights abuses, but that we
should refrain from party political issues
because it could become a
divisive issue," Tshele said on
"[Ncube] made an appeal that we have influence and that we
use it, but this would be subject to an [SACC] executive
meeting on March
In an interview, Ncube also confirmed the
existence of secret terror camps
in which Mugabe's regime was teaching
thousands of youths to torture and
kill. He feared these youth militia were
already being used to control
political activity ahead of next year's
elections with tactics similar to
that of the war veterans.
the only thing keeping the economy going was the South Africa's
support of Mugabe's Zanu-PF government.
"If they cut off the electricity
and transport that will be the end of the
game," he said.
dependent on South Africa and he owed millions in electricity
Ncube's visit also had a third dimension - to highlight that half
Bulawayo parish now lives in Hillbrow. Ncube said that South Africa
breaking its own laws by not giving the estimated 2 million Zimbabweans
the country refugee status and asylum.
"Those people have a very
rough time [in South Africa]," he said. "They
can't find employment, they are
badly treated and often go without
accommodation and food. They have to
He called the South African government's attitude
"On the one hand they are supporting Mugabe... and
on the other will not
give refugee status to Zimbabweans."
it was crunch time for talks as there was no possibility of
holding free and
fair elections next year, as Mugabe had announced.
After President Thabo
Mbeki's recent optimism about talks, Mugabe has again
possibility of entering into talks with the opposition Movement
Democratic Change (MDC).
Ncube said Mugabe would not give in without
pressure from all sides.
"He is a liar, gets up to all sorts of tricks,
he will do everything he can
to stay in power. He will kill, buy people out,
cheat," the archbishop said.
"It is absolutely urgent that South Africa
help convene talks as soon as
possible. It is a total fallacy to say
Zimbabweans must solve their own
Ncube said the situation
on the ground was "deteriorating very, very fast",
with thousands dying every
month of starvation and HIV/Aids, while last
year's inflation rocketed by
more than 1 200 percent.
"It's impossible to live. Something like 80
percent of the people are living
below the poverty line," Ncube said, adding
that the population was also
overcome by a hopelessness and a moral
"People are now saying that the white government was less
the black government."
Ncube will hold a special
service for Zimbabweans in Braamfontein today.
From The Sunday Times (SA), 7 March
Mugabe's men fight over farms and
Sunday Times Foreign Desk
In the aftermath
of Zimbabwe's disastrous land reform programme, President
chief lieutenants are squabbling over the spoils of the
seizures. Zimbabwe seized land from white farmers under
the pretext of
redistributing farms to needy peasants and alleviating
poverty. However, land
disputes involving the political elite have exposed
high-level greed and
other abuses attending land reform. The latest disputes
over farm seizures,
as well as the dishing out of lucrative hunting
Information Minister Jonathan Moyo, Agriculture
Minister Joseph Made, Special
Affairs Minister for Lands, Land Reform and
Resettlement John Nkomo,
Environment and Tourism Minister Francis Nhema and
provincial governor Obert Mpofu, among others.
Moyo, who has been
linked to three other farms, is now at the centre of yet
over a safari farm, Sikumi 2, in Dete near Hwange. The
farm has a
top-of-the-range lodge, Sikumi Tree Lodge, and was seized by the
before being parcelled out to a company controlled by Moyo. The
lodge is an
ecotourism facility that offers upmarket accommodation and
safaris to tourists. It was previously owned by a Mr B de
freehold, but was leased by the Rainbow Tourism Group, which
tried to prevent
Moyo from taking it over. Rainbow Tourism, in which the
government has a 17%
stake, wants Moyo out as it claims his presence is
disrupting its tourism
activities. Zanu-PF supporters in the area also want
Moyo evicted because he
is not from that region. However, despite his
involvement in various farms,
Moyo this week insisted that he had only one
property, Patterson Farm in
Mpofu is also fighting with Rainbow Tourism and other
stakeholders over two
farms, Farm 40 and Farm 41, in the same area. And Mpofu
is locked in a
dispute with authorities over Wildlife Estate, a
site that he seized two years ago. The farm has about
herd" elephants given special protection by Mugabe in 1991.
