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Nothing to celebrate on
FROM a distance, one
could mistake the gathering for a funeral where a few mourners were paying their
last respects to their loved one.
Report by Musa
The people looked
haggard and exhausted.
Part of the dejected crowd that came to commerorate Worker’s Day
at white City Stadium in Bulawayo last week
This is the scenario
that greeted this reporter when he arrived at the White City stadium in Bulawayo
on May 1 where people were commemorating the Workers’ Day.
The paltry crowd that
braced the chilly morning weather was literally in a sombre
Even the sexually
stimulating and gyrating dance moves from popular musician Sandra Ndebele failed
to change the mood that engulfed the entire stadium.
commemorations were different as they were held at a time when workers’ morale
had reached an all-time low.
Most of the workers had
nothing to celebrate as working conditions and remuneration at the few companies
still operating were deteriorating.
The 15 000-seater White
City stadium was virtually empty as only a few people turned
Most of the workers in
the second largest city are going for several months without getting their full
Big companies such as
the Cold Storage Commission (CSC) and National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) are
reportedly failing to pay their workers resulting in morale going
Employers fail to pay
for services rendered
Workers told harrowing
tales of how they were struggling to make ends meets in the wake of company
An NRZ worker, who
identified himself as Dube, said they were living in abject poverty despite
waking up every day to work.
“My brother, we are in
big trouble. Imagine we have gone for several months without receiving our full
salaries. I can’t look after myself, let alone my family, as my employer is
failing to pay me even though I am working hard,” said Dube.
The majority of
workers, not only in Bulawayo but countrywide, earn below the poverty datum
line, currently pegged at US$506.
The plight of workers
in Bulawayo has been worsened by the massive de-industrialisation that led to
many workers losing their jobs.
The city used to be the
country’s industrial hub but owing to economic constraints prevailing, most of
the companies have since shut down.
Big companies such as
the National Blankets, Zeco and clothing companies such as Archer, Security
Mills and Merlin have closed down or have relocated, leaving more than 25 000
The Zimbabwe Congress
of Trade Unions, who organised the Workers’ Day celebrations in Bulawayo, only
had the schoolchildren and vendors who made the bulk of the paltry crowd, to
thank for attending.
ZCTU Western Regional
Chairperson Reason Ngwenya bemoaned the poor crowd.
“This stadium used to
be full of workers celebrating this day but today it’s empty,” said
Ngwenya appealed to the
government to revive Bulawayo’s industry so that it could regain its former
“The government and
members of parliament, I beg you to revive the Bulawayo industry and create jobs
for the people,” said Ngwenya.
most companies in
Bulawayo remained operational on Workers’ Day,.
A survey carried out
revealed that it was business as usual as some companies, shops and supermarkets
were opened in the city centre.
Only government offices
and banks were closed for the holiday.
said they would not take a break to join in the celebrations because they wanted
to remain in business.
“We are not closing
down because if we are to do that, we will be out of business,” said Q-Pay
Investments marketing manager Zandile Maphosa.
echoed the same sentiments, saying they would struggle to pay monthly bills if
they were to take a break.
“If we are to close
even for a day we would be out of business. We would not be able to pay rentals,
utility bills and workers. The time for us to go on holiday is long gone,” she
Due to the economic
crisis, it has become the norm that most businesses in Bulawayo and beyond no
longer pay much attention to the significance of national or public holidays. In
the past it was only the bars, beerhalls and other entertainment sports that
on deathbed, says President Mugabe
May 5, 2013 in Local,
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe said yesterday the life of the inclusive
would come to an end on June 29, vowing that no negotiation for
could be entertained by Zanu PF.
REPORT BY BY NDAMU
The move is set to draw sharp rebuke from Prime Minister Morgan
who has been on a regional sojourn to press African leaders to
insist on the
completion of reforms before the holding of the make-or-break
Addressing the 92nd Ordinary Session of the
Zanu PF’s central committee at
the party’s headquarters in Harare, Mugabe
said the Global Political
Agreement (GPA) would expire on June
“The clock is ticking. This is May and by the end of June, whether
likes it or not, nguva inenge yakwana [time will be ripe].
sun will set for the creature called global [political] agreement,”
said to thunderous applause from delegates.
Zanu PF has been insisting
that elections should be held on or before June
29 when the life of the
current Parliament expires.
The National Constitutional Assembly has also
supported the move, arguing
that it would be illegal to have the executive
running the country without
Parliament whose life automatically ends in
The two MDC formations say elections would be disputed without
completing reforms espoused in the GPA. Some of the reforms include
the security sector professional and reforming the media, among
Some security chiefs have been making political statements
would not salute Tsvangirai in the event that he wins
elections, a move
MDC-T said was tantamount to a coup.
been on the diplomatic offensive appraising regional leaders
situation obtaining on the ground.
