send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to email@example.com with "For Open Letter
Forum" in the subject
268 --------------------------------------------------------------------------- THOUGHT
FOR THE DAY
"Here dead lie we because we did not choose to live and
shame the land from which we sprung. Life, to be sure, is nothing much to
lose; but young men think it is, and we were young."
- A. E.
Letter 1. Subject: Responsibility
Many if not most
of history's major tragedies have been allowed to happen because they were
not stopped before they escalated out of control. It is the classic "I am not
the one" or "Don't rock the boat" syndrome. Would our recent history have
been different if there had been a vigorous response at the time of the first
farm invasions? Who can tell? But what is for sure is that the softly, softly
"do nothing" approach did not work.
During my life I have served on many
committees and companies, often in an executive capacity. My first
experience was a chairman of the Kitwe Model Aircraft Club when I was
sixteen. Since then there have been many others. It took some years for the
fact to sink in that there were a great many more talkers than doers. It was
always easy for people to propose the holding of events such as charity
casinos, but when push came to shove those who'd proposed these events
suddenly developed pressing personal responsibilities that prevented them
being involved. In all of these clubs and organisations a small core of the
same people always landed up doing the work! I am sure than many are familiar
with this? In my opinion the basic reason for this reluctance to do what
should be done is selfishness, an unwillingness to do anything that does not
bring immediate and personal benefit.
We are in desperate straights as
a country, and as individuals many of us have lost the fruits of a lifetime
of work. I proposed that a letter-writing campaign would be the most
effective way of countering the deluge of propaganda, false information and
outright lies. I still believe that this is about the only weapon we have, as
well as potentially the most effective. Many letters of support were posted
on the Forum. But other than that - nothing happened.
If this idea is
to be pursued, then one or more people will have to take personal ownership
of the project. It is worth remembering that ZWNEWS, which has a circulation
of more than 85,000, was started and is run by one man. Similarly, the New
Zimbabwe news site is run a person studying at a UK university. True, there
will be no immediate financial reward or ego boost. Instead there will almost
certainly be vicious attacks by the establishment. But what is better, to
submit meekly or at least an attempt to fight back?
This has become a
sort of personal litmus test for me; are there people willing to actually DO
something - or are Zimbabweans content to cry bitterly into their beer and
bemoan their fate because "somebody" won't do "something"? Because in this
instance, I cannot be "the one".
Mr. Gavin Conolly has hinted
that one of the problems is that there are too many Idle Bunny Watchers
around, and that they ought to get involved and do something. This seems fair
I would assume that any thinking Idle Bunny Watcher will ask Mr.
Gavin Conolly for ideas on some new pursuits, seeing as these Poor Idle
Bunny Watchers are now actually being watched by the MFA Bunnies themselves.
A comprehensive list of new or potential activities for Bunny Watchers on
the OLF would make a good start.
3. Subject: JAG Open Letter Forum 13th May 2004 OLF 267
"That is the
whole point of the "total onslaught". The question is, can we, like Maximus,
get up enough courage and strength to go back into the ring and beat this
monster? We can - that is what makes a competitor a champion in every
There is no doubt that there are many Zimbabweans who have
courage. However, unless strong leadership comes forward with huge
charismatic ability to mobilise people, Zimbabwe is sunk. It's finished. Look
around you, the evidence is there for you all to see. No one has been able to
stop this trainsmash to date. What's required is intelligent action and the
only action taking place right now is zanupf putting in place whatever is
needed to frog march Zimbabweans to vote for them at the next election. They
even got the chiefs in their pocket over the past week. Sadly, the MDC has
not identified its competitive advantage as a result of the mandate it knows
it has. It continues to do the same as it did 3 years ago, nothing has
changed except the tilt of the playing field. If the MDC contests this
next election under current conditions, it will again provide countries
like South Africa with the excuse that the elections are legitimate. Is
that what Zimbabweans want
4. Subject: Contributions
Your Open letter forum has
become a bit of a bore. Some of the contributors engage in healthy dialogue
which make interesting reading. Some are hackneyed to say the least, one in
particular is the reason I have stopped reading the letters. His/Her
continual carping about CFU, their employees, elected and ordinary members,
farmers who are still on the land and in fact everything that is not wholly,
or should I say Holy, Matabele, is pathetic.
He/She doesn't have the
courage to put a name on their contribution but the style of whinging is as
much unmistakeable as the complete lack of respect for our dear departed, one
of who's name they continually spell incorretly.
It is most puzzling
that "Still farming Shona" should critise writers to the OLF for not printing
their names, and then choose to use a non de plume in complete contradiction
of that very viewpoint. Surely we should all respect a writer's right to
remain anonymous as well as their opinion?
