RULING ZANU PF supporters are
holding a Kadoma farmer and his family hostage at their Impalavale farm and
have barred them from harvesting their maize and wheat crops, The Daily News
The farmer, Piet
Rorke, and his family have been held hostage by the militants since Sunday
Officials at Battlefields
Police Station near the farm declined to comment on the matter yesterday,
referring questions to their superiors at Kadoma Police District
Headquarters, where the telephones were not
Rorke's neighbour, Jan
Jelliman, told The Daily News that the police had ignored several distress
calls from the farmer.
Rorke and his
family were reportedly barred from leaving their home on Sunday afternoon,
after they declined to hand over their farm to people who occupied it last
year. The farm is one of 56 Mashonaland West
properties spared from compulsory acquisition by the government following a
High Court order issued in August last
High Court judge Justice Benjamin
Paradza granted the order after the government conceded that the compulsory
acquisition orders it had issued on the farms were invalid and of no
Rorke told this newspaper over the
phone yesterday that his house was completely surrounded by the militants and
his family was under siege.
comprises his wife, daughter and two other
Sources close to the matter
said the farmer was barred from harvesting his maize and wheat crops two
weeks ago and ordered to vacate the
The ruling party
supporters subsequently harvested the crop and allegedly shared it among
Mashonaland West governor
Peter Chanetsa and the police are said to have visited the farm on Thursday
last week, but failed to break the impasse between the two parties after the
militants turned violent.
unreachable on his mobile phone yesterday.
Jelliman said he had also lost 300 hectares of barley worth $200 million and
irrigation equipment worth $300 million during a similar raid at his farm
"They also set my
grass-thatched home on fire in January in a bid to drive me out of the
property," he said.
for Democratic Change shadow agriculture minister Renson Gasela yesterday
described the incident at Impalavale farm as proof of worsening lawlessness
in Zimbabwe, despite denials by the government that there is little law and
order in the country.
"How could the
government claim that there is rule of law when the police turn a blind eye
to settlers who are harvesting where they did not sow?" he
The government has taken over most
white-owned farms under its land reform programme, which commentators say has
been taken advantage of by ruling party supporters who have settled
themselves illegally on
caused by the haphazard land resettlement exercise has combined with drought
to cut Zimbabwe's food production by more than 50 percent in the past year.
The resulting food shortages have left close to eight million Zimbabweans in
need of emergency food aid.
has however been unable to import adequate relief food supplies because of
Zimbabwe's severe hard cash crisis.
MDC POLICY STATEMENT ON THE WAY
FORWARD. REMARKS BY THE MDC PRESIDENT, MR. MORGAN TSVANGIRAI AT A MEETING
WITH THE G8 AMBASSADORS.
Harare, May 27
2003. Your Excellencies, you are all aware of the new dimensions of the
economic crisis that has gripped the country over the last few
· There is
virtually no fuel in the country; ·
There supply of electricity has become even more
erratic; · Industry is now on its
knees; · In an attempt to stave off
the crisis, the Mugabe regime has become the largest dealer in foreign currency
on the black market. · The black
market is obviously incapable of meeting the national needs in terms of hard
It is common knowledge that the Mugabe
regime has neither the imagination, the capacity nor policy package to get out
of the crisis.
Poverty, hunger, joblessness and disease are
destroying the social fabric of this nation. Urban poverty has reached dangerous
levels. For obvious reasons the regime does not publicize statistics on the
specific impact of these problems, but death from malnutrition, which in many
parts of Africa signals the arrival of a full-blown catastrophe is already
For instance the Bulawayo City Health Department in an
MDC-run local authority has now revealed that between January and February 2003
about 40 people have already died from malnutrition in that city. Statistics for
subsequent months are being compiled and are likely to reveal a deteriorating
The social anger born out of these economic hardships
has reached levels never seen in this country before. Nobody can foretell how
and under what circumstances this social anger is going to subside.
Even at this late hour we still believe that the only viable solution
to end this crisis and give the country a chance to recover must go through a
process of serious and sincere dialogue. Therefore, the urgency of international
pressure being exerted to bring Mugabe to the negotiating table cannot be
overemphasized. It is the only way to avert a catastrophe. A culture of
democracy and political tolerance in Zimbabwe can only take root if all of us
accept the principle of dialogue without preconditions, as a way out of
Your Excellencies will recall that since the
run up to the presidential poll, several regional and international delegations
have been to Harare in an effort to broker dialogue, but Mugabe squandered those
precious overtures in an endeavour to buy time, wishing that somehow, the crisis
will go away. In particular, Mugabe and ZANU PF have never taken any initiative
to resolve the crisis. This is a clear demonstration that the regime has never
been sincere about dialogue to resolve the crisis.
African initiative by Malawi, South Africa and Nigeria is welcome but it needs
to be complimented by a broader international effort. We certainly hope that
this initiative is not yet again one of those short-lived diplomatic efforts,
such as what happened in 2002, ahead of the G8 meeting and the marketing of
NEPAD, and will soon lose momentum afterwards.
It would be a
tragedy if efforts to resolve the Zimbabwe crisis were routinely linked to the
calendar of multilateral summits and are then allowed to wither after every such
It is with these qualitative changes to the crisis in mind
that I felt the need to put you in the picture on where the MDC stands regarding
the way forward.
Our position is quite clear and consistent.
We are ready to resume talks at any time. As I said before, and contrary to what
has been reported in certain sections of the local and international media, we
have never put any preconditions on the resumption of dialogue between the MDC
and ZANU PF. It is the Mugabe regime, which introduced preconditions in
April 2002 when dialogue had already started and an agenda had already been set
and agreed to.
We have not set any preconditions for the
resumption of dialogue. What we have simply done is to remind the Mugabe regime
of its governance responsibilities in restoring the rule of law; respecting
human rights; putting a stop to state-sponsored violence; disband and disarm the
militia and in general ensuring that peace and tranquillity returns to the
country so that meaningful dialogue can take place. The agreed agenda had made
provisions for the discussion of all these issues.
were never set out as preconditions because dialogue had already started when
the agenda was agreed to. They are routine matters of administration. They are
obligations by any de facto authority that claims to be the government of the
The issue of Mugabe’s legitimacy was an agreed item for
discussion on the agenda. It is therefore insincere and dishonest for Mugabe or
anybody else for that matter, to demand that the MDC recognizes him as head of
state as a precondition for dialogue.
The legitimacy of the
present regime is the root cause of the crisis and the demand that Mugabe be
recognized as legitimate ahead of any dialogue is therefore incomprehensible.
Pronouncing Mugabe as legitimate will not resolve the crisis because the MDC
does not confer legitimacy; it is the people of Zimbabwe who do through the
mechanism of a free and fair poll.
The MDC will never accept the
illegitimate responsibility to usurp the role of conferring a mandate or
governmental legitimacy from the people.
There are historical
precedents in our country and in the region. For instance, when the patriotic
front went to Lancaster House the issue of recognising the illegal and
illegitimate Smith regime was never the issue. The illegitimacy of that regime
and the mechanisms for the restoration of legitimacy were the thorny issues for
Similarly in South Africa, when the ANC engaged
the illegitimate apartheid regime in dialogue, the recognition of the minority
regime was out of the question. The dismantling of the racist regime and the
movement towards democracy and legitimacy were the core issues of the
In Zimbabwe today we find ourselves confronted by a
similar set of circumstances. The Mugabe regime is irretrievably illegitimate
and can never be salvaged. Recognising the illegitimate regime is out of the
question. It is precisely the illegitimacy of the Mugabe regime and the
strategies to return to democracy and legitimacy that constitute the agenda for
dialogue. The agenda prepared and agreed to by both the MDC and ZANU PF during
the aborted April 2002 dialogue recognised
In our view, the starting point in the
resolution of the crisis of legitimacy and governance in Zimbabwe must be Robert
Mugabe’s immediate and unconditional exit from the office of the President. This
will pave the way for interim arrangements to be put in place for the holding of
presidential polls that will result in the installation of a legitimate
government and usher in a new political dispensation that will restore
democracy, peace, stability and prosperity to Zimbabwe.
understand that Mugabe is only prepared to relinquish his illegitimate power if
he is guaranteed what he calls a safe and dignified exit. The position of the
MDC on that issue is quite clear.
First, the MDC has never preached
or practiced the politics of vengeance and retribution. On several occasions,
the leadership of the MDC have stated, quite unequivocally to local and
international audiences that we are determined never to allow the horrors of the
past to haunt and influence the future of our country. That position has not
Second, we recognize Mugabe’s role in the politics of the
liberation of this country from the yoke of colonial rule and we do not wish to
ignore or minimize the significance of that contribution.
Zimbabwe there is already a precedent for handling the outgoing political
leadership in a post-conflict situation. That precedent has served the country
well in the past and the lessons learnt will guide the future to ensure peace
and stability in the country. The only guaranteed safe exit for Mugabe and his
cronies is through a restoration of the rights of the people, the restoration of
the legitimacy of government and the opening up of democratic
Fourth, the manner and circumstance of Mugabe’s immediate
exit from power should not be a precondition for engaging in dialogue towards a
restoration of legitimacy. Mugabe is now a clear liability to the country, the
region and internationally.
Fifth, we shall never accept the
linkage of the dialogue towards the restoration of legitimacy to Mugabe’s
succession plans within his own political party ZANU PF. The MDC cannot
reasonably be expected to be part to the reorganisation, renewal and or
restructuring of the ZANU PF leadership.
