MDC PRESS RELEASE
Arson as reward for winning legal challenge--MDC
Candidate's home burned
Richard Chadya, MDC candidate for Hurungwe East during the
parliamentary elections who last week successfully challenged Zanu
Reuben Marumahoko's victory in the High Court last week had part of
homestead and a grain storage burnt to ashes by suspected Zanu
supporters who were apparently incensed by the court decision.
worth over $40 000 was destroyed when the thugs burnt down two
houses and a maize storage area on Saturday night at around 11
While Chadya was the candidate for Hurungwe East, his homestead is
Huringwe West in the Boniface Area. Fortunately no one was injured in
attack, as there was no one in the burnt down houses. However it was
that the arsonists has the intention of causing injury. Chadya was
from home at time of the attack.
Chadya said "This is just a
desperate move by the Zanu PF government as it
attempts to stall the process
of change that will usher in a better life
for people in Zimbabwe. All the
Zanu PF government can do is destroy.
People have to realise that they have
the power in their hands to bring
about complete change to the terror and
hunger under this dictatorship."
Meanwhile, Godfrey Mumbamharwo, MDC
candidate for Mt Darwin South in the
200 parliamentary elections, who is also
a former organising secretary for
Mashonaland Central was on the same day,
severely assaulted at his home in
Chiwaridzo Township in Bindura at about 10
pm for the sole crime that he
was an MDC activist. A group of Zanu PF
supporters wielding iron bars and
logs pounded Mumbamarwo who suffered
suspected broken ribs and severe head
injuries. All the further in the house
was destroyed. After he had been
taken to hospital, the Zanu PF thugs
followed him there vowing to finish
him off. His family has since transferred
him to a Harare. Several
assailants were identified. These are Kanosvamhira,
a Zanu PF councillor
in the town, Dickson Mafios a Zanu PF Provincial Youth
chairman and one
While the matter was reported to the
police, no action has yet been taken
in apprehending the
Two very different versions of the same story!
5 May, 2001, 07:07 GMT 08:07 UK
Senior minister leaves Zimbabwe's
A leading member of President Mugabe's cabinet has
resigned, saying he
would like to see a government of national unity in
The minister for industry and commerce, Nkosana Moyo, told the
BBC that he
feels a different approach is needed to solve Zimbabwe's
Earlier this week, Mr Moyo called on pro-Mugabe militias who've
white-owned farms to bring their recent campaign of targeting
to an end. He said he felt helpless while industry was being
treated in a
way that was not conducive to Zimbabwe's development. A BBC
in Harare says Mr Moyo, who was a former banker, was regarded
technocrat who brought a degree of economic credibility to the
From the newsroom of the BBC World
05/05/2001 11:36 - (SA)
Johannesburg - Zimbabwe's Industry and International
Trade Minister Nkosana
Moyo has resigned barely 10 months after his
appointment to the embattled
southern African country's
Zimbabwe's Information Minister Jonathan Moyo confirmed the
Saturday morning saying that President Robert Mugabe had
"He [Nkosana Moyo] is a former cabinet
minister. He resigned yesterday [on
Friday] ... and the President has
accepted his resignation," the information
that Moyo resigned on Friday after meeting with Mugabe the
"The president has graciously accepted Mr Moyo's
resignation ... with
expression of appreciation for the services he rendered
as minister in the
last 10 months," the information minister told
Soon after tendering his resignation Moyo left for South Africa to
family, which has reportedly been in the country for more than a
Diplomatic sources in Harare and South Africa told Sapa that Moyo
leave Johannesburg for the United States to take up a post with
International Finance Corporation in an unknown capacity. -
Lawlessness pushed Moyo out
reluctance to uphold the rule of law and create an atmosphere conducive to
investment forced industry and international trade minister, Nkosana Moyo, to
resign, The Standard has learnt.
Sources said Moyo resigned his cabinet
post because he felt his job was being undermined by the ruling party’s policies
that discouraged and scared away potential investors.
Moyo, one of the
technocrats appointed to President Mugabe’s cabinet last year, was heavily
expected to induce fresh thinking in government and help Zimbabwe’s sagging
He, however, resigned his ministerial post on Friday amid
speculation that had found a new job, at the International Finance Corporation
in the United States.
Sources told The Standard yesterday that Moyo was
particularly irked by war veterans’ and Zanu PF supporters’ invasions of farms
Moyo is also said to have increasingly become frustrated by
being spurned by international financiers on his overtures oversees to seek help
for the country. He is on record saying the country was not getting
international help because of the prevailing lawlessness.
said Mugabe did not have problems letting Moyo go because the former minister
had failed to fit in the ruling party’s agenda. Moyo was the only minister who
came out strongly against company invasions.
Moyo was also frustrated by
the hostile attitude of some ruling party officials who viewed him as an
outsider. He refused to join any political party opting to remain independent.
The Standard could not get a comment from Moyo who was at the
Intercontinental Hotel in Johannesburg as he was said to be constantly busy.
“His stance did not go well with the ruling party’s agenda. He was more
concerned about the growth of industry but the politicking by some of his
colleagues was getting in his way.