reportedly investigating Mpofu over his failure to bring foreign
earned from hunting back into the country. Made, meanwhile, is
conflict over Chiumbiri River farm. Mugabe last year ordered
with more than one seized farm to give the rest up. But the
still battling to repossess farms from leading party
John Nkomo, who heads a presidential committee tasked with
from Mugabe supporters, says more than 400 farms have been
taken back from
members of Zanu PF's elite. He has issued a warning to those
government efforts to recover land, saying they face arrest as
constitute corruption. Nkomo is involved in a dispute with Zanu PF
Kenneth Karidza over Rocky Arlington farm, which also incorporates
game park. Nhema stands accused of granting hunting and
concessions to Zanu PF political heavyweights in Dete, Gwayi
Binga and Victoria Falls. Zimbabwe Defence Force commander
Constantine Chiwenga and Policy Implementation Minister Webster Shamu
among a string of officials who have been granted hunting
However, disgruntled Matabeleland North Zanu PF officials and
operators have cried foul - and have called for the eviction of
bigwigs from other areas. This has sparked a high-level fight
within Zanu PF
over land. The hunting industry is a money-spinner that
in foreign currency.
Ancram: Conservatives will
restore trust in Britain's foreign policy
Speech to Conservative Party Spring Conference
"Here at Harrogate today we begin the long march to political
The main battle may still be some way off. But in June already
there are battles to be fought, not least the European elections, and they are
battles we must win.
At the heart of them will be the burning issues of
integrity and trust, so cynically eroded by Tony Blair over these last seven
He has undermined them with spin.
He has dishonoured them
by the casual ruthlessness with which those who dare to criticize him have been
smeared and broken.
It is often said that the first casualty of war is
truth. Here truth is the inexorable casualty of Blair.
He promised that
he would ‘listen'. But his Government ignores the wishes of the British
He promised ‘no more lies…no more broken promises'. But these are
the common currency of his Government.
He promised to restore ‘the bond
of trust between the British people and their government'. No Prime Minister in
history has done more to destroy that bond.
He doesn't trust the British
people. And the British people no longer trust him.
As the taxi driver
who brought me here on Friday said, "We don't like him any more. We don't trust
him any more. It's time he was gone."
The breakdown of trust has been
damaging enough here at home. In terms of our standing in the wider world it has
cost us dear.
Britain's word in the world used to be respected. What we
said we meant.
Not any more. The years of spin and deception have put
paid to that.
Seven years ago we were promised an ‘ethical' foreign
Tell that to Gibraltar. There was nothing ‘ethical' nor
honourable about the furtive negotiations to sell out their British sovereignty
And two years ago Tony Blair preached of ‘a moral duty to act'.
Ask the suffering Zimbabweans about that moral duty. They have
been abandoned and betrayed by Blair in the face of Mugabe's reign of terror.
In the run-up to the Iraq war Tony Blair asked us to trust him.
I don't resile from my belief that the action we took in Iraq was
justified and right.
It was not an easy decision, but had we walked away
from it I am convinced that we would have had to return to it again when the
challenge would have been much more dangerous and the risks infinitely more
But there are now growing suspicions about the case that Tony
Blair made for war.
Too many unsubstantiated claims of personal
knowledge of Weapons of Mass Destruction.
Too many unanswered questions
about what Blair knew and didn't know.
Too many arrogant dismissals of
Why Mr Blair? The case for war was sound. You didn't have to
He spoke loftily on Friday about the need to reform
international law to justify future actions.
Well he must tell us what
he meant and whether he can take his party with him.
Because if trust is
to be restored, the Government and the Prime Minister must now come clean.
And then there is Europe.
In 1994 Blair proclaimed that "under
my leadership Britain will never be isolated or left behind in Europe".
Well, now we know what he meant.
Going along with the crowd,
rather than fighting Britain's corner. Following rather than leading.
Surrendering our sovereignty, abandoning our interests rather than making a
And all so that Tony Blair is never isolated or left behind.
Never can one man's neurosis have cost his country so much for so little.
All humiliatingly illustrated in Berlin three weeks ago. The Prime
Minister of our great country scuttling shamelessly around the skirts of France
‘Euro-creep' /…/ - in every sense of the word.
Spin, deceit, betrayal, sellout. These are the true elements of Blair's
foreign and security policy.
No strategic approach. No proper
correlation between objectives and resources. The result - military overstretch,
shortage of equipment and failure of direction.
We, on the other hand,
will come into government with a coherent foreign and security policy.
It will be based on our national interest, on our sense of duty and of
national pride. It will match our resources and our capabilities.
will rebuild respect for Britain in the world, not least because what we promise
we will deliver.
