The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index

From The Sunday Times (SA), 23 May

Mbeki still has no plan for Mugabe

Sunday Times Foreign Desk

With weeks to go before President Thabo Mbeki's self-imposed June deadline
to bring about political change in Zimbabwe, his office has conceded that a
resolution is still not in sight. Mbeki - engaged in "silent diplomacy"
since 2000 to unravel a crisis that has also damaged the economies of
Zimbabwe's neighbours - promised in June last year that there would be a
"solution to the Zimbabwe crisis in a year's time". He reiterated in talks a
month later with US President George W Bush that President Robert Mugabe
would indicate by last December that he was going to retire and that
elections would be held by June. His comments came at a time of mounting
international pressure on South Africa to adopt compelling but measured
methods to force Mugabe to tackle his country's problems. But on Friday,
Mbeki's spokesman Bheki Khumalo conceded the deadline on the Zimbabwe issue
was rapidly slipping away and was unlikely to be met. "If the deadline is
not met it will still be up to Zimbabweans to resolve their own problems and
the President has said that he would like to work with all political parties
there to find a solution. It took years to resolve the problems in the
Congo. These issues need patience and I think that should be the approach in
Zimbabwe." Indications on the ground in Zimbabwe also point to a solution
not being found by June. After informal talks last year, Mugabe's Zanu PF
party and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change are now again worlds
apart on issues and political agendas. However, the head of Zanu PF's talks
delegation, Patrick Chinamasa, last week tried to revive hope in talks by
claiming that "informal dialogue is taking place". But the leader of the
MDC's negotiating team, Welshman Ncube, said: "I'm not aware of any dialogue
taking place now. I can't even remember when we last met because it's a long
time ago." Hostilities have been resurfacing between the two parties due to
Mugabe's insistence that the opposition must first cut its "umbilical cord"
to Western countries before talks can proceed. The situation was worsened
this week by the flooring in parliament of two Zanu PF ministers, Chinamasa
and Didymus Mutasa, by MDC MP Roy Bennett during a heated debate. Zanu PF
has seized the opportunity to go on a revenge mission against the MDC and
political repression is set to escalate.

Meanwhile, the two parties are engaged in low-intensity electioneering ahead
of next year's general election. MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai said this
week: "Our preparations for 2005 are in full swing. Never before has our
entire nation been so ready for a showdown with Zanu PF. We have... a
programme that will deliver change and ensure a legitimate MDC victory. "The
programme is structured in a way that would enable us to intensify pressure
on the regime to accede to our demands for the... conditions necessary
for... genuine, democratic elections." Mugabe said last week he would retire
in 2008. "I want to retire from politics. I have had enough," Mugabe told
Kenyan journalists. "I am also a writer and would like to concentrate on
writing after this term of office is over." Zanu PF is absorbed in
infighting over the issue of its leader's succession. Mugabe said last week
his lieutenants were fighting over his job. He said his party functionaries
were even going to witch doctors to seek charms to become president. Since
the emergence of the MDC in 1999 and the beginning of ongoing violent land
invasions in 2000, Zimbabwe has been on a precipitous decline. The country
has been a cauldron of sustained political violence and is facing economic
collapse. Zanu PF was accused of winning the 2000 parliamentary election
through a campaign of violence and intimidation, and of rigging the 2002
presidential election. The economy has been tumbling and the country's
agriculture is in ruins. Inflation has peaked at 600%, unemployment is at
75% and poverty at 80%. Company closures have been rife and this has fuelled
joblessness and political instability. Shortages of foreign currency, fuel,
power, basic commodities and food have become commonplace. Mugabe has
reacted to popular discontent and challenge against his despotic rule -
largely caused by his leadership and policy failures - with intensified
repression and defiance of the international community.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

From The Age (Australia), 23 May 2004

A test of integrity

Cancellation of the Zimbabwe cricket Tests offers only a small fig-leaf to
cover a large embarrassment, writes Gideon Haigh.

George Bernard Shaw once said that an Englishman thought he was moral when
he was simply feeling uncomfortable. The same, increasingly, seems to apply
to our sportsmen and sporting administrators. How else to explain how a team
of Australian cricketers, queasily conscious of the dubiousness of the
honour, are guests of Robert Mugabe. Sport has hardly been declared
morality-free. We have furious, foam-flecked debates about matters that it
would be flattery to call trivial: whether James Hird should have dissed an
umpire, whether Sam Newman should be permitted in public without taking his
medication. We nonetheless stumbled into Zimbabwe claiming heavy hearts and
admitting utter confusion, while still mouthing the piety that "it's only a
game of cricket" - to quote Adam Gilchrist. Gilchrist's baffled column in
The Age last week is perhaps the most telling artefact of this sorry affair,
having recourse in discussion of Zimbabwe's plight to phrases such as
"alleged heartache" and "reported suffering"; one awaits references to
"apparent bombings" in Iraq and "rumoured detention" of asylum seekers.
Zimbabwe's 11th-hour cancellation of the two-Test series provides only a
very small fig-leaf to cover a very large embarrassment. It should be clear
that our cricketers found themselves in Harare not because they particularly
wanted to be, or to further cricket's good name, or even because they were
expecting a good game - quite the contrary, because the internal exile of
the country's (mainly white) first XI has left a ragged (mainly black)
second XI in its place, a catchweight contest had been expected. Instead,
they were there because of the consequences of their not going. Swingeing
fines and a costly suspension awaited those member countries of the
International Cricket Council breaching contractual undertakings to tour
others; time will tell how it deals with those who rescind invitations.
Cricket Australia described the exercise as "a box we have to tick". Boxes
are an important cricket accessory, but not usually in this respect. It was
a dismal auspice for a cricket tour.

This being Australia, from where the rest of the world is viewed as through
the wrong end of a telescope, there has been precious little information
about Zimbabwe's benightedness as a nation. Free speech and fair elections
are things of the past there; dissent is ruthlessly crushed by means from
expropriation to execution. By every conventional measure, the country is
sliding backwards. Life expectancy is lower than in 1960. Two-thirds of its
population is on the brink of famine or "food-insecure", despite
three-quarters of the country's grain already coming from the World Food
Program. About three million of its people have fled, mostly to South
Africa. The economy has contracted for four consecutive years. Inflation
runs into hundreds of per cent, unemployment is at about 50 per cent. Nor
are these acts of God; they are acts of Mugabe's corrupt, despotic and
increasingly desperate regime in no more than a handful of years. It was
reasonably pointed out that we play sport against countries that are not
exactly democratic fashion plates. What made this tour farcical, however,
was the way Mugabe's Zanu PF party has so unceremoniously wrested control of
the Zimbabwean Cricket Union in the past few years, populating it with
cronies, politicising its management and selection processes, and turning it
into a vehicle for propaganda and personal aggrandisement. Zimbabwe
cricket's travails have hardly been secret. Since 2000, 20 leading players
have left Zimbabwe prematurely, including Neil Johnson, Murray Goodwin, Andy
Flower and Henry Olonga. The rest, courageously, held their peace until
their captain, Heath Streak, made a private protest about various recent
selections that on April 2 earned him the sack; they were then sacked for
supporting him. This was depicted to the world as a matter of race, which
has a way of making liberal consciences quail. But what Zanu PF has wrought
in Zimbabwe cricket has been only marginally about the empowerment of black
countrymen, or toppling a final graven idol of colonialism.

As with so much of the Mugabe "revolution", it has been about party
apparatchiks seeking stature and another exchequer to raid amid encircling
chaos. Remarkably, 12 members of the Zimbabwe Cricket Union and their
partners managed to visit Australia during Zimbabwe's tour last season, all
expenses defrayed - remarkably because the union struggles to keep a viable
first-class cricket structure going in Zimbabwe. We should not only never
have set foot in Zimbabwe; we should never have come close. Such debate as
there was about the advisability of Australia's tour, alas, was crushingly
disappointing. Apologists ran the tired line that politics and sport should
not mix; like it or not, they do, time and again, and it is the cricket
union that has in this instance done the mixing. A counter-argument was that
cheap runs and easy wickets on offer endangered the sanctity of cricket
statistics, as though recalcitrant scorers might ignite an auto-da-fe
fuelled by Wisdens. It is strange to recall that cricket was once
supersaturated with morality - sometimes to the point of nausea. These days,
professional athletes are not expected to think about anything more than
their sport, or at a pinch distinguish between sunglass sponsors or choose
which nightclub to patronise. "The bottom line for me is that we are
cricketers," wrote Ricky Ponting in his most recent book. "Our job is to
play cricket." Curiously, when it suits them, athletes love cloaking
themselves in the flag, proclaiming the patriotic pride they derive from
representing their countries - and we love it when they do. Hundreds of
millions of Indians and Pakistanis who revelled in their countries' recent
Test series did not think they were watching 22 men doing their jobs. If
Zimbabwe cricket were merely a place of work, Zanu PF would never have
coveted its control. Professional athletes should be careful about drawing
too much attention to that "bottom line", lest they be taken at their word.

For here lies, for sport, perhaps this fiasco's most troubling dimension:
not merely that moral arguments no longer have traction, but that they seem
to have been supplanted by commercial considerations. For the past seven
weeks, the International Cricket Council has kept an incriminating silence,
save for one ill-aimed volley from president Ehsan Mani on 7 May: "If the
rebels believe that walking out will result in other countries interfering
in Zimbabwean cricket, I think that they have been very badly advised." A
strange world this when players sacked and expelled become "rebels" who are
"walking out". Then, on 18 May, after the cricket union had refused to meet
his chief executive, Mani foreshadowed the meeting of the International
Cricket Council's executive board, whose threat to the tour's standing
finally precipitated its cancellation. "It's up to the directors to
determine if these matches should have Test status or not and to exercise
their judgement as to what course of action best protects the integrity of
the international game," he said.V.V.S. Laxman could not have executed a
glide more effortless. One moment the ICC could not be "interfering in
Zimbabwean cricket"; the next it had to protect "the integrity of the
international game". For "integrity", though, read "value of the franchise".
In June 2000, the council signed a seven-year, $US550 million deal for the
broadcasting of international cricket with Global Cricket Corporation, now
an arm of News Corporation. But Test matches in which teams declare at
3-713 - as Sri Lanka recently did against the new Zimbabwe - and one-day
matches in which teams are routed for 35 - as the new Zimbabwe was recently
against Sri Lanka - scarcely enrich cricket's commercial cachet. It's
unlikely Rupert Murdoch himself has been on the phone; more probably - like
so many editors - the ICC has simply uncannily anticipated his concerns.
This is what happens when it becomes too vexing to distinguish right from
wrong, being moral from feeling uncomfortable: money makes the decision for

Gideon Haigh is a writer and freelance journalist. He has written several
books about cricket, including The Big Ship: Warwick Armstrong and The
Making of Modern Cricket.
Back to the Top
Back to Index


ICC want Blair decision on Zimbabwe tour
Sun 23 May, 2004 13:52

By Mark Lamport-Stokes

LONDON (Reuters) - The International Cricket Council (ICC) has called for
the government to make a clearcut decision over whether England should tour
Zimbabwe in October.

