Mugabe steps up militarisation of state institutions Mon 9
HARARE - President Robert Mugabe has ordered the
redeployment of more than 2 000 soldiers from the army to the civil service
as he continues militarising state institutions, ZimOnline has
Graduates of the government's controversial national
youth service training will also join the soldiers in the civil service,
Some of the soldiers and the youth militias have
since the end of last month been receiving induction training in government
policy and functions at various centres across the country.
Most of the soldiers and youth militias will be deployed in four new
ministries created by Mugabe when he named a new Cabinet after the March
election. But many will also take up jobs in existing ministries and
government departments, sources said.
A Ministry of
Labour official, who did not want to be named for fear of victimisation,
said: "The courses are basically meant to re-orient them and help them make
the transition from soldiers to public service workers.
about 2 000 people undergoing training and the majority of these are
soldiers while the remainder is made up of national youth service graduates.
There is a mixture of high ranking and middle ranking soldiers."
Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi refused to take questions on the matter
when contacted last night, while phones went unanswered at the Zimbabwe
Defence Forces' public relations and press liaison office.
Secretary of the Public Service Commission (PSC) that employs all government
workers outside the uniformed forces, Constance Chigwamba, would also not be
drawn to discuss the matter. Chigwamba would only say: "We always hold
induction courses for new employees," when asked whether her commission was
running induction courses for soldiers to prepare them for the jobs in the
Mugabe, in power for the past 25 years, has resorted
to appointing trusted military officers to key government positions as his
hold on power has increasingly come under challenge in the last five years
from the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change party and from
within his own ruling ZANU PF party.
But this is the first time
that the government is making a wholesale recruitment of soldiers, including
junior ranking troops, into the civil service.
opposition and Southern African Development Community leaders pressured for
an independent commission to run elections in Zimbabwe, Mugabe responded
earlier this year by appointing former top army officer George Chiweshe as
head of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).
The MDC has
accused Chiweshe of bias in the March 31 election after his ZEC produced
conflicting figures and statistics of people who voted in the poll massively
won by ZANU PF.
Chiweshe, who is a lawyer and was appointed to the
High Court after the government purged independent judges, previously headed
the Delimitation Commission that redrew voting constituencies in Zimbabwe
before the last election. Chiweshe excised three constituencies from
opposition supporting areas and awarded them to rural areas where ZANU PF
enjoys more support.
A former army colonel Samuel Muvuti was
appointed two years ago to head the government's Grain Marketing Board
tasked with ensuring food security in the country.
military intelligence officer Sobhuza Gula-Ndebele was appointed Attorney
General earlier this year while former army brigadier Kennedy Zimondi is
chief elections officer of the Electoral Supervisory Commission that
monitors fairness during elections. - ZimOnline
New farmers appeal for food aid Mon 9 May 2005 HARARE
- Some black families resettled on land seized by the government from white
farmers five years ago are appealing for food aid or they will
In yet another example of how President Robert Mugabe's
chaotic and often violent land reforms are hurting the people they were
supposed to benefit, the families in Odzi district in the eastern Manicaland
province last week petitioned Social Welfare Minister Nicholas Goche to ask
non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to give them food.
families said they had approached Goche because NGOs were shunning them
preferring to assist displaced groups such as former workers at the white
farms who lost their jobs when the farms were taken and other food insecure
A petition submitted to Goche's office by the resettled
families last week reads in part: "Your ministry should instruct NGOs to
give priority to new (resettled) farmers in their relief programmes. Most
farmers have not harvested enough crops due to the persistent drought and
need food assistance. Unfortunately most NGOs have a bias towards former
farm workers ahead of new farmers."
One of the resettled
farmers, Lovemore Mutema, told ZimOnline last week: "Many of us here have no
food and are starving. The NGOs tell us that we have been empowered by the
government, so we do not qualify for their food."
not be reached for comment but an official at the Social Welfare Ministry
said the ministry could not tell NGOs to divert food to the starving
families on former white farms because the government has allowed donor
groups to help feed specific groups only such as orphans, the elderly,
"These NGOs are currently (allowed to feed)
vulnerable and displaced people because they are banned from engaging in
general food relief .while it is general knowledge that new (resettled)
farmers are starving, we cannot force the NGOs to include the new farmers on
their programmes at the moment," said the official, who did not want to be
Mugabe last year banned relief agencies from distributing
food aid across the country telling them to take their food elsewhere
because Zimbabwe had enough to feed itself.
The World Food
Programme and a few other groups still running relief operations in Zimbabwe
are strictly limited to providing help to vulnerable groups and not to the
The Zimbabwean leader belatedly admitted the
country was facing serious food shortages just before the March general
election but he vowed he would not be going around with a begging bowl
because his hard-cash-strapped government had enough resources to ensure no
But food agencies warn that malnutrition-related
illnesses are increasingly occurring across the country as about four
million or a quarter of the country's 12 million people fail to find
Zimbabwe has virtually survived on food handouts
from international food relief agencies in the last five years after Mugabe
seized large commercial farms from whites for redistribution to landless
The resettled black farmers resettled on the farms have
failed to maintain production because they were dumped on farms without
farming inputs or backup skills training support. - ZimOnline
Annan to meet Mugabe over crisis Mon 9 May 2005
JOHANNERSBURG - United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan is expected to
meet Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe at the end of the month to discuss
the southern African nation's deepening political and economic
Annan has reportedly been in touch with Mugabe and might be
travelling to Harare in the next three weeks for talks with the Zimbabwean
leader over a looming humanitarian crisis in his country.
the UN chief, who keeps a tight schedule fails to travel, he will send an
envoy to meet Mugabe, according to senior Harare officials.
who until two months ago denied his country faced serious food shortages has
vowed not to bring out the begging bowl saying his foreign-currency starved
regime is able to import grain to ensure no one starves in
Harare, which is battling its worst ever hard cash crisis
will need to import 1.2 million tonnes of the staple maize and several tens
of thousands of other key cereals to keep the country going until the next
harvest expected in March/April 2006.
