Tue 2 May 2006
HARARE - Zimbabwe's labour movement on Monday threatened to call
street protests by workers to demand better wages and living conditions,
stocking up tensions in a country already on edge after threats by the
political opposition to call mass anti-government protests.
Addressing about 5 000 workers at Workers Day celebrations in Harare,
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) president Lovemore Matombo said
workers would take to the streets if negotiations for better conditions and
"The crisis demands that we act now," said Matombo, who blamed
President Robert Mugabe's government for running down Zimbabwe's economy to
leave workers poorer and suffering.
He added: "If salary and wage negotiations fail to yield desired
results, let's all go on the streets to demand better living conditions,
among them easy access to anti-retroviral drugs for HIV and AIDS patients."
The union leader's calls for worker strikes for a better life comes as
main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party leader Morgan
Tsvangirai is campaigning for mass protests to force Mugabe to step down and
pave way for a government of national unity.
Tsvangirai, who accuses Mugabe and his government of stealing
elections since 2000, wants a government of national unity to lead the
writing of a new and democratic constitution and to organise fresh elections
to be held under international supervision.
But the government - which denies stealing elections or ruining
Zimbabwe's once vibrant economy - has warned that it will not tolerate
protests by the opposition or any other group, with Mugabe specifically
telling Tsvangirai he would be "dicing with death" if he attempted to
instigate a Ukraine-style revolt in the country.
And in a sign of heightened tension in Zimbabwe hundreds of police,
some armed, closely monitored ZCTU celebrations in Harare while more police
mounted roadblocks on all roads leading into the city centre.
At the roadblocks police searched vehicles for weapons that could be
used to commit public violence.
Zimbabwe is battling a seven-year recession dramatised by acute
shortages of foreign currency, fuel and food while the rate of joblessness
is around 80 percent and the world's highest inflation rate of 913.6
percent. - ZimOnline
Tue 2 May 2006
JOHANNESBURG - The Methodist Church says it will soon move hundreds of
Zimbabwean refugees currently based in South Africa to neighbouring
countries in southern Africa.
Methodist Church bishop for Johannesburg, Paul Verryn, told ZimOnline
on Monday that the church will soon post some of the refugees to countries
such as Botswana and Mozambique after churches there accepted to host the
"Churches in countries such as Botswana and Mozambique have since
accepted providing accommodation to hundreds of Zimbabwean refugees
presently living in South Africa.
"We are working with our fellow Methodist churches from around the
SADC region to make sure that the innocent souls are taken care of. We have
sourced blankets for the refugees including food, pots and medication," said
The Methodist Church in Johannesburg has in the past provided
temporary shelter to thousands of Zimbabwean refugees staying in the
country. But the church last month told the Zimbabweans to leave the church
building in the city after violent clashes over food and some donated
At least three million Zimbabweans, a quarter of the country's 12
million population, are living outside the country the majority of them in
South Africa, after fleeing hunger and political persecution in the
country. - ZimOnline
Mail and Guardian
01 May 2006 02:12
Zimbabwe's central bank has stopped compelling exporters to sell
30% of their foreign currency earnings at an outdated official rate, the
state-controlled Herald newspaper reported on Monday.
The central bank said the move is a bid to "consolidate and
support growth" in the export sector.
Exporters were previously obliged to sell 30% of their United
States dollars earnings at the paltry "auction" rate of Z$30 000 to the US
currency. Zimbabwe has another "official" rate -- known as the interbank
exchange rate -- that is currently set at about Z$100 000 to the greenback.
The interbank rate is, however, still a long way off from the
parallel market rate. The dollar was selling for as much as Z$213 000 last
week on the streets, according to independent press reports.
"RBZ [Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe] is pleased to advise the market
that from April 28 2006, the whole 30% portion currently being sold to the
bank shall be at the going interbank exchange rate," the bank said in a
statement quoted by the Herald.
Exporters are still obliged to liquidate their earnings at the
interbank exchange rate of less than half the parallel rate.
Zimbabwe is suffering from a severe shortage of foreign
currency, which is affecting almost all sectors of society. There are
shortages of fuel, medicines, machinery spares and some foods. The
government is keen to see the export sector grow and bring in the
desperately needed hard cash. -- Sapa-dpa
May 1, 2006
By George Nyathi
HARARE (AND) A health hazard looms in the country's capital amid
revelations that residents in the city were being forced to drink water that
was contaminated and at times smelling like sewerage water.
