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Zimbabwe central bank broke and discredited, says IMF

Zim Online

Tuesday 01 May 2007

By Tsungai Murandu

HARARE - The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says Zimbabwe's central bank
is technically broke and has tarnished its credibility as the regulator of
the country's banking system.

In a Working Paper released on 25 April, the IMF said the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe (RBZ) was unsound to manage the levers of Zimbabwe's financial
industry and would need to be recapitalised to regain the confidence of the
banking sector.

"The RBZ is making losses because of the costs involved in supporting
government policy through quasi-fiscal activities and keeping the currency
overvalued," said the Bretton Woods institution.

While central bank losses in most countries are contained within 10 percent
of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Zimbabwe's flow of central bank
quasi-fiscal losses are estimated to have amounted to 75 percent of GDP in

The losses have arisen from a range of activities, including monetary
operations to mop up liquidity; subsidised credit; foreign exchange losses
through subsidised exchange rates for selected government purchases and
multiple currency practices; and financial sector restructuring.

Since becoming the country's chief banker in December 2003, RBZ governor
Gideon Gono has implemented a dual exchange rate policy, characterised by
one rate for official government and other essential transactions and
another for ordinary purchases.

The IMF said the dual exchange rate has worked to the disadvantage of the
central bank, which has had to scrounge on the illegal foreign exchange
market for hard cash for onward selling to parastatals and other "key
sectors" at a loss.

The key sectors have included senior politicians and government ministers as
well as newly resettled farmers.

The RBZ has also pumped money into collapsed financial institutions under a
financial sector restructuring started by Gono in 2004.

The quasi-fiscal losses of the central bank have been financed through money
creation or issuance of central bank securities, pushing inflation to 2 200
percent in March.

"These developments have resulted in an unstable macroeconomic environment
that risks hyperinflation, reinforcing the argument in favor of far-reaching
and simultaneous reforms in the areas of fiscal, monetary, and exchange rate
to restore policy credibility and impose macroeconomic discipline," said the

The Fund noted that the remedy to the current situation was to eliminate the
causes of losses by implementing measures to improve the cash-flow of the
bank and restore its financial position.

Suggested measures included elimination of quasi-fiscal activities, the
restructure of the RBZ functions and activities, and recapitalisation of the
central bank to replace the existing non-earning assets with revenue
generating resources, the IMF said.

"Moreover, Zimbabwe needs to rationalise the relationship between the
central bank and the central government," said the Fund.

The Fund, however, warned that recapitalisation of the central bank would
only be best achieved once stability in the economy has been restored.

"When balance sheets have seriously deteriorated as in the case of Zimbabwe,
a recapitalisation of the central bank would be recommended once
stabilisation has been achieved," the IMF said.

This is not the first time Gono has been criticised for his quasi-fiscal
activities. His policy came under fire from Herbert Murerwa in December 2006
when the former finance minister said the quasi-fiscal expenditures by the
RBZ were fuelling inflation.

Similar criticism has come from the IMF, which has asked the Zimbabwean
authorities to factor the RBZ's off-budget spending into the country's
national government.

The RBZ governor - a close confidante of President Robert Mugabe - was last
week adamant that he would not stop his off-budget spending and announced
further support for farmers in the form of tractors and implements.

He insisted that calls to cut on quasi-fiscal activities were based on
ignorance as other countries such as the United States and the European
Union were also supporting their farmers.

"The case of Zimbabwe is, therefore, not a unique one, and as monetary
authorities, we have absolutely no apology to make for our firm commitment
in seeing to it that our farmers are given the necessary support to boost
agricultural production as a strategic sector," the RBZ chief said. -

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ZANU PF legislator injured as rival factions clash in Masvingo

Zim Online

Tuesday 01 May 2007

By Regerai Marwezu

MASVINGO - A ruling ZANU PF legislator Enita Maziriri and former governor
Josaya Hungwe were injured at the weekend following violent clashes between
rival factions ahead of provincial elections in Masvingo.

Retired Major Alex Mudavanhu beat Paul Mangwana for the provincial
chairmanship in the chaotic elections that mirrored the vicious power
struggle within ZANU PF over President Robert Mugabe's successor.

The new executive is said to be loyal to retired army general Solomon Mujuru
who heads a powerful faction of ZANU PF that is embroiled in a mortal fight
with a rival faction headed by Rural Housing Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Mangwana, who was on a "home coming" mission from Mashonaland West province,
is said to be backing Mnangagwa in ZANU PF's succession politics.

The weekend polls were called as part of an ongoing restructuring exercise
within the party that began earlier this year.

Trouble for Maziriri and Hungwe is said to have started after party youths
loyal to Mudavanhu blocked a bus that was ferrying Mangwana's supporters
from Chivi district to the voting centre in Masvingo.

The supporters threatened to set the bus on fire if the driver insisted on
ferrying Mangwana's supporters to the voting centre.

The disturbances soon degenerated into violent clashes with party youths
from the rival camps throwing stones at each other resulting in scores of
supporters from both factions sustaining injuries.

The stone throwing "battle" lasted for close to an hour resulting in the
elections being delayed for several hours as party supporters failed to
agree on the modalities for the elections.

"The youths manhandled me before throwing stones at me and other party
officials. I sustained injuries on my leg and shoulder but I am not going to
make a report to the police because this was an internal party issue," said

Elliot Manyika, the party's political commissar who was in charge of the
voting process, then called an emergency meeting with ZANU PF Politburo
members Dzikamai Mavhaire and Vitalis Zvinavashe in order to diffuse the

The elections which were due to start at 10am, only began at 6pm and went on
well after midnight.

Mudavanhu polled 468 votes against Mangwana's 348 votes to clinch the party's
top post in the troubled Masvingo province.

Other members of Mudavanhu's executive committee who were elected last
Saturday include Retired Major Kudzai Mbudzi who was elected provincial
party spokesperson while Dr Paul Chimedza was elected secretary for health.

Clever Mumbengegwi was elected the province's deputy chairman.

Meanwhile, a senior official from the losing faction told ZimOnline on
Monday that they will file an official complaint over the elections
insisting that the polls were seriously flawed to be deemed free and fair.

"The elections were not free and fair," said the party official loyal to the
Mangwana camp.

"Our supporters were not allowed to vote and everything was chaotic. We are
going to launch an official complaint with the party's national chairman,
John Nkomo, to demand a re-run" said the official.

However, Manyika said the elections were generally free and fair despite the
"minor skirmishes".

"The elections were free and fair despite those few skirmishes that you saw.
Those few incidents cannot reverse the results," said Manyika. - ZimOnline

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Under Official Pressure, Zimbabwe Trade Unionists Plan May Day Observations


      By Patience Rusere
      30 April 2007

The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions said it intends to hold May Day
celebrations in most parts of the Southern African country despite police
bans in some localities on observations of the workers holiday and the risk
of violence in certain areas.

Union officials said this year's theme was: "Workers - A Time To Fight."

Police clearance was denied in Bindura in Mashonaland Central, Marondera in
Mashonaland East, and Norton, Mashonaland West.

ZCTU President Lovemore Matombo was scheduled to address a union gathering
at Gwanzura Stadium in Harare Tuesday. Union spokesman Khumbulani Ndlovu
told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the union
does not expect any violence to occur as the event is intended strictly for

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Police clamp down on May Day celebrations in Zimbabwe

International Herald Tribune

The Associated PressPublished: April 30, 2007

HARARE, Zimbabwe: Police banned union-organized May Day celebrations in
three provincial towns and activities in a fourth were still in doubt late
Monday, Zimbabwe's main labor federation said. It also accused the state of
intimidating organizers in some districts.

The police ban applied to the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, aligned to
the opposition, and was not expected to affect smaller government-backed
labor groups celebrating May Day Tuesday.

Kumbulani Ndlovu, an official of the main federation, said police denied
clearance for parades in the towns of Marondera, Bindura and Norton,
effectively banning them. Labor officials were still discussing with police
whether activities could go ahead in the central town of Kwekwe.

Under security laws, political gatherings require police clearance.

Police were not immediately available for comment.

Labor activists have been targeted since the labor federation broke away
from an alliance with Mugabe's ruling party in 1992 and backed the formation
of the main opposition party in 1999.
Last month, the federation called a two-day national strike to protest
economic mismanagement, acute shortages of food and most basic goods and
spiraling unemployment. The strike was poorly observed, with most workers
saying they couldn't afford to stop work.

In September, federation leaders were injured in police assaults as they
tried to hold a protest march that had been declared illegal by police.

The government claimed the labor activists were resisting arrest and police
used "reasonable force" to restrain them. But independent medical reports
said at least seven of the leaders suffered broken bones in assaults once
they were jailed in Matapi police cells in western Harare, one of the
capital's harshest jails.

At least 40 opposition activists, including Morgan Tsvangirai, a former
secretary general of the federation who leads a faction of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change, were injured - mostly in custody - after
police violently crushed a scheduled prayer meeting in western Harare's
Highfield township on March 11.

Police said the prayer meeting was a banned political rally and President
Robert Mugabe said afterward further protest would also be crushed with
similar force.

Zimbabwe is reeling from runaway inflation of 2,200 percent, the highest in
the world, and acute shortages of hard currency, gasoline and imports, along
with an HIV/AIDS epidemic that kills at least 3,000 people a week. The
agriculture-based economy collapsed after the seizure of thousands of
white-owned commercial farms began in 2000.

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Clinics close down as economic crisis deepens

United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs -
Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN)

Date: 30 Apr 2007

GWERU, 30 April 2007 (IRIN) - After more than 50 years of serving the
community, Rockford Clinic in Gweru, in Zimbabwe's central province of
Midlands, shut down two months ago when the last trained nurse quit - a
symptom of the wider crisis facing rural health services.

"Many people, including a substantial number of people who now hold high
positions in government, were born in and treated at Rockford Clinic, but
the [health] ministry had to close it down after it went for a long time
with only one qualified nurse and assistants picked from the nearby
villages," said Amos Magenga, 65, who lived close to the clinic, about 90km
southeast of Gweru.

The operational woes faced by the clinic are all too familiar in Zimbabwe: a
shortage of nursing staff and drugs, dilapidated buildings and equipment,
and even clean water in short supply - the inevitable result of a record
inflation rate of 2,200 percent, and a crippling shortage of foreign

"These days it's virtually useless to seek help from these health centres,
they can't even provide painkillers that one can easily obtain over the
counter in a shop," Topona Mangwende, 60, told IRIN.