Food relief experts have
warned of a humanitarian disaster and possibly full scale famine if Harare
does not appeal for emergency aid and also fails to raise cash to import
Non-governmental organisations and health experts say
malnutrition-related illnesses are on the increase with more than 20 deaths
due to such illnesses recorded in Zimbabwe's second largest city of Bulawayo
in the first quarter of this year.
Once a net food exporter,
Zimbabwe has survived on food handouts from donor groups in the last five
years after Mugabe's chaotic land reforms destabilised the agricultural
sector causing a 60 percent drop in food production. - ZimOnline
governance and Zimbabwe From Baroness Park of
Sir, The 461-page report of the Commission
for Africa records in exhaustive detail both what is required in terms of
good governance if Africa is to be enabled to fulfil its potential, and the
massive financial support expected, indeed demanded, from the G8 countries,
the World Bank and the IMF. Yet this detailed survey contains
just three brief mentions of Zimbabwe. It is as if the country, with its 13
million people, did not exist.
Zimbabwe has just
been re-elected to the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva (report, April
29). The African Union pushed this through. Canada, Australia and the US
protested. Britain did not.
The commission is in principle a
good initiative but implementing its proposals will call for well-informed
political assessments on the ground. Was this the moment for extensive cuts
in experienced Foreign Office personnel and the closing of posts, some in
Yours faithfully, PARK of
MONMOUTH, House of Lords. May 4.
[ This report does not necessarily reflect
the views of the United Nations]
JOHANNESBURG, 9 May 2005 (IRIN) -
The World Food Programme (WFP) has warned that vulnerable populations in
Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe face a "grim
WFP spokesman Mike Huggins told IRIN that of the US $216 million
appeal for its Protracted Relief and Recovery Operations (PRRO), aimed at
supporting people affected by drought and floods in previous years, the
agency had so far received just $57 million.
Huggins noted that "our
current level of funding does not bode well for the expected increase in
need across the region". Several countries, already struggling to recover
from previous poor harvests, face another deficit this year, due to
prolonged dry spells at critical stages in the crop cycle.
joint Food and Agriculture Organisation/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment
Missions and Vulnerability Assessment Committee exercises [to assess the
shortfall and resulting food aid needs] are underway, the 2004/05
agricultural harvest is expected to be comparable to, and in some locations
worse than, the drought year of 2002," WFP said in its latest situation
Following poor harvests in 2002, combined with the
devastating impact of HIV/AIDS, economic crises and tenuous national grain
reserves, some 14 million people across Southern Africa were in need of food
aid to survive.
Given the outlook for this year, WFP cautioned that its
ability to respond to the looming humanitarian crisis in the region could be
"WFP is drastically underfunded and we are
facing a dire outlook for many countries in this region. Donors and the
international community will have to refocus their attention on the Southern
African region if we are to help all the many millions who will need
assistance," Huggins noted.
In Angola, where WFP's support for the return
and resettlement of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) was
"crucial to the peace process", the agency's programmes were also "severely
The WFP situation report noted that "there has been a
precipitous drop in contributions from donors since January
"Even with reduced beneficiary numbers, substantial reductions in
food-for-work/assets activities, and a much smaller school-feeding programme
than had initially been planned, the operation still needs about $24
million, or 36,000 mt of additional food, in order to reach completion at
the end of 2005," the agency pointed out.
Apostolic Faith churches act to prevent spread of HIV/AIDS
[ This report
does not necessarily reflect the views of the United
JOHANNESBURG, 9 May 2005 (IRIN) - The leadership of
Zimbabwe's Apostolic Faith (AF) movement, one of the most conservative
churches in the country, have embraced a new creed - that of AIDS
AIDS activists have long complained that despite climbing HIV
infection rates, church leaders have been reluctant to effect behaviour
change among their members. Now AIDS NGOs have been invited to work with the
movement to develop an anti-AIDS strategy for its three million
Over the years, the AF has courted controversy because of its
religious beliefs, including polygamy, wife inheritance and the forced
marriage of young girls to elders. The use of contraceptives has also been
considered as contrary to the teachings of the Bible.
sect was started in Zimbabwe, it is well established in Botswana, South
Africa, Mozambique and Namibia. Easily identifiable by their long, white
gowns, clean-shaven heads for men and white head-scarves for women, the
sects are a now common feature across Southern Africa.
In a bold move,
church leaders recently appealed to the AIDS Policy Advocacy Project (APAP)
for assistance in developing an HIV/AIDS mitigation policy, which could see
the overhaul of deeply entrenched traditional practices. The APAP is
supported by the Futures Group, an international AIDS NGO that targets
"We now know that upholding such traditions as
polygamy, wife inheritance and forced marriages for our daughters is killing
us. We want to change these attitudes, and adopt policies that will save the
young and old members of all Apostolic Faiths, by letting them know which
ones of our practices are exposing us to HIV/AIDS," an Apostolic Faith
elder, Bishop Revai Chitanda, told IRIN.
Chitanda said increased
awareness of the disease among church elders would empower them to inform
their congregations of safer sex practices.
