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

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Telegraph

Boycott Zimbabwe's tour
(Filed: 02/05/2003)

English cricket behaved shoddily over the World Cup fixture in Harare last
February and is doing the same with Zimbabwe's tour of this country, which
opens in Birmingham tomorrow. Then, Nasser Hussain's team, ducking the issue
of Robert Mugabe's tyranny, called off the match on grounds of security.

Yesterday, Tim Lamb, chief executive of the England and Wales Cricket Board,
made a spurious comparison between the political systems of tourist and
host. "We don't think the Zimbabwe cricketers are any more the henchmen of
Robert Mugabe than the England players are the foot soldiers of Tony Blair,"
he said.

If that is the case, perhaps Mr Lamb would like to explain why Henry Olonga
and, in particular, the outstanding Andy Flower, are not in the visiting
side. This courageous pair wore black armbands during a World Cup match
against Namibia, and issued a statement "mourning the death of democracy in
our beloved Zimbabwe". Both are now in England, Mr Flower representing Essex
and Mr Olonga playing club cricket and commentating for Channel 4.

The Zimbabwe Cricket Union, whose patron is Mr Mugabe, regards the two
players as traitors and has expressed no regret at the detention and beating
of those who protested during World Cup matches. The president will use the
current tour to argue that Zimbabwe meets international norms. The British
Government, terrified of being branded neo-colonialist, has welcomed it. It
is now up to the public to hit the pockets of the cricketing authorities by
boycotting the matches, and to shame them by staging protests outside the
Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Times

            Zimbabwe show way to fly in the face of truth
            Commentary by Owen Slot

            IF WE were operating on a policy of three strikes and you're
out, the Zimbabwe touring squad, which arrived at Gatwick yesterday, would
already be on a plane back home. The official line is that they are here to
play cricket and not to talk current affairs, which is just as well, because
when the conversation strays to topics anywhere beyond bat and ball, this is
a squad that is either frightened or incapable of talking truthfully.
            From Gatwick, the players made their way to their London hotel
and then senior personnel headed on to their "Welcome to England" press
conference at Lord's. Their welcome was warmed by a smattering of Stop the
Tour campaigners, who stood outside the East Gate holding up paper banners
bearing the messages: "No cricket while Mugabe kills" and "Latest score:
3409 tortured, 260 killed". Inside the gates, the attendant media were then
informed that, to get the wretched business of politics out of the way,
Peter Chingoka, the chairman of the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU), would
start by answering questions of a non-cricketing nature. And it was here
that he calmly proceeded to divert from the truth on a number of issues.

            Issue No 1 concerned a simple point of fact. Was it true, he was
asked, that on the eve of Zimbabwe's World Cup match against Australia, the
selectors were going to drop Andy Flower (he of the black armband) and were
persuaded otherwise only by a threatened player strike? No, he replied
categorically, it was not. If you ask the players the same question,
however, and promise not to reveal their identities, then they will tell you
exactly the opposite. Half the team were prepared to mutiny.

            Issue No 2 concerned another point of fact. Was there any sort
of vetting system involved in player selection? "There is no vetting
process," he replied. "The selectors choose the side on form, merit and
availability." Which is not true either because the ZCU selectors also
follow a "Taskforce" document that determines the racial make-up of its
teams. That is why five of the squad of 15 are non-white.

            And issue No 3 is closely related to No 2. Is there a quota
system? "There is no quota system," he replied. "We have always operated on
goals." Which, again, is not true because Vince Hogg, the chief executive of
the ZCU, has said so to his players.

            That may be three strikes, but it was not all. Asked about the
players' freedom of speech, Chingoka denied that they were prohibited from
talking publicly on non-cricketing subjects. Which is another interesting
version of the truth because the players' contracts are stuffed with clauses
about what they are and are not permitted to say. As one Zimbabwe player in
England said yesterday: "Most of the guys live almost in fear, because if
you say or do anything wrong, you're cut out."

            All of which might simply add up to a little economising with
the truth. The protesters would argue, however, that it makes this team a
reflection of a Zimbabwean regime, where freedom of speech and
anti-government action is denied, where race governs politics and where
truth is recycled and rewritten.

            "We don't think the Zimbabwe cricketers are any more the
henchmen of Robert Mugabe than the England players are the foot soldiers of
Tony Blair," Tim Lamb, the chiefexecutive of the ECB, said on BBC Radio 5
Live yesterday.

            It may have been significant that he was talking about the
players and not the management.

            Lamb also said that the ZCU is an apolitical organisation -
which Chingoka said, too. And Chingoka also said that trade relations
between Zimbabwe and Britain are flourishing and that 300 British companies
do business in Zimbabwe - which happens to be a point that Lamb brings up
whenever the subject arises. And when Chingoka was singing merrily from the
same hymn-sheet as his host, there was no reason whatsoever to believe that
he was telling anything other than the truth.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Chombo in court bid to bar Mudzuri from duty

      5/2/03 10:10:33 AM (GMT +2)

      By Pedzisai Ruhanya Deputy News Editor

      THE High Court will today hear an urgent application by Ignatius
Chombo, the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing,
to bar suspended Harare Executive Mayor Elias Mudzuri from performing any
council duties.

