HARARE - Zimbabwe's commercial farmers are demanding talks with the
government over the continued forcible acquisition of more tracts of land
under the land reform programme.
Mugabe indicated a fortnight ago he was confiscating 220 more commercial
farms for redistribution to "landless blacks."
The Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU), which represents the remaining 600
mainly white farmers, has reportedly come up with new proposals to discuss
with the government.
A regional CFU member told The Zimbabwean that the union's members
"reconfirmed their absolute commitment to urgent dialogue with the
government, without pre-conditions, and to assisting in the successful,
orderly implementation of land reform."
The farmers have called for compromise in the dispute, saying court actions
and global pressure on Mugabe have hardened his attitude and are not serving
national or farmers' interests.
White farmers, who say they support land redistribution but oppose seizures,
have reportedly agreed to accept the government's target and immediately
resettle families on plots of between two and five hectares with free
tillage, seed and fertiliser.
They have also resolved to drop all legal challenges against the government
to allow Zimbabwe to approach donors including Britain and the United States
to unblock aid for compensation for the farmers and to help reverse
Zimbabwe's economic crisis.
Minister of Special Affairs responsible for Land Resettlement, Flora Bhuka,
said two weeks ago at least 800 evicted farmers had been compensated for
improvements on their farms. But the evicted farmers said the compensation
was seriously undervalued.
Mugabe says white farmers held 70 percent of the best land and should
receive compensation only for improvements, not for the land.
He encouraged party supporters led by self-styled veterans of the 1970s
independence war to occupy hundreds of white farms since February 2000 and
has defied court orders to evict them. Dozens of farmers and hundreds of
their workers have been killed in violence associated with the invasions.
HARARE - The ruling Zanu (PF) party has taken its begging bowl to the
corporate sector, forcing companies reeling under Zimbabwe's collapsing
economy to donate towards a Z$100 billion fund aimed at bankrolling the
party's campaigns for next year's municipal, general and presidential polls.
Zanu (PF) finance chief, David Karimanzira, told a ruling party newsletter
here that the party had set up fundraising committees in all10 provinces
that were expected to approach the business community, farmers, banking
institutions and miners for cash.
"The money will cater for necessary expenditure such as the purchase of
campaign motor vehicles for all the provinces," he said at the end of a
meeting called Saturday to discuss financing of the campaigns.
Karimanzira said the ruling party would also sell party cards, hold dinner
dances, musical galas and soccer matches in a bid to raise cash.
The ruling party had set a target of $10 million at its December Goromonzi
Conference for campaigns. But Zimbabwe's hyperinflation has already eroded
that amount, forcing the fundraising committee to revise the figure to $100
BY SIMBA MANYANYA
'Silent diplomacy - an exercise in cowardice'
'Serious preparations for alternative policies are now critical'
The performance of public policy in Zimbabwe over the 27 years since 1980
clearly shows failure, particularly with regard to the values and mandates
that inspired the war of liberation against colonialism. This was the
outcome of discussion and debate organised by the youthful Creative Writers
Workshop on the 25 April to commemorate Zimbabwe's freedom day, 18th April,
in Johannesburg. Presentations and discussions highlighted the failure of
public policy and the serious policy challenges facing Mugabe's successors.
The liberation war was fought around issues of historical inequities in
property and land distribution, the establishment of an egalitarian and
economically prosperous society that also cherishes democratic values. If
public policy was a tool for addressing these challenges then Zanu (PF) has
'Operation Murambatsvina' (a cruel exercise of cleansing urban areas of poor
people) reflected in essence a spirit reminiscent of the colonial days, and
also of Gukurahundi, when 'rulers' belonging to certain 'superior classes'
dispensed huge state powers in to the detriment of marginal and powerless
Academic researcher Tapera Knox Chitiyo demonstrates very well that the
programme itself was an outcome of a general crisis of governance. As he
indicates, in its execution it was reminiscent of the 1950's when the
colonists grabbed the best land the 'natives' were herded into trucks and
relocated in arid, unproductive regions. He shows that in those years,
between 1935 and 1955, 70,000 African families were relocated in the
'reserves'. Several reports confirm that in 2002 the Mugabe regime
outperformed the colonialists by wide margins in terms of dispossession and
impoverishment of the poor.
Any policy gains from the 1980s have been lost in the rapidly declining
economy. The educated and skilled seek employment beyond the country's
borders. The country's huge public investment in education now benefits its
neighbours, while resources for sustainable health policy delivery are
In consideration of the left-right ideological swing in 1990 Government
failed to usher in a framework for policy delivery that is sustainable. Thus
the national development policy trajectory over the 1980-2007 period lacks
consistency of purpose.
The change from socialistic to market-based developmental models had serious
repercussions on the lives of ordinary Zimbabweans, through inflation,
erosion of incomes, higher unemployment and rising economic insecurity.
Unfortunately population disgruntlement, increased trade union activity,
social movements and political opposition only brought increased state
repression, the suppression of democratic rights and privileges and
deepening conflict between the political state and the population.
Since Independence, Zimbabwe has experienced three historical shifts (a) in
the administration of public policy shift from social and participatory
policy management approaches to centralist, commandist and prescriptive
In the 1990's this came when the principles underpinning the public policies
were supposedly informed by values of freedom and market choice; (b) in the
experience of 'freedom' and the enjoyment of constitutional liberties. This
meant changes in the experience of 'freedom' and enjoyment of
constitutional liberties as the political state became increasingly
authoritarian, tyrannical and repressive; and (c) in the quality of
individual and social life.
This meant that the (particularly economic) rights and livelihoods of people
were undermined. Since the 1990's the state's economic and public policy in
general became increasingly skewed against the poor. It was also in the
1990's that government embarked on massacres of thousands of civilians in
the Matabeleland and Midlands provinces in an operation called Gukurahundi.
This genocide entrenched a fearsome one party rule, undermined the
confidence of investors, and led to out-migration as people fled for their
lives. The operation remains a blot on the nation's moral conscience.
In addition to these problems, the 21st century, being a period of markets
and neo-liberal globalisation, is coming with new policy challenges to
democratic movements and nations. Upon assumption of the reigns of power
many new governments in the region have found themselves suddenly without
much room to maneuver in terms of the design of economic policy, so that in
most cases they end up recycling the same market policies that made previous
regimes unpopular and that drove them, then as social movements and trade
unions, on the war path.
A key lesson from Zimbabwe is that the failure of Zanu (PF) is rooted in bad
policies, which primarily means inadequate policy preparations. The risk
still exists that those same policy mistakes, errors and disasters may be
reproduced in 'new dispensations'.
Serious preparations for alternative policies are critical now for economies
to experience growth, for national currencies to strengthen, for new jobs to
be created, for a renewed sense of confidence, respect, pride, and dignity,
and improved quality and value of human life in the region.
In 2007 it became clear that rapes, murders, killings, political beatings,
intimidation, torture, rape, unlawful arrests and detention, destruction of
homes, the suppression of media freedoms and human rights abuses cannot
result from legitimate political leadership, be a characteristic of
progressive political ideology or public policy. In this regard, silent
diplomacy becomes an exercise in cowardice.
Further, against the background of these public policy failings, perceptions
that civil society organisations are conduits of foreign interference and
puppets of imperialist forces seeking to effect regime change only reflects
a state of paranoia among people experiencing their own crises of
appreciation of the roles and values of leadership in a rapidly changing
world. These are the sorts of things said by people who cannot come to terms
with their own failings as leaders, and must therefore look for
scapegoats. - firstname.lastname@example.org, Action Policy Africa (APA)
Leading South African journalist, Patrick Laurence, says President Thabo
Mbeki's endorsement of the Nigerian election result bodes ill for successful
fulfilment of his mission on behalf of the Southern African Development
Community (SADC) to persuade political adversaries in Zimbabwe to settle
"His approval of the result is implicit in his message of congratulations to
the winner of the presidential election, Umaru Yar'Adua of the People's
Democratic Party (PDP), who was handpicked by the outgoing president,
Olusegun Obasanjo. The Nigerian department of foreign affairs certainly
seems to have concurred with that deduction, judging by the alacrity with
which it trumpeted triumphantly on receipt of Mbeki's congratulatory
missive," wrote Laurence last week.
"Mbeki's indirect affirmation of the election outcome is, however, in
conflict with the sharp criticisms or stony silence of many of the
international and local election observers who monitored the polls for
Nigeria's state and local elections on April 14 and parliamentary and
presidential elections on April 21."
