May 11, 2007
Sam Knight and agencies
Politicians from across Africa agreed to send a special fact-finding mission
to Zimbabwe today to investigate human rights abuses and breakdown of the
rule of law under the regime of Robert Mugabe.
The motion was passed with 149 votes to 20 in the largely ceremonial Pan
African Parliament after a heated, nearly two-hour debate in which delegates
from across the continent disagreed over whether the mission would disrupt
the current "quiet diplomacy" advocated by South Africa as the best way to
influence the behaviour of Mr Mugabe.
Tellingly, the idea was put to the parliament by a South African opposition
party, the Inkatha Freedom Party, which wants the Government of Thabo Mbeki,
appointed as Africa's mediator to Harare, to do more to intervene in
Zimbabwe, which is in the grip of a full-blown political, economic and
"This parliament cannot sit on the sidelines and nor can it be silent on the
range of issues affecting Zimbabwe and the security of its citizens," said
Suzanne Vos, who tabled the motion. "We are mandated to promote and protect
human and people's rights, consolidate democratic institutions and culture
and ensure good governance and the rule of law."
According to the motion, the mission will investigate "allegations of the
abuse of human rights and the rule of law relating to the arrests and
detention, assault and murder of political activists and members of the
media". It is expected to report back to the parliament, an institution of
the African Union, by November.
Today's debate cast a minority MPs from southern Africa, largely opposed to
taking a strong line against Mr Mugabe, against their counterparts from rest
of the continent, although a split was visible among those countries that
neighbour Zimbabwe with the impact of refugees and instability convincing
delegates from Mozambique, for instance, to back the motion.
Four out of Zimbabwe's five members of the parliament, all MPs from Mr
Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party, opposed the motion. Gumbo Joran said that
Africa's mediation with Zimbabwe should take place through the Southern
African Development Community, which appointed Mr Mbeki as its chief
negotiator last year. "Discussing it here does not assist the situation in
Zimbabwe. It will send a wrong signal to Zimbabwe and the entire world," he
But his argument did not sway the lone representative of the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), Zimbabwe's main opposition movement, who applauded
the parliament for passing the motion. "The quicker this mission is done the
better," said Paurina Mpariwa.
Nor did it convince delegates from Algeria. Chara Bachir reminded the
parliament of the tendency of some African leaders to attempt "to cling
indefinitely on to power".
"I think the situation in Zimbabwe is intimately linked to that. I think
this goes against the grain of democracy," he said.
Yesterday, Zimbabwe's Roman Catholic Archbishop, Pius Alick Ncube,
criticised Africa's political community for deferring to South Africa's
tentative attempts to rein in Mr Mugabe. "The international community has
tried its best. The people letting us down are the African nations. They
will not come out and clearly condemn the injustices that are in Zimbabwe,"
Archbishop Ncube, an increasingly influential opposition figure who is seen
by some as a potentially uniting force against Mr Mugabe, was speaking in
Australia, where the Government is currently torn over whether to let its
World Cup-winning cricket team tour Zimbabwe later this year. Earlier this
week, a protest organised by the legal profession in Harare was broken up by
the police and several prominent lawyers were beaten.
Globe and Mail, Canada
EDITH M. LEDERER
May 11, 2007 at 3:54 AM EDT
UNITED NATIONS - Zimbabwe is likely to win UN General Assembly approval to
head a key UN body charged with promoting economic progress and
environmental protection despite protests from some western countries and
human rights organizations.
The 192-member General Assembly is scheduled to vote Friday on the new chair
of the Commission on Sustainable Development. The chair traditionally
rotates among regions of the world - it is Africa's choice this year and the
continent has chosen Zimbabwe as its candidate.
"For Zimbabwe to lead any UN body is preposterous," said Jennifer Windsor,
executive director of Freedom House, an independent nongovernmental
organization that has monitored political rights and civil liberties in
Zimbabwe since 1980.
She said President Robert Mugabe's government "clearly has nothing but scorn
for the UN's founding principles of human rights, security and international
Freedom House called on other members of the commission to block Zimbabwe's
selection, but that appeared unlikely because of widespread support for the
Several European countries have called Zimbabwe's candidacy inappropriate
and the U.S. State Department said Zimbabwe would not be an effective leader
of the commission.
It was established by the General Assembly in December, 1992, to ensure
effective follow-up of the Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro in June that
year and implementation of key environmental and development agreements.
The commission meets annually in New York, and its current session that
opened Wednesday is focusing on energy for sustainable development,
industrial development, air pollution and climate change.
Mr. Mugabe, an 83-year-old former anti-colonial rebel who has ruled Zimbabwe
since it gained independence from Britain in 1980, has acknowledged that
police used violent methods against opposition supporters and killed at
least one activist. He has warned alleged perpetrators of unrest that they
would be "bashed" again if violence continued.
Zimbabwe's ruling party has endorsed Mr. Mugabe as its candidate in next
year's presidential election. Victory would allow him to stay in power until
2013, when he would be nearly 90.
Pius Ncube... cites the Bible, chapter and verse, in
defence of his activism.
Photo: Wayne Taylor
AROUND midnight tonight, Archbishop Pius Ncube's flight from Australia will land in Harare, returning him to the darkest of times in his tortured homeland, Zimbabwe. The lights of the city may be out. The state-owned electricity company announced this week that power to homes would be cut for up to 20 hours a day. Instead the precious current will be fed into failing farms, far too few to provide enough wheat to sustain the starving population or nosediving economy.
Zimbabwe has become a nation where deprivation is measured in extremes. Life expectancy has plummeted to the world's lowest — 34 years for women, 37 for men. Grave diggers can't keep up. The London Guardian's correspondent reported in March that morgues were overflowing with corpses families can't afford to claim. Inflation runs officially at 2200 per cent, the world's highest, but even that figure is propped up by lies, according to Ncube, who puts it at 4000 per cent. Officially, a loaf of bread costs $Z875 ($A4.20); in reality it sells for $Z6000 ($A28.80). A bus fare to work will wipe out a worker's earnings. School fees in Bulawayo were $Z500,000 for first term this year, says Ncube. When children returned for second term this week, the figure had doubled. Half the children in Zimbabwe — a once-proud educator — no longer attend school, he says.
The blackest of shadows also hangs over the Archbishop's own fate. His war of words with Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has escalated in the 10 days he has been in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra trying to raise awareness of the suffering in his country, and to persuade Australia not to send its cricketers to Zimbabwe.
Last Friday, Mugabe warned that Zimbabwe's Catholic bishops — of whom Archbishop Ncube has long been the noisiest and most outspoken — had embarked on a "dangerous path" when they read a pastoral letter to their congregations at Easter condemning his Government as "racist, corrupt and lawless". The bishops warned that violence and economic hardship were pushing the nation to flashpoint; they condemned Mugabe's Government for the brutal oppression of its opponents, with hit squads detaining and torturing hundreds of dissenters in recent weeks; and they appealed for democracy to be restored through a new constitution, and free and fair elections.
"The bishops have decided to turn political," Mugabe told the state-owned Herald newspaper. "And once they turn political, we regard them as no longer being spiritual."
Ncube firmly rejects both accusations, but remains fierce in his criticism of the man who has led Zimbabwe for 27 years. "I am a human rights activist," Ncube says — not a political one. The distinction is important, he told The Age in Melbourne this week.
As to the spiritual merit of his campaign, Ncube cites the Bible, chapter and verse, in defence of his activism. Look to Luke's Nazareth Manifesto, he says, or Matthew's account of the Sermon on the Mount. "We defend the poor and the disadvantaged," he says. "Christ teaches love for your neighbour, respect. He preaches justice, peace, compassion. Uplifting people. Humility. And care for the disadvantaged — the widowed, the orphaned, the poor.
"When we are talking to Mugabe (himself a Catholic), we are saying, 'now you have forgotten this. You are an oppressor instead of a liberator. Go back to being a liberator of the people. Stop killing.' " Ncube's words are chosen carefully and released slowly, quietly, in tones barely above a whisper. They are the weary words of the preacher with a worn message no one wants to hear. But they are powerful, passionate, provocative words. "(Mugabe) is a killer and a murderer. He is a liar. We ask him to stop lying and murdering. To uphold your people." They are the words of a martyr. Amnesty International and other aid organisations held grave concerns for the Archbishop's safety even before Mugabe's ominous recent pronouncements.
Ncube is frequently labelled fearless, though he says he is not. He knows fear. "But you refuse to be … neutralised by that fear. You get up again and stand on the pulpit and proclaim. Despite all the harassment, and there is a lot of harassment. They follow you by car, they demonise you, invent stories about you." Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party has branded Ncube "a mad, inveterate liar" who is advocating the wishes of Britain and the United States in urging "regime change" in Zimbabwe.
He says he cannot be silent. On the question of why he raises his voice, despite the risk, Ncube pauses to contemplate the plush surrounds of the empty dining room of Melbourne's grand Windsor Hotel, where we have met for this interview. The opulence jars; it's all wrong with the story he is here to tell. "Something kind of breaks in you. It's like you are challenged in the depths of your personality. Like someone is beating your mother in front of you. You can't just fold your hands and let it happen. Some kind of … disturbance stirs deep down in your gut, where you simply say 'no'. Even if it means death."
The son of a farmer, raised in Zimbabwe's west, Ncube recalls vividly two moments when something broke in him. He was not yet a bishop, but a priest in a district where, in 1983, "something disastrous happened. Mugabe was killing 20,000 innocent civilians in my part of the country. This was kind of tribal cleansing — ethnic cleansing. It aroused the worst in me. We took a stand — with my bishop at the time, a Swiss missionary — for human rights." The next moment came when Mugabe seized, violently, more than 4000 white-owned farms in 2000, "killing the economy. And I thought, I must oppose this … Being quiet, I would let evil things go on for the sake of my personal life … What I am fighting for is worth it. You can't be quiet in the face of gross injustice.
"If we had a good (political) opposition, there would be no need for the church to talk," he says. "If we had a free press, there would be no need for us to talk." But Mugabe has banned five newspapers, and controls radio and television content. "So we have to speak for the poor and the disadvantaged. It is our duty, to defend the powerless against the powerful, those who are poor, weak, hungry against those who have plenty, who are corrupt and who turn everything to their advantage."