Sixth, the essential goal
of the negotiations therefore must be to put in place irrevocable measures
leading to and facilitating the holding of free and fair presidential polls,
ushering in a legitimate government expressing the will of the people of
Seventh, MDC will not be part to any negotiation process,
which simply seeks to incorporate us, as junior partners, into the structures of
illegitimate power dominated by Mugabe and his cronies. This will only serve to
expand that illegitimacy and ultimately to sanitize the Mugabe regime.
We will neither be part to a dubious process that seeks to expand
and sanitize ZANU PF’s illegitimate rule nor will we accept a secondary role in
any so-called transitional arrangement. We do not crave and will not accept
executive responsibilities in partnership with what is clearly an illegitimate
THE SO-CALLED TRANSITIONAL GOVERNMENT.
within ZANU PF and outside of it who talk about the need for a transitional
government clearly recognise the need to transit from the violent illegitimacy
of the Mugabe regime to a legitimate and democratic political dispensation and
we agree with their diagnosis of the regime entirely.
do not believe that the transition should go through a so-called transitional
government. Under the prevailing circumstances, a transitional government will
be an illegitimate arrangement, which does not carry the mandate of the people.
Such a transitional administration would lack the legitimate
authority and the mandate of the people to put in place and steer viable
programmes necessary for national revival, renewal and healing. In short it
would be merely a face serving formula for the Mugabe regime and therefore a
dangerous, cruel and cynical waste of time for Zimbabweans.
position and that of the majority of Zimbabweans is that the political
arrangements that are necessary after Mugabe’s announced departure must
religiously adhere to and be guided by the provisions of the Constitution of
accordance with the Constitution of Zimbabwe, interim arrangements in the event
of a sitting President vacating office are clearly articulated and well provided
for. An interim/acting President, logically from the ruling party, would take
over the Office of the President and the presidential polls shall be held within
a period of 90 days to choose a new and substantive President.
This is a cast iron constitutional provision and there are no
compelling reasons to deviate from it.
The issue of a
constitutional amendment to enable the formation of a so-called transitional
government therefore does not arise. Certainly, the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) will not be part to any process that seeks to modify or tamper with
the constitutionally defined route to presidential succession. In a
parliamentary system such as that in Zimbabwe, this provision is a
self-triggering constitutional mechanism, which generates its own momentum. It
should not be a subject for a constitutional amendment, debate or negotiation
among political parties.
This is a myth that has to be dispelled once and for all. We
have not sought and will never seek to be accommodated by anybody outside our
democratic entitlement, the rule of law and indeed the
The negotiations must not be used as a strategy to
diffuse ZANU PF’s responsibility for the national ills confronting the
nation. Dialogue must focus specifically on the implementation of agreed
measures necessary to return the country to legitimacy, democracy, peace and
We in the MDC fervently believe in the unfettered free
and fair expression of the people’s sovereign will. We are ready and comfortable
to live with any result of the people’s electoral judgement. If we lose in a
free and fair presidential electoral contest we will eagerly play our role as a
loyal, patriotic and constructive political opposition party in a democratic
society. Similarly if the electorate confers its mandate on us, we are ready to
take up the challenge of governance.
Democracy in Zimbabwe would be
in mortal peril if, each time when the ruling party is confronted with a
legitimate electoral challenge, it refuses to provide for and recognize the
genuine expression of the people’s sovereign wish. This has happened in the past
and it must never be allowed to happen again by deliberate design.
Governments of national unity, coalitions and such other
administrative formulae must not be used as antidotes to vaccinate against and
forestall the emergence of a democratic government that expresses the free will
of the people. We therefore envisage no prospect and totally reject any form
of “accommodation” during the interim period apart from what must be a common
endeavour, by all well-meaning and patriotic Zimbabweans, to put in place
irrevocable measures to guarantee a free and fair presidential poll in
conditions of peace and general political
THE WAY FORWARD.
is the greatest challenge that confronts all patriotic Zimbabweans during the
interim period. The only way to resolve the current crisis and salvage what
remains of the nation is through a process of serious and sincere dialogue
between the MDC and ZANU PF. Such a process can only start in earnest if the
Mugabe regime commits itself to the creation of a peaceful environment in the
context of which a meaningful political engagement can be
Serious negotiations towards the restoration of
legitimacy, national reconciliation and national healing cannot be meaningfully
held in the context of lawlessness, violence and civil strife. The irreversible
restoration of law and order, stability and peace is therefore a non-negotiable
issue for progress on substantive issues in the negotiation process. There is
therefore an absolute imperative for the immediate implementation of concrete
measures designed to guarantee a free and fair presidential
As a demonstration of its sincerity and commitment
to a peaceful and negotiated end to the current crisis of governance, the Mugabe
regime must immediately implement the following fifteen (15)
1. Put a stop to all forms of
state-sponsored violence that has engulfed the nation over the past three years.
2. End all political persecutions and prosecutions.
3. All ZANU PF militias must be disbanded; their
training must stop immediately. 4. The so-called war
veterans must be disarmed. There must be guarantees that they will not be
rearmed and that they will not engage in political activities as an armed group
operating above the law, but only as ordinary
Zimbabweans. 5. Repressive and anti-democratic laws
such as the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) and Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) must be immediately
repealed. 6. An undertaking not to grant amnesty for
perpetrators of murder, rape, torture, political violence and other serious
crimes. 7. An immediate stop to on-going human rights
abuses of all kinds. 8. An end to selective and
biased law enforcement. The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) should be
non-partisan in the execution of their duties. 9. An
end to the use of the Central Intelligence Organization (CIO) for partisan
political activities. 10. A stop to the use of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces
(ZDF) in civilian policing duties and political activities of any kind. 11.
Respect and impartial enforcement of the rule of law. 12. An end to the use
of the state controlled print and electronic media as partisan media
instruments. 13. A commitment to stop the legislative use of Presidential
powers in all the above areas. 14. A commitment to humanitarian ethics in
food relief distribution on the grounds of need, without partisan or adverse
distinction of any kind whatsoever. 15. Depoliticise the distribution of food
All the above fifteen (15) stipulated confidence building
measures must be met and expeditiously implemented before any progress on
negotiations on substantive issues can be made.
Again as I said
before, these are not preconditions. Instead, they are simply the administrative
responsibilities of any de facto authority and the Mugabe regime has
deliberately reneged on them, thereby creating the chaotic and dangerous
situation in which the nation finds itself.
These are the
minimum conditions that would create a peaceful political environment that would
enable serious dialogue to take place. It is only in the context of such an
environment that negotiations towards a transition to legitimacy and democratic
governance can take place.
The constitutionally mandated
interim period must not be varied or tampered with in any way and there must be
guarantees for an unimpeded progress towards democratic legitimacy. There must
be a deliberate effort to harmonize the state structures and personnel with the
reality of the people’s sovereign wishes and this can only be achieved through
the creation of institutions that recognize and guarantee democracy and
multi-party electoral politics.
Adequate security guarantees would
have to be agreed to and corresponding arrangements would have to be implemented
to guard against the possible regression to the use of state institutions for
partisan political purposes.
Negotiations must be sincere and in
good faith. It will be foolhardy for Mugabe or anybody else in ZANU PF to delude
themselves and think that the interim period will present an excellent
opportunity for them to dissolve the unity of purpose of the MDC or force us to
become secondary players in the whole scenario. We are unshakeable in our
conviction that the interim period must be used to break the mould of tyrannical
politics in Zimbabwe and create a new democratic culture with underpinning
political institutions in the country.
Govt won't interfere with
media 26/05/2003 20:18 - (SA)
Pretoria - South
Africa has no intention of acting against its media, accused by the Zimbabwe
government of "demonising" President Robert Mugabe, President Thabo Mbeki's
spokesperson said on Monday.
Bheki Khumalo, commenting on a letter to the
South African government from Zimbabwean Information Minister Jonathon Moyo
which charged that South Africa's media were demonising Mugabe, said the
government would not interfere with constitutional provisions safeguarding
the freedom of the press.
"South Africa has laws that govern the
freedom of the press and we have no intention of interfering with that,"
Khumalo told AFP.
"Equally, we reserve our own right to respond if the
media criticism is unfair or inaccurate. Sometimes we are criticised and
lampooned in ways that we do not like but we respect the right of the media
to do this," said Khumalo.
"We fundamentally support the right of
people to criticise. Our law allows people to write what they
In a letter published at the weekend in Zimbabwe's Sunday Mail
newspaper, Moyo, whose office crafted tough laws governing the press in
Zimbabwe, charged that Johannesburg's Sunday Times newspaper "has been at
the forefront of demonising the president, the government and people
The aim was "to divide Zimbabweans and South Africans",
the Sunday Mail quoted Moyo's letter as saying.
"I should state
categorically that we believe in media freedom as one of the pillars of
democracy, yet we are clear that this freedom is not a licence for vested
interests to insult and demonise a head of state," Moyo wrote.
acknowledged receipt of the letter from Moyo.
"Protocol determines that
Minister Pahad (Minister in the Presidency Essop Pahad, also responsible for
information) will reply to his Zimbabwean counterpart and we cannot comment
on what that response will be," he said.
Relations between Zimbabwe and
South Africa have remained close, despite western pressure on Mbeki to revise
his policy of "quiet diplomacy" towards South Africa's northern
Zimbabwe's treatment of the media shot into the spotlight
earlier this month after US reporter Andrew Meldrum, who had lived in the
southern African country for 23 years, was deported. He had been reporting
for Britain's Guardian newspaper.
Harare - Libya is looking into ways of providing fuel
to Zimbabwe to ease the shortages crippling the country, a Libyan minister
told Zimbabwean state radio on Monday.
