Mugabe's government has allowed most of the 46 private schools closed down
this week to reopen on Monday after they agreed to slash their fees to
official levels to avoid being seized by the government, according to
official statements Saturday.
The government-controlled daily Herald
published a list of 36 schools which had been been "cleared" by the education
ministry and said pupils could go back to school next week.
Minister Aeneas Chigwedere had denounced the schools as
"racist" organisations charging high fees to keep out blacks, and gave them
until Friday to cut their fees to prescribed levels or be "nationalised" by
Officials of the Association of Trust Schools (ATS)
which represents the country's about 65 private schools, said heads of all
the affected schools had rushed to the education ministry on Friday to meet
the deadline, but several had failed, because ministry officials refused to
stay at work beyond the 4.30pm office hours.
Police, many with
automatic rifles, manned the gates of the private schools from Monday,
barring pupils, staff and parents entry. At least 12 heads and school board
governors were arrested, some of them forced to spend the night in police
In an interview on state television on Thursday night, Chigwedere
declared that private schools were "factories to produce white Rhodesians,"
and were owned by foreign organisations.
"The ownership is British,"
he said. "It is the very war we are fighting against these schools," he
Chigwedere also told a group of anxious parents who met him earlier
that "we are doing to the private schools what we did to the white farms,"
a reference to the regime's illegal seizure since 2 000 of nearly all of
the country's 11-million hectares of productive white-owned
Private school authorities have rebutted the allegations, and say
all but one of their schools is black-dominated, some by 95%, as are their
boards of governors. They also say they are completely locally-owned, and
point out that the fee increases at all schools were overwhelmingly approved
by the parents.
A circular to private schools issued Friday night by
ATS urged all schools to sign "acceptance certificates" with the ministry
agreeing to prescribed fees as "the fastest way to reopen the schools and
avoid them being nationalised by the government."
It said that the
agreement was "only a short term solution as it leaves many schools
technically insolvent" and all schools will now have to look at ways to cut
Education experts say that the state school system is collapsing
under an almost total lack of government support, with teachers
demoralised, overworked and poorly paid, and classrooms dilapidated. -
Confusion reigned on Friday as President Robert
Mugabe's government vowed to "nationalise" private schools that had raised
fees above state-stipulated charges, while the country's high court declared
the regime's closure of 46 of the schools was illegal.
officials confirmed that at least nine school heads and governors had been
arrested since Wednesday, although most had been released.
court on Thursday declared that the closure of the 46 schools by education
minister Aeneas Chigwedere was "null and void", but on Friday morning armed
police were still stationed outside most of the private schools affected,
staff said, but were allowing children into only Hartmann House, the Catholic
junior school that had applied for the court order.
A report in the
state-controlled daily Herald newspaper said education authorities had been
given permission to re-open, but it could not be confirmed. Lawyer Beatrice
Mtetwa said the order by judge Susan Mavangira had been made with the
agreement of state lawyers.
"The judge said that the minister's order was
null and void. It means that it doesn't apply just to Hartmann house, but in
the case of all the schools that were closed."
As schools opened for
the new term on Tuesday, the government announced that it had banned 46
schools with about 33 000 pupils from starting lessons because they had not
received official approval to raise their fees above 10 percent a
Armed police were stationed outside school gates to bar teachers
and pupils from entering.
Zimbabwe is in the middle of an economic
crisis with inflation running at a regular 600 percent, the highest in the
world, and private schools say they cannot continue running unless they raise
their fees in line with soaring costs.
Zimbabwe's most exclusive
boarding school, the Anglican church-run Peterhouse in the town of Marondera,
75km east of Harare, raised its fees to Z$9,9-million (about R10 000) a
A letter obtained by Deutsche Presse-Agentur, and issued by the
Association of Trust Schools which represents all the country's about 65
private schools, said that at a meeting with Chigwedere on Wednesday, he
declared that all schools that did not cut their fees to the state-set levels
would be "nationalised" on Friday.