Ncube is a lean, sad-faced man. His worn, dark, too-short trousers flap around his calves as he walks — swiftly, unlike his speech. He rushes to retrieve a large silver crucifix to hang around his neck when the photographer arrives. He endures the process of having his picture taken, clearly uncomfortable in the depths of a leather armchair.
His road to this role as activist and advocate began when he was enrolled in St Patrick's school in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second city, at 13. Taught by missionary Dominican nuns from Germany, he soon became captured by their faith, and at 15 decided to become a Catholic, taking the name Pius at his baptism. His father had followed traditional African beliefs until converting to Catholicism five years before his death. His mother, a Mennonite Christian, also followed her son into Catholicism.
Ncube's interest in human rights was fired during his seminary training, where he was profoundly influenced by social justice teachings. South Africa's Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and slain Latin American bishop Oscar Romero are his motivating heroes.
His faith is challenged daily not only by fear, but by anger at injustice. To see it, "if you are human, you are angry. But you try to transform that energy into activism for human rights." He fortifies himself with an hour, sometimes two, of prayer, reflection and reading every morning — rising at 5am. "Fear is the crippling factor in Zimbabwe. The Government causes people to be afraid, either to run away and leave Zimbabwe, or just to be quiet, to not say anything."
The crisis he observes in his homeland now has eaten into people's souls. It is not just about hunger, about disease — AIDS has been allowed to run unchecked for two decades — about inequality, about oppression. There is no joy left in Zimbabwe, Ncube says. Even the rituals and celebrations that usually bring the poorest people relief — a wedding anniversary, a birthday, a baby — have been stolen by galloping inflation.
Not long ago, he attended a gathering of 50 or 60 women. They begged him to lay his hands upon them, looking for healing. He asked them what ailed them. They suffered palpations of the heart, they told him. They could not sleep. Their blood pressure rose and rose. "People are very depressed," he says, and the women suffer most of all.
"The woman is usually the provider for the children, for food, for clothing for school fees. The men, they run away. They take off, go to Johannesburg and never come back." The women are left behind with the children and the struggle, and it kills them before they reach middle age.
CORRUPTION is rampant, permeating society from the top where it is motivated by greed, through the impoverished middle-classes, and consuming the exploding ranks of the destitute, where it is fed by desperate survival. How do they live? Ncube gestures to the sparkling glassware and cutlery in the room around him, and mimes hiding it beneath his suit coat. This is what it takes to survive in Zimbabwe.
Aside from the opportunism of petty theft, of whatever rackets and black-market entrepreneurship might bring in food or money, survival relies on the largesse of Zimbabwe's diaspora, who send money to their families, or on hand-outs from the World Food Program and various aid agencies. Even they are oppressed, carefully mute as they observe the spiralling collapse of society and economy, fearful that their efforts will be curtailed if they make too much noise.
Even when Zimbabwe's bad news escapes, it rarely resonates loud or long. The world is weary of this long-winded, eight-year crisis, he says. Insidious and unending, in terms of news value, it is easily eclipsed by Iraq and Afghanistan and Darfur.
In his brief, low-key Australian visit — which the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade sponsored — Ncube's message has focused not on the issues on the ground in Zimbabwe, but on the one confronting Australians. Whether to send an Australian cricket team to tour Zimbabwe. The answer, from Ncube, is an emphatic "no".
"It will be used by Mugabe for his own propaganda. To show how important he is, how important Zimbabwe is, his Government is. For Australians to come over there will give him a big boost. (Mugabe) is being isolated already by his own party." But he is clinging fast to power. Touring Australian cricketers would be given a carefully stage-managed view of Zimbabwe, chaperoned to locations dressed up for their visit with funds the nation can't afford. "They will not see the backyard, where the distress is."
The Federal Government is against the tour, and has offered to pay Zimbabwe millions of dollars in compensation if the Australian cricket team backs out of its commitment. Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer met Cricket Australia officials and players in Melbourne this week to try to persuade them to stay home.
If the world champions went to Zimbabwe "the regime will be able to say, well, some politicians are isolating us but, look, we have the world's greatest cricket team here. Isn't that a wonderful thing? It shows that not all of the world are angry with Zimbabwe".
Prime Minister John Howard has also said he is increasingly of the view that the tour should not proceed.
A spokesman for Cricket Australia, Peter Young, told The Sydney Morning Herald that to pull out would risk Australia's relations with world cricket. Cricketing nations including India and South Africa are opposed to a boycott.
It's a debate Ncube is happy to have stirred and to see drag on, so long as it draws attention to the plight of Zimbabwe's 11 million people. Meanwhile, despite Mugabe's threats, Ncube returns to his pulpit tomorrow to preach his plea for peaceful revolution, urging the people to find the energy and courage for a popular mass uprising akin to that of the Ukraine, or the Philippines' Rosary Revolution of 1986, which ousted then-president Ferdinand Marcos.
He is not averse to veiled warnings of retribution himself, though he leaves the work to the divine. The Powerpoint presentation he has taken on the road to aid groups in Australia finishes with a quote from Amos 6, verses 4-7.
"Woe to those who lie upon beds of ivory, and stretch themselves upon their couches, and eat lambs from the flock and calves from the midst of the stall; who sing idle songs to the sound of the harp, and like David invent for themselves instruments of music; who drink wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with the finest oils, but are not grieved over the ruin of Joseph!
By Tichaona Sibanda
11 May 2007
A senior police officer in Harare has been exposed as a 'vicious torturer'
behind the serial beatings of MDC activists at the notorious Law and Order
section at the central police station.
Senior assistant commissioner Musarashana Godwin Mabunda, an elder at the
Zioga church, was described on Friday as a Christian who openly and
unashamedly defends the use of torture and abuse against MDC activists
detained by the regime in the last two months.
Other senior officers named were Superintendent Chani and an Inspector
Rangwani. Both Mabunda and Chani are former war veterans and were described
by a former police officer as 'two individuals who are difficult to reason
The silence on Mabunda and his co-conspirators was broken by Pishai
Muchauraya, MDC spokesman for Manicaland, a torture victim who barely
survived to tell his story to confirm the 'horrors' that police under the
command of 'the terrible trio' tortured MDC activists at the Law and Order
headquarters in the capital.
Muchauraya said; 'It's normal for Christians to see themselves as defenders
of morality rather than defenders of evil. He (Mabunda) must come to grips
with the fact that as a Christian he is defending and advocating moral evil
in the pursuit of political goals.'
Describing the horrors of the week he spent at the Law and Order section,
Muchauraya painted a picture of arrests and torture that have led human
rights groups to condemn the regime in the strongest terms.
'The first stage was the inevitable shock. As a pro-democracy activist
fighting against the brutal regime I was by and large psychologically
prepared for danger, but I was totally unprepared to experience such
suffering from people who are supposed to be protecting us,' he said.
Muchauraya added; 'before charges were even laid against me, Chani whipped
me 16 times on my buttocks and gleefully told me it was just an
introduction. After I got over the initial pain I was then consumed by fear.
I thought I would never walk out alive.'
There were other forms of brutality.
'I was treated cruelly not only by the senior officers but their
subordinates as well. Many of these junior officers kept their distance but
were forced to be proactive to prove their worth and to avoid suspicion.
They cursed and shouted at me, made fun of my ill health and inflicted
punishment whenever they pleased,' Muchauraya said.
He said one of the worst punishments he endured was the denial of food. In
one week he was fed just enough to keep him alive: no more than a fistful of
food at mealtime, and there were times he was not fed at all.
'I used to see myself as a warrior, unbreakable and strong. But I lost all
that dignity under torture, 'ndakapedzisira ndakubowa sekamwana nekurohwa'
(I ended up wailing like a kid at each beating).'
After the third day in custody police tried to charge him with insurgency,
terrorism and banditry but he denied all charges. On the fifth day he was
charged on a lesser account of 'causing trouble' in Manicaland and was
released on Z$2500 bail. He spent a week in hospital receiving treatment.
May 11, 2007 09:23 AM
Buhera North, the home village of Zimbabwe main opposition party
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) president Morgan Tsvangirai, more than
five villagers are dying every month, hospitals and clinics have shut down
and students are without teachers.
According to villagers, teachers, doctors
and nurses have left the district, victimised by government officials
and ruling party Zanu-PF sympathisers. Those clinics that are still open are
without drugs and medical practitioners.
International donors have been barred from visiting the district,
which is 260 kilometres south of Harare. Since the creation of the MDC seven
years ago, all state programmes meant to alleviate the plight of the
villagers have been abandoned.
When i visited the district, villagers complained that the government
has taken the political rift between Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and
Tsvangirai too far.
A matron at Gwubu Hospital, one of the biggest hospitals in the
district, told me that in the days before the 2002 presidential elections
the hospital had above 10 fulltime doctors and 30 nurses on duty. However,
all the doctors have since left without replacement. Now, there are only
seven nurses attending more than 70 patients a day.
"There is an enormous exodus of doctors and nurses at the hospital and
the lack of drugs is making work very difficult. I can't even recall the
last time we received drugs from the government. It is very sad that
patients are coming from as far as 150 kilometres away and expect us to
treat them. But there is nothing we can do since all our shelves are empty.
We turn away more than 70 patients daily and many villagers are dying before
even reaching the hospital and local clinics."
Tinashe Manhando, 57, of Munyaradzi village, a few kilometres from
Tsvangirai and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono's
village, said: "The government has shunned this district since the time
Morgan [Tsvangirai] threatened President Mugabe in the 2002 presidential
"It has stopped giving government aid to this district, accusing
villagers of being disciples of Tsvangirai. People here have been surviving
on food donations from World Vision and the Red Cross Society but the
government banned these organisations from visiting the district.
"Our children are going to schools where there are no teachers. They
[teachers)] have left because of being victimised by Zanu-PF youths. Now we
have a situation where one teacher is teaching at two schools, a teacher at
Munyaradzi Primary School is travelling about 17 kilometres to teach at
Chapwanya Primary School twice or thrice a week, and the same is happening
at our local secondary school."