Ali Triki, the north African
country's minister of African unity was reported as telling the Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Corporation that a team of Libyans was in the country "working
on modalities of how to bring fuel to Zimbabwe".
Triki was speaking
after a meeting with President Robert Mugabe, the radio said.
is currently facing a severe fuel shortage.
Motorists queue, sometimes
for days, to obtain the commodity, while industry has been similarly
hard-hit. Air Zimbabwe is reportedly refuelling its aircraft in neighbouring
Libya, a close ally of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, had
previously provided the country with 70% of its fuel requirements.
fuel deal signed with Libya last year was supposed to see Zimbabwe receiving
fuel in return for exports of tobacco, beef and sugar.
But Zimbabwe was
reported to be unable to keep its side of the deal.
There is uncertainty and
hesitation in Zanu PF over how to proceed with debate on the succession of
President Robert Mugabe, the Sunday Mirror has learnt. Mugabe last month
indicated that he would welcome an open debate on who should succeed him in a
televised interview to mark the country's 23rd Independence anniversary. He
reiterated the statement last week at the two star rallies he has held as
part of his countrywide tour to explain the task of the land review committee
among other developmental and humanitarian concerns. "You must debate
succession. We want to be true and open to each other and discuss as a united
people," he told thousands of Zanu PF supporters at Tsakare business centre
in the Mashonaland central town of Mt Darwin, a traditional Zanu PF bastion.
Party supporters at Wenimbi in Marondera, the capital of Mashonaland east
province, also heard the President encourage open debate on his successor.
Mugabe has repeatedly warned against tribalising the succession debate as
that would cause a split in the party.
A Zanu PF central committee
member, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it was unclear how the
succession issue should be debated. "The voiced commitment to an open
succession debate is welcome. However, people are choosing to tread carefully
as it is not clear how that should be done," said the source. He said there
was no clarity on what forums should be used to discuss the issue, adding
that Mugabe had not made it clear as to whether he intended to retire before
or at the expiry of his current term of office. The President was re-elected
last year in an election whose results the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) is challenging in the High Court. In accordance with the current
constitution, Mugabe is expected to step down in 2008. "The general feeling
in the party at the moment is that no-one wants to be seen to be openly
ambitious or to be interpreted as being used by cert ain people harbouring
presidential ambitions. I think there is inertia, given the fact that the
subject of succession has all along been viewed as taboo," said the source.
The Zanu PF information and publicity chief, Nathan Shamuyarira dismissed the
possibility of an organised system to tackle Mugabe's succession. "That is
not an issue at all. Do you expect us to form an organisation to debate the
succession of the President?" said Shamuyarira. He said, in line with the
party's constitution, members would select Mugabe's successor at the next
congress, an event that comes after every five years, with the last having
been held in 1999. Giving his own interpretation of what Mugabe said when he
encouraged debate on succession, Shamuyarira said the President had extended
the invitation to the whole nation and not just Zanu PF members. Analysts
however maintain that the invitation was made to ruling party members, as
Mugabe clearly stated that the succession debate should be handled without
jeorpadising unity within the party.
Patrick Nyaruwata, the national
chairman of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans' Association
(ZNLWVA), itself a Zanu PF vanguard, vowed that his organisation would openly
deliberate on Mugabe's succession. "Since the President has opened the
debate, we will talk about the issue without fear. We will express our views
about those who have been touted as having intentions to take over the
presidency," said Nyaruwata. He suggested that various platforms should be
used to debate, among which must be party conferences and congresses as well
as the politburo. Nyaruwata added that the war veterans movement would
constantly engage Mugabe, who is their patron, in making recommendations of
possible successors. At a politburo meeting held early this year, another
central committee member, who is reported to belong to one succession camp,
reportedly openly told Mugabe to tell the party and the nation his plans on
retirement. In a thinly veiled attack on Mugabe, Nyaruwata said his
organisation would welcome a successor who would have demonstrated the
intention to kick-start the ailing economy by re-engaging the International
Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. "The leader should have a fresh
perspective on how to turn around the economy, while at the same time
improving relations with the international community," he said. "In addition,
he should genuinely respect war veterans and should demonstrate a long
history of support for the struggle for independence in Zimbabwe."
media has been awash with reports of plans for Mugabe's exit from power. In
January this year, there were reports that Mugabe had agreed to a process of
handing over power to a transitional government that would involve
the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Mugabe and the ruling party
dismissed such plans. The recent announcements by the President encouraging
open discourse on succession are widely seen as an indication that Mugabe
is prepared to go any time, as long as he is convinced that his departure
would not cause mayhem in the ruling party. Camps have reportedly been
formed within the party as presidential aspirants jostle to claim pole
position in the race to succeed Mugabe. Emmerson Mnangagwa, Zanu PF's
national secretary for administration is believed to be leading one camp
while retired army general, Solomon Mujuru is said to be leading a contending
camp, to which defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi, Air Marshall Perence Shiri
and army commander, Lieutenant-General Constantine Chiwenga are said to be
Congo death toll: 2,500 per
day No end in sight for deadliest
conflict since WW II
Diplomat sees `a type
of genocide going on here'
O'REILLY SPECIAL TO THE
KINSHASA-When a barge laden with aid
supplies left here during a rare moment of optimism last year, two doves were
thrown into the air to symbolize a long-awaited peace in the troubled heart
One dove refused to fly. The
other plunged into the filthy waters of the Congo River where, its feathers
coated in oil, it slowly drowned.
yet another ill omen for the Democratic Republic of Congo, which has seen
countless failed attempts to end Africa's biggest
For nearly five years, the
sprawling regional war being waged in the former Zaire has drifted in and out
of world view, grabbing occasional headlines only after a spate of heavy
fighting, a massacre, the murder of a president or a volcanic
Most battles are fought in
remote areas, their victims unrecorded, while all sides race to export
minerals to make jewelry or the latest technological gadgets for rich
But violence, hunger and disease
are blamed for between 3.3 million and 4.7 million deaths, making this the
deadliest conflict since World War II, according to a recent report by the
New York-based International
"We'll never know how
many have died because the bodies have disappeared - whole villages and
tribes have disappeared," says a senior diplomat here in the
"There's a type of genocide going
on here and the international community is still quiet. It is such a complex,
kaleidoscopic thing that it is difficult for the Western mind to grasp the
intricacies of the African issues
Cannibalism, tribal clashes and
the presence of traditional warriors who believe magic water can stop bullets
only enhance the haunting portrait of Congo painted a century ago in Joseph
Conrad's classic novel, Heart
The vast territory has
rarely enjoyed peace or stability since Belgium's King Leopold II carved out
a private central African empire that became a byword for greed and
Mobutu Sese Seko seized power
after a hasty independence in 1960 and his kleptocratic rule lasted nearly
A chaotic country the size
of western Europe, Congo is now split into personal fiefdoms loosely
controlled by various rebel factions, countless groups of roving armed
bandits and a government unable to regain its grasp on
The main belligerents claim to
be fighting for the "reunification" of their country, but tribal and national
interests have taken precedence and the net result for most of Congo's 60
million people is more poverty and extreme
For Agnes, a 20-year-old woman
in the eastern lakeside town of Bukavu, every kick from the child in her
belly is a dull reminder of the night armed men burst into her village home
in the forest and raped her until she
"It is a child of
evil, but it is also partly my blood, so I don't know what to do," she
whispers, explaining she was a virgin before the attack. "It torments
Another 15 women, huddled under a
nearby tree at a help centre, are so distraught that they occasionally vomit
at the thought of their experiences - experiences that form a terrifying
pattern of mass rape used as a weapon of
"I can't think of anywhere else where
the situation is as bad as it is here," says one Western aid worker in
"Forget Afghanistan under the
Taliban. Eastern Congo is probably the worst place in the world to be a
woman. And the thing is, very little is being done to change
The region was plunged into anarchy
when thousands of Hutu extremists, known as Interahamwe, fled into Congo's
wilds after committing the 1994 Rwandan
Rwanda and an allied Congolese
rebel army pursued them, triggering a war that has steadily mushroomed. The
sheer number of factions has dampened hopes for
The cycle of violence includes
traditional Mai-Mai warriors, fighting against the rebels of the
Rwandan-backed Rally for Congolese Democracy, which nominally controls
one-third of the mineral-rich state.
is frequently used against women to punish husbands suspected
of collaborating with the Mai-Mai," according to the Canadian
organization Rights & Democracy.
"Some combatants are said to have boasted about having infected the women
they raped with AIDS."
Up to 60 per cent
of the soldiers and militia fighters in eastern Congo are thought to be
infected with the HIV virus that causes AIDS, pointing to future catastrophe
for the rape victims and their country.
the remote gold-mining town of Shabunda, local people reckon 80 per cent of
the women have been raped. Others have had their genitals mutilated with
sticks, knives, razors or guns.
predators follow a pattern. They attack at night or target women collecting
food, water or firewood from fields.
and girls are kidnapped as sex slaves and forced to cook, do laundry and
transport looted goods.
The war in
Africa's third-largest country began when rebels backed by Uganda and Rwanda
invaded in 1998 to hunt down Rwanda's genocidal
Uganda and Rwanda started off as
allies, but turned on each other. Their armies have clashed several times in
Congo and the two countries support opposing factions battling for control of
the country's enormous riches.
"Africa's First World War," the conflict has polarized the region, pitting
Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi and various rival rebel groups against the government
and allies Angola, Zimbabwe and Namibia.
Unfinished civil wars in Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi and Angola have played out
on Congo's soil, while local feuds and tribal enmities fuel ethni c violence
in the northeast.