"Health delivery inevitably suffers when the economy deteriorates to the
extent that we are seeing in this country," said Innocent Makwiramiti, an
economist and past chief executive of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of
Commerce. "The government is so preoccupied with finding solutions to the
economic meltdown that social services like health are now almost

According to the United Nations Population Fund, "Women and children
continue to be particularly at risk as the situation continues to worsen.
Maternal and neonatal mortality has spiked in recent years as access to
basic health services and critical obstetric care has declined."

Rural communities are hardest hit because they are the least developed and
poorest regions of the country, Makwiramiti said.

A consequence of the crisis is that traditional medicine is enjoying a
resurgence among Zimbabweans unable to afford orthodox treatment. "Because
of the poor state of clinics and hospitals we are being forced to adopt
desperate measures to save our lives when we fall sick," said Mangwende.

When his stomach began to "mysteriously" swell a year ago, he turned to a
traditional healer who claimed he had been bewitched and needed to have the
evil spirits exorcised - a treatment option that failed.

Gordon Chavhunduka, president of the Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers
Association, acknowledged the problem of fake healers, but said members of
his association were playing a vital role in solving Zimbabwe's medical
crisis. Around 80 percent of Zimbabweans are believed to use traditional

"More and more people in both rural and urban areas are turning to
traditional healers because they cannot get much help from hospitals and
clinics," Chavhunduka told IRIN. "We hold regular meetings and workshops
with the people to educate them on the advantages of using traditional
medicine, and what also makes us popular is that we are more affordable."

The country's political and economic crises, and one of the world's highest
rates of HIV infection, has seen Zimbabwe tumble to a ranking of 151 out of
177 countries in the United Nation's Development Programme Human Development

This article does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or
its agencies.

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More than half of Zimbabwe's households depend on diaspora dollars

Monsters and Critics

Apr 30, 2007, 17:51 GMT

Harare - More than half of all households in Zimbabwe are surviving on money
and goods sent from relatives working outside the country, state radio
reported Monday.

The findings are a result of a countrywide survey carried out in 2004 by the
University of Zimbabwe's geography department, the report said.

More than half the country's households are supplementing their salaries
with goods from relatives living outside the country, Daniel Tevera, the
chairman of the research committee was quoted as telling state radio.

The current population of Zimbabwe is estimated at 11.6 million people. At
least three million have fled the country to live and work, many illegally,
in countries like neighbouring South Africa and former colonial power,

Last week Zimbabwe's central bank governor announced a new exchange rate of
15,000 Zimbabwe dollars to the US dollar to lure more of the hard currency
sent by family members living outside the country into the official market.

The official market has been starved of hard currency, needed to pay for
fuel, food, medicines and electricity, due to an overvalued dollar that is
officially pegged at only 250 to the greenback.

The report did not give a figure for the total number of households in

© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur

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Zim compensates 800 white ex-farmers

The Citizen

Monday April 30/

JOHANNESBURG - Zimbabwe has compensated 800 white former farmers whose
property was taken for land reform since 2000, Harare's Herald newspaper
reported on Monday.
Its website quoted the minister responsible for the land and resettlement
programme, Flora Buka, as saying billions of Zimbabwean dollars had been
paid out in compensation.
More farmers would in the coming months be paid out for improvements made on
their land before they were kicked off.
"As government, we are committed to paying for the infrastructure which was
owned by the white farmers," Buka said.
She said the Treasury had promised adequate funding for the exercise,
expected to run until year-end.
Buka did not give the exact amount of funds set aside, saying the money was
being disbursed in quarterly tranches.
At present, 226 white farmers were listed for eviction after receiving
notices due to expire before at the end of September.
Initially, the farmers were supposed to move out of the properties at the
beginning of February but were offered a reprieve to allow them to vacate
the land in an organised way.
Once acquired, the farms were set aside for allocation to the land hungry,
said Buka. -Sapa

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SW Radio Africa's Violet Gonda Talks With Archbishop Pius Ncube, Pastor Ray Motsi And Bishop Trevor Manhanga (Part 2)


Broadcast on April 24, 2007

Violet Gonda: Welcome to the concluding debate with church leaders Bishop Trevor Manhanga, Pastor Ray Motsi and Archbishop Pius Ncube. In this part of the discussion we hear the church leaders' views on the opposition in Zimbabwe but first, Pastor Motsi picks up from where the discussion ended last week on the issue of what form of resistance the Church should be engaging in right now.

Pastor Ray Motsi: I think we need to be very clear. The problem in Zimbabwe is not an MDC/Zanu PF problem. The problem is people in Zimbabwe are suffering. For your own information some members of the MDC and Zanu PF are actually living pretty. They may not actually feel the suffering of the people in Zimbabwe and therefore to continue to actually think that the problem in Zimbabwe is Zanu PF and MDC whilst the majority of the people - we have 90% of unemployment and people cannot afford a meal a day - I think the more we continue to think that the problem is at that level and that the ordinary people who are voiceless, who are harmless, they are marginalized I think we are doing a disservice to God.

Our mandate and our mission from the Church is from the bible. What does the bible say about the situation in Zimbabwe? I think it's a bad situation, it's an evil situation because people are suffering and I think that is what we must talk about.

Violet: And also I would like to go back to the question that Bishop Manhanga asked and I think it's very important and its also to do with the issue of the way forward. Archbishop Ncube what is the nature of resistance that the Church should take right now?

Archbishop Pius Ncube: I think we can learn from South Africa. In South Africa they were dealing with the Apartheid government and they held meetings sometimes they held marches even to the risks of being shot while they marched. The Pastors would march in front and they organized a whole lot of activities to put pressure on the government. They even negotiated that sanctions should be imposed on the Apartheid government and that was agreed to by the western powers. The loans and so on were embargoed and so forth. So we must learn from them.

Churches must stop this sweet-talk and engage now into putting pressure which will cause the government to bend. You see in South Africa they were dealing with hardliners there - white people who had been 350 years there and they didn't want to let go. They thought they had a divine right to rule but there had to be a lot of pressure to arm twist them to force them to the table. So these people have to be forced to the table by lots of other pressure rather than sweet-talk. Marches, protests, prayer services and training people on how to avoid - I think Churches must have some kind of contract together with civil bodies to have a common front and to have common actions with trade unions and so forth. Non-violent action. There must be a contract to bring the government down if they are refusing to negotiate. We cannot be sweet anymore with these people who have oppressed us. It's the 8th year running now.

Violet: Bishop Manhanga can you see your group signing up or supporting this kind of activism?

Bishop Manhanga: Well look Violet, I think that for our part, I don't think we have reached the stage whereby the doors to government, and I agree with Pastor Ray Motsi this is not an issue of the politicians alone, we are trying to deal with the people who are in government. I don't think joining up with the people - some of the civil society groups may not have the same objectives as the Church and the noble objectives of the Church may be usurped by some of these other groups. And I feel it is very dangerous. That's where we get sucked in even though we may want to make a non violent demonstration or we may want to make a non violent street march to air our grievances. That quickly because we are bringing other elements in who do not share our commitment to non violence and Christian principles and then what happens?

The very thing the Church is trying to prevent is what becomes on the ground - destruction of property, destruction of life. And I say I cannot be part of that because we don't want to lose people's lives unnecessarily because at this time the doors to talk are still open. I hear what my brother Archbishop Pius is saying but I think that, look - the time has not yet arrived as I see it whereby we say 'it is a total waste of time talking to government.' I think we must still talk to them, I think we have not gone over the precipice. That is my personal opinion. I think we should do whatever we can and then if the time comes when we say that we are not making any progress and we are dealing with a government that doesn't want to listen totally to us then obviously the Church has to re-look and say 'ok we have been doing all these things there is no improvement what do we do?'

Violet: What about you thoughts Pastor Motsi, it seems Zimbabwe has become too polarized and also tend to be too passionate about the crisis that people tend to pick one side or another. Or that they don't want to hear the truth because they want change. Now do you think we should have higher morality of opposition leaders?

Pastor Ray Motsi: Without any doubt. Obviously our quest is that those that are into politics and those that aspire to get into political positions must be people that are of higher regard for the law and morality for this nation and human rights. And therefore we actually desire to see people who are of high caliber to occupy such echelons of political authority. I think I need to contribute to this argument concerning the argument of the approach that we must take. I think whilst we approach the problem of Zimbabwe from diverse point of departures the aim and the reason must be the same. The aim is to bring about a desired goal which is, as far as I am concerned, transformation of every aspect.

We need a multiplicity of approaches in order to pressurize the powers that be and everybody else who is involved, including the politicians to behave in a manner that the people of Zimbabwe want. Not what they want. Rather than them telling us what is right we Zimbabweans we need to tell the leaders what is right and therefore the multiplicity of approaches will actually help us in understanding that there is no one group that has got the monopoly of truth and the monopoly of know how of how best to deal with the problem of Zimbabwe at the moment. I think there is need for some stakeholders' approach to come together to deal with this issue. It's a Zimbabwean problem and therefore Zimbabweans need to come together. That's my case as far as this is concerned.

Violet: And Archbishop Ncube on the issue of political parties there are some people who say we ignored that aspect of Robert Mugabe that was dictatorial from the beginning and that we are ignoring this issue in the MDC. Now do you think there needs to be some kind of truth speaking when dealing with the opposition?

Archbishop Pius Ncube: Yes I think the tendency is that Robert Mugabe's behavior has tended to be seen as standard, unconsciously. You see this man has been sitting on our backs for the last 27 years and so unconsciously we take in even some of his bad behavior as though it's alright. So it's wrong for people in the opposition to take the party, their party as though they are the owners of the party. The people can always change and get some other party but there is this possessiveness amongst some people even in the opposition you find it. I heard that a party leader was saying 'over his dead body would he allow anyone else would take over his leadership even in the opposition.' Now that attitude is wrong. They must be humble enough to allow the people to choose another leader you can always start something good. Let others take over and continue it you don't have to cling to it.

Violet: Bishop Manhanga, your views on the opposition.

Bishop Manhanga: Violet I think the problem we make hear... let's look even with President Mugabe. President Mugabe is the leader of Zanu PF but Zanu PF is made up of so many people. I think that if people are unhappy with a particular leader, and I use that analogy, they should form their own party. I am saying that often times we say the problem is Mugabe, what about the people in Zanu PF. We say that the problem is Morgan Tsvangirai but what about the people in the MDC? All Zimbabweans even in the Zimbabwean problem are complicit. We must ask ourselves as Pastor Ray said, 'what have we done in the situation?'