Prime Minister Tony Blair's government has said it would prefer England's
cricketers not to tour the troubled African country but has stopped short of
ordering them not to go.

"What we seek are clear directions and, so far, we have not had clear
directions from the government in England," ICC president Ehsan Mani told
BBC radio on Sunday.

"That is something for Mr Blair to do and for the England and Wales Cricket
Board (ECB) to put to us.

"David Morgan, the chairman of the ECB, has been very clear that he accepts
there is no moral argument to put forward to the ICC. He has expressed
concerns of his government's displeasure if the ECB were to carry on with
the tour of Zimbabwe.

"But he has accepted the fact that the directions he has so far received are
not a clear instruction to the ECB not to tour."

Cricket's governing body has been embroiled in a political battle with the
British government and the ECB over the tour.

The ICC said in March any country refusing to tour for anything but security
reasons or governmental direction would face a minimum fine of $2 million
and possible suspension from the international game.

Zimbabwe cricket chiefs have consistently argued there is no sound reason to
cancel, but the England team refused to play there in the 2003 World Cup
because of security concerns.


However, Zimbabwe cricket has been in turmoil since last month when 15 of
their leading white players, including former captain Heath Streak, refused
to play.

They accused the Zimbabwe board of allowing politicians to dictate the
make-up of the team and of rushing young black players into the side before
they were ready.

Zimbabwe had to select an inexperienced team to play Sri Lanka, who won both
tests by an innings and the one-day series 5-0.

Zimbabwe's proposed two-test series against world champions Australia was
called off on Friday, just 24 hours before it was due to start.

Zimbabwe would have had to field a severely weakened side due to the
simmering player dispute and the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU) and Cricket
Australia (CA) agreed to postpone the matches.

The joint decision to call off the tests came only two hours before an ICC
teleconference which looked likely to strip the series of its test status.

Such a move was, however, likely to be temporary, Mani said on Sunday.

"I don't think Zimbabwe will lose their test status on a permanent basis,"
he said. "What we have tried to do in the interim is give enough time and
opportunity for the parties to come together if they can.

"What is important to us is the integrity of test cricket.

"If we find that the team they have is unable to compete at the highest
level reasonably...if it's going to make a farce of test cricket, then
obviously we cannot permit that. We've got to move to protect the game,"
Mani added.

"But obviously we don't expect countries to win all the time. After all,
Zimbabwe have only won eight of their 75 matches in the 12 years they have
been a member of the ICC.

"So one has to look at this from a sensible perspective."

Back to the Top
Back to Index


Mugabe forks out in new bid to impress chiefs

      May 23 2004 at 12:20PM

      By Basildon Peta

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe will spend more than R30-million in
unbudgeted funds on buying new vehicles for and increasing payments to
hundreds of traditional chiefs in a bid to win their support in
parliamentary elections next March, according to officials and reports.

The decision is reminiscent of similar unbudgeted payment made to liberation
war veterans in 1997, which led to the collapse of the currency and
kick-started the events that have resulted in the country's economic decay.

Traditional leaders, who have become an integral part of Mugabe's
electioneering strategy, help to coerce illiterate villagers into voting for
Mugabe's Zanu-PF party.

In the recently held parliamentary by-elections in Lupane and Gutu, chiefs
were reportedly placed at polling stations where they recorded the names of
villagers from their areas as they queued to vote.

The villagers were reportedly told beforehand that their voting was being
monitored by strategically installed cameras and those who "misplaced" their
votes in the opposition slots on the ballot papers would "suffer painful

Zanu-PF snatched the Lupane seat from the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change with a majority of about 800 votes. In the 2000 parliamentary
elections, the MDC won the seat by 11 000 votes. Zanu-PF retained the Gutu
seat, which was previously held by the late vice-president, Simon Muzenda.

Apart from intimidating voters, chiefs generally bar the opposition from
canvassing in the rural areas.

Mugabe has been holding meetings with the chiefs and officiated at a meeting
of traditional leaders in Masvingo a week ago. He promised to "look after
them", although he did not elaborate. Soon after that he doubled their
allowances and yesterday government officials said he had ordered new
vehicles for them.

Ministry of transport officials said they would be placing orders worth
about ZIM$15-billion at the country's main vehicle manufacturer, Willowvale
Mazda Motor Industries, for B1800 and B2500 Mazda pickups for the 260
chiefs. This perk will be in addition to the increased cash payments. A
chief will now earn ZIM$1,5-million, slightly more than a government

The government will probably have to borrow the money, which will make it
even more difficult to revive the economy.

"With the election in sight, they (the government) could possibly just print
the money to accomplish the patronage.

They have done this before and there is no reason why they should stop," an
official said.

The sops to the chiefs have fuelled speculation that Zimbabwe could be
heading for an early election. The parliamentary elections are officially
due in March but Mugabe could call an early election in October before the
current maize harvest runs out. Many senior ruling party officials, buoyed
by their success in by-elections, believe that if an early election is held,
the embattled MDC would be lucky to get 15 seats. It currently has 51 seats
in parliament. - Independent Foreign Service

Back to the Top
Back to Index

On back foot over Mugabe

Kevin Mitchell
Sunday May 23, 2004
The Observer

Dean Jones, not that long ago a brave Test batsman for Australia, has turned
into a disappointingly timid commentator. Assuming that he was quoted
accurately last week, he was happy for it to be known that 'I don't give a
rat's arse what he [Robert Mugabe] does about his country'.
Curiously, the remark did not travel far beyond Jones's own backyard, an
indication of either boredom with the lingering farce that is Zimbabwean
cricket or indifference to the plight of people a long way away. Jones is a
well-travelled man, though. He should know better.

Yet the social and cricketing injustices that are obvious in one of the most
repressive regimes in the world do not, apparently, invade his everyday
thoughts. In his typically direct, Australian way, Jones explained that he
would be going there to commentate on the cricket and not the politics,
inadvertently revealing that the Zimbabwe government, regardless, would
censor any mention of the troubles that have so blighted the game and
society there.

'We just have to be careful what we say about Mugabe,' Jones told the
Australian newspaper. 'I've got no big deal about it.' Not that he has to
turn into James Cameron, but it seems that he is happy to keep his mouth
shut about Mugabe and earn money from the same paranoid regime that has
expelled the Daily Telegraph journalist Mihir Bose and Reuters' Telford
Vice, long ago kicked out the BBC and that forced The Observer and Guardian
writer Andrew Meldrum to leave.

There is now not one independent newspaper in Zimbabwe. These are the
bullies who threatened Henry Olonga after his black-armband protest during
the World Cup with such subtlety that he fled the country. And it is the
government that so intimidated a Zimbabwean journalist recently that he
considered leaving because he feared for his life.

Jones was probably guilty of poor judgment rather than crass disregard for
the people of Zimbabwe, but it was another blinding example of the
insularity of some elite sportsmen. There are a lot of former international
players in sport press boxes everywhere and they bring valuable insight. But
they also have an obligation to their new calling.

Ignoring the abuse of press freedom should not be an option for anyone even
pretending to be a journalist. Jones's compatriot, the former Test spinner
Kerry O'Keeffe, is known in Australia as a bit of a comic turn on the radio,
but he at least recognises a bully when he sees one.

'It's a wider issue than cricket,' he said last week. 'The only similarity I
can think of is South Africa 30 years ago and, really, the only way it could
be sorted out was through a change of politics, a change of attitudes.' More
important, perhaps, than the commentators are the people in a position to
effect change - such as Malcolm Speed, of the International Cricket Council
(ICC). Although privately outraged to be snubbed by the Zimbabwe Cricket
Union (ZCU) when he went there last week to try to sort out the impasse
between the ZCU and the 15 rebel players, he resorted to doublespeak on his
return to Lord's.

He said that he had two messages for the people who run the sport in
Zimbabwe: 'The first is that there is widespread concern throughout
cricket - from the cricket-playing countries, from former players and
current players - about the integrity of Test cricket. The second is that we
need to sort this out and we need to sort it out quickly.'

Fantastic. A month after he should have stepped in, Speed decides to live up
to his name and even then makes a pig's ear of it. It is better than no
response at all, but he knows that this is not just to do with 'the
integrity of Test cricket'. In threatening to withdraw Test status from the
scheduled matches between the weakened Zimbabwe and rampant Australia, he
merely highlighted the folly of ICC policy in not doing so when Sri Lanka
arrived weeks ago.

Instead, the ICC allowed the ZCU to indulge in outrageous brinkmanship with
the players, exposing the baby-faced B team to humiliating beatings by Sri
Lanka and leaving unresolved the cause of the problem. The ZCU then were
allowed off the hook by cobbling together a deal with Cricket Australia
before what would have been a vote of censure by the ICC members on Friday.
And logically - for the right reason rather than the reason Speed cites for
calling off the Tests - the Zimbabweans and the Australians still should not
be playing the one-day games.

The ICC have long maintained that they have no obligation or inclination to
intervene in the running of the sport in Zimbabwe or elsewhere. Yet
intervene is what they have done, through well-meaning clumsiness rather
than direct action in Zimbabwe, and through a threat of fines and sanctions
on England, if they do not fulfil their commitment to tour there in October.

