- Namibian President Sam Nujoma has urged African leaders not to give in to
pressure from the West on plans to take away land from whites and farm them
out to landless blacks. "As African leaders we were entrusted with the
mandate to promote the welfare of all our people," he said in a speech to
officially open Zimbabwe's annual international trade exhibition in the
second city of Bulawayo.
"In carrying out these duties, we must not
shy away from taking the bold decisions that can empower our people by
providing them with resources which will enable them to become productive and
to actively participate in economic activities.
"Some of the decisions
... related to land reform and its redistribution to landless citizens have
been unpopular with those who seek to maintain the social economic status
quo," he said in the speech broadcast live on state television.
said agriculture was the backbone of all African economies. "Therefore it is
only prudent for us to ensure that our people have access to land and are
able to make a living by owning the land," he said.
"I wish to make it
categorically clear that those who criticise our land reform policies and
strategies wish to perpertuate neo-colonialism, under-underdevelopment in
Africa and permanently subject our people to poverty hunger and
Namibia has embarked on a land reform exercise, taking a lead
from Zimbabwe, which has driven some 4,000 white farmers off their properties
and distributed millions of hectares to landless blacks.
Kelley Last updated: 05/01/2004 11:01:49 A ZIMBABWE Cricket Union director
and a team selector were forced to issue a denial yesterday over reports that
they were involved in a public shoving match over the selection controversy
engulfing the Zimbabwe national side.
Stephen Mangongo, the head of
selectors, and Ozias Bvute, a ZCU director, became embroiled in a dispute in
front of officials and guests at the Harare Sports Club after the one-day
international between Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka on Thursday.
The two men,
in a statement issued through the ZCU, denied reports that the argument over
selection of white players on the national team resulted in punches being
"There were pertinent issues on the agenda and both of us had
divergent views," the statement read. "In the heat of the argument obviously
voices would be raised but the point remains that we were each trying to push
home our point.
"It is not true that punches were thrown and we can
categorically say whatever physical confrontation there was did not amount to
The former captain Heath Streak returns to action today
after being selected for Zimbabwe A to play Sri Lanka in a three-day game at
Takashinga. Three other rebel players - Sean Ervine, Raymond Price and Trevor
Gripper - also play.
The other 11 exiles were overlooked despite
having resumed training in Harare yesterday.
Msekiwa Makwanya Last updated: 05/01/2004 10:49:14 I RESPECT and
understand difference of opinion but I become very anxious when anyone
proposes a military solution especially in the the form of civil war to
I understand that people may become angry about the
direction their country is heading, and patience is likely to run out but I
wish to dismiss any talk of war for the following reasons.
In war the
poor will perish while the rich will be protected by their wealth it does not
matter how they acquired it. My main worry about "war-talk" is that it take
precious time that needs to be used to discuss more meaningful and realistic
options like "diologue" which South Africa is trying to encourage.
is not helpful to accuse Zimbabwean of being cowards if they do not take up
arms against Mugabe because that's naive talk.
Maybe when someone
mentions the word 'war' we should check his or her military
knowledge/credintials to check whether they know what they are talking about.
Violence breeds violence and wars may be easy to start but very difficult to
end not to mention the damage
Those who know countries like Somalia,
Angola and Mozambique will understand why civil wars and military coups are
not solutions but rather worse problems. Lessons learnt from the Gukurahundi
era are so serious that anyone who talks about war should visit Matebeleland
and Midlands (where I come from) and find out how people feel about war. One
might say we fought against Ian Smith so fighting can still be
This view again is very naive and lacks understanding of
geo-politics. Our neighbours do not believe in civil wars because they do not
want refugees flocking into their countries never mind those who are economic
refugees today.Certainly the numbers will increase and in war situations
neighbouring countries would be obliged to accept refugees unlike today.
Apart from the above the ruling party is different from Smith's regime even
if people see some similarities according to what we read in the press.
People are free to make comparisons and whichever party will come into power
people will be free to make comparisons.The point is that, even the war
against Ian Smith taught us that war is not a solution. Leaders and followers
are killed and property and infrustructure destroyed yet people will still
need to dialogue because war does not elect leaders.