A 1999 peace deal froze
the armies in place but failed to stop the fighting or the looting of Congo's
wealth of natural resources, including gold, diamonds, timber and coltan, a
mineral used in laptops, cellphones and stealth
Most foreign troops have pulled
out, but leaders from all sides in Congo's war are still accused by the
United Nations of plundering resources while the population
Diamonds are Congo's biggest
source of export earnings, officially worth $240 million in 2000 and $225
million (all figures U.S.) in 2001, according to government
But twice that amount is smuggled
out illegally through porous borders by corrupt officials, criminal networks
and rebels, according to a report by Partnership Africa Canada, an
"People are becoming
poorer, while others - entrepreneurs, thieves and killers - are becoming
richer," it said.
There have been
countless peace accords - the most recent signed this month - and occasional
glimmers of hope.
But advances toward a
lasting peace are threatened by the volatile situation in the northeastern
province of Ituri, where recent ethnic massacres have brought echoes of
Rwanda's 1994 genocide.
between Hema and Lendu tribes around the northeastern town of Bunia have
killed hundreds of civilians in recent
The United Nations Mission in Congo
is woefully understaffed, with only about 4,400 troops thinly spread across
the country and unwilling to venture into the most troubled
Member nations are reluctant to get
involved in such a complex war and the U.N. is hampered by its status as an
observer mission with no mandate to interfere when fighting
Congolese civilians have little
respect for U.N. personnel, often throwing rocks at their gleaming white SUVs
and referring to them as "tourists" for their fat
France's offer to lead a more
robust foreign presence in Ituri may be tempered by the recent news that two
U.N. military observers were "savagely killed" near Bunia, according to U.N.
spokesman Hamdoun Toure.
While the world
waits to act, the death toll continues to rise in a war with an estimated
2,500 fatalities per day.
common, but most of the war's fatalities are from malnutrition and lack of
access to basic health care in a country with virtually no infrastructure,
where crops have been abandoned and the economy has collapsed, along with
what little health care existed before the
"I am fighting for Congo," says
Jackson, a 16-year-old soldier who has been fighting with Ugandan-backed
rebels in northern Congo for three years.
But when asked what he or his country has gained from the war, he shrugs and
replies, "I don't
Finbarr O'Reilly is a Canadian journalist who writes extensively
Government accused of
hypocrisy over arms sales to African
states By Nigel Morris, Home Affairs
Correspondent 27 May
The Government was accused of
hypocrisy yesterday for allowing arms sales worth £16m to central African
nations embroiled in the war in the Democratic Republic of
British companies sold shotguns,
pistols, helmets and body armour to Angola, Namibia, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda
and Zimbabwe between 1999 and 2001. They have been caught up in fighting that
has paralysed the country since the
The Government - which announced
last week that it was considering joining a peace-keeping force planned for
the north-eastern DRC - said that careful checks were made on arms exports to
central Africa to ensure they could not make their way to the
But critics said that the sales were
underminilng government promises to apply an "ethical dimension" to foreign
policy - and warned it would be impossible to keep track of the equipment
once it had arrived in central Africa.
In 1999, sales to the region included £3m of body armour and helmets to
Angola and armoured vehicles to Uganda. The following year, UK companies sold
£1m of body armour and assault rifles to Namibia and £1m of military vehicles
In 2001, the most recent year
for which arms sales figures were released, Angola bought £8m of military and
armoured vehicles, while machine pistols and weapon-cleaning equipment was
sent to Uganda.
Norman Lamb, the Liberal
Democrat MP and campaigner on the crisis in the DRC, said: "This makes claims
of an ethical policy a sham. The Government has been hypocritical on this
issue. We are talking about four and a half million African lives that have
been lost over five years and British companies are profiting from it.
There's blood on the Government's hands over
A spokesman for Amnesty
International said: "The fact that the UK has relatively recently licensed
the export of armoured vehicles to Angola and Uganda - two nations heavily
involved in Africa's so-called world war - raises fresh questions about the
Government's ability to properly regulate the arm
"The question that should be asked
is - can the British Government account for the whereabouts of its equipment
and can it guarantee it has not fallen into the hands of warring militias
committing massacres in eastern Congo?"
A spokesman for Saferworld, an anti-arms sales pressure group, said the
granting of licences proved the need for tougher scrutiny of the
weapons trade. "It is encouraging that the Government are considering sending
troops to the Democratic Republic of Congo as an effective peace-keeping
force is desperately needed. This must be backed up, though, by tougher arms
export controls," he said.
Office has said that each licence granted was checked against the risk that
the arms could be used in internal suppression or external aggression. Much
of the 2001 sales to Angola were said to be for the oil
In February 2000, Tony Blair
announced that the Government would not grant arms export licences to
countries involved in the DRC, if there was a "clear risk" that they could be
used in the conflict.
One month earlier,
the Prime Minister faced anger after he overruled the Foreign Secretary at
the time, Robin Cook, and gave the all-clear for parts for Hawk jets to be
sent to Zimbabwe, which was known to be involved in the fighting in the
am busy reaping grape fruit and both my pallet jacks have "jacked" in. If you
know of anyone selling a couple I would appreciate if you could put them in
touch with me. Please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
I have a 100 kva Kohler generator for sale. It has
done 500 hours and is complete with change over switch and control boxes,
tank and silencer. If interested please ring Pat Johnson on 04 332798 or 011
Carol Johnson (ex Chinhoyi) is now working in Harare
as a Sales Representative for Lomagundi Travel, Harare. Please contact her if
you need any travel arrangements done either locally or internationally.
There are some very good specials on at the moment, which may be of interest
to you. Her contact telephone numbers are: 04 332798 or Cell
1) I am looking for a 150KVA generator (100KVA would
do if necessary). Contact: Anthony Humphreys 091 272 148 or (04) 741060
2) I am
also looking for a qualified electrician, between 30 and 45 years old. Must
be in a position to possibly travel between Harare and Kariba on a
fortnightly basis. Contact: Anthony Humphreys 091 272 148 or (04) 741060
27 May 2003 Libyan foreign minister, Dr Ali Tarki, has
called on the people of Zimbabwe to remain united to overcome the variuos
challenges facing the country.
Speaking after meeting President Robert
Mugabe at Zimbabwe House in Harare on Monday, Dr Tarki said he is in Zimbabwe
to deliver a special message to President Mugabe from his Libyan counterpart,
Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.
The Libyan foreign foreign minister held a one
and half hour meeting with President Mugabe. He said some fuel leakages have
to be dealt with thoroughly for Zimbabwe to solve the problem of fuel
COmmenting on Africa Day, Dr Tarki said Libya is willing to
host some of the institutions of the African Union, adding that 15 African
countries have agreed to have the African parliament established in
He said Mauritius is expected to host the African Court of Justice
and the Maputo African Union summit in Mozambique in July will set a clearer
picture of how the continent is moving foward in consolidating
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe, 79 in February, broke new ground last week by
declaring -- at last -- he would welcome an open debate on who will succeed
Any discussion was in the past kept
stringently off the Zanu(PF) agenda, and it was declared that Mugabe would
remain in power until he completes his present term in
This is still, technically, the
"Some leaders are
consulting traditional healers and ancestral spirits in search of charms,"
Mugabe revealed at a rally in the remote Tsakare area near Mount Darwin,
200km north of the capital. He can only have been quoting reports he gets
from Central Intelligence Organisation spying on his own supposedly most
He repeated identical
remarks the following day at another rural rally. He lashed out at young
black professionals and business people who, he said, "work against the
government" although their livelihoods are at its financial
Mugabe was, albeit unwittingly,
drawing attention to a revolution that has taken place here over the past 50
years, and not in African
The policy of the former
Southern Rhodesian Native Affairs Department differed radically from that
applied by the British Colonial Office in neighbouring Bechuanaland
(Botswana) and Northern Rhodesia (Zambia), and that in South Africa, in its
refusal to recognise any paramount chiefs.
As late as 1948 it ignored an appeal by Matabeleland tribal elders for a
descendant of Lobengula to be installed as
In the 1950s, however,
investigations by a young white researcher into the 15th-18th century
Monomotapa dynasty started a wave of excitement among Shona families who
claimed to be heirs.
From one point of
view (and many are valid), this marked the beginning of the fight for
enthronement of a Zimbabwean "monarch" who would -- as the Native Affairs
Department all along feared -- challenge white
A prominent claimant, Isaac
Samuriwo, was told by a spirit medium to spend a night in a remote place,
where sight of a lion would signal his impending promotion. Around midnight
he lost his nerve, the family tell me.
Samuriwo joined the Dominion Party led by Winston Field (later the first
Rhodesian Front prime minister), gaining election as an
Samuriwo was, significantly, closely
related to Robert Mugabe, to the pioneer African nationalist James Chikerema
(who confidently declared in 1979 that he would soon succeed Bishop Abel
Muzorewa as premier), and to the late chief justice Enoch Dumbutshena, who
contested the 1995
significantly, Samuriwo's top-down leadership aspirations mirrored those of
the patrician Godfrey Huggins (Lord Malvern) who would loftily tell visiting
British politicians that only he understood and knew how to manage white
Rhodesians. White voters were soon to espouse men with "the common touch",
Roy Welensky and Ian Smith.
Rhodesian government tried to cultivate a paramount in the form of the
pro-white Chief Chirau, a former air force guard and Lusaka Fire Brigade
member who had been an acting chief during his ageing
Under Shona custom,
he was ineligible to succeed when his father died, but the white authorities
for once managed to bend the rules. White meddling in other chieftainships
frequently met with ignominious rebuff when the people -- and the spirit
mediums -- refused to acknowledge their
The Rhodesian government set
the country on the slippery slope to its present culture of impunity when it
rushed an Indemnity Act through Parliament to stop legal action against
Chirau, then president of the Council of Chiefs, for serious assaults on two
activists for Muzorewa. Handcuffed by his guards, they suffered internal
injuries from being repeatedly kicked by
Such, however, was Chirau's charisma
-- the force of his "tutelary spirit" in tribal lore -- that Mugabe joined
the mourners when he died in 1985.