It said he denounced the schools as
"racist" and said they were trying to keep out poor blacks. He demanded that
they raised the ratio of black pupils to 60 percent.
state-controlled daily Herald quoted school officials as saying that they had
advised him that they were already well beyond that, and that
the black-dominated parent bodies had overwhelmingly agreed to the
Members of a delegation from a private school parents
organisation who met Chigwedere on Tuesday said he had warned them, "You can
go to court but we will ignore the courts".
He also reportedly said
that "we are doing to the private schools what we are doing to the farms," a
reference to the lawless, violent seizure of nearly all the country's
white-owned farm land since 2000.
Last month Mugabe attacked private
schools for charging fees that were "a burden" to poor children. Schools were
now being ordered by the education ministry to sign an undertaking they would
keep their fees at the official limits, or be kept closed.
experts say that the state school system is collapsing under an almost total
lack of government support, with teachers demoralised, overworked and poorly
paid, and classrooms dilapidated. - Sapa-DPA
The enforced closure this week of
some 45 private schools illustrates just how far Zimbabwe's education system
has declined in recent years. Following independence in 1980, the government
of former teacher Robert Mugabe was widely praised for expanding education to
the black majority, who had been kept out of the best schools. By the 1990s,
Zimbabwe had the highest literacy rates in Africa and it remains high at 89%
of the adult population. But the economic crisis, compounded by the HIV/Aids
pandemic, means that school enrolment has fallen to 59%. "I am very worried
by the drop-out rate," the head of Zimbabwe's teaching unions Peter Mabande
told BBC News Online. The private schools - previously reserved for whites -
were shut down by the government after raising fees by up to 500%. The law
says that increases of more than 10% must be approved by the education
ministry, while annual inflation is currently more than 580%. The schools say
the ministry has been slow to approve their requests to raise fees and that
if they don't raise fees in line with inflation, the best teachers will leave
and standards will fall. Opposition MP and chairman of the Petra
independent schools trust David Coltart says that the latest fee increases
were backed by the parents, who want the best for their children. "There is
no justification for bringing private schools down to the absolutely
chaotic situation prevailing in public schools," he told the BBC Network
State-run schools have also been feeling the
pinch and last year raised their own fees by between 200 and 2000%. Although
fees in state schools are sometimes nominal - $250 (5 US cents) a term - when
the cost of books and uniforms is added, many of Zimbabwe's poorest families
can no longer afford education. Unemployment has rocketed in recent years
with the closure of factories and other business and more than half of the
population needs food aid. The streets of the main cities are now full of
children whose parents have been killed by Aids and who are struggling to
find enough food to eat and so can't even think about going to school.
Officially, those unable to afford school fees will be given grants but the
schools themselves are short of money and so many children fall through the
net. In order to cope with the financial shortages, schools in overcrowded
urban areas operate "hot-seating". One group of children goes to school in
the morning and another group in the afternoon. In rural areas, there are not
enough school buildings and some children learn with only the shade of a tree
to protect them from the searing sun.
The government accuses the
private schools of being racist and of trying to keep blacks out by raising
fees so high that only whites can afford them. But the schools strongly deny
this and say that most schools have a black majority. Before many whites left
after being demonised by the government, they were just 80,000 out of a
population of 12 million. So operating an all-white school would not be a
viable proposition. In Zimbabwe, politics is everything and as his position
has come under increasing threat in recent years, Mr Mugabe has taken to
blaming his problems on the white community and their alleged backers in the
UK. "We believe they are motivated not by a desire to keep school fees down
but by a desire to undermine the urban middle class, which traditionally
supports the opposition," Mr Coltart said. The school fee policy is also an
example of Mr Mugabe's general approach to economics. As inflation has risen
and risen, his government has not sought to curb spending or encourage
exports, as most economists would suggest, he has imposed price controls. The
prices of basic goods such as bread and sugar have been set by the
government. Last year, bakers were taken to court after doubling the price of
bread. They said the official price was below the cost of production. So if
the government let private schools get away with breaking the law on fee
increases, it would be setting a precedent for all the other business trying
to survive in a country where cynics say it would be cheaper to use small
denomination banknotes than buy toilet paper.