The reasons for concern over the fairness of the election include apparent
administrative incompetence, violence directed at voters as well as at the
electoral commission for its alleged bias, and outright bribery of voters by
reportedly ubiquitous party agents as they queued to deliver their
far-from-secret ballots. The election was marred by a shortage of ballot
papers that resulted in the frenzied printing of extra papers and in long
delays before voting started at many polling booths and even, though less
frequently, no voting at all at a few. The shortage was reported to be acute
in areas where opposition parties were particularly strong, which aroused
suspicions that the scarcity of ballots papers was, to use a colloquial
expression, "accidentally on purpose". Some 200 people reportedly died
during the election, which, though relatively small in the context of
Nigeria's total population of 140 million, hardly qualified the elections to
be described as a peaceful demonstration of democracy in action. - Staff
My sekuru, the late Masipula Sithole, used to love to refer to the saying
that if you leave two Zimbabweans on the moon and visit them the next day
you will find that they will have formed three political parties. Indeed,
the history of Zimbabwean political parties is that of splits, break ups and
factions. When the MDC was formed in 1999, some of us were gullible enough
to imagine that it would never split for frivolous reasons such as we have
Whatever the reasons for the MDC factionalism, it is now time for the two
factions to put their differences behind them and come together to fight the
real enemy of the people of Zimbabwe, Zanu (PF). There is certainly nothing
of redeeming value that is being served by the current divisions within the
MDC. If anything, the divisions are counterproductive and debilitating to
the opposition political party's efforts at uniting progressive forces
against Zimbabwe's enemy number one, Robert Mugabe and his rotten party.
There have been several schools of thought regarding the real causes of the
MDC factionalism. One is that CIO infiltration of the MDC was instrumental
in the whole shoddy process for the benefit of the beleaguered and fractious
Zanu (PF). In other words, according to this school of thought, the split
was a survival tactic utilised by Zanu (PF) to weaken the MDC so that the
former party would retain political power forever. The other school of
thought argues that there were serious methodological squabbles within the
leadership of the MDC, especially with regard to the best way of bringing
about an end to Mugabe's dictatorship.
Perhaps a third school of thought would say the very nature of the MDC at
its formation - an omnibus carrying all elements opposed to Zanu (PF)'s
continued misrule of Zimbabwe - effectively militated against the
sustainability of that party as a viable and integral political party. The
dynamics of political development are such that over time some sheep would
go astray while others would maintain the original course of action.
Be that as it may, the fact that the nation is inevitably moving towards the
2008 parliamentary and presidential elections requires that either the two
MDC factions re-unite and get on with the job of ridding this nation of the
hated dictator, or adopt new names that clearly distinguish them from each
other in a manner that does not confuse the people of this ruined country.
The current arrangement, where the two factions have agreed not to criticise
each other in public, is clearly not adequate.
Both Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara need to sit down with their
senior party officials and hammer out a sound process of either bringing the
two factions back together, or effectively cut the umbilical cord, go their
separate ways and face the consequences. The present situation will continue
to be exploited by Zanu (PF) to its advantage, and the majority of
Zimbabweans will be the losers. It appears to me that the major stumbling
block to unity is pride. In politics, pride dictates a very high price and
in the case of the two MDC factions, both sides are now paying that price.
Unity of purpose is best served by a united entity.
It is my fervent hope that in the next few weeks the two factions of the MDC
will shame Zanu (PF) and make the people of Zimbabwe proud by announcing
their coming back together to constitute one party. Failure to do so will
give Mugabe and his ailing political party another opportunity to deceive
the people of this country in the forthcoming elections.
HARARE - Firebrand nationalist, Edgar Tekere, has warned Zimbabweans of an
escalating violence-ridden campaign in the period leading to next March's
presidential and general elections.
The founding Zanu (PF) member said President Robert Mugabe would fight tooth
and nail to retain power, and the current spate of abductions and torture of
opposition officials would intensify in the run-up to the poll.
Tekere spoke as Mugabe called a special congress to endorse his candidacy as
party leader and sole candidate for next year's presidential election. For
the first time, the ruling party officially alluded to the Mujuru and
Mnangagwa factions in Zanu (PF) and that they were embroiled in a bitter
battle to succeed Mugabe.
Tekere said: "I think I know Mugabe fairly well. He doesn't like contests
and when you stand against him he is going to fight tooth and nail."
The veteran politician was speaking in a telephone interview with The
Zimbabwean from his Mutare home.
A former secretary-general of Zanu (PF), Tekere, who was once a close ally
of Mugabe, was first expelled from the party in October 1988 for agitating
against one-party state rule.
He formed the Zimbabwe Unity Movement and contested the 1990 presidential
election, but lost to Mugabe. He resigned as ZUM president in January 2000.
He was reinstated into Zanu (PF) in 2005 but was fired again last year after
publishing a highly controversial autobiography, A Lifetime of Struggle,
insinuating that Mugabe was a reluctant recruit into the liberation
Tekere said Mugabe, 83, had boasted of having degrees in violence and openly
said opposition officials "vakadashurwa (were battered)" and that they will
be "bashed" again if they provoke police.
He said: "There is going to be lots and lots of violence sponsored by the
Head of State, make no mistake about it."
He said Zanu (PF) would unleash violence during the campaign period, which
would then be toned down just before polling to hoodwink international
Tekere said: "They will have broken your ribs and expect you to remember
that on polling day."
He said because rigging elections had become difficult over the last decade,
the ruling party would compensate for that through violence.
"You are dealing with a man who believes there is no Zimbabwe without him.
One day he is going to die, but he doesn't think Zimbabwe will continue
after him. All affairs of state start and finish with Mugabe," Tekere said.
He dismissed the possibility of a military coup in the event of Mugabe
losing to the opposition.
He said: "One who is very outspoken on the issue is Didymus Mutasa, my
uncle. Don't be deceived by him. The army will comply with the result. You
only hear that from people like Mutasa. Have you ever heard it from the real
masters of war, Rex Nhongo or Vitalis Zvinavashe?"
Rex Nhongo was the nom de guerre of General Solomon Mujuru - the powerful
husband of Vice President Joice Mujuru - a retired commander of the Zimbabwe
National Army, during the liberation war when he was Zanla's chief of
operations. General Zvinavashe is the past immediate commander of the
Zimbabwe Defence Forces, now Gutu Senator.
Mutasa, who is Zanu PF's secretary for admistration, is on record as saying
Zanu (PF) would go to war if it lost the presidential election.
"There is going to be no such thing, I can tell you quite confidently,"
He said youths were being trained under the guise of national service
primarily to beat up the electorate.
Scores of people have been killed, mostly supporters of opposition parties,
while more than 600 people have been tortured for sympathising with the
opposition since March 11, according to opposition figures.
A cluster of villagers in Mutoko has witnessed the hypocrisy of Zanu (PF)'s
claims that it has the interests people at heart after recently being told
to go it alone in an electrification programme started way back as an
election campaigning gimmick. Members of the project, from Nyamakosi
village in Chief Chimoyo area of Mutoko, are among many Zimbabweans taken
for a ride by the beleaguered Zanu (PF) regime.
This comes amidst reports that the government's rural electrification
programme has virtually stopped due to lack of funds.
Before the 2000 parliamentary elections the ruling party used the rural
electrification programme to seduce the villagers not only to vote for it,
but also to campaign for it. Seven years later, villagers wanting
electricity at their homesteads have been told to find Z$25 million to
complete the project.
Government, in conjunction with the troubled Zimbabwe Electricity Supply
Authority (ZESA), has provided poles but said they don't have funds to buy
the expensive materials and cables.
An official at the Mashonaland East provincial offices in Marondera refused
to discuss the matter.
A source at ZESA told The Zimbabwean in confidence that the parastatal,
which recently reported serious viability problems, had all but shelved the
rural electrification programme, despite pressure from the Mugabe regime.
"There is nothing happening on that front but there has been a lot of
pressure from government officials wanting to use the issue as usual for
campaigning ahead of next year's elections," the source said.
The Zimbabwe Schools Examinations Council (ZIMSEC) has not yet announced
examination fees for this year's Ordinary and Advanced levels more than
three months after the normal time they are usually released. Parents have
been told to budget for about Z$20 000 per subject, which the council has
not announced officially.