The ZCU also used weasel words, claiming that the Tests against Australia
had been 'deferred'. They have not. They have been cancelled, as Cricket
Australia's chief executive, James Sutherland, confirmed when he said that
the team were 'heavily committed over the next four years and it is
extremely unlikely that we will be able to play the two Test matches in this
time frame'. Another half-truth nailed.

So where does this leave England? If Heath Streak's boycotters do not return
and the ICC and the ZCU apply their judgment of convenience again, England
will have no obligation to tour Zimbabwe or play them anywhere in the longer
form of the game. Nor would any other Test-playing country. That will not
help the rebels, their stand-ins or the 60,000 players in Zimbabwe who love
the sport, but it might embarrass Mugabe.

The sadness of the shambles is that it has been played out in an era of
exciting, competitive cricket that Richie Benaud described last week as the
best he could remember. It has been a long time, though, since anyone with a
conscience could do what Dean Jones wants to do and just enjoy the cricket.

You've read the piece, now have your say. Email your comments, be as frank
as you like, we can take it, to, or
mail the Observer direct at

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

Bennet speaks out
By Caiphas Chimhete

MDC Member of Parliament for Chimanimani, Roy Bennet, who last week was
involved in a scuffle with two Cabinet Ministers in the House, said he
reacted the way he did because he failed to get protection from
Parliamentary authorities when Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa heaped
personal insults on him.

Bennet, who has been illegally banned from setting foot in the Parliament of
Zimbabwe and Harare, and declared persona non grata in his home area,
Manicaland, by gangs of war veterans, Zanu PF youths and party officials,
bared his soul to The Standard yesterday.

The MP said the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Edna Madzongwe and the Clerk
of Parliament, Austin Zvoma, did not do anything to stop Chinamasa from
verbally abusing him.

According to Parliamentary rules, the Speaker of Parliament or anyone acting
in that capacity should order withdrawal of offensive statements made in the
august house.

Failure to withdraw by the offending MP would result in disciplinary action
being taken against them. This was not the case in Parliament on Tuesday
where Chinamasa launched a vitriolic onslaught on Bennet before the
Chimanimani MP decided to take matters into his own hands.

Bennet, who is very fluent in Shona, said the drama started after he made
his contribution in the vernacular language during debate on an adverse
report on the Stock Theft Amendment Bill.

"Chinamasa akandibvunza kuti sei ndataura neShona. Akatanga kuti Bennet
nemadziteteguru ake vakapindamuno muno muna 1890 vakatora land yedu S
imbavha nemhondi (Chinamasa asked me why I had contributed in Shona and then
said Bennet and his forefathers came here in 1890 and took our land S they
were thieves and murderers)," said Bennet yesterday.

Chinamasa mockingly went on to declare that Bennet would never set foot
again at Charleswood Estate, a farm he owns in his Chimanimani constituency.

In complete defiance of provisional High Court orders granted by Justice
Karwi in February, the army, riot police and Zanu PF supporters have been
camped at Charleswood for months.

He said the soldiers, police and Zanu PF supporters invaded his farmhouse,
and some were sleeping on his bed, eating his food and have cordoned off the
farm, prohibiting people from entering or leaving the property without their

"What irritated me is that Chinamasa, who is supposed to be the custodian of
law and order, was actually approving this barbaric behaviour by the army in
defiance of a High Court order, which his ministry gave," he said.

Bennet, who vowed that he would not apologise, said any MP could have
reacted in the same manner under similar circumstances.

"I burst because I could not bottle up the anger. I am human S anyone could
have done the same under similar circumstances," said Bennet, who added that
he was not afraid despite reports that overzealous Zanu PF supporters were
baying for his blood.

Bennet said when the drama was taking place Madzongwe was glued onto her
chair and had remained mum. He accused Madzongwe and Zvoma of not protecting
MDC MPs during debates in Parliament but were quick to reprimand them when
they retaliate.

Meanwhile the Zimbabwe Liberators' Peace Initiative (ZLPI), a grouping of
independent war veterans and ex-detainees, says Bennet behaved the way any
provoked person could do given the circumstances.

"We do not condone violence as a peace building organisation but the level
of intimidation that Bennet had to endure was excessive. Chinamasa is a very
educated man and a lawyer and he knows the reaction of a provoked man," said
ZLPI president Max Mnkandla.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

Chief Tangwena's widow invades farm in bizzare conflict
By Our Own Staff

NYANGA - Mbuya Matadzise Tangwena, widow of national hero Chief Rekayi
Tangwena, and six village headmen have invaded Nyafaru farm in Nyanga and
they have vowed to remain on the farm which has a place in the history of
Zimbabwe's liberation struggle.

It was at Nyafaru where President Robert Mugabe met Chief Tangwena who
helped him cross the border into Mozambique to join several other
nationalists who were fighting Ian Smith's government during the 1970s.

The farm has, over the years, been run by the Nyafaru Development Company
(NDC) headed by Anti-Corruption and Anti-Monopolies Minister Didymus Mutasa.

Wrangles have however emerged between the two parties amid accusations that
the NDC has leased the lucrative farm to a timber company which is
developing plantations.

Mbuya Tangwena, almost in tears, told The Standard on Friday at Nyafaru how
she felt after realising that the farm - which is about 45 km east of the
resort town of Nyanga in the Nyangani mountains - was to be turned into a
plantation of eucalyptus trees.

Not sure of her age and needing the aid of a walking stick to go around the
farm, Mbuya Tangwena - who had to be taken to a clinic for observation
shortly after the interview with The Standard - said she felt betrayed by

" I only want one thing, that is to see Mugabe and Mutasa because Nyafaru is
gone," she said.

"I want the two to actually tell me that this land no longer belongs to the
Tangwena people and that it has been sold," she said, disclosing that about
5 000 of her people now have nowhere to go.

"My people and I are prepared to die for this land and we will not move
away. Let them bring the soldiers as the Rhodesians used to do during the
liberation war," she said.

Rallying behind Mbuya Tangwena are village heads Pabwe Piripija, Herbert
Goora and David Mukanya, among others.

Said Piripija: "Tadzepetedzwa, tadzepwa." (We can't breathe, we have no brea
thing space).

Mutasa, who became a board member of the company in 1965, said he saw
nothing wrong with Zimboard planting trees on the farm since it was meant to
benefit the people of Tangwena.

"All those allegations are not true S they are stupid too,"said Mutasa in a
telephone interview with The Standard yesterday.

"Zimboard signed an agreement with (Moven) Mahachi when he was still alive
and the trees are being planted right now. I am only taking responsibility
of what is happening at the farm since I am the chairman," said Mutasa.

He added: "Chief (Nyabinde Mangwedere) Tangwena was at my house in Rusape
last week and told me that he was happy with the developments that are going
on the farm."
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

AirZim bus attached over $745m debt
By Kumbirai Mafunda

THE Deputy Sheriff on Friday attached a bus belonging to the financially
crippled national airline Air Zimbabwe after it failed to settle a whopping
$745 million it owes Sandy Chikosi who was unlawfully dismissed from her
position as a senior flight attendant.

Armed with a writ of execution granted by the High Court, the Deputy Sheriff
moved on the airline's movable property at its airport premises on Friday

However security personnel stationed at the airport blocked the Deputy
Sheriff from entering the premises prompting him to attach property at the
national airline's offices in the city centre.

Although the Sheriff also faced some resistance at the city offices, workers
of the national airline came second best as the Deputy Sheriff managed to
get away with a few items that included a company bus.

The seized property is now scheduled to go under the hammer at Ruby

Chikosi, who was employed as a senior flight attendant, was unlawfully
relieved of her duties in January last year without pay.

Air Zimbabwe accused her of entering the UK with excess quantity of

Following her dismissal, she appealed against her sacking which was referred
for arbitration in the Labour Court, which ruled in her favour in January

Air Zimbabwe then consented to the judgment and agreed to honour the claim.
The national airline, which has paid some little payments to Chikosi, still
owes her large amounts.

The Standard understands that under an agreement entered between the airline
and Chikosi on February 26 - which the national carrier is now backtracking
on - Air Zimbabwe committed itself to pay $37 million in instalments.

The airline owes Chikosi $25 million and 76 127,70 British pounds which
include travel allowances. According to an agreement between the two,
interest was to be charged at 50 percent.

Arthur Manase, the airline's head of legal and corporate affairs, disputed
that an agreement was struck with Chikosi saying the airline wanted to
institute legal action against Chikosi. He also disputed the claim involved
arguing it was exaggerated.

"Air Zimbabwe Private Limited totally disputes any liability towards Ms
Chikosi. We do not consider her entitled to take the measures she has taken.
Appropriate legal measures are therefore being taken to ensure the situation
is rectified," said Manase.

Air Zimbabwe, which is being restructured, has for years failed to turn its
fortunes. It owes creditors millions of dollars and its managing director
Rambai Chingwena recently quit in a huff. He is now in the UK.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

Disease fears as water cuts persist in Harare
By our own Staff

SEVERAL residential suburbs in Harare are experiencing frequent water cuts,
raising fears of an outbreak of communicable diseases such as cholera in the
densely populated areas.

Residents of high and medium density suburbs such as Msasa, Mabvuku, Tafara,
Cranborne, Braeside and Mainway Meadows said life had become unbearable for
them as a result of the intermittent water cuts.

Michael Banda, the chairperson of Greater Harare Informal Traders'
Association who lives in Mabvuku, said they had sometimes gone for days
without water.

"We do not know why the council cuts water supplies in Mabvuku without
notifying the residents," said Banda.

He said the shortage of water was also affecting business because most of
the traders closed their shops since there was no water in the toilets.

Leslie Gwindi, the Harare City Council spokesperson, said the council was
aware of the water problems in suburbs such as Mabvuku.

"We are fully aware of the water problems in Mabvuku. Our pumps at Morton
Jaffray Water Treatment Works are being repaired," Gwindi said.

The council has introduced 24-hour water cuts in some southern suburbs to
divert water to the north-east suburbs where there have been erratic water

The water management exercise is meant to allow the flow of water into the
Letombo waterworks for subsequent pumping to the north-eastern suburbs.