So, when we talk about the opposition, I think if people are not happy, for example, with Tsvangirai's leadership, if they don't follow the laid down procedures in their party then they must form their own party. If they are not happy with Mutambara it's no use sitting there saying 'this man is a dictator' but you don't want to do anything about the problem. That's the problem. Everybody says these things but at the time when something should be done everybody cops out or chickens out and that's the problem. I think we get the kind of leaders we deserve at the end of the day!

Violet: But Pastor Motsi what are your views on this. Do you think that is the solution that if you are not happy with a particular leadership then you form your own party?

Pastor Ray Motsi: I think in a true democracy that would actually be true there is no reason why anybody could actually form his own party or her own party if they so wish. But again going back to Bishop Manhanga's point earlier on, I personally believe as a nation we need to learn to have conflict resolution and know how to handle our conflicts in a manner that will make us better people in the future because we are learning from our mistakes. But as it is there is no indication at all of learning from the past in order for us to have a better future and therefore I personally believe that history is coughing at us because instead of learning from it we are actually making, in my own opinion, blunders that even history itself never saw.

And as a result I find it extremely, extremely difficult that as Zimbabweans it seems we are not mature there is no tolerance in term that people cannot actually be in the same room and in the same country holding different opinion and views and coming from different schools of thought. We don't have to think that because I have a different view it means I got it from outside the country. It means that us as Zimbabweans are so stupid that we can never come up with new ideas of how to actually handle our situation and that to me it is so bad and unfortunate in our country.

Violet: And as the conveners of the Save Zimbabwe Campaign does this problem exist in the pro-democracy movement?

Pastor Ray Motsi: Well I think it's a Zimbabwean problem to be honest with you. I think its Zimbabwean problem. You can see it manifesting in all kinds of areas of our country and I personally believe I'm of the opinion that whilst a few people have had a very strong nationalist perspective not all Zimbabweans have had such a nationalistic approach as is needed in order for us to go forward as a nation.

Violet: And Archbishop Ncube in terms of the Zimbabwe recovery plan, do you have greater hopes for a reformed Zanu PF or what you see in the MDC?

Archbishop Pius Ncube: The thing is perhaps it is possible that there can be a reformed Zanu PF but up to now the history of Zanu PF that we have had in the last 27 years where as soon as they are threatened they become violent. For the last month they have been abducting up to 600 people and torturing them, beating them, some they have even killed. So I think a party is judged by its activities. The people of Zimbabwe have by now lost confidence in Zanu PF let them try other parties because the way I see it its tainted, heavily tainted this party. There can always be new parties. Some parties rise and die and new parties formed.

In regards to the MDC also, well it still has to prove itself. Some people speak very nicely before they are in power but once they are in power sometimes they do exactly the same thing the oppressor was doing. I mean Mugabe took over from Rhodesia Front but now he is trying exactly the same tactics, which he was denouncing. So hopefully if another party rolls and takes over power it doesn't do exactly the same mistakes but people should always be given the liberty to change leadership when they are dissatisfied. But Zanu PF believes that we are their property - so arrogant are they - they think that we are their property.

And the idea of leaving Zanu PF to start another party, we know very well that any party, which becomes very strong, would be intimidated. As long as the party is weak they have no problems with it. But as soon as a party is a threat to them, like ZAPU was a threat to them and MDC is a threat to them then they will thrash it. They use violence that is their classical code. Use violence to bash the people so that they remain, you imbibe them to stay in Zanu PF. It is as though Zanu PF is an end in itself it should be a means to an end not an end in itself.

Violet: Your thoughts Bishop Manhanga.

Bishop Manhanga: You see Violet, what I would say is that just recently the Zanu PF Central Committee sat together. If within Zanu PF people are opposed to President Mugabe being the leader - why didn't they stand up in that meeting and say 'we don't want Mugabe to lead us into the next election?' I think once the Central Committee has endorsed it they had been given a chance within the party. I come to the MDC - they have Congress. Once they endorse Morgan Tsvangirai as their President, well I find it difficult that people start fighting saying this person is an oppressor he is not our leader.

I don't know the internal mechanization within this party, but I am saying if Zimbabweans whether in MDC or Zanu PF are not happy with the leadership surely they have an opportunity to express themselves within their various party caucuses and inline with their constitution. And when you don't see this happening I think then that is a great indictment on us as Zimbabweans if at those particular points within our political structures we are afraid or we are... what's the word? Cowards - that we can't stand up. But once a person has been endorsed I'm in no position to say this person should not lead this party. That is within their part and whoever they choose that is their choice.

Violet: And my question was, and that is the question that I had also asked Archbishop Ncube, in terms of the Zimbabwe recovery plan do you have greater hopes for a reformed Zanu PF or MDC?

Bishop Manhanga: You know this is my desire Violet. I think Zimbabwe can turn around because Zimbabwe has got an amazing amount of talent both within Zanu PF and MDC and outside of politics. If we could tap into those people and not just look at people along party lines I am telling you this country would be the Switzerland of Africa. It would be an amazing place to live. I think that's where we should go in the future. We should put Zimbabwe first not our party, not our allegiance to any leader. We have got amazing people of all political persuasions. So I am not really looking towards a reformed Zanu PF or a transformed MDC. I am looking to whoever forms the next government in this country to have a patriotic fervor that looks at people and what they have to offer. If we do that we have a tremendous chance to turn this country around.

Violet: Pastor Motsi?

Pastor Ray Motsi: I think we really need to put aside a patriotic and nationalist bigotry where patriotism and nationalism is actually defined along party lines because Zimbabwe is for all Zimbabweans who are here whether they are aligned themselves with party politics or not. And the question you asked is about the hope for transformation. On a personal level not representing CA (Christian Alliance) per say or Save Zimbabwe per say, I personally believe we have had Zanu PF for all these years and they have had their chance to actually transform this nation and therefore from a political point of view I really wish that there would really be transformation because Zanu PF itself is not actually transforming. It's not actually transforming the situation to a point where everybody in Zimbabwe is beginning to enjoy the benefits. Therefore I think everybody is looking for a wholesome transformation in Zimbabwe. Now I don't know whether the MDC is the party that will actually bring the kind of desired transformation that is needed in this country. But it's transformation we need and I think desperately.

Violet: And before we go Pastor Motsi a final word?

Pastor Ray Motsi: My final word is that the Zimbabwean people need to come together to begin to actually work together in a way in which that only us as Zimbabweans will be able to bring about the change and transformation in this country in a non violent peaceful way and conflict resolution. Because we do have conflicts and we need those things to be resolved in a manner that will help us. But I also believe that one of the key aspects that we have is a constitution and I don't think we can actually transform the nation willy nilly without having touched the constitution and therefore that is an important aspect that also needs to be touched and brought onto the national agenda because it is not a Zanu PF issue neither is it an MDC issue. It is a Zimbabwean issue. That is my conclusion.

Bishop Manhanga: Violet we are going to elections probably within the next 12 months or so. My desire and my hope is that these elections will not be characterized by what we have seen in the past. We would want an electoral process that is agreed upon and acceptable to all parties prior to, during and after the process. And after that electoral process let's all come together. Let's have a situation whereby we can all embrace the winner or winners of that election and know that for the next five years we are going to build the country together.

This country cannot afford another disputed electoral process which leads to further polarisation, further isolation, further antogonisation and bloodshed. So I pray and I hope that we will get that kind of situation and next year as we go to elections if they are all harmonized we agree as Zimbabweans to accept those results. Once they are out we accept them and then we agree to meet after five years again in another electoral process that will give us a chance to start again as a nation.

Violet: And Archbishop Pius Ncube.

Archbishop Pius Ncube: People of Zimbabwe as well as all Africa they must stop this business of putting their politicians on the pedestal. We have destroyed ourselves by over admiring these politicians. We must hold our politicians accountable to us. They were elected by us to work for us and now they are making themselves masters over us and they are so arrogant and people sink deeper and deeper into suffering. So the idea of operating outside political frames that will not be possible in Zimbabwe because we are hindered by laws and these people are not allowing us to change and you can be sure that they are not keen about the change of the constitution because they will lose power.

So let Zimbabweans be brave enough to hold their politicians accountable and when the politicians fail in their accountability and they are no longer people centered let Zimbabweans be courageous enough to bring them down! To derail them because they have failed. This idea of sweet-talk, carrying on both shoulders when people have shown explicitly in every way for a good 27years that they are not people centered, that they are dictatorial, that they are murderers, that they are liars we cannot continue with it. Let Zimbabweans be courageous enough to hold their politicians accountable and if they don't live up to the mandate given to them let them kick them out and bring them down by civic disobedience.

Violet: Archbishop Pius Ncube, Bishop Trevor Manhanga and Pastor Ray Motsi thank you very much for participating on the programme Hot Seat.

All: Thank you Violet.

Violet: And next week we talk to political leaders Mr. Morgan Tsvangirai, Professor Arthur Mutambara and civic leader Dr Lovemore Madhuku.

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Mugabe's new best friends

The First Post

 Tazivei, a tough-looking 30 year-old, works at the S&M brickworks outside
Harare, and he's just been paid. He should be a happy man, but he's not.
He's covered in bites from lice, his hands and feet are corrugated with
painful cracks, he works in filthy conditions and his pay is miserably low.
Tazivei works for the Chinese.

The Chinese are Mugabe's new friends. China is currently the world's biggest
investor in Zimbabwe, and Chinese-owned businessmen flourish here (the
southern part of Harare has become known as China City). One of them is Mr
Meng, who owns S&M.

Tazivei stuffs his pay in his pocket, and gestures around the brickworks.
"Look at it. There are no toilets here. That's why it stinks. We have to go
where  we can. So most of us have got dysentery. The government knows, but
it doesn't care."

He peels off his shirt to show me his back. It is pockmarked with bites.
Lice and flies thrive here. He shows me scars, too. "We are given no
protective clothes, no overalls or gloves or safety shoes."

Mr Meng isn't totally blind to his workers' needs. Occasionally he
distributes Chinese-made plastic shoes, known here derisively as 'Zhing
Zhongs'. They fall apart in a week.

Tazivei is a union member, but his senior regional officer, Alex Masarakufa,
is helpless to change things. "Nothing much we can do," he told me. He means
that Mr Meng and his countrymen are untouchable.

Zimbabwe's dependence on China is breathtaking. More than 35 different
Chinese companies now operate in the country, and Chinese investment stands
at US$600m. In return the Chinese are awarded mining concessions and acres
of rich tobacco-growing land, much of which was grabbed from the white
farmers for redistribution to black people.

Under one recent deal, China is to give Zimbabwe a US$58m finance facility,
to purchase farming equipment, implements and tools. In return, Zimbabwe
must send 110,000 tonnes of tobacco to China over two years. It'll be tough
going for us. The Chinese strike a hard bargain.