In reference to Tsvangirai’s regional
sojourns, Mugabe said one does not
have to run to African and European
countries “to prevent the day when the
sun sets on the 29th of
He said on that day, the GPA would die a natural death and “we
negotiate another, never, ever”.
Mugabe said yesterday’s
central committee meeting might be the last before
elections, though there
could be another one if the need arose to gauge the
party’s preparedness for
He said any party candidate who plans violence would be
violence “because violence begets
Mugabe said Parliament would this week debate the draft
expressed the hope MPs would okay it.
He said the
draft was “a political draft that still requires some changes”.
said if the draft was not passed “we will go back to the Lancaster
there” and has been used in the past 32 years.
headed for another GNU’
May 5, 2013 in Local, News
ZIMBABWE is headed
for a prolonged transition if elections are to be held
within the next two
months before the full implementation of necessary
reforms, The Zimbabwe
Transition Barometer has warned.
REPORT BY PATRICE MAKOVA
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (Cizc) barometer treks the progress of the
inclusive government and provides researched analysis to give a better
understanding of the transition.
The country scored lowly on almost
all the six focus areas that have an
impact on both the transitional process
and the building and consolidation
of democracy. These are rule of law,
implementation of the Global Political
Agreement (GPA), clearly defined
election dates and Sadc’s role. The
barometer only gave high marks to the
recent constitutional referendum.
The barometer’s researcher, Phillan
Zamchiya said whereas there were
positive democratic reforms attained in the
country, Mugabe and his Zanu PF
are still in a position to manipulate state
institutions and electoral
systems in order to retain power.
context, the incumbent will find it difficult to gain political
due to the fact that Sadc, other political parties, civil society
independent media keep trekking the transition to expose Zanu PF’s
manipulation strategies, subtle or overt,” he said.
Zamchiya said this
would mean that if elections were to be held on or before
June 30, Mugabe
would need co-operation of protagonists (MDCs) post the
which would further prolong the current transition.
Under a prolonged
transition, Zamchiya said, the incumbent is faced with two
options to gain
legitimacy. The first is to form a government of national
unity with the
protagonists for an effective government. The second option
would be for the
incumbent to be bold enough to dump the opposition, and
through committing to advance the democratic gains that were
made during the
The barometer said Zimbabwe was likely to proceed to
elections without an
early election observation mechanism in place. The
Joint Monitoring and
Implementation Committee (Jomic) would continue to be
sub-national issues of the violation of the GPA without
over the conduct of political leaders.
employees to Jomic may join the institution late and have minimal
addressing environmental deviations to election guidelines,” reads
barometer. “This will likely allow for political violence and
to prevail, although not at the same levels as in 2008 but to a
extent that will shape the election process and outcome.”
the failure to rigorously monitor and push for the
implementation of the
electoral roadmap may lead to a sham election.
He said there was need to
build institutions and ensure transparency and
accountability by reducing
chances of electoral fraud. It has been observed
that one of the strategies
being used by Zanu PF is maintaining the
“infrastructure of error” to enable
it to manipulate the electoral process.
“This infrastructure of error has
manifested itself through concealed and
selective voter registration
exercise and the unfettered access of, and use
of Zanu PF to state
Furthermore, the conflation of voter registration and
inspection with the
process of aligning laws with the new constitution,
there is potential
continuation of concealed and selective implementation of
that process to
the advantage of Zanu PF,” reads the barometer.
researcher said while it was now reported that there is an agreement
the parties for the GPA on coming up with a time frame for the
proclaiming the date, there is a high possibility of Zanu PF
feet on certain key reforms.
It says Zanu PF has persistently used this
strategy to duck certain reforms
that are inimical to its interests such as
the reconstitution of the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and security sector
executive could rule by decree after june 29
said the uncertainty over the election date and ambiguity on the
Parliament after June 29 presented a scenario whereby the
form a government without legislative control, thus rule by
He said the limited time frame and failure to resolve the
Parliament post June 29 until the holding of elections could see
some of the
outstanding reforms failing to happen particularly around
directly or indirectly related to the electoral process.
needs God fearing leadership’
May 5, 2013 in Community News,
DEPUTY Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe has urged churches in
Zimbabwe to call
on politicians and get them to understand the importance of
God-fearing leaders for the good of the nation.
Speaking at a regional workshop hosted by the Catholic
of Zimbabwe (CPNZ) in collaboration with the African
Forum for Catholic
Social Teaching (AFCAST) in Harare recently, Khupe said
peace could only be
realised with God-fearing leadership.
constitution is adhered to, mark my words, the people of Zimbabwe
in peace and harmony. They will have a better life. We are
fortunate in that
we have voted for a new constitution resoundingly and this
contains very important things; rights of children, women, of
of the workers, and of the disabled,” she said.