However, officials at ZIMSEC have indicated that the fees might be pegged at
Z$50 000 per subject. Last year candidates paid between Z$500 and Z$5000
Officials attributed the delay to "the need to avoid a problem we witnessed
last year whereby the fees did not cover the costs of running the
examinations, causing a lot of administrative problems". Education minister
Aenias Chigwedere admitted the matter was giving headaches due to
Meanwhile, chaos and tension characterized the reopening of schools this
week as parents faced drastically increased fees with some boarding schools
now charging up to Z$5 million per term.
A serious clash looms following Chigwedere's recent threat to crackdown on
schools charging fees above those stipulated by government. Schools argue
that the only way they can operate in the face of inflation is to raise
HARARE - Despite the official opening of the tobacco selling
season -Zimbabwe's foreign currency cash cow - the country's forex crunch
has worsened over the past two weeks amid reports that the exchange rate of
the Zimbabwe dollar to the American greenback has crashed to more than
Z$28,000 against one US unit.
Currency dealers said the already short supply of hard cash had deteriorated
in the past fortnight despite the opening of the tobacco marketing season,
seen by many as the lifeblood of the Zimbabwean economy.
Officials running money transfer agencies and forex dealers said the foreign
exchange market had been uncharacteristically dry for this time of the year.
Tobacco is Zimbabwe's premier export crop, which rakes in about a third of
the country's annual foreign currency earnings.
There was speculation this week that the government had been buying most of
the funds on the official market to meet its commitments to import food as
well as to pay off mounting debts at Air Zimbabwe.
Official sources said the government was also trying to raise more than
US$23 million required to import grain before the end of May.
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono indicated last month that only
500,000 tons of maize and wheat had so far been imported out of the 1,2
million tons required to meet the anticipated shortfall of food up to the
end of this month.
HARARE - The Grain Marketing Board is stepping up imports of over 800,000
metric tonnes of maize and other small grains from neighbouring South Africa
and Zambia as severe food shortages sweep across parts of the country
devastated by drought and the disastrous land reform programme.
Last year the GMB's CEO, Retired Colonel Samuel Muvuti, and the then
Agriculture minister Joseph Made denied that the country would need to
import maize this year. The government and the GMB claimed the country had
excess maize in its strategic grain reserves. Agriculture minister Rugare
Gumbo has declared this a drought year.
While Col Muvuti was not immediately available for comment, a GMB official
who declined to be named said the grain shortages were a result of drought
and increased monthly demand. The GMB currently sells over 70,000 tons a
month, a sharp increase from the 61,000 tons sold monthly last year.
The board's grain stocks are virtually empty and the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono announced recently that Zimbabwe had imported
500,000 tons of grain to avert starvation since January. The situation was
expected to worsen given the drought that is already pounding Matabeleland
Thousands of people have already applied for drought relief. The situation
is exacerbated by the unfolding catastrophe in Binga where flooding last
year reduced yields substantially.
BY A SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
HARARE - A strike by nurses at Harare's two referral hospitals entered its
10th day today, in defiance of a government ban on industrial action among
health workers and amid growing tension.
Harare Hospital CEO Jealous Nderere said "just a few" nurses were on strike.
Health and Child Welfare minister David Parirenyatwa was not available for
But President Robert Mugabe's Health advisor, Timothy Stamps, told a
gathering during a donation of food aid worth $25million at the Harare
Children's Hospital at the weekend that nurses were not on strike but could
not afford to come to work
Nurse representatives told The Zimbabwean that an estimated 90 percent of
nurses at Parirenyatwa and Harare Hospitals were on strike on Tuesday and
that they expected the ranks to swell.
"Nurses cannot take this anymore," said a representative of the nurses. "We
are being paid peanuts and we are demonstrating our protest with the
stay-away, despite the intimidation."
The nurses called the strike to protest against "very very poor salaries" in
the face of hyperinflation. The are currently earning a shocking Z$110,000
monthly at a time the Poverty Datum Line has raced to Z$1,5 million per
household per month. With allowances, the nurses are taking home around
$550,000 while matrons earn $800,000.
The government declared the strike illegal and has accused the union of
abandoning dialogue with the Health Services Board. On Tuesday, hospital
wards were being manned by student nurses.
+263 91 2 471 673 www.zinasu.com
BY TREVOR MURAI
Most of us now find it repugnant to expend time and ink in a non-productive
exercise of capturing and articulating the ideological debates surrounding
the socio-political and economic calamity that University of Zimbabwe (UZ)
finds itself in. However the culture of silence and inaction within which
students are encased can never change the situation.
Students have a vital role to play - telling the world the truth, exposing
accurately the real economic and social corruption that characterises UZ. Of
course critics will hasten to say that students are a problem, incapable of
effectuating action-oriented solutions to the problems.
This letter proffers some pragmatic solutions that can only be accomplished
through consolidated effort by all stakeholders. Students may be dismissed
as talkers instead of but it is better to observe and express our
indignation than to remain mum.
It costs Z$4 000. 00 to commute from town to UZ. Transport and other
ancillary costs associated with being a non-resident student make the lives
of more than 8 000 commuting students a nightmare. Bear in mind the
shrinking incomes of their parents and the hyper-inflationary environment.
As one proceeds from the university's main bus stop to the administration
block, lurk baton-wielding police guards with dogs on leash - seemingly
enlisted by the UZ administration to curb any students' unrest.
UZ has its own security guards popularly known as the Green Bombers (GBs),
most of whom are retired police and army personnel.
Never think that students are only under physically surveillance. The
relative stability and peace among students that saw the Vice Chancellor
Professor Levi Nyagura being awarded with the manager of the year award
ought to be attributed to intricate forms of cognitive control mechanisms
meted to students through calculated means.
There is the oppressive ordinance 30 that fosters docility and passivity.
Students are reluctant to express their genuine grievances, due to fear of
expulsions and suspensions. Add to this parental pressure for students to
The Student Executive Council is rendered defunct, systematically stripped
of its capacity to fundraise for student mobilisation by the administration.
The media has also not done the SRC any good by disregarding adequate
coverage of the student movement.
The Association of University Teachers (AUT) called for a strike a few weeks
before the opening of the second semester. The industrial action is still
raging and the semester is less than a month from ending.
Of a total of 36 toilet chambers in New Complex One (NC1) male hostel, only
three are functional, but unusable as they are usually dirty. In other male
hostels the situation is almost the same. Bathing rooms are flooding and the
water is flowing to the corridors. Corridors stink with the odour coming
from the ablutions. The ablution floors are seldom dry. Students step on
stagnant water as they enter or exit the toilets.
It would be wise for the government and the administration to start with
haste a process of engagement with students through their representatives
such ZINASU, in trying to solve these problems.
Civic Society and the corporate world should also be engaged in this
process. Funding of the education sector must be intensified as specified in
the UNESCO agreement that 26% of a state's resources must be directed
towards the education sector.
HARARE - A vigilante group of youths clad in Zanu (PF) regalia attacked
street foreign currency dealers at a regional bus depot weekend accusing
them of destroying the economy.
Fourteeen youths attacked the women, street traders and members of a church
sect on Friday morning, one week after Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono
announced that devaluing Zimbabwe's overrated foreign currency exchange rate
would give an incentive to people trading money on the black market.
The youths made off with foreign currency worth more than $100 million after
the raid at the Fourth Street Bus Terminal.
A forex dealer told The Zimbabwean the youths were "angered over the
continued destruction of the economy by illegal forex dealers".
A fortnight ago Gono devalued the nation's currency for exporters only, in a
move he claimed was aimed at easing foreign exchange shortages.
Exporters and companies that generate foreign currency will be paid the
equivalent of Z$15,000 while the rest of the forex deals will continue to be
done with the skewed exchange rate of $250 to US$1.
The government blames the street forex dealers for the crippling shortages
of foreign currency on the official market.
ZAKA - Zimbabwe's leading opposition party said this week nine of its
supporters were kidnapped and at least four others beaten by suspected Zanu
(PF) thugs here ahead of the hotly-contest Zaka East by-election.
The group of youths were kidnapped at around 6:30 pm Saturday from a
shopping center at a growth point in the rural Zaka East constituency, about
120 kilometers south east of the provincial capital Masvingo, a regional
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) spokesman told The Zimbabwean.
MDC reported the incident to the Jerera Police Post, who refused to open a
docket in the case.