About 30 teachers in Buhera North were assaulted and ejected from
their workplaces in 2002 by a group of suspected war veterans who accused
them of supporting the MDC, according to the Daily News.
It reported that at Murambinda Secondary School, teachers Teddy
Mugwari, Leonard Usavi, Benjamin Mwandifura and deputy headmaster Godfrey
Marongwe were ordered to leave the school premises with immediate effect and
not to return or face unspecified action.
One Form Four student at the school told me that he was concerned that
the government is not serious about the way Zanu-PF supporters are treating
"Teachers are deserting here; we have lost our best teachers because
of harassment and intimidation by Zanu-PF youth. At one point you see a
group of strange faces in a truck singing anti-MDC songs at the schoolyard,
disrupting lessons for about an hour. Teachers are afraid of them and just
leave the school one by one. This is a serious cause for concern as there is
no one from the district department of education rebuking this situation."
A 2002 report prepared by Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum called
"Teaching them a lesson" documents 238 individual cases of human rights
abuses against teachers over a year.
The Human Rights Forum produces regular reports on human rights
violations in Zimbabwe. Its Public Interest Unit also provides free legal
assistance to victims of organised violence and torture.
According to the report, Stan Mudenge, the then Minister of Foreign
Affairs, said to teachers in the district: "You are going to lose your jobs
if you support opposition political parties. As civil servants, you have to
be loyal to the government of the day. You can even be killed for supporting
the opposition and no one would guarantee your safety."
The Minister of Education, Sports and Culture, Aneas Chigwedere, also
threatened to fire teachers in the district suspected of supporting the
opposition: "We cannot continue to pay our enemies. People have to know
which side of their bread is buttered," Chigwedere said.
In 2002 a Zanu PF gang in the district allegedly ambushed a car driven
by Tsvangirai's driver, Tichaona Chiminya, setting it on fire. Chiminya and
a co-worker, Talent Mabika, were burnt to death. Although their killers were
well-known members of the central intelligence organisation, no action was
taken against them.
Today, a climate of fear and repression still pervades the area. After
spending five days in there, I saw clear signs of this. Some villagers kept
referring my questions to chiefs, saying they are the only people with
government authority to speak to aliens and individuals they don't trust.
And Zanu-PF still has a grip on some local chiefs and headmen, who
reportedly continually preach to the youth and their subjects the importance
of the liberation struggle.
Rangarirayi Mudamburi, 30, of Muzhingi village told me: "We have a few
chiefs in this district who are still loyal to the Zanu-PF government. These
chiefs receive food handouts from government every month for preaching about
the liberation war to the youths. They don't want us to (say anything bad)
about president Mugabe and Zanu PF. "We are so worried that these leaders
are failing to speak out about the people who are dying of poverty, the
youths who are not working because the government is failing to create jobs,
and the fact that everything is shrinking and life if getting hard for all
school leavers", Mudamburi said.
I was in Buhera North for 5 days for this assignment.
Added: May 11, 2007 09:55 AM
don't be intimidated by Mugabe.
Ntando your research is very apologetic to ZANU-PF this is
my home village there is a lot happening, tell the world everything.
Anyway this is good your effort is highly welcomed
Keep it on don't be intimidated by Mugabe.
By: Lloyd Mudzamiri
Added: May 11, 2007 10:02 AM
Take it easy
Buhera take it easy Mugabe is going this is his last days.
Wish him the best.
By: Norest Makonese
Added: May 11, 2007 10:11 AM
i cant believe this!!
I think Mr Gono should come in and help his village. You
can't just look you relatives suffering just because you are in Zanu PF.
Ntando are you sure that Gono is Tsvangirayi's homeboy, i cant believe
this!! Philani Khumalo
By: Philani Khumalo
Added: May 11, 2007 03:09 PM
Cheers,good stuff,keep it up Ntando
By: Trust Matsilele
The Herald (Harare) Published by the government of Zimbabwe
11 May 2007
Posted to the web 11 May 2007
SOUTHERN and western Harare were hit by a major power failure last night and
were likely to lose their water supply by this morning as Morton Jaffray
Water Treatment Plant was also affected.
Zesa Holdings engineers were working flat out late last night to route
alternative feeds to Harare Central Hospital and the main water works before
moving to find and repair whatever caused the main outage.
These two units had critical importance, hence the major priority to find an
alternative route on the distribution grid to bring in power from the
unaffected part of the city.
The hospital and treatment works both have an alternative feed, but these
came from the same main bulk supply point, hence the need to find an
Zesa Holdings corporate communications manager Mr James Maridadi last night
said the blackout that hammered the suburbs, where most of Harare's people
live, had nothing to do with the scheduled power cuts to allow for
uninterrupted power supplies to winter wheat farmers.
It was a failure somewhere at the major sub-station feeding the entire area
which engineers were battling in the moonless darkness to find and repair.
The crowded south-western suburbs, plus large parts of the western and
southern suburbs, are supplied directly with water from Morton Jaffray via
the Warren Control and have no reservoirs to cushion them against a pump or
power failure at the treatment plant.
By midnight most houses in the affected area still had water in their taps
but were likely to run dry once the water in the pipelines leading from
Warren Control was exhausted.
The suburbs will only have assured supplies once Morton Jaffray has power
for its pumps.
Once engineers had routed emergency power to the hospital and the treatment
plant, they would switch to find out what had gone wrong at the main Warren
Bulk Supply Station, near Budiriro and Warren Park.
Most of the areas were hit at around 8pm as this station, one of the three
giant main distribution points for Harare, went down. At the same time there
was a brief cut in the city centre, lasting around a second.
Mr Maridadi last night said the hit suburbs included Warren Park, Kambuzuma,
Kuwadzana, Glen View, Budiriro, Dzivaresekwa, Belvedere, Marlborough,
Mabelreign, Hatfield, Chadcombe, Glen Norah and Highfield.
"There has been a fault at Warren bulk supply point which is one of the
three power bulk supplies in Harare. It also feeds (supply power) to Morton
Jaffray and Harare Central Hospital and this is the crucial thing.
"The fault has not been ascertained," said Mr Maridadi.
He said whenever there was a fault at the power station, which also affects
Morton Jaffray, in most cases there would be put in place a "substitution"
that would feed the water pump. But that "substitution" has also been
affected as they all emanate from the same power station.
"There is a dedicated feed that goes to Morton Jaffray and in the event of a
fault, we feed it with a backfeed which would be the alternative.
"Neither the dedicated nor alternative feed is working," said Mr Maridadi.
He said Zesa Holdings engineers were last night still making efforts to
establish the cause of the fault.
"First they want to work out and bring power supplies to Harare Central
Hospital and Morton Jaffray.
"We are hoping that by tomorrow the situation would be rectified.
"We want to apologise to everyone affected and it is our endeavour that we
restore power supplies as soon as possible," said Mr Maridadi.
By Lance Guma
11 May 2007.
The University of Zimbabwe resembled a war zone on Thursday as students
clashed with riot police following the disruption of a campaign gala.
Student elections are due at the university and several candidates had hoped
to address students and put forward their campaign manifestos. Speaking to
Newsreel on Friday Benjamin Nyandoro, a Programmes Officer with the Zimbabwe
National Students Union, said UZ security guards started assaulting students
without provocation. The students responded by singing revolutionary songs
and denouncing Robert Mugabe who is the Chancellor of the university.
Riot police then descended on the campus firing tear gas canisters and
beating up students. Several first year students were arrested before being
released. 3 student leaders, Prosper Munatse, Munyaradzi Seredzayi and
Blessing Vava were locked up at Avondale Police station before being
transferred to Harare Central. Munatse and Seredzayi were arrested whilst
addressing students and taken to the UZ campus control room by security
guards. It's alleged they were then heavily assaulted before police came to
pick them up. Students who visited them Friday morning say they are being
denied medical treatment despite suffering injuries to the head, arms and
Nyandoro said police also fired live ammunition on campus and unleashed two
vicious dogs that allegedly mauled several students. Its thought at least 4
students were hospitalized while another 15 were injured. In the mayhem
several buildings and 3 vehicles were destroyed. Windows at the government
owned Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe, Main Library, Great Hall, Swinton Dining
Hall, New Complexes 2, 3 and 4 were smashed. The UZ student leadership say
they tried to calm down angry students but this proved futile as the clashes
continued throughout the afternoon.
Students are not happy over the deteriorating educational, health,
accommodation and food standards on campus. A major hike in tuition fees
last year has also made the situation worse since most students say they
cannot afford the new fees. The student elections have become a platform for
articulating these issues and this is seen as the reason why the authorities
are trying to block the campaign galas. There is also an accommodation
crisis on campus following the eviction of over 1500 male students from
residence. This was because of a controversial directive to re-designate
previously male hostels for females. The courts set this decision aside but
the authorities disregarded it. An ongoing strike by lecturers, which
started in January, is also affecting the students.
Meanwhile riot police maintained a heavy presence on campus right up to
SW RADIO AFRICA TRANSCRIPT
On the programme 'Hot Seat' journalist Violet Gonda hosts the final
discussion with one of the MDC Presidents Professor Arthur Mutambara and
National Constitutional Assembly chairman Dr. Lovemore Madhuku.
Broadcast on Tuesday 08 May 2007
Violet: We bring you the final segment of a two-part teleconference with
opposition leader Professor Arthur Mutambara and civic leader Dr Lovemore
Madhuku on the programme Hot Seat.
The discussion last week centred on the status of the talks with South
Africa's Thabo Mbeki with Dr Madhuku ending that particular discussion
sharing his reservations about the consultative process. He said civic
society doesn't know what is happening as far as the talks are concerned, as
they have not been involved. Dr. Madhuku pointed out that they have little
trust in politicians as they are in the habit of making compromises. Critics
have said there seems to be a lot of posturing from political parties on the
issue of the crisis talks. So I then asked Professor Mutambara if someone
should put together a group of stakeholders as they did in South Africa with
CODESA, instead of just politicians negotiating behind the scenes.