"What we want, in the long
run, is to spread the anti-AIDS message to all Apostolic Faith outposts in
Southern Africa. We are a huge, ever-growing congregation, but we have for
long been associated with retrogressive traditions. We now want to be the
ones to deliver our people from the vicious cycle of HIV/AIDS - we have
already lost too many and we can't stand to lose more," said
Godfrey Tinarwo, a senior HIV/AIDS advocacy specialist with the
Futures Group, told IRIN that the NGO was keen to assist all churches in
formulating HIV/AIDS policies. He said although many churches were eager to
put HIV/AIDS policies in place, they were ill-equipped to implement
"We will continue to work with all faith-based organisations,
including the Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers Association, in forming
networks through which they can form and share HIV/AIDS prevention, care and
mitigation policies," Tinarwo explained.
While finding assistance to
formulate an AIDS policy had proven easier than expected, Chitanda said the
challenge lay in convincing congregations of the benefits of the new
"It is not going to be easy - there are many people who still
strongly believe that the beliefs we have been practising are unquestionably
correct and God-given. Putting the message of change across is one thing;
having it accepted is a different matter altogether," Chitanda
Futures Group International also runs similar programmes in
Zimbabwe's Anglican, Roman Catholic, Lutheran and Zionist
[ This report does not
necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
HARARE, 9 May
2005 (IRIN) - On a hot Sunday afternoon in a suburb of the Zimbabwean
capital, Harare, two unlikely football teams run out onto a dusty
Like Sunday soccer everywhere, the players are mostly
middle-aged, pot-bellied and, to be honest, pretty useless. But they are
cheered on each week by an enthusiastic crowd that can number more than
This is not your average boozers' league. The matches pit
officials and supporters from the ruling ZANU-PF against the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) - with each team decked out in their
party colours - a development unimaginable in the immediate aftermath of the
controversial 31 March legislative election.
The matches represent a
real attempt to bridge a political divide that has polarised the country
since the first violence-scarred elections in 2000. At stake at the end of
90 minutes is not political power or a constituency seat - just team pride
and Zim $500,000 (about US $25) in prize money.
The football games are
the brainchild of two men: Job Sikhala, the burly MDC's Member of Parliament
for St Marys - who doubles as coach and substitute for the opposition - and
Last Chiyangwa, a popular musician who supports the ruling party.
believe that the people of Zimbabwe need to go through a process of healing
- these challenge soccer matches are a way of promoting peace and stability
in the area. As residents and leaders in the community, we cannot sit back
and watch people beating each other up," Sikhala told IRIN, as he prepared
to make a tactical change by going on himself.
"We should create a
culture whereby we respect the political opinions of others and still be
able to live in harmony together," he added.
Chiyangwa, in between
bellowing instructions from the ZANU-PF team bench, concurred. "A large
number of supporters watching this match are wearing political regalia of
their choice, but that harmony does not exist in some parts of the country,
and we hope what is happening here can spread throughout the
The comedy of errors on the football pitch certainly had the
crowd laughing in unison, and after each match both camps share mugs of
traditional beer bought with the prize money.
Webster Zambara, a
conflict resolution expert, said the challenge match series not only brought
former enemies together on a field of play, but was a process that went
beyond the politicians.
"This move is not just being done by political
leaders, but with the participation of ordinary members of the two political
parties," Zambara explained.
The new spirit of rapprochement appears
to be receiving tentative support from some sections of the government,
which has a comfortable parliamentary majority after the 31 March
Tichaona Jokonya, the new information minister, seems to have
deliberately set a different tone from his belligerent predecessor, Jonathan
After his appointment in April, he called a meeting with all
editors, including those from the privately owned media, who in the past had
been branded as members of the opposition.
The career diplomat hosted
a cocktail party for journalists, to commemorate World Press Freedom Day on
3 May, where he called for critical and balanced reporting.
should not say I am doing a wonderful job when I am not. You can disagree
and argue with me as much as you want, but as long as you are factual. My
office will be open for individuals or groups of journalists who may have
concerns on some aspects of media laws."
Zimbabwe's Access to Information
and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) has been a key bone of contention
between the independent press and the government, with the Media Alliance of
Zimbabwe, a coalition of the country's major media bodies, calling for its
repeal ahead of World Press Freedom Day.
Since its introduction in
2002, four newspapers have been shut down and scores of journalists have
reportedly been arrested and harassed, although there has never been a
successful prosecution under AIPPA.
Drought Hits Zimbabwe Wheat Production By Tendai
Maphosa Harare 09 May 2005
along with other southern African countries, is facing a drought induced
shortage of maize, the staple food of the region. The country is also facing
a further slump in wheat production. But the drought is only one of the
reasons for the drop in wheat production.
Unlike maize which is grown in
the rainy season, in Zimbabwe wheat is an irrigated winter crop. But with
the wheat planting period already under way, forecasts for this year's crop
do not look good.
A spokesman for of an agricultural organization who
spoke to VOA on condition of anonymity said because of the drought some dams
do not have enough water for irrigation. He added that the problem has been
worsened by the shortage of seed and fertilizers.
As a result, he
said, less than half of the land normally used to grow irrigated winter
wheat is going to be planted this year.
An article in the state
controlled newspaper The Sunday Mail says some farmers have yet to prepare
their land for planting due to shortages of fuel shortage and tractors for
plowing. The paper also blamed the government bank tasked with disbursing
money to farmers to support agriculture.