In a survey in most parts of the council, the residents said they
feared a serious health disaster could break out if urgent steps to sort out
the mess were not taken.
"The water that we are drinking is not safe at all. The Zimbabwe
National Water Authority, ZINWA, is giving us terribly smelling water that
contains [a] human waste smell and we suspect that they could be facing
problems with water treatment and purification chemicals. It is (the water)
at times laden with some impurities that we do not even know," said one
Sipo Nyanhongo of Mbare said that they had been subjected to unclean
water for several days but there was no sign that things would improve at
all. She said the residents had at once approached ZINWA officials but they
remained adamant that the water in the capital was safe for consumption.
Institute for War and Peace Reporting
Growing concern over conditions for rural people resettled on confiscated
By Oswald Sithole in Odzi (AR No. 61, 21-Apr-06)
A huge health crisis is developing in areas where hundreds of thousands of
poor rural Zimbabweans and their families have been resettled on commercial
farms as part of President Robert Mugabe's socially and economically
disastrous land reform exercise.
Mugabe's ZANU PF government moved some 400,000 rural families on to
Zimbabwe's mainly white-owned commercial farms over the past six years
without a corresponding development of health and sanitary structures.
As conditions have deteriorated on the once rich and highly developed farms,
a major health crisis is developing.
As rural people were resettled on the farms, some 900,000 farm workers and
their families were simultaneously displaced from their homes on the land,
according to new statistics by the Farm Community Trust of Zimbabwe, FCTZ,
an organisation created by trade unions and the Save the Children Fund UK to
raise farm labourers' standards of living. However, these workers remain
huddled in some pockets of the farmland and continue to compete with the new
peasant settlers for increasingly scarce and ill-equipped health services.
Most farms no longer have fresh water supplies because pipes are in
disrepair and pumps have stopped working for lack of spares. The new
settlers cannot afford water purification chemicals, and the main water
sources are now streams and dams.
"The situation is terrible. We know the risks of waterborne diseases such as
bilharzia, cholera and dysentery that we could catch, but there is really no
choice," said Savious Muromba, a veteran of Zimbabwe's 1970s liberation war
resettled at a farm in Odzi, about 32 kilometres outside Mutare in
Zimbabwe's Eastern Highlands. He said most settlers had hoped the government
would quickly move to provide basic sanitary facilities on the farms when
the land confiscation process was deemed to be complete.
People, said Muromba, were using open land as toilets while they waited for
the government to construct pit latrines called Blair Toilets. The latter
were developed to improve rural sanitation during the 1980s at Zimbabwe's
Blair Research Institute. Its clever design makes use of air currents, a
septic tank-like pit and fly traps to create an odourless and hygienic
toilet not dependent on water supply.
Most of the settlers cannot afford the six bags of cement necessary to
construct a Blair Toilet. During the rainy season, just ending, human waste
from the surrounding bush has been seeping into the reservoirs from which
the new settlers draw their water for domestic use.
With the government unable to afford to build clinics for the resettled
villagers, their leaders have proposed using abandoned white farmhouses as
health centres. "This is the best option, pending the establishment of
permanent clinics," said Farai Bazaya, a health worker.
In desperation, the Zimbabwe government has appealed to the United Nations
Development programme, UNDP, to provide help for people resettled on the
confiscated farms. But first, the UNDP has called for a comprehensive survey
to identify the scale of the problem. Agostinho Zaccharia, UNDP's resident
representative in Zimbabwe, told IWPR, "Before this has been achieved, we
can't even talk about the next step."
FCTZ's national director Godfrey Magaramombe told IWPR that his organisation
is deeply concerned by the lack of sanitation on the farms. "The situation
is bad," he said. "People are drinking surface water from streams and dams
and this water needs to be treated or boiled to reduce the risk of
infection. Since farm occupants cannot afford electricity they are not able
to get the power needed to pump their water from unpolluted boreholes."
In the first two months of this year 51 cholera deaths were reported
countrywide. In the absence of toilets and clean water on the occupied
farms, further and more serious disease outbreaks are feared.