“No one wants to invest in Zimbabwe
at the moment and the man was getting frustrated. He really did not fit into the
Zanu PF agenda. He is not a politician and we were all wondering why he had
accepted the job in the first place.
“His otherwise good track record
was being dented by associating with people who are largely seen as saboteurs,”
said a businessman who is close to the former minister.
speculated that Mugabe was likely to to replace Moyo with a strong party cadre
who would endorse the ruling party’s forceful takeovers of farms and companies.
“As things stand I don’t think Mugabe needs another Nkosana Moyo. I
think the replacement would be someone in the mould of Joseph Made who, despite
being a technocrat, is still capable of religiously parroting Mugabe’s support
for farm invasions despite the fact that they are destroying the same sector
they are supposed to protect,” said one source.
Zanu PF MP for Chinhoyi,
Phillip Chiyangwa, who is also the chairman of the parliamentary committee on
empowerment, said he had no regrets over Moyo’s resignation saying the former
minister had failed to make the grade.
“He was an outsider and was never
one of us. It is good that he resigned before he was sacked . He was serving a
government that he did not like. He is on record that he was not a Zanu PF
member so how did you expected him to work with us?
“He never worked
with us at all. People expect ministers to perform and deliver but he failed to
do that,” said Chiyangwa.
However, members of the business community
yesterday described Moyo as a hardworking minister who was determined to see the
country’s industry prosper.
They said Moyo’s resignation would impact
negatively on the business sector.
Former president of Zimbabwe National
Chamber of Commerce, Danny Meyer, described Moyo’s resignation as a sad
development for the country’s business community.
“He was man who
understood the problems afflicting our industry. Unfortunately he hadn’t had the
chance to implement what he had promised to do. It is a great loss to us as
businessmen,” he said.
Edmore Tobaiwa, an economist, echoed Meyer’s
sentiments saying his decision to resign was regrettable.
“It is sad,
very sad as he was promising to do so much to turn around our economy and we
expected him to to see his programme through but he decided to not to. We had
worked very well with him.”
flees 'Mugabe militias'
05 May 2001
The British managing director of
Zimbabwe's most sophisticated private clinic was forced into hiding yesterday to
escape President Robert Mugabe's 'militias' demanding money from the hospital.
Malcolm Boyland (48) from the
English coastal city of Brighton, sped away in a vehicle from the Avenues Clinic
in central Harare, with a burly private bodyguard, to join his wife and two
children, aged eight and five, already at a secret location somewhere in the
capital. He ordered additional private security for the hospital in case
so-called guerrilla veterans came looking for him.
It was within minutes of a 4.30pm
deadline set by veterans to present himself at the headquarters of Mugabe's
ruling Zanu(PF) party. "I have been summoned to Zanu(PF) headquarters," Boyland
said as he left his office and gave final orders to his staff. "Considering that
some of my colleagues have been battered there, I don't intend to offer myself
as a sacrificial lamb." The British High Commission told him to go into hiding,
A fortnight ago the hospital
management paid Zim$6,3-million (US$114 000) to 32 retrenched former workers,
under threat of violence from the veterans. The payment has meant the hospital
has had to cancel orders for vital new equipment.
Ironically, the personal aide who
survived a vehicle accident that last week killed his boss, a powerful ruling
Zanu PF official, is recovering from his injuries in the Avenues Clinic. The
hospital is used by most senior party and government officials, who eschew state
Scores of Zimbabwean executives
have been assaulted and abducted in the last six weeks by ruling party mobs
claiming to be "resolving labour disputes." About 250 companies have been raided
and forced to pay huge sums of money to settle disgruntled former workers'
grievances. Executives say there is clear evidence the veterans routinely are
paid a "commission" of about 15 percent by workers.
Critics say the raids are a bid by
Mugabe to win support in the country's urban areas where Zanu PF was
comprehensively beaten in parliamentary elections in June last year.
Decision day looms for the
church in Africa
Face to Faith
Chris McGreal, Africa correspondent
Saturday May 5, 2001
is the established church on? It is a timeworn question, but one that has a
special resonance in Africa since the Rwandan genocide.
The Rev Tim Neill, former vicar-general of Zimbabwe, will tell you it is
certainly not the ordinary people of his country. Neill has finally given up on
the Anglican church after months of wrangling with the hierarchy over its
failure to offer even the mildest criticism of Robert Mugabe's murderous tactics
to cling on to power.
In Rwanda, the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches stood by the government
as it killed one in 10 of the population seven years ago. Even today, Rome will
not face up to the extent of its complicity in the genocide; the Anglican church
has, at least, admitted its culpability.
The scale of the crime is wholly different, but Neill sees the churches in
Zimbabwe as no less immoral for their betrayal of those they should be
defending. For months, the leaders of neither of the major churches criticised
the state-orchestrated violence aimed at perpetuating Mugabe's unpopular rule.
The Catholic church finally issued a pastoral letter, to be read tomorrow,
but it falls short of a wholehearted condemnation of the Zimbabwe government.
The final straw for Neill came last December, with the election of a new
Anglican bishop of Mashonaland, who, he says, described Mugabe as "God's second
son". Neill is taking holiday leave, in part to avoid having to attend the new
bishop's enthronement this weekend, before finally leaving the church on July 1.