Zimbabwe needs about 400,000
tons of wheat a year, but has never produced that much. The agricultural
spokesperson said wheat production peaked in 1998 when the country produced
In 2003, less than 150,000 tons of wheat were produced.
This resulted in severe bread shortages. The official also said when there
is a shortage of maize, the demand for bread increases.
once known as the breadbasket of the southern African region, has in the
past five years experienced food shortages mainly because of successive
droughts. Last year, the government stopped donor agencies that were
distributing food in the country from doing so, claiming it had a bumper
International aid agencies have also blamed the food
crisis in Zimbabwe on President Robert Mugabe's sometimes violent land
reform program launched in 2000. The exercise saw white farmers losing their
farms ostensibly for the resettlement of landless blacks.
president has admitted that some of his top officials took advantage of the
program and helped themselves to multiple farms. He complained that some of
them are not producing to capacity.
A lack of capital for agricultural
equipment and materials on the part of black farmers has led to a drastic
fall in production.
But Mr. Mugabe has said Zimbabwe has the money to
import maize and is not going to ask for food aid.
Fuel Shortages: Black Market Dealers Scuttle Government
The Herald (Harare)
May 7, 2005 Posted to the
web May 9, 2005
Alphina Ncube Harare
FUEL shortages that have
resurfaced in the country, especially in Harare, are continuing as black
market dealers are scuttling efforts being made by the Government to
normalise the situation.
A survey by The Herald in the central business
district (CBD) of the capital revealed that hoarding of the available fuel -
petrol in particular - by some businesspeople and individuals has become
Some of the chief culprits engaged in this illicit trade are
commuter omnibus operators, particularly those plying the City-Avondale
route with old Peugeot 404s vehicles which have virtually abandoned carrying
fare-paying passengers for the highly lucrative fuel black
Most of the old vehicles are now spending more time in the queues
than on the road. Several of them were seen parked at the front of queues
where fuel was being delivered.
This was the case at a Caltex filling
station along Albion Road in the CBD where at least 11 of these vehicles
were served first although it was evident that the fuel that was being
poured in the cars' tanks was destined for the black market.
motorists immediately drain out the fuel into containers, and then promptly
rejoin the queues.
An attendant at the filling station admitted that the
garage had fallen foul of the black marketeers.
"This garage is a
victim of black marketers. At one time we were arrested for allegedly
backdoor dealings with the black marketers.
"It is sad because the police
are not making any efforts to arrest these people," the attendant
Most of those engaged in the practice were selling the fuel in
five-litre containers at night to avoid detection with the most prominent
being the car park just opposite the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe
(Noczim) head office along Leopold Takawira Street.
container of petrol was going for anything above $100 000, which is way
above the gazetted retail price of $18 000.
The black marketeers were
targeting foreign nationals who would not hesitate to pay the large sums
Although deliveries were being made to some service
stations, these were in limited quantities resulting in stockouts moments
after the arrival of fresh supplies.
Most service stations visited
were deserted as they had run out of both petrol and diesel.
of the service stations visited by The Herald, an attendant, Mr Itai
Kapunha, said they had last received supplies on Wednesday and were not sure
when the next delivery would be made.
"As of now, we do not know when
we will get our next order of fuel but we hope that we will be supplied
soon," he said.
At another garage visited by The Herald along Kwame
Nkrumah Avenue, an attendant said they were surprised to receive supplies on
Monday after a good two months without any deliveries being made to that
The attendant also professed ignorance on when the
next deliveries would be made.
"It's very unfortunate because our
garage is marginalised as compared to Wedzera Service Station, which is
given first preference," he said
A motorist waiting for fuel at the
service station could not hide his dissatisfaction with the erratic supply
"The fuel situation is not improving at all, as the supply is
still erratic. Usually we get fuel towards the weekend, and if I miss this
opportunity, then I will have to wait for next week."
business was normal at Wedzera Service Station where regular supplies are
made, as it is one of the fuel companies that are in partnership with
"We get deliveries as soon as our tank is finished. Currently we
have diesel, and we are expecting petrol tomorrow," said Mr Maxwell Kwangwa,
a fuel attendant at the service station along Nelson Mandela
Apart from inconveniencing the travelling public, especially
commuters from the high-density suburbs, the shortages of fuel have also hit
the business sector, with funeral parlours being among the most
Doves Funeral Holdings chairman Dr Obadiah Moyo admitted that
all was not well in the industry due to the shortages and recommended that
the sector be given preference as it provided a critical service.
are experiencing severe shortages. I believe that this industry should be
given priority, not only Doves, but all the funeral parlours.
appealing to the Ministry (of Energy and Power Development) to do something.
It's a nightmare to conduct our business without sufficient fuel supplies.
Some families are ferrying their deceased for burial using their own
transport and this has a bearing on our business," he said.
Dr Moyo said
they were going as far as Mutare to get supplies as a way of getting around
Contacted for comment, the Secretary for Energy and Power
Development, Mr Justin Mupamhanga, said that the country was still on the
He said efforts were being made to improve the situation
as it could not be resolved overnight.
The interim secretary of the
Petroleum Industry Fuel Procurement Committee, Mr Roderick Kusano, said the
situation was being attended to with efforts being made to improve supplies
"The fuel situation has been sorted out. However, it will
take some time for it to be delivered to many service stations.
hope that by Tuesday the situation would have improved, though there are
still some logistical problems still to be sorted out," said Mr Kusano.