The DPM implored the
church to impress it upon politicians that the
positions they held were not
theirs, but God-given for the betterment and
good of the country and the
people they represent.
Khupe said the country faced a problem with its
policies and policy inconsistency and pointed out the
empowering every person in the country.
creation of jobs, we must bring in new money. We must bring in
into the country, that’s the best way to create jobs, let’s take
of the resources. After this election we are going to create jobs,
any doubt,” she said.
CPNZ aims to achieve social transformation through
active participation in
matters that affect people’s lives. The network is
also committed to
building a culture of justice and peace, protection of
vulnerable groups, as
well as safeguarding human rights.
Catholic Bishops’ Conference parliamentary liaison officer Edward
employment creation for young people was imperative for the
“If a state cannot look after it’s people, let it go. Young
people need to
be engaged and must be employed,” said Ndete.
pointed out that the church was constantly calling on politicians to
orderly and said the church constantly corrected and talked to the
South African Catholic Bishops’ Conference parliamentary
director, Peter Pearson said there was need for politcians to
in ways that bring new possibilities to the people.
May 5, 2013 in Local, News, Politics
MUTARE — Zanu PF
Secretary for Administration Didymus Mutasa has blasted a
faction loyal to
Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa accusing some of its
members of being
REPORT BY CLAYTON MASEKESA
Mutasa said it was clear
that Vice-President Joice Mujuru was second in line
for Zanu PF after
President Robert Mugabe.
He said it was agreed at the party congress in
2004 that Mujuru be elevated
to the post of Vice-President ahead of
“We all agreed unanimously. Now we are surprised that there
are some people
like Mnangagwa who are now leading another faction claiming
that they want
to take over the party. Anyone who objects the legitimacy of
Mai Mujuru as
the Vice-President of the party, then that person does not
belong to Zanu
PF,” said Mutasa.
Mutasa, currently on the spotlight
after Zanu PF big wigs in Manicaland
recently wrote a petition to Mugabe
accusing him of dictatorship and causing
divisions, said no one had dared
openly challenge Mujuru in the past
“In all those
congresses those that are against Mai Mujuru would be quiet.
Now some other
people are now causing divisions, is it because she is a
“Zanu PF is a strong party and Mai Mujuru was put in that position
of her sound track record and good deeds in the party and no one
object that. She is our leader. Those that are fanning factionalism
sell-outs and they are perpetuating the destruction of the
Mutasa revealed that more big names from Zanu PF have been
illegal diamond dealing, prejudicing the country of millions
He said the recent suspension of provincial chairman, Mike
chairman, Tawanda Mukodza and three others on allegations that
defrauded diamond mining companies was just “a tip of the
“I have received a petition from concerned party members who
implicating very big names from Zanu PF who are illegally dealing in
diamonds from Chiadzwa. This is going to expose some very senior party
officials who have been extorting money from diamond mining companies and
allegedly converting the money to their own use,” he said.
the likes of Madiro and Mukodza were “just small fish, but there are
fish that have been implicated”.
Mutasa said investigations were in
progress, warning that the names of those
implicated would soon be made
He said Mugabe was aware of all the illegal diamond deals and
would soon act
against the suspects.
Mutasa said he was “baffled”
that people from Manicaland were not
benefitting from the diamond proceeds
yet they were the owners of the
precious mineral resource.
“I am very
concerned and at the same time surprised thatpeople in Manicaland
benefitting from their resources. Now and again diamonds in Chiadzwa
benefitting influential people outside Manicaland.
“It is not a secret
that the people of Manicaland are the bona fide
beneficiaries of the
resources,” said the under-fire politician.
He said he was not happy that
headquarters and all chairpersons of diamond
mining companies in Manicaland
were based in Harare.
seeks Mugabe’s help in Chisumbanje row
May 5, 2013 in Local, News
committee tasked with ensuring communication between the local community
the developers of the Chisumbanje ethanol project wants President Robert
Mugabe to intervene so that the multi-million dollar venture could be
REPORT BY NDAMU SANDU
The project stopped operations
in 2011 after it reached its storage capacity
as there was no local uptake
of the commodity.
The District Ethanol Project Implementation Committee
(Depic) wrote to
Mugabe on Thursday requesting a meeting with him, his
deputy Joice Mujuru,
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Deputy PMs Arthur
Mutambara and Thokozani
Khupe and the investor Billy Rautenbach. The meeting
would discuss how the
plant would get back on track.
composed of Chief Garahwa, MP Meki Makuyana, local headmen,
administrator, councillors, police, members of the President’s
community representatives, among others.
