|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
MPs D.Wyatt. C Spelman. F. Fields
(MP Kate Hoey - ex minister of sport was present that day as well). Thanks to you all for your support and for the 94 who raised the motion in Parliament. God bless you.
(Thanks to Sue Perkins for the excellent photos).
RCMP papers sought by Harare defendant
By COLIN FREEZE
From Saturday's Globe and Mail
The leader of Zimbabwe's opposition has launched a court battle in Canada
saying he "desperately" needs documents from Ottawa to help in his defence
against allegations that he plotted a coup.
In Harare, Morgan Tsvangirai stands accused of high treason, a charge that
carries the possibility of the death penalty. He says the RCMP and Foreign
Affairs Department are refusing to release information that could clear him.
"My solicitors are desperately seeking copies of the RCMP's investigation
and any other information that the Canadian government may possess that
would be of assistance to my defence," Mr. Tsvangirai writes in an affidavit
filed in March in the Federal Court of Canada.
The story he tells in court documents involves multiple layers of intrigue.
At the centre is a pair of Montreal consultants Mr. Tsvangirai had hired to
burnish his image, but who instead switched sides and went to work for
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.
It is these same consultants who secretly taped Mr. Tsvangirai meeting them
in Montreal, then handed the tape over to Mr. Mugabe's authoritarian regime.
The tape forms the basis of the coup-plot allegations on which Mr.
Tsvangirai is being tried.
Mr. Tsvangirai denies he ever plotted to oust Mr. Mugabe violently and
maintains he is just the latest victim of the consultants. He alleges in the
court documents that the consultants have been involved in many fraudulent
Mr. Tsvangirai says the RCMP and Foreign Affairs have chronicled many
similar complaints from around the world involving the same consultants. He
says he needs to get at Canadian government documents outlining these
complaints so he can discredit his accusers in a Harare court.
Spokesmen for the RCMP and Foreign Affairs said they could not comment on a
matter that is before the courts in Canada.
In court documents, Mr. Tsvangirai points to several lawsuits filed in
Montreal courts involving fraud allegations against the consultants. He also
points to Foreign Affairs documents, portions of which have already been
made public, indicating that several individuals and corporations in other
countries complained to Canadian consular officials about the consultants'
In the affidavit, Mr. Tsvangirai notes that Foreign Affairs had conducted
intelligence debriefings with one of the consultants, Ari Ben Menashe, in
which he volunteered information about his travels. The department has since
cut all ties to him.
Mr. Tsvangirai, who retained the consultants in August, 2001, says he had
heard that their Montreal firm, Dickens and Madson, could help his campaign
and raise money for his party, the Movement for Democratic Change.
He was told the Montrealers "had considerable political influence and the
ability to raise large sums of money to help finance the MDC's efforts to
win the presidential elections," he says in the affidavit.
That December, Mr. Tsvangirai flew to Montreal to meet the consultants, Mr.
Ben Menashe and Alexandre Legault.
The two men had formed a Montreal business partnership about a decade ago,
after coming to Canada separately.
The consultants met with Mr. Tsvangirai in Montreal in December, 2001, a
meeting they secretly videotaped. A month later, they signed a contract to
work for Mr. Mugabe.
In February, 2002, a month before the Zimbabwean election, they were doing
paid pubic-relations work for Mr. Mugabe in Zimbabwe. At the time, they
issued a statement saying they handed the tape over to his officials because
they felt "morally compelled to assist the embattled people of Zimbabwe and
their President, Robert Mugabe."
The videotape was released to an Australian broadcaster, which presented it
as proof of a Zimbabwean coup plot taking shape. A month before the March,
2002, election, Mr. Tsvangirai and two co-accused were charged with treason.
In previous interviews with The Globe and Mail, Mr. Ben Menashe and Mr.
Legault have denied wrongdoing, saying the videotape is indeed evidence of a
MDC vows 'final push' to oust Mugabe
May 24, 2003, 18:30
Morgan Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe's opposition leader, said today his
supporters were planning a "final push" to force President Robert Mugabe
Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), told about 7 000 people in Chitungwiza, southeast of the
capital Harare, that Mugabe was the main impediment to the recovery of an
economy which has all but collapsed.
"Please (Mugabe) why don't you go now? Because if you remain in
power this economy will never recover. And if you wait too long to go, it
will get too dark to find your way out, "Tsvangirai said.
Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since its independence from
Britain in 1980, on Thursday hinted for the second time in as many months
that he may be ready to hand over to a successor amid a deepening political
and economic crisis many blame on his mismanagement.
However, he vowed the MDC, which he calls a puppet of the West,
would only rule "over our dead bodies".
Zimbabwe in dire situation
Zimbabwe has acute fuel shortages, inflation well over 200% and
half its 14 million population face starvation. An acute shortage of
Zimbabwe dollar notes has added to the woes of Zimbabweans already finding
it hard to get hold of basic commodities like maize-meal, sugar and milk.
Mugabe's government has dismissed media reports that the
international community was preparing an economic rescue package for
Zimbabwe hinging on Mugabe resigning by the end of the year.
The MDC and labour unions each called strikes earlier this year,
which were among the biggest protests against Mugabe since his controversial
re-election in March 2002 polls that both the opposition and several Western
countries said were rigged.
Mugabe (79) denies mismanaging the economy, saying it has been
sabotaged by the West in retaliation for his seizure of white-owned farms
for redistribution to landless blacks. - Reuters
Zimbabweans queue for cash
24/05/2003 12:57 - (SA)
Harare - Long queues of people waited outside banks on Saturday in central
Harare amid fears of more strikes and reports banks were limiting cash
There were many people waiting outside cash machines in Harare's main First
Street and surrounding areas, an AFP reporter reports.
A three-day stay-away last month left banks and customers struggling for
cash and the situation appears to have worsened since, with state media
reporting that the central bank no longer has the necessary foreign currency
to print new notes.
Fuelling the anxiety, the state-owned Herald newspaper on Saturday reported
that cash shortages had resurfaced at "most banks in Harare".
"Now we can't even get our money when we need it," the paper quoted one
would-be customer, Godwill Munyimi, as saying.
The paper said customers were only being allowed to withdraw a maximum of up
to 20 000 Zimbabwe dollars (R170).
Zimbabweans are struggling under shortages of many basic goods, including
foodstuffs and fuel, while inflation has now topped 269 percent.
Monday is a public holiday in Zimbabwe and there have been reports there
could be more protest stay-aways soon, although the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) has set no definite date.
Meanwhile, last week the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) advised
people to stock up on provisions and to keep money aside for a possible
indefinite job stay-away.
A Betrayal of Democracy
Mail & Guardian (Johannesburg)
March 18, 2003
Posted to the web May 24, 2003
Richard Calland: Contretemps
The pamphlet had a photograph of Nelson Mandela. "Why have you got his photo
on here?" I was asked in Harare towards the end of last year. It was a
surprising question, coming as it did from a Zimbabwean human rights worker.
But the meaning soon became clear. She said: "Because he has done nothing;
he has betrayed us."
This is unfair on Mandela. He is not the architect of the South African
government's policy towards Zimbabwe. And, in the case of Nigeria - another
place where President Thabo Mbeki pursued a policy of constructive
engagement, that time with the Sani Abacha regime - he went out on a limb to
condemn Abacha's brutal tactics, calling successfully for Nigeria's
expulsion from the Commonwealth.
For that Mandela is remembered fondly by human rights activists in Nigeria.
For those who know what Mandela's deputy president's view was then,
scepticism is reserved for Mbeki.
But what the conversation about the pamphlet photo of Mandela told me was
the depth of the sense of betrayal that many Zimbabweans feel about South
Africa's response to the crisis in their country.
Zimbabwean pro-democracy activists have known what South Africa's foreign
policy towards the Mugabe government is for some time now. Yet there is no
substitute for hearing something important directly from a human being. That
is when intellectual understanding yields to a more profound intuition.
A group of about 50 leading Zimbabwean human rights and democracy activists
were given this opportunity at a conference facilitated by the Institute for
Democracy in South Africa near Pretoria in the beginning of March. They
heard a representative of the government speak with impeccable clarity about
South Africa's approach to its northern neighbour. What they heard was
nothing new, yet it provoked a surge of anger from the Zimbabweans present.
The Chatham House rules of the conference preclude me from citing the
identity of the government representative and from attributing direct quotes
to the individual. Not that I think the person would mind; there was no lack
of confidence in the position and no hint of apology.