From what I have read on OLF
some writers have pointed out that there have many people killed in Zimbabwe
in the last 24 years (a lot were Matabeles I think) and that Jag has taken a
stand on human rights for all Zimbabeans - not based on tribal or racial
group. As I understand it, Jag's ethos is based on the Ten Commandments which
is Holy, but not 'Holy Matabele' in any manner or means. It would appear that
the MFA is also a Holy body based on the Ten Commandments.
I have yet
to see a letter on the OLF that is disrespectful of the people killed in
Zimbabwe, in my opinion.
Passive alignment with elements that are
responsible for people dying tend to undermine any stand for human rights
that Jag and other bodies may make - a bit like not pushing in the scrum or
rigging a cricket match, perhaps. It is most unfortunate that Still farming
Shona has stopped reading the OLF rather than tackle the specific issues
brought forward by writers where there is perceived disrespect for those
killed or spelling mistakes, which could be a positive contribution. The OLF
will be poorer for it.
letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions of the
submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice for
JAG Hotlines: (011) 612 595 If you are in trouble or need
advice, (011) 205 374 (011) 863 354 please don't hesitate to contact us
- (011) 431 068 we're here to help! 263
4 799 410 Office Lines
Kwara... New Home of Zimbabwean Farmers Zimbabwean
farmers have finally settled in Kwara, making the state their new home.
Recently, they went back to home country, Zimbabwe to report back to their
colleagues. Stephan Hofstatter of THISDAY South Africa,
four decades the people of Yelwa village on the Niger earned their keep by
working on a nearby state-owned sugar cane estate. But years of mismanagement
and corruption forced Bacita Sugar to close its doors in 2001, leaving rows
of Landrovers, bulldozers, trucks and off-road bikes worth millions rusting
in the sun.
Now the Yelwans greet visitors with beseeching eyes and
outstretched hands, lifting threadbare garments to reveal dry dugs of flesh
flopping from their emaciated waists, the signature of starvation throughout
this once prosperous district of Kwara State.
It was this horrific
image of poverty in a country which has earned $280 billion from oil exports
since black gold was discovered in the Niger Delta in the late 1950s that
Kwara's youthful new governor, Bukola Saraki vowed to erase when he took
office last May.
Innovations thus far have included the Clean and Green
Scheme, which employed thousands of women to tidy up the streets. In a state
with a large Muslim population, the programme initially ran into initial
hostility from religious leaders. But soon recruitment offices were flooded
with applicants, and even conservative Nigerians are beginning to revise
their outlook on women who work.
Another Saraki brainchild, for which
he received an award in Brussels earlier this month, was his Back to the Farm
Scheme. About 1,000 half fertile land scattered throughout the state was set
aside for unemployed urbanites who wanted to take a crack at farming. Three
priority crops-cassava, maize and rice -- were identified, and Asian experts
brought in to help train the new farmers.
Saraki's most important
reform has been reorienting the economy from reliance on state and foreign
donor support to being driven by private sector investment, with a focus on
agriculture. Saraki previously chaired a presidential committee tasked with
submitting recommendations to the federal government on increasing Nigeria's
non-oil revenue by $1 billion a year. But he realised the low yields,
outdated techniques and antiquated technology employed by Nigeria's small
scale producers was not conducive to creating a vibrant commercial
agricultural sector. This environment also discouraged potential
Late last year reports began filtering north about spectacular
successes achieved by Zimbabwean farmers dispossessed by Robert Mugabe's land
reform programme who had taken up residence in neighbouring Zambia and
The immigrants helped break a crippling food shortage and
reportedly grew over 70 per cent of the country's maize last
Saraki opened talks with the Zimbabwean Commercial Farmers Union
(CFU) in February and within two months the first delegation of six farmers
An audience with both Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and
finance minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, convinced the Zimbabweans their hosts
"Nowhere in Africa have we been welcomed with open
arms like this," delegation leader, Allan Jack, said. There is clearly the
political will to make a success of this.
Earlier this month a second
team, including two irrigation experts, arrived in the West African country,
this time to inspect potential farming sites. By then two other states had
expressed interest in adopting their own Zimbabweans, but are likely to wait
to see how Kwara's pioneers fare.
First the farmers were taken to Bacita
Sugar, a vivid illustration of Kwara's squandered agricultural potential. In
its heyday the estate employed up to 4000 people, including seasonal labour
and workers at the now derelict sugar mill and processing plant.
5,000 hectares under cultivation yielding 60 tons/ha, the mill produced up to
35, 000 tons of refined sugar, which currently fetches 70, 000 naira ($500) a
ton. "We could increase it to double that figure [of 60 tons] and it becomes
much more viable," said irrigation expert Jeremy Oates. The Zimbabweans also
planned to cultivate four times as much land, and expand the mill's capacity.