      Chombo alleged that Mudzuri was performing mayoral duties while on
suspension before investigations into allegations of misconduct levelled
against him when he was suspended on Tuesday were completed.

      In his affidavit filed at the High Court yesterday, Chombo said:
"Mudzuri has been seen at a function in Bulawayo on 29 April purporting to
carry out his mayoral functions despite him having been suspended.

      "At the same function, Mudzuri was seen wearing his mayoral regalia
which is evidence to prove that he is adamant not to abide by my letter of

      Neither Mudzuri nor his lawyers were available for comment yesterday,
but a Harare lawyer, who refused to be named, yesterday said a team of
lawyers were going to oppose Chombo's application and Mudzuri's dismissal if
the mayor fails to avail himself to the court.

      The lawyer said yesterday they failed to contact Mudzuri and suspected
that he could be unaware that Chombo was taking him to court given the
urgency in which the application was made, especially in view of the fact
that it was on a public holiday.

      Chombo said Mudzuri was seen by his permanent secretary Vincent Hungwe
"masquerading as Mayor of Harare at an official function wearing official
mayoral regalia".

      He said he had reasonable apprehension that Mudzuri would attend the
official opening of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF).

      The ZITF will be officially opened today by Angolan Prime Minister
Fernando da Dias Dos Santos following President Eduardo Dos Santos' failure
to come to Zimbabwe for unexplained reasons in what appeared to be a rebuff
by Mugabe's Angolan counterpart who is the current chairman of Sadc.

      "I feel that if Mudzuri continues to present himself at official
functions wearing the official mayoral regalia, this would cause irreparable
damage to the operations of the city council as there would be confusion and
embarrassment as regards a lawful suspension order," Chombo said.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Chibhebhe slams Mugabe

      5/2/03 9:52:12 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporters

      WELLINGTON Chibhebhe, the ZCTU's secretary-general, yesterday urged
President Mugabe to step down accusing him of being behind Zimbabwe's
economic downfall.

      He made the call when he addressed nearly 20 000 workers at Rufaro
Stadium in Harare to celebrate May Day.

      Chibhebhe said Mugabe had to leave as his government had failed the
workers by not heeding their demands for improved living conditions and
income tax reduction.

      Because all efforts made by various interest groups to make the
government see the dangers of its dictatorship, economic mismanagement and
political repression had failed, they had no option left but to confront
Mugabe, Chibhebhe said.

      "The government is now on the run," he said. "People were afraid of
the government in the past. We are are no longer afraid of them because we
know they are seriously shaken and now fear the people."

      The ZCTU leadership told the workers to brace themselves for more
stayaways until their grievances were addressed by the government.

      While many workers throughout the country thronged the ZCTU's
celebrations, only a few attended the festivities of the pro-government
Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions (ZFTU), whose leader is Zanu PF's Joseph
Chinotimba. At Gwanzura Stadium, the ZFTU event was reportedly poorly

      In Masvingo and Bulawayo, thousands of workers defied intimidation by
State security agents and Zanu PF activists to attend the ZCTU's May Day

      Chibhebhe said: "Our pledge is that Mugabe and his government should
leave in peace. It does not have to be by force, but when you leave, it has
to be with dignity."

      Lovemore Matombo, the ZCTU president, said: "As things stand, there is
no indication that the government has the political will to deal with the
crisis. Everything points to the worsening of the crisis. Workers should,
therefore, brace themselves for more action - more effective and telling
than ever before."

      The ZCTU made 12 demands, among them that the government resolves the
economic and political crisis, repeals all repressive laws, depoliticises
public institutions and recognises the right of workers to strike.

      In solidarity with the ZCTU, Lovemore Madhuku, the chairman of the
National Constitutional Assembly, called on all the leaders of civic
organisations and their members to keep the pressure on the government until
Mugabe accepted "the reality of his unpopularity and relinquishes power".

      In Bulawayo, two army tanks patrolled outside White City Stadium early
in the morning and left before the start of the programme.

      But thousands of workers attended the ZCTU celebrations compared to
about 200 people who attended the ZFTU-organised event.

      In Masvingo, thousands of workers defied threats from Zanu PF
supporters and thronged Mucheke Stadium, while the ZFTU failed to organise
any celebrations to mark Workers' Day.

      The ZFTU had scheduled its celebrations for Masvingo Showgrounds, but
this was cancelled because of poor attendance.

      The police mounted roadblocks on all major roads leading to and from
the city where they maintained a heavy presence in a show of force.

      In Mutare about 100 people attended the ZFTU-organised event at
Sakubva Stadium, while about 3 000 people thronged the Queens Hall where
Raymond Majongwe, the president of the Progressive Teachers' Union of
Zimbabwe, addressed the ZCTU function. Majongwe slammed the violation of
human rights and draconian laws such as the Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act and the Public Order and Security Act, saying they
were undemocratic.

      ZFTU's official in Manicaland, Patrick Majuru, blamed the poor
attendance on economic hardships.