Supplies are being cut in some suburbs from as early 9.00AM only to be
restored 24 hours later. Some of the suburbs affected by the water cuts
include Hatcliffe, Waterfalls, parts of Borrowdale, Helensville and
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

RBZ Governor warns internal detractors
By Rangarirai Mberi

RESERVE Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono has accused some of his top
lieutenants of working against his reforms at the central bank, giving them
up to the end of this week to "jump off the ship".

In a strongly worded internal memo he sent to deputy governors, division
chiefs, deputy chiefs and other heads of units, Gono ordered disloyal staff
to show their commitment or leave the bank by month end.

"Please take advantage of it before we place certain performance demands on
each other, which if you cannot meet, for lack of commitment to the cause,
could result in separation without a package", Gono warns in the memo, dated
May 14 and titled "Let's think about this".

Gono also says some of his staff are only at the central bank to cover up
for their crimes and those of their associates.

"Some also see their continued role and existence in the bank as one of
safe-guarding previous misdemeanors on their part or that of their
colleagues still in or already out of the bank," Gono says.

Gono questions the loyalty of the senior officials, who he accuses of being
in "denial mode" and showing "divided emotions".

"Unfortunately, there is no room for split personalities in the bank," Gono

"You are either on board the journey to transform the fortunes of this
country and this bank positively or you are not part of the team. And if any
of us feels that they would rather be gainfully employed elsewhere than
here, by all means, please approach your immediate senior and ask for a

The governor said his office was the "the beacon of turnaround in the
Zimbabwean economy" and demanded a loyal staff.

Gono's letter comes amid a continuing dispute with a group of senior
managers over a staff purge that seeks to sweep away tens of senior
management positions.

Nearly three months after announcing the restructuring exercise, affected
managers have been spending the day unoccupied in the absence of news from
the Governor on their future.

Gono has now proposed a retrenchment package that, among other features,
will give affected workers 200% of their monthly salaries multiplied by the
number of years in service.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

MDC's Lupane problems
By Loughty Dube

BULAWAYO - The result of last week's Lupane by-election should send a chill
down the spine of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
because of the emerging pattern where the governing Zanu PF is wrestling -
by hook or crook - what were formerly considered its "safe seats."

The result, a couple of months away from the crucial 2005 parliamentary
elections should be very worrying, observers say, to the opposition party
leadership and its supporters.

The forthcoming 2005 election results will be the litmus test on whether the
MDC has the stamina to stand the vagaries of Zimbabwe's tempestuous politics
or be relegated into the dustbins of political history, joining the likes of
long forgotten parties such as the Zimbabwe Unity Movement (ZUM), Forum and
PF Zapu.

All these parties made a mark on the country's political scene during their
heydays but failed to dislodge Zanu PF from power.

The fact that the MDC lost the parliamentary seat to Zanu PF by a difference
of a mere 883 votes should be more painful to the opposition party as only
19 000 people, about 40 percent of the Lupane registered voters, cast their
ballot in a constituency with 48 134 registered voters.

Zanu PF has a history of winning all elections (and even by-elections) in
areas where there is serious voter apathy and low voter turnout.

In Lupane Zanu PF's Martin Khumalo polled 10 069 votes to defeat the MDC's
Njabuliso Mguni who garnered 9 186 votes.

The win in Lupane presented Zanu PF with its fourth valuable seat in
Matabeleland after the party won the Beitbridge and Gwanda South seats in
2000 and the Insiza seat last year during a by-election after the death of
the incumbent, George Ndlovu.

"This is the beginning of the downfall of the MDC. The MDC has barked too
long. The party is finished, what happened in Seke, Insiza and in Zengeza is
an indication of what is to come," Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, the Zanu PF deputy
political commissar said, adding that the MDC would lose all its seats in
rural Matabeleland come 2005.

"The MDC has been using the same tactics since 2000 and the tactics are now
not making sense," he said.

"They have been talking about Gukurahundi and the lack of development in
Matabeleland but the government is now addressing those issues and the party
has suddenly run out of campaign strategies."

The win by Zanu PF in Lupane now brings the party inches away from its much
coveted two-thirds majority in Parliament that would effectively make
Zimbabwe one party State in that Zanu PF would be in a position to make
major constitutional amendments without hindrance.

Political commentator and National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) president,
Lovemore Madhuku, did not mince his words on the outcome of the Lupane

"The loss in Lupane means that the MDC should re-strategise because if they
go for elections in the current political scenario Zanu PF is going to win
overwhelmingly next year," Madhuku said.

The Lupane seat fell vacant after the death of the MDC legislator, David
Mpala, who died early this year of wounds sustained when he was allegedly
abducted and tortured by war veterans.

MDC secretary for legal affairs, David Coltart, was cautious about the
party's performance but said the party was far from finished.

"Any political party that gets 9 000 votes under the circumstances under
which the MDC participated in Lupane is not a party facing oblivion," said

"Zanu PF used food and intimidation as campaign tools. The food was
distributed through the village headmen and if anyone knows anything about
Lupane, they would realise that the constituency did not get a bumper
harvest this year," he said.

While conceding that the result was disappointing, Coltart drew solace in
the fact that the MDC maintained the number of voters who voted for the
party in previous elections.

Zanu PF bussed into Lupane hundreds of "Green Bombers" and war veterans to
campaign for the party, reported some election observers.

The Zimbabwe Liberators Peace Initiative, a group comprising war veterans
and ex-detainees, says soldiers in civilian clothing were also deployed to
campaign for Zanu PF.

"We encountered the clean shaven army recruits campaigning for Zanu PF all
over Lupane but the soldiers were also in the forefront in harassing
innocent villagers," said Max Mnkandla, the ZLPI president whose
organisation monitored the election.

Analysts had predicted that the Lupane electorate, decimated by President
Robert Mugabe's shock troops in the early 1980s, would overwhelmingly vote
against Zanu PF.

However Madhuku said unless there were immediate constitutional and
electoral reforms, Zanu PF would "win" any election.

The MDC has sent an ultimatum to government with 15 demands on electoral
measures they want to be revised before the 2005 poll, but the government
has scoffed at the MDC demands as time wasting. It has vowed that the 2005
poll and future polls would be held under the current electoral laws.

However despite the absence of widespread violence in Lupane, the MDC
alleged that Zanu PF used traditional leaders to tilt the vote in its

In the last 12 months the government has increased the salaries and perks of
traditional leaders who include chiefs and village headmen.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

Traditional leaders helped Zanu PF win Lupane

*LAST week our Chief Writer Caiphas Chimhete, was in Lupane in Matabeleland
North where he observed the highly contested by-election. Below are his
observations of what went on during the two-day poll, in which Zanu PF's
Martin Khumalo narrowly beat Njabuliso Mguni of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) by 10 069 to 9 186 votes.

ON the first day of polling, May 15, I woke around 5 AM because I intended
to travel far north to areas such as Chitete and Kanyandabu primary schools
to personally witness the start of voting in one of the remotest parts of
the Lupane constituency.

I suspected that if there was any cheating, vote buying or any other acts of
electoral misconduct, it would be at such remote constituencies away from
public glare where this was likely to happen.

Unfortunately, I failed to get there by 7 AM, the official time of opening
of polling stations, because of poor and dusty roads that are characteristic
of this under-developed province.

So, I decided to start my business at Gegema Primary School, where by 7:25
AM, polling was already under way.

As we arrived at Gegema school gate in a white Land Cruiser, a group of
people who were seated in chairs a few metres from the gate scrambled for
cover behind nearby bushes. Obviously, the group had not expected "visitors"
to disrupt their "business" in this remote part of Matabeleland.

Upon investigating, I was told that it was the local headman and some war
veterans - all affiliated to the governing Zanu PF - who were busy ticking
off the names of people who were going to cast their ballots.

Interestingly, the other members of the group wielded wooden clubs, and
knobkerries with knobs as big as a child's head.

It had been made a known requirement by the headman that every voter had to
pass through this "military base" or face unspecified consequences, I was
later told.

Just like at many polling stations I visited, the majority of those who were
going to cast their votes were elderly women and men. This was disturbing
when one considers that youths are the future leaders of the country and
logically, they should participate in mapping their destiny through the

Surprising, most of the youths were loitering around shopping centres
drinking beer.

It was the same at the next polling station, some 10 km down the road, at BH
42 Primary School.

Strategically positioned, another elderly man - whom I assumed to be a war
veteran or headman - was again ticking off the names of people entering the
polling station.

This particular group did not bother to hide or run away, instead it was
hostile. I had to retreat for my safety. By mere observation, it was clear
they were camped within a 100-metre radius, which is not permitted under the
Electoral Act but the police did nothing to enforce the law.

After making several rounds at various polling stations, I finally reached
Kanyandabvu at around noon where sub-chief Khumalo, was seated in a brown
sofa at the gate of the polling station personally marking the names of
people who were coming to vote.

On noticing The Standard news crew, Khumalo together with his assistants
fled into the nearby bush to the surprise of villagers who were milling
around the station. So, he knew what he was doing was illegal, was my

But real chaos was to be found in the polling station where people were
conversing with each other while others were selling sugar cane and maize
cobs to voters in the queue in a scene reminiscent of a busy rural growth
point like Murambinda in Buhera. The vendors were later driven away by the
police after observers complained to the presiding officer Simangaliso Dube.

When leaving, I saw Khumalo's brown sofa precariously hanging in a
donkey-drawn cart full of maize as villagers took it back to his home a few
kilometres down the road. The occupants of the carts said they had bought
the maize from kraalheads affiliated to Zanu PF at give-away prices as they
came to cast their votes.

It was almost the same scenario at most polling stations I visited in Lupane
with chiefs, headmen or village heads directing their subjects to vote for
Zanu PF. Another disturbing trend was the presence of police officers
conducting the voter checking process using indelible ink, which is a breach
of the Electoral Act.

For instance, at stations such as Mabhonobono, Mzola 52, Dandanda and Ngcono
Primary Schools, officers said they were "following orders from above".