"The youths who have been kidnapped are believed to have been taken to a
Zanu (PF) torture camp," said the spokesperson. Police officials were not
reachable for comment.
At least four people were severely beaten in three separate incidents with
axes, spears, iron bars and sticks, he said. They were beaten for supporting
the MDC or for having relatives who supported the opposition party, he
The weeks of campaigning have been marred by similar violence in the rural
constituency. Police have set roadblocks leading into Zaka East, and on the
mostly dirt country roads within the constituency.
The election is the latest test for President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu
(PF) party, pitted against the eight-year-old MDC, which is expected to give
him a tough challenge in presidential polls due in March next year.
The Nomination Court accepting candidates to run in the poll is expected to
sit on Friday, while the inspection of the voters roll closes today
The by-election was called after the death of Tinos Rusere, a
Parliamentarian and deputy minister who was responsible for Mines.
The constituency suffered some of the worst violence ahead of the 2005
Parliamentary election, which left several people dead and scores others
tortured around the country, according to rights groups.
BY TAWANDA MUTASAH
'For a sinking regime whose rhetoric is wearing thin, the SADC communiqué
was an opportune lifeline'
'Silence always benefits the oppressor, never his victims'
The scholar, as depicted in the well-known university common room
caricature, puts a flea on a table and shouts: "Jump!" The flea jumps. The
scholar rips off the legs of the flea and shouts: "Jump!" But the flea does
not jump. The scholar concludes that, without its legs, the flea cannot
Something of the disjunctive logic of the scholar and the flea came to mind
at the end of March. That was when the Southern Africa Development Community
(SADC) heads of state issued a pro-Mugabe communiqué after their emergency
meeting on Zimbabwe.
Maintaining hope against the odds, many pro-democracy activists tried to
think of the communiqué as an unfortunate aberration, which by now would
hopefully be forgotten history. I hoped so myself until a few days ago, when
I witnessed the unedifying spectacle of Zimbabwe's ambassador to the United
States circulating the document in a public meeting. For Mugabe's
representative in Washington DC, the document constituted his principal, if
feeble, attempt at defending himself against world condemnation of his
master's human rights abuses.
These reached unprecedented heights last week with the arrest of Alec
Muchadehama and Andrew Makoni - two leading human rights lawyers - in the
course of their work and their unlawful detention.
Over the last several weeks, it has been suggested encouragingly that the
SADC leaders were forthright with Mugabe behind closed doors, and that the
communiqué issued at the end was merely a clever decoy by Mugabe's peers to
enable their elderly counterpart to walk out of the meeting 'with skin on
That is not impossible. Within SADC, heads of state and government in
Botswana, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia, Mauritius and Lesotho have in the
past been quoted, either publicly or by sources close to them, as expressing
the need for democratic change in Zimbabwe.
The trouble is, while it was only Mugabe and his few body-guards and
mind-guards that sat in the Dar es Salaam meeting, human rights abuses in
Zimbabwe are being perpetrated not only by these few, but by a posse of
police, military, intelligence and ministerial leaders whose feedback from
the SADC meeting was through the regional body's public communications, and
from Mugabe himself.
"We got full backing, not even one (leader) criticised our actions," Mugabe
boasted to the party faithful back in Harare. "SADC is not a court. We are
brothers, we co-operate with each other and we have love for one another,"
he was quoted as saying in the state-run Sunday Mail newspaper.
And so it was, indeed, that Mugabe's listening enforcers were emboldened to
go forth and spread the violence, so much that to date, the state in
Zimbabwe has been able to unlawfully lock up leading human rights lawyers,
abduct and torture over 600 activists, transfer sympathetic police officers
to remote rural outposts, murder a journalist for sending pictures of terror
out to the world, and arbitrarily entrench conditions that make a free and
fair election impossible.
Therein lies the problem. Saving Mugabe's face in a SADC boardroom would be
culturally understandable if Zimbabwe's dictator had honour enough not to
twist such an approach to his advantage. For Mugabe's young terror militia,
working under the influence of a combination of alcohol, indoctrination, and
patron-client obligations, there is no nuance: the southern African region
is behind their president. He tells them so.
Even worse, the public messages by SADC are being used by propagandists of
the Mugabe regime in domestic, African and international fora to "show" that
SADC, which by virtue of neighbourhood is presumed to understand and care
about Zimbabwe more than anyone else, has given a thumbs up to what is going
on. For a sinking regime whose rhetoric is wearing thin, the SADC communiqué
was an opportune lifeline.
It is being diligently put to use. To human rights monitors and supporters
of democratic reform, Mugabe and his lieutenants are pointing to the
communique's reticence on human rights, rule of law, and democracy questions
in Zimbabwe. In order to misappropriate the sympathy of bona fide activists
against Washington Consensus dogmatism, the regime is underlining the
language in the document that calls for the "lifting of all forms of
sanctions against Zimbabwe".
To the SADC Parliamentary Forum and others whose reports decry the violence,
fraud and systemic rigging that was passed by some as a presidential
election in 2002, Mugabe waves the communiqué with its claim that that
election was free and fair.
If lives are to be saved in Zimbabwe, and if we are to chart a way out of
Zimbabwe's political crisis - with its humanitarian and economic impact on
the SADC region - publicly speaking out against repression in all its
particulars is critical on the part of regional leaders. As professor Elie
Wiesel has consistently taught, silence always benefits the oppressor, never
his victims. - Tawanda Mutasah works on human rights and democracy building
issues in the SADC region.
HARARE - Hundreds of people bussed into Rufaro Stadium from nearby Harare
suburbs by the ruling Zanu (PF)-aligned Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions
(ZFTU) to attend last week's May Day celebrations, were left stranded after
they failed to get transport back home.
ZFTU, with assistance from the ruling Zanu (PF) party, hired a fleet of
ZUPCO buses to transport people from within Harare and the surrounding areas
to attend the Workers Day celebrations addressed by ZFTU president Alfred
Makwarimba and his deputy Joseph Chinotimba.
Workers were induced to travel to the stadium on the strength of promises of
free entertainment from popular musicians Hosea Chipanga and Cephas
Mashakada. There was also a Dynamos and Black Rhinos soccer match.
After the celebrations in the evening, thousands of people milled around the
stadium complaining of lack of transport. Many of the buses which had
ferried them to the stadium in the morning were nowhere to be seen.
Chinotimba said it was possible that some people experienced transportation
problems after the event because "there were many people who had to be
carried (ferried) back to their homes".
Chinotimba, who estimated the crowd at the stadium at "thousands and
thousands" said however not all the people were ferried to the stadium,
saying about half used their own means to attend the celebrations which were
held simulatenously with a rally of a rival federation of trade unions,
ZCTU, held at Gwanzura Stadium.
"There was no problems," Chinotimba said. "Some people may have transport
problems back home because there were thousands and thousands, better than
"Do not be afraid!"
The Catholic bishops of Germany have expressed support for the strong
pastoral letter issued at Easter by the bishops of Zimbabwe on the deepening
crisis in their country.
Karl Cardinal Lehmann, President of the German Bishops' Conference, wrote to
Archbishop Robert C. Ndlovu, President of the Zimbabwean Catholic Bishops'
"Straightforwardly, you have pointed out that a small elite gets ever richer
at the expense of the people referring to the government's responsibility
for the grievances. Zimbabwe has turned into a poorhouse in Africa.
The German bishops explicitly support ZCBC's call for an end of violence,
for rule of law and true democracy in Zimbabwe.
For this reason, the bishops in Germany call on the government in Harare, on
the member states of the African Union and on the political leaders in
Southern Africa to take responsibility and search for ways to put a stop to
the suffering of the Zimbabwean people. We will also ask the German
government, which is holding the Presidency of the European Union and will
chair the G8 Summit in June 2007, to take appropriate action to relieve the
suffering and to overcome the political crisis in Zimbabwe.
Above all, we wish to assure you of our prayers. We feel united with the
Catholics in your country when they gather to pray for Zimbabwe next
Saturday and then every Friday.
The Easter Liturgy reminds us of God's saving deed who liberated the people
of Israel from slavery and heard the cry of his people (Ex 14:15 - 15:1). In
the Gospel according to St Matthew, we hear that Christ comes to meet his
disciples in their mourning and despair saying "Do not be afraid!" (Mt
28:9). We live and act strengthened by our hope for his help.