“We believe that meeting with
all the concerned parties at once will
facilitate prompt and decisive action
to ensure that the Chisumbanje Ethanol
Plant is reopened immediately,” reads
part the letter.
“The 13 members of Depic shall be arriving on Sunday [today]
and shall be
available at your convenience.”
approved a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the ownership
Chisumbanje ethanol and it now awaits scrutiny from the Attorney
The MOA would effectively give government a 51% shareholding in
plant with the remainder owned by Billy Rautenbach’s
Initially, the project was a 20-year Build, Operate and
Transfer between the
Agricultural Rural Development Authority (Arda) and
Rautenbach’s Ratings and
Government recently introduced a 5%
mandatory blending for petrol which
analysts say would save US$2 million
monthly in imports. The country imports
at least 30 million litres of petrol
But Depic say the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority has to
blending licence for the exercise to take place at 10% and not
‘MUGABE HAS THE SOLUTION TO THIS IMPASSE’
Depic spokesperson, said the idea of seeking Mugabe’s help
came as a
resolution of Thursday’s meeting.
“It was agreed that the solution lies
in high offices as all other offices
convinced that the issue will be solved once and for all. A team
will be in Harare on Sunday [today] and return to Chisumbanje
once the case
is solved,” Madhuku said yesterday.
Depic was formed in December last
year by the inter-ministerial taskforce on
Chisumbanje and have a mandate to
resolve any problems the project may face.
brother dies, Zanu PF snubs funeral
May 5, 2013 in Local,
MICHAEL, the elder brother of the late Zanla chief and national
Magama Tongogara died in Mt Darwin last week, but Zanu PF
snubbed his burial
yesterday, it has emerged.
REPORT BY JENNIFER
By yesterday evening, Zanu PF officials were yet to pay their
the Tongogara family. Family spokesperson and one of Josiah
sons, Granger said his uncle succumbed to hypertension and died
last week at the age of 75.
He said the Tongogara family
had lost a pillar of strength.
“Mike shall be remembered as a husband,
father, brother, grandfather,
unifier and a comrade to many,” said Granger.
“Mike played a father figure
to all of Josiah Tongogara’s children. He is
survived by his wife, several
children and grandchildren.”
had recently told The Standard that he was still an active Zanu PF
although he did not hold a position anymore. He was based in Zambia
the liberation struggle and used to house many senior Zanu PF
his residence in Chingolo.
The late Michael died a bitter man complaining
that his party, President
Robert Mugabe, Vice President Joice Mujuru and
others who used to be close
to Tongogara had neglected the late hero’s 10
children, most of whom were
struggling to make ends meet.
showed The Standard several letters from Tongogara asking him to
of his children in the event that he died.
In one of the letters, dated
December 4 1978, Tongogara wrote from
Mozambique to his elder brother
outlining his war trials and his concern for
Zimbabwe and his
Michael had written to his young brother explaining how he had
“tortured” by the Zambian authorities as the fallout between Zanu PF
and Kenneth Kaunda’s government continued well after Tongogara and
had been exonerated by the courts for the death of Hebert Chitepo.
Zanu chairman was killed in Lusaka in 1975 in a car bomb which the
liberation movement blamed on Rhodesian agents.
told The Standard that he was still in the dark regarding the
Tongogara in a mysterious car accident on December 26 1979 saying
still longed for answers.
Granger said while some senior government and
military officials were
recently seen supporting a distant relative of one
of Tongogara’s family
members who had died; the same treatment had not been
accorded to Michael.
“They provided security and cars [name withheld]
playing a divide and rule
game to the family,” said another
Zanu-PF Mashonaland Central provincial chairperson Dickson
said he was not aware of Michael’s death.
not been informed yet,” Mafios said. “Maybe we will be informed at
(yesterday) central committee meeting which we are rushing to now,”
Party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said he could not answer any
questions as he
was in a meeting while Mashonaland Central governor Martin
Dinha said he did
not know Michael.
“One of the family members called
telling me about it [the death] but I did
“The problem is I have not been around as I am studying thus,
frequently take days off.
“I had to rush down here for the burial of
Chief Chiweshe and I also had two
funerals within my own family.”
shopping mall to give Hwange a face-lift
May 5, 2013 in Community
Hwange Local Board is set to construct a US$700 000 shopping mall, a
that is set to give the coal mining town a face-lift.
Town secretary Ndumiso Mdlalose was optimistic that the
generate employment and lure investors to Hwange.
completed, the shopping mall will house financial institutions, large
shops and offices.
“We are very confident that the project will see the
light of day.
This project will also bring the much-needed development of
Matabeleland North province.