I have thought
long and hard about solutions for Zimbabwe and I am convinced that the
solution lies in Zimbabwe and it's dialogue. The neighbouring countries seem
ready to work with us on this solution so we are not alone. The fact that
diologue was proposed in 2002 and has not taken off is a crisis for
Zimbabweans that can be overcome once we convince each other that dialogue is
the only solution. Both Zanu PF and the MDC have their weaknesses like any
other organisations but it does not help to rule them out because they are
the main players at the moment, and they are dealing with a complex
situation. The situation in Iraq has given us a lesson on foreign
intervention. Foreign countries put their interests first.
This brings me
to the weakness of those in the diaspora. The arrested Finance minister Dr
Chris Kuruneri was in diaspora in the 1988s in Canada and developed a
sharp appetite for wealth. I wish to warn those of us who may be tempted to
emabark on vulgar accumulation of wealth beyond necessity that conscience may
be impaired. How can someone build a R30 milion mansion when there is no fuel
Western values are not always good for Africa and I know the
ENG saga was a home grown version of vulgar accumulaion of weath but still
the youngsters had a Western taste, we hear that they were going to England
to watch Manchester United matches.
I am very much at peace with
respectable analysts and academics who have not yet suggested Western
solution like foreign invasion as a solution for Zimbabwe. It takes courage
on the part of the ruling party to accept that talking to the opposition is
not a weakness but a strength.we hope that it will not be long before all
this posturing before the talk will be overtaken by pragmatism and dialogue
resume with a view to see how Zimbabweans can co-operate. Makwanya is a
Social Psychologist based in London
Sent: Saturday, May 01, 2004 5:48 PM Subject: Kipper Fish
Family and Friends, Can you imagine a country running without a Minister of
Finance? And we're not talking about a normal country with a normal
economy, we're talking about Zimbabwe whose economy is shrinking faster than
almost anywhere else in the world. A country which has hyper inflation of
almost 600%, a massive shortage of foreign currency, a booming black
market and unimaginably large international debts. All the talk this week
has been about the arrest of Zimbabwe's Finance Minister last weekend on
charges of dealing in foreign currency and holding two passports. A few
weeks ago the South African Press exposed the story that a R 300 million
luxury mansion was being built in Cape Town for
Finance Minister Christopher Kuruneri. At first we thought the story of
such enormous wealth and extravagance by one of Zimbabwe's Ministers would
just get buried, like so many others have, but Kuruneri, only sworn in 2
months ago, was arrested and remanded in custody with applications for
bail being refused.
Thinking about all this and what it's really all
about has again bought home to me the vast chasms between Zimbabwe's rich
elite and the rest of us. Apparently there are now more Mercedes and
luxury cars in Zimbabwe in proportion to the population, than anywhere else
in the world. As I drive carefully and slowly around all the potholes to save
my retreaded tyres, desperately searching for petrol I cannot afford, I
can't help but wonder how all Zimbabwe's politicians made all their money,
and so quickly too.
Finally finding petrol just before dark and watching
the meter rapidly soar into multiple thousands I turned and saw a scruffy
little boy stop near my car and put a small tin plate down on the ground
at his feet. In the dish are tiny little smoked fish, perhaps 4 inches
long. "Are they bream?" I ask. "Kipper fish" he responds, "only one thousand
dollars each." I smile, shake my head and turn away, my car has been
filled and there are many fancy cars lining up behind me. I can hardly
bear to think what will happen to the little boy and his 'Kipper Fish', why
he has to sell tiny fish at dusk on a cold winter evening when he should be
at home having a warm bath, where he will sleep tonight and if he's got a
blanket. He is just one of hundreds of thousands of victims of Zimbabwe's
turmoil. I do not know what horrors he has seen or what has lead him to be
an adult in a child's shoes.
Zimbabwe unions threaten protests Sat 1 May, 2004 16:42 By
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's main labour body has called
for a series of anti-government protests to push for higher wages, tax cuts,
union rights and better management of the economy.
struggling with a severe economic crisis, which critics largely blame on
President Robert Mugabe's policies, with one of the highest inflation rates
in the world and widespread unemployment.