The courageous statement by the bishops of Zimbabwe is an expression of this
hope, a hope which unites the entire Church. Please be assured of the
solidarity of the German Bishops' Conference and the Catholics in our
country. We will also make tangible contributions to help alleviate the
suffering through our German relief and development agencies and religious
communities. We feel united with the faithful in Zimbabwe, with their
Shepherds and with all the suffering people, in the love of Christ." -
(CISA - shortened)
The Anglican Bishops of Central Africa (Botswana, Malawi, Zambia and
Zimbabwe) said in a recent pastoral letter that "the deteriorating
economy..has been exacerbated by the economic sanctions imposed by the
Western countries. These so called targeted sanctions aimed at the
leadership of the country of Zimbabwe in reality have affected the poor
Zimbabweans who have born the brunt of the sanctions. The result has been
the displacement of thousands of Zimbabweans roaming the cities and rural
areas of our region.."
To straighten out this crooked allegation we can do no better than quote The
Zimbabwean, 26 April - 2 May 2007, "For the umpteenth time, it seems we must
make the point that there are no economic sanctions against Zimbabwe. There
is merely a range of targeted measures involving travel by Mugabe and his
sycophants, a freeze on their assets, and an arms embargo implemented by the
government of the United States and the European Union."
Surely these measures targeted at the leaders cannot be blamed for
'displacing thousands of Zimbabweans'.
Would lifting these measures end the misery of these thousands now 'roaming
the cities and rural areas'? Certainly not. It would merely allow the First
Lady once more to go shopping on Oxford Street.
If Bishops wish to evaluate a situation on moral and ethical grounds they
first of all have to get the facts right. These particular Bishops got them
wrong. As a result their moral evaluation is worthless. Which is a great
As Christians we ought to be able to come up with a generally shared
analysis of social injustice in our country and agree on a common response
to it. The inter-church discussion paper "The Zimbabwe We Want", at least in
its original form, seemed to have achieved this to a large extent. The
Churches in Manicaland impressed with a show of unity when they produced
"The Truth will make you free - a compendium of Christian social teaching".
This Anglican statement is a regrettable set-back, especially since it seems
to rudely contradict the Catholic Bishops and their pastoral message "God
Hears the Cry of the Oppressed" which blames "bad governance and corruption"
and an "overtly corrupt leadership" for our deep crisis.
Relentless propaganda has been hammering this lie into our heads that the
western nations must be blamed for our misery. The truth is we must blame
ourselves. Repentance begins with admitting one's own faults instead of
blaming others. That is basic Christianity.
The Anglican statement just goes to show how effective propaganda can be. If
you repeat a lie often enough it will be believed. Even by those who tell
the lie. Even by bishops, apparently.
But the Church should be truthful and be a beacon of light in a world
darkened by the shameless lying of the powerful. - In Touch Jesuit
Transition, reconciliation and reconstruction
The Peoples' Policy Committee (PPC), a network of Zimbabweans based in the
UK, has submitted a comprehensive position paper to the President of South
Africa, Thabo Mbeki, in his capacity as mediator to the crisis in Zimbabwe.
We continue with a summary of the main points raised:
'We recommend the implementation of an emergency economic recovery plan to
curb inflation, restore donor and foreign investor confidence and boost
mining and agricultural production, including establishment of a Land
Commission with a strong technocratic base and wide representation of
Zimbabwean stakeholders to recommend policies aimed at ending the land
The Transitional Processes
PPC would like to propose the following sequence as a roadmap towards the
resolution of the crises in Zimbabwe:
Prenegotiation Phase: - The mediator to consult the actors across the
spectrum in order to set the agenda for the formal negotiations. These
consultations can take the form of secret talks, as has already been
happening, but they should as a matter of principle be open to all
stakeholdesr in Zimbabwe. The Prenegotiations should bridge the chasm that
lies between the various actors; the outcome of these meetings should be
made public at the appropriate time.
All Stakeholders Convention (ASC):- An All Stakeholders Convention composed
of civil society, political parties, media , faith-based organisations,
women , youths and student movements as well as all sectors of society that
are willing to contribute to this process should be constituted. The ASC
should be organised into working groups so as to deal conclusively with all
the critical issues in the crisis. PPC would like to propose the following
working groups; (a) constitutional reform (b) land reform (c) electoral
reform (d) truth recovery (e) economic recovery. The working groups would
report to ASC for debate and approval.
The talks should lead to a power-sharing agreement on a transitional
government, including opposition and civil society in key government posts,
a new constitution, demilitarisation of state institutions, a new voters
roll, a program of administrative and legislative reform guaranteeing
genuinely free and fair elections on an agreed schedule and emergency
economic recovery measures that could lead to full resumption of external
financial support after elections. The stakeholders should agree on the
composition and establishment of an interim authority to oversee the
country's transition to democracy.
Dissolution of Parliament: - The incumbent president's departure from office
when his term expires in March 2008 should be followed by the takeover by an
interim government. An interim government would take responsibility for the
basic administrative functions of the state until a new government is
elected later in the process. Various constitutional amendments are
required to facilitate the creation of an interim government should be
passed by the current parliament in the spirit of the SADC-led Initiative.
As the process of normalising the constitutional and political situation
develops, the international community should withdraw the targeted sanctions
and other restrictions applying to the Zimbabwean government and initiate
steps to assist in restoring democratic order and economic recovery in
Interim Government: - The All Stakeholders Convention should establish a
transitional government, which should include the members of the opposition,
civil society and the ruling party and provide for a rotating transitional
The mandate of the Interim government should include the following:
.organisation of a referendum for a new constitution and drawing up of a new
voters roll; and
.Implementation of the transitional articles of the new constitution
.Professionalisation of security and uniformed forces
.Repatriation of Zimbabwean community in the diaspora
.The international community should be available to provide assistance to
this process when required by the Zimbabwean negotiators. PPC would
recommend that the African Union Force be deployed to give protection to the
Elections:- Following the ratification of the new Constitution, preparations
should begin for new elections to be held no later than the end of 2008.The
elections should be held under a new democratic constitution. The new
constitution should provide for an Independent Delimitation Commission,
'Independent Electoral Commission', Media and Information Commission as well
as the Security and Defense Commission all of which should be constituted in
time to run both the Referendum and the Presidential/parliamentary
These elections should be based on the SADC principles and standards of
holding democratic, free and fair elections. In that regard, the current
electoral laws should be amended to meet the SADC principles and standards.
The electoral reforms should also provide for the diasporans vote. An
estimated four million Zimbabwean adults now live in exile outside Zimbabwe
and have been disenfranchised by the incumbent government. PPC recommends
that suitable arrangements be made to restore in full the voting rights of
this community in time for the referendum as well as the parliamentary and
International observers should be present to monitor the elections, to
oversee the transition from the interim government to the new elected
government, and to ensure that the elections are free and fair.
The Truth recovery process
For the purposes of building sustainable democracy in a failed state such as
Zimbabwe, there is a need for a truth recovery process. While accepting the
genuine doubts and fears around the issue of 'Truth', it is clear that many
victims and survivors of the crises in Zimbabwe believe that some formal
collective examination and acknowledgement of the past is necessary for them
to find closure.
The idea of truth recovery processes is based on the concept of
'transition', from crisis to peace or from one government to another. At its
most basic, a truth process is meant to mark the end of one difficult era
and the beginning of a new and better one. It is completely unacceptable,
disrespectful and insensitive for any political leader to arrogate or
appropriate to himself/herself the right to grant pardon to individuals that
sponsored and committed human rights atrocities and state sponsored
terrorism since independence in 1980.
With or without a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, only the people of
Zimbabwe can determine whether or not to take legal action against those who
committed crimes against humanity and genocide against defenceless citizens.
We would caution that this is a highly delicate matter which if not handled
sensibly, could trigger conflict and war in future.
The political leadership should honestly and publicly acknowledge
responsibility for past political violence due to their acts of omission and
commission. This would be seen as the first and necessary step having the
potentiality of a larger process of truth recovery. When acknowledgement is
forthcoming, we recommend that measured, inclusive and in-depth
consideration be given to establishing an appropriate and unique truth
recovery process. For this to develop, a team with local and international
expertise should be established using a fair and transparent method to
explore the specific feasibility of such a process.