Harare - Striking Zimbabwe white cricketers have
reached agreement to accept mediation of their dispute with the Zimbabwe
Cricket Union (ZCU) in principle.
The 12 players involved have agreed
that they want to end the month-long impasse since their captain Heath Streak
The decision was taken after meetings on Friday between their
lawyer Chris Venturas and ZCU counterpart Alwyn Pichanick, along with Much
Masunda, who runs an arbitration organisation.
"We are almost agreed,"
player Stuart Carlisle said.
"However, there is still need for further
discussion amongst us and there are also other pertinent issues. We are
hopeful of a resolution to this before long," he added.
They will now
almost certainly be available for the second Test match against Sri Lanka,
which begins on Friday in Bulawayo.
However, their preliminary decision
needs to be finalised among them formally and they are to meet once again on
Another player, Trevor Gripper, said: "We still want to go to
arbitration, and mediation would be a means to that end. This decision of
ours is not set in stone. We have not changed out stance on this issue at
all. Arbitration is legal binding and that's the objective and that's what we
ZCU chairman Peter Chingoka declined to comment, except to
say that no letter had been received from the players' lawyer.
executive Vincent Hogg said: "Typically they have gone public without coming
to us first. But let us hope we can now resolve this problem. I certainly
look forward to that."
The cause of the impasse was Streak's sacking on
April 2 which followed his demand for changes to the selection
The players continued to demand his reinstatement as well as the
changes he wanted. The ZCU insisted neither issue was open for discussion. -
FAMILY of an adventurous woman killed by an elephant in Africa is pushing for
an inquest to solve the riddle of her death.
A year after Kerrie Morrow,
29, was trampled by a rogue elephant in Zimbabwe, her Sunshine family
believes there are still inconsistencies in the official version of the
tragic incident. A Zimbabwe magistrate will soon decide if an inquest will be
held to further probe her death.
Although the death was ruled
accidental, her sister, Michelle Morrow, believes something more sinister may
She said there were inconsistencies in police reports,
including the distance between her sister and the elephant.
questioned the qualifications of tour guides who took her sister on a horse
safari at Victoria Falls on April 14, last year.
Some reports say one of
the two guides was a trainee, conflicting with other reports saying both were
Photographs taken by her sister just before she was killed,
show the elephant was closer than guides had indicated.
Ms Morrow is
lobbying the Australian government for help.
Is this possibly why Obusanjo is
supporting the current regime in Zimbabwe? By his continued support, more
farmers will be forced off their land in Zimbabwe and are likely to consider
moving to Nigeria to take up land there. This would mean Nigeria is
rebuilding their agricultural economy at Zimbabwe's
Zimbabwean Farmers Get 200,000 Land Hectares in
Kwara From Stephan Hofstter in Ilorin
Kwara State government has
allocated almost 200,000 hectares of prime agricultural land to Zimbabwean
commercial farmers wishing to relocate to Nigeria - almost twice as much as
they had bargained for.
"We will do anything in our power to make this
project a success," said Permanent Secretary of Lands and Housing, Mrs. Tayo
Alao. "It will enhance the status of our people, who will learn skills from
the Zimbabweans," she said.
She assured the farmers no Nigerian
villagers would lose their homes in the process, but conceded movement of
nomadic herders in the district would be curtailed.
delegation of Zimbabweans whose farms were seized under Robert Mugabe's land
redistribution programme arrived in Kwara state this week.
Bukola Saraki has been vigorously courting Zimbabwean farmers to kick-start
commercial agriculture in Nigeria since the dramatic success of their
compatriots in Zambia late last year.
About 100 Zimbabwean farmers
reportedly grew over 70 percent of Zambia's 2003 maize crop. On average
Nigeria spends $1.5 billion on rice and dairy imports a year, agriculture
officials said. An import ban due to fall on a range of agricultural products
will leave a lucrative gap in the market.
At a meeting with the farmers
in Kwara's capital Ilorin earlier this week Alao insisted local residents
would not be relocated. This apparently contradicts an earlier remark by the
state deputy surveyor-general Ezekiel Ajiboye that some villagers would be
resettled and compensated for land lost.