Throughout Mugabe's 23-year rule, he has made frequent claims to
the authority of the ancestral spirits. New legislation reinforces the perks
and prerogatives of chiefs on a scale undreamed of by reactionary white
district commissioners. They now enjoy sweeping powers to arrest and expel
nocturnal kangaroo courts during the 1972-1980 bush war, Mugabe's Zanla
guerillas almost invariably combined accusations of witchcraft with
collaboration. Joshua Nkomo's Russian-trained Zipra, allied to the ANC's
uMkhonto we Sizwe, were never recorded to have employed
Mugabe's repeated charge
today is that supporters of Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic
Change are "totemless aliens" who have broken with their ancestral
This is the essence of the
sociological revolution Tsvangirai and his ilk represent. A veteran trades
unionist with no elitist ancestry pretensions, he is as far removed from
Mugabe in spirit as the Scottish socialist Kier Hardie was from Bonnie Prince
Charlie, or Aneurin Bevan from the Welsh wizard
This is why the ANC are so far off
beam when they equate the MDC with Mozambique's former Renamo rebels, mostly
rural people who under Portuguese rule were classified as "non-assimilado" --
unassimilated into modern legal norms.
The egalitarian and democratic spirit in the MDC acquired its organisation
from Denmark's social democrat trades union, throwing off the Eastern bloc
concept of workers' leaders telling them what the Marxist theorists in party
headquarters want them to think.
draws its core support from a new black lower middle class who watch
television, who have relatives in the three-million strong
Zimbabwean diaspora, but are too poor to own businesses which make them
hostages to Mugabe's patronage system.
They are to be met every day in queues where they express
themselves voluably, but are of course unheard by the elite, who have another
source of supply.
As the economy and
the Zimbabwean currency continue to plunge -- inflation in April reached
269,2 percent -- we are moving into a vicious apartheid that will cleave this
society from top to bottom, one section having a source of supply ruled by
the US dollar, the other by the Zimbabwean
Special shops and filling
stations, operated on concessions by members of Mugabe's elite, are making
everything from imported lamb and butter to petrol available to a privileged
few who can pay in foreign exchange.
US dollar last week fluctuated at US1$ to Z$1 500-Z$2
Meanwhile a woman primary school
teacher, earning Z$56 385 a month, is hard put to pay Z$10 000 for a single
packet of modern "feminine requisites", which have to be imported since the
local factory closed.
Such people care as
much for mumbo-jumbo about lions as today's average Athens office worker
thinks about the Delphic Oracle and the Eleusinian Mysteries. Most are, in
any case, members of the mainline Christian
Mugabe and Zanu(PF) will be
unable to eliminate them unless (God and the ANC forbid) they adopt the
Killing Fields genocidal tactics of the Khmer Rouge. The issue is not,
therefore, about Tsvangirai's individual character, the influence of the
dwindling number of whites or the British and
Which is why
those South Africans who back Zanu(PF) are putting their money on a
foundering horse. By telling us how his lieutenants still dabble with charms
and spirits, Mugabe reveals not only the atmosphere of paranoia he has
created around himself, but how his elite has failed to modernise
THE ruling ZANU PF will hold
provincial congresses around the country in the next six months to ascertain
from party supporters who they want to succeed President Robert Mugabe as
ZANU PF president, The Daily News
emerged that ruling party members were split between former finance minister
Simba Makoni and Speaker of Parliament Emmerson Mnangagwa as potential
successors for Mugabe.
Both Makoni and
Mnangagwa have been named in the past year as likely candidates to replace
However, the speaker of Parliament
told the High Court this month that he had no presidential
Preparations for the provincial
congresses come after Mugabe at a gathering in Mount Darwin last week openly
encouraged succession debate within his party, for the second time this
Mugabe also indicated during an
interview on State television conducted a few days after the 18 April
Independence Day holiday that his potential successors within the party
should openly declare their intentions to encourage
ZANU PF secretary for information
and publicity Nathan Shamuyarira told The Daily News that the debate on
Mugabe's successor would start within the provincial structures of the party
and would continue at the ZANU PF annual
ZANU PF has 10 provincial
structures countrywide. The party normally holds its annual congress in
"Debate within ZANU PF itself
will start from the provinces and central committee, before reaching the
Politburo and the annual congress," Shamuyarira said. "The President has said
this is an all inclusive debate and everyone is free to participate without
He however would not discuss
the behind-the-scenes campaign by potential candidates, which ruling party
insiders say has already begun.
officials said if the choice of the provinces was used to determine the
selection of a potential successor to Mugabe, Mnangagwa would have the upper
However, the officials said the
majority of ZANU PF's Politburo and central committee, key organs in the
ruling party's decision making process, were backing Makoni, who they believe
has a "solid appeal to voters".
the feeling within the party was that Makoni's appeal for the electorate
would enable the ruling party to defeat the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change in any election. The former finance minister is also said
to have "a good rapport with the international community", which would be
important for Zimbabwe's economic future.
Foreign investors and multilateral agencies have suspended support
for Zimbabwe and it is believed Makoni could help to unlock the billions
of dollars worth of support that is crucial for the revival of the
"The contest is
between Mnangagwa and Makoni," said a ZANU PF Politburo member from
Mashonaland Central province, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "Mnangagwa
has the leaders of the provincial executives on his side, but one does not
know the extent of their influence in this process. On the other hand, a
majority of central committee and Politburo members, who are mandated with
endorsing or vetoing key decisions, are rallying behind
"If the debate comes to the
central and Politburo level, it is Makoni all the way. We have been
consulting informally and Makoni seems to be an outright choice given the way
the politics is unfolding in Zimbabwe and the influence of the international
arena," the Politburo member added.
leaving the Cabinet last year, Makoni has refused to comment on his political
Meanwhile, ZANU PF insiders
yesterday said when Mnangagwa assumed the party's secretary for
administration portfolio, he immediately embarked on an exercise to
restructure the provincial executive leadership to ensure that people who
would support his candidature were at the
During the process, he also purged
those who did not back his candidature for the party's national chairmanship,
eventually won by Special Affairs Minister John
Mnangagwa has the support of
Midlands chairman July Moyo, who is related to him, as well as that of Mark
Madiro, provincial chairman of Manicaland. Madiro was director of finance at
ZANU PF when Mnangagwa was the secretary for finance in the Politburo, party
They said Mnangagwa also
enjoyed the support of the Masvingo province through Vice-President Simon
Muzenda. Mashonaland West province is headed by Phillip Chiyangwa, who is
linked to the Mnangagwa camp, as is Elliot Manyika, who heads Mashonaland
provincial chairman Jabulani Sibanda is also linked to the Mnangagwa
The three Matabeleland provinces as
well as Mashonaland East are understood to be backing Makoni, who ruling
party officials say has the support of ZANU PF stalwarts such as retired army
general Solomon Mujuru, John Nkomo, Dumiso Dabengwa and Edisson
BULAWAYO Executive Mayor Japhet
Ndabeni-Ncube has warned Local Government, Public Works and National Housing
Minister Ignatius Chombo of an impending health crisis in Zimbabwe's second
city because of severe
In a letter to
the minister, the mayor said because of the fuel shortages, the city's entire
vehicle fleet had been grounded, affecting critical departments such as fire
and ambulance services as well as
The council last
week notified residents and other service consumers that it had run out of
diesel and had grounded its vehicles.
his letter to Chombo, Ndabeni-Ncube said the government should place local
authorities at a high priority fuel allocation rating, to enable them to
continue running emergency service
The mayor said: "I wrote to make
the government aware of the dire straits in which local authorities,
including Bulawayo, are in running daily service delivery because of the fuel
crisis. I also asked that local authorities be placed on the high priority
fuel consumers rating so that they can get some of the little fuel the
country receives to run crucial sectors like fire, ambulance and refuse
Ndabeni-Ncube said the
Bulawayo City Council had come up with contingency measures, under which the
petrol available was being allocated to the fire and ambulance
Under the same measures, the
council has managed to keep at least three refuse collection vehicles
"As we speak, the council has no
drop of diesel. We however are aware of the health hazard posed by
uncollected refuse. With that in mind, the refuse collection system has been
staggered to allow at least three vehicles to remain mobile and service all
areas at least once a week," the Bulawayo mayor told The Daily
He added: "This may mean long delays
in collection from some areas, but we believe residents understand the nature
of this problem and will bear with us."
The fuel supply situation has deteriorated in Bulawayo since the end of the
Zimbabwe International Trade Fair last
The Bulawayo municipality is only
one of several around Zimbabwe whose delivery of crucial services has been
affected by the shortage of diesel
Most city councils have
been forced to ground their vehicles because of the fuel crisis, which has
also crippled the operations of many manufacturers and commercial
MATOBO District - For Anna
Mathathu, it is incomprehensible that the protein-rich mopani caterpillar
could be facing extinction in the Matabeleland region if urgent steps are not
taken to conserve its habitat.
her life, the 56-year-old villager has relied on the seasonal delicacy to
supplement her meagre diet.