Before he quit, he endured a campaign of vilification, which included a
letter, circulated within the church, accusing him of being a racist, and
another which threatened him with "an early passport to hell". "The Anglican
leadership is in the pocket of the government," he said. "Now, I think it will
be worse. I think the bishops will stifle criticism of Mugabe. They will more
actively take his side."
At 47, Neill is a highly political priest. He has regularly made his church -
St Luke's in Greendale, a quiet Harare suburb - available for opposition
rallies. Mugabe's main challenger, Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for
Democratic Change, spoke there to an evenly divided audience of blacks and
whites in March.
Neill rails against the government at "political" funerals, such as those of
murdered white farmers. Denouncing the ruling Zanu-PF party, he has said: "Only
a cruel and despotic party could spend millions on a pointless war in the Congo
and leave its own hospitals without proper medicines."
State-run television has accused Neill of running a hate campaign against
Mugabe. The then head of the Anglican church in Zimbabwe, Jonathan Siyachitema,
distanced himself from the priest's sermons and even threatened disciplinary
It did not deter Neill. "At a time when the nation faces the possibility of
great change, the church cannot ignore issues that affect the congregation," he
said. "What I have been trying to do is encourage people to know more about the
issues that affect them."
The confrontation between the white priest and the Anglican leadership came
to a head over the election of the new bishop of Mashonaland. Neill was one of
four contenders beaten by the last-minute nomination of the Rev Norbert Kunonga,
an outspoken supporter of Mugabe. Neill alleges there were underhand tactics,
including a campaign of vilification against him and intimidation of electors by
the secret police. "This is a Zanu-PF appointment," he said. "The decision was
that this is the man; I think they were scared by someone like me."
Neill tried to block Kunonga's confirmation in January, but bishops of the
Church of the Province of Central Africa, headquartered in Zambia, upheld the
election. In March, Kunonga stopped Maria Stevens, the widow of the first white
farmer murdered by land invaders in Zimbabwe, from commemorating the anniversary
of his death with a religious march and service to remember all victims of
The Catholic church has shown only marginally more willingness to condemn the
government's crimes, though for years it tried to stifle criticism. Four years
ago, the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe produced a
damning report on the massacres by Mugabe's army in Matabeland shortly after he
came to power in 1980 - it was suppressed by the church. Individual priests have
been beaten on opposition demonstrations, but their superiors failed to
criticise the police for that abuse.
Earlier this year, the Catholic church's Conference of Religious Superiors
attacked the government in a series of newspaper advertisements. "This is no
longer a free country," they said. "People live in abject fear of violence,
crime and threats. The rule of law is no longer respected; terror and
intimidation go unpunished." They emphasised the need for land redistribution,
though not as it is being handled. "Those who bear responsibility for the
suffering of the people need to know that they will be held accountable for
The Catholic church leadership belatedly offered a slap on the hand to Mugabe
this week with a rebuke of political violence. But it failed to name either the
president or his party in the pastoral letter.
LOCAL BANK CLOSES MUGABE’S ACCOUNT • Government threatens
to withdraw licence
BARCLAYS Bank Zimbabwe, one of the country’s leading commercial
banks, last month closed down President Mugabe’s personal account due to
The account was only reactivated after the
intervention of the president’s office.
Sources within the bank told The
Standard last week that Mugabe’s account was caught up in a blitz by the bank
which was closing down dormant accounts. These are accounts that would have been
inactive for more than two years.
The sources say the account was
reactivated after the president’s office intervened and threatened to withdraw
the bank’s licence. This resulted in a meeting between the president and
Barclays Bank Zimbabwe managing director, Alex Jongwe, in which the bank agreed
to reactivate the account.
Sources said another financial house which
has for long been clamouring for a banking licence was already in the wings
waiting for the licence.
Jongwe on Friday confirmed to the The Standard
that the bank had closed Mugabe’s account but said the closure was a genuine
He also confirmed that he had a meeting with Mugabe where they
discussed the issue of the president’s closed account “in passing”.
said the bank was carrying out a programme where dormant accounts would be
automatically closed. Mugabe’s account, said Jongwe, was erroneously caught up
in this exercise.
“We have a project we are carrying out. If an account
is dormant for a long time we automatically close it and the president’s account
was caught up in this exercise, but it was a genuine error. We explained this to
the president and he understood.
“We apologised and reinstated the
account. It was not only the president’s account that was affected. A number of
accounts were also affected. We were not threatened with any withdrawal of our
licence. People are just exaggerating things. I don’t think they know the man
(Mugabe) well,” said Jongwe.
“It was just a meeting to introduce me as
the new managing director of Barclays since Isaac Takawira left.
discussed a lot of things that had nothing to do with his account. We only
discussed about the closure of the account in passing. It was normal business.
He (Mugabe) was very understanding and there was nothing hostile or political
about the meeting. No questions were asked,” he said.
sources insisted that the president’s office had viewed the closure of the
president’s account as part of a wider plot by the international community
hostile to Mugabe to embarrass the head of state.