The specific purpose of a truth recovery process:
.Promote reconciliation, peace and healing; and to reduce tensions resulting
from past violence;
.Clarify and acknowledge as much unresolved truth about the past as
.Respond to the needs and interests of victims;
.Contribute to justice in a broad sense, ensure accountability and
responsibility for past actions from organisations and institutions, as well
as potentially from individuals;
.Identify the responsibilities of the State, of military and police, and of
other institutions and organisations for the violence of the past; and to
make recommendations for change that will reduce the likelihood of future
The truth recovery process can take the form of any of the following:
Truth and Justice Commission
Historical Clarification Commission
Truth and Reconciliation Commission
The new government would face the daunting challenge of entrenching
democracy and peace, rebuilding the battered economy and resuscitating
collapsed social services. The negotiations should thus, come up with an
economic recovery framework. The economic reconstruction is crucial to
restoring order and providing social security for the generality of the
population. Without it, the negotiated settlement will be meaningless to the
We recommend the implementation of an emergency economic recovery plan to
curb inflation, restore donor and foreign investor confidence and boost
mining and agricultural production, including establishment of a Land
Commission with a strong technocratic base and wide representation of
Zimbabwean stakeholders to recommend policies aimed at ending the land
crisis. To this end we would like the negotiators to engage with the
Brettonwoods institutions at various levels of the negotiation process in
order to build the confidence for their engagement in the reconstruction
phase of this conflict resolution process.
A friend of mine recently came back from a trip home. Most of what he had
to say was what we all know of, and have come to expect of Zimbabwe. What
struck me the most, and had me thinking, was some of the stories he told me.
Without doubt, we are a resilient people. The stories were of people's clubs
beating shortages and of people pooling together to help the less fortunate;
of children facing seemingly insurmountable challenges to go to school. He
told of a stop he made at a market to buy some curios. One of the women he
bought from asked if he had any Vaseline, old shoes or clothes to spare. She
asked most importantly for any food like rice or mealie meal for her
children. She said they were eager to go to school barefoot, if only she
could provide a solid meal somehow.
It was a poignant reminder that there is hope, and there are still people
out there who are the face of kindness, the face of the sense of community
and generosity that once was the norm.
There are faceless and nameless people out there doing what they can with
limited resources to feed, clothe and educate children, to hold families
together, to survive. Most importantly it reminded me of my duty and
responsibility to do my part with whatever resources I have. It provided me
with the impetus to carry on, to encourage, and to continue to make a
It was especially relevant in the light of the UAY Fundraising & awareness
event held a few months ago. The black tie ball held at the Crowne Plaza at
Royal Victoria Dock was for United Action for Youth, a charity founded to
raise funds and resources for youth underprivileged and orphaned by the
It was a well-attended event, by people from various backgrounds and
nationalities. What was most encouraging was the feedback we got from those
who attended. One shared perspective was that we were doing a good thing.
A lady from Ghana said it was easy to become complacent, or dismiss it as
someone else's problem and yet we could make a difference for as little as
the cost of a can of Stella. A gentleman I met said that it was important
that we were not only talking, but doing. He admired our courage in the face
of need that would be there for the foreseeable future. Fellow Zimbabweans
gave contacts of people they knew who were involved in other charities,
while we inspired others to contact ex-school mates and start their own. It
reminded some of a mustard seed, in that though tiny, it would grow into a
tree, and hopefully that tree would yield further seed, and so on.
I think a fitting summary of the event and the sentiment would be our motto
' Love them, Serve them, Help them, The Youth, our Future'.
Ignatius Chikambi, a trustee, gave a presentation highlighting the facts
figures and statistics of HIV/Aids in Zimbabwe. This not only reminded us of
the task at hand, but was informative and drove home the point that
consistent action was required.
We had a South African Acapella performance from ladies that have worked
with among others Albert Nyati and various South African artists.
We had a refreshing performance by another trustee, Amanda Chikambi and her
friends. The theme of the dance was the representation of the suffering of
Christ through and onto the cross. It reinforced the shared belief of the
members of the charity, and was enjoyed by Christian and non-Christian
We have the following events on the cards:
* A charity musical gig in June, some up and coming artists will be
representing worldwide live music.
* A Charity album launch, featuring some of the above artists.
* A Seaside event outdoor event followed by a Ball.
* A Fun and Day, Fete and Outdoor music festival muted for July.
Be sure not to miss any of this and watch the press for details. - Lovejoy
writes in his capacity of a trustee of United Action for Youth UK. United
Action for Youth (Reg. No. 1111613) is a bona fide charity registered in
theUK. He can be contacted at UAYUK@yahoo.co.uk or email@example.com.
Some sections of the Roman Catholic church in Zimbabwe have started lobbying
for President Robert Mugabe to be ex-communicated for what some of them
describe as "arrogance and stubbornness".
Sources said groups of youths and senior members based in Harare and
Bulawayo have already started mobilizing among the church leadership for the
church to maintain a tough stance of condemning Mugabe and eventually
ex-communicate the aged dictator.
It emerged that the manouevres have been going on for quite sometime now but
were accelerated by Mugabe's recent arrogant response to the condemnation of
his human rights abuses by the Catholic Bishops Conference.
Mugabe is a Catholic himself, who was brought up under the church's
indoctrination at Kutama Mission in Zvimba, his rural home.
"Many Catholics are ashamed by the fact that Mugabe is a member of the
church but what more, he arrogantly tells the bishops conference to go to
hell," a source said. "We are lobbying for the conference to continue
condemning his leadership and ex-communicate him. We have already written to
the conference urging them to issue another pastoral letter denouncing
Mugabe's attempts at intimidating them."
Mugabe responded to an objective and assessment and comment over the
political crisis affecting the country by threatening the bishops he alleged
were acting like politicians and would be treated as such by his regime.He
further insinuated that Archbishop Pius Ncube had influences the other
bishops and accused him of having always fought against his government.
Ncube this week said Mugabe was a "troubled man who has reached a dead-end
and now sees anyone who tells him the truth as an enemy". Ncube, who
reiterated his call for Mugabe to go, said the issue of excommunicating
Mugabe would be considered by the church leadership if brought up by
members. - Itai Dzamara
We need a people who are not afraid to hold their leaders accountable for
their actions. '
John Makumbe writing in The Zimbabwean of 27/10/06 highlighted a number of
headlines from the Manica Post that portrayed the moral decline that has
taken place in Zimbabwe. Although I am writing almost six months later the
situation is even worse, particularly if Gideon Gono is correct and that we
are losing USD40m.to USD50m per week through illegal mineral exports.
At the same time the Government approaches the World Food Programme for Food
Aid of USD230m. The irony is sickening and what is worse is that the WFP
will find the money and in so doing condone the actions of a few. Corruption
is at an all time high or should I say has sunk to levels unimaginable even
seven years ago.
As is normal, Makumbe looks for someone to blame, who has caused this to
happen in this beautiful country? He offers as a possible explanation, the
rot within the national leadership. In my view this is only partially
If, as a nation, we expected these leaders, mere men who by nature are
sinners, to govern us responsibly without checks and balances then we have
the government that we deserved. Since 2000 government has consistently
undermined the rule of law, they have changed the laws to suit themselves,
and having done so they have taken full advantage of the position that they
themselves have created.
They believe that they are no longer accountable to anyone, least of all
their constituents or, at the very least, the people who have voted to keep
them in power. While they believe that this lack of accountability may be
true in this life, it will not be true in the next. They will all have to
face a Judge whom they will not be able to bribe, intimidate, fire or
corrupt. As they have abandoned God's laws, God will nevertheless still hold
them accountable for all that they have done and the Day of Judgment draws
Francis Schaeffer a Christian philosopher/thinker of the 20th Century says
that "as man has set himself up as God in defiance of the moral and
spiritual truth which God has given we will have moral breakdown in every
area of life, as man cuts himself loose from his Christian restraints in the
move towards freedom the result is destruction leading to chaos." For those
of our leaders who have acknowledged Christ as their Lord and Saviour and
who have nevertheless condoned or participated in the murder, mayhem and
corruption they will not escape God's judgment but will be judged even more
harshly; perhaps they should examine the Scriptures and repent before God,
before it is too late.
Makumbe suggests that, as a nation this country needs God more than ever
now. We as a nation have at many and various times had national days of
prayers, with the Scripture "if my people will humble themselves and pray,
seek my face and turn from their wicked ways then I will heal their land".