“We are going to
strategically locate this shopping mall, where everyone
Hwange can have access to the services offered at this
shopping mall,” said
He said the current set-up of the Hwange Central Business
District was not
in good order, as retail shops and other service providers
“The current set-up of Hwange is not very good, the
scattered, which is not good for people,” he said.
attributed this to the fact that companies operating in Hwange were in
charge of the large chunk of infrastructure, especially properties rented to
the business community.
Hwange Colliery Company and Zimbabwe Power
Company own most of the
properties being rented out.
the projects by the local authority aim to boost tourism in
“Mining has a time limit yet tourism is continuous,
hence our thrust on
converting this town into another tourism spot like
Victoria Falls,” said
Hwange Local Board chairman, Cosmos
Ndlovu said the actual planning of the
shopping mall project has already
been done and council now awaited the
physical planning team to finalise it
before construction started.
He said construction of the main road at the
proposed shopping mall project
was underway having been made possible
through funding from the Zimbabwe
National Roads Administration.
council has also sourced 52 000 litres of bitumen to resurface the roads
around the proposed project site.
The shopping mall project is one of
the many projects the local board is
undertaking this year, having completed
the rehabilitation of the sewer
reticulation system which had been a problem
for the local authority for the
past six years.
between kombi drivers, police still on
May 5, 2013 in Community
COMMUTER omnibus drivers have vowed to continue playing the
games with the police, despite putting the lives of travellers
REPORT BY DALPHINE TAGWIREYI
Recently, a woman died after
she was hit by a commuter omnibus that was
fleeing police officers. The
woman died while she was disembarking a kombi
that had just parked at
Copacabana bus terminus. In another case, one person
was killed and six
others were injured when they were run over by another
commuter omnibus that
was fleeing police officers.
A commuter omnibus driver, Gift Kasambwa
said they had no choice but to flee
from police officers, who always
“Since there isn’t enough space at the terminus, we are
forced to park on
Chinhoyi Street and when we do this, the police pounce on
us and demand
bribes ranging from US$5 to US$10, which we cannot afford,” he
In an effort to decongest the central business district, the City
has ordered commuter omnibus operators to use designated ranks,
drivers insist that these are too small to accommodate Harare’s
“City fathers always speak of constructing
new ranks for us, but this has
not happened. They have never used public
transport, as they drive so they
cannot understand the congestion that these
ranks are experiencing” said
Alex Pahwana complained about
police raids on streets that feed into Copa
Cabana rank saying the officers
should know the terminus cannot accommodate
all the commuter
“When commuters alight on Chinhoyi Street, the police count
the number of
alighting passengers and demand US$4 per person from us,” he
as if they want to make US$200 each.”
It is estimated
that there are 5 000 commuter omnibuses in Harare and the
have proved too small for these.
In search of space and passengers,
kombis have spilled into town, triggering
clashes with police and the Harare
municipal officers, who accuse them of
congesting the CBD. Harare municipal
police throw spikes on fleeing kombis
to puncture their tyres. This puts the
lives of commuters aboard at risk.
The drivers also accused the police of
smashing their windscreens, saying
this was why they fled each time they
were stopped by officers.
Recently police spokesperson, Charity Charamba
said it was illegal for the
police to smash windscreens.
[Zimbabwe Republic Police] does not condone such behaviour and has
with regards to hitting windscreens and rear mirrors,” she said.
officer caught smashing windscreens is subject to a police disciplinary
Efforts to get a comment from Harare City Council
spokesman, Leslie Gwindi
warned against stock-piling ARVs
May 5, 2013 in Health & Fitness, Local,
Patients on anti-retroviral (ARV) therapy have been warned against
dipping as a measure to safeguard themselves following reports that
were imminent shortages of ARVs.
REPORT BY PHYLLIS
Many patients, acting on the rumours, registered in different
areas, in a bid to ensure that they get a supply of the
This scenario has resulted in other deserving patients
being left out or
trailing at the bottom of the list. Speaking during the
Council HIV and Aids update in Chinhoyi, Rangarirai Chiteure
of the Country
Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) said there were adequate
supplies and CCM had
proposed to cover the procurement of ARVs for the last
two quarters of 2014
using savings realised from the Global Fund in the
“Patients on anti-retroviral therapy should not panic or
engage in double
dipping as stocks are adequate.
The country was
recently availed with US$32,2 million to fight HIV, TB and
malaria for the
year 2014 from the Global Fund.
Also speaking at the same meeting, the
MOHCW and TB unit director Owen
Mugurungi said the country indeed had enough
drugs to last up to 2014.