Barclays is an
international bank and is headquartered in Britain, perceived by the Mugabe
regime as a bitter foe. The sources said one senior executive (name supplied)
had resigned as a result of the closure of the account.
The Standard was
unable to get comment from the executive at the time of going to press.
Tsvangirai defiant ahead of hearing
Morgan Tsvangirai has dismissed his terrorism court hearing tomorrow as a mere
attempt by Zanu PF to harass opposition leaders ahead of next year’s
He told journalists at his Strathaven home
yesterday that his defence team would raise a constitutional case in the High
Court tomorrow and seek an adjournment so that the case is heard by the Supreme
His team will seek to have sections of the Law and Order
(Maintenance) Act declared ultra vires the constitution of Zimbabwe. In the last
few years, the act has had several of its sections struck off on the same basis.
“This is just a question of harassment of MDC leadership. Zanu PF thugs
are going round the country beating up...killing people and nothing happens to
them. Here is a clear case of the law being applied selectively,” said
The MDC president is appearing in the High Court tomorrow on
charges of terrorism or sabotage over utterances he made last year suggesting
that President Mugabe should resign or risk being removed violently.
MDC leader is being charged for contravening Section 51 of the Law and Order
(Maintenance) Act and if convicted Tsvangirai faces a life sentence.
said he was confident the court would come out with a fair verdict when the case
“There was an attempt to subvert the independence of the
judiciary but this failed and the independence of the judiciary was maintained,
so I am convinced that the court will deliver a fair verdict,” said Tsvangirai.
On how his presidential campaign was going, Tsvangirai said the
atmosphere in Zimbabwe was not conducive for a free and fair election but said
he was poised to win the presidency.
“Zanu PF continues with its trail
of violence but against all odds the will of the people is going to prevail and
the MDC will win.”
Meanwhile, international journalists who arrived in
Zimbabwe at the weekend to cover Tsvangirai were denied accreditation by the
department of information and publicity as the government’s attempts to keep a
stranglehold on the media reached new proportions.
Journalists from the
BBC, the Associated Press among other organisations, told The Standard the
department had flatly refused to accredit them, forcing many of them to fly out
of Zimbabwe within 48 hours.
Visas and other documents of entry make it
mandatory for the journalists to obtain accreditation or leave the country
within 48 hours.
Those who spoke to The Standard said the reasons given
for them to be denied accreditation ranges from “your organisation already has a
person accredited here and we won’t accredit any more”, to, “you should have
given us written notice well in advance”.
One journalist described as
outrageous the limitations being put to determine how large crews for each
organisation should be.
“In all fairness I don’t think it should be up
to the ministry to tell us how many crews we should have as news organisations
and deny us further additions to our teams on that basis. This is clearly an
infringement of our rights,” said the journalist.
government has long blamed journalists for the bad publicity it has been getting
Gezi ruffled some feathers
THE late minister of youth development,
gender and employment creation, Border Gezi’s death came as sudden as his
meteoric rise. Gezi’s death in a car accident last Saturday ironically mirrored
his meteoric rise to power.
Gezi rose from a mere provincial youth
secretary at independence to become one of the most powerful men in Zanu PF,
assuming the post of political commissar last year.
Although he died at
a young age of 36, Gezi led an eventful life that saw him destroy and build the
political lives of Zanu PF officials, some old enough to be his father.
Hitherto unknown among the country’s populace, Gezi rose to national
prominence during the run up to last year’s general election, in which he
spearheaded the ruling party’s campaign.
Gezi might be attributed to
having single-handedly saved the ruling party from the jaws of defeat, as Zanu
PF pipped MDC to the post by a paltry four seats.
Gezi soon won the hearts
of many Zanu PF candidates who were facing defeat who suddenly saw their
fortunes rise again, thanks to ‘Madzibaba’s’ famous Kongonya dance.
himself narrowly won the seat for Bindura constituency. The seat was, however,
under threat as MDC’s Elliot Pfebve was challenging the result accusing Gezi of
using violence to win the seat. Mashonaland Central was one of the provinces
that witnessed rampant violence during the election campaign.
brother, Matthew, was killed during the election campaign when Zanu PF
supporters mistook him for the candidate and attacked him.
there were some complaints by women’s organisations about Gezi’s appointment as
gender minister, there were no qualms about his appointment as political
commissar. Many in the ruling party, most of whom owed their election victories
to Gezi, thought the man deserved the top position.
It was, however, the
way he ran the party that Gezi ruffled the feathers within the Zanu PF ranks.
Cadres who had idolised Gezi before the election began to see the new
party chief in a different light. During the last days of his life, Gezi had
created enemies within the ruling party.
In a bid to rid the party of
factionalism Gezi embarked on an extensive restructuring exercise that saw him
dissolve executives in all the party’s provinces, except for Mashonaland
Central, his home.
While Gezi was dissolving the provinces on the
grounds that he wanted to rid the party of factionalism, many saw the move as
A number of party stalwarts began to see Gezi as a
stumbling block to their political careers.