Professor Arthur Mutambara: In answering your question let me just quickly
agree with Dr. Madhuku. Zimbabweans will be masters of their own destiny. We
cannot depend on foreigners to deliver us from this dictatorship. We should
be in charge of our lives. We can't out source our emancipation to
foreigners. So our success will depend on activities on the ground, it will
depend on what we are doing ourselves as Zimbabweans as opposed to focusing
on what Mbeki, SADC or the West can do for us. So that is a very important
point. We are going to be the ones responsible for our emancipation, not
Mbeki and not SADC. Secondly we must make sure that we have an all
stakeholder approach. Political parties cannot be engaging ZANU and Mbeki on
their own. They must leverage the wisdom - they must involve civic society.
It's an all stakeholder approach we seek in our country. So we agree that it
has to be a CODESA type activity. It must involve civic society in a formal
way not informally but formally because we are in this fight together. We
need to make sure that the political parties are involved in a process of
thorough and formal consultation with civic society. We want to learn from
the Kempton Park processes in South Africa - CODESA 1, CODESA 2. We want to
learn from Kenya so that we can actually be effective in terms of what we
are doing in our country.
Violet: So have you actually identified who your friends are in Africa
because many people believe that as long as these other African countries
are attached to South Africa by the hip, many believe that Robert Mugabe
will get his own way?
Professor Arthur Mutambara: I think that is a very simplistic way of looking
at things. We don't share that observation. We have faith in the African
government of the ANC; we have faith in Africans being able to provide
mediation in our environment. We believe the Africans are more effective
than westerners in Zimbabwe because of the history of double standards,
hypocrisy on the part of the West. So the West can do justice to us by
making sure they support the SADC initiative, they support President Mbeki
in this initiative because the Africans are the most effective in terms of
trying to push for change and push for democratic change in Zimbabwe. But we
want to emphasize that we agree that we don't want any piecemeal approach to
reforming our constitution - Amendment 18, Amendment 19. We don't want any
of that. We want a holistic and comprehensive approach to changing our
constitution. We share the reservations of Dr. Madhuku around that and also
we share his reservations about politicians. We don't want to depend on
Mutambara; we don't want to depend on the politician. We must depend on
institutions; we must depend on value systems. We have seen it in Kenya
where they promised to deliver a constitution but up to now Kibaki has not
done that. So we are also very, very strong about having a constitutional
dispensation before a new government takes over because there is a danger
that these politicians, like myself, will get carried away with power and
not deliver on the essence of a new constitution. So we would want to make
sure Zimbabweans should never depend on personalities or depend on
politicians but rather depend on systems, processes and institutions so that
we can have a holistic and comprehensive approach to changing our
constitution before a new government takes over. We have seen this in the
Violet: But Mr. Mutambara why do you believe that Thabo Mbeki will do
things differently this time because he was been embarking on this quiet
diplomacy for a long time and some critics say he really doesn't have any
faith in Zimbabwe's opposition. Why do you trust him now that he will do
Professor Arthur Mutambara: First and foremost we don't speak for Mbeki,
Mbeki speaks for himself. What we can say to you is that this time around it's
not a Mbeki mandate it's a SADC mandate, it's an African mandate. Secondly,
the Africans in general from Kuffour, Mwanawasa, Mbeki, Ian Khama are very
clear in their minds in terms of the nature of the brutality that Mugabe is
meting out on Africans. Mugabe is now clearly a despot who is brutalizing
black Africans, who is denying black Africans human rights. Who is denying
black Africans economic opportunities and there is movement in opinions and
attitudes in Africa vis a vi Mugabe. And so that is a starting point. This
is not business as usual. It's clear to Africans in the Diaspora, it's clear
to Africans in Africa that Mugabe is no longer a liberator, he is no longer
a liberation hero, he is no longer a land revolutionary.
Secondly Mbeki has more than Zimbabwe on his mind. We are talking about
national strategic interests for South Africa. The World Cup 2010 soccer is
a national achievement for South Africa. It's a regional achievement for
SADC. It's a continental achievement for Africa so the Africans are not
prepared to have Zimbabwe spoil that opportunity for Africa to showcase
itself in this world cup. So, if you want at a very cynical level, South
Africa has clearly strategic interests in resolving the Zimbabwean crisis.
That's new, that's new, that's different from the past and in any case we
have faith that the Africans in South African believe in the success of
SADC. They believe that they cannot have SADC succeeding without Zimbabwe.
They cannot have Africa succeeding without Zimbabwe functioning properly as
an economy. So we have faith that there is good will on the part of the ANC
government, there is goodwill on the part of Mbeki. As Africans they believe
the destiny of Africa is dependent on the success of Zimbabwe and so we are
saying, "let's give Africans the opportunity and space to bring about
effective intervention in our country." When all is said and done we must
continue with the fight in our country to get freedom. We can't out source
our liberation to foreigners. We must be masters of our own destiny and the
price of freedom is death! Give me freedom or give me death. If Zimbabweans
are not prepared to sacrifice their lives to be free then they don't deserve
freedom! So we must continue with our defiance campaign. We must continue
confronting Mugabe so that we can bring about change in this country.
Violet: Dr. Madhuku your thoughts on this because while Mbeki is
facilitating dialogue, Mugabe continues to beat opposition leaders and
supporters and is this not an indication that he has already - Mugabe has
already started his election rigging campaign? And do you think Zimbabweans
will get a fair deal?
Dr. Lovemore Madhuku: I think we should understand what Professor Mutambara
is saying and I think I made the point also. The point that the basic
approach that we have is that we will have action here in Zimbabwe. That is
what our focus is on - a united front that puts pressure on Mugabe to get
the reforms that we want. The initiative by SADC where President Mbeki is
involved is actually indicated on the actions that SADC is playing,
Zimbabweans are playing. And remember that SADC only met after 11 March when
all of us were arrested - Mutambara there, Tsvangirai, myself - all of us.
That's when SADC came in and so it's not like we are sitting and waiting to
see what Mbeki does, we are sitting to see what the SADC initiative is all
about. We are engaged daily in the struggle to get our country better to
achieve the kind of objectives that we have set that Professor Mutambara has
clearly outlined. And it is in that context that we would really, with a lot
of hope, see what President Mbeki does. If the SADC initiative or the Mbeki
initiative comes to nothing that will not mean that our struggle will come
to nothing. It will simply mean that initiative has not worked but the
struggle for Zimbabweans is continuing. That's what our objective is at the
Violet: And what about the violence issue. Who is going to run, let's say
the 2008 election campaign when the leadership from the opposition is
spending time recovering and severely weakened? Dr Madhuku?
Dr. Lovemore Madhuku: There will be no election campaign without the
violence stopping. There will be no election campaign without a new
constitution. There will be no election campaign without a clear democratic
dispensation in this country. I think the assumption you are making is
that - not withstanding all that you are saying - if Mugabe calls an
election tomorrow or the next day and has done no changes; he is still
violent, he is still abducting people, he is still crippling the opposition
we will still say; "Okay let's go to an election?" This is the point that
has changed. This is the point that we wish to make clear to the world that
as Zimbabweans we have reached a stage where we are able to say; "No we will
not accept that." Mugabe can do that kind of façade called an election but
he will do it on his own!
Violet: So what are you saying exactly because if elections are going to be
held next year and so far the negotiations haven't actually started its just
facilitating dialogue between the political parties, will there be enough
Dr. Lovemore Madhuku: Ya there will be a lot of time. In fact the whole
basis is that there is enough time for us. There is nothing that is cast in
stone. March is not cast in stone. What is cast in stone is that Zimbabweans
must determine for themselves the kind of country that they want to see.
That's what is cast in stone. The people must decide how they want to
governed and that is all. I am sure Professor Mutambara has a lot to add on
Violet: Professor Mutambara?
Professor Arthur Mutambara: Ya, you see March 2008 is just a number,
meaningless number. The most important thing in our country is the issue of
creating conditions amenable to free and fair elections. We could care less
about the name, the number - March 2008. If there is total buy in, if there
is political will, if they are irreversible processes towards a new
constitution if everyone is agreed we are working together and it requires
15months to get a new constitution in place, it requires 15 months to carry
out electoral law reforms, we will allow the 15 months to be used in the
creation of those conditions. That is if there are irreversible processes
towards a new constitution. SO the obsession with elections must be killed
in our country. We don't want people who talk elections, elections. We are
not interested in elections without a new constitution. We are not
interested in elections without new electoral laws. So the obsession should
not be March 2008. The obsession is - "Do we have conditions in our country
that allow us to have free and fair elections?
Also we are saying - that first election under the new constitution, under
the new dispensation must be internationally supervised. Mugabe and ZANU
have proven beyond any reasonable doubt that they are not capable of
carrying out free and fair elections. So international supervision of that
first election. So please our charge, our mandate is to say - let's not be
obsessed with elections. Let's be obsessed with creating conditions that
will allow us to have free and fair elections and let's allow the necessary
amount of time required to allow those conditions to take route in our
society so that whatever government is elected is a legitimate government
that is not being challenged by those who have lost that election.
So, yes we would want to have a new constitution, electoral laws and removal
of AIPPA by March 2008 but if we sit down as Zimbabweans and agree that it
will take us two years, it will take us 15 months we will allow the
necessary amount of time to be put into the process of producing a genuine
political dispensation that allows us to have a new society.
Violet: What about the issue of sanctions? Some have said that all that
Thabo Mbeki has to do right now is threaten to close the border like what
South Africa did with Ian Smith. Do you agree with this?
Professor Arthur Mutambara: First and foremost we have never .
Dr. Lovemore Madhuku: We have never called for sanctions .
Professor Arthur Mutambara: .called for sanction against our country. Just
briefly before Dr Madhuku comes in. We have never called for sanctions
against our country. We have said publicly - the biggest imposer of
sanctions on Zimbabwe is Robert Mugabe and ZANU PF. The sanctions of
corruption, the sanctions of misrule, the sanctions of illegitimacy, the
sanctions of complete economic mismanagement. Mugabe must remove those
sanctions against Zimbabweans before he discusses the removal of sanctions
by other people. Now with the South Africans we are say; "The South Africans
must use what ever influence they have to drive Mugabe - the dictator - to
the negotiating table." We are not going to prescribe to them how to do it.