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Press walks a thin line in Zimbabwe

Baltimore Sun

Some papers surviving crackdown on dissent
By Scott Calvert
Sun Foreign Reporter
Originally published April 30, 2007
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa // It was an error that would have chagrined most
newspapers. But editors at Zimbabwe's weekly Standard felt another emotion -
fear - when an article this year misstated the type of fancy Mercedes-Benz
delivered to the central bank governor.
The bank threatened to go to the Media and Information Commission, which
licenses newspapers, recalled Deputy Editor Bill Saidi. He worried that the
commission might use that "falsehood" to close the newspaper, just as it had
shut down three others in recent years for running afoul of Zimbabwe's
draconian press laws.

"We do make the occasional mistake," Saidi said in an interview, "but what's
terrible about the situation here is they consider it a crime. And for that,
you can actually get banned."
The Standard survived the car gaffe and continues to publish, conscious that
the plug could be pulled anytime. It and a sister business paper, the
Zimbabwe Independent, are among the last independent news sources left in
Zimbabwe, where the repressive regime of President Robert G. Mugabe has
moved to silence dissent as the country plunges ever deeper into economic

There are various theories for why the government has let The Standard
operate. Those include its small circulation of 23,000 and a possible desire
by authorities to use it as evidence of supposed press freedoms. The
chairman of the media commission, reached in the capital, Harare, would not
answer questions over the telephone.

Whatever the case, the result is a situation where parallel realities are
presented for Zimbabweans to consider.

According to state media (most newspapers, all television, all radio),
Zimbabwe's woes are the work of a fire-bombing opposition and meddling by
Britain and the United States, which are overly concerned with evicted white

But every Sunday, The Standard paints a different picture: That Mugabe's
ruling party has brought on the southern African country's slide from
prosperity to poverty through self-serving, corrupt policies, and that it
now uses state violence to suppress calls for change.

In the past, reporters have been arrested for writing that Mugabe
"commandeered" a jet of the national Air Zimbabwe for personal purposes. And
since 2002, all newspapers must obtain a government license or face criminal
charges; individual journalists must be registered.

Given the climate, the newspaper's pointed critiques of Mugabe's 27-year-old
regime have been remarkable, media observers say. "I think it's heroic that
they're publishing that kind of stuff in this environment," said Joel Simon,
executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists in New York.

In late March, freelance cameraman Edward Chikomba was abducted by armed men
and killed, reportedly after video he shot of police brutality made it out
of Zimbabwe and onto international airwaves. Simon has written to the
Zimbabwean police asking that Chikomba's death and the beatings of three
other journalists (none from The Standard's staff) be investigated.

At The Standard, Saidi received a bullet and threatening note in the mail
after a January article detailed the desertion of soldiers from Zimbabwe's
army. He also found a nail suspiciously embedded in one of his car's tires
and says he constantly checks to see if he is being followed.

Yet he has not been tempted to quit. "So far, nothing has deterred me; I
don't think anything will," he said. "We owe it to the country to tell the
other side of the story, as it were."

The Sunday Mail bills itself as "the most widely read family newspaper."
Although it is not clear how many copies are printed, the
government-controlled paper circulates widely. It is the sister paper of The
Daily Herald. The twice-as-expensive Standard circulates mainly in Harare.
And with its price rising to the equivalent of about 70 cents in U.S.
currency to keep up with runaway inflation, few ordinary Zimbabweans can
afford The Standard.

On April 22, The Sunday Mail reported that a house at the Glen Norah police
camp was bombed "by suspected MDC supporters in yet another round of
unprovoked attacks on the law enforcement agents." MDC stands for the
Movement for Democratic Change, the main but fractured opposition party.

No one was hurt, the article reported. A police superintendent said it was
the 11th "terror bomb" in a month and that "thugs and people bent on causing
mayhem in the country are at work."

Also on the front page was an article about a deal with China to give
Zimbabwe farm equipment worth $25 million in return for tobacco. A photo
showed a grinning Mugabe, 83, and a Chinese official holding an oversized
yellow key. The article noted that Mugabe's "Look East" policy was "bearing

The same day's Standard did not report on any bombing or the China deal. Its
front page had two other articles. The first, "Police intensify MDC
repression," stated that police had "continued abductions and arrests of
opposition MDC activists in a purge apparently ordered by a desperate
government ahead of next year's elections."

That bylined article said that an MDC official was abducted from his home
and that two others with opposition ties were arrested. An MDC lawyer said
police had confirmed the arrests but would not tell him where the activists
were being held or give other details.

The other article quoted unnamed "ruling party sources" to portray divisions
within the Zanu PF party on Mugabe's stated intentions to stand for
re-election next year. The lone person quoted by name was the minister of
information and publicity, who confirmed only that Mugabe's Cabinet had sent
proposed electoral changes back to Zanu PF's central committee for further

The differences between the papers extend to the opinion pages. The Sunday
Mail printed a letter to the editor under the heading, "Criticism levelled
against President unwarranted." On the same page was an essay by Tafataona
Mahoso - executive chairman of the Media and Information Commission -
railing against the limited sanctions imposed by "Britain and their white
racist allies."

Meanwhile, in The Standard, Saidi wrote a withering column titled "Nation of
bashers, bashees, eunuchs." Bashers are Mugabe allies who think "any citizen
who doesn't subscribe to this doctrine deserves to be bashed, which can be
broken down into a thorough beating, imprisonment without trial and death."

The bashee, he wrote, "is likely to be a citizen who demands accountability
from the government," while eunuchs are "politically castrated" wealthy
individuals who eschew politics and focus on making more money.

Another column ran under the headline, "The godfathers of the Zanu PF

The publisher of The Standard and the Zimbabwe Independent, Trevor Ncube,
said his staff tries hard to avoid breaking any laws, mainly by being
accurate. Still, he cannot say for sure why his papers have not been
shuttered. (One other independent paper exists: The Zimbabwean, which is
printed outside Zimbabwe and trucked in weekly.)

"I'm a devout Christian, and I believe it is by the grace of God; nothing
else would explain it," Ncube said at the Johannesburg office of a South
African newspaper he also runs. "They see me as an enemy of the state,
sponsored by the British government."

Attempts to contact The Sunday Mail were unsuccessful. Repeated phone calls
did not go through, and an e-mail went unanswered.

At the Media and Information Commission, Mahoso declined to comment by
phone, saying, "It's difficult these days to carry out interviews over the
phone. You don't actually know who is on the other side."

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Zimbabwean journalists demand better salaries

Zim Online

Tuesday 01 May 2007

By Patricia Mpofu

HARARE - Zimbabwe's largest media workers' union on Monday urged journalists
to close ranks and demand better salaries from employers saying local
journalists were among the lowest paid in the world.

In a statement released ahead of Workers' Day celebrations today, the
Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) said journalists were living below the
poverty datum line which currently stands at Z$640 000 a month.

"This day comes at a time when the journalism profession in Zimbabwe faces a
crisis in terms of working conditions and remuneration for workers in this
field," said Jacob Phiri, ZUJ's second vice-president.

"Journalists in this country now rank among the worst paid in the world
earning no more than US$5 per month. This slave wage has plunged these
professionals into destitution and they have to live with the ever-present
malevolence of poverty every day of their lives," said Phiri.

Journalists working for the state-owned media are, for example, earning
about Z$200 000 (less than US$8) a month while journalists in the private
media take home about Z$2 million.

Phiri urged Zimbabwean journalists, who have been polarised between state
and private-owned media for the past seven years, to unite and reclaim the
profession by demanding decent salaries and better working conditions.

He said journalists should rally behind a ZUJ initiative to establish a
National Employment Council (NEC) for journalists to protect their rights.

"It is time to . . . take full charge of our rights as professionals.
Zimbabwean journalists are the only professionals without national
employment council of their own . . . to allow them to make meaningful
decisions in terms of bargaining for good working conditions, meaningful
salaries and general rights as workers," said Phiri.

Apart from poor salaries, Zimbabwean journalists must also grapple with
harassment from President Robert Mugabe's government which views the media
with suspicion.

At least a hundred journalists have been arrested in Zimbabwe over the past
four years for practising their profession. Four newspapers including the
biggest selling daily, The Daily News, were also shut down during the same

Zimbabwe is regarded as one of the three worst places for journalists with
the other two being Iran and the former Soviet Republic of Uzbekistan. -

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Zimbabwe Farm Workers Appeal To Labor Minister For Better Wages


      By Jonga Kandemiiri
      30 April 2007

About 25 representatives of farm workers from Zimbabwe's Mashonaland West
Province besieged the office of Labor Minister Nicholas Goche last week
demanding to know why wage talks were taking so long and to press for a
review of wages.

The farm workers now earn just $32,000 a month - less than US$2 - compared
with official estimates that a family of six needs Z$800,000 to make ends

In a meeting last week between officials of the General Agriculture and
Plantation Workers Union of Zimbabwe, the National Employment Council for
Agriculture, and farm employers, it was resolved that wages should be raised
to $96,000.

Farm workers union official David Mutambirwa told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri
of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the union supports the ministry lobbying
by its members because agricultural employers are not taking negotiations

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Trust and succession politics in Africa

New Zimbabwe

By Mutumwa D. Mawere
Last updated: 04/30/2007 17:34:24
THE planning for succession of the Chief Executive Officer or the President
of a country has become a very important issue in the governance of many

Ensuring that in the event of a problem with a sitting President, a country
will continue to function efficiently and effectively creates tremendous
value for citizens.

To the extent that succession is a widely debated issue in Africa, it is
important that our conversations are enriched by a better understanding of
the interplay between trust and succession and between succession and

In the context of property, succession of property at law covers two
distinct concepts of inheritance (a gift made by will or other testamentary
document on death) and heirship, which applies to property passed to one or
more dependants according to a formula set out in law, religion, custom or
under the terms of a trust.

Succession may also apply to artificial persons usually through
reorganisations or corporate mergers. With respect to family succession, it
is the passing of one person's assets and role in the family to an heir.

Succession is essentially the action of one party, person or product being
replaced by another that has become obsolete, incapacitated, retired or
deceased. Ideally, one would expect that a political leader who has finished
his constitutional term, or whose policies are undermining the interests
he/she purports to represent, or whose age is beyond the normal retirement
age would step down voluntarily to allow a successor to bring new energy and
leadership. However, the experience of post-colonial Africa would suggest
that the attitude to succession that citizens ordinarily hold to in respect
of their personal affairs is not different from the attitude of the
political leaders.