But it has
become obvious to her, and countless other residents of Matobo district -
located about 70 kilometres south of Bulawayo - that unless conservation
strategies are adopted, the mopani caterpillar will not accompany future
rains as it has done for decades.
delicacy is known to the Ndebele-speaking people of Matabeleland as amacimbi
, to the Kalanga as mahonja or mashonja and to the Shona
Encased in a tough and spiky
skin that protects its nutritional flesh, the mopani caterpillar has gained
popularity as a delicacy in the countries of southern and central
To the rural communities of
Matabeleland, where it thrives, it has become an important source of
But a brisk trade in the delicacy is
threatening its survival and worrying villagers, who say there is no
regulatory system to control the mopani caterpillar business that has become
a source of livelihood for hundreds of people from within and outside Matobo
"That (threat) is because people
from outside the district have been over-exploiting the resource without
considering that the caterpillars need to regenerate every year. Such people
care more about the profits they derive from the resource than its
sustainability," Mathathu told The
The villager, who is from
the Manyane area of Matobo district, added: "Even the prime
amacimbi-producing parts of the district still do not have the caterpillars
despite the rains this year. We fear they may not appear next
"It could be the end of amacimbi in
the district. As long as outsiders who are not concerned with the local
environment and who do not understand the importance of the worms to the
economy of this district are allowed to over-harvest the resource, we can be
sure that we will not have any amacimbi to talk about next
Villagers say the steady decline in
the supply of amacimbi began three years ago when groups of women from
Bulawayo and Harare began invading the area to buy the mopani worms, leading
to over-harvesting of the delicacy.
Traders from Zimbabwe's main urban areas export the caterpillars to Botswana,
the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), South Africa
The caterpillars were
initially taken to the DRC in 1998, where they were an instant hit, with
Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa and Zambia also becoming major
The absence of regulations or
legislation to control the harvesting of the mopani worms has made it
impossible for rural communities in Matabeleland to limit the trade in the
delicacy, some villagers told The Daily
Canaan Ncube, a ward development
committee member in the Donkwe area, said: "The problem is that there are no
local by-laws stating who should harvest, where and how
"So, there is no balance between the
demand for the product and its regeneration, and this endangers the
sustainability of the whole trade locally and
He said the harvesting of
amacimbi had become so commercialised that the mopani tree, the caterpillar's
habitat and source of food, was endangered every rainy
"People fell down decades-old
mopani trees just to get a kilogramme of immature caterpillars," he noted.
"In the process, the habitat is destroyed and once the immature caterpillars
are harvested, there is no hope of others re-appearing in the same
Although local authorities in whose
areas the caterpillars thrive have been advised to introduce by-laws to
manage harvesting as well as to safeguard the environment and the
caterpillars' habitat, most councils in Matabeleland South have yet to
implement such regulations.
businessman involved in the caterpillar trade pointed out: "In Matobo, anyone
can come and camp in the bush. They burn down the trees, take the amacimbi
away and leave the producers of this delicacy with multiple environmental
"Trees die, and the fires they
make have always turned into veldfires. So, we are the net losers in the
exploitation of our own resource."
Dube, the Matebeleland South provincial natural resources' officer, told The
Daily News that the authorities in the province were aware of the destruction
of habitat and were attempting to come up with
"We are aware of the
over-harvesting and attendant environmental problems," he
"We are working with a number of
councils to form local groups that will monitor the harvesting and protect
the trees. The theory is that given incentives like exclusive harvesting
permits, villagers can take better care of their trees and protect the mopani
worm from over-harvesting. But we need regulatory support from the councils
to achieve this."
But he said so far only
Gwanda, Bulilimamangwe and Mangwe districts had come up with distinguishable
local interest groups, which were being educated by his department about the
importance of resource-exploitation monitoring and habitat
"In Gwanda district, we
provide advisory services to monitoring and licencing committees in ward 17.
But it is not easy for the department to monitor environmental problems where
there are no local by-laws to refer to," Dube
Technical assistance to affected
rural district councils is also being provided by the Communal Areas
Management Programme for Indigenous Resources (CAMPFIRE), created to help
rural communities sustainably utilise
Judas Nyaguse, an
information officer with CAMPFIRE, said his organisation was not directly
involved with mopani-producing communities but was giving technical
assistance to councils to empower communities to take control of their
"Our business is to advise RDCs
(rural district councils) in the building of capacities for resource-control.
But we do not have any programme on amacimbi exploitation in Matobo
District," he said.
"We are currently
working with the Bulilimamangwe and Mangwe councils to set up processing
factories at Madlambudzi and Brunapeg," he
ALEXANDER Legault, a
Canadian-based political consultant who had been listed as one of the
prosecution's witnesses in the ongoing treason trial of three leaders of the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), is due to be deported from
Canada on Friday to face trial in the United States on fraud charges
amounting to at least US$20 million (Z$16,4 billion), it has been
Legault doubles as
vice-president and chief finance officer of Dickens and Madson, a Canadian
political consultancy headed by Ari Ben-Menashe, the principal prosecution's
witness in the trial of MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai, secretary-general
Welshman Ncube and Renson Gasela, the opposition party's shadow minister of
According to correspondence
between the opposition leaders' lawyers and an attorney appointed in Canada
to assist the defence with investigations, an enforcement officer with
Canada's Department of Immigration met with Legault on 2 April 2003 to
government has bought him a plane ticket to New Orleans. The American
authorities will be waiting for him when he gets there," said a letter from
the Canadian attorney, read out last week in the High Court by South African
advocate George Bizos, the head of the
"He is wanted on fraud
charges totalling $7 million in the State of Louisiana and on $13 million in
the State of Florida."
to have been living in Montreal for the past 21 years, was in the original
list of 11 State witness - four of them foreigners - who were to testify in
the high profile case.
He was dropped at
the start of the trial in February when he failed to travel to Harare
"because of ill health".
claimed that Tsvangirai requested Dickens and Madson to assist in the
assassination of President Robert Mugabe and the overthrow of the ZANU PF
Tsvangirai and his co-accused
deny the charges.
Legault attended and
took part in discussions during the 4 December 2001 meeting at the Dickens
and Madson headquarters in Montreal, where Tsvangirai allegedly requested
assistance in the murder and coup
The head of the Central
Intelligence Organisation, retired army Brigadier Happyton Bonyongwe, said
during cross-examination last week he was not aware of Legault's impending
Efforts to contact Canadian
authorities in Harare and Ottawa were unsuccessful yesterday. The MDC
leaders' treason trial continues tomorrow.
THE Zimbabwe Electricity Supply
Authority (ZESA) pension fund is reported to have been prejudiced of more
than $4,1 billion after the power utility apparently withdrew funds to pay
off exit packages to several workers who had retired before their mandatory
retirement age of 60 years.
Workers and trustees say Sydney Gata, the ZESA executive chairman, authorised
without their consent the withdrawal of $4,1 billion to pay retrenchment
packages to retiring workers.
circumstances, the exit packages are supposed to be paid from ZESA's coffers
and not from the pension fund, whose funds are only withdrawn when an
employee has retired.
One of the trustees
said last week that trustees understood that ZESA, after dismissing or
suspending workers since last year, would pay these workers their salaries
from the pension fund.
"What we have
gathered is that several of these workers were then given their packages from
the fund instead of ZESA coffers," the
"Most of these retired on
medical grounds or after ZESA realised that it would lose the cases in a
labour tribunal before reaching their retirement age of 60. ZESA should have
paid the actuarial deficit in years to each person's monthly contributions
until the 60-year mark but the power utility has not done
The workers charged that Gata, who
is also the chairman of the pension fund, had capitalised on his dual
chairmanship of the fund and the authority to authorise the withdrawal of
money from the pension scheme.
But Gata on
Friday denied being involved in the alleged racket, which has reportedly
prejudiced the pension fund. He said when he joined ZESA in 1999, he
inherited an $8,4 billion loss accrued in 1998 and 1999, and he had now
turned the company into a profit-making
"We have managed for the first
time to pay 50 percent dividends to the government," Gata said. "In 2001,
ZESA made a profit of $6,5 billion. I personally fought for the provision of
$4,2 billion to bail out the pension fund which had by then a long history of
actuarial deficits. In that year we got a zero percent tariff
Asked about the concerns of
workers and trustees that he has abused the fund, Gata scoffed at the
allegations saying the government had actually assigned him to clean up the
He said there were serious
problems at the pension fund before his appointment but these had been
cleared. "I have a letter from the Ministry of Mines and Energy commending me
for doing a good job at the fund,"
"I appointed a task force of
employer and employee trustees to administer that fund. There is no decision
that l make without the approval of the board of
"Furthermore, the fund has
financial advisers and no investment is carried out without the
recommendation of the sub-committee of the
Gata said he did
not regularly chair the fund because he had solved the problems at the fund
and his deputy, identified only as Chikwenhere, now chaired its meetings on
He asked why he would
abuse the fund when it was common knowledge that ZESA workers had actually
voted him in absentia while he was in Europe to become the founding president
of the association of ZESA pensioners.
Wilson Lungu, the acting general manager of the pension fund, could not
disclose how much was in its coffers now and how ZESA came to rescue the fund
Lungu said although the
pension fund had its trustees - four elected by the workers, one pensioner
and five representing ZESA - the authority still remained the majority
shareholder of that fund in which it contributed 21 percent of each
employees' monthly contribution.
striking workers last Thursday presented a petition to Amos Midzi, the
Minister of Energy and Power Development, Emmerson Mnangagwa, the Speaker of
Parliament, and Gibson Sibanda, the leader of the Movement for Democratic
Change in the House outlining what they said were the reasons for the
collapse of ZESA.
"The authority is now
being managed by personal assistants and ad hoc committees that are formed
and dissolved," the workers claimed.