At BH 42 and Mahlalethutini Polling Stations, war veterans known to be loyal
to the Zanu PF regime were loitering around the polling stations
intimidating villagers, some of whom still hold vivid memories of the
brutality perpetrated among them by the ruthless North-Korean trained Fifth
Brigade in the early 1980s.

Intimidation was not confined to voters only, as observers believed to be
sympathetic to the MDC were also prime targets. For example, war veterans
detained Luke Philip Ngwenya, a Zimbabwe Election Support Network observer,
for almost three hours accusing him of being an American agent.

When I arrived at Ngcono Primary School, Ngwenya was in a state of panic and
did not want to stay for the night there. He only slept after assurance from
the police that he would be protected from marauding gangs of youths and war

I noticed during my two-days in Lupane a significant number of prospective
voters being turned away for various reasons including lack of proper
identification such as names not appearing on the voters' roll.

It was clear wherever I went that voter apathy was prevalent and I was
therefore perplexed, to read in the government-controlled press that 19 644
people had voted in Lupane.

Another worrying observation was that a significant number of the local
observers were not aware of their roles at polling stations they had been
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard


Chinamasa's reprehensible behaviour

... and Bennet's impulsive reaction THOSE old enough will recall many years
ago when Ian Smith, the then rebel leader and former Rhodesian Prime
Minister , sang a song which blatantly implied that the African people were
baboons and which rightly caused great consternation among Zimbabweans of
all races, colours and creeds.

Today, we witness a government minister, Patrick Chinamasa telling a fellow
member of Parliament, Roy Bennett that his forefathers were "thieves and
murderers". What is the difference, we ask, other than that the tables are
now turned.

Like Smith's derogatory statement against blacks, Chinamasa's diatribe was
no less provocative and irresponsible. Indeed, at the present level of
global civilization such statements from supposedly learned people like
Chinamasa raise serious questions about their general deportment as leaders.

Chinamasa caused great offence not only to Bennett personally but to many of
his supporters and sympathisers across the colour line. Needless to say,
such intemperate, uncouth and vituperative language is not expected of a
minister who is supposed to lead by example.

It is important to put it on record that Chinamasa abused the absolute
privilege conferred on MPs over what they say in the course of Parliamentary
debates or proceedings. We fear for his wellbeing were he to repeat his
crude insults outside Parliament. By no means are we suggesting that the
absolute privilege should be taken away. Far from it. What we are saying,
and with much emphasis, is that MPs are expected to use this privilege
responsibly, and not recklessly as demonstrated by Chinamasa.

We certainly do not condone violence wherever it rears its ugly head and
condemn unreservedly Bennett's impulsive reaction to Chinamasa's extreme
provocation. But, as the MDC legislator asked: " what was he expected to do
under the circumstances? The government has taken all that he has worked for
in his entire life by dispossessing him of Charleswood Estate, and to add
insult to injury, heaps demeaning invective on top of it all. We dare say
even a saint or Mother Theresa would have found such insults difficult to

Anger is an explosive emotion which, if not properly managed, can culminate
in mayhem and destruction. Many of us never know what we are capable of
until sufficiently goaded to act against the source of our annoyance. After
all Bennett is a human being with feelings and emotions like the rest of us.

Not only that. Bennett is a Zimbabwean just like Chinamasa and the rest of
us. Attempts in Zanu PF's tired propaganda refrain to associate Bennett, on
account of his white colour, with British imperialism and neo-colonialism
stink to high heaven.

Ask any black Zimbabwean in Zimbabwe in general and Chimanimani in
particular and they will tell you how Bennett is such a lovable, likable and
compassionate human being. The same cannot be said about the Chinamasas of
this world.

For starters, Bennett was elected by a predominantly black constituency.
Chinamasa was not. The majority of Bennett's supporters are black
Zimbabweans and not white Europeans or the British. Indeed, there is a
disturbing ring of immorality in what Zanu PF is doing to this man and many
other Zimbabweans.

During Cyclone Eline in and around Chimanimani, people will testify how
Bennett rose to the occasion and assisted the victims of the cyclone free of
charge. Many will further testify how in good times and bad, Bennett will be
there for them. He does all these things because he is first and foremost a
Zimbabwean, he loves this country and its people. Above all, he is an
affable man with a highly developed down-to-earth sense of humour which
cannot be said of sullen -faced Patrick Chinamasa.

We say all these things in the hope and belief that the Parliamentary
Privileges Committee that has been set up to institute investigations on
whether or not the behaviour of Bennett constituted contempt of Parliament
will be an honest broker in the whole controversy. What the ruling party has
done to Bennet by evicting him from his Charleswood Estate in Chimanimani in
defiance of numerous court orders and Chinamasa's outburst in Parliament
would have driven any man to boiling point. This is an important factor that
the privileges committee will need to consider in their deliberations.

Parliament is intended to be a forum for open, free and democratic debate on
all questions and answers affecting the nation but not to the reckless
extent exhibited by Chinamasa. There is no doubt, Chinamasa went overboard
and his utterances were unbecoming of a government minister and one supposed
to preside over the country's justice system.

There is no one that has been spared by the ruling party's misgovernance.
Even the rented crowds which demonstrated against Roy Bennett last Thursday
are on the receiving end of Zanu PF's misrule. These innocent souls, many of
them unemployed youths and idle women who cannot find work because of Zanu
PF's economic failure, are being used as canon fodder by some unprincipled
and sycophantic Zanu PF leaders.

The whole Bennett saga was not helped by the blatantly biased coverage of
the issue by ZBC and the government newsletter which moonlights as The
Herald. They totally ignored the context within which Chinamasa and Mutasa
were floored by Bennett. But then we have become accustomed to the
government media's ceaseless work to lie, distort and suppress other
viewpoints except those of government.

Where do we go from here? The privileges committee must approach its work
impartially, objectively, dispassionately and in a reasoned, non-partisan
and deliberate way. Chinamasa's excesses must be challenged. The point must
be made there are many white Zimbabweans who stand alongside their black
counterparts, working to save this nation from total collapse.

They just want to get on with their lives doing what they know best.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

Zany Thieves (Private) Limited
overthetop By Brian Latham

PANDEMONIUM erupted in what passes for the troubled central African nation's
parliament this week when two notorious Zany politicians insulted an MP from
the More Drink Coming Party.

The Zany parliamentarians accused the More Drink Coming representative of
being a cattle thief. A scuffle ensued and the two Zany "law makers" were
found lying on the ground, said some eyewitnesses.

"It was clearly a case of the black pot calling the white kettle a thief,"
said an amused onlooker. The More Drink Coming Party legislator, a white
farmer, said he was provoked and insulted because he had stolen nothing.

Still, the incident raised the ire of Zany Party members who took to the
streets to protest later in the week. It is not known whether they were
given police permission to do so, though the police are known to look kindly
on the destruction of More Drink Coming property.

The troubled central African police, who are closely affiliated to the
almost ruling Zany Party, also look kindly (or at least look the other way)
when More Drink Coming Party life is threatened or cut short.

Meanwhile the More Drink Coming Party said the scuffle in parliament was
unfortunate, but added that their esteemed parliamentary colleague was
tormented to breaking point. The MP himself said it was regrettable, but
pointed out that being called a thief was not a matter to be taken lightly.

Still, Over The Top conducted an entirely unscientific survey in the eastern
provinces, where the MP comes from, and discovered the farmer
parliamentarian had been awarded unofficial hero status.

"Just when we thought the More Drink Party had given up ever confronting the
lunatic Zanies, up stands this upstanding gentleman and gives them a snot
squirt," said a jubilant member of the opposition. "What we need is more not
less of this sort of thing," he added.

The jubilation was not mirrored among members of the Zany Party who accused
the More Drink Coming Party of bringing the troubled parliament into

"Indeed," said an unnamed political analyst, adding, "though it is difficult
to bring into disrepute an organisation marked by corruption, thievery,
guile and disrespect for the rule of law on the ruling party benches."

Most troubled central Africans said the incident was a little ray of
sunshine in an otherwise bleak and miserable country. "It is the troubled
central African way," said a troubled central African.

"We have had four years of being beaten over the head by the Zany Party, so
it is amusing they don't see the funny side when the tables are turned,"
said another.

Meanwhile another unnamed political analyst said he didn't see what all the
fuss was about.

"The Zany party can walk into your property, burn down your house, steal
your possessions, rape your wife and that's all perfectly all right, but if
the smallest of scuffles erupts and a Zany MP loses his dignity then all
hell breaks loose," he observed.

"Does that make sense to you?"

It makes little sense to Over The Top given that the Zany Party is proud to
announce that it has stolen some 4,000 farms during the last four years, not
least among them the farm of the honourable member from the beautiful if
troubled eastern districts.

Still, it is the doublespeak nature of troubled central African law that the
Zany Party cannot break the law, while the More Drink Coming Party can break
laws just by getting out of bed in the morning.

And as for the previously untroubled and unflustered member for the eastern
districts, well, he only did what millions would love to do.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard


Mathema stage-managed bogus MDC defections

The Chronicle of Monday, May 10 2004, reported that 17 Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) supporters from Magwegwe North had defected from the
party to join Zanu PF. This allegedly happened at a meeting called by the
Governor and Resident Minister for Bulawayo Province, Cain Mathema on
Sunday, May 9, 2004 at Masotsha School in the area.

The MDC in Bulawayo wishes to set the record straight regarding this matter.

Under the pretext of holding a residents' meeting in the Magwegwe area, the
Governor called the meeting at Masotsha School through teachers at the
school who were told to pass on this message to the school pupils for onward
transmission to their parents.

With residents innocently believing that this was a meeting to discuss
matters of concern to them, they arrived at the venue only to be shocked
when told that the meeting had now been turned into a Zanu PF rally. The
Councillor for Ward 29, which covers the area, Gareth Mahlangu, who was at
the meeting, was specifically told by the Governor that his presence was not
required at the meeting.

It was at this point, just before the councillor and scores of disappointed
residents left that nine people stood up from the remaining Zanu PF audience
and proceeded to the podium to claim that they had "renounced their
membership of the MDC". These nine are not and have never been MDC members.
They do not exist on the membership records of the party and are not known
by the local leadership of Lobhengula-Magwegwe District.