On the contrary. Presumably emboldened by the words of Minister of Foreign
Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma just a few days before, it was an apparently
definitive statement of policy: Zimbabwe has a democratic government - note,
not a mealy-mouthedness about legitimacy, no, it is a full-on democracy -
and it is not for South Africa to interfere; this is the starting premise;
all else flows from this; and any problems you - Zimbabweans - have, you
must sort out yourselves.
The session had to end soon after, and so there was time for just one
emotional rebuttal. Further outpourings would not have made any impact, I am
sure of that. The South African government is well aware of what is going
on. It is just that its policy response is immersed in nuance - to summon
the most generous word available.
The nuance, if that is what it is, derives from a combination of two things.
First of all a dogged and perhaps dogmatic determination to respond in a
solely multilateral way. Mbeki is committed to multilateralism, as is the
African National Congress. That is why it devotes so much attention to
entities such as the Non-Aligned Movement.
Indeed, when it comes to matters such as the unilateral use of American
power most of us are also dedicated multilateralists, putting the case of
the United Nations as if our very lives depended upon it. Surely what is
sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. Why is it that so many people
in South Africa want to stop United States President George W Bush acting
unilaterally in the case of Saddam Hussein, but complain bitterly at Mbeki's
failure to do just that in the case of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe?
The second element is a belief that the most effective way to effect regime
change in Zimbabwe is to cajole and persuade Mugabe. This strategy demands
"constructive engagement" - a polite term for an unappetising policy
response to a problem regime. In other words, you permit and even encourage
a level of legitimisation of Mugabe in the belief that it is the only
climate in which he will consider reform and retirement.
There is a third, complicating factor of unknown quantity: Pan- Africanism.
To some Pan-Africanists Mugabe exhibits an admirable sense of power. To them
his two-fingers to the West, his stubborn, mad-as-a-fox mavericking is
positively alluring. I suspect there is a strong element of this in the
approach of Dlamini-Zuma, an energetic member of the Black Consciousness
movement in her youth, and perhaps also in Mbeki's approach.
If so, it represents a serious misjudgement - as illustrated by Professor
Brian Raftopolous's brilliant analysis of the Zimbabwean crisis presented at
last week's conference. To allow Mugabe to use the superficial allure of a
Pan-Africanist/Third Worldist rhetoric to mask the betrayal of his own
people and their oppression by his henchmen and militias is to fall naively
for the most childish of tactics. As Raftopolous put it: "Using an external
argument to justify internal repression is the most serious thing Some of
what Mugabe says about globalisation we can agree with. But a dialogue that
legitimises repression we refute."
I have no doubt that there are many in the ANC who, though they are well
aware of the brutal expediency of his policy direction, admire what they see
as a Mugabe's boldness. If only, they think quietly, we could deal so
decisively with white privilege in our country. There might be an element of
empathy with this, were it not for the fact that all Zimbabweans are
suffering from the crisis of governance, black and white, rich and poor.
There is a humanitarian crisis: 7,2-million or 60% of the population needs
When some South African policy-makers see this for themselves, they might be
forgiven for thinking that it is not substantially different from the plight
of the millions of most poverty-stricken here.
Again, even if there is any empathy to be drawn to such a response, the idea
that Zanu-PF is now a "progressive party", as Dlamini-Zuma keeps
maintaining, must be exposed for the utter nonsense that it is. I don't know
how she defines "progressive", but I wonder whether she has read Zimbabwe's
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, or its Public Order and
Security Act, or its Broadcasting Authority Act, all of which exist solely
to suppress free thought and activity. All would be struck down under South
African constitutional law. What is progressive about a government that
passes such laws?
Finally, back to the policy of "constructive engagement". In the 1980s the
ANC condemned Western constructive engagement with Pretoria. Consider these
words, written by pro-liberation writers Peter Vale and Sanford Unger in
their chapter "Why Constructive Engagement Failed" in the Penguin-published
book Apartheid in Crisis: "American policy has actually exacerbated the
situation inside South Africa by encouraging and indulging the white
regime's divide-and-rule tactics - leading that regime, its internal and
external victims and much of the international community to believe that,
whatever the rhetoric emanating from Washington, American prestige is on the
side of the Pretoria government."
Two weeks ago Dlamini-Zuma said that "the trouble with you [the media] is
that you are waiting for one word - condemnation. You will never hear that.
Not so long as this government is in power." These are words she may come to
regret. Not because Mbeki will necessarily shift policy, but because if his
government's policy fails its credibility throughout the world will be
undermined. Just as Blair risks his whole reputation on his policy to Iraq,
so Mbeki's reputation in relation to good governance and projects such as
the New Partnership for Africa's Development is threatened.
It is one thing to exercise quiet diplomacy but quite another to explicitly
offer support to Mugabe in public statements such as Zuma's. Mbeki has been
far more cautious; does he support his foreign minister?
Zimbabwean anger is a natural and justified response to this. Yet Zimbabwean
opposition needs more than anger to succeed. Civil society activists must
get their campaign together and build a concerted, united movement for a
transition with just the same sort of strategic wit as the ANC was able to
muster in the early 1990s.
Indeed, underlying the government representative's crisp statement of policy
last week lay another more subtle line directed at the Zimbabwean
opposition: stop whingeing and tell us precisely what you want us to do.
Provided it does not breach Mbeki's doctrinal multilateralism, there is more
possibility to this than may meet the eye. As chair of the African Union,
the South African commitment to notions of good governance and peer review
must be put to proof. A first Peer Review by a Group of Eminent Persons has
to happen sometime, otherwise the credibility of the idea will wither
The South African government could, and should, isolate Mugabe instead of
legitimising him. Political pressure through the multilateral institutions
of the Southern African Development Community and the African Union could
apply real pressure on him, and South Africa has the leverage to do so.
As Vale and Unger argued about South Africa: "A policy must be crafted that
not only recognises and works with the current grim realities there, but
also tries to ease the transition to an altogether different, albeit
unknown, future in which blacks will take part in the government of their
country. There is no longer any question that this change will occur in
South Africa; the question is how, according to whose timetable and with
what sort of outside involvement."
There is no question that the same logic applies to Zimbabwe now. Change
will inexorably come, by one method or another, because the people of
Zimbabwe will demand it as intensely as they deserve it.
In the meantime, Dlamini-Zuma's diplomatic hyperbole shames her own party's
tradition of human rights and democracy. Perhaps that is where the betrayal
MDC ready for war veterans
By Henry Makiwa
THE Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said yesterday it will crush
any attempts by Zanu PF-aligned war veterans to thwart its proposed mass
action next month as it emerged that some senior ruling party leaders were
on the verge of defecting to the opposition.
Nelson Chamisa, the MDC's national youth chairman and newly-elected
Member of Parliament for Kuwadzana, warned the aging war veterans of "bitter
consequences" if they attempted to obstruct the mass action planned by the
Party leader Morgan Tsvangirai told the rally at Chitungwiza's Chibuku
Stadium that some senior Zanu PF officials wanting to jump ship and join the
MDC had approached him in the "Nicodemous" hours of the night.
"We will accept them but they should not expect high posts and to be
treated with kid-gloves when they come to us," Tsvangirai said, without
mentioning names of the ruling party's officials seeking to defect and join
Chamisa described the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans'
Association (ZNLWVA), led by Patrick Nyaruwata, as a "congress of Mugabe's
"Nyaruwata should never claim cheap victories and celebrations because
like a candle burning in the wind, he will soon snuff out," said Chamisa.
"We, the young generation of Zimbabwe, will not be intimidated by
empty threats of senile and old figures whose cheap talk are inspired by
Mugabe's bribes. The MDC will mobilise all youth across the country to ward
off the threats of the so-called war veterans who are in truth shameless
He was reacting to threats from the war veterans that they would link
with state security agents and use "military force" to quash the proposed
mass action, which according to insiders, is scheduled for sometime next
"Our train of revolutionary change will not stop at anything ...
Nyaruwata has forewarned us and he might as well have forearmed us," Chamisa
said, to thunderous applause.
Analysts said Nyaruwata's threat to use military force to stop the
possibility of a popular uprising against President Robert Mugabe's policies
was meant to cow the populace who are increasing becoming bolder.
The MDC and the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions have during the past
two months organised highly successful job stayaways that were observed by
industry and commerce as well as the general populace.