Ruling party stalwarts such
as Eddison Zvobgo, Dzikamai Mavhaire, Web-ster Shamu, Shadreck Beta, Swithun
Mombeshora, all saw their political fortunes wane as Gezi dissolved their
In Masvingo Gezi destroyed the Zvobgo faction’s stranglehold
in the province by endorsing provincial elections boycotted by members of legal
However, insiders say Gezi was merely being used by
party administration secretary, Emmerson Mnangagwa, to remove those who had
opposed his bid to become party chairman at Zanu PF’s 1999 congress.
restructuring was also seen as a way of replacing those seen as rebels by
President Mugabe’s loyalists and praise singers.
Party insiders say Gezi
was now Mugabe’s chief errand boy and was becoming too powerful.
say Gezi could have been instrumental in shaping Mugabe’s decision to stand for
next year’s presidential election.
“Mugabe regained confidence about
winning next year’s election because of Gezi’s campaign. Gezi was beginning to
bring the people back to Zanu PF.
This irked some members who saw Gezi
as getting too powerful and too close to Mugabe and were afraid that Gezi could
become even more powerful after the presidential election,” said one insider.
AAG threatens to invade Byo companies
Affirmative Action Group, an indigenous business pressure group, following hard
on the heels of war veterans, has threatened to take over the running of
companies that shut down and retrench their workers ‘unscrupulously’, The
Standard has learnt.
The group has targeted some companies that are
alleged to be flouting labour regulations when dismissing workers.
AAG at the beginning of the year halted the Deputy Sheriff from auctioning
immovable property from any black-owned business after alleging that white-owned
banks and building societies were charging exorbitant interest rates to black
The Deputy Sheriff has not sold any property since
then. The national vice president of the group, Sam Ncube, told The Standard
last week that his organisation was more than prepared to take over “racist
companies” that were retrenching blacks in order to maximise profits.
“Companies make excessive profits using black labour but want to
continue retrenching more people in a bid to maximise profits and that should
not be allowed,” said Ncube.
There are fears in the business community
that the militant black pressure group is embarking on a campaign to take over
some businesses for its own use, a move that has forced some business people and
companies to reinstate workers dismissed in the last few years.
not be so sure these days. It is better to re-hire the fired workers and make a
loss than lose the whole company to the war veterans and the AAG,” said one
Sources in industry said there was a growing uncertainty
concerning the security of investments in the country following war veterans’
decision to impose themselves as labour adjudicators.
the AAG and the war veterans are deliberately trying to frustrate business
people and enrich their relatives under the guise of helping people and that is
unacceptable,” said one white businessman.
War veterans have usurped
powers of the ministry of labour by taking control of labour disputes. Companies
from in and around Harare have been forced by the war veterans to fork out
millions of dollars to retrenched workers.
Ncube said his organisation
would facilitate and encourage people to take over any company that frustrated
“Actually the people who are doing the job on the ground
are the black people and if they are suppressed then we would encourage them to
take over the firms,” he said.
Chido Makunike On Sunday—Populism vs economic imperatives
PRESIDENT Mugabe’s reputation in history will not rest on how
many years he spent in jail during the liberation struggle, nor even on his
record of the past two decades, but on what happens in the next five to 10
If the agrarian and economic revolution that is said to be
underway succeeds, history will forgive his many faults and sins. The
intimidation of opponents, the Matabeleland massacres, the present economic
decline, all will pale in significance if he turns out to be the faltering
president who turned his country’s fortunes around by ushering in a new era of
How well considered and executed the changes that are
taking place on the economic front are, will only begin to be apparent in
several years, whether or not Mugabe is still president.
beatings and other forms of intimidation, it is probably fairly safe to say that
in the rural areas, land redistribution will win Mugabe and Zanu PF many votes
in the next year’s presidential election. Given the movement back and forth
between towns and rural areas, there may be some spillover effect into the urban
areas, aided by intimidation against the MDC, as well as that party’s own
The late minister Border Gezi’s parcelling out of state
money for “projects” countrywide, may have been seen for the electioneering that
it was, but that does not mean it will not pay dividends.
know election time is about the only time they will get much attention from
politicians, and some will reward Zanu PF with their votes for whatever largesse
they receive from the state during this time of hunger and desperation.
In the urban areas, where the bite of economic collapse is felt most
sharply, it will be more difficult to sway voters with any pre-election
inducements, but the ruling party has put on the hat of champion of the working
Whatever grievances workers have against their employers,
particularly if they are white, Zanu PF stands ready to send a crack team of
“mediators” to settle the dispute in the workers’ favour. Whether this will
translate into significant votes in what is currently regarded as MDC territory
remains to be seen.
What is certain is that there is great trepidation
in the management offices of many companies. Many groups of workers feel at last
they have found someone, to not only champion their grievances against
management, but who will deliver instant results.
management structure, pay scales, severance packages, racism, etc, are being
solved by decree.
Workers whose differences with management have been
“arbitrated” this way feel a new-found sense of power, and are excited to be
able to flex their muscles.
In turn, management in many companies deals
with workers’ issues with great caution bordering on fear. Coming as all this
does on the eve of the mid-year wage negotiation season, company owners and
management have a torrid time on their hands in the next several months.
What I am interested to know is how well thought out the “workers
champion” strategy has been. Beyond “fast-tracking” workers’ grievances that
have not found resolution in more traditional, official fora beyond winning
votes, what are the likely results of this strategy?