“There shall be no gaps and shortages this year
and even in 2014,” Mugurungi
Early this year the Ministry of
Health and Child Welfare announced they were
only left with two months’
supply of drugs and appealed to the Global Fund
for assistance. The country
then received U$32,2 million for the year 2014.
take over Byo company premises
May 5, 2013 in Business
organisations are converting Bulawayo industrial pre-mises into
efforts to revive the city’s industry fail to bear fruits.
Report by Musa
The city’s Central Business District (CBD) is also littered with
church groups that are taking over most of the vacant premises
left by shut
down companies and converting them into places of worship, much
chagrin of the unemployed residents.
Emmanuel Makandiwa’s Ufic church attracted the ire
of many residents after
they took over Mills Textile company premises in the
city and converted part
of it into a church.
The company used to employ over 1 000 workers but
now employs less than 200
owing to lack of capital coupled by the poor
A drive to the industrial sites reveals a grim
scenario where posters of big
companies have been pulled down and replaced
by those belonging to churches.
Director of Zimbabwe Christian Alliance,
Reverend Useni Sibanda blasted some
church organisations saying they were
worsening the economic situation by
taking over industrial premises and
converting them into churches.
“Instead of churches taking over
industries, they should actually be working
on reviving the industry because
church service cannot substitute production
of labour,” said Sibanda in his
solidarity message at the Workers Day
commemorations in Bulawayo.
believe that when God created man, he created labour and labour is part
the means of production.
“Many people, especially in Bulawayo, are not
able to sustain their
families. The church’s goal should be to make sure
that people survive,”
“Part of churches’ role is to
help revive industry and we cannot help people
by taking over the empty
buildings. By taking and filling them with people,
we are actually worsening
“They must instead build their own premises where they do
“How do people survive if we are to take over all the
buildings,” he said.
starved of vital information
May 5, 2013 in Opinion
suffering from confidence crisis as can be witnessed by the
extent to which
citizens approach the different public bodies for
information. This is so
especially because there is little and no honest
communication between the
state and citizens, which results in citizens
having to speculate and gossip
in order for them to make important
REPORT BY KUDZAI
In a community where there is no communication between the
citizenry and the
state, both exhibit lack of trust in each other and engage
that are meant to protect and promote personal gain at the
national interest. On the part of government, there has not been
to ensure that the citizens have unfettered access to public
particularly those that deal with critical information. Oftentimes,
comes from the direction of the state are orders and instructions where
citizens are expected to conform without proper progressive engagements,
while from the citizenry it is usually the complains on positions and
policies which they feel are improper.
In a big way, the government
has used different legal instruments which
curtail free access to
information for citizens such as Access to
Information and Protection of
Privacy Act (Aippa), Official Secrets Act,
Broadcasting Services Act,
Censorship Act, Public Order and Security Act
(Posa) and Interception of
These tools have been used to create a gap between
citizens and the state
which has given rise to the confidence crisis that
this country is grappling
with at the moment with by-products manifesting as
diminishing trust. It has created a buffer so that the
people cannot access
their government. The government seems to be afraid of
its people while the
people seem to be both suspicious and afraid of their
government. In a
situation as is obtaining, the nation suffers lack of
fragmentation where there is no area of commonality or
rallying point for us
Oftentimes, when bodies such as Zinara
attempt to appraise citizens on its
work, for instance how much it has
collected through toll gates, citizens
frown at it as an expression of
disapproval and lack of trust in both the
communicator and the information
itself. This is the case with other bodies
that are linked to the state
including National Aids Council (NAC), Zimbabwe
Revenue Authority (Zimra),
Zesa, Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA), Zimbabwe
Investment Authority (ZIA),
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), and
Broadcasting Authority (BAZ). They
have lost credibility and the citizenry
have no confidence in
Having said this, it is then terribly important for the government
up channels of communication by promoting and enhancing media
that media practitioners can access information sources for
information, whether negative or positive. The propensity to block
flow of information should not be allowed in this era. The
ICTs and social media should be one of the critical areas that
government should embrace in order to build this confidence and enhance
interaction between the state and citizens. The e-government concept which
Communications minister Nelson Chamisa mentions sometimes should be the way
But all this requires political will and preparedness to
account on those
who hold public office in whatever capacity.
long as there is no relationship between the governed and the
there will be no development in this country and any other
country for that
matter. And needless to say, this relationship is
established and sustained
resides in people’s resilience
May 5, 2013 in Editorial, Opinion
Zimbabweans have begun to ask if there is a way, or ways, to move the
country forward regardless of the bad politics. In asking this question,
they are expressing their sense of helplessness resulting from the failure
of the country’s leadership to guide the country in its quest for stability
REPORT BY NEVANJI MADANHIRE
realised that politics have kept the country in the mud for
far too long and
the space the country is in now is not a good one and will
likely remain so
for another generation or so.