Tsvangirai yesterday reiterated that 2003 was "The Year of Freedom"
and urged Zimbabweans to become stronger and unwaveringly take part in the
planned mass demonstrations.
He said: "We will not call on Bush (American President George W. Bush)
to remove the despotic dictator, but we will do it ourselves because it is
He added: "So we should all take to the streets without fear of
repression when the call is made to restore the glory of our ruined
The MDC leader told the 10 000 strong crowd of supporters that
"victory would soon come".
"Never again should we let a party and a party leader treat us like
his gullible subjects. We should take this form of action for the sake of
our children and our children's children lest they accuse us of watching
haplessly while bad men destroyed their future," Tsvangirai said.
Millers close down as wheat shortages bite
By Kumbirai Mafunda
ZIMBABWE'S three largest millers could be forced to suspend operations
anytime from now amid revelations that the sole marketer of grain, the Grain
Marketing Board (GMB), has failed to deliver wheat rations to the millers.
Milling industry sources told Standard Business that they were
receiving inconsistent supplies of wheat from the state-run GMB which has
the monopoly on importing and marketing grain products.
The GMB has been rationing wheat supplies to millers, only allocating
6 000 tonnes per week to the three, namely National Foods, Blue Ribbon Foods
and Victoria Foods.
However, the millers said they were being forced to temporarily shut
down because deliveries had became erratic over the past few weeks.
An official at National Foods, the country's largest miller, who
declined to be identified, said although the GMB had reduced its
allocations, the state body had still failed to supply wheat grain for the
past two weeks.
"The mill will close again tonight because we have no wheat. Our
allocation is 2 500 tonnes a week but they (GMB) haven't given us any.
Furthermore, our suppliers haven't kept us in the picture," he said.
Sources in the milling industry said the Midlands-based Victoria Foods
and Blue Ribbon were the worst affected among the millers who are also
strangled by the government's price controls.
An official at Blue Ribbon Foods said they were receiving less than a
third of their former weekly allocation and last week, their plant was
forced to close down because of water and other shortages.
"We have been operating at below half capacity. The inflows this week
have been very low, not even reaching rationed levels. We are getting much
less than we used to. Yesterday we had to shut down because we had no
water," the official said.
"We are sceptical about next week because we don't have information
from the relevant officials. From what we understand, wheat stocks are
running out," he added.
Former GMB boss and Movement for Democratic Change shadow minister for
agriculture, Renson Gasela, said although government had projected a harvest
of 250 000 tonnes, only 140 000 tonnes were harvested from last year's crop
against a demand of 40 000 tonnes a month.
He said the few silos that were still holding wheat grain in the
country had dried up.
"Last week they had 5 000 tonnes left which must be finished by now.
So there will be no bread and other wheat products. There is no plan from
GMB at the moment to import wheat at all and we are going to stock out
completely," said Gasela.
Although government is currently making much noise about winter
cropping which it says will salvage the current shortages, the energy crisis
is likely to derail the programme.
"Our concern right now is we are going into the winter cropping season
with power cuts and shortages of fuel," said one miller.
Another source said apart from energy deficits, there is insufficient
seed for the much-vaunted winter cropping.
National Bakers Association of Zimbabwe chairman, Armittage
Chikwavira, said his members were relying on stored stocks and once they run
out they would be forced to close down.
"We are still baking using stored stocks. I can foresee us grinding to
a halt because we don't have alternatives," said Chikwavira.
Mortuaries strained as deaths soar
By Cynthia Mahwite
BULAWAYO-The government has been urged to upgrade mortuaries at public
hospitals across the country because existing facilities are failing to cope
with increased demand for space due to the HIV/Aids scourge ravaging the
Currently many corpses in hospital mortuaries remain unclaimed as a
result of the high burial expenses and the harsh economic climate, leading
to serious overcrowding.
The country's death rate, fuelled by the HIV/Aids pandemic, is now
about 3 000 people per week and this is straining mortuaries, most of them
set up before the disease began to take its toll.
A survey at Bulawayo's public hospitals last week revealed that there
was a serious shortage of mortuary space, with bodies piling on top of each
Hospital authorities who declined to be identified said the crisis was
worsened by failure by some cash-strapped families to claim the bodies of
their departed relatives, fearing to meet the hospital bills they left
behind and the exorbitant burial costs.
As a result many bodies remain in the mortuaries for up to three
months before they are given paupers' burials, said the authorities.
Bulawayo residents living next to Mpilo Hospital mortuary who spoke to
this newspaper complained about a serious stench coming from the hospital.
"The stench from the mortuary is so bad and we urge the government to
address the situation by either building another mortuary or reviewing the
mortuary policy as a whole," said Zanele Ndlovu.
Thoko Moyo, another Bulawayo resident, said: "The government must set
price controls for graves as the prices are stopping families from decently
burying their dead. They must also allow us to claim bodies without coffins
and the use of blankets for burial."
Contacted for a comment, Health and Child Welfare Minister, David
Parirenyatwa, said government was aware that a number of people could not
afford proper burials and had come up with new retention periods for
"We have already introduced a new facility whereby anybody that
remains unclaimed beyond a new retention period of 21 days can now be given
a pauper's burial. We are sensitive and aware that a number of people cannot
afford burials these days," Parirenyatwa said.
Panic buying grips Zimbabwe cities
By our own Staff
THOUSANDS of Zimbabweans swamped banks and emptied supermarket shelves
as panic buying swept the country ahead of an anticipated series of long
mass job actions organised by labour, civic organisations and the
Shoppers in Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru, Masvingo and Mutare could be seen
frantically snapping any available foodstuffs while banks and building
societies ran out of cash and some began to ration the amounts clients could
While it has been common to see short queues of people with a few
items in their supermarket trolleys because of the skyrocketing prices of
commodities, it was the complete opposite from Friday. Long and snaking
queues were all over the major cities at the start of the weekend as
shoppers attempted to secure most of the basic but scarce food stuffs left
on the shelves.
Cash shortages also resurfaced in banks and building societies amid
reports that one building society, which is heavily patronised by civil
servants, had to appeal for money from supermarkets after it had run
Many shoppers said they were not taking chances in view of the planned
mass action by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions and the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
"I experienced problems the last time when we had a stayaway. I can't
be caught napping again. I have to stock enough food to ensure that even if
they call for a week long mass action, my grandchildren will be well catered
for," said Ambuya Mutero of Mucheke, a high-density suburb in Masvingo.
Martha Mhlanga of Kambuzuma in Harare said: "There is so much alarm
among the people to withdraw as much money as possible from banks and buy
the basic necessities needed in homes."
In Bulawayo, hordes of city residents swarmed around supermarkets much
of Friday and yesterday afternoon in search of foodstuffs while thousands
waited patiently in long queues outside banking halls as the stayaway fever
gripped Zimbabwe's second largest city.
Sithembile Ncube, a Bulawayo resident, described the massive shopping
sprees as "abnormal".
The ZCTU last week urged Zimbabweans to "store a bucket of mealie meal
and save a penny" ahead of a planned and indefinite mass action to protest
against fuel price increases, which went up by more than 300 percent, and
the general decay in living standards.
Yesterday Wellington Chibhebhe, the ZCTU secretary general said: "We
have noted the intense purchasing of goods by the ordinary citizenry. That
is the right thing for them to do."
Chibhebhe could however not disclose the form in which the mass action
will take though many observers believe the ZCTU will call on workers to go
on an indefinite stayaway.
The MDC last week said it was planning combined mass protests to push
President Robert Mugabe out of office.
Wallets give way to the car boot
By Langton Nyakwenda
FANCY going shopping or to the bank this week? Forget about the wallet
and grab that plastic shopping bag!
Many Zimbabweans have now resorted to packing hundreds of thousands of
notes into plastic bags or satchels just to do the month's groceries or pay
In fact, it is said thieves in Harare no longer pick pockets
preferring to smash and grab bags and satchels from cars or plying open car
boots where shoppers now stash the thousands of 'Zimkwachas' needed for
day-to-day living. Hapless street wallet vendors say they are being driven
out of business because many people now move around with bags instead of
The shortage of the larger denomination $500 dollar notes had worsened
the situation because banks were giving out $50 and $100 dollar notes which
became too bulky for the small pocket wallets.
"One needs a bag not a wallet for that kind of money," said Wonder
Kajola, a vendor in the city who specialises in selling wallets.