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions (ZCTU) president Lovemore Matombo said the opposition-allied labour
movement would organise street demonstrations to protest low wages for
workers hit by an inflation rate of more than 580 percent and a crumbling
public health system.
"We are going to organise more protests this year.
We will be calling you to demonstrations soon, in the coming weeks and days,"
he told a May Day rally in Harare on Saturday.
Matombo said the ZCTU
had an obligation to fight for worker rights, but said many Zimbabweans
appear to be cowed by Mugabe's government which routinely arrests union
leaders and deploys police to crash anti-government protests.
which backs the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change, has failed to
lead any significant protests in the past year in the face of massive
deployments of security forces.
"I know you don't want to hear this...but
the truth is that many of you are overwhelmed by fear," Matombo told the
rally attended by 5,000 people.
Mugabe's critics say the economy, once
the breadbasket of the region, has been severely damaged by his seizures of
white-owned farms for redistribution to landless blacks.
mismanaging the economy and says it is a victim of sabotage by domestic and
foreign opponents angry over his land reforms, which he says are meant to
empower Zimbabwe's poor black majority and to correct
On Saturday, Matombo accused Mugabe -- in power
since independence from Britain in 1980 -- of grossly mismanaging the
economy, "brutalising" his political opponents and of selectively applying
the law against his foes.
"When we raise these issues, they say we are
challenging Zimbabwe's sovereignty," he said.
Zimbabwe officials threatened to sabotage pitch,
says rebel By David Sygall May 2, 2004 - 12:02AM
One of Zimbabwe's
rebel players has alleged that Zimbabwe cricket officials threatened to
sabotage a pitch on which an international game was to be played if
particular players were not selected in the national team. As hopes for a
resolution to the crisis were raised last week, the player, who asked not to
be named, wrote to an Australian friend, Albion cricket apparel chief
executive Ross Barrat, to provide a candid update on the situation. In the
message the player expresses trepidation over the position the 15 rebels have
taken, and makes mention of getting loved ones out of the country. "Things
have gone mad here," he says. "We've had non-stop meetings with these . . .
for the last three weeks. "We're forcing them into arbitration, which they
don't like because they're so guilty. It's a dangerous move, but we're doing
it to try to save Zim cricket." The message, sent early last week, also
says the ZCU had threatened to "dig up a pitch if five [black players]
weren't picked for this series [against Sri Lanka]". The message also adds
credence to a rumour that white player Mark Vermeulen was offered double his
match payment to surrender his place in a one-day team so that Stuart
Matsikenyeri could have it. The player says he "heard Heath Streak is Sydney
bound, but I'm not 100 per cent sure". For the past two weeks The
Sun-Herald has run stories based on information received about a number of
the 15 deposed players setting up options to move to Sydney or Perth. The
players' stance all along has been that their preference would be to resume
their careers in Zimbabwe with Streak as captain. Following heated
discussions, threats, rumours and confusion, it appears a crucial
breakthrough was reached on Friday, when four of the rebels were named in the
Zimbabwe A team to face Sri Lanka in a three-day tour match beginning in
Harare yesterday. The development came after the deposed players attended a
training session on Friday, their first appearance since Streak was sacked on
April 2. Streak was named, alongside batsman Trevor Gripper, left-arm spinner
Ray Price and all-rounder Sean Ervine. Their selection came as the
Zimbabwe first XI, minus the 15 players, lost again to the touring Sri
Lankans, handing the tourists a 5-0 series win. Meanwhile, relations between
the Zimbabwe Government and British media trying to cover the situation
soured further last week when a reporter from The Daily Telegraph in London
and one from Reuters were expelled after immigration officials said their
paperwork was incorrect.
000 Zimbabwean orphans and disadvantaged children who depend on state
assistance to pay school fees may be unable to enrol when the new term begins
Under the Basic Education Assistance Model (Beam), the
government had allocated Z$3,8-billion (about US$753 000) to pay the school
fees of orphans and disadvantaged children, but Lancelot Museka, the Public
Service, Labour and Social Welfare permanent secretary, announced this week
that the money had run out after just one term of the school
Zimbabwe's economic crisis has led to job losses, making it
impossible for growing numbers of parents to pay tuition fees. Unemployment
now stands at 80%, and is rising as businesses continue to fold. For those
still employed in the formal sector, low wages in a hyperinflationary
environment have worsened a situation that is often already
The announcement that the Beam had run out of funds came after
hard-pressed guardians of Beam beneficiaries had made representations to
government to expand the programme to include the purchasing of exercise
"We had budgeted Zim $3,8-billion to pay school fees for HIV/Aids
orphans and disadvantaged children this year. However, the money has run out
because the schools are constantly hiking fees, leading to an early
exhaustion of the funds and a drastic decline in the number of
beneficiaries," Museka explained.