When the political crisis began around the
turn of the millennium, many
believed the political leadership would rise to
the occasion quickly enough
and solve their differences. The majority of the
people also believed they
would play their role by exercising their
democratic right to choose the
leadership they wished to lead
But after more than 10 years, in which they went to the polls five
they have come to believe their vote counts for nothing in the
politics where cabals rule the roost.
Among lots of
Zimbabweans fatalism has now crept in — they have now adopted
anything-goes approach, hence they walk about as if nothing is amiss.
cabal that controls the country is very happy about this for this
just the right atmosphere for their politics of personal
When the Global Political Agreement (GPA) was signed
in 2008, many saw a ray
of hope; they hoped that the political leadership
was sincere and would, at
last, use the life-span of the agreement to
transition from the politics of
hate to the politics of building bridges.
But the GPA has become even more
divisive as groups with vested interests in
the status quo refuse to budge.
Security sector reform has become the
most divisive element of the GPA,
everyone is aware of that. But not a
single protagonist in this drama wants
to rise above the whole lot and say,
“For the sake of the country, I am
As an African proverb
says, to keep someone in the mud, one also has to be
in the mud. All those
people keeping the country in this perpetual state of
crisis don’t realise
they too are deep, if not deeper, in the crisis.
But where lies
Zimbabwe’s hope, for there should be hope somewhere?
There are people who
have shown that Zimbabwe can be moved forward in spite
of the intractable
political mess. On the large stage, I would like to
mention the Harare
International Festival of the Arts (Hifa) which ends in
the capital today.
In spite of the crisis, the festival has successfully
celebrated its 11th
anniversary; it is almost as old as the country’s
It has not been smooth sailing for the Hifa team. Year in, year
team describes its frustration with bureaucratic red
Each year they have to struggle to bring in foreign artistes and
equipment because those running the bureaucracy want a bite of the
even when the cherry is non-existent.
Above everything else,
Hifa has shown the world what Zimbabweans working
together as a non-racial,
apolitical team are capable of achieving. Compare
Hifa with the forthcoming
UNWTO summit which the country will co-host with
Zambia in August. See how
the dirty politics threaten to scupper the event
as groups fight for
But even more inspiring than the Hifa success, is the way the
are surviving the crisis. Recently I bought a pair of shoes
from the street.
I couldn’t resist it because of the workmanship on display.
Talking to the
vendors of the footwear, I was warmed in the heart by the
entrepreneurship in the face of adversity.
The young men
who make the hand-made shoes are a new breed of youth that
have seen the
futility of expecting a dysfunctional government to provide
Unemployment in Zimbabwe is still estimated to be as high as 80% and
system is unlikely to correct that any time soon. The young shoemakers
realised this and have decided to move their lives forward.
many challenges which they have decided to take head-on.
For example, the
legality of their enterprise is questionable since they
threaten to outdo
established shoe manufacturers and traders.
But these have already seen
their business decimated by cheap Chinese
imports. In a guerrilla economy
such as ours, where more business is
happening in the informal economy than
in the shops, anything goes.
The informal shoemakers are just one example
of the spirit that has enabled
ordinary Zimbabweans to survive when they
have been let down by their
government. Our music industry is another such
enterprise that has seen
hoards of young people survive well when the formal
economy has let them
down. There is the tendency to look down upon this
underestimate the role it’s playing in keeping our children off
But government has again let down this sector as it makes no
to fighting piracy.
On every street corner one cannot
help but see people selling pirated music
while the police look on or make
half-hearted attempts to arrest the
culprits. In the end the young people
who toil every day to produce the
music cannot survive on the fruits of
Every morning in Harare one can see women of all ages
on decrepit vans carrying various vegetables from Mbare
Musika to their
stalls in the low-income suburbs. They can’t be making that
much money, but
one can see and feel their will to survive. It is this
spirit that will save
In the script Zimbabwe Rising, it
is these ordinary Zimbabweans who will be
the chief protagonists, not the
politicians. The country’s crisis of
leadership might as well be solved by
these people in the coming generation.
We have read stories from around the
world of billionaires who started by
selling cigarettes or some such wares
on the street who have now risen to
lead their countries.
therefore, no reason for fatalism and helplessness in the face of
political crisis; there are many ways of moving this country forward
the ugly politics.
freedom: Politics is the problem
May 5, 2013 in Editorial,
While as a human rights activist of more than five years now I
agree more with the wise statement that human beings are
political animals, I think as Zimbabweans, there is more politics
in us than
anything else, which shows why we are an unbalanced
Report by Vivid Gwede
It seems as if we don’t have
other lives where we indulge in other things
which are completely different,
like loving our spouses, or going to church
to confess how our human lot has
failed to rise above sin in our daily
The public is not
allowed media platforms to discuss mundane and recurrent
human issues — such
as when a pastor fancies a married mother of three who
is God-fearing. We
need to profoundly talk about the drought which has
become a permanent
feature of our food insecurities. Even the discussion
indulgences is equally important without the politics — but
politics touches goes to waste.