Another vendor, Peter Chabande, said: "We are now heading towards the
Zambian situation if not worse where one has to carry a bag of money to
collect one's monthly salary."
A snap survey around Harare's bars revealed that revellers were
already carrying bags of cash to buy drinks.
Others stash "bricks" of bank notes and occasionally dash to car parks
to grab wards of cash, pay off the round of drinks and still say: "cheers!"
Zimbabwe's winter crop doomed
By Itai Dzamara
Biting fuel and power shortages are likely to hamper this year's
production of Zimbabwe's winter crop which is already threatened by a lack
of seed and other inputs-a situation which might worsen hunger and
The Standard has established that despite claims by some indigenous
owned banks that they are behind the new farmers, many of the banks were
reluctant to issue loans to the farmers because of the prevailing insecure
As a result, most of the new farmers have failed to secure the
infrastructure as well as the capital needed for winter cropping.
Farming organisations, and a survey by this paper, have revealed that
very little, if any, winter cropping is in progress despite widespread
In Marondera, the new farmers said they lacked irrigation equipment
and did not have any plans to plant the winter crop this year.
"We are not in a position to plant winter crops. We don't have
irrigation equipment as well as inputs. Efforts to obtain loans from banks
have been in vain," said Francis Muremwa of Eirene farm.
Many dams in the Marondera area are either dry or contain very little
water reserves owing to the prolonged dry spell that was experienced during
the last rainy season.
Sources at seed manufacturers Seed Co said there was very little seed
in stock and what was available was far less than that required for a
successful winter cropping season.
"As you are aware from advertisements being shown, seed production was
severely affected over the last two years such that we will have to import
in order to have enough for the next season," said the source who spoke on
condition of anonymity.
Silvanos Mashingaidze, the second vice-chairman of the Zimbabwe
Farmers' Union (ZFU), said only those "with the resources" would plant the
"The new farmers have to apply for loans at banks. Tell those who have
failed to get loans that I have said organise yourselves into associations
which can source inputs," said Mashingaidze.
In a statement, the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) said there would be
very little winter cropping this year, largely due to the lack of inputs as
well as infrastructure which was destroyed during the farm invasions.
Renson Gasela, an agriculture expert and the opposition MDC's shadow
minister for agriculture said: "Despite much hype and publicity, last year's
winter crop was a flop and the situation is even worse this year. This year
there is no fertiliser, no fuel and there are incessant power cuts.
"Last year, there were still some white commercial farmers around who
assisted in winter cropping. But this year, most prime land is lying idle."
However, Lovegot Tendengu, the director of the pro-government Farmers'
Development Trust, said they had set aside 'huge' funds to assist farmers.
"We have set aside $2bn for a fund to assist farmers who want to plant
winter crops and we have been receiving overwhelming requests from the
farmers," said Tendengu without elaborating.
Unlike last year, when the government talked incessantly about its
land reforms, this year it is uncharacteristically quiet. Agriculture
minister, Joseph Made, requested written questions but as usual never
ZCTU's confrontational stance backed
By Henry Makiwa
VISITING Commonwealth Trade Union Council (CTUC) director, Annie
Watson, says she supports the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union (ZCTU)'s
stance of confronting the government to rectify the current economic and
Watson, whom the government nearly deported soon after she jetted into
the country on Friday, urged the ZCTU to voice the concerns of the workers
despite the government's "constant repressive compulsions".
"There are tiffs between governments and labour bodies in most
countries, even in the United Kingdom (UK). The ZCTU should not despair in
the obstruction they face from the government, but should persevere in
carrying out the wishes of the workers," Watson told The Standard.
"There is no magic formula in improving the situation of workers,
sometimes normal measures fail and it's understandable when labour aborts
the dialogue route for a more confrontational one," she said, referring to
the mass actions organised by the ZCTU.
The government backed down on an attempt to deport Watson on Friday in
a move observers described as an afterthought of the serious implications
the expulsion would cause to the country's already battered international
Watson, who is of Irish origin, is in Zimbabwe until June 1 on a
mission to evaluate the ZCTU's informal sector training programmes that are
funded by the CTUC. Yesterday she challenged the government to step up
efforts of providing social security to workers in the informal sector.
"The informal economy cannot be ignored in this country because it now
holds more workers who have lost their jobs in formal establishments. It
cannot be left unregulated either; workers need more protective labour laws
for their health and physical safety," Watson said.
The CTUC was found in 1979 by trade unions within the Commonwealth.
Watson said she was irked by the Zimbabwean immigration officials'
swift attempt to throw her out of the country amid unspecified reasons.
She said: "I have visited 28 Commonwealth countries and not anywhere
have I had such a reception as I got in Zimbabwe this time around.
"We are acting transparently and without bias so we would like to
advocate for a translucent response from the government."
Watson's aborted deportation came hard on the heels of the deportation
of Andrew Meldrum, a correspondent for the British Guardian newspaper who
had stayed in the country for 23 years. Despite a High Court ruling barring
Meldrum's deportation, immigration authorities, reportedly under the
influence of Vice-President Simon Muzenda, sent the American journalist
Moyo manipulating police-Zinef
POLICE should not take instructions from Information minister Jonathan
Moyo in his attempts to settle personal scores with the independent press,
Zimbabwe National Editors' Forum (Zinef) chair Iden Wetherell said
"Moyo has lost every single case he has inspired against the media
since President Mugabe foisted him on the nation three years ago," Wetherell
said. "In two major trials currently underway, the State has been
embarrassed by evidence of political manipulation of the police and clumsy
attempts to influence the courts by abuse of the state media."
In a statement carried in the Herald yesterday, Moyo said law
enforcement agents would seek to establish how The Zimbabwe Independent
obtained confidential correspondence between the commander of the army and
chief of the defence forces referred to in a story on military management of
the 2002 presidential poll published in the paper on Friday.
Moyo said the government had noted "attempts by the opposition to use
newspapers like The Daily News and Zimbabwe Independent to make unlawful
bribery appeals to civil servants and others with access to lawfully
Wetherell, who is Editor of The Zimbabwe Independentt, said he was
unaware of any such case.
"If Moyo has any evidence of such bribery he should produce it. It is
a very serious charge. He should either put up or shut up."
Wetherell said Moyo should not make specious claims of threats to
national security to justify military involvement in elections when those
"threats" were the product of his own propaganda.
Mugabe's succession talk 'mere posturing'
By Caiphas Chimhete
RECENT public pronouncements by President Robert Mugabe regarding the
succession issue are mere posturing by the beleaguered leader who is once
again trying to hoodwink the world into believing that he is ready to pass
on the 'button' to someone else, Zanu PF insiders and other Zimbabweans said
They said Mugabe did not intend to leave office any time soon, and as
such, had not made any attempt to encourage, let alone introduce the subject
to the rank and file of Zanu PF through official ruling party channels.
Addressing a rally in Mt Darwin last week Mugabe, who earlier on in
interview with the ZBC called for debate about his successor, complained
that some people in his party were not being open about their presidential
ambitions, preferring to "consult spirit mediums".
"You must debate succession openly. We want to be true and open to
each other and discuss as a united people," said Mugabe, adding that there
was no need for Zanu PF leaders to engage in clandestine activities over the
issue because of its importance to national unity.
However, most Zanu PF officials, who spoke to The Standard yesterday
said they took Mugabe's comments with a pinch of salt "because it was unlike
him." They said Mugabe's remarks were insincere in the light of utterances
by Information Minister Jonathan Moyo who recently described as "wishful
thinking" the idea that Mugabe would quit office before the expiry of his
term in 2008.
Former Matabeleland Governor Welshman Mabhena said the call by Mugabe
for Zanu PF to be open about their ambitions was a gimmick for him to
identify people bent on taking his position. "He is not honest, he is not
sincere at all. That is actually witch-hunting and anyone in the party who
dares start the debate or make known intentions to contest the post will be
gone," he said without elaborating.
Former legislator Dzikamai Mavhaire who lost support within Zanu PF
after his "Mugabe must go statement" in Parliament, yesterday refused to
Fellow Masvingo Zanu PF leader Eddison Zvobgo who was sidelined after
fears that he was harbouring presidential ambitions, said: "I am in London
and I haven't read the article. I can only comment when I come back home."
Former Zanu PF secretary-general and a close ally of Mugabe during the
liberation struggle, Edgar Tekere, did not hide his feelings.