      In Gweru, there was a low turnout at the ZCTU and ZFTU celebrations.
About 1 000 people attended the ZCTU's function at Ascot Stadium, while only
200 were at Mkoba Stadium for the ZFTU event.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Maize scam trial fails to take place as keys go missing

      5/2/03 10:00:26 AM (GMT +2)

      THE corruption trial of Makanzweyi Jecheche, Masvingo District
Administrator, and Martin Marumazvitsva, a GMB official, failed to take off
this week because the keys to the safe in which the relevant documents are
being kept could not be found.

      Jecheche and Marumazvitsva and their lawyers Isaac Muzenda and Tongai
Matutu, waited for hours for the trial to resume only to be advised that the
keys to the safe were missing.

      The documents were allegedly placed in a safe since the matter is
regarded as highly sensitive.

      Said Matutu: "We were advised that the person who has the keys for the
safe went to South Africa and would only come back after sometime. We had to
prepare some documents in order to postpone the case. Our clients were then
remanded to 14 May and probably by then the keys would be available."

      The two are facing corruption charges involving 15 tonnes of maize
delivered to Shuvai Mahofa, Deputy Minister of Gender, Youth Development and
Employment Creation. It is the State's case that on 5 February this year,
the Masvingo food distribution committee compiled a list of people who were
supposed to get maize from the Masvingo GMB depot. On the day in question
the committee was chaired by a major Charles Marambara since Jecheche was
away. Jecheche as the DA normally chairs the food distribution committee
meetings. The State is further alleging that Mahofa who was not entitled to
any allocation, went to the GMB depot and demanded some maize. It is further
alleged that Jecheche and Marumazvitsva then communicated with each other
and authorised that the deputy minister be given the maize.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Chitungwiza residents form litigation committee

      5/2/03 10:01:48 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      DUE to the rise in the cases of human rights abuse by alleged members
of the police and the army, the Chitungwiza Residents Association (CRA),
last week formed a litigation committee which will investigate and compile
the cases.

      Denford Muchenje, the CRA chairperson for Zengeza, on Wednesday said
they were forced to form the litigation committee after receiving several
reports from the residents who said they were being tortured and harassed by
the alleged members of the police and the army for no apparent reason.

      "As leaders, we received several reports from residents who have been
victimised, hence we cannot sit back and relax when residents are
 suffering," Muchenje said.

      He said all those responsible for the torture of innocent residents
were going to be brought to book.

      "We want to sue all the alleged police and army personnel who are
butchering and torturing innocent residents," he said.

      "If indeed they are members of the police and the army then they are
supposed to be custodians of the law, but they are transforming themselves
into merciless vampires, hence it's high time we condemn such acts of
violence," he added.

      Muchenje said after compiling the cases of human rights abuses by the
alleged offenders, the litigation committee will then take legal action
against the perpetrators of violence.

      "We want to make sure this message gets to all Chitungwiza residents.
Therefore from next week, we will be having consultative meetings with
residents," he said.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      British envoy raps Herald

      5/2/03 10:02:50 AM (GMT +2)

      By Columbus Mavhunga

      The British High Commission has written to The Herald complaining
about the paper's misrepresentation of facts when it reported that Brian
Donnelly, the British High Commissioner, was working with the MDC to topple
President Mugabe's government.

      In a letter addressed to Pikirayi Deketeke, the newspaper's editor,
Sophie Honey, the British High Commission's spokesperson said: "Your
headline today (29 April 2003): UK working with MDC to topple Government:
Donnelly grossly misrepresents what was not, in any case, 'a briefing of
reporters', but an informal chat with one of your reporters in a tea queue.
There are too many inaccuracies to correct them one-by-one."

      This is not the first time that the State-run newspaper has ruffled
feathers in the diplomatic community.

      In February, James Morris, the United Nations envoy of the
Secretary-General for Humanitarian Needs in Southern Africa was quoted by
the newspaper saying that he supported the land reform programme.

      He wrote twice to Deketeke complaining bitterly that the words which
were attributed to him were not his.

      Around the same time the Japanese Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Tsuneshige
Iiyama, wrote to Deketeke saying "he was stunned" when he read that he had
attacked the MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai when he visited Professor Jonathan
Moyo, the Minister of Information and Publicity.

      Deketeke on Wednesday confirmed receipt of the letter.

      "We were not sure whether she wanted us to publish the letter or she
was just stressing a point from her side," said Deketeke. "But I am
convinced the reporter correctly quoted Donnelly. At times people forget
that journalists are always looking for news and end up saying some things
which they will later refute."

      The story which Honey was refuting claimed that Donnelly had said: "It
was acceptable under international law for a foreign power to advocate for a
change of government in another country."

      But Honey said Donnelly, "pointed out that, under international law,
sovereignty is not a defence against international scrutiny of human rights

      The story quoted Donnelly as saying: "We don't deal with the
government (of Mugabe), we deal with the country."

      Honey said: "In fact he (Donnelly) pointed out that, the British
government recognises states, not countries or individuals, and that we
indeed recognise Zimbabwe as a sovereign, independent state which is why we
continue to maintain a High Commission here.

      "Your discerning readers will have gathered, from the confused nature
of the article, that much of it was muddled and a misrepresentation along
these lines.