"But we have made it clear to
the Fulani nomads they must steer clear of the Zimbabwean farms," said
Last weekend clashes in Plateau State between Muslim Fulani cattle
herders and Christian Tarok farmers over land and cattle reportedly claimed
About 20 000 people live on land earmarked for a proposed
Zimbabwean sugar cane estate, village officials said. The estate comprises
about 10 percent of total land allocated.
Alao was responding to
concerns raised by the Zimbabweans their arrival would coincide with land
being seized from local peasants.
"We know what it feels like to be
kicked off farms," said Alan Jack, who led delegations sent by Zimbabwe's
Commercial Farmers Union. "If the same happens to the local [Nigerian]
population the project will fail because we will get a bad name, locally and
Other concerns included poor roads, lack of services
such as clinics and schools, and erratic electrical power provision and
"This is worse than the [Zimbabwean] Lowveld in "62
and worse than Zambia, where the farms were already marked out," said Allain
Faydherbe, who saw his sugar cane holdings shrink from 700 ha to 35 ha and
spent the weekend in jail under Mugabe's reforms. "It's virgin
But the farmers regarded the Nigerian invitation a golden
opportunity, despite the massive capital investment required.
irrigation consultant who accompanied the group said it would cost 30 farmers
a total of $80 million to irrigate 27 000 hectares of land.
million would have to be found for building and farming equipment
Governor Saraki returned yesterday from a trip to Brussels to
woo investors. The farmers will present financing proposals to the
governor later this
JAG Hotlines: (011) 612 595 If you are in trouble or need
advice, (011) 205 374 (011) 863 354 please don't hesitate to contact us
- (011) 431 068 we're here to help! 263
4 799 410 Office Lines
that the Quinnel Case is going to be heard in the Court this month. In real
terms this case is a test for Human Rights, Property Rights and The Rule of
Law in the country with The Honourable Patrick Anthony Chinamasa and The
Honourable Joseph Made and the Attorney General as respondents.
well be opportune to point out that any Zimbabwean citizens, with means, who
support these principles and are "worth their salt" might consider a putting
their names to the Test Case by contributing the equivalent of a loaf of
bread towards the costs - in fact just half a loaf, but with their names
attached. I challenge any condescending CFU Council members to make a stand
for what is right (rather than be part and parcel to a system of patronage)
at the eleventh hour. The subscription list might just be a great revelation
of "who is who," in the final post mortem of the game.
It has been reported that
the ECB Chairman of Corporate Affairs, and Marketing Committee Mr. Des Wilson
has resigned from the post and attacked the ICC over their managerial
Interestingly, Mr. Vince Hogg has got a completely different
perspective to Mr. Wilson. He is reported as saying that "Players would
face sanctions if they failed to go along with the arbitration
A much more interesting quote from Mr. Hogg is that "Grant
Flower is being disingenuous."
There are a number of questions that
Mr. Hogg and the world need to answer before they decide where the real
problem lies with the cricket in Zimbabwe.
*Who is the patron of Zimbabwe
*Who sanctioned the Fifth Brigade to go into
*Who sanctioned the actions of the Fifth
*Who sanctioned the actions of the late Hitler
*Who sanctioned the losing of about 300 000 jobs on the farms by
destroying commercial agriculture?
*Who is ultimately in charge of the
*Who is ultimately responsible for Andy Flower and Henry Olonga not
playing for Zimbabwe?
*Who really caused them to wear a black arm band
at the World Cup?
*Who does Mr. Chingoka report to?
*Who is the
most evil and feared man in Zimbabwe?
*Who sanctioned the killings of
Martin Olds, Charles Anderson, Alan Dunne, David Stevens, Terry Ford and
*Who is responsible for some six million people facing
starvation in Zimbabwe?