"The Mugabe I know would not do such a thing. As far as I know, he
believes people should just keep quiet because the country's future revolves
around him. No one in Zanu PF would dare talk about succeeding Mugabe," said
Tekere, former president of the now defunct Zimbabwe Unity Movement (ZUM).
Zanu PF secretary for information and publicity Nathan Shamuyarira
said within Zanu PF, the debate would start in the provinces and the central
committee before reaching the Politburo and finally the party's annual
congress late in the year. He said every Zimbabwean was entailed to openly
debate on the succession issue without fear.
Acting chairman of the Zimbabwe National Liberations War Veterans
Association (ZNLWVA), Patrick Nyaruwata, said Mugabe was sincere in his call
for open discussion of the succession issue.
Resettled areas in a state of disaster
By our own Staff
IN what could be an admission of the failure of the much-touted land
reforms to alleviate food shortages, President Robert Mugabe has declared a
state of disaster in all resettlement areas.
In a government gazette released on Friday, Mugabe noted that there
was widespread food insecurity and the risk of water shortages, not only in
the resettlement areas, but in communal and urban areas as well.
He also declared a state of disaster in Matabeleland South where
livestock were vulnerable to the effects of drought.
The declaration paves way for funds to be harnessed and channelled to
the areas, and for donors to assist the affected people but it is feared
that very little money would be raised because the government is broke and
many donors have fled from Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe plunged into turmoil after government-backed farm invasions
led by so-called war veterans destroyed the commercial agriculture sector
Widely condemned, both at home and internationally, the fast-track
land reform exercise that followed spelt doom to the country's prospects as
rich farm lands were grabbed by Zanu PF cronies with little or no farming
Masvingo forthcoming elections too hot for Zanu PF stalwarts
By Parker Graham
MASVINGO-Zanu PF's traditional dominance of Masvingo urban's political
landscape comes under severe test in the forthcoming council elections that
have a potential to transform the fortunes of the ruling party on its
favourite hunting ground.
Since independence, the ruling party has dominated politics in
Masvingo. Its greatest challenge has been to reconcile two warring factions
within the party- the Zvobgo and Hungwe groups-but that changed in 2001 when
Alois Chaimiti of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) beat
Jacob Chademana of Zanu PF for the coveted mayor's post.
In spite of this major setback, Zanu PF still won eight seats in the
10-member council and continued to dominate Masvingo town council affairs,
riding on its majority in the chambers.
However, this scenario is set to change in August as the MDC seems
poised to turn the political tables against a background of the worsening
economic environment. Already, there are indications that Zanu PF might face
difficulties in getting credible candidates willing to square up against the
MDC in the August polls.
The Standard has established that sitting Zanu PF councillors and
other notable party activists who have dominated Masvingo urban politics for
years, were now not so keen to contest the poll on a Zanu PF ticket.
Caution has become the order of the day among the Zanu PF faithful
who, it appears, realise that Masvingo is no longer the "one party province"
it was a said to be a few years ago.
Masvingo urban constituency falls under Masvingo Central constituency
which is represented in Parliament by Silas Mangono of the MDC.
Said Alderman Naison Tsere, the Zanu PF deputy Mayor: "I have to study
the political wind first before I decide to contest the election. I have
seen several people being deceived or misled by the electorate into
believing that they had their support only to be embarrassed by the election
"To avoid such embarrassment, one should be very careful and cautious
about the political climate and the political wind."
Tsere added that he would only seek re-election if he got the mandate
from the people in his ward.
Ward Three Zanu PF councillor and veteran educationist, Alderman
Hamadziripi Mamutse, who also served as deputy mayor for Masvingo for a long
period, said he intended to stand for the election but was quick to point
out that the electorate was no longer predictable.
"People can just push you into the ring but you will be shocked by
unexpected results. I am also studying the situation to ascertain what
exactly the people want. But I would want to seek re-election," said
Ward One councillor also of Zanu PF Alderman Hosea Matapura, said he
wanted to quit politics but expressed fears that in the event that he
stepped down, the opposition MDC would just "walk over" the ruling party.
"I am quite convinced that if I step down, the MDC would win the seat
without sweating for it. It is against this background that I seek
re-election," said Matapura.
He admitted that the young opposition party posed a serious threat to
the ruling Zanu PF in Masvingo's August council elections.
Media racism: A propaganda gift to Mugabe
THE hysteria and spate of condemnations in both the local and
international press concerning the illegal arrest and deportation of foreign
correspondents has once again cast a high voltage spotlight on the age-old
issue of master race versus the dark continent.
The unprecedented coverage of the unlawful abduction and deportation
of Andrew Meldrum and other foreign correspondents before him, particularly
in the international media, clearly shows that a white skin to them, counts
for more when it comes to being a victim of the Mugabe tyranny.
Theirs is a world where people are judged not by the content of their
characters but by the colour of their skin. A white journalist, whether
Zimbabwean or not, is named whereas black Zimbabwean journalists who have
been arrested and harassed are often content to be referred invariably as
"more than a dozen journalists were arrested and detained". If this in not
journalistic racism, we do not know what is.
Not that Zimbabwean journalists, both back and white, and foreign
correspondents are not together in the very front trenches of the battle for
freedom and human rights in Zimbabwe. We are together in our unwavering
determination to bring back freedom and democracy in this country. The issue
is not personal but one of genuine concern and worry about the way the
international media covers the African story and the place of local
journalists in it.
More often than not, the international media by their excessive and
sustained highlighting of the plight of white victims at the expense of the
black majority, play right into the hands of President Mugabe's totalitarian
Until very recently for example, the British government overplayed
their hand with regard to the Zimbabwean white commercial farmers, taking a
very high profile stance which President Mugabe exploited to the full,
portraying it as neo-colonialism. This high profile stance did not in any
way help the cause of the commercial farmers.
There is therefore a tremendous responsibility on the part of Western
media to break out of this trap. What is very sad is that by continuing to
play their racist card, they will be handing a propaganda gift to people
like President Mugabe to portray the former colonial master as hypocritical
and part of the problem.
There is something to be said for both the local and international
media keeping things in their proper perspective. Yes, the deportation of
Meldrum does draw the world's attention to the plight of repressed and long
suffering Zimbabweans but equally important is the courage and
aggressiveness of poor local independent journalists, who have nowhere to
run to-these are the people who are most affected and they deserve the same
amount of recognition and respect. The media must preserve a sense of
proportion, a sense of judgement and subtlety.
When former President Bill Clinton set off in March 1998 on the first
extensive tour of Africa by a sitting US President, the New York Times,
arguably the most influential newspaper in the US, headlined the visit
"Presidential torch to light the dark continent". If the New York Times
could use such a headline, we shudder to think the sort of language other
newspapers are likely to use. We can clearly see the woods that contain more
than men and animals in such a headline i.e. the racist ideology of the
Racism is the root cause of the unequal coverage of blacks and whites
when it comes to the Western press. The beast is alive and well. Africa and
the world have a responsibility to stand up to a racist ideology and
forcefully call for a world that does not put racism at the forefront of its
Any profession defends its members and journalists, by the very nature
of their job can use megaphones to do so. Worldwide, because journalists
think and feel that their public role is important, they feel obliged to
report on their beleaguered colleagues. And we believe that an attack an any
one of us amounts to an attack on the profession at large.
That is why we also condemned the illegal deportation of Andrew
Meldrum whose only crime was to disagree with a regime that is bent on
stifling press freedom in the country.
The point we are making here is that foreign or white journalists must
not be the only focus of international media attention.
In our tragedy, 99 percent of Zimbabweans have become the victims of
President Mugabe's tyranny and local journalists have placed their lives and
careers on the line and their work, for the most part, goes on without the
attendant glare of television cameras and other media outlets. The point is
that the Western media must not close its eyes to this, particularly the
poor ordinary victims.
In Zimbabwe, we have a man who started off as a saviour of humanity
but has now become an abominable tyrant. Most Zimbabweans are fully involved
and standing their ground.
Our plea therefore to both local and international media is that they
can make the coverage of the Zimbabwean tragedy much more balanced and fair
by putting it in its proper perspective.