This would result in potential revenue of up to $140 million a year,
depending on sugar prices.
"We want the white Zimbabweans to come and run
the sugar estate because they won't mismanage it" said Yelwa headman, Mohamed
As it turned out, Bacita was put on hold until liquidation
proceedings were completed. The state-owned company apparently accumulated a
mountain of debt the federal government is looking into covering, leaving
Saraki's hands tied.
Instead the Zimbabweans have been granted 15
farms of 1,000 hectares each further along the Niger. This gently sloping,
well watered terrain is where the pioneers will clear virgin bush and set up
the first Zimbabwean community in Nigeria.
The farmers would be
granted pioneer status, which translates into a five-year tax exemption
window, and be allowed to bring in key staff to train local workers. Other
likely incentives are duty free equipment imports and low interest loans. The
governor has also undertaken to build roads and houses and provide security
Preliminary inspections revealed the soil was
suitable for maize, rice and cowpeas. Poultry farming is also on the cards.
Initially relatively small areas would be cleared and irrigated, but once
markets were tested, production would expand rapidly. With a cargo hub
planned at the state capital, Ilorin, roses and tropical fruit for export
could become big money spinners. Bill Hughs, once one of Zimbabwe's top dairy
farmers, plans to build Nigeria's first modern dairy and launch an industry
the country sorely lacks.
Last week the farmers returned to Zimbabwe
to report back to other interested CFU members. Once surveyors have updated
maps and planners marked out farm boundaries, a core team of 15 pioneers will
be selected to make history. After the first farms are established, 75 more
farmers and their families are expected to follow. There will be enough
takers, said Jack.
Saraki hopes to see a knock-on effect of Nigerians
employed as managers or supervisors using the skills they learn to start
their own farms -- that these are the first stirrings of Nigeria's
THISDAY spoke to Governor Bukola Saraki, the
driving force behind Nigeria's agricultural revolution.
the initiative to import Southern African farmers with the skills and
experience to revive commercial agriculture in Nigeria. How and why did this
When I was elected Kwara state governor almost a year ago we
spent the first few months establishing our revenue and expenditure, and how
we could get the economy going and provide jobs.
My view of poverty
reduction is how to empower people to keep themselves alive and employed. The
problem in Africa is a lack of jobs, of being able to provide for yourself.
Yes, we must invest in infrastructure, but until we can get our people to
provide for themselves we are not going to get out of this vicious
In Kwara we don't have oil, but we have a vast amount of land --
2.3 million hectares -- available for agriculture. I realised only
agriculture has the potential to provide jobs, both as a primary activity and
through agri-allied industries, and bring down the cost of food.
started with our Back to the Farm programme, making it a key policy
to support agriculture, but realised it was all peasant farming. The
average age of a Nigerian farmer is 60-70, with little exposure to
modern technology, no mechanisation, producing low yields, with no money to
buy tractors or imputes.
We decided the only way to push agriculture
was through commercial farming. This was the time when white farmers in
Zimbabwe were having problems with Robert Mugabe. The feeling we got was the
farmers saw themselves as Africans and wanted to stay in Africa. We thought:
if you've got what it takes to make it in commercial farming, the
opportunities are here.
What are these opportunities?
many products they can grow here. We are spending minimum of $2.5 billion a
year on food imports. We import rice worth $600 billion, we import sugar,
chickens, and powdered milk. There is an enormous market for all these
Has there been any resistance from Nigerians?
attitude here is commercial -- let them come and show us how. I believe the
Nigerian farmers will learn from them. What will eventually happen
is Nigerian peasant farmers will improve their yields and the youth will
become interested in farming.
The typical Nigerian sees himself as a
businessman. After two years the farm manager won't want to stay as a paid
employee, complaining the white man has the land and I'm being paid peanuts.
All he wants to do is learn from you and set up his own farm. When we found
oil we didn't ask people in southern Nigeria to look for shovels to dig for
oil -- we brought in foreigners with expertise. The land we have is an asset
that isn't being utilised and the only way we can do that is bring in people
with the necessary skills.
Also, financial institutions are not ready to
provide funding for agriculture. Nigerian farmers have no experience in
accounting practices and will never meet the criteria of credit assessments.
Now banks will say: fine, you have a vehicle which is bankable, a management
structure we can work with. They (Zimbabweans) have the expertise.
that we have identified suitable land, we will decide what we are going to
grow and irrigation specialists are looking at the infrastructure required.
Then we will put a feasibility study together to take to
Given Africa's colonial history of land dispossession,
weren't you taking a major political gamble?
Of course. There are
those who say we are giving our land to white foreigners. But the majority
are seeing beyond that now and talking about how we can get Africa out of its
poverty trap. In my view what is worse is continuing to shop around for aid
from developed countries. Anyway, in Nigeria no one owns
Understandably, the Zimbabweans said they would prefer outright
ownership. Would you consider bending the rules?