Earnest prayers have gone up before God for this land, we have offered
prayers of repentance but, dare I say it, God has not yet answered because
life has become more difficult. I suppose this begs the question as to what
were we expecting when we prayed, were we expecting a life where we could
live in peace and prosperity?
This has, until the January2007 Monetary Policy statement, been the promise
of the Governor of the RBZ and former Minister Murerwa. Meantime the
situation has got worse. I have no doubt that God could intervene in the
situation should He choose to do so. This is a very cynical thought and
perhaps if it had not been for the work of many activists and what is left
of the independent press, the situation in this country would have been
considerably worse. Perhaps our prayers have indeed been holding back the
full force and face of evil in this land.
We also now need men and women who know their God and are not afraid to
speak out; we need a Daniel, or an Elijah who is not afraid to confront the
rulers and point out the error of their ways, men and women who will not be
corrupted with the offer of money or property or intimidated by fear or
enticed by their own sense of self importance. More important, however, is
an acknowledgement by our leaders, not only in government but all sectors of
the community, that they have failed us and themselves, that their/our lust
for individual and corporate power and unbridled greed, has lead this nation
Our spiritual leaders have and are building fancy buildings but ignore a
responsibility for confronting our world in respect to truth and morality.
In the words of Francis Schaeffer "I think when Christians get to heaven and
speak of how much they gave to missions, to build schools and so on that the
Lord is going to tell them it would have been better if they had less money
to give and had made their money with justice." We need men and women in
leadership who know that they are servants of the people and not rulers of
the people. There is a significant difference. We need a people who are not
afraid to hold their leaders accountable for their actions.
Sokwanele - Enough is Enough
'What are we going to tell our grandchildren when they ask us what we did to
try and stop one man from destroying our country?'
'Promoting non-violent principles to achieve democracy'
The news that Bob is going to step down after the 2008 elections should not
be greeted with relief but with the disbelief and suspicion that it so
thoroughly deserves. We know all too well from experience that this man's
word cannot be trusted and it is folly for the press to even hint that we
should expect such a kind gesture from the man who has ruined us.
There is something that seems to escape public discourse in this country and
that is the fact that this man has outwitted us from the word go. His plan
has been simple: acquire power and having acquired it, retain it all costs
as the late Edson Zvobgo once pointed out to us. His problem is not greed
for power as many have tried to explain. The dilemma he has is the number of
atrocities that have been committed under his watch and now he is afraid to
take the stand and account for them. That is his problem.
Our problem, on the other hand, is we seem to be content to wait him out as
if we are the ones in besieging the country. We have given up all pretence
of resisting this man, and are now giving him permission to take the country
down with him to guarantee his natural death in office. When he dies in
office, he will have won. It is as simple as that. It is either senility or
a natural death that will drive him out of office.
This begs the question: Where is our manhood and womanhood that we are
willing to go about our business of survival without resisting the person
who has caused the mess in the first place? Where is our manhood when we
leave it to WOZA to carry the protest on our behalf? Where is our womanhood
when we stare in shock and awe when our fellow women are carted away before
our very eyes each time they try and demonstrate in the streets in
accordance with their constitutional right? Are we prepared to lose our
dignity to avoid being bashed? What are we going to tell our grandchildren
when they ask us what we did to try and stop one man from destroying our
country? Are we not men and women of honour?
Surely, since this man has decided that he is staying in office, and damn
the consequences for the country, we should take him up on his word and add
to his stomach ulcers and headaches? We know from experience that he does
not intend, will not step down from office.
How can an entire nation of people look the other way while neighbours are
arrested, abducted, tortured or simply disappeared? How can an entire nation
simply gratefully accept handouts from our children in the diaspora when we
know they are not happy there? We know that a good number of our children
are living in foreign lands with between zero and nil dignity.
All of this to allow one man to die in office, one day in the unknown
distant future, lest we annoy him? Are we willing for the infrastructure to
absolutely fall to pieces before we can begin to rebuild? Where is our sense
So what can you do individually to help save our country from impending
Write to every one you know outside the country and get them to press
charges against him. He cannot get away scot free.
Write to the press in South Africa and keep the pressure on public opinion
Write to your relatives who are currently outside of the country and ask
them to come and vote. In fact, ask them to start saving now for the trip
home so that their voice can be heard through the ballot box.
Encourage every 18 year old you know to register and tell them the future is
mostly in their hands. Tell them they must be the change they so desperately
wish to see.
Go home in August and December and tell your relatives two things: tell them
about the horrors of Murambatsvina, then if you do not mind, tell them that
their vote is secret and that it has always been.
Dispel once and for all the myth of sanctions.
Boycott all government press and government linked businesses. Boycott
especially those shops that you know are owned by members of the ruling
Register to vote and on the day, make sure you turn up and cast that vote.
You cannot afford to give up because you are tired of every thing, because
you think elections will be rigged, because it was painful hearing the
results the last time and whatever reasons you might have. Instead, think of
what potential Zimbabwe has.
Think back on the first three years of independence when everything seemed
to be on track before the mask slipped. Think of where we could have been
had it not been for one man and think that we can get there but only if we
start now. We have a window period here and now before the rot gets beyond
What are you going to do?
BY GOODMAN MAJOLA
The South African government has abandoned its policy of "quiet diplomacy"
on Zimbabwe, describing President Mugabe's government as "intolerant" of
people's and workers' universal rights.
Addressing a tripartite alliance recently, comprising the ruling African
National Congress (ANC), the powerful Congress of South African Trade Unions
(COSATU) and its South African Communist Party (SACP) allies, the Minister
of Safety and Security, Charles Nqakula, deplored the gross violations of
citizens' rights in Zimbabwe.
Nqakula's call has defied president Thabo Mbeki's so-called "quiet
diplomacy", a situation that has exposed double standards by the SA
government on the Zimbabwean crisis.
Nqakula, who is also the South African Communist Party's chairperson,
blasted Mugabe for what he described as "undermining" the rights of the
workers to celebrate workers day.
Speaking at Jabulani Amphitheatre in Soweto recently he called upon
President Robert Mugabe to step down, arguing that the Zanu (PF) government
had denied workers the right to express their feelings during international
workers day on May 1, 2007.
"We are here today to celebrate workers day but Zimbabweans are not allowed
by their government to celebrate this day. We cannot completely celebrate
this day while our fellow brothers and sisters are being tortured in our
neighbouring countries like Zimbabwe," said Nqakula.
He added that South African workers should support their Zimbabwean
counterparts in order to enjoy what he termed "true freedom".
This follows repeated calls by the COSATU General Secretary, Zwelinzima
Vavi, for the crisis to be resolved as a matter of urgency before the rot
spilled to other SADC regional member states.
Speaking at the same ceremony, COSATU spokesperson Zenzile Zokwana also
called on Mugabe to step down.
"Zimbabweans are brutally beaten by the Mugabe regime almost everyday. An
old baboon doesn't mix with young ones. We say to Mugabe the time has come
to hang up his boots," Zokwana said. -CAJ News
HARARE - Amid serious moves to have scores of Zanu (PF) chefs' children
deported from Western schools and universities, an embattled Zimbabwe
government has approached Britain's Cambridge examining board, cap in hand,
indicating it was ready to revoke an eight-year-old decree by President
Robert Mugabe's regime barring pupils in Zimbabwe from taking the
internationally recognised examinations.
Official sources said Education minister Aeneas Chigwedere has written to
the Cambridge International Examinations indicating that some 9,000 pupils
at Zimbabwe's independent schools are being forced to find money and
resources to write their November examinations in neighbouring African
Chigwedere was not immediately available for comment. But reliable sources
revealed that government was eager to have the Cambridge examinations
re-introduced at private schools only. The move is part of covert manoeuvres
by Mugabe's embattled regime to shield the chefs' children, who are set to
be deported soon under a proposed new sanctions regime, from having to
convert hastily to a local examination of dubious value.
Most Zanu (PF) chefs, including Mugabe, send their children to private
schools - and many have already had their children safely graduate with
Cambridge school-leaving examinations and move on to foreign universities.
The Cambridge examination ban was imposed in 1999 by Chigwedere - whose
child studied at a university in Canada - as part of what the Mugabe regime
said was a drive to eradicate all "colonial" and "Western" influence. The
Cambridge board, which has set examinations for schoolchildren in Zimbabwe
for generations, has reportedly not yet responded.