We are saying you are Africans. We are saying you have a vested interest in
the processes of Zimbabwe so use whatever influences you have to force the
opposition, to force Mugabe to dialogue and come up with solutions for
Zimbabweans. So we respect the government of South Africa and we believe
they are genuine and we are saying they must use whatever influences they
have to drive the process towards dialogue in our country.
Violet: And Dr. Madhuku you were just about to say something about the
Dr. Lovemore Madhuku: Yes I was actually going to give a shorter answer than
that. Mine was clearly that we have never called for sanctions. What we have
called upon the international community to do is to support the cause of
Zimbabweans who are fighting for democracy. Like what Professor Mutambara is
saying - we are not going to tell the world how to do it. What we have asked
the world to do is "you see what we are doing, we will do it as Zimbabweans
and we will call upon your support." That is all we have been doing and will
continue to do.
Violet: And Dr. Madhuku what are the possible scenarios, in a nutshell, that
can unfold in Zimbabwe. Now that the SADC heads of state have tasked Thabo
Mbeki with facilitating dialogue between the political parties?
Dr. Lovemore Madhuku: The first scenario is of course the initiative by SADC
where Mugabe agrees to come to the negotiating table and talks to the
opposition, perhaps with the involvement of civic society and some
settlement is reached and he agrees to constitutional reform and thereafter
elections. That will be like the ideal scenario and so on. But there is the
other likely scenario where Mugabe would like to confuse the SADC leaders,
pretending that there is no time to do this wholesale initiative coming from
themselves and then continues to push in the direction of saying - please we
are running a democracy here and that the problem is the opposition and then
goes ahead with the election that his party has called for March 2008. In
that event it will very much depend on what we do as the united group of
civic society and the opposition: -whether we legitimize Mugabe by
participating in those elections or we simply, as we are saying currently,
non participation in the election. If we were to not participate in the
election Mugabe would clearly be illegitimate and the process of continuing
with pressure will be shorter. Within a year of that restricted non event we
will get a Zimbabwe that is free, with free and fair elections,
internationally supervised and under a new constitution.
Violet: And a final word Professor Mutambara
Professor Arthur Mutambara: We are saying Zimbabweans are going to be
masters of their won destiny. We are going to free ourselves from this
dictatorship. We appreciate the assistance and mediation from foreigners but
we don't depend on foreigners, we depend on ourselves. We are also saying
we don't depend on the benevolence of Robert Mugabe. We are not going to be
freed by Robert Mugabe committing political suicide or Robert Mugabe self
destructing on our part. We are saying Mugabe will have no choice. We are
going to drive Mugabe to the negotiating table. We are going to force Mugabe
to deliver what we want in the same way that Smith delivered what we wanted
in 1980. And so we won't depend on the goodwill of Robert Mugabe. We will
depend on our actions on the ground. We will depend on our sacrifices on the
ground to deliver this change.
In terms of scenarios, we are hopeful we have cautious optimism that out of
the SADC initiatives there will be a process of achieving minimum conditions
that are critical for us to have free and fair elections in our country and
once that is done we are going to work together even before the new
constitution, even before the new conditions. The paradigm going forward is
a united front to negotiate and establish a consensus on a new constitution.
To negotiate and establish a consensus on levelling the political playing
field in our country. Working together is the operative phrase. There is
absolutely no alternative in our country to working together in terms of
working towards a new political dispensation.
After that dispensation when we have our conditions that are favourable for
elections, again we are going to present a united front inspired by a single
candidate principle so that every vote will count against Mugabe. We are
saying to Zimbabweans please let's close ranks. Let's manage our differences
and drive Mugabe out of town through unity of purpose, unity in action that
is what we want to see in our country. In the event of worst case scenario
where Mugabe refuses to give us a new constitution, no electoral reform, no
removal of AIPPA and POSA - in that worst case scenario here is our
position: We want to make sure that all the democratic forces the opposition
parties, civic society come up with a common position. A common position
that will bind us together because if we have divisions in terms of how we
address that worst case scenario that's what Mugabe is looking for. That's
what Mugabe would want. So the starting point is that whatever we decide to
do - participation or non participation - it has to be a collective and
common position across all civic society, across all opposition parties and
also as democrats we are going to consult our people, we are going to
consult our national councils and the national councils of our political
parties and the leadership of the civic societies we'll sit down and come up
with that position as to what we do.
But we are saying we are not interested in participating in fraudulent
elections, we are not interested in legitimizing Mugabe by participating in
elections that are predetermined. We demand free and fair elections in our
country as a minimum requirement. The issue in Zimbabwe cannot be resolved
because remember it is illegitimacy that comes from fraudulent elections. SO
if we participate in illegitimate elections, if we participate in fraudulent
elections we have not solved the crisis of governance in our country. We
would not have solved the issue around illegitimacy of the government.
Finally, let's not be caught up on the politics of emancipation and
democracy. We must talk about economics. What are we going to do as the
opposition when we get into power around technology, around science, around
macro-economics, around social policy, around HIV/ AIDS, around land? As we
debate freedom, as we debate constitutionalism in our country we must also
proffer technocratic answers to the challenges of our country. We can't wait
until we get into power to develop our policies. We can't wait until we get
into power to built technocratic capacity in civic society, technocratic
capacity in opposition party members & leaders so that when our change does
come that change will have both form and substance.
We are not looking for the change that happened in Zambia where Chiluba was
worse than Kaunda, what happened in Malawi where Muluzi was worse than
Banda. We don't want that in our country. We want change that has both form
and substance. That's why our challenge in the opposition is to make sure we
deliver democratic change, we also deliver economic transformation from
poverty to Zimbabwe which is a globally competitive economy characterized by
a business growth, entrepreneurship, value addition, beneficiation so that
we become the Singapore of Africa, the Malaysia of Africa. We are dreamers.
We have the potential. We have natural resources in our country. We have
very good infrastructure on the ground. We have very, very capable human
capital in our country. We were the bread basked of Southern Africa we can
go back to that and do more. The future is great and as Zimbabweans, if we
work together, we will be able to achieve the promised land. But there will
be more blood, sweat and tears before we reach the tipping point. We won't
claim any cheap victories, any easy victories. Zimbabweans must work harder
than what they have done so far and we are saying this hard work must be
carried out in a collective way by emphasizing a united front in everything
that we do.
Violet: And final word Dr. Madhuku.
Dr. Lovemore Madhuku: Well I think my word really goes to all the people of
Zimbabwe that this is the best opportunity we have. Which is that all the
players especially the political parties and the civic society have got
united. They share the same vision and almost the same language - word for
word we agree as to what we want to do. This is the best opportunity for us
to remain united and pull our energies together. And once we do that I think
we have no doubt that we will succeed.
Violet Gonda: Thank you very much Dr. Lovemore Madhuku and Professor Arthur
Mutambara for agreeing to participate on the programme Hot Seat.
Professor Arthur Mutambara: Ok thank you very much.
Dr. Lovemore Madhuku: Ok Thanks.
Comments and feedback can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
THE Zimbabwe National Water Authority has, with immediate effect, banned the
use of hosepipes in Harare Metropolitan Province owing to mounting water
The authority announced yesterday that consumers would have reduced water
pressure beginning today, while residents staying close to the central
business district would experience rotational water cuts to allow levels at
Letombo and Alexandra water reservoirs to rise.
The hosepipe ban comes at a time when Zinwa is pressing for new tariffs to
fund its operations.
The Minister of Water and Infrastructural Development, Engineer Munacho
Mutezo, announced the ban.
"We have to use water for essential services only. The hosepipe should not
be used at all," he said.
Eng Mutezo said it was disturbing to note that when the city had critical
water shortages, some corporate entities were busy using treated water to
irrigate their lawns.
He said some businesses along Samora Machel Avenue were actually
establishing flower gardens and using Zinwa treated water to irrigate the
flowers and lawns.
The minister said some residents continued to use hosepipes because water
"They do not feel the bill. The water is very cheap. Let us all share that
water," he said.
Zinwa sells water to consumers at $180 per cubic metre against a production
cost of $2 200 for the same unit.
A cubic metre is equal to one million litres.
Eng Mutezo tasked the Zinwa public relations unit to effectively communicate
with the public to ensure adherence to the hosepipe ban.
On Monday, Eng Mutezo visited the city's water installations to investigate
why the northern suburbs had not had water in the past two weeks.
Zinwa immediately throttled water supplies to Chitungwiza and some southern
suburbs to divert water to the Letombo and Alexandra reservoirs.
On Monday, only one of the four reservoirs had water making it difficult to
deliver supplies to the northern suburbs that include Borrowdale,
Philadelphia , Chisipite, Hogerty Hill, Greendale , The Grange and Glen
Yesterday Zinwa issued a statement notifying Harare residents that they
would experience reduced water pressure beginning today.
"Suburbs adjacent to the CBD will receive supplies on alternate days as part
of measures adopted to enable water levels in the strategic Letombo and
Alexandra Park reservoirs to rise to sustainable levels," read the
Zinwa urged residents to report any cases of water wastage. Complaints and
reports on water-related issues could be made on hotline numbers: 772453 or
791101 ( Harare ) and 070-31391 in Chitungwiza.
Reports can also be made through the following officials: Harare North - Mr
Muroyiwa 011 438 635, Harare Central - Eng Kunyadini 0912 269 919, Harare
East - Eng Ruhukwa 011 440 940, western suburbs - Eng Musikavanhu 023 394
799, and in Chitungwiza through Eng Chagonda on 0912 237 443.
New Zimbabwe (London)
11 May 2007
Posted to the web 11 May 2007
ZIMBABWE'S Trade Minister Obert Mpofu has been convicted over the Ziscosteel
saga by the parliamentary privileges committee that recommended that he be
fined as jailing him would be disproportionate to his offence.
The committee that was chaired by Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi gave
its findings on Mpofu on Thursday, and recommended that must be fined Zim$40
000 for prevaricating, but acquitted him on the serious charge of lying
Presenting the findings Sekeramayi said: "The committee considered section
21 of the Act which only provides for a fine not exceeding $40 000 or
imprisonment for a period of two years.