They will have a
bankable certificate of occupancy with a 50 or 99-year lease. But there is no
freehold title here. If we start taking that road now we play into the hands
of people opposed to this project. What is easy to sell to the community is
the existing leasehold.
Even in Zimbabwe they had freehold but if someone
wanted to get rid of them they did so. There are no certainties, even with
freehold. It depends on the government and its policies creating an
environment of trust.
what happens if there's a change in
we are putting together an agreement which would make it
difficult for a future government to renege on promises.
incentives are the farmers being offered?
They will be granted pioneer
status, which means a five-year tax break. And they can bring in skilled
staff. We need expertise to get this going.
has this complicated
Nigeria's relationship with South Africa and Zimbabwe?
I would like to
think it hasn't. It's part of the Nepad philosophy of African countries
working toward a common goal. I am trying to focus on the real issue: the
economy. If I truly thought our peasant farmers could take us where we wanted
to be I would probably not have invited the Zimbabweans. And why go to Europe
to find the skills when we have people right here in Africa they are
Owning land is one thing but we've had the land for donkey
years and done nothing with it. Who knows, in 10 years time we might have our
own Zim farmers who go to other parts of Africa to lead an agriculture
revolution. We can't run away from the political colouration, but let us look
at it for what it is: an economic issue.
What will happen to the
people currently using the land?
There are vast areas of land not being
used and which therefore has no value now. The traditional leaders we've
spoken to are very positive.
Its a win-win situation for everybody. The
communities want to piggyback on the Zimbabwean farmers. They see it as an
opportunity. Of course, there are critics who say this is colonisation, but
the majority of Nigerians are supportive. We all agree these guys have skills
to impart to Nigerians.
Nigeria's decision to ban food imports next year
will stimulate local agriculture, but doesn't this violate international
The playing ground isn't level. Take dairy products. In
Australia, Ireland and New Zealand dairy products are being subsidised. What
chance do we have of competing with that? So if you want to criticise our
import bans, take away your subsidies so we know the true cost of your milk.
Even the World Trade Organisation says you are allowed to protect your market
while you are developing it. Only once it has matured enough do you open it
to international competition. I truly believe it is in the interests of
the international community for Nigeria to become self-sufficient. It is my
view that import bans is what the country needs in the initial
What do you hope to achieve, and by when would you like to see
In Africa, government subsidies for agriculture doesn't work
because most of the subsidy doesn't reach the farmers. We should help
commercial farmers who in turn will help small farmers. By 2006 we should be
able to see some changes in the agricultural sector.
In a state where
80 per cent of revenues go towards salaries, its just a matter of time before
we run out of money. We want to reduce our import bill by 75 per cent and
become a model for the rest of Africa, with the limited resources we have. I
truly believe this is the right solution, not only for Nigeria but the whole
of Africa. If we can get this thing right in Kwara it will change the way we
look at agriculture throughout Nigeria. It will transform the country's
economy. A lot of other states are already interested, but everyone is
waiting to see the first case to take off.
I think it's in the interest
of all stakeholders in Nigeria and the whole of Africa to see that it takes
off because if you get a country like Nigeria back to agriculture it will
reduce poverty in the region. Don't forget Nigeria's economy affects the
entire West African region. We could start providing low-cost food for our
I think it's a golden opportunity. I know some developed
countries are wary of the project because they don't want to be seen as
providing financial support to be white Zimbabwean farmers. But I think as
leaders we should look at the bigger picture and be ready to take the flack
today for the benefits tomorrow.