We won't turn our backs on the suffering people of
We will ask the UN to send in observers to monitor fair
distribution of food. We will freeze the assets of all those who bankroll
And, much as I love cricket, I would never – unlike Jack Straw –
leave England's captain in the intolerable position of having to shake the
bloodied hand of Zimbabwe's cricket patron, Robert Mugabe.
I would make
clear my view that the coming tour should not go ahead.
In Gibraltar we
will disown this government's dishonourable agreement in principle to share
sovereignty with Spain. Sovereignty shared is sovereignty surrendered.
And we will never agree to a settlement that has not received the freely
given consent of the people of Gibraltar.
And unlike Blair and Straw, we
will join the people of Gibraltar in celebrating their proud three hundred years
of being British.
Our historic experiences in the Middle East should
allow us evenhandedly to promote dialogue towards a settlement.
settlement based on a secure Israel within acceptable boundaries and a viable
And we believe that prize is within reach.
will reassert the primacy of Nato as the cornerstone of our security policy.
We will disown Mr Blair's proposals to create a separate European
military planning capability. We will support the widening role of Nato, and we
will encourage continuing American commitment to it.
Our relationship to
the United States will be one of genuine partnership, not of subservience.
Where we disagree we will say so. Where we can persuade we will do so.
But always in the spirit of close allies bound together by shared values
and shared traditions, where loyalty to each other benefits both
And we will continue to play our part in the fight against
We must never give the terrorist the victory of
creating an environment of fear in which we have to restrict our freedoms and
change our lives.
Three weeks ago I stood in the ruins of our consulate
in Istanbul, where our consul Roger Short and other innocent people were cut
down by a suicide bomb.
We owe it to them never to give up and never to
So we must maintain our involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq
until real stability has been achieved.
I am proud of the way that our
soldiers have responded to the challenges that they face there.
visited them near Kabul recently. Their professionalism remains outstanding.
I honour those who have lost their lives.
I pay tribute to those
who carry out their difficult tasks with such distinction.
must never again be a situation where our soldiers are put at risk because the
likes of Geoff Hoon have delayed crucial military planning for party political
Never again should any of our soldiers be sent into combat
without the right kit.
And never again should a British soldier find
himself in the frontline with only five bullets to fight a whole war.
first priority of a government is the defence of the realm and the protection of
We will ensure that our armed forces, that invaluable
national asset, are equipped to meet their commitments.
We will ensure
that the excellence of our front line troops is maintained, and improved.
We will ensure that their ethos is fully respected and that they are
properly resourced for their agreed tasks.
And of course at the same
time we will see that every pound that the taxpayer spends on defence is both
efficiently and effectively used.
And then the European Union, that
partnership of sovereign nations of which we are, and are determined to remain,
an important part.
That is why we oppose a Constitution which opens the
door to a single European state in which we would be smothered and
In the Euro-elections in June this will be a major issue.
Jonathan Evans will shortly explain why.
Let me here pay tribute to
Jonathan and his colleagues for the enormously effective work they do on our
We want to see their numbers increased.
We want to see
that to show Mr Blair that the British people want a forward looking Europe of
Nations, not a backward looking Nation of Europe.
We will fight the Euro
tooth and nail. And we will fight the proposed Constitution with equal ferocity
And above all we fight to let the British people decide in
Because we at last have the opportunity to build a flexible
A Europe within which those members who wish to integrate more
closely may do so as long as they do not require others to do the same. As
Michael Howard said recently in Berlin, ‘live and let live'.
A Europe in
which the authority and primacy of national parliaments is reasserted, where
there is proper accountability, where a genuinely enterprising and competitive
Europe is created.
A Europe where national identities still
And we will work with our fellow atlanticists in Europe to
strengthen the vital partnership between Europe and America.
We can take
the lead in creating a Europe which works for the people and not for
We will reinvigorate the Commonwealth around its most
influential members in every continent.
Because our historic role must
be to bring together the Commonwealth, Europe and the US as a force for
stability in an increasingly unstable world. But above all we will rebuild pride
in our country.
Michael Howard in January reminded us " that by good
fortune, hard work, natural talent and rich diversity, these islands are home to
a great people with a noble past and an exciting future".
I am proud of
that past, of those British characteristics which are our strength.
the greatest of these is our love of freedom, a freedom which as Michael Howard
also said should be defended "at any time, against all comers, however mighty".