Even before Mugabe launched his land reform programme, government policy had
contributed to the deterioration of health facilities on commercial farms by
discouraging the development of public infrastructure on private land.
Research conducted by the FCTZ showed that up to nine out of ten farm
workers had to walk more than 20 km to get to the nearest clinic, contrary
to government policy that no one should have to travel more than eight km.
For the majority of farm worker communities, the only contact with health
services is through basic health care workers employed by the FCTZ. These
workers were recruited from among the farm labourers and their families and
trained in first aid and other simple health care provision.
The disruption of farming communities has resulted in a corresponding
dislocation in this programme on most resettled farms. Some of the health
workers have been displaced from the farms where they used to live, while
those health activities that were supported financially by the former farm
owners have collapsed. Previously, each heath care worker covered two or
more farm villages consisting of about 400 people.
Four charities running home-based care projects for HIV/AIDS patients on
farms in Mashonaland West and Mashonaland Central provinces had to abandon
this work in the face of the farm invasions and the violence that
accompanied them. These were the Batsirai AIDS Group, the Red Cross Society
of Zimbabwe, Silveira House and the FCTZ.
UNAIDS estimates that more than 20 per cent of adults in Zimbabwe are
infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, and that there are over 100
000 AIDS orphans on farms in the country. Farm worker communities are among
the worst hit by the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
The government has yet to announce what, if anything, it plans to do about
the deteriorating conditions on the resettled farms or even acknowledge the
looming public health disaster there.
Oswald Sithole is the pseudonym of an IWPR contributor in Zimbabwe.
By Tererai Karimakwenda
1 May 2006
MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai was on the campaign trail again this
weekend addressing rallies at 3 different venues including rural districts.
He's been rallying supporters around the country to get behind their
programme of peaceful mass action to bring change to Zimbabwe. After holding
rallies in large urban centres last week, this time Tsvangirai and his top
officials hit Victoria Falls and the rural areas of Binga.
Information secretary Nelson Chamisa told us a crowd of about 10,000
supporters packed into Chinotimba stadium in Victoria Falls. He said they
were fantastic in terms of their response and clear about the planned mass
action to resolve the Zimbabwe crisis. Chamisa estimated that 6000
supporters attended the rally at Siyatchilaba and the same number attended
the rally at Manjola, both rural districts of Binga. He said it was humbling
to see elderly men who came to show their commitment to Tsvangirai and the
MDC. According to Chamisa the focus of Tsvangirai's message at the rallies
was to confirm resolutions made at the party congress earlier this year and
lay out the MDC roadmap for transition to a free Zimbabwe.
We had reported on Friday that Tsvangirai was due in South Africa over
the weekend as head of an MDC delegation that was to meet with South African
President Thabo Mbeki. This was based on information from the New
Zimbabwe.com website. But Chamisa said that information was incorrect. He
admitted that Tsvangirai had also been in South Africa over the weekend but
said the trip was purely for party business.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
THE FARM IS OWNED BY RED DANE DAIRY (Pvt) Ltd. A FARMING COMPANY WITH
MAJORITY DANISH SHAREHOLDING .
AS SUCH IT IS PROTECTED FROM ACQUISITION UNDER THE BILATERAL
PROTECTION OF INVESTMENT
AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE GOVT. OF ZIMBABWE AND DENMARK.
THIS HAS BEEN RATIFIED BY GOVERMENT AND ENDORSED BY THE PRESIDENT.
The continued intention by the Govt. of Zimbabwe to uphold this
agreement has been demonstrated by endorsement of a lettter to that effect
by our lawyers,
Gollop and Blank dated 7 december 2005, by the Ministry of Foreign
A court order was also granted on the 9 January 2006 under Justice P
Garwe stating that, the said properties are subject to continuing protection
against summary expropriation or nationalization on the strength of this
CASE H.C. 6359/05 Ref. CASE HC 6427/05.
THE FARMS ARE HIGHLY PRODUCTIVE IN DAIRY, BEEF, PIGS AND TOBACCO AND
INCLUDE A LARGE MILK PROCCESING FACTORY ( KEFALOS CHEESE )
A JOINT VENTURE WITH DENMARK.
Home of the renowned RED DANE cattle breed, introduced to Zimbabwe by
Mr. Wolle Kirk the founder of R.D.D. and famous for is succes in the
commercial large and small scale sector.