England were presented last night with a
potential get-out clause to cancel their tour of Zimbabwe this autumn after
the International Cricket Council challenged the African country to solve the
bitter power struggle between officials and players and protect the integrity
of world cricket. On a day of dramatic developments in Harare, the Zimbabwe
Cricket Union was officially informed that, unless it finds a solution to its
dispute with 15 disaffected white players, the ICC's executive committee will
hold an emergency telephone link-up on Friday to vote on whether Zimbabwe's
two Tests against Australia this month should have their Test status
revoked. "We need to fix it in the next 24 hours," Mal Speed, the ICC's
chief executive told an Australian television channel. The vote hangs in
the balance, but if it goes against Zimbabwe by a two-thirds
majority, Australia's Test side is expected to return home, giving England
fresh justification for cancelling their own tour this autumn. England's
moral argument for not touring Zimbabwe has been dismissed by the ICC, they
do not have the evidence to cancel the tour on safety and security grounds,
they dare not take unilateral action for fear of suspension and bankruptcy,
and the government will not instruct them to stay at home. But the argument
that could hold sway, and which ICC delegates from the 10 Test nations will
vote on this Friday, concerns "the integrity of world cricket" -
playing standards in other words. There are signs that the Asian bloc, lead
by the all-powerful India, is beginning to find Zimbabwe an embarrassing
ally. England seemed oblivious last night to the rapid developments in
Harare, which saw the diplomatic mission of Speed snubbed by the
ZCU. Speed held long discussions with the players and their legal
representatives but, despite his forensic care not to cause offence by talk
of mediation, his meeting with the ZCU was blocked after an internal power
struggle in which the invitation from the ZCU's chairman Peter Chingoka and
its chief executive Vince Hogg was overruled. Instead, Speed met Chingoka and
Hogg on the understanding that they would relay to the full board the
importance of preserving the integrity of Test cricket. Last night, the ZCU
seemed bent upon self-destruction, refusing the entreaties of the ICC that
the Tests be deferred until, or unless, a more meaningful contest could be
held. "The decision by the ZCU to withdraw its invitation to Malcolm Speed
was unfortunate," the ICC president Ehsan Mani said. "The ZCU has now
indicated that it intends to proceed with these matches as Test matches and I
have called a meeting of the ICC executive board to establish clearly if the
ICC directors believe that affording these matches Test status is
appropriate. "Where the ICC is clearly involved is in its duty to protect the
interests of the international game. It now up to the directors of the ICC
to determine if these matches should have Test status and to exercise
their judgment as to what course of action best protects the integrity of
the international game."
- The ongoing crisis in Zimbabwe cricket took a new twist when
the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced it had called a board
meeting Friday to discuss whether the forthcoming series between the African
state and Australia should be granted Test status. The move came after the
ICC revealed that the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU) had rejected its proposal,
agreed by Cricket Australia, to defer the series and just 24 hours after ICC
president Ehsan Mani said that suspending Zimbabwe from international cricket
was "not on the radar".
Zimbabwe cricket has been rocked by the axing of
15 senior white players, including former captain Heath Streak, following a
dispute with the ZCU which the rebels accused of operating a selection policy
based on racial quotas rather than merit.
In the absence of those 15
players, a Zimbabwe side made up of largely black novices has suffered two
huge Test defeats at home to Sri Lanka, the second by an innings and 254 runs
completed at Bulawayo on Monday.
ICC's Australian chief executive Malcolm
Speed flew to Harare Monday for talks with the ZCU and rebel
But while he met with player representatives and ZCU chairman
Peter Chingoka and chief executive Vince Hogg, he was not allowed to attend a
ZCU board meeting which the ICC believed he had been invited to speak
Such was Zimbabwe's inept performance against Sri Lanka that fears
were expressed about what might happen against an Australia side that tops
the ICC's Test championship table.
Now the ICC's board will hook up
for a teleconference meeting to discuss the issue on Friday.
statement Mani, who called the ZCU decision to withdraw its invitation to
Speed for the board meeting "unfortunate", said: "The ZCU has now indicated
that it intends to proceed with these matches as Test matches and I have
called a meeting of the ICC executive board to establish clearly if the ICC
directors believe that affording these matches Test status
Voting power on the ICC board rests with the
directors representing the 10 Test playing nations. Any motion to withdraw
Test status from the Zimbabwe-Australia series would require the support of
Mani admitted that while it was standard ICC policy not
to interfere in the internal affairs of a member board, the Zimbabwe
situation meant the world governing body had to act.
"Where the ICC is
clearly involved is in its duty to protect the interests of the international
game and it is for this reason that I have called this board
The first Test between Zimbabwe and Australia is due to start
in Harare on Saturday with the second scheduled in Bulawayo on May
cricketers are likely to clear out of Zimbabwe rather than hang around for an
unofficial, meaningless series if the two matches between the countries,
scheduled to begin on Saturday, have their Test status revoked.
Australian cricket team has gone to Zimbabwe to play Test and
one-day cricket," said Cricket Australia's chief executive James Sutherland.
"If we're not going to play that, then I'm not sure whether it is
appropriate for us to be there."
The ICC will decide on the status of
the proposed matches during a telephone hook-up between its ten executive
board directors on Friday.
Australia's most powerful politicians today
made plain their feelings on what should happen. The treasurer, Peter
Costello, commended Stuart MacGill for making himself unavailable and said
that, if he was a cricketer, he wouldn't be playing in
"People are going to say they're under contract to Cricket
Australia and they have to fulfil their contracts," said Costello. "I
understand that argument but I would suggest Cricket Australia think very
seriously about this tour."