*Who is responsible for telling the UN office
that the Zimbabwean operation will now be wound up?
person has a right to answer these questions as they see fit. I humbly
suggest that Mr. Hogg takes a weekend away at Inyanga and gives it some
serious thought before he becomes judgmental about cricketers with a
When he looks in the mirror - does he think that he is being
completely honest with the person he sees - or is there a contract, or fear,
entailed and this makes it easier to blame the players instead.
could well prove that Mr. Hogg will be highly respected in cricket history if
he does what all honourable cricketers should do and WALKED rather than stand
around when everybody knows what is going on and implicating himself with the
letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions of the
submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice for
JAG Hotlines: (011) 612 595 If you are in trouble or need
advice, (011) 205 374 (011) 863 354 please don't hesitate to contact us
- (011) 431 068 we're here to help! 263
4 799 410 Office Lines
Herewith today's (Friday 7th May 2004) Listing of Section 8
Acquisitiion Orders published in the Herald under Lot No. 4 pertaining to 80
A futher listing of Section 5 Notices under Lot 144
pertaining to 128 properties appear in the same Edition and will be sent out
on Monday (9th May 2004).
Collection of Section 8 Orders for lodgement
of Section 5 Notice objection letters can be effected at the following
address which is not given in the Herald:
Block 2 Makombe
Complex cnr. Herbert Chitepo Street/Harare Street Harare See Mr.
ACQUISITION ACT (CHAPTER 20:10) Vesting of land, taking of materials
and exercise of rights over land
NOTICE is hereby given, in terms of
paragraph (iii) of subsection (1) of section 8 of the Land Acquisition Act
(Chapter 20:10), that the President has acquired compulsorily the land
described in the Schedule for resettlement purposes.
NKOMO, Minister of Special Affairs in the President's Office in Charge of
Lands, Land Reform and
4 SECTION 8 7TH MAY 2004
7.5.2004. 1. 2159/92. Alpine Farm P/L: Bindura:
The Ridge: 1329,3160 ha
7.5.2004. 2. 3644/97. Granta Estates P/L:
Bindura: Dochandoris: 706,2204 ha
7.5.2004. 3. 3710/2001. Kingsway
Community Church: Bindura: The Remainder of Claverhill: 391,3345
7.5.2004. 4. 11653/99. Mtuatua (Private) Limited: Darwin: Lot 1 of
Lot 1 of Mtorazeni: 1 025,4006 ha
7.5.2004. 5. 11654/99. Yoyo
Investments (Private) Limited: Darwin: Lot 1 of Mtorazeni: 1 530,1394
7.5.2004. 6. 4922/90. R Webb & Company (Private) Limited:
Darwin: Ashford: 1 627,2286 ha
7.5.2004. 7. 2897/85. Nteto Farms
(Pvt) Ltd: Darwin: Remainder of Nteto Park: 719,9868 ha
2896/82. R Wilson-Harris (Private) Limited: Darwin: Avalon: 1 348,1908
7.5.2004. 9. 3813/88. J N Sandys - Thomas (Private) Limited:
Lomagundi and Sipolilo: Conrise Farm Estate: 1 756,5228 ha
10. 6423/73. Williams James Claxton: Lomagundi: Farm C of Nidderdale:
7.5.2004. 11. 2695/92. G B K Farm Syndicate (Private)
Limited: Lomagundi: Makosa Estate: 602,4241 ha
1618/66. Tobacco Research Board of Southern Rhodesia: Lomagundi: Lot 1 of Red
Lands: 253,0196 acres
7.5.2004. 13. 6063/88. Elveden Estates (Private)
Limited: Lomagundi: Lot a of Bowden: 517,3369 ha
5158/85. A and A Farms (Private) Limited: Lomagundi: Lot 1 of Greenside: 1
My seven year old is excited this
morning. About half an hour ago, I drove right through the school parking lot
after we were turned away because the school, along with 45 other private
schools, was closed for raising fees without government permission. It meant
another day "in holiday paradise" for my seven year old. It meant anger for
You see, I was a teacher once. I taught French for eight years, two
of them in a government school and the remainder in a private school. We
loved our jobs, were dedicated in the classroom and on the sports field and
...were very poor. But it was bearable, we could buy clothes at Sales House
and pretend it was Edgars. We could even go on school tours out of the
country. It was bearable.