It is only now that this whole charade has been exposed for what it really
is - a stage managed affair by Zanu PF in an attempt to gain cheap publicity
as the 2005 general election approaches. The MDC T-shirts that were produced
belong to genuine party members whose homes were raided by Zanu-PF thugs on
numerous occasions.

Zanu-PF in Bulawayo is a desperate party. They do not hold a single elected
position in the city with all eight Members of Parliament, the Mayor and all
29 Councillors coming from the MDC. The party in Bulawayo is growing by the
day and has not had a single defection since Mika Parira Mpofu crossed the
floor to rejoin Zanu PF.

He subsequently lost his post of councillor for Sizinda while contesting
under a Zanu-PF ticket to the MDC in the August 2003 Local Government

The residents of Bulawayo are aware that there will be many more such
stage-managed "defections" as Zanu-PF clutches at straws in an effort to
wrest control of the city from the MDC. Bulawayo residents will not be
hoodwinked into supporting a party which, for lack of support, has to stoop
so law as to abuse schoolchildren to do their bidding.

Neither will the use of stage-managed defections sway the people of Bulawayo
from voting for a party of their choice.

Victor Moyo

Information and Publicity Secretary


-Bulawayo Province
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

Banks defy RBZ directive
By Kumbirai Mafunda

TROUBLED commercial banks are defying a directive to lift a freeze on
maximum cash withdrawal restrictions imposed during the outbreak of an
unprecedented bank notes shortage in 2003.

A fortnight ago, the Reserve Bank notified banks to allow clients withdraw
large sums of cash but to date only a few banks have complied with the

The RBZ, in its statement, said it had granted commercial banks - most of
them teetering on the brink of bankruptcy since December - the dispensation
to allow members of the public to withdraw any amount of cash from their

The move followed the successful introduction of corrective measures that
were undertaken since the promulgation of the new monetary policy statement
in December.

However, only a handful of banks notably First Bank, Standard Chartered and
Trust have implemented the RBZ directive.

First Bank has relaxed its daily cash withdrawal limit at its ATMs to $1
million while Stanchart and Trust now offer $500 000 as the maximum for
single withdrawals.

Alen Marimbe, the head of banking at troubled Trust Bank said they had
recently complied with the central bank's directive.

"The current maximum withdrawal limit is $500 000 per day and it is reviewed
from time to time, which we are currently doing," said Marimbe.

Although one can access more than $1 million from banking halls, the
restrictions are mainly on ATMs.

Many commercial banks have cash curbs of between $200 000 and $300 000 while
Barclays Bank, which is downsizing operations, has capped its limit at $90

A serious cash crisis rocked Zimbabwe mid last year leading to a run on
banks that threatened to cause violent street protests.

Banks limited cash withdrawals too as little as $5 000 and $10 000 per
customer per day as authorities tried to prevent people from withdrawing
savings and precipitate the collapse of the financial system.

Bankers who spoke to Standard Business on condition of anonymity said the
central bank's directive would increase the cost of security and insurance
associated with transporting huge sums of money from the RBZ to their
several branches.

Economists however welcomed the central bank's relaxation of maximum
withdrawal amounts saying this would enhance the level of economic
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

Police blitz snuffs currency trade
By our own Staff

'If police continue like this, we're all finished' BULAWAYO - SOPHIA Mpongo
sits on a make-shift stool fashioned from a disused metal crate, a length of
lace cloth material spread over her lap, preparing to wrap it round her head
into a neat, flat topped turban.

Behind her are rows of neatly arranged cosmetics and a motley of trinkets.

Mpongo is among scores of women who stand to lose business if police
continue their blitz on vendors, touts and informal foreign currency

A recent decision by the central bank to devalue the Zimbabwe dollar against
foreign remittances by 632 percent from $824 to more than $5200 has
compounded the illegal dealers' woes.

The white lace turban has become an identity tag for women who depend on
exchanging foreign currency for a living on the streets of Bulawayo,
Zimbabwe's second largest city.

"If police continue like this we are all finished," Mpongo says. She says
she fears losing her only means of providing for her family, as a single

Scores of women had moved to Bulawayo's Lobengula Street and Fifth Avenue
from towns and cities around the country, swelling the numbers of the
illegal foreign currency dealers who prowl the city's streets in search of

Illegal foreign currency dealers, mainly women, easily recognisable by the
lace turbans that hang down to the waist, took advantage of the never-ending
foreign currency crisis that has dogged Zimbabwe for close to a decade to
make roaring business.

The women had become used to trudging up and down the pavements of Lobengula
Street, discreetly asking whoever they thought intended to change the local
currency into pula, rand or pound sterling.

But a police blitz on illegal foreign currency dealers is threatening to
unhinge Mpongo's efforts and those of her peers to make a living.

"The war is not over especially against the illegal foreign currency
dealers. We will not rest until we stop their operations," says police
spokesman, Inspector Smile Dube.

The once thriving illegal market for foreign currency dealers appears to be
gradually losing its lustre following repeated raids by police and the more
attractive exchange rates offered by licenced foreign exchange dealers.

Although the women had devised ingenious ways to camouflage their illegal
activities such as using their flea market stalls to cover up their
clandestine transactions, recent regulations have adversely affected their

Dube said police were now aware that the foreign currency dealers have
changed their methods of operating.

"We will get to the bottom of it all," Dube vowed.

Scores of illegal foreign currency dealers are being arrested daily in a
major swoop at the edge of the city following a regulation gazetted

The regulation empowers police to search persons believed to be in
possession of large amounts of cash after obtaining a search warrant.

An Anti-Money Laundering Bill currently before Parliament provides for the
police to search persons they suspect of holding $5 million without a
warrant in cases of emergency.

"We have provided an essential service for those that work in Botswana and
South Africa coming on holidays, but the police do not recognise that.

"Instead they arrest us and confiscate our money blaming us for the shortage
of foreign currency," complained 33-year-old Zodwa Murisi

"It is a cat and mouse game here," she adds.

Since the central bank announced at the end of last year tighter monetary
measures to curb foreign currency leakages in the financial sector and shore
up dwindling foreign reserves, police have intensified efforts to stop
illegal foreign currency dealings.

Some economists have hailed the steps taken by the central bank and
predicted the measures would "destroy" the illegal foreign currency market
largely blamed for stocking inflation and negatively impacting on the

Others have dismissed the enthusiasm that accompanied the announcement
saying the success will only be temporary.

Economic consultant Eric Bloch says unless the measure taken by the central
bank are reinforced by political commitment on the part of government, the
informal market will continue to thrive.

Eddie Cross, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change's economic
advisor, scoffed at the "currency auction" introduced by the central bank in
a bid to rake in millions of dollars in hard currency.

He says the current practice of attempting to manage and manipulate exchange
rates will not work

"The only real market arbiter remains the street - dangerous, illegal and
inefficient," Cross says.

The illegal foreign exchange market, some say will gradually die a natural
death if government maintains the Zimbabwean currency revalued to a level
that matches the illegal market.

For Mpongo and Murisi exchanging local currency for hard currency or vice
versa in the informal market has provided a steady means of earning an
income and they vow to continue. "We used to offer customers better rates
than the banks. That is why people preferred to deal with us than the
banks," bragged Murisi.

"We are going through hard times finding customers," she added.

The Zimbabwean dollar has remained overvalued in the wake of dwindling
exports and government has remained wedded to an unrealistic exchange rate
with major currencies for fear its external debt will balloon to
unmanageable levels.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

Bennet's Charleswood: the legal implications
sundayopinion By Arnold Tsunga

Charleswood Estate is in Manicaland and more precisely in the rural
Chimanimani electoral constituency. Roy Lesley Bennet is a white farmer who
contested the Parliamentary elections in 2000 under the MDC and won the
rural constituency, which is predominantly settled by black Zimbabweans.

Ever since he won the rural constituency, there have been numerous
disruptions on Bennet's farm and the Chimanimani constituency in general at
the instance of, or with the apparent acquiescence of the State.

Widespread organised violence and torture has been reported to human rights
organisations. The constituency now has a big number of internally displaced
people due to enforced evictions, intimidations, harassment, violence and

The police have in a number of cases within the constituency refused to take
cases where the complainants are perceived to be supporters of the
opposition political parties.

There has been selective application of the law with credible complaints of
certain members of the constituency being deprived of their right to the
protection of the law. The government media quoted the State President as
encouraging forcible occupation of the MP's farm. Violence involving the
State machinery has taken place on the farm resulting in serious injury to
the farm workers.

A worker was summarily extra judicially executed and killed in February 2004
by the army while houses were razed to the ground. The State-controlled
media and the police have covered up for the summary execution suggesting
that the unarmed deceased civilian was killed while confronting the police

Farm workers have been previously forcibly ejected from the farm only to
return after court orders. There are a number of court orders that have been
issued over the years as the MP tried desperately to seek protection of the
law which has continued to be elusive since the principal violator is the
State or functionaries of the State operating with the acquiescence of the

Ordinary members of the constituency who have also been targeted for
persecution have also tried to resort to the courts or police for justice to
no avail since the police routinely refuse to take complaints from the
opposition supporters and also ignore or outrightly defy court orders that
are not favourable to the State.

In some instances, the courts have also taken long to make decisions on
urgent matters that are brought to the attention of the courts thereby
creating an impression that the courts are either unwittingly complicity in
the serious human rights violations that take place at Charleswood or are
too afraid to be more tenacious in ensuring that their judgements are
complied with and that they frown at the State undermining the independence
of the judiciary.

Impunity on the part of State agents and functionaries is therefore the
order of the day in Chimanimani and seems to be escalating as Zimbabwe
approaches the 2005 Parliamentary elections.

Defied Court Orders

On 25 February 2004, High Court Judge Justice Karwi granted a provisional
order which provided that, Bennett Brothers Farming Enterprises (Pvt) Ltd
("Bennett Brothers") is given leave to remain and carry on its business on
Charleswood Estate; the State or its functionaries were interdicted from
interfering in any way with the farming and business operations of Bennett
Brothers on Charleswood Estate; the State functionaries or other persons
occupying the farm at the instance of the State were ordered to immediately
vacate the farm. This order was served on the State but the State has chosen
to defy and disregard the court order.