And in looking at that exciting future we owe it to the people of this
country to stand up for Britain, to have confidence in ourselves and to restore
the confidence of others in us.
And under Michael Howard's clear and
determined leadership we can do it.
And we can do more. We can start to
set about this wretched government, to show them up for what they really are.
Our task is great.
To sweep this seedy, spin-ridden,
self-seeking, self-serving, values-free bunch of second-raters out of the doors
of Downing Street and onto the scrap heap of history where they
The winds of change
From the horrors of apartheid to the release of
Mandela and the inauguration
of the first democratically elected government,
the world has watched as a
divided nation has pulled itself together. As the
ANC celebrates its first
10 years in power, David Beresford considers South
Africa's long road to
Sunday March 7, 2004
On the outskirts of Pretoria there used to be a large billboard
passing motorists: 'Thundering jets, the sound of freedom.' The
was to reconcile white residents to the noise of jet aircraft which
nearby military air base. 'White' residents, because it was in the
apartheid, and the jets were, of course, thundering in the racist
The billboard has long gone. Which is a pity - because there would be
justification for the claim nowadays - in fact, ever since that moment,
years ago, when the sound of jets in Pretoria announced the arrival of
freedom with the fly-past at Nelson Mandela's presidential inauguration.
the white generals saluted him and jets and helicopters blazed and
their way overhead in further salutation, the enormity of what had
was brought home to watching millions; the military had switched
allegiance and a black man was now boss.
It was a moment which was
generally held to mark the defeat of apartheid -
freedom, of course, being
inimical to that inherently oppressive system. But
with the advantage of
hindsight, a case could be made for arguing that
apartheid was not defeated,
but had merely run its course. Afrikanerdom had
achieved what it set out to
achieve - dealing with the poor white problem,
entrenching the language,
creating a cultural identity - and it was time to
today the Afrikaner and South Africa's whites as a whole have
never had it so
good. The 'green mamba' - South Africa's notoriously useless
passport, has become an 'open sesame' to Africa. The wealth of
whites can be
seen on the roads, along which slide an extraordinary
profusion of Mercedes
and BMWs, some costing as much as a house, which
enable their drivers to play
out their bundu-bashing fantasies of whips
snaking out over ox-wagon trains
in air-conditioned comfort.
Restaurants are packed, patrons seemingly
giving little heed to the rapid
escalation of prices on menus. South Africa,
the economists still tell us,
remains one of the cheapest places in the world
to buy a hamburger.
The recent recovery of the South African currency has
been startling. The
collapse of the rand, which had been steady since PW
Botha wagged his finger
at world television audiences in the mid-Eighties in
a memorable piece of
hubris, was suddenly and unexpectedly reversed last
year. Dire warnings were
offered as to the impact such a reversal was having
on export markets and
local tourism. Business leaders hastened to blame any
corporate profits on the trend. But, while all this was no
doubt true, the
recovery of the rand has had an important psychological
impact, doing much
to save the country from the snearing self-doubt of the
which at one stage it seemed destined to be.
there is a fast-growing black middle class, taking advantage of
systems, affirmative action and the like, there is still an enormous
of poverty in black South Africa and, statistically, no evidence that
wealth gap is closing. There is a huge underclass, to whom Mandela
well have never taken those salutes for the difference it has made to
lives. Some of them can be seen in the suburbs when the garbage trucks
about to make their weekly rounds, scavengers descending on the
rubbish bags, literally in search of crumbs from the white man's
There are also incidents which show that in some places the
mind-set of the
apartheid years lives on, such as last month's murder of a
farm worker by a
game rancher who allegedly had him beaten up and then thrown
to the lions.
So few were the remains after the lions had fed on him that the
they were having to use DNA tests to confirm his
Although such incidents are isolated, their impact on the
population hardly needs amplification, seeming to confirm
their worst fears
as to what lies behind conciliatory stances taken by white
However, things are changing for the black population. Perhaps
important area is education, in which zoning has had an ironic
domestic servants realising that, by virtue of their residence in
at the bottom of their master's garden, they are entitled to send
children to government schools which are among the best in the
The result is that, while the majority of black children
continue to make do
with the lack of facilities and poor teaching in the
townships, there is a
substantial group whose use of language and deportment
make them - apart
from skin colour - indistinguishable from whites. It is a
reservoir of the
schooled that could have considerable significance for the
future of the
And then there are the white men's sports of
rugby and cricket, which have
had such a psychological impact on the country
in the past. Can they do it
again, in reverse?