"The committee was agreed that imprisonment would be
disproportionate to the offence and hence settled to recommend that the Hon
Obert Mpofu be fined be fined the maximum fine provided in section 21 of the
Act which is $40 000."
MPs were last night calling for Mpofu's resignation.
Sekeramayi said the privileges committee's terms of reference were "to
investigate whether Hon Mpofu prevaricated or gave false, untrue, fabricated
evidence before the foreign affairs, industry and trade committee."
The Trade Committee had pushed for Mpofu's impeachment on grounds that
during two separate hearings in September 2006, he gave conflicting
statements about allegations of corruption at the state-run steel
manufacturing firm, Ziscosteel.
In his first appearance, Mpofu said there was a "shocking" report that
showed Ziscosteel had been massively looted by his colleagues in Zanu PF,
only to backtrack during the second hearing.
"Accordingly, it is your committee's conclusion that Hon. Mpofu is not
guilty on the charge of presenting to parliament any falsehoods, untrue,
fabricated, falsified evidence...the committee recommends that he be
MPs are expected to soon debate on the privileges committee report before
the minister is given an opportunity to respond to it. After that,
parliament will vote on whether to adopt the recommendation.
Mpofu will not be present when his fate is debated.
Sekeramayi said during his committee's probe on Mpofu, the minister had
conceded to the existence of the damning report saying: "Let the report
prove me wrong or correct. I keep on saying this report is there."
From Bloomberg, 10 May
Antony Sguazzin & Franz Wild
The Democratic Republic of Congo's government said it's probing the
operations of Central African Mining & Exploration Co., a UK-based copper
producer, after being approached by South Africa to help with the arrest of
a company shareholder. South Africa's Justice Department asked Congo to
assist with an arrest warrant for Billy Rautenbach, a Camec shareholder, on
charges of fraud, corruption and theft, Victor Kasongo, Congo's vice
minister of mines, said in an e-mailed statement dated yesterday. Rautenbach
is in China and unavailable for comment, his father Wiesel Rautenbach said
by telephone from Harare today. Calls to his son's Zimbabwean mobile phone
didn't connect. "This company used business practices which are not in
alignment with international corporate governance standards," Kasongo said
in the statement from Kinshasa. "Operators like Camec who fail to meet
international standards will be neither supported nor tolerated by the
Congo is seeking to improve its reputation among foreign investors after two
civil wars between 1996 and 2003 left 4 million people dead. The central
African nation, which held its first democratic elections in four decades
last year, began a review on March 7 of all mining contracts with the aim of
amending those deemed unfair to the state. "We arrived in the office this
morning to find this on our desks,'' Philippe Edmonds, Camec's chairman and
a former England cricket player, said in a telephone interview from London.
"We're totally astonished.'' He declined to comment further other than to
confirm Rautenbach is a Camec shareholder. Panyaza Lesufi, a spokesman for
South Africa's National Prosecuting Authority, said while he can't confirm
that the department has spoken to the Congolese authorities, it has been in
contact "with a number of countries" over Rautenbach. South Africa has asked
Zimbabwe to extradite Rautenbach, who is a Zimbabwean citizen, he said.
Rautenbach ran Gecamines, Congo's state mining company, at a time when
Zimbabwe's government was giving military assistance to Congo during the
civil war. He is wanted in South Africa on more than 300 charges from money
laundering and fraud to extortion, Lesufi said. Central African said on May
4 it plans to raise its stake in Toronto-based Katanga Mining Ltd., which
operates in the Congo, to 29.7%. Katanga on May 8 filed with the Ontario
Securities Commission to prohibit Camec's share purchases, citing
contravention of takeover laws in the Canadian state. "We are happy to learn
that Katanga Mining has filed with Canadian securities regulators to
prohibit the Camec share purchase,'' Kasongo said. Kasongo confirmed sending
the statement today. He described Rautenbach as Camec's operating manager in
the Congo. Congo has a 10th of the world's copper reserves and a third of
its cobalt. Increased stability in the central African nation has attracted
companies such as BHP Billiton Ltd., the world's biggest miner, and
Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold, the world's largest publicly traded copper
producer, to the country.
Comment from The Mail & Guardian (SA), 3 May
Parliamentary elections in 2000 were widely celebrated as a "watershed" for
Zimbabwe - and for good reason. A new opposition party, just nine months
old, had so galvanised the hitherto feeble voices of political dissent that
Zanu PF's grand design of a one-party state was thrown into confusion. Until
then, only Edgar Tekere's Zimbabwe Unity Movement (ZUM) in 1990 had come
anywhere close to such a challenge at the ballot box. A decade later,
mandarins in the ruling party were bewildered by the rise of the Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC). Four months earlier, in February 2000, Zanu PF
had been thumped in the constitutional referendum. The popular vote, against
the government, was virtually the party's first electoral humiliation since
independence. Buoyed by that victory, opposition politicians went into the
parliamentary election with their tails up. They sensed how their
combination of courage and resources, both human and material, had stunned
Zanu PF. The giant was a knocked-out giant. The decline of a once resilient
economy had strengthened the opposition. On the electoral barometer, voters
scanned the bread-and-butter issues and decided the MDC deserved a shot at
the ultimate prize.
Another reason, perhaps not entirely universally acknowledged, was the
emergence of a stubbornly optimistic newspaper, the Daily News. The first
issue was published in April 1999, following delays caused by financing and
mechanical problems. An earlier launch date, in March, was postponed when
the foundations on which the small printing press had been installed proved
unstable. But by February 2000 the paper was vying for readers with the
state-run government standard-bearer, the Herald. As assistant editor and
writer of the Bill Saidi on Wednesday column, I had an inside track into
most of what went on at the Daily News. Editor-in-chief Geoff Nyarota, his
deputy Davison Maruziva and myself as assistant editor had all worked for
Zimbabwe Newspapers (1980) Limited, the state newspaper publishing house
known as Zimpapers that dominated Zimbabwe's press. Challenging Zimpapers
was no picnic. We told a story that the Herald would not tell - the story of
how 20 years of independence had not yielded the milk and honey for which
nearly 30 000 people died. We hammered away to show how ordinary people had
been marginalised, as corruption had eaten into the belly of what would have
been a healthy and well-nourished youth - the youth, that is, of our new
nation emerging into adulthood. We chipped away to expose how the freedoms
for which people had died were being slowly compromised by the ruling party.
Obsessed with power, Zanu PF leaders would stop at nothing, including
murder, to achieve their goals.
As the 2000 parliamentary elections drew closer, the Daily News found itself
attracting attention from all sides. Some of this was undesirable, but most
was the sort to make an editor walk tall among his peers. By the time the
election campaign was in full swing, the Daily News had come into its own.
There is probably no unanimity to this day on the exact impact of the Daily
News on the results of the 2000 election, in which the MDC won 57 of the 80
seats. I have heard it said that if it were not for the Daily News the
results would have been different. In 1990, for example, former Zanu PF
stalwart Patrick Kombayi switched to Tekere's ZUM. He survived what was
clearly an assassination attempt while challenging Mugabe's number two in
the party, Simon Muzenda, for a parliamentary seat in Gweru. In 2000, the
Daily News operated freely. But, in 2001, a bomb blew up the printing press.
Journalists, including editors, were harassed and detained. In April 2003,
the Daily News and its Sunday sister, the Daily News on Sunday, were banned
under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
The Act was introduced for a specific purpose - perhaps not against the
Daily News, but against any media that had the presumption to speak out
against the government's abuse of the people's right to dissent. The
Zimbabwe Election Support Network, an NGO, says: "Clear, binding and
enforceable media guidelines for election coverage should be put in place.
The media needs to be adequately capacitated with skills in election
reporting so that they assist in providing correct and adequate voter
education/information." In the present atmosphere, the chances of a free and
fair election in 2008 are problematical -- to say the least. There are very
slim prospects of the government repealing either the Access to Information
and Protection of Privacy Act or the Public Order and Security Act before
the election. A vicious campaign is being waged against every dissenting
voice in the country. In response, the Zimbabwe Election Support Network has
urged that: "The media [both private and state] should not be used to convey
hate language and propaganda, which hinders the holding of free and fair
elections. There is also need for equal access to state/public media by all
political parties." How a government with its back to the wall is likely to
respond to such recommendations is not difficult to predict. Unless regional
heads of state insist on a personal commitment from Mugabe - preferably in
writing - to unfettered and free reporting of all aspects of the electoral
process, there will be no watershed poll in 2008.
Bill Saidi is the deputy editor of the Zimbabwean newspaper the Standard. He
has been a journalist for 50 years
The Trustees of the Legal Resources Foundation are deeply concerned by the
arrest on Friday 4 May of two lawyers in Harare who had gone to the High
Court in pursuance of their clients' cases. Our deep concern stems from the
a.. The arrest
In terms of section 8 of the Legal Practitioners Act [Chapter 27:07] legal
practitioners are entitled to represent their clients without fear of
harassment from law enforcement agents. Whilst section 13 of the
Constitution of Zimbabwe allows the police to effect an arrest upon
reasonable suspicion that one has committed or is about to commit an
offence, it is impossible to see how the two lawyers could have been
reasonably suspected of committing an offence when they were merely
representing their clients. There is no way the Police could be said to have
been acting lawfully or in good faith.
a.. Denial of access to a legal representative
Section 13(3) of the Constitution states that once a person has been
arrested and detained they shall be permitted, without delay, to obtain and
instruct a legal representative of their choice and communicate with
him/her. By denying the two arrested lawyers access to their legal
representatives the Police were acting in direct contravention of the
a.. Disregard of court orders
In an effort to secure the release of the two lawyers, two applications for
their release were granted by the High Court. The detention was declared
unlawful and the Police were ordered to release the two lawyers. The orders
were served on the Police, on 5 May and the second on 6 May. These orders
were ignored and the lawyers remained in detention until 7 May. This shows
the police's deplorable disregard for the Judiciary and thus for the rule of
This reprehensible and unlawful conduct by the Police resulted in the
lawyers spending three nights in detention. They were finally taken to court
on Monday 7 May, charged with "obstructing the course of justice", a
patently spurious charge. They have since been placed on remand and granted
bail of $500 000, despite the High Court orders for their release. It is
shocking that the magistrates' court found the facts as presented by the
police justification for putting the lawyers on remand.