The answer would
give us an idea of how long-term the planning of the rulers is in regards to the
We have seen many examples of how populist measures in
many countries have soon turned on those countries when those measures are not
part of a comprehensive, long-term strategy.a
In the 1970s Zambia had an
aggressive policy of “Zambia-nisation” that was widely supported amongst the
populace. Zambians would be favoured over foreigners, the mines and other
strategic industries would be nationa-
lised in the interests of empowering
All these were worthy goals, but that were poorly thought
out, and even more poorly and naively implemented. We all know how a few years
ago Zambia went crawling back to the foreign former owners of the mines to ask
them to buy them back.
A more extreme example is how Ugandan Idi Amin’s
mass expulsion of Asian businesspeople was met with exuberant xenophobia and
nationalist chest thumping at the time. The principle of indigenous Ugandans
dominating their economy was not in dispute, but the emotive, willy-nilly nature
of Amin’s “strategy” left the economy in shambles.
The patent unfairness
and racial nature of the targeting of the Asians in Uganda was met with an
international outcry, but this did not deter Amin in his “empowerment” drive.
Uganda became an outlaw state for this and other reasons, but this did not
matter because the country was about to become a resilient, economically
self-sufficient power- house.
We all know how it has been struggling to
crawl back ever since, with many of the expelled Asians being called back to
recover their businesses, and being compensated.
If there has been any
propaganda victory that has been achieved in the Iast several years, it is the
one on the importance of the majority, Africans, not being largely on the
sidelines of the economy.
In regards to land and all other aspects of
the economy, there is unanimity on the need for Africans to play an economic
role that is commensurate with their numbers.
If racism and historical
privilege among racial minorities have made some of them contemptuous of this
yearning, the events of the last few years should have made an enlightened
self-interested pragmatism take over.
It is not just self-serving
propaganda to say that a region with such a recent, raw history of race-based
strife will not find peace until race and economic privilege do not coincide as
closely as they still do.
The economic empowerment of Africans, rather
than being cast and seen in the anti-white, anti-minority way it often is, is
actually also one of the best long-term safe-guards of the safety of minority
groups. Along with it, will also be required changes in the way those minority
groups see themselves as part of a larger whole.
In the light of all
this, how well advised is engendering the sense of terror that has recently been
done in many companies? If expediency has superseded morality in Zimbabwean
public affairs in a crucial pre-election period, let us look at the thinly
disguised racial targeting of white ownership and management from the point of
view of the long-term effects on the workers on whose behalf the campaign is
being ostensibly waged.
It is no secret that the vast majority of
companies are in mere survival mode. There are not many that are in rush to take
on more workers and expand when there is so much political uncertainty, and when
the economics are as difficult as they are.
When there is so little
scope for survival by raising prices because of an increasingly embattled
consumer, every enterprise looks at cutting costs to the bone. Operations where
the money to be made is not worth the effort are being shut down all over the
When a company is forced to pay wages and other perks that are
beyond its ability to sustain, it must close sooner rather than later.
The populist answer to this is “capitalists are always stingy, they will
never willingly pay more money”. But settling wage and labour disputes by
political decree is one of the most effective ways to invite a company to close
There will always be some degree of tension between workers and
management. Violating the sense that whatever differences they have will be
settled in-house, or through some other procedural manner, will simply send the
message that it is dangerous to be an employer in Zimbabwe, amongst both locals
Companies are busy downsizing, many closing in
anticipation of more difficult times ahead economically.
have also accused company owners of shutting down merely to spite the
revolutionary people’s government.
Ironically, in addition to the
increasing economic reasons for shutting down, government now has given many
company owners a potent political reason to throw in the towel: Fear of being
Guilty of any wrong or not, the mere prospect of having a
company invaded with no real recourse, to the police or any other authority,
will drive hundreds more businesses to shut down in the next few weeks and
If it is felt that it would be good riddance, who is going to
take their place in the current environments? Who will employ all the displaced
If the present official channels of dealing with grievances
over racism, wages, benefits and other issues are inadequate or too slow, they
must be improved and better ones put in place. Perhaps there is a method to the
present madness that is not apparent to me, but I see workers, management and
the whole economy being worse off as a result of it, whatever the immediate
political and other gains are thought to be.
Mugabe deepening crisis -
Hospital chief hiding -
3 months for destroying portrait -
Whose side is the church on? -
Chiluba backs down? -
DRC govt., rebels sign in Lusaka -
New York Times, 4 May
Tsvangirai Says Mugabe Deepening
Johannesburg - Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai
said in a South African television interview on Friday, ahead of his Monday
terrorism trial, that President Robert Mugabe was leading Zimbabwe deeper into
crisis. The charge against Tsvangirai, who is expected to run against Mugabe in
presidential elections next year, arises from a statement he made in Harare last
September, urging Mugabe to resign and warning him of violence if he did not.