The factory procceses about 20,000 kilos of milk daily of which almost
half is produced on the property.
Over 1500 head of cattle are produced annually for slaughter, milking
On average 200 000 kg of quality virginia tobacco is produed for
auction per annum.
THE CURRENT AQUISITION BID IS HEADED BY A SENIOR GOVERMENT OFFICIAL
M.P FOR MUDZI EAST constituency and major business man.
Mr J. Musaalso
ID No 03 - 208884 H - 49
No 7 Convair Rd, Ridgeview - Harare
Mr. J. Musa has arrived at the farm store and butchery on four
occasions since the start of the year, he once displayed a copy of an offer
letter with Minister Mutasa´s
name on it, offering Mr. Musa plot two of Zengea farm.
On some occasions he was accompanied by employees of Lands Marondera
and sometimes by unidentified policemen.
The farm has not been pegged by arex or acquired by goverment under
the land aquisition act.
Mr. J. Musa (MP) has on several occasions told the farm manager, Mr
Peter de Klerk, that he has come to take possesion of his plot and wants to
start farming and left an occupying party behind at the butchery, who have
however shown no signs of initiating farming activity.
They have occupied the storekeepers house and had to be removed by the
police after assaulting a guard. The situation escalated on Thursday 27
When the MP dropped off three green bombers in uniform to join his
four men, already at the farm, they obviously had some intoxicating
substances with them as they proceeded to get thorougly drunk before
harrasing butchery employees, chasing away customers, eventually closing the
They gathered all the workers in the yard forcibly took the keys and
radios from them .They told them it was now their place made derogatory
remarks about the owner, that they would not be allowed to stay in their
houses or open the butchery again.
We asked the member in Charge Beatrice, Inspector Ndaba to enforce the
existing court order and protect our people and property, he in turn said he
would need further
clarification from Lands Office and the courts that this order was
still in effect. He did send four details to arrest the MPs men for the
other crimes they had committed.When these arrived they proceeded to arrest
the men and return the keys and radios.
This was a lengthy affair and at one point one of the policemen had to
cock his pistol to one of the mens heads to bring them under control .The MP
then arrived and took charge saying he would go to Beatrice and explain to
Inspector Ndaba that he was responsible. The perpetrators of the
disturbances were released .The policemen, the duty sergent CID officer
Goromonzi and two others got in his car and left.
We continue to seek to resolve the issue diplomatically and as a last
resort through the courts.
After having several visits by senior Reserve Bank Officials, the
the vice Presidents husband Commander Mujuru,
officials from Foreign Affairs Mr. Mandaza (091342647)
MINISTRY OF LANDS official Mr Manuti (011872426).
All encouraging us to continue with production and commending our
positive and forward thinking
Stance and involvement in improving farming at local and national
level. With a proven track record of commitment to the country and
cooperation with the Goverment in power we are confused by the scenario we
find ourselves in.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
May 1, 2006
By George Nyathi
HARARE (AND) FORMER National Constitutional Assembly (NCA)
spokesperson, Douglas Mwonzora has threatened to sue members of the Zimbabwe
National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) for defamation of
character as well as illegal detention and arrest.
Mwonzora was arrested late last year when he intended to run for a
parliamentary seat during the March 31 parliamentary polls but could not do
so as he was facing a charge of violating the Public Order and Security Act
However, a magistrate sitting at a circuit court cleared Mwonzora of
the case after the state dropped all the charges due to lack of evidence.
Mwonzora confided in some media practitioners in Harare that he was
intending to sue the war veteran's body for about $950 million. "He told us
that he wanted about $50 million from each war veteran who was cited as a
witness in the case. That translates to about $900 million. He is also
demanding another $50 million from the organization as a whole for illegal
detention and defamation of character," said one media source.
The Government has set aside more than $1 trillion for various projects that
are meant to support the growing and processing of the jatropha plant, the
Minister of Agriculture, Dr Joseph Made, said yesterday.
In an interview, Dr Made said the money was meant to support farmers
contracted to grow the jatropha tree as well as the setting up of a
He said since the growing of jatropha was not capital intensive, the bulk of
the funds were meant for a plant to process jatropha seeds into biodiesel.