On 18 November 2003, The Magistrate's court in Mutare, Manicaland issued a
provisional order against functionaries of the State led by Sergeant Nasho
and the Agricultural Rural Development Authority (ARDA) to the following
effect; that the State functionaries were interdicted from setting foot or
entering upon Charleswood Estate; that the State functionaries were
interdicted from harassing or assaulting the employees of Charleswood
Estate; that the State functionaries were to vacate Charleswood Estate
forthwith failing which the messenger of court and the police were directed
to eject them; the State functionaries were further ordered to vacate and
restore the offices of Charleswood Estate to Bennett Brothers. This order
has also been defied and ignored by the State.

On 8 April 2003, High Court Judge, Justice Karwi granted an order by consent
which provided that, the State and its functionaries be interdicted from
threatening, abusing, intimidating, harassing assaulting or communicating
with the directors, employees and their family members of companies
belonging to the MP Roy Bennet, operating at Charleswood Estate; and that
the employees of Charleswood Estate and their families were permitted and
directed to return forthwith to their homes on, and continue working for
Charleswood Estate. This order has also been ignored.

On May 2002, The High Court Harare issued a provisional order that is still
standing that barred the State from acquiring Charleswood Estate. Needless
to say that such order has also been ignored and completely defied by the

On Good Friday, April 9 2004 at approximately 0400hrs, members of the
Zimbabwe National Army and the Zimbabwe Republic Police, Support Unit,
invaded and surrounded Charleswood Estate. The invading forces were led by a
person identifying himself as Dzapasi while the majority refused to disclose
their identities although it is believed that a Major Zimbango of the army
and Inspector Manyama of the police led the process to subdue the civilian
employees who in normal circumstances look up to such forces for protection.

They are alleged to have advised that they are acting on the instructions of
the Provincial Governor, Manicaland, Retired Major General Michael Nyambuya
and President Robert Mugabe; the only two people from whom they would accept
instructions to stop their illegal activities on the farm.

The army and the police thereafter took possession of the keys to the
properties on the farm (including the MP's house and vehicles) and helped
themselves to such consumables as fuel that was being used for farming
operations on the farm. After assembling the workers, the army allegedly
demanded that those that wanted to continue working for Bennet had to pack
their bags and leave the farm immediately.

Thereafter they recorded the identity details of the workers before ordering
the farm management (six people Bhaudhi, Makaza, Mvura, Chiwaya, Masebe, and
Gumbo) to immediately vacate the farm forever.

The six and hundreds of workers and their families are currently living as
internally displaced persons in a place of safety. The soldiers and the
police have therefore forcibly stopped farming operations by the Bennet
Brothers on Charleswood Estate and ejected management and other workers.

The conduct of the State to maintain a permanent intimidating and harassing
military and police presence and to bring in fresh soldiers and police to
forcibly occupy and disrupt farming operations at Charleswood Estate is in
direct violation and defiance of the stated court orders.

Implications of Defiance

The wanton disregard of court orders by the State in this matter is of grave
concern as it has severe implications on the administration of justice.

The treatment that Roy Lesley Bennet is being subjected to is wholly
unwarranted in a democracy and plural society. He and his constituency need
not be punished for holding views that differ from those of the ruling
party. The implication of the Provincial Governor and the State President in
the illegalities and defiance of court orders by the soldier identifying
himself as Dzapasi must be taken seriously by the authorities since it
places these very senior government officials directly in charge of illegal
activities and the potentially predictable serious consequences flowing
there from.

They are therefore encouraged to firmly dissociate themselves from the
illegal conduct of Dzapasi and the rest of the soldiers and police occupying
Charleswood Estate.

Unfortunately the courts can only go so far in asserting the rights of
individuals. Once they make a pronouncement as to the correct legal
position, the responsibility to enforce the law immediately shifts to the
Executive organ of the State, it being the one that is in charge of the
State machinery.

In enforcing court orders, the Executive complies with its responsibility to
ensure that citizens enjoy the right to the protection of the law which
right is provided for in our constitution and other international
instruments that the government has acceded to or signed and ratified.

A culture of defiance of court orders severely undermines the judiciary and
the justice delivery system and entrenches a culture of impunity and
lawlessness. There is a strong relationship between rampant corruption, the
collapse of the economy and its failure to recover on one hand, and
lawlessness and the absence of the rule of law on the other.

It is therefore hoped that the Provincial Governor of Manicaland and the
State President will show their commitment to the rule of law and separation
of powers by complying with every court order even if not favourable to the

The soldiers, the police and other functionaries who have been unlawfully
deployed at Charleswood Estate in defiance of Court orders and to harass and
intimidate the electorate must therefore be removed forthwith so as to
restore the rule of law.

* Arnold Tsunga is the Executive Director of Zimbabwe Lawyers For Human
Rights and Chairperson of ZimRights.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

Bennet's behaviour understandable
Sundaytalk with Pius Wakatama

THERE was indeed drama in Parliament on Tuesday as reported by the The
Herald of May 19. A visibly angry Roy Bennet, Chimanimani MP assaulted two
Cabinet Ministers - Patrick Chinamasa and Didymus Mutasa - during debate on
an adverse report on the Stock Theft Amendment Bill.

The Herald reports that trouble started when Chinamasa, who is the Minister
of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and Leader of the House, said
the government would not reverse its decision to take possession of
Charleswood Estate in Chimanimani, owned by Bennet.

"Bennet has not forgiven the government for acquiring his farm, but he
forgets that his forefathers were thieves and murderers," Chinamasa said.

At this, Bennet, who was sitting about 20 metres away from Chinamasa, rose
and charged towards the Minister, shouting in Shona: "Unoda kundijarira
iwewe. Unoda kuti ndiite sei? "(Your provocations have gone too far. What do
you expect me to do?)

He then held Chinamasa by the collar and shoved him to the floor.

Bennet then proceeded to manhandle Anti-monopolies and Anti-corruption
Minister, Didymus Mutasa, who had tried to rescue Chinamasa from the attack,
and also floored him.

I abhor violence and condemn it totally wherever I see it. I believe that
such behaviour should be left to animals without common sense and the
ability to settle their differences through dialogue. In my book, even
boxing does not qualify to be called a sport.

Yet, even though I hate violence, I can understand and forgive the violent
behaviour of the MDC Member of Parliament. The man was provoked beyond what
he could humanly endure. We must remember that his property was taken from
him illegally, according to the courts. To call his ancestors thieves and
murderers was just adding insult to injury. As he asked Chinamasa, what did
he want him to do?

The same Herald reported that scores of Zimbabweans last night expressed
outrage at the assault on Patrick Chinamasa and Didymus Mutasa. I can report
that I spoke to many people on Wednesday about the incident. Some of them
called me on the phone. Some stopped me on the street to give me their
views. They all said:

"They had it coming. Tsvatu waro. Vakanzwa bhata"

What is sickening about The Herald report on this incident is its shameless
bias. Instead of reporting on what happened, the article by Tandayi Motsi
and Tsitsi Matope was a piece of crude Zanu PF propaganda. It was not aimed
at informing the people of what happened but at denigrating the opposition
MDC, to which Roy Bennet belongs, as a party steeped in violence.

It is hard to believe that these pseudo-journalists are so daft as not to
realise that all Zimbabweans know exactly who has "many degrees in
violence". This is a self-confessed fact - Zanu ndeyeropa.

What Zimbabweans need to etch on their minds is that violence begets
violence. Successive colonial governments held the black population of this
country in subjugation through violence. They were in turn toppled from
power by a violent uprising, "Chimurenga."

If you keep pushing a man until he is in a corner, he will come at you no
matter how weak he may be. The same is true of any country. One day the
people will say "enough is enough", and come at you. History is full of
examples but, somehow, power blinds people to the truth.

Look at the Palestinian people.

The Jews took their land without their consent. They continue to treat them
as non-human beings who don't deserve a place in the sun. The Palestinians
came to a point when they said: enough is enough. "Kusiri kufa ndekupi" (We
might as well die fighting). So. young Palestinians today strap bombs to
their bodies and die together with their enemies. For as long as Israel will
have violent leaders like Ariel Sharon, the carnage will continue.

It is good that the leader of the opposition in the House, Gibson Sibanda,
apologised to the House for what had transpired. He said of Bennet's action,
"We do not condone such behaviour as a party and this was a personal

On the other hand, Chinamasa's position as Minister and Leader of the House
deserves some dignity and decorum on his part. He needs to exercise
restraint in his manner and language when addressing other members of the
House. I personally find his verbal attack on Roy Bennet as uncalled for and
unbecoming of a man in his position.

As for our Herald reporters, I don't even know what to say to them. They
seem to be beyond salvation. For them to write that Bennet has been accused
of being a former Rhodesian police officer is absurd. Accused by whom? Was
that a crime?

There are many patriotic and respectable Zimbabweans who were either in the
Rhodesian police force or army. At least one black former Rhodesian police
reservist sits in Parliament and has responsible positions in both the
government and the ruling party, Zanu PF. Is there anything wrong in that?

Roy Bennet is no racist. Even though is is white, he is more Zimbabwean than
some arrogant and pompous black members of Parliament. He was not elected by
whites but by black Zimbabweans who feel that he is one of them. He even
speaks better Shona than some of his accusers who cannot come up with a pure
Shona sentence without an English word in it. His only sin is that he is
white and a member of the opposition. Zanu PF is embarrassed because he, a
white member of the opposition, beat their own black candidate in the

The naked bias of our our Herald reporters shows itself in that they had to
stick a totally irrelevant story about the arrest of some MDC
parliamentarian the previous Sunday on allegations of violence, after the
first paragraph of their lead story on the incident in Parliament. They then
went on to add, "This wave of violence comes in the wake of the opposition
party's string of defeats in its former strongholds by the ruling Zanu

What wave of violence? The only waves I can see are the waves of fear which
have engulfed them to the extent that they have lost all self-respect. They
meekly write as their master (you know who) tells them to. They live in fear
of losing their jobs like most of their predecessors who didn't toe the
party line.

He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
Back to the Top
Back to Index


"Dogs and Pigs" No More?