      "I am glad, however, that a few points were correct. In Zimbabwe we
are indeed supporting developmental projects in many rural areas."
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      48 families stranded as homes torched

      5/2/03 10:07:29 AM (GMT +2)

      From Sydney Saize in Mutare

      AT least 48 families in the Masasa area of Buhera have been left
homeless and are facing starvation after their homes were torched by rival
families during a boundary dispute involving two traditional leaders.

      The Zimbabwe Human Rights Organisation (ZimRights), said yesterday the
homes were torched three weeks ago in the presence of police

      The boundary dispute, which dates back to the early 1990s and had
reached litigation stages, involves families under headmen Muzerengwa and

      Arnold Tsunga, the national chairperson of ZimRights, said yesterday:
"We don't have details yet, but we believe there was a litigation case over
the boundary dispute."

      He added: "But what bothers us most is that the police were said to be
present during the torching of these homes. No one had a right to destroy
the only dwellings of these families. It's a gross violation of human

      The police at Murambinda referred questions to their counterparts at
Muzokomba police post, near Masasa. Efforts to contact them, or the police
provincial spokesperson, were unsuccessful.

      Tsunga said at least 450 people, including women and children, are
sleeping in the open without adequate food, sanitary facilities and shelter.

      Wallace Mupfumwa, the ZimRights regional officer, said yesterday his
organisation would soon sent a team to Masasa with food and tents.

      Sources said a grinding mill, several scotchcarts, food and other
property belonging to the displaced families were looted when the homes were
set on fire.

      Some of the looted property is reported to have been sold at give away
prices at Murambinda.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      WFP blames government for poor food distribution

      5/2/03 10:08:04 AM (GMT +2)

      By Precious Shumba

      LUIS Clemens, the public relations officer for the United Nations
World Food Programme (WFP) on Wednesday said the government of Zimbabwe's
failure to take on board the inputs of the private sector in its land reform
programme and food importation has severely affected the availability of
food to people.

      Clemens was speaking in an interview at Dunga Primary School in
Hurungwe East where the WFP was distributing grain donated to Zimbabwe by
the South African government as part of its response to the country's food
crisis, to 6 665 villagers.

      The food was distributed through Goal, an Irish organisation that has
given aid to 231 086 people from 53 298 households in Hurungwe district.

      The WFP has 12 implementing non-governmental organisations in Zimbabwe
which have been distributing food aid on its behalf.

      "There are various factors which have caused food shortages in the
country," he said. "Among them was the exclusion of the private sector in
the importation of food."

      He said the government price controls, the drought, the non-delivery
of agricultural inputs like fertilisers and seed, the late rains and the
haphazard land reform programme have caused the food shortages in Zimbabwe.

      Clemens said the government should remove, as a matter of urgency, the
price controls it imposed on maize and wheat to increase their availability.

      Meanwhile, Leo Masithela, the chairman of the South African
Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Agriculture and Land Affairs, who
toured the distribution point, said they wanted to establish how food
donated by their government was being distributed.

      The South African MPs were in the country to gather evidence from
their Zimbabwean counterparts in the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on
Lands, Agriculture, Water Development, Rural Resources and Resettlement on
how the government's land reform programme was progressing.

      He said during his committee's meetings with the Zimbabwe Farmers'
Union (ZFU) and the Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU), the two organisations
raised problems of communication between themselves and the government .

      The SA government donated 100 000 metric tonnes worth US$20 million
(Z$16 billion) to the region of which 66 000 metric tones were donated to

      Daniel Mackenzie Ncube, the chairman of Zimbabwe's parliamentary
committee said the CFU, ZFU and other interest groups gave the SA delegation
half truths, exaggerations and embellishments which surprised them.

      "They should have been factual and to the point and not make political
statements." said Ncube.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Villagers beat up Green Bombers

      5/2/03 10:11:21 AM (GMT +2)

      From Chris Gande in Bulawayo

      ABOUT eight Zanu PF youths, all members of the Green Bombers, were
admitted to Wankie Colliery Hospital in Hwange after sustaining injuries
when they were beaten up by Binga villagers on Independence Day.

      The villagers retaliated after a group of the national youth service
members tried to "discipline" them for failing to attend Independence Day
celebrations on 18 April at Manjolo business centre. Sources at Wankie
Colliery Hospital said some of the youths were treated and discharged the
same day, while two of them were detained for nearly a week before being

      Joel Gabbuza, the Member of Parliament for Binga (MDC), this week said
he regretted the increasing incidents of violence in the district.

      "The situation is tense because the villagers have been attacked on
several occasions and they have said enough is enough," he said.

      Gabbuza said what was even more worrying was that the Green Bombers
were reported to be planning a revenge attack.

      The police refused to comment on the incident.

      Binga has known no peace after the district proved its allegiance to
the MDC by voting overwhelmingly for the opposition party in the 2000
parliamentary election.

      The trend was maintained in March last year's presidential poll. It
was repeated in last September's rural council elections when Zanu PF won
only five wards compared to the MDC's 16.

      Villagers said just before the independence celebrations on 18 April,
Zanu PF officials sent a truck to transport people to Manjolo, where the
function was to be held.