This is leaving a lot of business unfinished and it is impractical to audit
and evaluate his (Gata's) different management teams. We ask you to set up a
commission of inquiry that includes worker representatives." They urged Midzi
to co-operate with ZESA workers in Grades A1 to D2 who they said had shocking
information on alleged corruption at the State-run
Midzi yesterday confirmed
receiving the workers' petition but said he had not read
The workers said ZESA management's
priorities compromised service delivery and prejudiced the power utility of
billions of dollars.
"We are devastated to
bring to your attention that almost all the former directors and other former
employees who were given their packages running into billions of dollars have
now been re-engaged by the executive chairman as consultants, further
siphoning our depleted funds," the
Gata said ZESA had
several consultants who had benefited the company because it now made profit
running into billions of dollars annually.
The workers said Fortune Sambo, who was ZESA's industrial relations officer,
Tendai Chikandura, the former ZESA properties manager, and Philip Mhike, a
former deputy police commissioner who is now ZESA's risk control consultant,
had been re-engaged as consultants at ZESA head office despite being
retrenched about two years ago.
Mavhivha, described by the workers as Gata's ally, is also
Bridget Zhakata, Gata's
"senior" secretary, is said to be employed on a consultancy basis which the
workers claim is draining the power utility of critically needed
Sarah Dube, who was formerly the
personnel officer for the company, was made the secretary for the management
Advisory Committee, a position which was previously not
Gata said he had two personal
assistants, both of whom had their individual executive secretaries, but
denied that any of these employees were his relatives. In fact, he said, the
workers had been recruited by a private employment
The petition says: "Dozens of ZESA
employees are on suspension with full pay and ZESA is paying double salaries
for their replacements. With the expertise we have in Grades A1 and D2,
please be advised that we don't
"Our labour force is
so competent that we can actually out-source our skills as consultants to
other small organisations and get the much-needed revenue. We only need a
visionary to lead our organisation."
leader Morgan Tsvangirai has set the first week of June for mass
demonstrations to oust President Robert Mugabe, but analysts yesterday warned
that Zimbabwe's army and not Mugabe stood in the way of Tsvangirai's final
push for power.
demonstrations, which are planned to occur simultaneously in all urban
centres across Zimbabwe, could cripple Mugabe's embattled government, the
But they warned that in the
process, they would also create a power vacuum that could give the army a
pretext to step into the fray, ostensibly to restore national order and
"If the mass action cripples the
system and the government of the day is unable to function, that provides a
scenario for the military forces to intervene," University of Zimbabwe (UZ)
lecturer and political commentator Heneri Dzinotyiwei said
Ratcheting up pressure on
Mugabe, Tsvangirai last Sunday told 15 000 supporters of his Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) in Harare to prepare for mass demonstrations to begin
on 2 June and which are aimed at forcing Mugabe to relinquish
Tsvangirai says the street protests
are the final solution to a severe political and economic crisis that has
gripped Zimbabwe since Mugabe's controversial re-election last
The opposition leader has also filed
a court challenge against Mugabe' s victory, which he argues was secured
through violence and outright fraud. Mugabe denies the
The MDC would push for elections
within three months after Mugabe was deposed through mass protests next
month, Tsvangirai said on Sunday.
lawyer and political commentator Brian Kagoro said Tsvangirai and his MDC
party could successfully storm Mugabe's State House residence or
his Munhumutapa office complex only if the army stepped
"If it (mass action) is to succeed,
there has to be a deal between the organisers of the planned marches and the
army, in which the soldiers will agree to stand on the side lines," said
Kagoro, who is also national coordinator of Crisis in Zimbabwe, a coalition
of civic groups in the country.
groups within Crisis in Zimbabwe have said they will support the planned mass
Tsvangirai has so far not
publicly indicated whether he has any guarantees from Zimbabwe's armed forces
that they will not block the
However, the MDC leader
has publicly called on the army not to allow itself to be used against
innocent civilians, revealing his anxiety over the soldiers' possible
reaction to the proposed marches to oust
The Zimbabwe Defence Forces, a
large proportion of whose top commanders and soldiers fought under Mugabe
during Zimbabwe's 1970s liberation war, have unwaveringly supported the
Days before the disputed
presidential election in March last year, the top commanders of Zimbabwe's
security forces declared in a statement that they would not accept a
president who did not fight in the independence
Tsvangirai, whom Mugabe accuses of
being a puppet of Zimbabwe's former colonial master Britain, did not
participate in the bush war.
National Liberation War Veterans' Association, grouping together the former
fighters, including those now serving in the army, vowed last week to use
military means to crush the planned MDC
Kagoro said in the absence of a
deal between Tsvangirai and the army, it was most likely the armed forces
would intervene against an MDC-marshaled popular uprising against
"There is no doubt in my mind that
the army will be taking a position that is against the popular action," the
respected analyst said.
middle-to-high ranking army officers have been given lucrative farms and
property seized by the government from white farmers under its controversial
Several army officers who
commanded Zimbabwe's military campaign in the Democratic Republic of the
Congo (DRC) also reportedly reaped huge profits from the illegal trade in
diamonds and timber, thus creating a "merchant class within the armed
forces," according to Kagoro.
National Army has denied its involvement in the looting of resources in the
Kagoro said Zimbabwe's army generals
were likely to order troops to crush the demonstrations, most probably
because: "A threat to the establishment is not only a threat to their
political interests, but also a threat to their economic and therefore
Tsvangirai and his MDC party had to ensure that the demonstrations were
orderly and peaceful in order to limit the grounds for intervention by the
"Otherwise if the worst case
scenario happened with the army intervening and taking over the running of
the country, it would be a big setback for both ZANU PF, MDC and
pro-democracy forces in Zimbabwe," Dzinotyiwei
The military, if it took over
management of the country because there was anarchy, would most likely ban
political activity setting back the bigger national struggle for democracy,
the UZ analyst added.
Institute of International Affairs researcher Herbert Ross said Zimbabweans
could expect little help from the region to rid themselves of the soldiers if
they took over political office.
said: "There would probably be protests against such a development, but there
would be very little meaningful action on the ground. Zimbabwe has a strong
army which no one in the region, including South Africa, would want to go to
war with just like that."
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has upped the stakes in Zimbabwe's
political game with the announcement of the dates for its proposed
Demonstrations whose success or failure will have far reaching implications
for the future of the party and Zimbabwe as a
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai told
supporters on Sunday to pray this week in preparation for the mass action,
dubbed the "final push" and scheduled to begin on 2
"We want to embark on a week of
democracy marches in every town and every workplace," Tsvangirai told a rally
in Harare. "We must be prepared to be arrested, we must be prepared to make a
mark to ensure that we will never again be
"We cannot stop this mass
action because (President Robert) Mugabe has offered nothing. Until he agrees
to go, we will continue to push."
anyone's guess how Zimbabweans will respond to the MDC's
But it must be clear to all
observers that the opposition party could be betting its future and that of
the entire nation on this one hand.
positive public reaction in which Zimbabweans take to the streets in their
hundreds of thousands will be a significant moral victory for
It will tip the odds in
the MDC's favour as it ratchets up pressure against Mugabe to call it quits
and make way for a government that could begin to put Zimbabwe's economy on
the path to recovery.
But an overwhelming
response to the call for mass action would not come without its
It is hard to say how State
security agents will react when faced with hundreds of thousands of angry,
determined people marching towards State House or the President's Munhumutapa
Already, veterans of Zimbabwe's
war of liberation have indicated that they plan to join forces with the
police and army to use "military force" against anti-government
The instability and chaos that
could result from a violent reaction to the proposed demonstrations would
have disastrous social, economic and political consequences for a country
that is already on the verge
Indeed, the public's fear
of violence could work against the MDC, convincing most Zimbabweans to stay
home and keep their heads down instead of risking life and limb by joining
the proposed street protests.
response from the public could be disastrous for Zimbabwe's main opposition
party, which now more than ever needs to demonstrate its continuing relevance
to national politics.
Failure to mobilise
support for the proposed action could cripple the MDC's efforts to play a
leading role in the struggle for democracy and change in
If the opposition party is
unable to drum up the numbers necessary to show its strength, there is little
chance that it will ever succeed in pressuring Mugabe into an early exit from
Neither will it be able
to press the government into abandoning the reckless policies that have
ruined Zimbabwe's once prosperous economy, whose decline could accelerate,
with serious social implications.
staking all on this proposed mass action, the MDC has virtually backed itself
into a corner and left itself with very few options. It is to be hoped that
the party's leadership has taken a long, hard look at all the ramifications
of the party's proposed action.
is important that all of Zimbabwe's leaders and their supporters maintain
cool and clear heads in the next week.
Sober heads and steady hands, not bravado, are needed for the challenges that
When elephants fight, it is the
grass that suffers. This adage runs true of the current situation in
The sour relationship
between the ruling party ZANU PF and the opposition, Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) has reached quite frightening levels albeit with disastrous
effects on Zimbabwe as a nation.
in tandem with its "brothers in arms", the NCA has gone on a vitriolic
warpath, calling on mass stayaways and accusing every government initiative
as "a desperate attempt" by what they call an illegal regime bent on clinging
to power against the wills of the people.
The ruling party's response on the other hand, has been equally bold branding
the MDC "as an imperialistic party bent on perpetrating British interests and
lacking in policies and programmes that enrich the
estate, the media have also lost their core values of objectivity, fairness
and accuracy during "these moments of
Media houses have aligned
themselves with political parties forgetting their core
Every newspaper carries an
article on Zanu PF and MDC as though there are no other issues of national
interest to report on.