Zimbabwe cracks down on hoarding supermarkets May 9,
Harare - Zimbabwean police arrested at least 400 vendors and fined
28 supermarkets in a crackdown on shops and individuals who were hoarding
goods in anticipation of a price hike, a daily said
"Twenty-eight supermarkets were last week fined a total 31
million dollars (R32 000) for stashing basic commodities," the state-run
Herald newspaper reported.
"At least 400 vendors were also arrested
for overcharging basic commodities and other essential household goods as
the government moved in to stamp its authority on unilateral price hikes and
Basic commodities such as milk, cooking oil and the staple
corn meal have disappeared from Zimbabwe's shop shelves in recent weeks,
spawning a thriving black market where the scarce goods are available for as
much as three times the official price.
The bustling black market
prompted the police to launch an operation code-named Chipfukuto - the local
Shona language for weevil - "to stamp out the illegal sale of basic
commodities on the parallel market, overcharging and hoarding."
licensing department is in full force to ensure that consumers are not
ripped off by unscrupulous businesspeople and unlicensed people selling
goods outside supermarkets," The Herald quoted police spokesman Inspector
Whisper Bhondayi as saying.
The country's trade ministry last month
announced plans to introduce tougher penalties for those flouting state
imposed price controls on basic commodities, launched in a bid to snuff out
a flourishing black market.
Zimbabwe's economy has been on a downturn in
the last five years characterised by runaway inflation and perennial
shortages of basic commodities.
The government introduced price
controls to fight a flourishing black market for staples such as corn meal,
cooking oil and bread three years ago and had instituted a fine of one
million Zimbabwean dollars (about R1 000) for violators.
situation has been blamed partly on controversial land reforms that have
compromised food production and the country's isolation from its traditional
trading partners in Europe following the 2002 presidential election which
Western observers charged were rigged. - AFP
It is still not known if
the 62 South African alleged mercenaries in Zimbabwe will be released from
prison as arranged, tomorrow, their lawyer said today.
not heard anything from them (the relevant authorities)," said lawyer Alwyn
Griebenow. "We wrote a formal letter through the South African embassy
asking if the would be released, but we have received no reply."
the letter was written about 10 days ago. Griebenow said he would be in
Zimbabwe tomorrow morning to deal with the matter.
The men have spent
more than 12 months in Chikurubi prison in the capital Harare.
are still awaiting the outcome of an appeal lodged by Zimbabwe's
attorney-general, Sobuza Gula-Ndebele, against a reduction of their
sentences which would have seen the men released in early
Zimbabwean court officials confirmed on March 2 that the men were
scheduled for immediate release after a successful appeal to the high court
for a reduction of their sentences.
A week later, with all the
paperwork completed, their lawyer and families waited in vain for their
return which was delayed when Gula-Ndebele filed an application to appeal
against the high court's decision.
He had said that the suspension of a
sentence for the early release of a prisoner only applied to Zimbabwean
Griebenow said the appeal would only be of value to two pilots
who had received 16-month sentences for their role in the alleged plot to
topple the government of Equatorial Guinea.
"If judgment is given in
their favour they won't have to wait until September 1 to be released," he
Two of the men - Francisco Marcus and Melane Moyodue - due for
release tomorrow are ill with tuberculosis believed to have been picked up
Accusations of mistreatment of the prisoners have surfaced
during their imprisonment, with Griebenow saying their living conditions
Their prison food had little nutritional value, they
slept on the floor, and sometimes weeks went by without running water,
The group was arrested at Harare International Airport when
they apparently landed to refuel and pick up military
Zimbabwean authorities said they were on their way to join 15
other suspected mercenaries - including eight South Africans - arrested
in Equatorial Guinea around the same time.
They were convicted of
breaching Zimbabwe's aviation, immigration, firearms and security
Human Rights Group Criticizes Zimbabwe By VOA News
Washington 09 May 2005
A human rights group says
defenders of such rights in Zimbabwe continue to suffer constant abuse by
Amnesty International says rights activists are subjected
to threats, constant surveillance by state security agents, arbitrary
arrests, physical violence and torture.
The London-based group says
it is particularly concerned about the constant harassment of the group
Women of Zimbabwe Arise. Amnesty International says WOZA activists have been
repeatedly arrested since February, 2003 while engaging in peaceful protests
of the country's worsening economic situation. In some cases, babies and
young children have been jailed with their mothers.
The human rights
group is calling on President Robert Mugabe's government, which was
reelected in March, to repeal repressive laws, including those that curb
Some information for this report provided by Reuters and
Amnesty International press release.
ZIMBABWE'S cotton industry is headed for an inevitable
collapse if farmers are not given a viable producer price as well as
sufficient assistance in terms of resources to remain in business, cotton
growers have said.
Representatives of cotton farmers told Herald Business
that farmers were frustrated by the fact that almost two months into the
selling season there has not been much progress with regard to prospects for
an improved and viable producer price.
Currently, merchants are
buying the crop at $2 000 per kilogramme against a price of $6 000 per
kilogramme which the farmers are demanding.
When the selling season
commenced two months ago, the cotton producer stood at $800 per kilogramme,
which the farmers said was not viable. It was then they decided to engage
the Government for a support price that would make them realise, at least,
30 percent profit and enable them to return to the fields next
The chairman of the Zimbabwe Cotton Growers' Association, Mr Andrew
Kanengoni, said they had implored the Government to assist in any way
possible, including awarding the farmers a viable support price as was the
case with tobacco, in order for the cotton industry to
Otherwise, he said, there would not be any cotton industry to
talk about in the not so distant future.
"There is some hope that
something will come up from Government in the form of a support price for
"What is left is for Government to make a decision if it really
appreciates our concern.