      When the villagers snubbed the celebrations, the youths promised "to
return to deal" with them afterwards. True to their word, the youths came
back late in the afternoon and allegedly attacked everyone on sight. The
villagers, however, grouped and decided to hit back.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

Leader Page

      Time for Mugabe to bite the bullet

      5/2/03 9:53:06 AM (GMT +2)

      It is nothing short of ominous that, for the first time since
independence, the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) is this year
going to be officially opened by someone who is not a full head of state.

      The honour of officially opening the ZITF this year has fallen on the
Angolan Prime Minister, Fernando da Piedade Dias dos Santos. The Prime
Minister will perform the task in place of Angolan President Eduardo dos
Santos who was initially billed to open the ZITF this year but who, it has
been announced, is no longer coming.

      It might be pertinent to note that this is not the first time that a
head of state has cancelled this very same engagement at the last minute.

      Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo did the same thing last year. He
had been billed to open the 43rd ZITF, but opted out at the last minute,
necessitating the government to hastily despatch to Lusaka a delegation led
by Emmerson Mnangagwa to persuade newly-elected Levy Mwanawasa to step in as
a replacement, thereby averting what could have become an acute
embarrassment for the government.

      In the latest snub, neither the Angolans nor the Zimbabwean officials
have deemed it necessary to volunteer an explanation for the Angolan
President's last-minute cancellation of the ZITF engagement which has always
been viewed as a great honour.

      It is easy to yield to the temptation to take the simplistic view that
Dos Santos' decision not to come was probably influenced by the fact that
the event is going to be decidedly low-key because only a handful of
countries will be officially represented and not many foreign companies
worth doing business with will be exhibiting. But, while that may well be a
contributory factor, it is highly unlikely to have been the Angolan leader's
main consideration in making that obviously difficult decision to decline
the invitation. Rather, it is a safe bet to say it was a decision that was
influenced by a growing, new - and most welcome - consensus among African
leaders to shun President Mugabe.

      This must surely be seen as a way not only of registering their grave
concern over the untold suffering he has brought upon his people by
trampling upon their rights and running the country's economy aground, but
also over the fact that he has become an unbearable economic burden to the
entire Sadc region.

      For some time now, several of the region's leaders have shown clear
signs of discomfort with their Zimbabwean counterpart's style of governance.
It is a matter of record that Zanu PF and the ruling Frelimo party in
Mozambique were for a very long time the best of allies. But today, though
relations between the two organisations may not be exactly frosty, those
between their two leaders are not warm at all.

      Relations between Mugabe and President Joaquim Chissano noticeably
cooled off last year. Following the Sadc summit in Blantyre at which
political violence in Zimbabwe featured prominently, Chissano went back home
to publicly condemn Zimbabwe's defence chiefs for saying, shortly before the
presidential poll, that they would not salute Morgan Tsvangirai if he were
elected President because he did not take part in the armed struggle.
Chissano stated categorically that soldiers should not meddle in politics.
He was supported in that view by Malawian President Bakili Muluzi.

      It is safe to deduce that the army generals had been put to it by none
other than Mugabe himself. Naturally he did not take too kindly to Chissano'
s remarks. But the Mozambicans have remained firm in their condemnation of
the rogue Mugabe regime's misrule as evidenced by that country's Foreign
Minister who publicly decried political violence during his recent visit to

      Both Botswana's Festus Mogae and South Africa's Thabo Mbeki have
recently been openly critical of the manner Mugabe is running the country.
What all these leaders have been telling Mugabe is that he has messed up
and, therefore, must go.

      When Mbeki, Obasanjo and Muluzi come to Harare next week, they owe it
to the long-suffering people of this country to bluntly tell Mugabe to bite
the bullet. They should tell him he must admit he has failed his countrymen
and cannot postpone his departure from office for much longer.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

Leader Page

      Suicidal contradictions form government thinking

      5/2/03 9:53:58 AM (GMT +2)

      By Marko Tshabalala

      Ever since Zimbabwe's own version of the Wall Street Crash when the
local dollar took a severe knock in November 1997, the country has become a
land of many contradictions.

      For starters, this is a country where all economic truths that even a
layman would be better placed to comment on, and, therefore, provided
solutions to, have been grotesquely subverted. History has always provided
invaluable lessons for dealing with challenges that are met in the future,
and for Zimbabwe it is tragic that what was seen in the 1980s as destructive
economic policies was nevertheless regurgitated in a bid to shore up the
dwindling support base of the ruling party.

      For instance, the issue of price controls has for many entrepreneurs,
including those whose undying allegiance to the ruling party is well known,
defeated the whole idea of being in business in the first place.

      The ruling party seems to never have asked itself why the price
controls of the early years of the country's independence were phased out.
They never asked themselves what it is that changed to render the revisiting
of that policy meaningful and logical in the 21st century.

      From the prices pegged for farmers and what they are supposed to get
from the Grain Marketing Board (GMB), for example, and just how much the GMB
would then sell to the people, would manifest a gross lack of understanding
of what would be basic economics. And that from men and women who seem to
have shifted from the traditional titular addresses and appear instead to be
showing off their erudition by prefixing their names by titles of higher
learning! They are no longer mere "Cde So-and-So", but strictly doctors and
professors. The irony and contradiction is obviously lost to personnel at
the national broadcaster and public Press.