Even in the context of failing businesses, it is rare for a corporate leader
in such circumstances to voluntarily relinquish power. The attitude is not
only limited to the failing institutions but is equally applicable to
successful institutions where corporate leaders are found wanting in the
area of succession planning. Their hereditary successors are often ill
prepared or groomed to take over.

For the progress of any society, succession is important not only because
each product/individual has its own life span and no one can defy the laws
of nature. Ordinarily new products should replace old and mature ones in
order to ensure that there is no interruption of service. Succession,
therefore, should provide a way in which things follow each other in space
or time: consecution, order, procession, sequence, progression etc.

The lack of economic progress and dynamism in the political space of Africa
can be attributed to the attitude that most of the continent's leaders have
on the question of power. In fact, the experience is that when a country
elects even a well meaning leader as a President, the pattern is invariably
the same i.e. they start as democratic and with increasing speed end up
believing in their infallibility and indispensability. They start believing
that no one else can step into their shoes and more often than not acquire
the status of super citizens who know better than the citizens who create
them. But the tragedy is that the attitude is not a preserve of politicians.

The silliness of this attitude is best exemplified by the manner in which
Deputy Presidents in Africa are treated by their Presidents. While in the
political parties where such leaders acquire their initial legitimacy they
are both elected in office, when they form governments at the national level
something fundamentally wrong takes place in the state houses of Africa. You
find the ridiculous situations where the President begins to believe that
the source of his power and legitimacy is actually above the people who
elected him and invariably like a small GOD he begins to lose confidence in
the capacity of his deputy to fill into his shoes.

The pre-independence attitude of colonial administrations was no different
and in those cases the political leadership had no problems assimilating
cultured natives and allowing them to vote. What they had a problem with was
universal suffrage where citizens despite their standing in society would be
allowed to determine who should govern them. The problem that confronts
Africa today even after the completion of the decolonisation process is that
the raw materials of political power are the ordinary poor people whose
interests are never at the centre of the political establishment that they
infrequently have an opportunity through elections to create. Many
governments pursue policies in the name of the majority but with little or
detrimental impact on the target beneficiaries.

Many African leaders do not trust even the people they purport to represent.
In many cases, succession is often discussed while openly disregarding the
power structures that are clearly set out in the Constitutions of the
political organisations that the leaders originate from. This makes the post
of Deputy President the most dangerous position in Africa. If you have any
inclination of ever becoming a President in Africa, the message is that you
should never allow yourself to be elected a Deputy. Yes, we have a few
exceptions in Africa but the pattern is well established to suggest that any
rational person should be concerned if they are elected to the number two

Like their white predecessors, many African Presidents genuinely believe
that the continent has no capacity to produce leaders like them. In fact,
they are encouraged everyday to believe that they are the messiahs of the
continent and any change will interrupt progress.

When it comes to trust, many Africans are found wanting. Trust indicates a
depth and sense of assurance that is based in strong but not
logically-conclusive evidence, or based on the character, ability, or truth
that someone or something has shown over time and across situations. Trust,
therefore, makes for a sense of being safe or of being free of fear, enough
so that one's focus can be on other matters because the subject matter is
taken of already.

The leaders of Africa have failed to build trust among and between citizens.
For us in Southern Africa, we easily trust institutions like Old Mutual
instead of creating our own New Mutuals. When one considers Africa's leading
brands in business even after 50 years of Uhuru, one would arrive at the
inescapable conclusion that Africans have more Eurocentric values and are
more prone to trust foreign solutions than their own.

Some adopt the Look East policies while others adopt the Look West policies
and never apply their minds to what the implications are when a President
pins his own country's development on wise men and women from the East and
West. Ideally, any President who looks East or West for salvation should be
given a red card by the citizens for openly displaying a lack of confidence
in their ability to solve their problems. Perhaps one defining area in which
the lack of trust is evident in Africa is in banking.

How many of us trust African banking institutions? Why is it that after 50
years of Uhuru, Africans have not been able to create their own pan-African
banking institutions? Even in the case of mining, African governments would
trust wise men and women from the East and West with their mineral rights
than their own nationals. How many of our African governments would be
courageous enough to sign joint venture agreements with African businessman
without being accused of cronyism?

It is not unusual for some of us who have ventured into big business to be
labelled cronies and agents of other people's agendas in as much as anyone
who tries to succeed a sitting President is easily labelled a puppet,
surrogate or stooge of other people's agenda. This kind of simplistic
analysis is more prevalent among our intellectuals.

Many Presidents in Africa, therefore, take comfort from the messages that we
generate daily about the motives and interests that inform their competitors
to the extent that they end up believing that it is treasonous for anyone to
dream of being their successor. For those who are forced to relinquish their
offices by constitutional impediments, they then go out of their way to
manipulate elections so that they end up reproducing themselves through
their chosen successors.

To what extent are African leaders solely responsible for creating the
succession confusion is an issue that needs debate. It may emerge from the
debate that intellectuals and seemingly informed Africans and their partners
in the West and East are culpable for creating the leadership mess in the
continent by increasing expecting bad leaders to choose their successors. If
a leader is bad, then surely why would any rational person expect him to
choose a successor? Equally if a party is capable of producing a bad leader
and sustaining him in power to the detriment of the majority, how can any
rational person expect a progressive leader to emerge from the clutches of
such a party?

When we encourage incumbent Presidents to believe that they are super
citizens we should not cry foul if they go on to behave accordingly. We all
may be guilty of telling the Presidents of what they want to hear. How many
of us genuinely believe that Presidents have more wisdom than the ordinary
African? How many of us have accepted that incumbents have a prerogative to
inflict pain and suffering on citizens with impunity? How many of us would
even in the face of tyranny choose to be indifferent and become silent while
expecting more from neighbours than ourselves? How many of us would
sacrifice a good meal to finance change in Africa? Do we really trust each
other as Africans on issues of governance and economic power?

Mutumwa Mawere's weekly column appears on New every Monday. You
can contact him at:

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The scales of amnesty

Comment from The Mail & Guardian (SA), 25 April

Human rights lawyer George Bizos defended Nelson Mandela, Govan Mbeki and Walter Sisulu at the Rivonia treason trial of 1963/64. His family came to South Africa from Greece as refugees from Nazi occupation, and he was involved in the formation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission after apartheid.

When did South Africans start to discuss the fate of those who had violated human rights?

As apartheid was obviously about to come to an end, there was debate within South Africa, particularly in the ANC, as to what should happen to murderers, torturers, abductors. Then there were those responsible for forced removals and the implementation of apartheid. Three options were considered: Nuremberg-type trials, Chilean-style blanket amnesty, and collective amnesia along the lines of what had been tried in Argentina.

What was decided?

First, that we should devise a structure in order to grant amnesty. But certain principles would govern this amnesty. Secondly, amnesty would be on condition of full disclosure of all the facts. It would be granted for acts committed in order to achieve a political objective, not some outrageous motivation such as racial hatred or to settle old scores. Third, every act should have been proportional to the objective at the time. An amnesty committee was set up, where applicants could be cross-examined. Amnesty could be granted or denied. It would be possible to prosecute applicants later, but the evidence given in the amnesty hearings could not be used against applicants in a criminal prosecution.

How did you arrive at this?

It was important to have an historical record, to show what happened. Many people in the apartheid regime said that human rights abuses were not sanctioned, there had been a few bad apples and the violations had not been widespread. These false denials would have gone on. But the historical record shows that there were hit squads, torturers and abductors. The leadership should have known about them, and many in the lower ranks were protected by the leaders. No one in their right senses could deny this had happened. Although we and our clients had been accused of being liars, propagandists for and willing tools of the enemies of South Africa. Amnesty applicants in respect of the killing of [anti-apartheid activists] Steve Biko and Matthew Goniwe confirmed the correctness of what we had said all along. It was also a situation where something had to be offered to those willing to give up power. Otherwise, they would continue to cling to power. They threatened that unless they were covered by amnesties, they would fight on. We knew they had the means to control elections and to prevent any settlement.

In reaching this compromise, how were the interests of victims represented?

There was a political settlement. The Convention for a Democratic South Africa (Codesa) included 22 groups, mainly political parties. Bantustans and leading liberation movements were part of it. But there was no coherent body to express the views of victims.

And the victims accepted this?

The settlement was challenged by the Azanian People's Organisation, the Biko family and some others. They challenged the validity of the law granting amnesty, which they said deprived them of their right to prosecution and the right to claim compensation from wrongdoers. The judgement of the court in this case was very important. Judge Ismail Mahomed turned down their application. He said it was regrettable that the victims might not be able to pursue prosecutions, but their need for justice had to be weighed against the need for reconciliation and political transition and the need to uncover the truth. Some victims complain now that compensation was inadequate and those who did not get amnesty were not prosecuted. It is disappointing that the National Prosecuting Authority has not pursued those who should have been prosecuted.

Did you address crimes committed by those in the liberation movements?

Once they agreed to conditional amnesty, the then government said that it must be an amnesty for all -- not just for the government. Some of the acts committed by those in the liberation movement were dealt with. The leadership of the ANC made a collective application to cover wrongs done by the ANC. That was rejected on the grounds that the perpetrators of abuses should not be granted amnesty as a group. There were individual acts - carried out by individuals. Amnesty could not be given for nameless crimes. They never did reapply. This is a serious concern. Justice was not done.

Is it enough just to tell the truth? Many of those who applied for amnesty did not do so out of remorse for what they had done.

It's a serious concern, but the answer is that justice is never perfect. All the different terms - retributive justice, restorative justice - all the adjectives used to describe justice seem to indicate that justice is not absolute. One had to think, in a highly politicised situation, of what was morally justifiable. How many more innocent people would have been killed if we had not settled? You need to compromise.

But you did not know for certain that they would cling on.

Shortly before the compromise was agreed, at the end of 1993, representatives on both sides, particularly the security forces, threatened that the "men" would not accept it. This was taken to be a real threat.

Was there pressure from abroad?

There was no foreign pressure. We reached a settlement because we believed it was the right thing to do. The world has now changed and international law has changed considerably. These kinds of amnesties may not be an option now. International law is to be welcomed, particularly because leaders who have committed serious crimes can be tried. One welcomes the establishment of the International Criminal Court, but regrets the lack of United States support. I believe that the international system does not necessarily exclude the domestic system. If, for instance, the people of the country are willing to hand over suspects like [Slobodan] Milosevic and Charles Taylor, that means they have made their own decision. But in the case of Taylor, would he have left Liberia if amnesty had not been granted? It's not clear-cut. It depends on the circumstances. If you look at what they have done in Northern Ireland, for instance, it's not an amnesty. It is a form of conditional release, which is akin to what we did here.