Most schools have hiked tuition fees
to an average of Z$500 000 (US$913) per term, with some private institutions
demanding as much as Z$2,5-million (US$4 900), in defiance of a government
directive to seek prior approval for an increase from the ministry of
education. The schools cited high inflation, currently around 600%, and a
need to maintain educational standards as reasons for the
Primary school textbooks now cost between Z$50 000 (just under
$10) and Z$100 000 (just under US$20), while the lowest-priced textbook for
secondary school costs Z$80 000 (about US $15). Exercise books range from Z$3
000 (US$0,59) to Z$7 000 (US$1,30) each, translating into an average
expenditure of Z$168 000 (US$33) on exercise books alone for one upper
secondary school pupil.
Minister of Education Aneas Chigwedere
acknowledged that the per capita grants allocated to schools for the
acquisition of textbooks were insufficient, given the high inflation rate,
but alleged that negligence by schools was aggravating the
"Schools are given per capita grants every year. Yes, the
money may not be enough, because it is not meant to be enough anyway. The
major problem is that schools do not take care of their textbooks. Most are
stolen and re-sold at black market prices on street corners," said
The Beam programme was set up in 2001 to pay tuition and
examination fees for the growing number of children being forced to drop out
of school because their parents or guardians could not afford to keep them
Since 2001, 1,7-million pupils have benefited from successive
Beam allocations. The total number of beneficiaries for 2004 was projected at
800 000. - Irin
---------------------------------------------------------------------------- ---- HARARE
- Five white cricketers have been selected for the Zimbabwe A team which will
play a three-day match against Sri Lanka at the Takashinga club in Harare's
Highfield district starting on Saturday. They include Heath Streak, who is
sacking as national captain a month ago triggered a month long strike by him
and 14 colleagues, plus Ray Price, Sean Ervine and Trevor Gripper. The fifth
white player, Mark Vermeulen, was not one of the rebels.
The side will
be captained by Alester Maregwede. Twelve of the 15 turned out for practice
under national coach Geoff Marsh on Thursday after passing fitness
The three others, Richard Sims, Neil Ferreira and Charles Coventry
are in England negotiating club contracts. Whether the return of white
cricketers represents the end of their dispute with the Zimbabwe Cricket
Union depends on acceptance of their proposals for an arbitration mechanism
that would include two international mediators.
The players have given
the ZCU until Tuesday to accept or reject the proposals. If these are turned
down, the players will resume their strike, according to batsman Grant
Flower, who said their return to practice and to play if selected was a
---------------------------------------------------------------------------- ---- By
Ryan Truscott HARARE - A Zimbabwe court has postponed a custody hearing for
70 suspected mercenaries who face possible extradition to Equatorial Guinea
to stand trial on charges of plotting a coup.
Defence lawyer Francois
Joubert said that five men had been moved on Friday to a Harare remand prison
while the 65 remaining at Chikurubi maximum security prison were being kept
The custody hearing was scrapped a day after
officials said President Robert Mugabe had agreed to extradite to Equatorial
Guinea to face trial and a possible death sentence.
Jonathan Samkange said the hearing was postponed until Monday.
men were detained on March 7 at Harare International Airport when their
Boeing 727 stopped to refuel and pick up military equipment.
Zimbabwean authorities arrested them, claiming they were on their way to join
15 suspected mercenaries arrested in Equatorial Guinea and charged
with plotting to overthrow the government of the oil-rich central African
But the 70, most of whom are from South Africa, have said they
were on their way to Democratic Republic of Congo to work as security agents
at diamond mines.