      Now that fuel has been upped for the second time within the first
quarter of the year, what the government then tells the commuter omnibus
operators is that they should not increase fares. In other words, they
should not seek to profiteer out of people's woes. Never mind that the
government itself has increased the commuter fares of its own Marco Polo

      Anywhere in the world, this government would have thrown in the towel,
called for fresh elections and thereby conceding that this country is larger
than them, not vice versa. Yet the glaring contradictions that have been
seen here, made even worse by the violent land grab, have become the motif
of the ruling Zanu PF.

      The way the economy has been wrecked in a record space of time, and in
the absence of any civil conflict in the manner we have seen across the
African continent, would be unacceptable anywhere in the world where
citizens, by virtue of living in a democracy, would demand the resignation
of the whole government and have that wish duly granted.

      But still we get here a government defending what would be essentially
indefensible. One would have imagined that the old ditty about our woes
being very much thanks to the doing of hostile outside forces with
imperialist designs was old hat and with the ruling party itself getting
mental fatigue thereby dropping it. But seemingly because politics of this
continent has exorcised the sense of right and wrong from the collective
psyche of the ruling party, then it would seemingly present an idea that we
should get used to the mind-boggling philosophy of the party ruling over us.

      The problem always with consensus morality is that no matter how
flawed the thinking, disciples come in their dozens simply because an
influential figure subscribes to that particular thinking.

      It has been seen with cults, and who can dismiss that the ruling party
has in the past couple of years successfully transformed itself into just
that? Now, is it not a great wonder that each time criticism is levelled
against the ruling party, it always brings up the issue of it or Zimbabwe
being a democracy?

      This is the only place where the politicians of the ruling party
always claim they are above reproach as seen

      by their obsessive reference to Zanu PF being an epitome of good
governance, democracy and the upholding of human rights.

      The contradictions here are very many and as we take collective stock
as to how the ruling party was allowed in the first place to wreak all this
havoc, what will bring down this government is its own disregard for tenets
that have guided other models of democracy, namely taking the people who
elected that government seriously.

      It has, after all, occurred in the past that the most arrogant of
regimes that treated the general man, woman and child like drooling
imbeciles only had the most inauspicious of exits as the people took matters
into their own hands.

      Can it be dismissed that this is exactly what the ruling party is busy
surreptitiously rubbing its hands in glee and in anticipation of mass
protests, then leave the streets flowing with the blood of pro-democracy
activists? Now is the time in the history of this country where everybody,
by virtue of bearing that yoke and burden of bad economic planning and
beatings by the police and the army, has become a pro-democracy activist.

      When the present Pope was still archbishop in communist Poland, a
young man who had been brutalised by the atheist communist security forces
came to him for spiritual counselling. In his response, Karol Watjyola, the
archbishop and later Pope John Paul II, told the young man: "Do not worry,
my son. They will soon destroy themselves."

      Communism fell, though years later.

      Could not that conversation have happened in Zimbabwe in light of a
dearth of solutions to bring back the good old days when commuters paid 60
cents for the original emergency taxis?
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Zimbabwe fails to contain foot-and-mouth outbreak

      5/2/03 9:47:13 AM (GMT +2)

      By Takaitei Bote

      ZIMBABWE has for the third year running failed to contain the
foot-and-mouth disease, which broke out in 2001.

      In its March newsletter, the Department of Veterinary Services, said
the menace was still affecting parts of Manicaland and Masvingo.

      There were reports of foot-and-mouth disease at 11 dip tank areas in
Chipinge, while two commercial farms were affected in Chimanimani in March
this year.

      There were also reports of the disease in some parts of Zaka,
Bulilima-Mangwe and Masvingo.

      The department said: "Secondary outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease
have continued to occur in Manicaland and Masvingo provinces mainly due to
delays in implementing mass vaccinations, as well as due to rampant cattle
movements within and between communal areas in these provinces."

      While mass vaccinations were in progress in affected areas, stocks
were running low.

      The department, headed by Stuart Hargreaves, is struggling to contain
the disease owing to poor funding.

      The department needs funds to import vaccines and repair the fences
damaged by cattle movements. Hargreaves could not respond to questions
seeking clarification on a number of related issues.

      The outbreak of foot-and-mouth resulted in the suspension of beef
exports to the European Union (EU) and South Africa.

      Zimbabwe exported 9 100 tonnes and 5 000 tonnes of deboned beef to the
EU and South Africa before the ban.

      At least $2 billion was earned from beef exports to the EU, while
exports within Africa and the Far East generated $2,5 billion in 2000.

      The outbreak of the disease was attributed to the chaotic land reform,
which resulting in the mixing of cattle in quarantined areas with those from
foot-and-mouth disease-free zones.

      People were also moving from one area to another during the land
reform, increasing the risk of the disease outbreak.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News


      Disorder now the order of the day despite POSA

      5/2/03 9:54:46 AM (GMT +2)

      It is the most shameful irony of present-day Zimbabwe that since the
promulgation of the Public Order and Security Act (POSA), order and security
have reached an all-time low.