I left teaching a year after the birth of
this excited seven year old in August '98 to be more precise. I left because
I could not afford to buy a house on a private school head of department's
salary. I wanted my one year old to be able to kick a ball around in the
garden, so that one day he could turn out for Liverpool and perhaps captain
Zimbabwe at the world cup!
So then I became a parent, who understood the
meaning and importance of education both from a teacher's point of view and a
parental one. The Zimbabwean economy has not been bearable since the late
nineties. We have lost doctors, nurses, teachers and other professionals in
their thousands. First it was a trickle to Botswana and the private sector.
Now it is cyclone Eline into far lands. I remember Dicky Peters, headmaster
at CBC, where I taught and spend some of the most satisfying periods of my
career, I remember Dicky always being at pains not to simply raise school
fees, always at pains to remain true to the ethos of the school, always
raising fees reluctantly and I have no reason to believe that this position
has changed. I also remember an extremely dedicated parent body giving of
their time to fund-raise for capital expenditure. School fees were for
teachers' salaries. Schools, private schools are not profit seeking but
teachers have to be paid a living wage.
As a parent who is an
ex-teacher and who more importantly wants a quality education for his child,
I understand and believe that. I also mutter with friends by the water cooler
about the high cost of school fees but I do the same regarding taxes! I
understand why we pay tax, even if the benefits are not staring me in the
face. I have to put up with pot-holes, power and water cuts on a regular
basis! On the other hand everyday, I see the benefits of paying school fees
when my boy shows me his class and homework. I also see the future in these
activities. Is that not that which a parent lives for? The future well being
of their offspring? I also happen to sit on the PA because I understand as a
parent that I must support the school's fund-raising efforts for capex while
the fees go to attracting and retaining good quality teachers.
excuse me if I get a little bit miffed when the people who fail to manage my
taxes in a sustainable and professional manner, must now attempt to take away
the thing that I can help to professionally influence for the benefit of my
children! Come! Come! This is not on. What next, Cuban teachers?
not drown by falling into the water, you drown by staying there." Open the
schools and let our children prepare a future for a great Zimbabwe that will
help our nation regain an honourable place in the family
"Light a candle, instead of cursing the darkness."
Dear Family and Friends, One
week into the new school term my 11 year old son, along with 30
000 other Zimbabwean children was still sitting at home. His school was
one of 45 private schools that were not allowed to open this week under
orders from the Ministry of Education. It has been the week from hell
which began for me a little before 5pm on Monday the 3rd of May. My son's
friend is a border and I was to drop him at the school hostel late in the
afternoon. We arrived to find the hostel gates closed and children and
parents milling around outside in the gathering dusk. There were many
desperate faces and raised voices. A man came to the window of my car and
said "You are not allowed in, the school is closed." He handed me a letter
signed by the Headmistress which read:" Under direction from
the Minister of Education in Harare, the police have closed our school
down. We do not know when we will be allowed to open." It took some
persuading to get the man at the gate to let me in to collect a trunk,
bedding and tuck (sweets and food) which had been left at the school
earlier that day. The order to close the school had only been made late in
the afternoon, hours after many children had been dropped off by
I drove away in shock, my heart pounding, tears in my eyes.
This felt like that day in February 2000 when war veterans had come to our
farm gate and announced that this was now their farm. I had to stop the car
half way home, not to pull myself together but to tell my son and his
friend to stop raiding the sweets they had extricated from the school
trunk! By Wednesday the propaganda had reached hateful levels. Education
Minister Chigwedere said that he had closed "racist schools" which "throw
Africans out simply by hiking their fees". He did not say that the
enrolment of Zimbabwe's private schools is made up of 80% black children
or that virtually all Zimbabwe's government ministers and civil servants send
their children to private schools. He did not say that President Mugabe's own
children attend private schools in Zimbabwe. He did not say that school
fees have gone up because of hyper-inflation. As it is with everything in
Zimbabwe, clearly it was easier to not address the real issues and their
causes but to yet again play that ugly racist card.