"There is definitely need to support the
farmers for them to continue producing cotton considering that the $2000 per
kilogramme being offered by merchants is just about half the production cost
for a kilogramme of cotton," said Mr Kanengoni.
He said it costs
between $3 800 and $4 500 to produce a kilogramme of cotton, which means a
farmer would not break even on a producer price of less than $4 500 per
"Definitely, the cotton industry is bound to collapse very
soon if farmers are not supported to continue producing the
"Because of the problems of a non-viable producer price that rocked
the industry last year a lot of farmers dropped out of cotton production as
testified by the reduction in the output," he said.
Mr Kanengoni said
they were expecting between 140 000 and 150 000 tonnes of cotton this
season, down from last year's output of about 333 000 tonnes, as a
significant number of farmers had opted out of production of the "white
Without support from Government and other stakeholders, said
Mr Kanengoni, more farmers would drop out of cotton farming and add to the
already high unemployment levels.
Cotton farmers said they were
imploring Government to assist with a support price as they appreciated
merchants' inability to offer a viable price, by themselves, owing to
depressed cotton prices on the international market.
Cotton is presently
fetching about US 58 cents on the international market, which translates to
about $1 200 per kilogramme in local dollar terms.
When the selling
season commenced merchants were reportedly buying at $800 per kilogramme,
which was hiked to $1200 and only recently adjusted upwards to $2 000 per
kilogramme when international prices surged slightly.
producer price every season, for the past three years, has seen the country
failing to match its 600 000-tonne ginning capacity.
"If we get the
support, financial, technical and all the other necessary inputs, we would
have no problems achieving that figure, something that would see the country
earning about US$300 million, annually," said Mr Kanengoni.
that such a development would go a long way in enhancing the country's
foreign currency generating capacity.
Although the issue of a non-viable
producer price had a significant impact on the reduction in this year's
output other factors like lack of technical and material support and drought
affected the yield.
Last year, farmers and merchants were deadlocked
following a bitter wrangle over the producer price. The impasse was only
broken after Government persuaded farmers to accept a price of $1 800 per
kilogramme. They were also promised a $100 per kilogramme support by the
A SHARP rise in the
demand for poultry products has resulted in the shortage of day-old chicks
on the market.
Chick breeders said the situation had been further
compounded by the scarcity of such inputs as breeding stock and stock feed,
among other requisites.
The shortage has negatively affected poultry
farmers who have to go for weeks before getting their orders.
source at one of the leading breeders said the current stock was fully
booked and those who were making bookings now would only get their orders
Most of the poultry farmers have resorted to placing
their orders well in advance so as to avert the long gap in
"We now have to wait for longer to get supplies for day-old
chicks. The situation has been particularly bad in the last few weeks," said
Mr Taka Munetsi, a small-scale poultry keeper in Warren
Zimbabwe Poultry Association chairperson Mr Peter Drummond,
confirmed the sudden surge in demand for poultry products, saying producers
had been caught unaware.
"There is a decline in beef products in the
country resulting in a sudden increase in demand for poultry products and
other protein-giving foods such as fish and pork," he said.
association estimates that demand for poultry products has risen by about 20
Mr Drummond also attributed the shortage of day-old chicks on
the increased number of people venturing into poultry owing to the harsh
economic environment currently prevailing in the country.
industry, Mr Drummond said, was faced with many challenges like the shortage
of foreign currency.
"There is an acute shortage of foreign currency for
all aspects of poultry inputs, such as breeding stock which has to be
imported to augment and improve output. This has affected the supply of
vaccines, drugs and stock feed.
"We also need to buy equipment for
slaughter, feeding and incubation. Small-scale producers of poultry products
need to be assisted with stock feed to boost their capacity," he
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, he said, should avail more foreign
currency for inputs so as to boost production and meet the country's
domestic needs and the export market.
As a result, Mr Drummond said,
two of the country's leading poultry producers, Irvine's and Crest Breeders,
had put in place measures to boost production.
He noted, however,
that the impact would not be felt immediately as it takes time before
grandparent stock breeds the parent stock, which will then produce day-old
Mr Drummond said the other solution would be to use broilers as
breeders, but that would not be a viable option.
Paul Nyakazeya THE monthly budget for a family of six for the month of April
rose to $2 347 063, up from the March figure of $2 123 121, an increase of
10,5 percent, says the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ).
increases were recorded in both food and non-food items. During the month
under review white sugar, flour and cooking oil, which were said to be in
short supply, were readily available on the black market.
The prices of
these commodities increased by 60,6 percent, 40,4 percent and 52,8 percent
on the official market respectively.
Some retail outlets did not reverse
"unsanctioned increases" which coincided with the announcement of the
country's sixth parliamentary election results.
The Government had
ordered manufacturers and retailers who had arbitrarily raised the prices of
basic commodities to revert to previous levels since the "new prices" had
not been approved.
In an interview with Herald Business on Friday, CCZ
public relations manager Mr Tonderai Mukeredzi said his organisation was
concerned about the easy availability of some basic commodities on the black
market and hoped appropriate action would be taken against anyone found
selling basic commodities at exorbitant prices.
"In April, the
low-income urban earner required $2 347 063, 00 up from the March figure of
$2,123 121, 00, indicating an increase of 10,5 percent. Major movers were
white sugar, now mainly obtainable on the black market at a price of $12 000
for a 2kg packet, and flour fetching $18 000 for 2kg. Similarly, cooking oil
went up by 52,8 percent while washing soap went up 22,7 percent," said Mr
A 2kg packet of rice increased by 6,6 percent, vegetables
(33,3 percent), washing soap (22,7 percent), rent (11,1 percent.), heat and
maintenance (5,8 percent), health and education (6,2, percent) transport
(12,5 percent) and soap bars (11,5 percent.)