"We have allocated $1.3 trillion for the jatropha projects. As you know the
jatropha tree was already being grown in many areas and part of the money
will be used to buy seeds from those who were already growing the tree," Dr
He said Government through the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe was buying
the seeds at $7 million per tonne.
Dr Made said NOCZIM, the Ministry of Science and Technology and the
Industrial Development Corporation were working on the modalities for
establishing the processing plant.
"We have realised that the hype might be on the growing of the plant yet it
is also important for us to start working on how we are going to process the
"Already NOCZIM and IDC are working on the technicalities of setting up the
processing plant," he said.
Dr Made said a lot of farmers were keen to participate in the jatropha
He said there was enthusiasm amongst farmers in Mutoko, where the tree is
found in abundance and farmers from other provinces had also responded
positively to the project.
May 1, 2006
By Andnetwork .com
JOHANNESBURG,(AND) - After serving for seven years as a frontier guard
along Zimbabwe's border with Botswana, army private Honest Chikomo retired
to a poor, hopeless life in the slums of the city of Bulawayo in May 2002.
Within two months of discharge from active service, Chikomo teamed up
with other friends who were also retired at the end of the Congo war and
jumped the border into Botswana, hoping to find new jobs as security guards.
Two months latter, Chikomo's bullet-riddled body arrived in Plumtree
for burial with news that he had been surprised during a bank robbery and
shot dead by a unit of the Botswana Police Services. The police were
reported to be on the trail of the other members, but public warnings had
been circulated in advance that all were ex-members of the army and were
The robbery case was just one of several allegedly committed by
serving or retired members of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) in the
region in recent years.
Police in Botswana have generally complained of Zimbabweans being
behind an upsurge in the crime wave.
But it is South Africa that has borne the brunt of the sophisticated,
well organized daring raids that seem to go for large casinos takings, huge
amounts of cash on transit and expensive jewellery.
A senior police detective in the Serious and Violent Crimes Unit told
AND that they were under no illusions that serving or retired elements of
the Zimbabwean military were active in crime scenes across the country. He
said their trademark was their targets, high organization in terms of
transport, arms, the very short time taken to rob the targets and the fact
that they are careful enough not to injure any of their victims.
"Like all foreigners here, Zimbabweans have been into all sorts of
crime since they started coming here. But this new breed of robber is a
smart guy who goes for big heists, like casinos, large sums in transit or
'We only woke up to the fact that we could be facing seasoned soldiers
when we arrested a cash-in-transit gang in the West Rand in late 2004. Many
of them turned out to be ex-soldiers and thereafter, similar catches were
made in connection with casinos hits in Limpopo and Kwa-Zulu Natal. Since
then, there have been more cases where former Zimabwean soldiers crop up in
connection with carjackings, bank robberies and other hold-ups," said the
detective, who declined to be named.
Although the South African Police Services (SAPS) declined to comment
to avoid compromising on-going investigations, senior detectives at
Polokwane told AND that the highly organized robbery of remote casinos in
the province late last year was the work of a highly organized and
militarily disciplined 15-20 member gang that carries AK 47s as standard
"These people bring all they need in transport, always strike at the
right time and will get
away without firing a single shot if not challenged. Once they leave,
the crime scene, they disappear into thin air. Which is why we think we are
dealing with a gang that comes occasionally to strike it big and go back to
spend. They have not been arrested and the 15 member gang that started
hitting out Wild Coast casinos last month fits their description," said the
While South Africa has an abundance of illegal weapons, police
detectives still believe that the widespread use of the AK47 points to the
Zimbabwe security establishment. The AK47 is the standard weapon issue for
Zimbabwe's army and police forces. Military-style raids on banks and
cash-in-transit vans still remain a problem throughout South Africa,
indicating that many gangs are still active.
Although South African police believe the gangs are inter-linked,
interviews carried out with serving and retired members of the Zimbabwe
National Army (ZNA) point to independent operations in which one gang may
not even know about the other.
"The situation is a result of conditions in the army. The low pay,
low morale and the fact that juniors have been watching officers feathering
their nests illegally since the DRC conflict has contributed in a big way to
crime in the service. So we now have retired and serving members who form
themselves into groups that go around robbing for cash and anything that can
be sold expensively.