John Howard, the prime minister, perhaps
mindful of the antagonism sparked by his random theories on Muttiah
Muralitharan's bowling action, was more cautious. Asked on ABC Radio if the
Australians should come home, Howard said: "That's a matter for Cricket
Australia, I don't want to tell Cricket Australia what to do.
do want to express the view that I think most Australians hold, and that is
there should not be any selection of teams on a racial basis. After all, that
was the basis of the original 20-year ban on South Africa,
The matches will lose their Test status if seven of the
ten ICC directors, representing each Test-playing country, support such a
motion. Greg Chappell, the former Australian captain, views it as an obvious
"I think the whole situation is very sad and obviously it needs
to be sorted out," Chappell said. "I don't think it is a satisfactory
situation when you have a team being put on the field that is clearly not
their best team. We can't afford to have the standard of Test cricket
denigrated from within. I think that's something that has really got to be
fiercely protected by the game of cricket."
By Staff Reporter Last
updated: 05/19/2004 11:24:57 INFORMATION and publicity minister, Jonathan
Moyo says he refused the British Sky News crew an interview with President
Robert Mugabe merely "to prove to whoever they were working for that we are
the authority and fully in charge and not that we did not want them to meet
Ironically, the Sky News crew had been invited into the
country by Zanu PF through its information and publicity chief, Nathan
Moyo's department, which was engaged in a covert tug-of-war
with Shamuyarira over the accreditation of the Sky News crew, arranged an
alternative regional media deal with the East African Standard and KTN of
Journalists from the two foreign media houses were granted an
interview with President Mugabe by Moyo ahead of the Sky News crew which,
ironically, was at the same time told to pack and leave the
The Herald, one of the titles under Moyo's control, consistently
claimed the British crew was in the country at the behest of Ugandan
national, David Nyekorach-Matsanga and not Zanu PF. Matsanga assisted the
ruling party to broker the Sky News deal and is also seen as close to Speaker
of Parliament and ruling party secretary for administration, Emmerson
However, after a series of such claims by the newspaper,
Shamuyarira on Thursday issued a statement correcting the Herald's erroneous
"The Sky News team that has been filming in Zimbabwe in the last
ten days was invited to come to Zimbabwe by Zanu PF. The statement given to
your readers that they were invited by someone else is not correct,"
Shamuyarira said in the statement. Curiously, the Herald, which also
received Shamuyarira's statement, did not publish it.
sources claimed the real reason behind Moyo's open aversion to the Sky News
deal has to do with the ruling party's succession politics.
the sources, Moyo suspected that Shamuyarira intended to use the Sky News
documentaries to advance the profile of lands and land resettlement minister
and Zanu PF chairman, John Nkomo as a leading contender in the succession
race. Moyo, the sources said, also suspected that Matsanga was interested in
having Mnangagwa receive positive profiling, thus selling him as an
acceptable candidate to succeed President Mugabe.
Hence the Kenyan deal,
added the sources, which was meant to pull the rug from under Shamuyarira's
feet and render the Sky News deal immobile. Party outsiders at the weekend
raised questions as to whether the frustration of Shamuyarira's Sky News
initiative and the fruition of Moyo's Kenyan deal also reflected the former's
decline and the latter's rise in the ruling party's politics.
Shamuyarira, who maintained in his statement last week that Sky News would
complete its work, revealed last night that Sky News had broadcast positive
interviews with leading government officials and that the interviews had been
beamed to the British audience throughout yesterday.
are really good. They flighted interviews with (Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
governor Gideon) Gono, Mnangagwa, Nkomo, and they were fair and balanced,"
"What is important is that the voice of Zimbabwe is
being heard by the British public. They are giving positive stories to the
British public because they don't see that; they only see the negative
picture and do not know that land reform has gone well, the economy is
recovering, or that democracy is working in Zimbabwe," Shamuyarira
Asked to comment on Moyo's statement to the East African
Standard journalists, Shamuyarira said: "Ask the Minister of Information, I
don't want to reply for him." Moyo has been on a regional media offensive,
touring Zambia, Namibia and Mozambique in recent weeks. He has set up, in
conjunction with Namibia's New Era, a regional newspaper named The New Sunday
Sources alleged Moyo was using the media in the region to create a
platform for himself in the region. Interestingly, the East African
Standard attempted an analysis of Zimbabwe's succession politics in which
they identified Moyo as the leading contender to succeed President
"Analysts in Zimbabwe view Tourism (sic) and Information minister
Prof. Jonathan Moyo as the favourite to succeed Mugabe. Of the cabinet
ministers, he is the closest to the President and the most powerful," the
But an analysis by the South African Sunday Times last year
had this to say about Moyo and succession:"Anyone suggesting Moyo as a
serious presidential candidate - and there have been several such suggestions
in recent weeks - doesn't know what they're talking about.
spin doctor and one-time Wits University academic is considered an infant in
the realpolitik of Harare. Observers have even suggested that Moyo will have
reached his sell-by date the moment Mugabe leaves office.
high profile, particularly outside the country, Moyo's only contribution to
date has been to serve as Mugabe's flak catcher - and he will remain useful
only as long as he fills the role of Zanu PF punchbag". From the Daily
Opposition urged to boycott polls after Mugabe rigs
election By Basildon Peta, Southern Africa Correspondent 19 May
Zimbabwe's main opposition party is under pressure to boycott
elections after President Robert Mugabe brazenly rigged a by-election in an
opposition stronghold at the weekend.
Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF won the
Lupane by-election by 883 votes, polling 10,069 against the MDC's
The seat fell vacant on the death of David Mpala, an MPC member.
His health had deteriorated rapidly since being tortured by Zanu-PF
supporters in 2002. The ruling party lost the Lupane seat in the 2000
parliamentary elections by about 10,000 votes.
Critics questioned how
Mr Mugabe's party could win the by-election when the situation in Zimbabwe
had dramatically worsened since 2000, with inflation peaking at 600 per cent
and people barely able to afford the basics.
monitors said the election win could only have been achieved by the brazen
rigging they had seen in Lupane. They accused Mr Mugabe of bussing in people
from neighbouring constituencies to vote.
The MDC said opposition
campaigners were abducted and tortured. Villagers were told they would not be
eligible for famine relief if they did not vote for the ruling party. Mr
Mugabe's youth militia intimidated and assaulted voters and a journalist,
Savious Kwinika, was left for dead. But Zanu-PF said the victory was
legitimate because Zimbabweans had now realised that the MDC was a "puppet"
The victory also underlined the "success" of the land reform
programme under which thousands of white-owned farms had been redistributed
to blacks, the party said.
Professor Lovemore Madhuku, the leader of
the largest civic group, the National Constitutional Assembly, said that the
MDC's strategy of contesting elections then crying foul after losing was
senseless. "These are not elections but pre-determined processes that the MDC
is merely giving legitimacy by its participation," Professor Madhuku said.
"What they need to do now is to join us in the fight for a democratic
constitution and an acceptable electoral framework before they contest these
Elections in Zimbabwe are run by an electoral commission
handpicked by Mr Mugabe and stuffed with army officers.
The MDC is
barred from state-run broadcasts and print media. A spokesman, Paul Themba
Nyathi, said elections "had become a major farce". But there was no consensus
on whether to boycott polls.
* South African President Thabo Mbeki has
been given a 24-hour ultimatum to guarantee that 70 suspected mercenaries
detained in Zimbabwe will not be extradited to Equatorial Guinea, where they
face summary execution.
Lawyers representing the men want Mr Mbeki to
seek their extradition to South Africa, arguing that he has a constitutional
responsibilty to help South African citizens arrested in countries where they
have no chance of getting justice "even in its most elementary forms". The
alleged mercernaries are mainly from South Africa.
The lawyers have
said that unless Mr Mbeki takes steps to save the men from certain death,
they would take the South African leader to the High Court in Pretoria to try
and secure his intervention.
The men were arrested at Harare
International Airport on 7 March. Zimbabwean officials said they were on
their way to overthrow the government of Equatorial Guinea. The men said they
were going to guard a mine in the Congo.
FRANCISTOWN: A senior veterinary officer has said that Zimbabwe
is to blame for the outbreak of the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in the
Matsiloje area in 2002.
Responding to questions raised at a
two-day FMD workshop at the Thapama Lodge, Principal Veterinary Officer in
the department of Animal Health and Production, Dr. Moetapele Letshwenyo,
"For the 2002 outbreak of FMD in Matsiloje, the
similarities stood at 99 percent in the type of virus of the FMD in Zimbabwe
and the one detected here. Whether they agree or not, we have scientific
evidence to that effect" .
He was responding to a question asked
by Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police, Paphani Mazwiduma, who was a
participant at the workshop. He stressed that the Botswana FMD matched the
one in Zimbabwe.
"Most of their cattle are highly exposed to FMD as
control measures are not as tight as here," he said. He added that because of
the risky situation in Zimbabwe, the Botswana government has embarked on
the construction of an electric cordon fence along the border to control
the movement of cattle. Letshwenyo told the workshop that the
Botswana government took the decision to destroy cattle to control FMD
instead of vaccination because the country was protecting its European Union
He stated that talks with Zimbabwean authorities on
FMD are continuing. "We have been talking to the Zimbabwean government. About
two years back, we gave Zimbabweans free doses of FMD. The unfortunate thing
is that they have confessed that they have no money to effectively combat
FMD," he said. He added that there are no immediate plans to vaccinate
buffaloes, which are known to be carriers of FMD.
that the electrification of the cordon fence along the border areas is going
to be done in three phases.