"The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe is concerned by the
re-emergence of the black market and urges Government to take stern measures
against those perpetrating the practice, which is threatening to derail the
country's economic gains and exposing consumers to untold
"The consumer watchdog, however, applauds recent efforts by
the police to stamp out the black market. We strongly appeal to the law
enforcement agents to continue bringing to book those hoarding goods and
condoning the black market.
"It is our hope that a lasting solution
is being pursued by all concerned parties to ensure that consumers' rights
to basic needs are met," added Mr Mukeredzi.
The Government through
the Ministry of Industry and International Trade, last month warned
consumers to avoid engaging in practices that were likely to fuel inflation
and the rebirth of the black market.
Horticulture production set to grow as sector looks Far
Business Reporter THE production of horticultural products in
Zimbabwe is expected to grow this year, as the sector has established new
markets in the Far East.
The sector had gone into recession over the past
five years and confidence was beginning to sag among the new farmers who are
into the production of horticultural crops.
Zimbabwe has witnessed a
drop in the production of horticulture produce in the past few years with
its traditional markets being snapped up by other leading producers such as
Kenya, Sri Lanka and Latin America.
The drop in growth was attributed to
the successive droughts, which gripped the country in 2001/2002
The emergence of Asian markets has created hope with farmers
regaining the lost confidence in the sector as they are now guaranteed a
Until recently, Zimbabwe found a ready market for its
horticultural produce - vegetables, fruits and flowers - in the European
However, the EU has of late been shutting out Zimbabwe
horticultural produce from its markets by heavily subsidising its own
farmers and putting in place stringent requirements for imported produce,
prompting the Government to shift its focus on Asian markets which are
proving to be viable.
But this was not to underestimate the importance of
the European markets for Zimbabwe horticultural exporters as just under half
the country's agricultural exports are sold in the EU.
Zimbabwe's pea exports to the EU grew by 53 percent between 1993 and 1997,
which was 12 percent of the EU's leguminous vegetable imports like peas and
beans, before it dropped to less than 3,4 percent in 2000. Accordging to the
United Nations Development Programme Human Development Report, Zimbabwe made
10 times as much money from exports than from international assistance, with
horticulture constituting a significant proportion.
However, with the
anticipated rise in production, the country should become more focused on
processed horticultural products, which are capable of generating more
Unprocessed horticultural produce are frequently
vulnerable to swings in the world market prices which tend to dampen foreign
Diversifying horticultural exports and switching to
higher-value goods is considered by many development experts, including
multilateral lending agencies such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF)
and World Bank, as an economic priority.
The majority of the people
of Zimbabwe earn their livelihoods from agriculture, horticulture
It is on this basis that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe was
predicting a 28 percent rise in horticultural exports this year driven by
value addition and adequate funding.
The bank also identifies
increased participation of smallholder farmers in flower production as an
additional supporting factor.
Horticulture involves the growing of garden
crops-fruit, vegetables, flowers and nuts. Traditional Zimbabwean
horticulture crops include chillies, green beans, mangetouts, cut flowers,
citrus fruits and cashew nuts.
Horticulture is a vital export-earning
sector in the entire Southern African region, notably Malawi, South Africa
Zambia, for instance, exported over 5 000 tonnes of
horticultural products in the 1997-98 season recording earnings of US$48
million. By the 1999-2000 season the figures had risen to 8 400 tonnes and
US$62,6 million respectively.
Makunike argued that Zimbabweans have been "wallowing in stagnation or
regression under Mugabe, while some people cheer him on for his
impoverishing, hypocritical rhetorical heroism." Innocent Chofamba Sithole
support -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- By
Innocent Chofamba Sithole Last updated: 05/09/2005 14:27:30 MY problem
with Mugabe's brand of Pan-Africanism is that it is locked in the
descriptive mode and thus represents no forward-movement since it harps on
about what such earlier and eminent Pan Africanists and students of
neo-colonialism as Kwame Nkrumah and Julius Nyerere observed and eloquently
described at the very dawn of African independence in the 1960s In that
sense, the Pan Africanism being championed by Mugabe brings upon itself the
criticism of lethargy and ineptitude. Its emphasis on the sentimental or
emotional bequeaths us no intellectual tools with which to confront our
present and future challenges and forge a grand strategy for our political
and economic emancipation as black people.
Granted, slavery and
colonization remain the most cataclysmic episodes in the history of African
civilization. And from that experience flow the generic western excesses
that we, along with the rest of the peoples of the Third World, have had to
contend with to this day. But, having established these episodes and their
collective impact on our past, present and future, I believe the next
challenge for Pan-Africanists is certainly beyond the mere description of
'what is', for that is already clearly known. But Mugabe's brand of Pan
Africanism has feasted on narratives of slavery and colonialism precisely to
evoke the inevitable sentimental responses connected to these dark chapters
in our collective black history as a way of deriving political capital for a
purely hegemonic domestic political programme.
Whereas the earlier
Pan Africanists at the helm of the newly independent African states were
analyzing a novel reality in the form of the paternalistic ties that bound
the former colony to the metropolitan capital, their successors who have
zealously focused on the same have not necessarily done so in order to
produce any new theoretical conceptions of neocolonialism. Rather, they have
done so in order to obfuscate the critical realities obtaining on the
domestic front and at which even the first-generation African leaders also
failed to acquit themselves favourably.