a.. Arrest of state counsel
To compound this sad turn of events, the state counsel who consented to the
granting of the High Court order on 5 May was arrested and allegedly
assaulted by the Police. He went through this harrowing experience lawfully
performing his duties. If this is not a breakdown of the rule of law, we do
not know what is. The impunity with which the Police have continued to
behave in this and similar previous incidents involving civic society
leaders has frightening implications. Both the state counsel and the Judges
who granted the court orders have been humiliated. A Judiciary which is
insulted in this way can no longer guarantee the rights of the people.
a.. Police attack on lawyers
In a show of solidarity with their counterparts, the Law Society of Zimbabwe
called a protest march on Tuesday 8 May. The march was to culminate in the
handing over of a petition to the Minister of Justice. Lawyers gathering at
the High Court were met with a hostile reception by Police, riot police and
army personnel. A senior police officer proceeded to declare the gathering
unlawful and ordered the lawyers to disperse but before they had time to do
so the lawyers were attacked with batons and at least six were severely
The Trustees of the Legal Resources Foundation unreservedly condemn such
high handedness on the part of the Police. In a country where the rule of
law applies, the Police, and any other Government agency will obey court
orders without question. Where court orders are ignored or disobeyed with
impunity, then there can be no doubt that the rule of law has been
abandoned. Is this the image of Zimbabwe that the Government wants to
portray to the rest of the world or are rogue elements of the Police acting
on their own?
It is deeply regrettable that the Minister of Justice, the Chief Justice,
the Judge-President and the Attorney-General have remained silent in the
face of this invidious assault on the rule of law. Their silence states
loudly that our Justice system can no longer deliver and that no one in
Zimbabwe is guaranteed the protection of the law.
a.. Trustees, Legal Resources Foundation
Date: 11 May 2007
This letter comes from the children of a small nation called Zimbabwe. We
are not as old as you are nor are we as wise as you are. We are only
children, poor children for that matter. This we say because we believe we
do not have the right to be addressing you, rather it would be more than a
privilege if this letter passes through your hands, let alone enter your
Honourable elders, we write to invoke your memories, conscience and probably
sympathy. Most of us as you might remember were born in the numerous refugee
camps that were scattered throughout the region in the 70's. We are
Zimbabweans by citizenship but most of us have their umbilical cords
interred in the soils of your countries; Chifombo in Zambia, Chimoio in
Mozambique, even as far as Mgagao in Tanzania. We cherish the courtesy of
life that you bestowed unto us. We salute Nyerere, Kaunda, Khama and Machel.
We thank you rather belatedly for the lorries and aeroplanes that ferried us
back to Zimbabwe in 1980. It was indeed a touching moment to see Comrade
Machel on the podium together with our very own Robert Gabriel Mugabe- the
fresh from the bush Mugabe. How did you leaders of Africa feel when we got
Except for you Mr Thabo Mbeki, we can definitely answer for all the others:
there was general happiness and relief. As for you Mr Mbeki we do not know
where you were but even if Nelson Mandela was not allowed newspapers at
Robben Island we believe he got the message as soon as it happened and
definitely he was at the most happy and at the least envious of the new
It is twenty-seven years since the then energetic and fifty-six year old
Mugabe took power; we still listen to Bob Marley's Africa Liberate Zimbabwe.
Do you remember the song Mr Mwanawasa?
Obviously you remember that one Your Excellence, but do you also remember
the Dare reChimurenga meeting at Mulungushi Rock Hotel and the Kafue forests
in 1970 and 1971. May you please ask Kenneth Kaunda why we had those
meetings in Zambia and not in Rhodesia? If he refuses to tell you then you
might as well take it that it was maybe because Rugare Gumbo had been
expelled from Zimuto High school and detained at Whawha prison, or maybe
Emmerson Munangagwa had been sentenced to death, or maybe Mugabe and other
nationalists had been abducted and unlawfully detained since 1966, or maybe
the Smith regime had killed protesters against his proclamation of Rhodesia
as a republic on 2 March 1970?
So Mr Mwanawasa; Hentchel Mavuma, Collen Chibango, Sendisa Ndhlovu, Maddock
Chivasa, Wellington Mahohoma and many others were expelled from the
University of Zimbabwe, Batanai Hadzizi , Lameck Chemvura and more recently
Gift Tandare were killed by the Zimbabwean authorities. Right now many
opposition activists including MDC's Ian Makone and Dennis Murira are
detained illegally by the Zimbabwean Police. Isn't this a scenario typical
of the 1970 situation? Don't you think it is time that we also have meetings
in Kabwe, Gaborone, Arusha, Chimoio and Musina forests?
Mr Thabo Mbeki, when you said AIDS is caused by poverty, the whole world
doubted your scientific aptitude but we never doubted your intelligence.
When your vice took a bath to protect himself from HIV we did not doubt your
government's wisdom either. When you came out of that meeting in Tanzania
and you declared yourself mediator between Mugabe and Tsvangirai we thought
you were running out of intelligence and wisdom; but you are our elder -just
like Mugabe - we cannot disrespect you. We would however like to know if
corruption, inflation, unemployment and general economic decline are caused
by a power struggle between Mugabe and Tsvangirai?
Mr Mbeki, the crisis is not about Tsvangirai being beaten in elections or on
the head. It is between the people of Zimbabwe and the Government of
Zimbabwe. It is between the peace-loving people of Zimbabwe and their
blood-thirsty, insensitive, arrogant and gun-totting government. We have a
junta in power, a warlord is ruling us. He does not respect our lives; if he
slaughtered 20 000 people in 1982 what can stop him from killing ten?
In short, Mr Mbeki we do not need any mediation. What we dream for is an
accountable, transparent and responsible government. What we want as of now
Mr Mbeki is your protection from this gun-totter. If you cannot rebuke him
then give us the chance to rebuke him. You cannot invade Zimbabwe but you
can influence the course of change in our country. You have a moral
obligation to welcome us in the forests of Musina, equip us and be quiet as
we redefine the course of our revolution, that way Quiet Diplomacy would
Finally, we would want to ask you why the federation of Rhodesia and
Nyasaland went ahead in 1955 despite the massive African resistance led by
Nkomo, Kaunda and Kamuzu Banda? African had no guns but white had. Why did
the white engineered Zimbabwe-Rhodesia coalition failed; Africans had guns!
So leaders of Africa wake up to the call for international duty!
We mean every word we say!
Tomorrow is Today. Ramangwana ndinhasi. Ukusasa ukunamhla!
Zimbabwe Youth Movement
By Jonga Kandemiiri
11 May 2007
Zimbabwe teachers said they are suspicious of some forms that are being
distributed around the country for them to fill in, by unknown sources
including uniformed police.
The form, in Studio 7's possession, requires teachers' personal details
including a photograph. However the form has no letterhead or details of its
Peter Mabhande, president of the Zimbabwe Teachers Association, one of the
three teachers' representative unions, confirmed the distribution of the
forms but said his association is urging teachers not to give out personal
information to strangers.
Mabhande said the President's Office and the Ministry of Education have
denied any involvement in the distribution of the forms.
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe general secretary Raymond Majongwe
told Studio 7 reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that they suspect the information
being collected will be used against their members during political
By Carole Gombakomba
11 May 2007
Human rights doctors are condemning the continued use of torture and other
cruel treatment by police against political opponents and activists.
In a statement released Thursday, the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for
Human Rights says it has become difficult to monitor the condition of those
affected, because police deny those in detention "access to independent
ZADHR says at least eight MDC activists who are reportedly in remand prison,
need urgent medical attention. It urged security forces in Zimbabwe to stop
the use of torture, and for the government to take necessary measures to
prevent further acts of torture against political opponents.
The secretary of the doctors group Peter Iliff,tells Studio 7 reporter
Carole Gombakomba that torture and other forms of beatings currently taking
place, are unacceptable and the consequences may be severe.
Worldwide Faith News
May. 11, 2007 News media contact: Linda Green * (615) 7425470* Nashville
By Linda Green
OLD MUTARE, Zimbabwe (UMNS) - A country in disarray and disrepair, Zimbabwe
teeters under an inflation rate of nearly 2,000 percent - the highest in the
world. It contends with skyrocketing unemployment, allegations of rampant
government corruption and routine shortages of commodities, foreign
currency, electricity and water.
Amid these challenges, Africa University stands in the forefront of higher
education in the sub-Saharan African nation.
While certainly impacted by the chaos that surrounds it, the United
Methodist-related school "is surviving, enduring and determined to succeed,"
said Rukudzo Murapa, who leads the private, pan-African institution of 1,298
But it is not easy.
Critics of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe blame government mismanagement
for much of the nation's woes. At 83, Mugabe has been Zimbabwe's only ruler
since the country achieved independence from Britain 27 years ago. His
tenure has been marked by economic crises that include chronic shortages of
food and fuel. Unemployment today is estimated at 80 percent.
Mugabe has resisted calls for political reforms and recently issued warnings
against Roman Catholic bishops who published a pastoral letter criticizing
his government's handling of the economy. Still, his ruling Zanu (PF) party
formally endorsed him March 30 as its candidate for presidential elections
in 2008, potentially extending his leadership into a third decade.
Challenged but hopeful
The economic and political realities require administrators and supporters
of Africa University to be resourceful, creative and ever-hopeful.
"Yes, we admit that we are facing a lot of challenges in Zimbabwe," said
United Methodist Bishop Eben Nhiwatiwa. "But they are not insurmountable."
Nhiwatiwa, who is also vice president of the Zimbabwe Council of Churches,
said the country needs its friends "to come, stand tall and help the nation
in the best way" by offering constructive advice on how the country can move
forward. "What Zimbabwe needs is people who say, 'What can we do to really
help?'" he said.
The Southern Africa Development Committee held an emergency summit recently
and affirmed its solidarity with the Zimbabwean government and its people.