      Which ministry conducts itself in an orderly manner? None except maybe
the cynical ministry of shortages in the President's Office. And who in
Zimbabwe can beat their chest and declare that they feel secure? Looks

      Since order was relegated to the backyard of the Zanu PF government's
conscience at the start of the chaotic farm invasions, Zimbabwe has become
one of the most disorderly places to live.

      A government that sows disorder among its citizens has no right to
expect order among those citizens.

      By openly legitimising a violent and often illegal land redistribution
project, the government amply illustrated that political expediency rules
over legality.

      The blitz that torched the judges' backsides off the Supreme Court
Bench says it all. What order can there be in a country where uncouth
militants invade the Supreme Court and occupy the Chief Justice's seat? And
what role should the police play? Arrest the militants or the victimised

      Tragically Zimbabwean police have over the past several months shown
an astounding inclination and an equally breathtaking reluctance to
apprehend the militias.

      There can be no order and security in a country where government
officials declare today that the law says one-man, one-farm, then tomorrow
the same officials are exposed to have acquired several farms. No. It won't

      But perhaps we, the poor majority, should be asking: Why are these
ministers and governors grabbing so much in such a hurry? Is it a case of
grab as much as you can before . . . what? An apocalypse? The day when
someone brave enough steps up to declare that the emperor has no clothes?
And after that, are we going to have lynchings? Probably we shouldn't waste
a thought on them: they will be too busy discussing why we are so blest with
the Harare youths whom they have abused for so long.

      Increasingly,these youths will become more restive, disorderly and
even violent. They will demand justice, and if denied, as is currently
happening, may begin using a little bit of force. No one will be secure.
From the State House to the one-roomed humiliations that pass for homes in
Mbare, Sakubva and Makokoba, no one will be safe. For the fire of discontent
is blazing, and our leaders happen to be living in thatched wooden shack.

      In spite of POSA, disorder is the order of the day.

      Alois Mukonyora
Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Herald

Transport blues as bus operators pull out of route

From Masvingo Bureau.
Villagers in Chiwara communal lands in Gutu South are facing critical
transport problems after bus operators pulled out of the route due to poor

The poor state of the roads could also affect grain collection from pockets
of the area that had good harvests following late but consistent rains.

The villagers now have to wake up at 3am to catch buses at Bikita Minerals
or Mugoni business centre some 15 kilometres away from Chiwara.

Some of them are resorting to donkey and ox-drawn carts to ferry their
luggage to and from the bus stops.

"The only bus that services this area is no longer reliable making it
difficult for us to plan our journeys. The Government should dispatch some
Zimbabwe United Passenger Company buses because at the moment we are walking
distances of up to 15 kilometres to get transport," said Mr Steven Mutingi,
from Chidyamakuni village.

The villagers said part of the road linking Chiwara to the Mutare-Masvingo
road was now totally submerged in water from the Matezva dam under

This had resulted in the bus having to use a cattle track after part of the
road was submerged.

The villagers said the Government, through the DDF, should commit more
resources to overhauling most sections of the road first destroyed by
cyclone Eline-induced rains in 2000.

Villagers blamed the District Development Fund of failing to maintain the

Gutu district administrator Mr Felix Chikovo said he was aware of the
problem and had directed DDF to attend to it.

"I am still to check with the DDF to establish whether they have carried out
any repair work but I do not know of any part of the road which was covered
by water. I will investigate," said Mr Chikovo.

Most roads in some parts of Masvingo province were severely damaged this
year after heavy rains induced by cyclone Japhet pounded the area.

Villagers in parts of the province have had good harvests and were likely to
make some deliveries at their various Grain Marketing Board collection
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Here are two contradictory reports.....


Few Turn Out for May Day Observances in Zimbabwe
Peta Thornycroft
01 May 2003, 19:19 UTC

Few workers in Zimbabwe turned out for annual May Day celebrations Thursday.
Most public transportation was shut down. High unemployment has transformed
May Day messages from calls for better wages to anger against the

Political analysts say they would have been surprised if May Day had
attracted many workers to normal celebrations.

According to statistics compiled by the trade union movement, most workers
have lost their jobs in the last three years of political and economic

Among them are more than 150,000 former commercial farm workers who lost
their jobs and homes, as the government seized more than 90 percent of
white-owned farms in the last three years.

Unemployment in Zimbabwe stands at 70 percent.

Traditionally, May Day speeches in Zimbabwe targeted employers and working
conditions. This year, the target was President Robert Mugabe and his

The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions' May Day message to workers said they
should not be intimidated by the government and that many transport
operators had been harassed into withdrawing their services on May Day.

The group also called on the government to raise the minimum wage for
workers to more than 120,000 Zimbabwe dollars a month, or about $100. This
is more than five times the present wage for the lowest earners.

The trade union group organized a three-day national strike last week, which
paralyzed commerce and industry across the country.