There were also concerns about the continued leaking of examination papers
from Zimsec which has impacted negatively on the credibility of the local
BY OUR CORRESPONDENT
South African President Thabo Mbeki is expected in Harare "very soon" to
break the political log-jam between the opposition and the ruling Zanu (PF)
The talks are regarded here as a last-ditch effort to bring about a
settlement to the crisis, as state-sponsored violence and mass hunger
This is the first visit to the country by Mbeki since his appointment by
SADC leaders as mediator in the Zimbabwean crisis. He will face a very
stubborn Mugabe who has already set pre-conditions to any talks - including
recognition by the MDC that he is the legitimate head of state and action by
MDC to call off the imaginary "sanctions" by western nations, which in
reality are nothing more than a travel ban on Mugabe and his henchmen and an
On the other side he will face opposition leaders Morgan Tsvangirai and
Arthur Mutambara, who will speak with one voice in demanding a halt to all
state-sponsored violence and the repeal of repressive laws against public
meetings and the press before negotiations can take place.
Official sources said Mbeki would also discuss the MDC's proposal that
Mugabe step down and appoint a successor to head a transitional government,
sharing power with the MDC until elections are held. The opposition wants
the transitional authority to be mandated with writing a new constitution,
leading to the holding of internationally supervised, free and fair
Sources in Mbeki's office indicated this week that both sides were expected
to make concessions that had been unthinkable only a few months ago, given
the deepening hardships here.
Sources said there was unlikely to be a public rebuke for Mugabe or the
prospect of Mbeki raising the volume of his widely-discredited "quiet
diplomacy" policy on Zimbabwe.
According to high-level sources, Mbeki will not broach the so-called "exit
strategy" for Mugabe's retirement, nor will he use as a lever South Africa's
supply of electricity to Zimbabwe.
Mugabe reportedly wants assurances that he will be granted immunity from
prosecution for alleged human rights abuses.
Tsvangirai indicated in an editorial in the Washington Times last Friday
that he might consider an amnesty for Mugabe, if that was what it took to
secure change. (See p16)
Tsvangirai added to feverish speculation over Mugabe's fate when he pledged
his support for "serious and sincere dialogue" between the two parties to
resolve Zimbabwe's problems.
It is expected that Mbeki will hail Mugabe as a leader of Africa in public,
while urging him to quit in private.
But Mugabe is unlikely to heed calls for him to step down. The 83-year-old
leader has called a special Zanu (PF) congress in a desperate bid to silence
critics opposed to his continued cling to power. The move is also seen as a
strategy to elbow out Vice President Joice Mujuru, who has been angling to
succeed the ageing leader.
BY SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
Zimbabwe's largest opposition party, the MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai, has
said it will boycott the forthcoming Zaka East by-election, arguing it was a
waste of time contesting the poll when government was due to dissolve
Parliament before the end of the year.
The by-election, scheduled for June 9, is likely to be a two-horse race
pitting Zanu (PF) against the Arthur Mutambara-led MDC.
The ruling Zanu (PF) party has indicated it will field Retired Colonel
Livingstone Chineka when the Nomination Court sits in Zaka tomorrow. The
Mutambara MDC was yet to nominate its candidate at the time of going to
MDC (Tsvangirai) spokesman Nelson Chamisa said his party had identified six
candidates, including three businessmen and three female candidates. But
after careful consideration of the political and electoral environment, his
party resolved to boycott the by-election as it was a waste of time, effort
"It doesn't make sense to continue to be sent on a wild goose chase
considering that whoever is elected is going to meet the fate of a dissolved
parliament," he said.
President Robert Mugabe is expected to dissolve parliament before December,
a move which will cut the legislature's lifespan by two years. He has
indicated he will invoke his Presidential Powers to provide for the
so-called "harmonisation," a move which will see presidential and
legislative elections held simultaneously in March next year.
The 6th parliament's tenure was expected to run until 2010. But Mugabe,
facing a rising tide of opposition, has resolved to hold joint polls to
enable his Zanu (PF) MPs to help him in his presidential campaign.
The MDC spokesman said the prelude to the poll had been characterised by
shocking violence against opposition members. In addition, the voters roll
was a shambles, traditional chiefs were doing the bidding for Zanu (PF) in
the rural constituency, the opposition party was being denied access to the
media and a partisan electoral commission was still in charge of running the
"There is need to remedy various areas of deficit in the electoral system,"
He said delimitation was supposed to be done by an independent body, not by
Zanu (PF), adding the voters roll should ensure everyone is entitled to
vote, and that an independent electoral body should take charge of
The MDC spokesman said traditional chiefs were being used to intimidate
their subjects and were also using food as a political weapon in the run-up
to the poll.
Chamisa said the MDC believed repressive laws such as the Public Order and
Security Act (POSA) and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
Act (AIPPA) should be repealed.
"The MDC is being denied access to the media," Chamisa said. "Its as if
there is no opposition. The opposition only exists when they accuse it of
Chamisa said his party demanded a new constitution so as to put a stop and
finality to the issue of contested electoral outcomes.
Last Friday's arrest of two lawyers while carrying out their lawful duties
in the High Court of Zimbabwe is despicable and shows how desperate the
Mugabe regime has become to cling to power at any cost.
Alec Muchadehama and Andrew Makoni were simply doing what any lawyers in any
country are expected to do in order to defend their clients, who had been
arrested on trumped-up charges and beaten and tortured while in police
What they did is not an offence and cannot, by any stretch of the
imagination, be construed to be an obstruction of justice. But of course
that all depends on your definition of "justice". Officers of the court
should not be molested and threatened in the way Muchadehama and Makoni have
been by the Zimbabwean authorities.
What we find particularly abhorrent is the threatening of their families by
suspected CIO agents.
The entire matter descended to the depths of tragic-comedy when the
prosecutor - a government lawyer who correctly discerned the folly of the
case - was assaulted by the police for having had the temerity to agree to
release the two lawyers on bail.
He was assaulted by none other than the head of the law and order
maintenance section, assistant commissioner Mabunda. One of his officers,
detective inspector Rangwani, threatened to beat other lawyers who had come
to his offices to assist their colleagues.
Both these officers should, in our view, be prosecuted - if not now, then
certainly one day.
As the Lawyers for Human Rights said in their statement: "The entire law and
order section continues to remain a law unto itself, and impunity for their
actions is further entrenched as each day passes. Further, the continued
contempt of court orders by the police has become an everyday phenomenon and
no person is safe from those who are constitutionally obliged to protect the
people of Zimbabwe. Such actions cannot be tolerated or condoned in a
We appeal to President Thabo Mbeki to take note.
The Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) has come under more
condemnation as water problems worsen under its management. The utility now
plans huge tariff hikes.
In an unusual development, Water and Infrastructure Development minister
Munacho Mutezo this week joined the growing voices crying foul about ZINWA
when he blasted the utility over the worsening water problems in Harare and
other cities and towns.
Mutezo has been in the forefront of campaigning for ZINWA to take-over water
and sewage reticulation services of cities and towns saying it would provide
the panacea to the problems that have become a permanent feature regarding
availability of water and servicing of sewage systems.
Most parts of Harare, Chitungwiza, Norton and Ruwa have been without water
for the past week despite recent assurances by ZINWAthat the situation would
The same situation prevails in Bulawayo where the battle is on as residents
fight for the reversal of the ZINWA take-over.
"It is worrying that most places are having water problems and we are saying
to ZINWA this must be addressed," Mutezo said. "The water authority must
correct this situation as a matter of urgency."
The MDC organising secretary in North West district, South Africa, Joshua
Rusere has urged people to resort to music as a way of keeping up their
Rusere awakened Zimbabweans in the Diaspora recently when he pointed out
that revolutionary songs had contributed immensely to the victory won by
Zanu (PF) and Zimbabwe in 1980.
The renowned song composer for Margaret Dongo's Zimbabwe's Union of
Democrats and MDC revolutionary songs in Zimbabwe, Rusere said this soon
after he finished recording his first acapella project in collaboration with
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition.
"In Zimbabwe people can no longer attend rallies freely and the press has
been heavily thwarted, so the remaining alternative is circulating protest
music cassettes and compact disks," said Rusere.
Parts of his protest album include songs like Sendekera Mukoma, Changamire
tongai nevamwe and Jehovah chiona. These tracks were recorded at one of
South Africa's top music studios to ensure good quality. - Trust Matsilele