Not in the national interest...
overthetop By Brian Latham
THE government of a troubled central African country has resorted to
refusing to give reasons for its actions, saying it would not be in the
national interest to do so. In the last fortnight, the government has
refused to give reasons for the illegal deportation of a journalist and
refused to give reasons for its curious contract with a certain
It is thought that the troubled central African regime has discovered
that it is easier to refuse to give reasons for its illegal behaviour than
to justify the same. It is far easier to say that it's not in the national
interest to disclose why Mr So and So is an "undesirable inhabitant" of the
troubled central African dictatorship than to say he was deported because we
didn't like him very much.
And it's far easier to tell the courts that details of the curious
contract can't be disclosed because it isn't in the national interest than
it is to admit that the devious beneficiary of the contract scammed the
government of hundreds of thousands of real dollars.
After all, the troubled government of the troubled central African
tyranny doesn't make mistakes. And when it does, they're always someone
Still, disgruntled members of the Zany party inform Over The Top that
in both cases where "national interest" was resorted to, there was
considerable embarrassment in dysfunctional government circles. Many
believed the deportation of the journalist was ill timed and ill considered.
It would have been far better to have silenced him by other means, say doves
within the party.
The same doves claim the controversy over the contract being discussed
in court by the troubled central African police state's top spy should have
been avoided by teaching the defence lawyers a short, sharp lesson in good
manners. "If it had been explained to these people that asking certain
awkward questions carried certain health risks, all this could have been
avoided," said a Zany dove.
Still, analysts say citizens of the troubled central African state can
expect government to use the "national interest" rider increasingly often.
"We can expect them to say it is not in the national interest to
explain the high hospital occupancy rate caused by unexplained wounds
sustained in the dead of night," said one analyst. However, they will say
that the low hotel occupancy rate is due to British propaganda sullying the
image of their peaceful democracy.
"In fact, if events can't be blamed on the British, the Americans,
Australians, the opposition, churches, civil society, whites, businessmen,
gays, the Commonwealth, the European Union or the press, then the government
of the troubled central African country will resort to using the 'not in the
national interest' clause," said an analyst who will be named as soon as we
find someone willing to lay claim to the quote.
In the meantime citizens can expect it to be not in the national
interest to publicise the fact that their homes have been burnt down, their
daughters and wives raped, their sons tortured and their friends deported.
A senior Zany official, speaking to OTT on condition he wasn't quoted,
said: "We are not lying. Of course it is not in the national interest to
disclose these things because they are very embarrassing to us.
"If the world knew that we had no real reason to deport anyone or that
we have been robbed by a foreign scam artist, we would end up looking stupid
and that most certainly isn't in the national interest."
Meanwhile, a member of the opposition More Drink Coming Party said
they all looked stupid anyway, so he didn't know what all the fuss was
A tale of two leaders: Mourning Sisulu, celebrating his life, Mourning
Mugabe's reign, will celebrate his passing
Sundayopinion By Thandi Chiweshe
AS South Africa and the progressive world mourned Walter Sisulu over
the last two weeks, I felt a deep sense of sadness. Not so much for Walter
Sisulu himself, but for Robert Mugabe and others like him. This was brought
very sharply to me when my aunt, who has never really been involved in
politics said to me, "I wish I could go to that man's funeral. I didn't know
him, but just the things that have been said about him make me want to go
and bid him farewell".
I asked her what she would do if Mugabe died, and she declared, "that
one, I will dance on top of this roof!" She told me that she would take a
week off-bugger my children and I who depend on her household management-so
she could "celebrate" adequately. I felt so sad. Not hurt. Just sad.
My aunt is 48 years old. She lived through the worst years of our
national armed struggle. She experienced the pains of colonialism. And she
was there when independence finally came. I learnt a few of the
revolutionary songs from her. In those days she spoke fervently about the
new Zimbabwe, and the new vistas opened up for women like her. Her two
children, myself, and many others we know, went to school for free. We were
the beneficiaries of free health care, affordable housing, good wages, and
most importantly, of peace.
I remember most of that. I, like many young politics-less people, just
assumed that these were normal things that every normal human being simply
got. It was only later that I got to know some people fought for them and
got us to where we were -yes were, ten or so years ago. We are no longer
there anymore. We have sunk somewhere down into the mud of misery and
despair. This is what my aunt now knows, lives through, and will remember
about Robert Mugabe.
My aunt exemplifies where millions of Zimbabweans are today. As we
marvel at the outpourings of love, adulation and celebration of Walter
Sisulu, we wonder if our very own erstwhile revolutionaries are listening
and watching? How do they feel, we want to know? Do they see the sadness of
all this? In Shona we say, "usapunze mukombe wasvika", meaning, don't drop
the gourd of water when you are so close. So close to delivering it to the
person who needs it. So close to the finishing line. Of course for those who
have never fetched water like what some of us women have done, the meaning
of this idiom might be lost.
Imagine, living in a village, where potable water has to be fetched
from five kilometres away. You carry the precious water on your head,
carefully, with love, back to your home. Just as you get close to home, a
whole 10 kilometres later, down comes the pot of water! Imagine it is
already late evening. There is no chance of going back to the well. Yet you
know there are some 10 or so people waiting for this water. You also were
looking forward to drinking some of that water. Or perhaps you were hoping
to relax listening to your favourite radio programme, with your feet up?
Kupunza mukombe wasvika is a huge crisis not just for you, but for those
Our Great leader apunza mukombe asvika. What is it that the people of
Zimbabwe will remember when Mugabe dies? Let's make some comparisons; First
the look; Sisulu was 90 years old. And it showed. At least in the gray hair.
What is it with our President and Palette hair dye number 10? Or is it
number 1? Is it some sort of denial of the fact that he is actually close to
80? Is it to ward off old age? We all want to look and feel good. But having
a Michael Jacksonesque identity crisis at that age and when one is a state
President can only be laughable.
Secondly everyone speaks about Sisulu's love for his wife and family.
If anyone had asked me who Walter Sisulu was I would have just said,
Unlike many others of the revolutionary ilk who came back and traded
in their old wives for newer models, Walter stuck to his. Unfortunately the
wife thing is a problem that our leader shares with many other men the world
over. At least ours does appear with his in public-which perhaps was the
whole point of a second lady to begin with? Who remembers what Mrs Chissano
looks like? Newscasters kept getting Mrs Nyerere's name wrong because nobody
had become familiar with her. As for Mrs Muluzi number 1 and Mrs Chiluba
number 1, ok we won't go there.
Then there are the children. Sisulu's children look like his children.
Imagine meeting Mugabe and Chatunga somewhere they are not known. How would
you assume they are related? Any man who is going to be reproducing at
Mugabe's age indicates a selfishness and recklessness that should
immediately disqualify him from public office. It shows that the man
couldn't care a hoot what will happen to his children let alone to any one
of us after he is gone. If he is not bothered by the fact that Chatunga will
need someone to play soccer with at the age of 14, why should he be bothered
when we tell him that there won't be a national economy for anyone to
After many years of struggle, Sisulu handed over to the next
generation of leaders in South Africa. Kutonga madzoro as we say in
Shona-leadership is taken in turns.
Not for Mugabe. He is the alpha and the omega of nationalism. Hearing
Mandela tell the world that he was recruited into the ANC by Sisulu was a
refreshing change. It is only recently that Eddison Zvobgo consigned Mugabe
to a footnote in the history of Zanu. "When we formed Zanu, myself, Enos
Nkala, Ndabaningi SitholeS..and others", Zvobgo told us. No prizes for
guessing who the nameless others were. Zimbabwe's history has been rewritten
to unashamedly give Mugabe a starring role and write others out of the
How a person can so monumentally self-destruct the way Mugabe has can
only be regarded as profoundly remarkable. To build a legacy in one decade
and destroy your own achievements in another must take either great genius
or great megalomania and stupidity. No amount of history revisionism is
going to remove the terrible legacy Mugabe is leaving us. The bad has
eclipsed the good in a way that makes it so hard to remember the good. Yet
there was so much that we could choose to remember. Even the revered Nelson
Mandela did not deliver a quarter of what Mugabe delivered to the people
That is a fact. While Mandela was the nice dancing President,
symbolising a new South Africa, Mugabe provided what people wanted-
practically. But try telling that to a person born in 1991 and she will spit
in your face. Matakadya kare haanyaradzi mwana -What has already been eaten
won't quieten a crying baby. To get to a point where you hate your own
people and your people hate you must be a very lonely and painful place to
be. Unless of course you don't care?
Today we mourn Sisulu and celebrate his life. We are mourning Mugabe's
reign and will celebrate his passing.
Zimbabwe approaching last gasp
Well, now-let's take a serious look around us.