Mugabe held talks Thursday in Zimbabwe's second city
of Bulawayo with Equato-Guinean leader Teodoro Obiang Nguema on the fate of
Joubert told AFP he did not know of any imminent plan by
Zimbabwe to extradite his clients, but that if there was one, Zimbabwe would
have to follow the law.
This would mean serving each of the men with a
warrant for extradition, giving them a hearing before a magistrate and a
right of appeal to a higher court if the application for extradition is
The lawyer said his clients were willing to be extradited to
South Africa, but were concerned by the fact that the South African goverment
seemed to be bowing to demands for them to be sent to Equatorial
South Africa said Thursday it would not oppose the possible
extradition of the suspected soldiers of fortune to Equatorial Guinea where
they could face the death penalty.
"There is no legal basis for South
Africa to demand that its nationals should not be extradited to another
country," the foreign ministry said in a statement.
Joubert said his
clients felt the South African government was not adequately looking after
"Their big complaint is with the South African
government," he said.
The lawyer said that the 65 men remaining at
Chikurubi prison on the outskirts of Harare were "handcuffed and manacled.
They've been told that's how it's going to be from now on", he
"It's against all legal precedent," Joubert said.
said he could not explain the harsh treatment of the prisoners, who were this
week granted various concessions by prison authorities, including having
their shackles removed during court hearings.
BULAWAYO, May 1 (IPS) - Even within its own ranks, Zimbabwe's
ruling party has shown it is intolerant of ambitions hinting at expansion of
the tiny independent press.
It counts for very little that the
government already controls all broadcast media, and that reporters who work
for privately-owned publications live in fear of arrest and
Last week a member of parliament (MP) was suspended from
ZANU-PF for allegedly courting the publishers of the country's only
independent daily newspaper, which was forcibly closed by the government
seven months ago. Very popular with readers, The Daily News was a thorn in
the side of President Robert Mugabe's government which accused it of being an
Additionally, the journalist-turned-legislator
- Kindness Paradza - is accused of seeking British funds in a bid to acquire
a controlling stake in a weekly newspaper that he helped set up almost two
years ago. Britain, the former colonial power in Zimbawe, has had had
opprobrium heaped on it by Mugabe, who views it as having spearheaded
Zimbabwe's international isolation.
The country has been uncomfortably
pinned in the spotlight since the start of 2000, when the seizure of
white-owned farms by so-called war veterans gained international attention.
Reports of political violence, two problematic elections and wide-spread food
shortages have done little to remove Zimbabwe from the
Paradza is also being held to account for speaking out against
repressive media laws in his maiden speech to parliament a month
The MP's suspension, says Abel Mutsakani of the Independent
Journalists Association of Zimbabwe, confirms what is now well-known. "It's
more of the same, what we've seen in the last 12 months, where the government
wants to control the media - even sacrificing one of their own."
the international community prepares to mark World Press Freedom Day (May 3),
the fuss surrounding Paradza's business plans has again focused attention on
how the media, like other institutions in Zimbabwe, have been emasculated and
politicized by the government.
The Vice-President of the Zimbabwe Union
of Journalists, Njabulo Ncube, says since the same event was observed last
year, media freedom in the Southern African country has been eroded to an
even greater extent than was previously the case.
Three pieces of
legislation, especially that compelling both journalists and media houses to
register under a state-appointed commission, have made it difficult for
independent voices to be heard.
"AIPPA (the Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act) directly resulted in the closure of The Daily
News, throwing into the streets over 200 media workers," observes
However, a journalism lecturer at the National University of
Science and Technology, Ronit Loewenstern, believes reporters have only
themselves to blame for the dearth of press freedom in the
She says that in South Africa, journalists working in the 1980s
disregarded race and colour to stand up to media repression during the
But, she adds, by the time her journalism students are in
the second year of a four-year course, many have lost hope and elected to
pursue a career in another sector of the communication industry: "There is no
oomph and guts in the media fraternity in Zimbabwe."
The results of a
2003 global survey released last month by a Washington-based media watchdog,
Freedom House, point to different reality.
The survey lumps Zimbabwe with
Eritrea and Equatorial Guinea, concluding that reporting conditions in all
three states remain dire. It says authoritarian governments there use legal
pressure, imprisonment and other forms of harassment to severely curtail the
ability of independent outlets to report freely.