The committee also issued a statement calling on other countries to lift
economic sanctions against Zimbabwe and encouraging diplomatic relations to
alleviate the country's plight.
"Zimbabwe needs constructive friends right now, friends who say, 'How do we
go from here?'" Nhiwatiwa said. "The church is doing that," he said, citing
a new document called "The Zimbabwe We Want," created by citizens, religious
leaders and others.
"It lays out what the people of Zimbabwe think this country ought to be. If
we start from there, we can be constructive in many ways," he said
High costs, few goods
Murapa paints a startling picture of the difficulties faced in operating in
a macroeconomic climate since the inflation rate has grown from 1,700
percent in March to 2,000 percent in April. Some economists project the rate
may increase to 4,000 percent by the end of 2007.
"That tells the story," Murapa said. "It is difficult for people to imagine
what 2,000 percent inflation is all about."
For instance, the cost of a loaf of bread purchased in the morning may
double or triple by sunset. In March, a loaf cost Z$850; today that same
loaf is Z$6,000, or about $24 in the United States.
Zimbabwe also is experiencing extreme scarcity of commodities. Walk into a
store and, instead of finding loaves of bread ready to buy, it is more
typical to find a line of people waiting for the few loaves being baked.
Cooking oil and sugar are expensive and difficult to find.
"So our food services sections spends a large amount of time simply trying
to find out where is what on a particular day, and at what price," Murapa
said. "One has to be very creative and innovative."
A monetary exchange rate of Z$250 to US$1 encourages Africa University to
make purchases using the government-sanctioned arbitrage system, buying
shares from companies on the stock exchange and selling them through a
broker. The university also negotiates rates with the Central Bank to boost
"After all their commissions and everything, we are able to realize
something much better than the official rate," he said. "It is quite legal.
It is over the counter. At the end of the day, what we get is much less than
what we would want, but much better than the official rate. To that extent,
it is working."
Inflation also translates into higher tuition costs for students. "As
compassionate as they are, the fees get higher," Murapa said. "You find
students who even in their last year are no longer able to graduate because
they still owe the university and cannot find money."
A tale of two women
Two Zimbabwean women - each with ties to Africa University and at opposite
ends of the economic spectrum - described how their lives are impacted by
the economy. They agreed that, for the average person, life in Zimbabwe is
"We now have two classes: either you are poor or you are rich. We don't have
a middle class right now," said a Mutare woman who asked not to be
The mother of three boys said "it is now difficult for me to put on a basic
meal for my kids. An average day is full of stress about how will the day
be, or how the day will be tomorrow, or how will the day be spent."
The average person feels fortunate to have one, perhaps two, modest meals a
day. "You would have a meal of porridge at home, nothing for lunch, and for
dinner I'll have sadza and my green vegetable. Meat is now a luxury. You
cannot afford to have meat every day on the table," she said.
To make ends meet, people cut back, take extra jobs or do without. Some have
a Monday-Friday job, a night job and a weekend job to make enough money to
make ends meet and to send their children to school.
"...In a nutshell, life is difficult here in Zimbabwe," the woman said.
Pindie Nyandoro, a United Methodist laywoman and managing director of
Stanbic Bank, enjoys a more stable lifestyle but sees hardship all around
"I am very blessed. I actually have a very good job and financially I am
very sound," she said. "... I am certainly very aware of what is happening.
I am surrounded by people who feel it on a daily basis."
Nyandoro worries about recovering Zimbabwe's conscience once the economy
stabilizes. Every day, she observes business people taking shortcuts and
making deals to try to succeed in the current economic climate.
"For us in Zimbabwe, that is going to be the biggest challenge ... when we
finally sort ourselves out and get out of these issues. It is going to be,
'How do we get back to being an honorable community?'"
Problems of perception
News reports about Zimbabwe's struggles can be problematic, since the
university relies financially on assistance from international foundations,
churches and other organizations.
The country's dynamics have received international attention, particularly
recently when opposition leaders were arrested and allegedly beaten. "And
so, that further mars the image of the country," Murapa said.
"There is also a sense created in the international media that Zimbabwe is
imploding, which is not necessarily accurate," said Andra Stevens, director
of information for the university.
The stories often lead "our friends to say, 'No, we are no longer going to
be able to come and help,'" Murapa added.
Nhiwatiwa calls Zimbabwe's problems challenging but insists the country is
safe. "We do not deny that things happen, which we don't like and we
deplore, but Zimbabwe is a welcoming country," he said.
In his April 13 report to the university's board of directors, Murapa said
Africa University is surviving and determined to succeed. While numerous
institutions across the country have not had adequate training or
preparation to deal with Zimbabwe's economic realities, the school pursues
healthy approaches to management in crisis conditions.
"Steadfastness of purpose and faithfulness of its many friends allowed
Africa University to deliver on its teaching, researching and community
service commitments over these past turbulent months," he said.
The goal remains to make the school "Africa's premier international
university." Challenges include deteriorating physical assets, a lack of
transportation for students and problems with electrical and water supplies.
Residence halls, primarily the older two-story structures, are in need of
renovation. In some of the 12 dormitories, three students share rooms
designed for two people.
Electrical outages and shortages across the country are common as the
national provider tries to manage resources that do not meet demand.
In February and March, the university's water supply was depleted. For 48
hours, more than 1,100 people were without water because the university's
only operable "borehole," which relies on electricity, broke down. The
university's other two boreholes had been vandalized and left inoperable.
In the midst of the daily struggles, students worry about their
post-graduate prospects. "If you are in a situation where things are
changing and not in a positive way, it causes a certain amount of concern
about the future," Stevens said.
University officials say that, now more than ever, Africa University needs
steadfast support from church friends to weather the roller-coaster economy.
They remain optimistic.
"There is a bright future for Africa University, and I call upon our friends
both within the church and elsewhere to not give up, to remain committed to
see this university grow," Stevens said. "The potential is enormous."
# # #
*Green is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in Nashville,
News media contact: Linda Green, (615) 742-5470 or email@example.com.
By Lebo Nkatazo
Last updated: 05/12/2007 07:51:22
SOUTH African President Thabo Mbeki has given Zimbabwe's opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) three pre-conditions before the resumption of
talks with President Robert Mugabe to find a resolution to the country's
political and economic crisis.
Mugabe, meanwhile, has been given unreserved terms, a senior government
minister said on Wednesday in the House of Assembly.
The Minister of Rural Housing and Social Amenities, Emmerson Mnangagwa,
acting as the Leader of the House in the absence of Justice Minister Patrick
Chinamasa, boasted that while the fractious MDC groups had been given
conditions by Mbeki, Mugabe was given free reign.
Mnangagwa was answering a question raised by MDC shadow minister of justice
and Bulawayo South MP David Coltart, and follow-up questions by two other
opposition legislators, Willias Madzimure (Kambuzuma) and Gibson Sibanda
"The first thing that President Mbeki is requiring them (MDC) to do is
accept and recognise that President Robert Mugabe is the president of
Zimbabwe and he won the 2002 elections. Point No. 2, he is asking the
opposition to denounce violence. When that is done, an enabling environment
can be created.the ball is in your court."
President Mbeki was tasked by SADC leaders with bringing the opposition to
the negotiating table with President Mugabe to find a solution to the
deteriorating political and economic situation in the Southern African
Mbeki has since written to the MDC and the government laying the ground
rules for any future talks. There has not been any public comments by any of
the leaders about the contents of Mbeki's letters to Mugabe and the two MDC
leaders, Arthur Mutambara and Morgan Tsvangirai.
Madzimure asked Mnangagwa in Parliament what conditions had ben given to
Zanu PF and Mugabe by Mbeki.
"Unfortunately, there are no conditions given to the other side. The
conditions that have been given are the ones that I have articulated," he
"I am taking this opportunity to acquaint Hon. Sibanda and his colleagues
about those issues and you should be grateful that I am willing to inform
you. I am able to tell you so that you are wiser when you go out."
If true, Mnangagwa's claims will further rile opposition officials who have
argued that Mugabe was to buy more time for his beleaguered government by
seeming to go along with talks, then stalling.
The MDC wants a new constitution to to be the basis of any talks with Zanu
PF ahead of presidential and parliamentary elections called for next year.
Mugabe has already said the current constitution is "dear" to him and is
unlikely to cooperate.
May 11, 2007 04:02 PM
JOHANNESBURG: The Movement for Democratic Change has launched a
platform of public debates in South Africa to ensure that Zimbabweans in
Diaspora participate in their country's unfolding politics.
The first debate was hosted by the MDC Mutambara at Berea Park over
two weeks ago. Over fifty Zimbabweans attended the debate and attendants
were mainly from the Zimbabwe Action Movement.
The MDC's Information officer Nqabutho Dube said such debates are open
to every Zimbabwe who wants to be part of the rebuilding process to bring
into such platforms their concerns.
Dube added that issues which will be discussed among others includes,
one candidate for MDC in the next year's polls, crime in South Africa,
refugees welfare, and Thabo Mbeki's mediation process on Zimbabwe's rival
"These public forums will be done once every fortnight and we
encourage every Zimbabwean to attend irregardless of political orientation",
The MDC's rival faction also accepted that previously the party made
the approach of imposing what the leadership perceived as the party ideology
without consultation to its supporters and promised to rectify such
The South Africa's Faction Chairman, Jabu Mkwanazi urged fellow
citizens to bury their tribal differences and concentrate on vital issues,
"MDC is not a tribal party and as we engage in our debates we urge the
people to demonstrate a high level of political maturity", said Mkwanazi.
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change alongside Zimbabwean
Civic Society groups are engaged in a bid to persuade or force the 27 years
leader to put in place a constitution which will allow free and fair
In the past the MDC has contested results from more constituencies it
lost claiming vote buying and intimidation during the pre-election era.
Whether the two MDCs will not go for election, time will tell.
If either of the group goes, that move will legitimatise Mugabe's hold
on power as he will do everything possible to stay on. Analysts allege that
Mugabe fears prosecution if he leaves office early including the 1980's
Matabeleland massacre which left over 20 000 dead and the 25 May 2005
operation Murambatsvina which left over 1million displaced.