I believe the country is approaching its last gasp; the government is
reeling, hanging by a thread. It knows it is completely incapable of doing
anything to help itself or the country. It has now resorted to mindless
violence; its latest act of desperation being the Andrew Meldrum saga.
Meldrum's temporary exit from this country is an example of how far the
regime is prepared to go in complete defiance of a specific High Court
We are leaderless, rudderless. We have no plan, no hope. The economy
is ruined-No fuel, electricity, cash from the bank, a dozen kinds of basic
foodstuffs, forex-anything this country needs to survive. There is
nothing-except sometimes on the black market, and those people will be dealt
with in due course.
Frankly, the government wants out! Mugabe is cowering within his
residence. At the recent meeting with "the three wise men". Mbeki, Obasanjo,
Muluzi, he "looked old, tired, lonely and battle weary." (Financial Gazette,
May 15) with Obasanjo commenting "Things are definitely bad". Mugabe's only
aim now-self preservation: "I must not be blamed, held accountable for the
deaths and destruction I have caused-the degrees of violence, the Zanu PF
ndeyeropa (Zanu PF is a bloody party)
Tsvangirai, wake up. I really believe you have no opposition. The ZCTU
is planning an indefinite stayaway in due course (Standard 18 May). Get in
with them-or use them as part of your uprising (You've already promised
another country-wide stayaway, the "final push" within two weeks). I don't
believe any talk with Zanu PF is feasible-get in and do it. Now.
The worst thing you can suggest is "urge the public to march into the
city centres on the next stayaway instead of staying indoors". You have to
lead them; they have to be utterly purposeful-and so do you. Do it. The
whole country-and, Zanu PF/Mugabe are waiting to greet you.
Sunday Times (SA)
Mugabe's wife blows R100 000
Zimbabwe's first lady Grace Mugabe lived up to her reputation as a big
spender on a recent trip to South Africa, where she spent almost R100 000 in
just five days.
The wife of President Robert Mugabe shelled out R99 604.42 at South African
stores between February 3 and February 6 - including R51 000 for a dinner
service imported from Britain.
VAT refund documents in the possession of the Sunday Times show that Mugabe
splurged on food, clothing, pharmaceuticals and hardware.
VAT refund is an incentive to encourage tourists to spend more money in
South Africa. The minimum amount that can be claimed is R250.
A VAT refund administrator official, who asked not to be identified,
confirmed the processing of Mugabe's claim and said that she had submitted
According to the claim submitted to the VAT Refund Administrator at the
Johannesburg International Airport on behalf of "Mugabe G, c/o Zimbabwean
High Commission, 792 Merton Ave, Arcadia, Pretoria" on March 13, Zimbabwe's
first lady was claiming refunds for spending:
a.. R51 860 on the dinner set;
a.. R3 443.75 at Pick 'n Pay;
a.. R2 415.05 at Edgars;
a.. R1 192 at Truworths;
a.. R9 245 at Bianchi Fashions;
a.. R2 586.85 at Woolworths;
a.. R6 175 at Desch for Men; and
a.. R16 159.07 at Buchel Hardware in Pretoria.
Mugabe was issued with a $672.97 (R5 042.88) refund on May 9 for goods
totalling R43 099.12.
However, the administrator refused to refund Mugabe for the dinner service
from Sandton City store David Daniel because the receipt did not include
Mugabe's full address.
Store owner Greg Isaac refused to comment on Friday, saying: "I don't think
it is fair for us to discuss the private purchases of our clients."
Another receipt that failed the test was one from a nameless store on
February 5 for a shirt costing R2 200.
The refused invoices were sent, along with the refund cheque, to Zimbabwe's
Sunday Times (SA)
Shock report details abuse in Zimbabwe
Allegations of sexual assault and rape by soldiers, torture in youth camps
and the beating up of children are contained in a damning report on Zimbabwe
compiled by the Australian government.
The "Record of Abuse and Repression by the Zimbabwean Government", which is
in the possession of the Sunday Times, was presented to a Commonwealth
Ministerial Action Group meeting in London this week by Australia's Foreign
Minister, Alexander Downer.
Australia, which chairs the 54-nation Commonwealth, is pressing for
sanctions against Zimbabwe to be stepped up in addition to its suspension
from all the Commonwealth's councils.
The report says Australian diplomats "witnessed what was clearly the result
of several vicious beatings by army personnel, including beatings with
sticks wrapped in barbed wire".
"This crackdown occurs amid serious allegations of rape and torture at camps
in Zimbabwe, with particular concern regarding Border Gezi youth camps set
up to indoctrinate young Zimbabweans," the report says.
It documents the "repression of the opposition"; how the March 2002
presidential election was rigged; the politicisation of food distribution;
and infringements of civil and political rights, including the curtailing of
The report says that over the past 18 months, 42 senior opposition Movement
for Democratic Change officials have been arrested and many of them tortured
"It is rare for any action to be taken against perpetrators of abuses
against members of the opposition, creating a culture of impunity and the
perception that such abuses are tolerated or encouraged by the government,"
It quotes a human rights political report which found that 58 murders, 111
cases of unlawful detention, 170 cases of unlawful arrest, 67 cases of
assault, 227 cases of abduction and 1 060 cases of torture had occurred.
With regard to food aid, the Australian government claims Zanu-PF
politicised food distribution through:
a.. Monopolising imports through the Grain Marketing Board;
a.. Requiring party membership as a condition for purchasing food in some
a.. Controlling eligibility for the purchase of food and the milling of
a.. Removing MDC supporters from food-for-work programmes;
a.. Allowing party officials or commercial allies to profit from the re-sale
of food at exorbitant black market prices;
a.. Confiscating maize at informal roadblocks; and
a.. Putting the party's youth militia in control of grain depots.
"In the Binga area of Matebeleland North, the government prevented the
Catholic Commission for Peace and Justice from implementing its relief
programme for 30 000 children for two months from May 2002," the report
Regarding land reform, it says only "between 20% and 50%" of redistributed
commercial farms have been taken up, with the rest lying fallow.
The official line that '54 000 indigenous commercial farmers were settled
under the fast-track resettlement on 11 million hectares of land' ignores
the fact that most such farmers have not actually occupied the land. Many
new farmers have left the land due to lack of capital and other inputs
The report says that, according to the Famine Early Warning System Network,
between 600 and 1 000 commercial farms are operational - a sharp decrease
from 4 400 in 2000. It says there appear to have been no killings of white
farmers since April 2002 as the majority left their land voluntarily, by
force or by intimidation.
The report says the number of white commercial farmers still farming has
declined from 4 500 two years ago to 600 - and that about 97% of formerly
white-owned farmland has been appropriated by the government.
Sunday Times (SA)
The race is on to take over from Mugabe
Zanu-PF heavyweights jostle for power but they're too scared to come out in
Sunday Times Foreign Desk
Officially, Robert Mugabe may still be in charge of Zimbabwe, but his
lieutenants look increasingly ready to assume the presidency of this
Political heavyweights in Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF are already looking
beyond Mugabe's tenure of office and consolidating their positions for a
takeover when he finally retires.
Zanu-PF sources said this week that Mugabe's lieutenants were intensifying
their efforts in the escalating battle for ascendancy.
"Our understanding in the party is that Mugabe has now decided to retire,
but he is becoming vocal about his succession debate because of internal
power struggles and growing tension," a senior Zanu-PF member said.
"By denouncing those lobbying to position themselves for power, he is trying
to ensure that the situation does not become unmanageable in the end."
Reports of heightening Zanu-PF power struggles resurfaced this week in the
wake of Mugabe's latest condemnation of senior party officials over their
clandestine bids to succeed him.
Addressing thousands of supporters at a rally on Thursday in Mount Darwin,
about 160km northeast of Harare, Mugabe said people were free to openly
discuss his succession, but party functionaries should stop covert campaigns
to take over.
Mugabe said he was aware that some of his party's top officials were seeking
divine intervention to succeed him.
"I am aware of what is happening. Some top leaders are consulting ancestral
spirits and traditional healers to enhance their political fortunes," he
said. "But it's not about ancestral spirits, it's about unity and people's
Last month Mugabe, for the first time, declared his succession debate open,
but denounced party leaders who organised themselves along "ethnic and
personal lines". He also indicated that his retirement could be near.