In a development
guaranteed to raise the temperature of ZANU-PF officials, it now appears that
the information void created by the closure of The Daily News is being filled
by foreign broadcasts. One of them is Voice of America's (VOA) 'Studio Seven'
programme, specifically meant for Zimbabweans.
This weekend, Studio
Seven extended its week-day news programmes to Saturday and Sunday.
Broadcasting in all three of Zimbabwe's national languages, the hour-long
shows were launched last year.
With parliamentary elections 10 months
away however, the government is readying for a fight.
Minister Jonathan Moyo - last year's recipient of the Golden Raspberry award
for enemies of press freedom - has labeled Studio Seven "subversive" and
threatened its stringers with unspecified dire consequences. He has also
criticised neighbouring Botswana for hosting a
Although they create opportunities for a few
journalists, such foreign-based stations are no substitute for a solid and
diverse media in Zimbabwe itself.
Ncube says as a result of the present
narrow media landscape, reporters' ability to bargain for better salaries has
also been severely undercut. "We're now in a cul-de-sac," he observes. "We
simply accept whatever employers offer us."
This situation, he says,
has given rise to 'brown envelope journalism' where reporters approach
business people and personalities for funding, to give them publicity. In
this scenario, female journalists appear particularly vulnerable to abuse,
The plight of The Daily News' ex-employees further
illustrates the lack of job opportunities.
In a statement on Friday
(Apr. 30), the workers detailed the financial hardship they had endured,
despite an undertaking made by the publisher to continue paying their
salaries for up to two years.
And, there is little prospect of the media
losing its shackles soon. The only beacon of hope is talk that another
independent daily newspaper has been registered and will be launched before
end of the year. (END/2004)
The ongoing tragedy of Zimbabwe
is that cricket in that country is beginning to devour itself.
until now, the biggest threat facing the cricketers of that beleaguered land
seemed to come from growing threats of stayaways by other teams, but this has
been overtaken by an internal revolt that bears unmistakable signs of racial
A demand for arbitration by 15 white players who refuse to
play until their grievances have been addressed will not fix the
They have given the Zimbabwe Cricket Union, who they openly
distrust, until Tuesday to agree to arbitration but, even if this is agreed
to, one senses it will provide nothing more than a lull in
No one should be shocked or even surprised by the sudden
turn of events; it was always a matter of time before the hand of the
Zimbabwean government would reach into cricket's internal affairs.
is there, make no mistake; and it is extraordinary to think that, 24 years
after that country's independence, the fear of white domination
There are stark parallels with life as it existed in
apartheid-ruled South Africa where ultimately it was proved true that there
could be no normal sport in an abnormal society.
insistence by white South Africans that sport and politics should not mix was
shown to be wishful thinking.
Thus, the bitter truth that Zimbabwe has to
accept is that a political solution is the only way to fix whatever problems
they are grappling with; and that their cricket crisis will not be solved by
mediation or arbitration.
The situation has gone beyond the pale. If
the striking white cricketers were to be accepted back in the ranks next
week, how would they be received by young black teammates who have been
battling their guts out in the intervening 5-0 whitewash at the hands of Sri
And let's not be coy: the majority of those 15 white cricketers
are not exactly world beaters. The crisis, of course, creates a huge dilemma
for the International Cricket Council because Zimbabwe is a full member of
the ICC and thereby enjoys test match status.
How long will it take
before Zimbabwe cricket is deemed to be incapable of competing adequately at
this level? Will the ICC be capable of taking the unprecedented decision to
suspend Zimbabwe from test cricket because they can no longer meet the
criteria and are therefore devaluing the game at its highest level?
could be argued that the ICC should consider suspending Bangladesh on
the same basis (in 28 tests, they have lost 26 with 2 draws), but the
Zimbabwean problem is rather more complex.