We go about as if there is no one
actually riding a shaky and squeaky
bicycle carrying an ill family member to
a distant rural clinic under the
unforgiving sun above him. Such stories,
which can be captured by a
community radio and radically change the lives of
many by showing the
urgency, seem to go unnoticed.
Our major problem
is that we are now obsessed with politics to the point of
being fanatics who
think inside that always self indulgent, non-objective,
unpopular political box. Who does not know that politics
has the highest
concentration of haters and liars per congregation?
So why can’t we
forsake it at times in discussions which do not require it
and which would
otherwise be interesting without that monstrosity?
It was really
unsettling when I recently attended a public discussion on the
press freedom. For me, people who talked sense and sounded educated
needed media houses and broadcast entities to proliferate in
Political fairness and plurality in media coverage mean more or
It is unbelievable that the whole media discussion has been reduced
political tussle as narrow as whether party A should open the media
Clearly, why should party A think it has all the
power to adjudicate on the
reasons and rights of those people who want to
hear out party B? Is that the
reason the media has degenerated to be about
politics and nothing else?
We know some forlorn and heart broken dude
wants to talk about love on
radio. I think I need a radio show to talk about
why I am a politician who
is anti-politics. That could be a more interesting
discussion than the consistent and dreary discussion about
thuggery—whether ideologically justified or not — guns and blood
liberation struggle which came to pass three decades
Someone might want to listen to Mbakumba and Muchongoyo on a
in the heart of a rural area. They do not always think
question of whether it is their right or not, to think and
rather than national is irrelevant.
Why should media
broadcasts be all about ZBC’s obsession with the Harare’s
where they ludicrously think that Zanu PF is the centre of
The only real merits of the media discussion will be seen
in its rational
context. We need the discussion to be national in
Politicians have become self-indulgent, they want to protect their
at the expense of the majority.
They believe every man and
woman is obsessed with politics in the same way
they are, yet people have
other urgent needs to take care of. They think
every one’s life should
revolve around their politics-inclined minds. They
do not see the common man
for whom politics is just part and not the
entirety of every day
Politicians do not seem to want to engage the electorate, to hear
views and to work on policies that are for the people. Media reforms
not be about politicians, but about the people and their right to
Life is all about choices and that is what press
freedom should be about.
What the politicians signed in the Global Political
Agreement is just their
understanding of why they need press freedom. There
are other groups whose
needs are still to be catered for.
freedom and the licensing of community radio stations should not be
the inefficient wheels of politics. Politics is self-serving, but
voices waiting to be heard and subjects still to be tackled when
media is availed.
freedom still a mirage
May 5, 2013 in Editorial, Opinion
Friday joined other countries in marking World Press Freedom Day
was little to cheer for local journalists. The day was set aside
ago by the United Nations to raise awareness on the importance of
Journalists and media-friendly organisations on May 3 each year
the state of press freedom throughout the world, defend the media
attacks on its independence and pay tribute to journalists who have
their lives in the line of duty.
In Zimbabwe, there is need to
do more for the cause of press freedom which
is in the doldrums. Little has
changed for journalists who endured a torrid
time between 2000 to 2005 when
journalists were harassed, beaten up,
arrested and newspapers closed
While a number of independent publications have been granted
hit the streets, the environment remains unfavourable to the
vibrancy of the independent press. Webster Shamu, the Information
continues to threaten journalists.
Authority of Zimbabwe is yet to license community radio
stations and new
independent television stations, preferring to permit only
radio stations, Zi-FM stereo and Star FM.
Repressive laws such as the
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
Act (Aippa) and the Public
Order and Security Act (Posa) are still in
defamation remains a weapon that is constantly used by enemies of a
The state-owned ZBC still maintains its monopoly on the airwaves,
out divergent views.
The broadcaster continues to churn out
hate speech, especially towards MDC
formations, now that the country is
moving towards the holding of elections.
While journalists have been
clamouring for self-regulation, the new
constitution, largely a product of
negotiations between the main political
parties, has maintained the
statutory Zimbabwe Media Commission.
Clearly, the inclusive government,
which has been in existence for four
years, is not prioritising media
reforms, yet a free media is the
cornerstone of any democratic
We urge GNU principals to implement media reforms urgently in
order to do
away with undue restrictions on press freedom.