Retired army general Solomon Mujuru, Zanu-PF secretary for administration
and Speaker of Parliament Emmerson Mnangagwa, and Information Minister
Jonathan Moyo are leading the fight for Mugabe's throne.
Political analyst Ibbo Mandaza, who is closely linked with Zanu-PF, said
Mugabe's statements on his succession indicated that he was about to retire.
He added that it would be helpful if Mugabe laid out the rules for choosing
As long as there was no official debate on the issue "speculation, anxiety
and even division will persist", Mandaza said.
Although Mugabe claims he has no problem with leaders who declare their
presidential ambitions, he has in the past sidelined those who have shown
that they want to succeed him.
One such example was Zanu-PF maverick Eddison Zvobgo, at one time seen as
the most likely Mugabe successor, who was sidelined for stating that he
wanted Mugabe's job.
Mandaza, a former senior civil servant, said that without official
endorsement, Mugabe's potential successors in the ruling party would not
come out in the open.
As if to confirm this, Zanu-PF chairman John Nkomo, also considered a
potential Mugabe successor, refused to talk about the issue when contacted
The secretary-general of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change,
Welshman Ncube, said Mugabe's remarks indicated he was getting increasingly
paranoid about developments within his party.
"He should simply say he wants to resign so that the country can move on. He
is the biggest stumbling block to progress," Ncube said.
Mandaza, claiming that the next president would come from Zanu-PF and not
the MDC, said the succession race was wide open.
He named Mnangagwa in Midlands province, Nkomo and former Home Affairs
Minister Dumiso Dabengwa in Matabeleland, Local Government Minister Ignatius
Chombo in Mashonaland West, former Finance Minister Simba Makoni in
Manicaland and Foreign Minister Stan Mudenge in Masvingo as potential
He said Moyo, despite his posturing, was "too low in the ranks" to be a
Sunday Times (SA)
Zimbabwe will plead for food aid
The Zimbabwean government is to make a formal request to the United Nations
World Food Programme (WFP) to extend emergency assistance to millions of its
citizens facing starvation.
WFP deputy executive director Sheila Sisulu said the results of a crop
assessment, to be released next week by the UN's Food and Agriculture
Organisation and the WFP, will reveal the extent of the food crisis in the
The WFP is running its biggest relief project in Southern Africa, with
assistance being rendered to Malawi, Zambia, Lesotho, Swaziland, Mozambique
Sisulu met with Zimbabwe's Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, July Moyo,
and officials from the departments of Agriculture and Foreign Affairs in
Zimbabwe this week.
"All of them were very clear that they were going to make a request for
assistance to the WFP," Sisulu said.
"The extent of the request will be indicated to us in the coming week. We
will all be watching those figures to determine the extent of food
assistance that is going to be required all round, specifically in
She said the WFP had been preparing to move out of Zimbabwe as its emergency
intervention period ended in June.
Zimbabwe has the largest number of people requiring assistance, with an
estimated 7.2 million people facing hunger due to drought and crop
The high prevalence of HIV/Aids is exacerbating the problem.
Sisulu said the WFP gave assistance to the most vulnerable people. In March,
during the height of the relief programme, the organisation provided food
aid to five million Zimbabweans.
"We averted a crisis in the region. If the international community had not
come to the rescue at the time that it did, we could have had a serious
crisis," she said, adding that although there had been rain in some areas in
dire need, it had not broken the drought.
The WFP is also providing relief in Ethiopia, which is facing a severe
drought, and in Eritrea and other areas in the Horn of Africa. It is also
planning to increase its activities in the Democratic Republic of Congo and
the Ivory Coast, where civil conflict has sparked a humanitarian crisis.
Politics had a negative impact on people's safety and security, Sisulu said.
"If asked whether this is the case more so in Africa, I would have to say
Since the end of the war in Iraq the WFP has resumed operations in that
country, using the former government's distribution infrastructure to
provide food aid.
"The former government of Iraq had a very good distribution system as a
large percentage of the population was dependent on food supplies. The war
has destabilised this but we are now restoring the network," Sisulu said.
She returns to the WFP's headquarters in Rome this week after spending time
with her family in South Africa following the death of her father-in-law,
Tsvangirai is the Pick of a Poor Crop of Candidates
Sunday Times (Johannesburg)
May 25, 2003
Posted to the web May 24, 2003
Dumisani Muleya weighs up the chances of aspiring Mugabes
THE debate over who will succeed Robert Mugabe needs a reality check.
There is talk that the Zimbabwean presidency will go to Emmerson Mnangagwa,
but that suggestion ignores several huge obstacles, not least of which is
his arch-rival, Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
In recent weeks, Mnangagwa has used state media coverage to build his
profile. His choice of public engagements has often had no apparent bearing
on his role as Speaker of Parliament or on his position as administration
secretary for Zanu-PF.
Given the widespread speculation that Mugabe will step down long before his
current term of office ends in 2008, observers have likened these exercises
to a primary presidential campaign.
Party insiders have even suggested that Mnangagwa will be the next Zanu-PF
presidential candidate. Even then, Mnangagwa's entrance to State House will
not necessarily be guaranteed. For a start, he has no constituency - hence
his defeat by an uninitiated MDC candidate in the 2000 parliamentary
He only became Speaker after he was saved by party colleagues, but even that
appointment has given him no popular power base.
He also became secretary for administration in December 2000 as a result of
His close association with Mugabe, to whom he was a personal adviser from
the mid-1970s, during the struggle leading to independence, could possibly
increase popular resistance to his candidacy. His alleged role in the
systematic plundering of the Democratic Republic of the Congo could also
tarnish his image.
Mnangagwa's role during the massacre of civilians in Matabeleland, from 1982
to 1987, further complicates his situation. Unsurprisingly, many want
Mnangagwa prosecuted for genocide in this regard. At least 20 000 civilians
were killed when Mugabe deployed the notorious Korean 5th Brigade to quell a
purported dissident uprising.
Internal squabbling in Zanu-PF ranks could present other obstacles to
Information Minister Jonathan Moyo, who is likely to be a spoiler in the
internal battle to succeed Mugabe, is evidently against Mnangagwa's
ascendancy. Moyo leads a group of "hawks" in the party who are opposed to
Another faction, led by retired army commander General Solomon Mujuru, is
also opposed to Mnangagwa. This camp, which includes two possible Mugabe
successors, Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi and former Finance Minister
Simba Makoni, is intensifying efforts to block him. Sidelined Zanu-PF
maverick Eddison Zvobgo and politburo heavyweight Dumiso Dabengwa are linked
to this group.
Moyo has always been opposed to Mnangagwa's possible presidency. He wrote in
1996 that Mnangagwa's involvement in the Matabeleland killings clearly
disqualified him as a possible president.
Moyo recently maintained this stance in a dramatic way by labelling
Mnangagwa a "coup plotter and electoral coward".
This followed Mnangagwa's link in February to a plan to ease Mugabe out of
office through a power-sharing agreement with Tsvangirai.
Mnangagwa's alleged plunder of DRC mineral resources and his connection to
local cases of corruption further blemish his reputation. He is understood
to be under United Nations investigation over the DRC pillage.
To make matters worse, the European Union and the US, key players on the
Zimbabwe issue, openly maintain that Mnangagwa should not be president as he
is Mugabe's crony.
This is why Tsvangirai has a better chance of winning the presidency. So
far, the MDC leader has managed to hold the fort well in the face of a
concentrated and sustained Zanu-PF onslaught.
Having lost by only 400 000 votes in an election clumsily stolen by Mugabe,
Tsvangirai still controls most of Zimbabwe's urban areas.
Recently, Mugabe admitted, for the first time, that the MDC was popular
despite his claims that it was foreign-controlled.
The opposition party, galvanised by recent by-election victories and
successful stayaways, seems to be on a roll. It also enjoys support from the
Furthermore, Tsvangirai has a national profile and his support base cuts
across ethnic and regional divides - something which Mnangagwa does not
However, Tsvangirai does have serious limitations. He demonstrates political
naivety in allowing Zanu-PF demagogues to portray him as a violent Western
His lack of refinement has not only exposed him to Zanu-PF's flag-waving
rhetoric, but also to internal disrespect. The MDC leader appears to be
grappling to consolidate his grip on his own party at a time when he should
be establishing his credentials nationally.
But for all his weaknesses, Tsvangirai is the clear front-runner and the man
most likely to be Zimbabwe's next president - if the people have any say in
Muleya is a journalist in Harare