As the crisis mounted this
week, there were many telling developments, among them:
Archbishop Desmond Tutu urged cricketers to boycott Zimbabwe;
Glenn McGrath hinted that more Australian cricketers could follow
Stuart Macgill's lead and refuse on moral grounds to play in that
a.. The Australian government was advised by a former
cabinet minister in the ruling party to pay the $2 million dollar fine that
the ICC will slap on the Australian Cricket Board if they refuse to send
their team on a tour starting in a fortnight's time;
England Cricket Board said its players would tour Zimbabwe later this year
"with a heavy heart" and that they were being held to ransom by the
a.. The Zimbabwe cricket team were bowled out for a world-record
low total of 35 by Sri Lanka. That they recovered in the next games to total
150 and 220 was neither here nor there; they remained no competitive threat
to the opposition.
So Zimbabwe cricket is teetering on the brink: many
cricketers don't want to play there, influential people are urging all
cricketers not to play there, and their own team is torn by internal strife
and ongoing defeat.
If Zimbabwe continues to fail to put their best team
into the field, they could technically run foul of the criteria to retain
test match status and face suspension under the ICC constitution.
reality, the ICC might find it difficult to suspend Zimbabwe in the face of
opposition from its powerful Afro-Asian bloc but a suspension on
pure cricketing grounds would at least free the world body from making the
kind of moral or political judgment it says it cannot make on that
The proviso would be that the suspension is lifted once Zimbabwe
can demonstrate that its team is of test match standard again or, as one of
the ICC requirements demand, "that a country has a sufficiently large pool
of players to draw from who are capable of performing at the highest level
of the game".
But where does this all leave the struggling cricketers
of Zimbabwe? The intermediate level below full member status of the ICC is
associate membership. This entitles countries to play in regional tournaments
under ICC auspices but with the concomitant loss of sponsorship and
Regional tournaments are all well and good, but
they are few and far between. In order for a new-look Zimbabwe team to gain
experience and big match toughness - not to mention a decent revenue stream
for their cricket union - they will need something else.
Africa, a cricket nation that has empathy with its wretched neighbours.
Considering that the CEO of the UCB publicly endorsed the African National
Congress at last month's general election, it is not unreasonable to surmise
that Gerald Majola is in agreement with President Mbeki's "quiet diplomacy"
on the Zimbabwe question. Thus, politically speaking if nothing else, the UCB
should have no problem assimilating Zimbabwe in its provincial
There will be a myriad of legalities and technicalities to
overcome but, were these to be overcome, Zimbabwe could attempt to
re-establish itself (in a cricketing sense) with the help of South
Ironically, it happened once before in an era we best like to
forget - when Rhodesia was considered a cricket province of South Africa -
and in an age moreover when political tyranny seemed
.. This article was originally published on page 24
of The Cape Argus on May 01, 2004
It looks as if cracks inside
the ZCU are now beginning to widen.
The policy of slowly increasing the
number of non-white cricketers, which few people had serious objections to,
would have allowed a gradual transition within the side. But the Streak
situation gave the political enforcers within the board the golden
opportunity to make the changes in one go.
Anyone with common sense
could have seen that the second- and third-string players weren't yet up to
it and, that disaster would result. Sure enough, humiliation on the field
followed, but still the reality didn't hit home to some. After Zimbabwe were
routed for 35 on Sunday, one senior board member was apparently heard to yell
that the groundsman had deliberately sabotaged the pitch to "make our black
boys look bad". He no doubt believed that the groundsman - a former national
player - had then carried out mid-innings corrective surgery, as Sri Lanka
didn't find any demons when they batted.
Even hardliners found the result
hard to stomach, and realised that worse was in store in the Tests against
Sri Lanka and Australia. Most worryingly, the ICC started to take notice. So
the board started to make overtures to the rebels, with a view to shoring up
the side in time for the first Test next Thursday. But there remain a few ZCU
officials who are so blinkered that they believe that any setback is an
opposition plot designed to undermine the government. The spat at the Harare
Sports Club made that public.
So the hitherto united front of the ZCU
is beginning to crumble. There are reports this weekend that one member of
the new selection panel has resigned in frustration at the continuing
attempts to bring pressure on them to follow the party line.
few days will show who controls Zimbabwe cricket. If concessions are made to
the rebels, and the side on Thursday contains four or five of them, then
there remains a little hope that those with a genuine interest in the game
remain an influence. But if the ZCU line hardens, then the hard-liners will
have taken control and the situation can only deteriorate.