South African rugby is
in a trough at the moment, the consequence of
lingering racism and
maladministration which, in combination, have
devastated morale. Disclosures
that the national squad had been put through
a 'boot camp' run by
police-force veterans before the recent world cup -
being forced to cavort
through the bush in the nude, made to pump up balls
in a freezing lake at
gunpoint and having cold water poured over their heads
while listening to
renditions of God Save the Queen and the New Zealand
'haka' - have made them
a national laughing stock.
But though South Africa's domination of world
rugby may have gone for ever
in the age of professionalism, one senses that
in time, at least, it will be
rescued from its present plight by the influx
in particular of 'coloured'
players who are bringing a huge amount of
untapped talent to the game.
Its cricketers, under the boyish captaincy
of Graham Smith, are second only
to the Aussies in world rankings. With
players like fast bowler Makhaya
Ntini - 'the fittest man in world cricket' -
one suspects that the playing
fields of South Africa still have a
considerable role to play where national
Ten years ago, when Nelson Mandela took the salute at Union
major question facing the country was what sort of a ruler he
would turn out
to be. There were concerns that the makings of a personality
already developing around him, that such was his fame that it
encourage an arrogance of power. The opposite was the case. He not
ceded any real power to Thabo Mbeki when he became president but,
as an example to his successor, he stepped down after only one
Last weekend, I happened to see him at a local
shopping mall, buying a book
for St Valentine's Day. Inevitably, a crowd
gathered, breaking into
spontaneous applause while keeping a careful
distance, so as not to
discomfort him. There was, contained in that
affectionate reaction, a
tribute to Mandela of a kind that is difficult to
imagine being accorded to
any other world leader.
With Thabo Mbeki, it
is somewhat different. Quietly spoken and a seemingly
shy man, he
nevertheless nurses an overweening belief in himself. He rarely
interviews and seems to intensely dislike newspapers. Instead he
weekly column on the internet, seeing this as an adequate
substitute. It is
part of his vanity that he ghost-writes speeches for his
ministers, as well
as writing his own. Educated as an economist, his
pretence to medical
expertise - his insistence that poverty is responsible
for HIV and Aids,
rather than the virus - is well-known.
Enormous pressure has been put on
him by foreign donors to revise his stand
on the issue, and to some extent it
seems to have worked in that both he and
his health minister, Manto
Tshabalala-Msimang, have promised the country
that a 'roll-out' of
anti-retroviral drugs is under way. But such assurances
have contrasted with
minimal action on the ground. In statements smacking of
a Marie Antoinette,
Tshabalala-Msimang has recommended that HIV and Aids
sufferers should try a
diet of lemon, ginger, olive oil, garlic, beetroot
and African potatoes.
Although she recently announced she had changed her
mind about the
Aids is not the only policy area in which Mbeki seems to suffer
contradiction. His much-criticised visit to Haiti in support
Jean-Bertrand Aristide - contributing to the latest upsurge in
violence in that unfortunate island - was a more recent
The presence of former members of the Pan Africanist Congress
black nationalist grouping) among Mbeki's key advisers
encourages the belief
that he is far more of a hardliner on the race question
appreciated. A curious element of the Mbeki enigma is the
creates by his apparent blunders - uncertainty as to whether
intentional, or not. Certainly he makes straightforward gaffes, as
occasion when he had the wrong side winning the Battle of
But what does one make of the Mbeki who stood at Mandela's 80th
quoted from King Lear, having seemingly overlooked the detail
that the play
dealt with the foolishness of an old man. Did he overlook it,
or was there a
deliberate attempt to insult? Despite the known antagonism
between the two
men, such speculation may seem unfair to Mbeki. Only he has
done it on other
occasions. It is, in part, this uncertainty about Mbeki
which has started
the parliamentary opposition to demand an unequivocal
public statement that
he has no intention of rewriting the constitution and
going for a third term
Last year, on his 85th birthday,
Mandela assured his fellow South Africans
that there was no question of Mbeki
standing for a third term. 'Not the
Mbeki I know. He could not do that. He
will not change the constitution in
order to benefit himself. That is the
last thing he would do. Whether I'm
alive or gone, he will respect the
constitution.' The statement, coming out
of the blue, appeared to be an
attempt by Mandela to head off some
behind-the-scenes move along those lines,
or at least suspicion on the part
of the great man about his successor's
Mandela's dislike of Mbeki's policies are well-known -
particularly on HIV
and Aids and Zimbabwe. His opposition to the president on
HIV and Aids is
openly stated. Where Zimbabwe is concerned, Mandela appears
splitting the ANC by openly coming out in opposition to Mugabe.
down himself after one term, Mandela could be expected to make a
possibly decisive stand against any attempt by his successor to
constitution. But the question is whether Mandela will last long
fight that particular fight.