"It is true that some of these people are now part of the spiraling
crime wave in South Africa, but they are not an organized syndicate. These
are small groups who go in to make a raid and quickly dash back," said the
officer. He said it was highly unlikely that the 15-20 member gang that is
still on the loose was made up of ex-Zimbabwean forces as SA police suspect.
The ZNA public relations department said it would only respond after
making investigations of their own. Opposition MDC shadow defence minister
Job Sikhala, who also sits on the parliamentary portfolio for defence, told
AND that there was no doubt that elements of the security forces were into
crime across the region.
"Those allegations are true. Even at home the uniformed forces are
increasingly turning to violent, often armed crimes that uses state supplied
firearms. However we do not have any cases of serving officers being
arrested or suspected, so we believe this could be the work of deserters or
retired personnel," Sikhala told AND.
He said low morale and the unending economic crisis in the country
were leading everybody, including soldiers into crime. An average trooper
still earns Z$10 million at a time when the cost of the family breadbasket
has hit Z$28 million. In the past week, Zimbabwean police expressed alarm at
the upsurge in robberies around Bulawayo and Harare.
Police spokesman Inspector Oliver Mandipaka was quoted by the Herald
as saying the police were worried about the sudden upsurge in the country's
"Yes, as police we acknowledge that cases of hijacking are worrying,
especially in the urban centers. There is a new way where criminal are armed
with firearms," Insp Mandipaka was quoted as saying.
Late last year, Reserve bank governor Gideon Gono warned President
Robert Mugabe that poor payment in the national army were endangering
national security. The warning was latter repeated before the parliamentary
portfolio committee on police services by Police Commissioner Augustine
Summing up the country's slide into total corruption, Gono said: "The
rot is so widespread that one doesn't know where to start and stop, but
start we must, urgently."
By Oscar Nkala
From Business Day (SA), 29 April
International Affairs editor
Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of a faction of Zimbabwe's main opposition party,
the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), is in SA for talks with President
Thabo Mbeki, a website said on Friday. The meeting with Mbeki follows a
similar one with the leader of the other MDC faction, Prof Arthur Mutambara,
a fortnight ago. It is not yet clear when the secretive meeting will take
place. Mbeki has made himself available to try to heal the rift between the
two factions, saying Zimbabwe could only benefit from a united opposition.
Mbeki is also a key broker in the country's political impasse, which has
seen an economic meltdown with an inflation rate heading towards the 1000%
mark. Earlier attempts by Mbeki to broker a settlement between the ruling
Zanu PF and MDC have floundered. Late last year Tsvangirai refused to attend
a meeting with Mbeki in an attempt to avert a split in the party. He cast
aspersions on Mbeki's abilities to broker a political deal in Zimbabwe and
said the South African government was part of the problem in the MDC.
Efforts to obtain comment from the foreign affairs department and from
Tsvangirai's party were fruitless at the time of going to press. However,
party sources in Zimbabwe say the split between the two factions is now
almost impossible to heal.
The MDC's Bulawayo South MP, David Coltart, has implicitly blamed Tsvangirai
for the split in the opposition. Coltart, largely regarded as neutral in the
factionalism that has rocked the party, has made two attempts to facilitate
either a reunion or what he calls an "amicable divorce" between the two
groups. He says his efforts are unlikely to yield any fruit. While Mutambara's
group has indicated a willingness to talk about sharing the party's
properties and use of its name, Coltart recently said he had been ignored by
Tsvangirai's camp. The NewZimbabwe.com website says Tsvangirai's meeting
with Mbeki is part of a crusade to win the hearts in the region. His
initiative coincides with a similar one by Mutambara in Europe. Mutambara is
expected to address the party's structures in the UK after the Swedish leg
of his tour. He also has other speaking engagements in the UK, which
political analysts say could include fundraising events. The two factions
have pledged to reinvigorate their opposition to President Robert Mugabe,
with Tsvangirai saying his group will push for more civic resistance so as
to push Zanu PF to the negotiating table. Mutambara says he is working at
"rebranding and refocusing" the party, which has been damaged by its
perceived alliance with whites and western governments.
From ZimbabweJournalists (UK), 1 May
By a Correspondent
Arthur Mutambara, the leader of the opposing MDC camp, yesterday addressed a
well-attended rally in Manchester where he told Zimbabweans living in exile
that the country belonged to everyone hence the struggle to free people from
the shackles of Zanu PF's grip was not a preserve for a few individuals.