For instance, suspected CIA
connivance notwithstanding, the military coup that brought down the
erstwhile visionary Nkrumah was greeted with popular support on the streets
of Accra. This development is emblematic of the political crises that have
plagued Africa since independence and which derive from the yawning
democratic deficit that African rulers have allowed to fester at the expense
of their people. This stifled internal liberation has been maintained
decades into post-independence and has come to intersect, at the global
level, with the rise of the discourse of universal human rights. Naturally,
this has been championed mainly by western liberal democracies and, for that
reason, has been thoroughly resisted by African elites who have suspected
this new discourse to be the west's new agency for regime
Thabo Mbeki has argued as much in his party's online newsletter
in defence of SADC's support for Zimbabwe's readmission into the
Commonwealth at the Abuja 2003 summit. But the striking paradox here is that
while African rulers have unequivocally resisted any talk of universal human
rights on the basis of their threat to 'national sovereignty', African
people themselves have broadly seen the universal human rights dispensation
as holding out hope for their emancipation from restrictive domestic
political systems. They have voiced their concern over nefarious security
laws that bar free movement and association, the muzzling of free speech
through tight media laws and so on. The rulers have tried to justify their
suppression of their people's political rights arguing that what is more
pertinent in Africa is the promotion of second generation rights such as the
right to health, housing, education, etc. And yet what people have been
insisting on since independence has been the right to express themselves
precisely over issues of access to health, housing, education and so on! It
appears, therefore, that the suppression of political rights is not because
they are naturally antithetical to the delivery of second-generation rights;
rather, it is functional only in the context of a sitting regime's political
survival prospects for it effectively undermines the organization of any
meaningful political opposition to it.
Homing in on Mugabe's Pan
Africanism more specifically, he would love to point to land reform as his
practical response to the challenges of neo-colonialism and his economic
empowerment of the long-suffering majority, but that is a ruse that hardly
fools anyone. The primary purpose of Zanu PF's 'Third Chimurenga' fell
outside of any emancipatory agenda, whether economic or political. One needs
to recall here how the real spontaneous land demonstrations around 1997/1998
in communal areas like Svosve and Nyamandlovu were met with the full wrath
of Mugabe's security apparatus. Anti-riot police armed to the teeth were
sent in to forcibly remove the hapless but daring villagers from the farms.
Of course, the constitutional referendum of February 2000 was to serve as a
timely reminder of the deep-seated need for land redistribution and Mugabe's
party conveniently remembered the salvoes fired by the Svosve people and at
once deployed an army of both real and bogus war vets to 'spontaneously'
To further expose this ruse for what it was, an ironical
corollary to the land invasions was the internal monopolisation of political
space by the state and its virtual suspension of civil liberties in the
manner of the colonial government. Ian Smith's Law and Order (Maintenance)
Act was dusted up by then-Home Affairs Minister Dumiso Dabengwa and
expeditiously passed as the now infamous POSA.
through the agency of mainly Patrick Chinamasa and Jonathan Moyo, embarked
on a concerted move to break the back of the judiciary, ejecting several
long-serving judges in the process and replacing them with those
sufficiently imbued with the spirit of the 'Third Chimurenga'. Moyo's
diabolic media revolution has since become the stuff of legend. The
President has also branded his own compatriots in the towns and cities as
'traitors' simply because they vote for the opposition, which, truth be
told, is a legitimate participant in an electoral process that is provided
for by the country's constitution. His political introspection has never led
him to speculate on why he has fallen foul of the most educated and skilled
component of his country's population. This great Pan Africanist's
conclusion is that there must be something wrong with them and whatever
their concerns are, they are sooner subversive and neo-colonialistic than
Finally, let's look at Mugabe's Pan Africanism and how it
has handled its obligations to Africans of other nationalities within
Zimbabwe. The basis for this assessment is that Pan-Africanism embraces all
identities beyond those particularistic national identities as defined in
the narrow sense of ethnicities that are indigenous to the borders of the
sovereign state. The reason for this is because the sovereign state itself
is not an indigenous form of political community but merely the product of
the very colonialism that Pan Africanism is a response to. But how has
Mugabe treated the hundreds of thousands of Malawian, Mozambican and other
African families that have for generations resided in Zimbabwe and for
generations contributed to the economic development of the country through
their supply of cheap labour to the commercial agricultural
The Farm Community Trust of Zimbabwe holds startling statistics
on farm-worker communities - totaling well over 10 percent of our national
population - that were internally displaced by the land resettlement
programme. Following the efforts of such NGOs as FCTZ itself and some UN
agencies among others who highlighted the plight of these people, the
government only reluctantly started paying occasional attention to them.
This proves that these foreign farm-workers, who are in reality now
naturalized Zimbabweans, have been treated as a mere footnote in the entire
land redistribution scheme.
Mugabe himself has previously branded
them as 'totemless' as if to renounce the Zimbabwean state's obligations to
anyone who does not primarily originate from the country founded by the
chief colonialist Cecil John Rhodes.
Mugabe's Pan Africanism
conveniently forgets that the same 'accident' of colonisation that has led
to the Manyika and the Karanga, the Zezuru and the Ndebele being citizens of
one country at one point brought every present day Zambian, Malawian and
Zimbabwean into the embrace of one sovereign entity, the Federation of
Rhodesia and Nyasaland!
Mugabe's Pan Africanism therefore begs for very
strict qualifications. CONTACT INNOCENT: firstname.lastname@example.org