You are still in contact with some of the victims. What do they say?

The victims wanted to know the truth about what had happened. Most find it difficult to accept, for example, that the perpetrator is now the head of a private security company and drives a luxury car while the victims still live in poverty. This contrast shows the manifest injustice of it. But it may have to be that the good of the many prevails over the good of the individual. I'm sorry to say that, but that is the reality.

So, is South Africa a good model for political transformation? Should Zimbabwe follow this example?

South Africa is a good model. Yes, they must consider the solution we found.

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Students Stuck in Zimbabwe as Country Stops Issuing Passports

The Chronicle of Higher Education


Zimbabwean students planning to study abroad are encountering a significant
obstacle: Their government has stopped issuing any passports.

The situation threatens the plans of hundreds of Zimbabwean students who
have been accepted into universities in the United States, South Africa, and
other countries, officials say.

"This has been a major concern," said Mark Weinberg, a public-affairs
officer at the U.S. Embassy in Harare, the capital. "We have students who
have been waiting for literally over a year for a passport."

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Foreign debt cripples Zimbabwe's power firm

Zambia News Agency -

Harare, April 30, ZANIS-----Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA)
Holdings' foreign debt, which has ballooned to around US$300 million over
the years, is making it difficult for the parastatal to access offshore
lines of credit, an official said today. ZESA Acting chief executive, Ben
Rafemoyo, said borrowing, particularly offshore, was proving to be difficult
for the company due to the debt burden. The debt had become one of the
company's biggest challenges as it cast a shadow on the company and
discouraged potential investors. Rafemoyo however, indicated that
discussions with Government were still ongoing to see how the debt could be
financed. "The debt is sitting on our balance sheet and with the exchange
rate sliding over the years, the debt has continued to balloon and it
becomes difficult for us to use such a balance sheet to borrow, particularly
offshore," he said. . Meanwhile, he said the power utility had embarked on a
maintenance exercise at its Hwange and Kariba power stations to boost
electricity production to cater for increased demand during the winter
season when wheat production also gets underway. He said the power utility
had received some spare parts which were being used to repair mills at
Hwange power station. "We are doing the last units at Kariba. We are doing
maintenance on each machine so that come next week we have the whole station
available. "We are sprucing up the machines as best as we can in their
current state so that we boost electricity generation," he said. Rafemoyo
said the maintenance exercise was expected to increase power generation by
150 megawatts. The power utility was doing all this under difficult
circumstances to ensure challenges of the winter season were handled with
minimal disruptions. Rafemoyo said the company had also negotiated with
Hwange Colliery Company and the National Railways of Zimbabwe to supply the
power utility with sufficient coal. Zimbabwe, together with other countries
in the SADC region, is facing a power deficit which started this year. The
countries are however, optimistic of overcoming the challenge by 2010 after
the completion of some projects they have embarked on and some which are yet
to start. Zimbabwe imports 35 percent of its electricity from South Africa,
Zambia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. ZANIS/New Ziana/ENDS

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Zimbabwe: Catholic Church holds assembly on nation's crisis

HARARE - 30 April 2007

A two-day special assembly organised by the Catholic bishops of Zimbabwe
examined the roots of the nation's political and economic crisis.

We publish here a report filed for CISA by Fr Conrad Chibango, secretary for
social communications of the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops, Conference:

The Wednesday programme included an address prepared by the Apostolic Nuncio
to Zimbabwe, Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams and ceremonial greetings and
messages by representatives from neighbouring bishops' conferences.

The representatives included Archbishop Telesphore Mpundu of Zambia,
Archbishop Tarcisius Gervazio Ziyaye of Malawi and Bishop Patrick Mvemve of
South Africa.

Fr Frederick Chiromba, the Secretary General of the Zimbabwe Catholic
Bishops, Conference delivered the address of the Nuncio since the latter had
not managed to come to the plenary session. Monsignor Juan Antonio Cruz
Serrano represented the Nuncio.

Prof Walter Kamba spoke about Constitutionalism and Social Transformation in
Zimbabwe. Dr. Roy Musasiwa, the Principal of Domboshawa Theological College,
discussed the implementation of the vision and values suggested in the
National Vision Discussion Document.

Other speakers included Dr Ranga Zinyemba, Dr David Kaulemu, Mrs Gertrude
Chimhange of the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Mutare and Mr
Darren Hercyk of the Catholic Relief Services.

Prof Kamba, the first Vice-Chancellor of the University of Zimbabwe,
delivered a strong and unambiguous analysis of the crisis in Zimbabwe. He
said that he agreed with the bishops when they said in their pastoral letter
that the crisis in Zimbabwe is, essentially, a crisis of governance.

Democratic constitution

Talking about a democratic constitution and constitutionalism, Prof. Kamba
said these two terms are imperatives for sustainable, social, economic and
human development of any country. They form the foundation that underpins
sustainable social, economic and human development. He added that
constitution and constitutionalism are the core of good governance, the
exercise of political power in the management or running of a nation,s

According to Prof Kamba, the high inflation, poverty, collapse of the
economy and many service systems in Zimbabwe are only symptoms of a faulty
foundation and bad governance. Good, competent, imaginative, cooperative,
accountable, transparent management of national affairs is the bottom line
for sustainable national development and if this bottom line is not there,
you stand no (or little) chance of achieving success on sustainable
development, he said.

The Professor regretted that the demise of colonialism did not automatically
deliver democracy. He said: "Independence constitutions were intended to
guide the new governments but in fact, they did not prevent the governments
from the arbitrary exercise of power and violations of human rights."


For him, it was clear that the Lancaster House Constitution was not inspired
by the people's ideas and consciousness and hence its amendments amounting
to 17 in only 25 years.

He considered it unfortunate that the nation rejected the Constitutional
Commission Draft of 2000, a draft which was not only far much better than
the Lancaster Constitution but also much similar to the one proposed by the
National Constitutional Assembly Draft of 2001, except for few divergences
which could have been gradually negotiated.

Several speakers touched on moral values and the Social Teaching of the
Church; these included Dr David Kaulemu, Dr Roy Musasiwa and Mrs. Gertrude

Dr David Kaulemu, the Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Coordinator of
African Forum for the Catholic Social Teaching (AFCAST) whose secretariat is
in Harare, made a presentation on the Christian Social Teaching and

His analysis was that after Zimbabwe attained Independence in 1980, the
Church relaxed and let the Government, as it were; take over the formation
of moral values instead of intensifying her effort to teach morals using its
very important and all-time tool: The Social Teaching of the Church.

The result was a decadence of moral and spiritual values in the society. Dr
Kaulemu, a practising Catholic, challenged the participants to take
seriously the Social Teaching of the Church if they were to promote any
meaningful social transformation in the Church and society of Zimbabwe.

Dr Musasiwa, who participated in the writing of the National Vision
Document, said that once Zimbabwe has identified its shared values, it
should include them in the national constitution. These values should be
observed by institutions and be taught in schools and colleges. He lamented
that our country is in such a sorry state because it has a great deficit of
moral and spiritual values.

Emphasising the importance of a shared national vision and the eventual
advent of a new constitution, Dr Musasiwa said that "If the script is bad,
it is of no use to change the actor while the script remains. A mere 'regime
change' would not bring any permanent solution to the crisis in Zimbabwe, he

Justice and Peace

Mrs Gertrude Chimhange, the Director of the Catholic Commission of Justice
and Peace in Mutare shared with the participants, the work that churches in
Manicaland were doing in the area of the Social Teaching of the Church. A
great achievement by these Churches was the publication of a handbook of the
Social Teaching of the Church.

Mr Darren Hercyk, the acting country representative of Catholic Relief
Services (CRS) highlighted the important role that the Church should take in
protecting and speaking on behalf of children. He said that children
protection offices can be planted in every diocese and CRS would be ready to
be partners in sustaining this initiative. According to Mr. Hercyk, over one
million 600 children are orphans in Zimbabwe.

Dr Ranga Zinyemba, Director of Ecumenical Peace Initiative for Zimbabwe
(EPIZ), made a presentation on "What we are doing and what it will take to
transform Zimbabwean Society". EPIZ is a secretariat formed by the three
Church umbrella bodies including the ZCBC. It was created in order to
facilitate the dissemination and collection of people,s views on the kind of
Zimbabwe they want so that a shared national vision may be crafted by the
January 2008.

* The Catholic Bishops Conference of Germany have issued a statement
expressing their support for the strong pastoral letter issued at Easter by
the bishops of Zimbabwe on the deepening crisis in their country.

Source: CISA

© Independent Catholic News 2007

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Letter From Kutama

New Zimbabwe (London)

April 30, 2007
Posted to the web April 30, 2007

Mthulisi Mathuthu

THE Zimbabwean Church leadership is a hotchpotch of fairly educated people
of a considerable cultural level and downright gullible people of highly
questionable intellectual acumen and moral standing.

Among them you will find narcissistic power mongers and wealth seekers with
a fair sprinkling of dishonest men and women of renowned insincerity.

Not to be outdone are those of different political persuasions making the
grouping naturally given to polarisation which is why the Anglicans and the
Catholics will issue totally different statements on the situation obtaining
in Zimbabwe as if they reside in two different planets.

This composition renders the Church leadership vulnerable to manipulations
and hi-jacking as the politicians seek to use them as a camouflage for their

So when the Church leaders met last year to produce the Zimbabwe We Want
document, it was apparent to some of us in the ecumenical movement that the
gullible lot among them had swung the ship to take the route that was
welcome to the government and help Robert Mugabe pretend that he was doing

The blunder of the Church today has been to enter the Zimbabwean debate with
the thinking that Zimbabwe is a victim of some conspiracy. The scope of
their reasoning is essentially pleasing to Mugabe.

They speak about Zimbabwe in a manner that would rather please the tyrant in
Mugabe than challenge and implore the normal person in him to see sense in
the drive for the other Zimbabwe.

Rather than use their moral authority to diplomatically bring a sense of
guilt and consequently, the urgent need for reform, they will use it to
shield him. Mugabe is certainly relieved than challenged by the bond he has
with the Church leaders who often concoct eulogies for him under the guise
of theological reflection and patriotism.

The Church Leader's spokesperson Bishop Trevor Manhanga's "patriotic"
statements and gesturing are all that counts to Mugabe and are enough to
please him as they are within the premise of blaming somebody else other
than the Dear Leader.