Mandela is looking increasingly
frail nowadays. Although his sense of humour
and quickness of mind are still
there - asked recently what he planned to do
when he gets to heaven, he
replied 'Look up the local branch of the ANC' -
it must be questionable
whether he would be around to fight a Mbeki
In the absence
of Nelson Mandela, one is left scratching around for
'watchdogs' of liberty.
South Africa's constitution lays much emphasis on
the separation of powers.
But Thabo Mbeki seems to have thoroughly cowed the
interesting statistic to emerge recently was that less than
one in 10
parliamentary questions are put by ANC MPs), while the judiciary
little sign of its being a bulwark of constitutional rights.
to the constitutional provision under the country's party list
allowing MPs to cross the floor, has already been cleared by
constitutional court. In the last election, the ANC came very close
taking a two-thirds majority, with 66.35 per cent of the vote and, even
they do not get the two-thirds required to be able to tamper with
constitution, they will now be able to 'buy off' individual opposition
as a result of that constitutional change.
But, hopefully, such
fears will prove baseless. Undeniably, Mbeki has
presided over something of a
turnaround in South Africa's fortunes.
This week, his finance minister,
Trevor Manuel, delivered what he described
as a 'bloody good budget' - a
judgement in which most concur. Slashing 4bn
rand (£325m) off personal taxes
and promising 1 trillion (£1bn) rand on the
improvement of services for the
next three years showed a new confidence in
moment, at least, freedom can still be heard to thunder in South
How Matonga was arrested
Bright Matonga, the chief executive officer of the
Passenger Company (Zupco) was the subject of an apparently
move that saw him literally walk into the lion's den. He was
arrested at the
Police General headquarters where he had gone to see
Chihuri on invitation.
Matonga was by
last night still in police custody at Rhodesville
police station, even though
he is yet to be charged. The Zupco boss
reportedly contacted Chihuri, making
known his complaint against a senior
police officer, Edward Marodza, who he
accused of unprofessional conduct in
the way he was handling investigations
into suspicions of fraud in a deal
between the parastatal and a South African
bus assembling company, Scania.
Matonga was alleging that Marodza
forged court documents "to embarrass
and tarnish the image" of Zupco and
himself. A police source said Chihuri
later telephoned Matonga, advising him
to drive to the Police General
Headquarters so that the two could discuss the
complaint the Zupco CEO was
raising against Marodza. When Matonga arrived at
PGHQ, a policeman manning
the entrance directed him to park his car inside
the premises of the
building. Normally, visitors are supposed to park their
cars outside, in the
space adjacent to Greenwood Park, which is overlooked by
The unsuspecting Matonga, when he went up to the third floor
Chihuri, was instead shown into the office of one Assistant
Chibage, who indicated that the police commissioner was out.
Matonga that he could relate his complaint to him, which the
Chibage, the source said, informed Matonga that
the allegations he had
raised against Marodza would be investigated by the
investigations department (PISI) after which the former left
intending to go back to his office.
However, at the
PGHQ reception, two detective constables, Mpofu and
Muwandi, were waiting in
"ambush", and as soon as Matonga appeared, they
approached him and told him
that he was under arrest. He was handcuffed and
led to a police Mazda pick-up
truck, where he was bundled into the back.
The Zupco file he had
brought along with him, which contained the
Zupco-Scania deal documents, was
taken by Marodza, who had been waiting in
the truck together with another
detective constable, Matsamburutsa. Matonga
was then driven to the CID Fraud
offices in town, after which he was
transferred to Rhodesville police
It could not be established at the time of going to press
not Chihuri deliberately invited Matonga to his office and
Marodza to come and arrest the Zupco CEO. Efforts to get a
comment on this
from the police were fruitless.