The objective of the workshop was to
create awareness for FMD recognition and control measures for farmers and
Workshop participants were worried by incidents
in which Zimbabwean cattle rustlers continued to raid the border areas in the
A GROUP of 70 suspected mercenaries held in Zimbabwe on charges of plotting a
coup in Equatorial Guinea are preparing to take the South African government
to court unless it intervenes in their case, their lawyer
The men, who have been in a Harare jail for the
past two months, have asked President Thabo Mbeki's government to either seek
their extradition to SA or provide assurances that they would not be handed
over for trial in Equatorial Guinea, lawyer Alwyn Grievenow
Government was notified in an official letter served this
week that it had 24 hours to respond to the request or face court action. "If
we do not receive the undertakings we will proceed with an urgent matter in
the Pretoria High Court," Grievenow said. The petition could be heard next
The 70 suspected mercenaries, who come from SA , Namibia and
Angola but were all travelling on South African passports, were arrested at
Harare airport on March 7, accused of planning to overthrow Equatorial
Guinea's long-time leader Teodoro Obiang Nguema with weapons allegedly bought
from Zimbabwe's state arms manufacturer.
Fifteen other men were
arrested on similar charges in the oil-rich but impoverished central African
country and are charged with being accomplices in the same plot.
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe held talks with Obiang earlier this month,
after which an official said that Mugabe had agreed to hand over the men for
trial and a possible death sentence in Equatorial Guinea.
not, however, been any official statement from the Zimbabwean government
about extradition of the 70 accused men.
Grievenow said that
authorities were investigating whether the men might have violated a South
African law on foreign military assistance.
"If they have a case
they should serve warrants on the men. If they do this they must apply for
their extradition to SA ," said Grievenow.
"We haven't got a
problem standing trial but we don't believe they will have a fair trial in
Zimbabwe. We want them, therefore, to stand trial in SA ," he
The families of the alleged soldiers of fortune have staged a
protest in Pretoria to ask Mbeki to bring the men home.
Government has given no indication that it is planning to intervene if the
men are extradited to Equatorial Guinea, saying there was "no legal basis for
SA to demand that its nationals should not be extradited to another
Meanwhile, the opposition Democratic Alliance yesterday
called on government to come clean on any reported assistance it has rendered
to prosecutors from Equatorial Guinea.
"The fact that government
is assisting Equatorial Guinea in this manner is a direct contravention of
the recommendation made by Jan Henning, deputy head of the National
Prosecuting Authority, on the prospects of a fair trial taking place in
Equatorial Guinea," said the party's foreign affairs spokesman, Douglas
Gibson. With Sapa-AFP May 19 2004 07:07:39:000AM Business Day Reporter
Business Day 1st Edition
While Malcolm Speed was being given the cold shoulder by
the board of the Zimbabwe Cricket Union, he did meet with some of the rebel
players during his 36 hours in Harare. The talks, described as amicable,
remained private, but by the time he left what was clear was the stand-off
between the board and the players was no closer to being
The rebels remain unimpressed by last Friday's statement
from the ZCU giving them another 21 days to return to work, seeing it as
little more than a face-saving exercise brought about by fears that it had
acted illegally by dismissing them in the first place.
anything, the players' attitude has hardened. They still insist that Heath
Streak should be reinstated as captain, the board are equally adamant that
Tatenda Taibu, his successor, is there to stay. Asked whether they would be
prepared to compromise, Grant Flower, the spokesman for the players said:
"I'm not. Our captain [Streak] might be, but I think he'd be on
Flower added that he feared that he, and most of the
other rebels, had played for Zimbabwe for the last time. And he admitted to
having grave concerns for the game's future in the country. "With more
experience the young guys in the team will become better players but that
will take a long while," he said. "But I don't know if there is enough good
players in this country to keep the system going to be
Although they are continuing to train, many of the rebels
appear to have accepted that their careers in Zimbabwe are over and are
looking abroad for employment. Sean Ervine left last week -ironically bumping
into the departing Australian side at the airport in Perth - and is pondering
playing for Western Australia. Streak has been linked with Tasmania, although
he is unlikely to do anything until all hope of a deal with the board
has disappeared. Others are considering offers to play club
As for Taibu, he remains at the centre of the dispute but
very much distanced from it. He has got on with the job of captaining the
decimated Zimbabwe side, and has led by example and with great dignity. But
while he is good enough to play international cricket, he is leading a team
which clearly isn't.
"Obviously it has been tough, but I'm very lucky
to have a bunch of young guys who are willing to represent their country," he
said. Asked whether he thought the Tests should go ahead, he said that was a
decision for the ICC. But he added: "It's disturbing . it would be
disappointing for me because the Australians are the world champions and my
boys need to play them to improve."