Wilson Johwa

BULAWAYO, May 23 (IPS) - "Worse than dogs and pigs" is how Zimbabwean
President Robert Mugabe described homosexuals almost a decade ago, when the
gay community attempted to highlight widespread homophobia in the Southern
African country.

That statement, reported around the world, still reverberates in the
country, casting a long shadow over the exercise of sexual freedom. Under
Zimbabwean law homosexuality as such is not illegal. But sodomy - narrowly
defined as anal sex between men - is.

Yet, in subtle ways, things are also changing. Intolerance, particularly at
the official level, seems to have mellowed into indifference. The random and
all too frequent arrest of gays appears to have ceased, while the police's
last raid of the Gays and Lesbians Association of Zimbabwe (GALZ) office was
in 1996.

"We have a good relationship with our local station," says Keith Goddard,
who heads the 400-member organisation. "They treat us with great

Furthermore last July, after years of fighting, gays were allowed to set up
their own stand at the annual Zimbabwe International Book Fair - no small
feat, considering that their presence at the 1995 event caused a fiasco.

"We thought it was a positive development and we can now put that whole
campaign to rest," Goddard told IPS.

Buoyed by a new-found confidence, the gay community is now pushing for
greater recognition by society.

"I wouldn't say there is complete acceptance, but there is growing
understanding regarding what being gay, or lesbian, is about," Goddard

Ironically, the impetus for such transformation was the sensational sodomy
trial of Zimbabwe's first post-independence president, Canaan Banana, in

Testimonies during the 17-day court proceeding revealed the ex-President as
a closet homosexual who abused male subordinates while in State House.
Banana was subsequently convicted of sodomy and jailed for a year. In
November 2003 he died - a publicly disgraced figure.

Goddard says that although Banana's trial was more about abuse than the
pursuit of sexual freedom, "it went a long way to convince people that being
gay is not a white-imported thing."

Since then Goddard and several other high-profile GALZ members have
frequently been invited to address various groups. The organisation itself
conducts regular workshops on matters such as sexual identity and the
blackmail of gays - something that, happily, has declined sharply.

In its awareness and educational work GALZ focuses on the younger
generation, ignoring peers of the 80-year-old president. The belief is that
the minds of these individuals are set - and that nothing much can be done
to change their views on homosexuality.

In 1999 when the government attempted to write a new constitution, GALZ
pushed for the inclusion of a sexual orientation clause. This was resisted
and the government's draft constitution was itself rejected in a referendum,
albeit for different reasons.

A GALZ representative who calls himself Chesterfield participated in the
process. One of the first homosexuals to be open about his sexual
orientation, the 29-year-old says his family was confused and frightened by
the president's harsh statement. Fearing official opprobrium, his father
confronted him on the matter for the first time ever, and threatened to
report him to the police.

Fortunately the older man has since relaxed his position, and now even
manages to enquire about Chesterfield's partner of 10 years. The rest of the
family also appears to have developed greater understanding. "But it was
different for my sister," Chesterfield remarks, "maybe because of the
competition that I'd snatch her boyfriends."

Ironically, one of the most repressive laws to be put on Zimbabwe's books -
the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act of 2002 - protects
the sexual orientation of citizens. But in a country where the law is often
applied selectively, Goddard wonders if it's not just meant to shield those
higher up in government.

Since the 1990s GALZ's priority has been preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS
amongst the gays - this despite fears that a close association with AIDS
awareness efforts would cause the disease to be perceived as a 'gay plague'.

The group stepped into the fray because it was concerned that information
about preventing HIV transmission appeared to be aimed at heterosexuals.
"Our issue, the gay and lesbian issue, is completely ignored," Goddard says.

However, in 2000, the association was pleasantly surprised to receive a
small sum of tax payers' money from the government-run National AIDS

An audit later found that "we were one of the organisations which put the
money to good use," Goddard says.

At present, GALZ is one of the few lobby groups in Zimbabwe that has got a
treatment plan up-and-running for people with full-blown AIDS. "We don't
want our members to die of AIDS - they can die of accidents," says GALZ
health manager Martha Tholanah.

Before the end of the year, the association intends to make condom packs
available to gays and lesbians - and to put up posters that warn people
about the ways in which gays might be vulnerable to AIDS.

Taking its agenda a step further, GALZ has also applied to present a paper
at the national AIDS conference scheduled for next month.

Chesterfield says awareness about homosexuality might have increased, but
that the subject still makes many Zimbabweans uncomfortable. "People know,
but don't want to be confronted with the 'in your face visibility' of gay
people," he told IPS. (END/2004)
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zimbabwe Mirror

Mugabe on Sky News tomorrow
Innocent Chofamba Sithole

THE Sky News saga that had rent apart consensus between the ruling Zanu PF
party and the Jonathan Moyo-headed Department of Information and Publicity
in the Office of the President and Cabinet ended last week with the British
news crew managing to finally secure an interview with President Robert

Sky News will tomorrow broadcast the first instalment of its 50-minute
interview with President Mugabe on Monday, May 24, at 6.15 in the morning. A
series of the same interview will run throughout the day to cater for
Australian, European and American viewers scattered across the different
time zones. In the interview, a transcript of which would be published in
our sister paper, the Daily Mirror this week, President Mugabe explains the
various pertinent issues attendant to the state of the nation. Previously
aired interviews with lands, land reform and resettlement minister, John
Nkomo and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono would also be
repeated at length this week.

"The president has been interviewed for 50 minutes, which is a long time as
there are few occasions when political leaders (from Africa) have been given
such exposure in the international media, particularly in Europe," a Zanu PF
source told this newspaper yesterday.

Quizzed on why it had taken so long to have the programme on air since the
British news crew had arrived in the country towards the end of last month,
the source said: "Some within the party and government had tried to
frustrate the initiative. They misrepresented things (to the President) and
harassed the correspondents, but zvakafoira (it failed)." Apparently, Moyo's
department had openly tried to throw spanners into the works by alleging
that the initiative had been planned by Ugandan national and close Emmerson
Mnangagwa ally, David Nyekorach-Matsanga. Subsequently, the Herald, which
Moyo controls, ran a series of articles in which it tried to scupper the Sky
News deal. The move raised questions as to whether Moyo had now superseded
Nathan Shamuyarira - the man behind the initiative and Moyo's party boss in
the information and publicity portfolio- in the ruling party's pecking

The department of information went on to organise an interview between
President Mugabe and Kenyan journalists from the East African Standard, a
paper in which former Kenyan president Daniel arap Moi and losing
presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta, hold controlling shares. "That was an
attempt to water down the Sky News interview," the source revealed.

Sky News, which enjoys a viewership of over 200 million in the capitals of
major western countries - from which the most acerbic hostility to Zimbabwe
comes - will also beam the presidential interview to American audiences
through its subsidiary, CBS.

"We have to reach those countries from which the most stubborn resistance
comes; those imperialists that want to change the regime in Zimbabwe," the
source said. "We want to tell them that the regime will not change, and that
issues are being addressed with foresight and in the national interest".

Nkomo will be given an opportunity to explain the land reform programme in
greater detail, while Gono would be afforded the same for an indepth account
of his economic turn-around strategies. The source revealed that Sky News
has come under immense pressure from British authorities not to air the
interviews on account of their positive thrust, which runs counter to the
negative image of Zimbabwe conjured in British minds by unrelenting
anti-Zimbabwe propaganda.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zimbabwe Mirror

Former GMB boss in forex externalisation scam
Clemence Manyukwe

SUSPENDED Grain Marketing Board (GMB) chief executive officer, Martin
Muchero is facing allegations of externalizing more than 30 million rands in
hard currency during his tenure at the parastatal, it has been learnt.

The Sunday Mirror can reveal that the money is stashed in a South African,
but GMB registered bank account, with Muchero being the sole signatory.

The issue of the forex is understood to have been reported by a staff member
in the grain utility's loss control section to Marlborough police sometime
this month, leading to it being handed to the CID fraud squad for

According to well placed sources, the decision to pass the matter to law
enforcement agents was arrived at after Muchero refused to give the power of
attorney, effectively ruling out anyone else from having access to the

When contacted for a comment, Muchero conceded the existence of the account,
but said, "it no longer has any penny." He said as the sole signatory to the
account he did not care whether those at GMB knew or not that the account
was empty, saying he would only hand it over when all his cases are over.
Muchero added that the account had been opened in 1998 with the approval of
the GMB board and the Reserve Bank adding that the money had been
transferred from Trust Bank.

Muchero has been on suspension since 2000 after the levelling of several
allegations of "fraudulent" activities against him.

The allegations include flouting of tender procedures, allocating a GMB
vehicle to his wife and using the parastatal's funds to purchase furniture
for his house without the board's approval.

Although the suspended CEO was cleared in 2002 by High court judge Charles
Hungwe in a criminal case he was facing together with the then Agriculture
Minister, Kumbirai Kangai, Muchero still has other pending cases before the
courts concerning GMB.

His lawyer, Jonathan Samkange blamed the GMB credit control manager, Wilson
Ncube, for his client's woes.

"Ncube is being overzealous and we know he is trying to please someone. He
should have first brought the case to a (GMB) tribunal. There is a danger of
going to a policeman who does not know what he is doing and my client will
end up being picked," said Samkange.

Efforts to get comments from GMB board chairman Enoch Kamushinda were futile
as he was said to "in a long meeting" by his secretary at Metropolitan Bank.
The acting GMB CEO, Samuel Mubvute refused to comment saying it would be
"unethical" for him to do so because Muchero was his predecessor, and it
would be seen as a "smear campaign" aimed at "character assassination."
Muchero was appointed GMB managing director in 1996 by former Agriculture
Minister Dennis Norman. He became CEO upon the creation of the post, holding
it up to the time of his suspension.

Police spokesperson, Wayne Bvudzijena could not shed more light into the
matter as the woman who answered his phone said he was not feeling well.

Discernible signs of economic recovery emerged following government's
prioritising of the fight against corruption.

Two of the most prominent victims of the drive, James Makamba and
Christopher Kuruneri are languishing behind bars facing allegations of
externalising foreign currency.

Back to the Top
Back to Index