Zupco boss Matonga languishes in cells
Mystery continues to shroud the case involving the Zupco chief
officer, Bright Matonga, who was picked by the police on Friday
night and is
still in police detention.
At the time of going to press
last night, the police seemed to be having
problems deciding on a sustainable
charge to lay against Matonga, whose
arrest has been viewed as dramatic as
his case is vague. His lawyer, Johanes
Tomana of Muzangaza, Mandaza and
Tomana, told the Sunday Mirror that the
police were yet to tell him why they
had arrested Matonga. He said he was
processing an application to the courts
in order to secure his release since
the police had shown they did not have a
case against his client.
"The police are yet to advise me on what charge
or charges they are
preferring against him (Matonga). They should have done
that by now and I
don't know what they are up to," said Tomana.
has, however, been confirmed that the police intend to interrogate the
boss in his personal, rather than representative, capacity. The Zupco
Wilson Manase said: "I have established that whatever charges are
going to be
made (against Matonga) will be laid not against Zupco, but
Matonga per se."
When contacted for comment, a senior police officer who has
been involved in
the investigations that led to the arrest of Matonga,
Marodza of the Criminal Investigations Department's
Fraud Squad, declined to
He instead referred this paper to the officer commanding CID
Assistant Commissioner Nyakochwa, who he said was now handling the
involving Matonga. Nyakochwa in turn said he did "not discuss such
over the phone" before switching off.
On Friday night,
following the arrest of Matonga, Tomana and Manase had a
The lawyers wanted to be appraised on what crimes had been
manifested in the
Zupco-Scania deal, pertaining to Matonga and Zupco, but the
reportedly failed to come up with a clear-cut case.
met them (the police), they first indicated that they would charge
(Matonga) with fraud but this fizzled out after some discussion. They
promised to telephone me to advise of the charge, but that has not
He added: "The law is specific. You hold someone when there
is a prima facie
case against him or her but that is not the case here. Since
the police have
not indicated their intention to release him, I am applying
to the High
Court for his release." Marodza's involvement in the matter has
with controversy, with allegations being made that he forged
to force Matonga, Zupco, Metropolitan Bank and Pioneer Motor
surrender documents pertaining to a deal to buy buses from a South
assembling concern, Scania.
Just before he was arrested,
Matonga had written to the police commissioner,
complaining over the way Marodza was handling his
is our belief that .superintendent Marodza has actual intent to
tarnish the image of both the Chief Executive Officer and
Zupco as an
organisation. It is our belief that .Marodza has other ulterior
driven by malice beyond the call of duty of an investigator," read
It has been alleged by a source privy to the goings on that
acting at the behest of a cabinet minister who views Matonga as a
threat. Matonga and the minister (name available) are said to be
interested in running for the Kadoma East parliamentary seat in next
It has also been revealed that when
Zupco underwent a restructuring exercise
about two years ago, some
influential people, among them the mentioned
minister, wanted the parastatal
to be sold off, with the view to snatch it
up for themselves.
shareholding structure of Zupco was a source of acrimony.
however insisted to remain as the major stakeholder, arguing that
too strategic for privatisation.
There have been suspicions over payment
for the initial 48 buses, whose
total cost was $7.5 billion. Controversy
started to dog the Zupco-Scania
deal when the purchase to buy the coaches did
not go to tender. However,
Zupco has since been absolved by government. The
buses-one Andare Class
luxury coach, 10 Andare Semi luxury coaches and 37
Torino urban and rural
coaches-have since been delivered to
Pioneer, as the agents for Scania South Africa (Pty) Ltd, on
2004 confirmed that they received the $7.5 billion from
director with Pioneer, one M Verwey in a letter to Zupco,
the sum had been received from Metropolitan on November 28,
24, 2003, February 21, 2003, June 9, 2003 and December 11,
respectively. The money was received in tranches of $3.13 billion,
billion, $150 million, $800 million and $1.9 billion,
Marodza was last year in South Africa investigating
possible fraud in the
way the deal was handled. Sources say his
investigations, which were done in
conjunction with the South African police,
failed to yield substance,
judging by the delay to charge
Said another source: "It becomes difficult to understand how he
charged, because it seems that so far, no cases of fraudulent
have been reported by Scania, Metropolitan, Pioneer or even Zupco
It was revealed this past week that Scania intended to sue Zupco
allegedly failing to pay them as per their contract. However, it has
been established how Scania failed to receive its money.