Tsvangirai told independent etv he did not regret what he had said, and added
that he was giving Mugabe a warning that he could be toppled if he did not take
measures to reduce rising tension in Zimbabwe. ``I was merely sounding a warning
to Mugabe that he should take into consideration the tense situation the country
was experiencing... and that he should take measures to deal with those issues
or else he will face public uprising,'' he said. According to news reports of
his comments at the time Tsvangirai, whose Movement for Democratic Change came
close to defeating Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF in June parliamentary elections, told
supporters: ``We ask Mugabe to go peacefully. If he does not, we will overthrow
Tsvangirai said in the etv interview Mugabe was further
damaging the country by his controversial policies of seizing white-owned land
and businesses to appease the land hunger of the black majority and rectify the
wrongs of the colonial past. Zimbabwe is in its third year of economic
recession, marked by acute foreign currency and fuel shortages. Unemployment
stands at around 50 percent and inflation at 55 percent. ``The crisis seems to
be deepening rather than being arrested. It appears Mugabe is engaged in a
scorched earth policy, disregarding any norms of a country looking for investor
confidence and progress,'' Tsvangirai said. Lawyers in Harare have said a prison
sentence of six months or more would disqualify Tsvangirai, a former trade union
leader, from standing against Mugabe. Tsvangirai will be charged under Section
51 of the Law and Order Maintenance Act, introduced by white Rhodesian leader
Ian Smith more than 20 years ago as an anti-terrorism weapon to crush Mugabe's
guerrillas who were then fighting to end white rule. Mugabe, 77, came to power
at the independence of Zimbabwe in 1980 and has said he will stand for another
six-year term as president.
From The Times (UK), 5
Harare British hospital chief
Harare - The British chief executive of Zimbabwe’s most
up-to-date private hospital went into hiding yesterday from President Mugabe’s
lawless militias which are extorting money from his organisation. Malcolm
Boyland, 48, of Brighton, was driven from the Avenues Clinic in Harare with a
private bodyguard to join his wife and two children, 8 and 5, who are already in
a safe house. Minutes later a deadline set by "war veterans" for Mr Boyland to
present himself at the headquarters of Mr Mugabe’s ruling Zanu (PF) party ran
out. "Considering that some of my colleagues have been battered there, I don’t
intend to offer myself as a sacrificial lamb," Mr Boyland said. Private security
was arranged by the hospital as a defence against the veterans. Mr Boyland said
the British High Commission had advised him to go into hiding. He came to
Zimbabwe last year to take over the running of the hospital. Two weeks ago the
hospital paid Zim$6.3 million (£70,000) to 32 redundant former workers after
threats of violence from veterans. Executives say that the veterans are paid a
"commission" of about 15 per cent by workers.
From The Daily News, 4
Man gets three months’ jail for
destroying Mugabe’s portrait
Masvingo - Bernard Mhunduru, 30, a Chiredzi MDC activist, was
last week jailed for three months for destroying President Mugabe’s portrait. He
pleaded guilty to contravening a section of Law and Order (Maintenance) Act when
he appeared before Chiredzi magistrate Prince Gayani. Prosecutor Nicholas
Mutyamaenza said on 14 April, Mhunduru went to Labamba Night Club in Chiredzi,
pulled down Mugabe’s portrait from the wall and took it home in a hired taxi. He
later destroyed it. Mhunduru is also facing several charges of political
violence. He was not represented. He was sentenced to six months in jail of
which three months were conditionally suspended for five years. Mhunduru said he
was sorry and pleaded for leniency. "Can I be given a chance to replace the
portrait, Your Worship?" said Mhunduru. But Gayani said the offence was very
serious in that Mhunduru’s actions showed that he was disrespectful of the Head
Comment from The Guardian (UK), 5
Decision day looms for the church in
Whose side is the established church on? It is a timeworn
question, but one that has a special resonance in Africa since the Rwandan
genocide. The Rev Tim Neill, former vicar-general of Zimbabwe, will tell you it
is certainly not the ordinary people of his country. Neill has finally given up
on the Anglican church after months of wrangling with the hierarchy over its
failure to offer even the mildest criticism of Robert Mugabe's murderous tactics
to cling on to power.
In Rwanda, the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches stood by
the government as it killed one in 10 of the population seven years ago. Even
today, Rome will not face up to the extent of its complicity in the genocide;
the Anglican church has, at least, admitted its culpability. The scale of the
crime is wholly different, but Neill sees the churches in Zimbabwe as no less
immoral for their betrayal of those they should be defending. For months, the
leaders of neither of the major churches criticised the state-orchestrated
violence aimed at perpetuating Mugabe's unpopular rule. The Catholic church
finally issued a pastoral letter, to be read tomorrow, but it falls short of a
wholehearted condemnation of the Zimbabwe government.
The final straw for Neill came last December, with the election
of a new Anglican bishop of Mashonaland, who, he says, described Mugabe as
"God's second son". Neill is taking holiday leave, in part to avoid having to
attend the new bishop's enthronement this weekend, before finally leaving the
church on July 1. Before he quit, he endured a campaign of vilification, which
included a letter, circulated within the church, accusing him of being a racist,
and another which threatened him with "an early passport to hell". "The Anglican
leadership is in the pocket of the government," he said. "Now, I think it will
be worse. I think the bishops will stifle criticism of Mugabe. They will more
actively take his side."