Mutambara, who was on a tour of Europe with officials from his camp who
include Professor Welshman Ncube and Glen Norah MP Priscilla
Misihairabwi-Mushonga, told the crowd, estimated at 500, that his faction of
the MDC was re-branding to shake off the image that it was a "puppet" of the
West. He said his party would want every Zimbabwean to participate in the
fight to liberate itself from the Robert Mugabe-led Zanu PF government.
Three main points he talked about as his party's pinnacles are: The need for
a just and well-planned land reform programme that will benefit the poor, to
speak incessantly against what he termed anti-imperialism, and the need to
respect the country's liberation struggle to end Zanu PF's personalisation
of an important process that freed the country from white minority rule. The
rally was held at the Claremont Research Institute Hall.
Mutambara said his party, although happy to have relations with the United
States, Britain and other Western governments, would not be happy to accept
"puppet" regimes that seek to protect the interests of the few. "We are an
African party with African principles, a Zimbabwean party which is
anti-imperialist tendencies," he said. Mutambara was asked questions as to
why he was called to come and lead the party giving the impression that no
Ndebele person could ever become the leader of Zimbabwe. He said it wasn't
true that he came in because no Ndebele could lead the party or country. As
far as he was concerned every Zimbabwean had the right to participate in the
country's political processes. "I believe every Zimbabwean has a right to
contest for any position in government regardless of tribe," he said. "We
need to change that perception in our country that once you are a Ndebele
you cannot become the leader of a party or the country. I believe the
struggle we are in today to remove Zanu PF from power is a marathon that may
take 10 to 20 years and there is need for people to pass on the baton stick
to others regardless of tribe."
Mutambara spoke mainly on the vision of his MDC camp while his colleagues
spoke on the problems inflicting the country, what the diaspora could do to
help push Zanu PF out of power and related issues. "Our vision is to change
the Zanu PF culture, remove Zanu PF from power and form a government which
is multi-racial, a government for the people by the people."
Misihairabwi-Mushonga said people in the diaspora should know that they are
living in exile hence they should prepare for the eventuality of going back
home one day. She said Zimbabwean exiles should not fold their arms and
expect those fighting in the trenches at home to do it on their own. "You
have a big role to play. You may not be physically in Zimbabwe but you can
mobilise a lot of support and resources wherever they are to help the
struggle against the oppressive Zanu PF government," said
Misihairabwi-Mushonga. She urged exiles to adopt schools, hospitals and
other programmes in Zimbabwe to help alleviate the suffering of the people
in the country. She said things are getting worse by the day with the
majority of workers failing to pay for their children's fees let alone feed
and clothe them. Most can no longer afford to go to hospital and exiled
Zimbabweans could do a lot to help by working with local communities of
their choice. She said exiled should also help by contributing to the
formulation of policies that could one day be used in re-building the
"Remember you are in exile and that means you are here temporarily and you
are going to come back one day so be prepared for that day, support the
struggle in whatever way you can, especially adopting projects that can save
a lot of people on the ground," Misihairabwi-Mushonga said. Ncube told the
gathering of the events that led to the MDC split resulting in the
Tsvangirai and Mutambara factions. He said it was sad there had been a lot
of mudslinging with the other camp saying he was in the pay of Zanu PF
regardless of the personal suffering he and his family had gone through at
the hands of the ruling government. He said the reason his camp was
re-branding was so they can shake off the image created by Tsvangirai's
"disregard" for the party's constitution ahead of the controversial
senatorial elections. He said it was clear to him and his colleagues that
Tsvangirai had the same "dictatorial" tendencies as Robert Mugabe and had
used rowdy youths to beat up and intimidate party members and supporters who
supported participating in the senatorial elections. The group, which leaves
for Harare today, was unable to address a meeting in London. Last minute
attempts to call for a meeting failed. Noble Sibanda, the pro-senate MDC
spokesperson in the UK said they were happy with the big crowd that attended
the Manchester meeting. "We would have loved to have a meeting in London but
because the leadership did not give us enough notice that they will be
passing through London from the trip to Europe and because it is a holiday
today, we have been unable to have the meeting," he said.