The contents of the Zimbabwe We Want document are not important to Mugabe,
after all that is what is written every day in the opinion pages of
newspapers by the Lovemore Madhukus and the Brian Kagoros.

What Mugabe is interested in are the Bishops who purchase into and defend
the fallacy that Zimbabwe is under attack and is a victim of vitriolic
imperialist propaganda.

That is why there is no difference today between Manhanga's utterances and
the state adverts praising the trees, mountains, rivers, Victoria Falls and
the country's literacy levels as if anybody ever questioned the beauty of

What is under attack is not Zimbabwe in its entirety, but is the obtuse
leadership that has sunk deep down to the levels of the ancient kingdoms of
the Old Testament era.

What is under attack is not the contents of the document, but the spirit and
the purpose behind its release because we have always been saying what it
says anyway.

It is the willingness of the Church leaders to expose their ethical
weaknesses by being on the same platform of views with Mugabe while at the
same time producing a 'good' document that he will evidently not take
serious in order that they may claim in future that they never conducted
themselves questionably.

The Zimbabwe We Want document should not be used to cover up for the Church
leadership's folly which is a windfall for Mugabe.

Even as they still cling on to it, nothing has come out of the document
because there was never going to be anything except that they were always
going to end up being "patriotic Zimbabweans" giving interviews to the
official press which customarily doesn't give space to democrats but to
confused apologists.

It is for this reason that the document is unacceptable because instead of
it being an instrument to engage Zimbabwe and Mugabe for change, it is used
to cover up for the Church's support for the establishment which is what
Mugabe intended in the first place.

Criticise the Church leaders today, and their apologists will be quick to
say its bigoted criticism because they (primates) produced a "good"
document. But didn't Mugabe present a "good" speech at Independence in 1980
but only to walk out of Rufaro Stadium to set up the Fifth Brigade that went
on to mete out unprecedented violence on the civilian population in
Matabeleland in a spectacular betrayal of his promises. Wasn't his speech a
good statement used to cover up for his wayward and evil ways that were to
unfold just a few weeks from its delivery?

"Even a madman can say something with sense but watch out because he will
soon add something to it which will show you that his mind is still spoilt,"
writes Chinua Achebe.

It is the case with Trevor Manhanga who will produce a good document
(regurgitating what has been said over and over again) but will go on to
extend solidarity to the very class that is a hindrance to the Zimbabwe he

He will go on to excoriate the defenders of democracy, as he did with South
African editor Mondli Makhanya recently, but will keep quiet or just "regret
the situation" when the state descends on democrats and opposition
politicians seeking to air their views freely.

If Manhanga and his friends are ever so ready to frankly dispute the claims
of the supposed detractors of Zimbabwe in the South African media, they
should explain why are they reluctant to comment on murder and beatings of
Zimbabweans by the state.

It is hypocrisy for them to condemn "violence" under the cover of being
non-partisan when it is clear to everybody that what we are faced with is
not just "violence" but state terrorism. It is not something to "regret" but
something to condemn in frank and forthright terms.

There is very nearly no indication that the Church leaders abhor Mugabe's
un-statesman-like political behaviour. Their spectacular readiness to
condemn "violence" and "attacks on Zimbabwe" is opposed by the reluctance to
condemn state terror, electoral theft and un-diplomatic violent language
from State House.

If they were indeed concerned about bad journalism, they should have long
complained in strong terms about the state publications which use their
statements to defend Mugabe.

While Manhanga is at liberty to show his vehement displeasure with the South
African journalists, he will not show the same forthrightness in the face of
journalism practiced by the ZBC and the Herald.

Actually he is silent because it is the kind of journalism serving the
person he is not only in bed with but whom he is not willing to be frank in
his dealing with.

Evidently, the best way to deal with Mugabe is not through documents but
civil disobedience which Archbishop Pius Ncube is talking about.

Hasn't history shown us that Mugabe resents documents of discussion? Think
of the Chihambakwe report, CCJP report, Zimrights report, African Union
Human Rights Commission report, Constitutional Commission draft Constitution

To want to discuss with Mugabe is to miss the fact that what is obtaining in
Zimbabwe is not a battle of minds. It is something less about views but more
about murder, brazen repression and madness.

Zimbabweans including Mugabe know that his time is up. He knows that he has
raped the country and will not leave because he fears accounting. It is not
that he thinks he is a victim, although he says so.

There is no doubt that the Church leaders are currently not doing anything
because the document is dead and buried. It will forever be useless in as
far as Zimbabwe's future is concerned. They have come to a dead end. The
only thing they have to do is to complain about some people not being
patriotic because the person who sent then to the people has shown them that
they were wasting their time.

Perhaps they may as well tell Zimbabwe the source of new vehicles driven by
some of the Church leaders. They should say who is funding their secretariat
on the so-called Zimbabwe We Want project.

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MDC detainees

From: egcross
Sent: Monday, April 30, 2007 7:41 AM
Subject: MDC detainees

It was reported late yesterday that lawyers representing the MDC political
detainees had tried in vain to obtain urgent medical attention for Morgan
Komichi and Phillip Mabika , both of whom had been severely tortured. The
family of Morgan Komichi were fearful that he may die during the night
stating that he was bleeding from the nose and the mouth.
The Doctors at Harare Remand Prison are on strike and the State refused
permission for the two men to be attended to at either a government or
private medical facility.

An urgent High Court application is being made at this time.

The POLITICIDE will continue to gain momentum while SADC, SA and the world
remain inactive.

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Big Brother gone mad

New Zimbabwe

By Tinashe Lukas Chimedza
Last updated: 05/01/2007 07:46:11
THE government of Zimbabwe has published a 58-paged report titled ‘Opposition Forces in Zimbabwe: A Trail of Violence’. The report is available on the Ministry of Home Affairs website (click here).

It is a chillingly detailed report, with colorful pictures, and is full of minute details from all over the country. Big Brother has been furiously at work mounting constant surveillance of citizens.

The report is deliberately titled “opposition forces” and attempts to build an arbitrary case that the “Broad Alliance” civil society and political formations are engaged in illegal activities. The introduction easily betrays the objective of the report which is to prove the theory of an all powerful ‘western-funded and unconstitutional force’ being funded to ‘topple a legitimate government’.

The report reveals a nervous state security apparatus which has been wielded to deny people their rights. The report is deliberately crafted in an attempt to de-legitimize the pro-democracy movement in Zimbabwe as a “western creation” which is a threat to the national interest and must therefore be thwarted by all and any means necessary.

The report goes to lofty heights to make a casual link between the pro-democracy movement and the violence that has occurred in Zimbabwe, especially the bombings and what the report calls ‘criminal activities’. The pictures of western diplomats at the Rotten Row Courts are generously and colorfully used to support the theory that these diplomats are engaged in unconstitutional trickery to undermine the government.

The report goes on to disproportionate lengths to argue that the presence of western diplomats at the courts show that these diplomats are actively engaged in some clandestine activity to support and aid the unconstitutional removal of a legitimate government. The report boldly concludes that: “It remains a fact that the MDC inclined Save Zimbabwe Campaign also known as the Broad Alliance is a puppet grouping of Western powers who have since stepped up their efforts to effect regime change in Zimbabwe.”

In an attempt to prove its theories, which it fails, the report betrays a government that has become paranoid. Such a government searches for enemies in very corner, some are even created.

The judiciary is not spared either. The report concludes that “whilst arrests are made, there appears to be no support from the judiciary who continue to either release accused persons on either free or make them pay very small bail, allowing them to go out and continue with their illegal activities.”

This is unsettling. An executive branch of government, the police in this case, which attacks the judiciary, is a terrifying executive. It is an executive which threatens the separation of powers and the checks and balances that are supposed to exist within a constitutional government. The report intends to pile pressure on the judiciary.

First there must be a presumption of innocence and secondly the prosecution, especially in criminal cases like the ones raised in this report, has to prove its case “beyond reasonable doubt”. If the prosecution fails to meet that standard, the courts have no other basis and cannot create any other basis upon which to convict the accused. The courts are obliged to set the accused free. These are simple but robust standards that protect individual fundamental rights and freedoms declared in Chapter III of the Zimbabwean constitution.

Furthermore, the courts of law are structurally and principally organised in such ways that where the prosecution is not happy with the decision of a lower court, they can appeal to higher courts. Often, in cases where the accused people are let free, the prosecution does not appeal because the prosecution is perfectly aware that such appeals will not be entertained by the higher courts. The appeals will be dismissed as frivolous. It will be a monumental sham were the courts of law to hurriedly hear cases, ignore these simple standards, convict the accused and sentence them. The courts will become “Kangaroo courts”. It will be a most despicable affront to the common law ever carried out by a government occurring in the watch of the chief legal officer of the country, the Attorney-General.

Frankly, Big Brother has gone insane. The report reveals a massive effort by the security apparatus to mount continuous surveillance on citizens engaged in perfectly legal and constitutional exercise of their rights and liberties. The report reveals what cars they were driving, the color, the plate numbers of the cars and what time they arrived and left at each of the places that were being monitored. This is intelligence gathering gone haywire.

The state is now so intrusive, almost omnipotent that one wonders whether to sleep at all at night. The government security apparatus records with amazing detail what was going on around the country, an hour-by-hour and day-by-day account. It will not be fanciful to conclude that with this security apparatus, with this amazing capacity, nothing could have been known about the bombings prior to their happening.

The report is weakened by what it does not reveal. The report does not reveal how, with such a capacity, the government can fail to track and apprehend, for prosecution, suspects that petrol bombed MDC activists like Talent Mabika and Tichaona Chiminya. The report does not reveal why the people, who cowardly brutalised Hon Nelson Chamisa, while on national duty, have not been tracked down. The report displays the pictures of police officers who were badly burnt but does not show pictures of the charred remains of Talent Mabika and Tichaona Chiminya as they were left to burn to death with the police only hundred meters away.

What about Mathew Pfebve, who was battered to death at Nyakatondo Village in Mukumbura? What about Takundwa Chipunza killed after being tortured in Chenjerai Hunzvi’s surgery? What about the Lameck Chemvura beaten, laced and thrown out of a moving train? What of Batanai Hadzizi murdered in cold blood at the University of Zimbabwe? The state seems to have a short, selective and deliberately forgetful memory, we do not.

The report does not reveal how it is possible that the people who bombed the Daily News offices, its Printing Press and the offices of Radio Voice of the People have never been brought before the courts? The report does not reveal why the people who brutalised Morgan Tsvangirai, Lovemore Madhuku, Grace Kwinjeh and Sekai Holland have not been at least charged.