At 47, Neill is a highly political priest. He has regularly
made his church - St Luke's in Greendale, a quiet Harare suburb - available for
opposition rallies. Mugabe's main challenger, Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the
Movement for Democratic Change, spoke there to an evenly divided audience of
blacks and whites in March. Neill rails against the government at "political"
funerals, such as those of murdered white farmers. Denouncing the ruling Zanu-PF
party, he has said: "Only a cruel and despotic party could spend millions on a
pointless war in the Congo and leave its own hospitals without proper
medicines." State-run television has accused Neill of running a hate campaign
against Mugabe. The then head of the Anglican church in Zimbabwe, Jonathan
Siyachitema, distanced himself from the priest's sermons and even threatened
disciplinary action. It did not deter Neill. "At a time when the nation faces
the possibility of great change, the church cannot ignore issues that affect the
congregation," he said. "What I have been trying to do is encourage people to
know more about the issues that affect them."
The confrontation between the white priest and the Anglican
leadership came to a head over the election of the new bishop of Mashonaland.
Neill was one of four contenders beaten by the last-minute nomination of the Rev
Norbert Kunonga, an outspoken supporter of Mugabe. Neill alleges there were
underhand tactics, including a campaign of vilification against him and
intimidation of electors by the secret police. "This is a Zanu-PF appointment,"
he said. "The decision was that this is the man; I think they were scared by
someone like me." Neill tried to block Kunonga's confirmation in January, but
bishops of the Church of the Province of Central Africa, headquartered in
Zambia, upheld the election. In March, Kunonga stopped Maria Stevens, the widow
of the first white farmer murdered by land invaders in Zimbabwe, from
commemorating the anniversary of his death with a religious march and service to
remember all victims of political violence.
The Catholic church has shown only marginally more willingness
to condemn the government's crimes, though for years it tried to stifle
criticism. Four years ago, the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in
Zimbabwe produced a damning report on the massacres by Mugabe's army in
Matabeleland shortly after he came to power in 1980 - it was suppressed by the
church. Individual priests have been beaten on opposition demonstrations, but
their superiors failed to criticise the police for that abuse. Earlier this
year, the Catholic church's Conference of Religious Superiors attacked the
government in a series of newspaper advertisements. "This is no longer a free
country," they said. "People live in abject fear of violence, crime and threats.
The rule of law is no longer respected; terror and intimidation go unpunished."
They emphasised the need for land redistribution, though not as it is being
handled. "Those who bear responsibility for the suffering of the people need to
know that they will be held accountable for their actions." The Catholic church
leadership belatedly offered a slap on the hand to Mugabe this week with a
rebuke of political violence. But it failed to name either the president or his
party in the pastoral letter.
From The New York Times, 4
Congo Rebels, Govt. Agree on
Lusaka - The DRC government and rebels on Friday signed a
declaration of principles for an all-party dialogue on the country's future, as
a key rebel leader agreed to withdraw his troops from front- line positions. The
principles, broadly reaffirming their commitment to the 1999 Lusaka peace
accord, called for the formation of a new national army comprising all groups
and the holding of free democratic elections after an unspecified transition
period. The agreement also said all parties involved in the dialogue would have
the same rights and privileges and would be guaranteed free movement in all
Congolese provinces for meetings organized by Congo peace facilitator Ketumile
Masire, former Botswanan president.
The signing should have been done on Thursday, but rebel leader
Jean-Pierre Bemba objected at the last minute, saying a ministerial delegation
from Kinshasa was not of sufficiently high level. Earlier on Friday a senior
U.N. official said Bemba had agreed to withdraw his troops from frontline
positions, two days after refusing to do so on security grounds. Special U.N.
envoy Kamel Morjane told Reuters that Bemba, of the Uganda-backed Congolese
Liberation Front, had given the go-ahead for the deployment of U.N. personnel
around the small towns of Befale, Bolomba and Emite. He had also agreed to pull
his troops back by as much as 62 miles in fulfilling a disingagement pact
reached with other warring groups in the Congo, but which only he had so far
refused to honor. Morjane said the United Nations would deploy before Bemba
withdrew. ''Mr. Bemba says there has been a misunderstanding, but we can start
deploying as early as today in the previously disputed areas,'' Morjane
The declaration of principles was signed by Congo Security
Minister Mwenze Kongolo and senior officials of Bemba's Congolese Liberation
Front, the Rally for Congolese Democracy of Adolphe Onusumba and the Rally for
Congolese Democracy-Kisangani of Ernest Wamba Dia Wamba. ``The Congolese parties
have demonstrated to us their willingness to match on to a new path of
reconciliation and unity and to collectively re-assert their national identity
and rebuild their nation,'' Zambian President Frederick Chiluba said. Masire's
efforts to launch a national dialogue in the Congo had stalled over opposition
to his appointment from Congo's late President Laurent Kabila. However Kabila's
son Joseph, who took over after his father's assassination in January, has
welcomed Masire's efforts. Congo rebels, backed by Uganda and Rwanda, have
fought for more than two years to oust the government in Kinshasa, which has the
support of Zimbabwe, Angola and Namibia.