Now is the time to
take stock of what we have done so far as a nation and the gains accrued so
far, that is if there are any.
interest are we perpetrating and advancing when we continue to hackle and bay
for each other's blood over issues that have torn us
What kind of environment are we
creating for our children to live in? The orgy of violence currently
engulfing the country would surely make those who died for this country
during the liberation war turn in their
Are we tired of ruling ourselves
barely 22 years since we
opposition parties have ably demonstrated that politics is not about tearing
the country through mass stayaways, destruction of infrastructure, murder and
intimidation of civilians but is about nation building through constructive
engagement of opposite sides.
parties should provide the checks and balances in a thriving democracy where
mutual respect of divergent ideas should be of paramount
The MDC should applaud the
government and ruling party if it comes up with a constructive piece of idea
that enhances the whole essence of nation building. It should equally take to
task the ruling party within a framework of constructive criticism, if
certain issues that it feels threaten the continued existence of Zimbabwe as
a nation are advanced by the
What do we see?
Unnecessary violence and unfortunate loss of human lives and a sad chapter in
the history of our country.
scenario brewed in a cauldron of mistrust and lack of communication has led
to a situation where the two parties are literally holding Zimbabwens at
Zimbabweans scattered around the
once beautiful country, continue to bear on end the brunt of this unending
Solutions to the Zimbabwean crisis
are not at 10 Downing Street, nor are they entrenched elsewhere in Europe,
but rather, they are here in Zimbabwe, at our own
We have allowed the western
imperialist forces and reactionaries to penetrate our ranks and files, sowing
seeds of hatred and mistrust, dictating terms to a once God fearing and
loving nation. That is regrettable and a sorry
Zimbabweans are one and we will
never stoop so low as to destroy our once beautiful land with our own hands.
We pledge to all work for peace and prosperity for our country, Zimba remabwe
- the house of stones.
I therefore urge
the opposition MDC and NCA to critically examine and ask themselves whether
the stayaways, sanctions and demonstrations are a panacea to Zimbabwean
Fellow Zimbabweans, it is never
too late to start rebuilding the house of stones lest posterity holds us
accountable for this genocide we are committing on our kith and kin -
Africans do not die forever - "Ropa remukaranga hariravirwe
The opposition can bury the
hatchet with the ruling party, forget the atrocities and pain inflicted on
each other, shake hands and start again to work for the good of the
For this to occur the opposition
parties need to shed their tainted image by disassociating themselves from
imperialist forces and once again become local opposition parties funded and
driven by locals for locals.
need to swallow our pride and end the queues in our country. Brothers and
sisters lets use our black intelligence, accept responsibility for our acts
and avoid becoming bitter for bitterness is cancerous and
'Zimbabwe among world's worst
3:08:31 AM (GMT +2)
THE payment of bribes to further
business interests has increased in the last three years in Zimbabwe, which
has been ranked 78th out of 80 countries in the World Economic Forum (WEF)'s
2002-2003 Global Competitiveness
The southern African
nation is ranked ahead of Venezuela and Guatamela, both facing severe
Zimbabwe lagged far
behind its closest neighbours Botswana and South Africa, who are ranked 24
and 53 respectively.
On a scale of one to
seven, with one indicating a significant increase in bribery and seven a
decline, Zimbabwe scored 2,4. It was slightly ahead of Venezuela, which
scored 2,1 and Guatamela, with 2,0.
terms of growth competitiveness, Zimbabwe was ranked 79 out of 80 in 2002,
sliping from 75 in 2001.
"One of the worst
performers (in economic competitiveness) remains Zimbabwe, where the economic
downturn accelerated substantially in 2001 and 2002," the WEF report
According to the report, Zimbabwe is
ranked 76 out of 80 countries where companies had to make "undocumented extra
payments or bribes" connected with the issuing of public
When deciding upon policies and
contracts, government officials in Zimbabwe are said to favour well connected
firms and individuals.
tenders for multi billion dollar projects have in the past five years been
controversially awarded, resulting in some companies seeking the intervention
of the courts to reverse the contracts.
Some contracts have been reversed, but as recently as 2001, crucial documents
for a Japanese tender for the digitilastion of the country's telephone
network disappeared and have not been
According to the WEF report,
Zimbabwe is also among the top five nations where insider trading is
prevalent on the stock market.
allegations of insider trading have not been proved because of the absence of
a legal framework to deal with such a
Out of the 80 countries surveyed
by the WEF, Zimbabwe is ranked 77, making it one of the economies where
financial assets and wealth were not adequately protected by
South Africa is however ranked 21 and
Since the invasion of mostly
white-owned farms began in February 2000, foreign investors have questioned
the sanctity of property rights in Zimbabwe, leading to most foreigners
abandoning the country for
FOUR months before the end of the
2003 maize marketing season, the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) has purchased
only about 7 000 tonnes of maize, enough to feed Zimbabwe for one and a half
days, it was learnt this week.
Officials within the parastatal, the sole trader in maize and wheat
in Zimbabwe, said the purchases were made between the start of the
marketing season in April and the end of last
The maize marketing season is from
the beginning of April to September and this year, the government hiked the
maize producer price by 364 percent to $130 000 a tonne in a bid to encourage
farmers to sell their produce.
officials yesterday said the parastatal had, however, so far collected less
than 7 500 tonnes of maize from farmers.
Zimbabwe, which has been facing food shortages for the past two years due to
drought and government land seizures, requires about 5 000 tonnes of maize a
day to meet domestic demand. The country's annual maize consumption is
estimated at two million tonnes.
has purchased less than 7 500 tonnes of maize as many farmers are holding on
to the little maize they produced for consumption purposes," an official
within the parastatal said.
director Samuel Muvuti refused to comment on the matter yesterday, while
Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement Minister Joseph Made was
unavailable on his mobile phone.
Agricultural experts said the low maize deliveries to the GMB would worsen
shortages of maize-meal, the country's staple
Many Zimbabweans have substituted
bread for maize-meal in the past year because of the severe maize
But millers say the wheat
supply situation is also critical, with major millers indicating that they
had run out of stocks last week.
the country's second staple after maize, but production has also been hit by
drought and instability in the agricultural sector resulting from the
government's controversial land reform
Under the programme, most
white-owned commercial farms have been taken over for the resettlement of
black peasant and aspiring commercial farmers, many of whom do not have the
resources to produce enough to feed their families or the
The commercial farmseizures are
estimated to have slashed food production by at least 50 percent in the past
Farmers this week said there would
be little winter cropping this year due to the lack of inputs and
infrastructure which was destroyed during farming
The government is expected to
make a formal request to the United Nations' World Food Programme to extend
emergency humanitarian assistance programmes, most of which end in
Close to eight million Zimbabweans
need emergency food aid and the number is expected to rise in the next few
months because of inadequate harvests.
Agriculture industry officials have said between 800 000 and 900 000 tonnes
of maize would be produced this year, which is an increase from last year's
550 000 tonnes.
Davis Mugabe, president of
the Indigenous Commercial Farmers' Union (ICFU) said: "The country will
produce about 900 000 tonnes of maize, which is not enough to feed the nation
for the next year. While the food situation will improve, there is still need
to import food."
But imports will be
hampered by Zimbabwe's severe foreign currency crisis, which has also
affected imports of fuel, electricity, raw materials and spare parts for
ICFU cereal chairman Denford
Chimbwanda said most of the association's members were failing to deliver
maize to the GMB because of fuel
"There are no maize deliveries
because of fuel shortages and in any case, farmers want a maize producer
price of $300 000 a tonne for them to be able to pay back loans," Chimbwanda
Automated teller machines (ATM's) at most banks in
Harare were down yesterday as the cash shortages continued over
Sources in the banking industry told The Herald that the problem
was because of shortages of notes.
"There is no cash. Most banks did
not put anything in those machines by end of business on Saturday because
notes are scarce," said the source.
This is likely to
persist this week as many people get paid at this time of the month and need
cash to settle their bills. Many people have been stranded since Friday as
they failed to withdraw their money.
Mr Eric Mombeshora from Mabelreign
said he had failed to withdraw money since Friday.
"I have been to the
city centre and the ATM's were down. I went to Avondale and Westage Shopping
Centre but there was nothing," said a disappointed Mr Mombeshora.
Farai Shumba of Chitungwiza said he would be forced to spend the long weekend
at home because of the cash shortages.
"I was supposed to travel to see
my mother who is not feeling well in Gweru but I failed. I don't think this
is a good image for the banking industry. We won't keep our monies there
anymore," Mr Shumba said.
He said he would withdraw all his money after
"It's better to keep the money at home because how can you
suffer when you have got the cash. They should solve the problem before the
banking sector collapses. We have lost faith in these banks," he
ATM at most banks in the city centre were out of
Security guards manning the ATM's said the machines ran out of
cash at midday on Saturday.
"The machine has no money. You should come
and check on Tuesday maybe they will be functional," he
Only a few ATMs at some banks had cash. Cash shortages,
which occurred late last month, resurfaced on Friday as most banks ran dry
due to the failure by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to supply them with
On Saturday long winding queues were seen at most banks in the city
centre as people waited to patiently withdraw their money.
those who managed to access their money were given $50 notes as most banks
did not have $500 and $100 notes.
Some banks had even reduced withdrawal
limits to clients. Most banks were allowing their clients a maximum
withdrawal of $20 000.
"Due to the shortage of Zimbabwe currency notes
from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, we are regrettably left with no option but
to limit withdrawal amounts until such time the situation improves," the POSB
said in a Press advert.
Last month people struggled to access their
money after an illegal three-day stay away organised by the Zimbabwe Congress
of Trade Unions.