The report does not tell us that the so called ‘opposition forces’ obtained High Court Orders to have their rallies which were shamefully disregarded by the police. The report does reveal that people have been indiscriminately arrested, that some have been adducted and not seen for days, that some have had their limbs and skulls badly brutalized while in police custody and no one has been charged and or prosecuted. At the end of the report names of accused people are paraded for the offences they allegedly committed.

Nothing in the report is said of arrested people being denied medical attention only to secure it through High Court orders, of lawyers denied access to their clients. Some like Harrison Nkomo, of Mtetwa and Associates were assaulted inside Harare Central Police Station for seeking, rightfully and legally, access to their clients.

The report also reveals that the police has been arresting people for distributing flyers to meetings and charged them. Since when has it become a criminal activity to advertise a meeting? The report claims that Morgan Tsvangirai ‘was assaulted while not in police custody’ and as for the hapless Lovemore Madhuku, the report claims the police used minimum force to arrest him, which just happened to result in a few broken limbs. This report is a callous attempt to portray the victims as the perpetrators.

There is something that encouraged me in that report. The report clearly details like never before the demands that Zimbabweans are making and how thousands of people have been attending meetings called by the churches and various civil society and political formations in Zimbabwe. One poster, the report details, boldly sated: “We demand jobs”, with 80% unemployment rate this will only be logical demand.

Another poster demanded “Pay the Police”. Yet another one stated that ‘We demand a New Constitution’, the one we have is a mutilated Lancaster relic and such as this will be perfectly a logical demand.

But hands up to the WOZA activists, they had one poster that said ‘Choose Love Over Hate, from WOZA with Love’. The report reveals that thousands have been attending meetings across the country addressed by pro-democracy movement leaders about the state of the economy, the break down in the rule of law, the need for a democratic constitution and a free and fair election.

The report brings out into the national, regional and international arena, through official means and communication, the demands that Zimbabwean citizens have been making. Here, in official government reports are the legitimate demands that ordinary people have been making. This report excellently documents what Zimbabweans have been demanding: a new constitution, better life, jobs, a better education system, and the repealing of repressive legislation like POSA and AIPPA.

This reports outlines in a fashion never before seen the demands of a people held captive by a repressive government and the level of disaffection and social protest against that repression. The report is classic in its value of spreading what we Zimbabweans have been struggling for, a new and democratic constitution, a better life, the protection of our liberties and rights and a better managed economy.

It is perfectly natural and expected that the state be concerned with violence and the breakdown of the rule of law. It is a constitutional obligation that has to be fulfilled. The constitution and the statutes demand that this be done for the sake of our rights, liberties and prosperity. Far from this the government must ask itself why thousands of its citizens, especially the young, are now seduced to what the report details as the ‘regime change’ agenda. Considering what the report reveals it might be a perfectly natural thing to demand.

Tinashe Lukas Chimedza can be contacted on e-mail:

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Watchdog condemns NGO extermination in Zimbabwe

afrol News, 30 April - Article 19 would not sit and wait for the Zimbabwean
government to exterminate non-governmental organisations (NGOs) for merely
playing their role.

The state-owned broadcaster, Zimbabwe Television, reportedly said the
Mugabe-lead government plans to cancel all registration certificates of all
NGOs that advocate for a forced regime change in the country.

The freedom of expression watchdog condemned the Zimbabwean government for
attempting to violate the country's human rights obligations under the
African Charter on Human and People's Rights, particularly in respect of the
right of freedom of expression and the right of freedom of assembly.

"The hundreds of Zimbabwean NGOs perform essential functions not provided
for by the State, including humanitarian assistance, food aid and housing,
care of orphans and other vulnerable children, as well as providing support
for the protection of social, economic and civil rights," Article 19 said in
a statement.

Believing that such a move will deepen the daily suffering of Zimbabweans,
especially in the face of the severe socio-economic crisis as well as worsen
the country's human rights credentials, Article 19 therefore urged the
ZANU-PF government to desist from moving ahead with the planned cancellation
of NGO licences.

By staff writer

© afrol News

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SA bulletin: food security and climate change - two important warnings



from the headquarters of

TAU SA in Pretoria



Tel.:  + 27 12 804 8031       Fax:  + 27 12 804 2014



April 30, 2007


The Bulletin attached hereto is provided as a means to inform stakeholders of agricultural developments in South Africa.  These Bulletins are distributed every two weeks and can also be found on TAU SA's website at


TAU SA is the oldest agricultural union in South Africa and has been in existence since 1897. The mission of the union is to ensure a productive and safe existence for its members on the land they own.  Current reality in South Africa indicates that this is not possible at the moment due to a variety of actions and threats against commercial farmers.


Your comment regarding the Bulletins and other information provided to you is valuable and will be appreciated.  However should you prefer not to receive information from TAU SA, please respond by e-mail to





Two important documents were recently issued - TAU SA's Strategy for Sustainability (SFS) and the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) fourth assessment report.


This week the Australian Prime Minister John Howard urged Australians to pray for rain as his country is simply drying up.  Thirty and forty years ago Australian children in some rural areas never saw rain until they were fourteen, so this current heat scourge is not being taken with the proverbial pinch of salt.  However, Australia is a first world country of around 20 million people with the financial resources to import food.


South Africa is also experiencing drought - the worst in forty years according to some farmers. Maize growers have watched their crops wither in scorching heat. The Crop Estimates Committee puts the forecast this season at less than South Africa's annual requirements of around 8 million tons. At least one million tons of maize will have to be imported to feed the country's 45 million and upwards population. (Nobody really knows what South Africa's current population is - millions of refugees from surrounding countries have poured into the country in recent years, and they need to eat too.)


As usual, bank economists and other observers place their trust in South Africa's commercial farmers to ensure a reasonable level of food security not only for South Africa but for surrounding countries as well. Agricultural output in the region has declined by up to 60% and the World Food Programme (WFP) needs to currently assist 4,3 million people in southern Africa. South Africa is a WFP procurement base, so little imagination is needed to assess the food need if this country's commercial farming sector is hobbled.


Given the poor record of the South African government towards the country's commercial farming sector, and the collapse of SA's land restitution policy, it is critical that TAU SA has offered this comprehensive outline for agricultural survival and a strong warning to government of the consequences of its policies vis a vis agricultural production. TAU SA bulletins have over the years exposed empirical evidence regarding the decline in food production due to thousands of farmers giving up their farms, either because of their inability to make a living in the face of the impediments placed before them by the government, or because they have sold their farms to the government, only to see their once-productive entities turn to dust.


Despite the raw data provided to the government that its policies are a failure, ideology wins hands down every time. Land "reform" is the goal, and a benchmark figure of 30% of all productive farms in the country must be handed over to black claimants by 2014, whether they can farm or not. So far the government has not produced one single example of a successful handover, yet the benchmark remains.



Thus TAU SA's SFS document cannot be ignored. Issued in Afrikaans to opinion formers and the media in Southern Africa, the document covers the spectrum of why agriculture and food security are strategic links in the chain of survival in this part of the world. Agriculture is the only enterprise in the country which has a daily effect on people's lives.


The SFS document covers all facets of life which affect agriculture - research and development, effective marketing, the improvement of declining infrastructure such as roads and rail transport, electricity provision, the country's telephone service, illegal imports and of course the maintenance of the principle of private property. The expropriation of farms, minimum wages and the swathe of legislation giving people rights over private farmland are all elements inimical to increased food security. The top-heavy welfare emphasis in the economy places a disproportionate load on those few who produce and pay taxes. Fifty six percent of the country's budget goes on social spending. Furthermore, the fact that municipal officials can set their own salaries leaves local councils short of funding, and the decline in the maintenance of local infrastructure and the incompetence in running these councils affects not only urban residents but farmers who have now been drawn into the municipal funding net and are asked to pay for services they do not receive. These payments are sometimes assessed purely on the shortfall of a local council budget!!



Although agriculture contributes around 4% towards the country's Gross National Product, the delivery of food to any country's population on a daily basis is indispensable. In addition, the decline in the number of commercial farmers and the loss of hundreds of thousands of farm jobs among the country's black population has triggered the decline and even disappearance of many rural towns. Adding to the insecurity in rural areas is the fact that South African farmers are proportionately the most murdered and attacked group in the world outside a war zone.


As well, farmers are taxed to the hilt - municipal taxes, income tax, weapons taxes, water taxes, heavy road tolls, land taxes, capital gains taxes: these are part and parcel of a not so subtle pressure on the farmer to simply give up and sell his farm at whatever price he can get.  Crime in all areas is filling the state's coffers because of the need to replace goods and stock which has been stolen. VAT of 14% is charged on all sales and most services in South Africa.


The SFS document covers affirmative action and its dire consequences,  the incompetence and corruption which are now the hallmarks of most if not all government departments, the role of Non-Government Organisations (NGO's) which create expectations in the black community that cannot be realized, climate change and the need for competent and inspirational leadership during natural disasters, security in rural areas, the environment and the preservation of nature,  the free market, subsidies, globalization and all aspects which affect the survival of South Africa's peoples via the provision of food and the prevention of hunger.



Global warming now tops the world's agenda in terms of the survival of the planet. The last thing South Africa's agricultural sector needs is more warming, but it appears to be inevitable. Of the twelve warmest years on record, 11 occurred between 1995 and 2006.


Time magazine says the only really effective role players who can combat the global warming crisis are governments and industry. TAU SA declares that in an unfriendly agricultural environment such as South Africa's, our government should go out of its way to preserve and protect the commercial farming sector. The opposite is happening, hence TAU SA's document which is now inviting comment and which will be published in English within a few months and distributed throughout the world.


Of all the continents, Africa will be the most severely affected by global warming. A quarter of a billion people will lose their water supplies, according to the United Nations IPCC report. Food supplies will dwindle and governments in Africa will have to spend 10% of their budgets or more to adapt to climate change.


It is ironic that South Africa was a member participant  of the G8 Environment Ministers' Meeting held in Potsdam, Germany in March of this year. The Chairman's Final Report  said that 40% of world trade is based on biological products or processes such as agriculture, forestry, fisheries and the like. The report was deeply concerned at the ongoing dramatic loss of biodiversity and the serious degradation of, inter alia, fertile soils. It stressed the need for improved management of resources. Climate protection should be integrated with sustainable development, the report said. It also declared that the poor in developing countries were "especially vulnerable".


It is thus incumbent upon the South African government to nurture the commercial farming sector because apart from being the sensible thing to do, South Africa has committed itself before the world to do so. TAU SA's final report will of course be sent to the Potsdam Group for its perusal and comment.





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