Opposition Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai, himself
a former secretary general of the Trade Union Congress, sent out a message
to workers saying the unions and the opposition would continue with strikes
and demonstrations to drive President Mugabe from office, unless he agrees
to talks on a transitional government leading to fresh presidential

Another union group, the Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions, which says it
supports the government, put on live music and a soccer match to mark May
Day. It is not recognized by the International Labor Organizations.

Zimbabwe's economic and political crisis continues to deepen. On the eve of
May Day, most banks had run out of hard cash, and long lines of people went
away empty-handed when automatic teller machines had no money.

Garage owners say the fuel shortage is now at its worst since pumps ran dry
last December. Industry leaders say electricity cuts lasting between four
and six hours a day threaten tens-of-thousands of jobs.

One political analyst said Thursday Zimbabwean workers and the unemployed
were far too tired to participate in rallies this May Day.


The Herald

Workers shun ZCTU

By Lovemore Mataire
MORE than 30 000 workers yesterday thronged Gwanzura Stadium in Highfield,
to commemorate May Day at celebrations organised by the Zimbabwe Federation
of Trade Unions (ZFTU) while only 5 000 followers of the Zimbabwe Congress
of Trade Unions gathered at Rufaro Stadium, signaling most workers'
displeasure with the MDC-affiliated labour body.

Although riding high on last week's mass stayaway and lockout, the ZCTU
failed to rally the support of most workers who chose to stay away from
Rufaro Stadium where the trade union's leaders turned the May Day
celebrations into a political rally.

ZCTU secretary-general Mr Wellington Chibhebhe, who is affectionately called
"Chibaby" by British Prime Minister Tony Blair, told his followers who
occupied just the VIP portion of the western grandstand that the only
solution to their problems was to fight and remove the present Government.

He charged that President Mugabe "should go now with honour and dignity, so
that when we meet in the streets tomorrow we can still be civil to one

His president Mr Lovemore Matombo said workers should prepare for action,
which would be even more vicious than the previous one. "As things stand,
there is no indication that government has the political will to deal with
the crisis: everything points to the worsening of the crisis. Workers should
therefore brace themselves for more action, more effective and telling than
ever before," said Mr Matombo.

Although he was pushing for a change of government, he also wanted the
present Government to reverse fuel price increases and adopt an economic
rights approach instead of what he termed a growth-focused strategy to
ensure workers the right to housing, durable employment, health, safe water,
affordable basic commodities including sanitary ware.

He also called for the removal of the Public Order and Security Act and the
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act by apparently the same
Government he wanted removed from power.

In stark contrast, the Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions told the highly
attended celebrations that workers should not politicise labour issues but
present their concerns as united entities.

ZFTU vice president Cde Joseph Chinotimba told the over 30 000 workers at
Gwanzura Stadium that the gathering was apolitical. "We have gathered here
not as Zanu-PF, MDC, Ndu or Nda but as workers. If you came here hoping to
hear Chinotimba talking about Zanu-PF, then you are at the wrong place, this
is not a political forum," said Cde Chinotimba.

He said this year had been a very difficult one for most workers, as most
basic commodities were no longer affordable.

Cde Chinotimba said ZFTU was also not happy with the current minimum wage
pegged at $47 000, which he said was not sustainable.

"As ZFTU, we believe in dialogue and as such we are going to send a
delegation to discuss with the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare on a
number of issues that we think need to be addressed urgently," said Cde

He said even in a family set-up, it was unbecoming of a child to beat his
parents for lack of sufficient food in the house.

"Mwana anorova amai anotanda botso," he said.

He deplored the apparent animosity between different labour unions and
political parties saying that as Zimbabwean, people should develop a culture
of dialogue.

"Before we start beating each other, lets give dialogue a chance. Fighting
cannot bring sadza on the table," he said amid a deafening applause from the
multitudes of workers on the terraces.

Cde Chinotimba said stayaways did not benefit workers but worsened their
plight as production time was lost while some workers lost their jobs in the

He said ZFTU last year convinced some employers to re-instate some workers
they had unfairly fired from work.

Workers should be able to separate politics and labour issues and also
realise that the Government did not own some of the companies that exploited

ZFTU president, Mr Alfred Makwarimba criticised companies that still engaged
workers for an unspecified long period as contract workers.

He said the union managed to come up with favourable conditions for contract
workers, which were accepted by the Government.

"All those that are on contract should consult their respective employers
and hear the new conditions," Mr Makwarimba said.

He said the union had also fought for women on maternity leave to receive
full salaries for the whole period they were on maternity leave.

Mr Makwarimba said ZFTU would never be supportive of the rising cost of
commodities. He said workers' salaries should be adjusted in line with the
rising cost of basic needs.

Various groups entertained the thousands of workers with the climax of the
merriment being Simon "Chopper" Chimbetu who mesmerised the crowd with his
phenomenal songs- One Way and Hoko.

In Bindura, ZFTU regional president Mr Batsirai Musona castigated some
labour bodies that he accused of crippling the economy.

Addressing workers at Chipadze stadium, Mr Musona said some labour unions
had lost direction and were now stooges of opposition political parties.

He called for co-operation among all stakeholders and urged business
operators to stick to the gazetted government prices for basic commodities
and transport fares.
Back to the Top
Back to Index