On Wednesday the
Headmistress of my son's school was arrested, at night, from a prayer
group meeting and spent the night in a police cell. She heads a
small non-profit making Christian school which has only 7 white children in
its entire establishment. The school was still closed and two policemen
continued to patrol the road in front of the school's closed gates.
Driving past the Marondera Police Station my son and I saw our town's only
anaesthetist, who is also the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of
Richard's school, locked in an open holding cell in the police camp, he
too had been arrested. I was crying and my son's lip was quivering. "What
have my school done wrong Mum? Why don't they like us?" he asked, "It's
just like on the farm again. What are we going to do Mum?" I could not
answer any of his questions.
This scene was being played out across
Zimbabwe and as the Minister yelled "racism" the children became more and
more traumatized. All private schools were told that unless they signed a
"Certificate of Compliance" in which they agreed to a number of
regulations, including massively reduced school fees, they would be taken
over by the government and nationalized. This comes at a time when Zimbabwe's
inflation hovers at around 600%, electricity charges have gone up by 400%,
rates and water by 500% and in the same week as the price of a loaf of bread
went up by 50%.
The closure of Zimbabwe's private schools has nothing
whatsoever to do with the colour of our children's skins. It also has
nothing whatsoever to do with the school fees which are only increased if
a majority of the parent body agree to the rises, which they had done. The
closure of Zimbabwe's private schools has everything to do with red
herrings, smoke screens and politics. 30 000 children who can afford to go
to school were denied their basic human right to do so this week. Hundreds
of thousands of other children who cannot afford to go to either private
or government schools continue to play on our streets. Some used to go to
farm schools which ceased to exist when farms were taken over. Others used
to go to government schools but with inflation at 600%, food comes
before reading and writing. The private schools will re-open but on
unsustainable budgets and none of us know how long they will be able to
pay their bills or keep their teachers. Until next week, with love, cathy.
Copyright cathy buckle 8th May 2004. http://africantears.netfirms.com My
books on the Zimbabwean crisis, "African Tears" and "Beyond Tears"
are available outside Africa from: email@example.com
; www.africabookcentre.com ; www.amazon.co.uk ; in Australia and New
; Africa: www.kalahari.net www.exclusivebooks.com
Smouldering Streak out to grass as Zimbabwe's new crop burns
ZCU feud has
left former captain sad and angry, he tells Paul Kelso
Saturday May 8,
2004 The Guardian
Heath Streak spent yesterday on his father's farm
near Bulawayo, but his heart was 260 miles away in Harare. While he sat
waiting for developments in the feud between the Zimbabwe Cricket Union and
the 15 white players led by the former captain, the callow side chosen to
replace them was being put to the sword by Sri Lanka in the capital. For
Streak, arguably Zimbabwe's best ever player, watching the humiliation on
television was a unique torment. His dispute with the ZCU is, he says, about
principles so fundamental that he is willing to put his international career
on the line. Nevertheless it goes against the grain of a character who, in a
10-year career comprising 59 Tests and 183 one-day internationals, has
unflinchingly carried the attack to the opposition on his
As the spearhead of a usually overpowered attack,
often bowling in defence of paltry totals, his 202 Test wickets at a shade
over 23 ranks as the greatest unsung achievement in international cricket in
the past decade.
His importance to Zimbabwe was never more apparent than
in Australia this winter when, as captain, he carried his side almost
single-handedly through the most arduous of tours. In a chastening one-day
series against the hosts and India, the two most powerful sides in the world,
he was Zimbabwe's leading player with bat and ball. His one-day record for
2003-04 as a whole was his best ever, averaging 57 with the bat and taking 28
wickets at 21.
"It is sad that I'm not out there playing. I am bitterly
disappointed about that," he says. "I have always been committed to playing
cricket for my country and it is sad that they are putting these kids in the
firing line. It should not have come to this."
"This" is a dispute
which has split Zimbabwe cricket down the middle and shattered the fragile
multiracial balance of the sport in the troubled country. It began when
Streak, in a heated letter, raised concerns over the selection policy of an
increasingly reactionary ZCU. He claimed selectors were trying to speed
integration by fast-tracking white players out of the team, and protested at
the make-up of the selection panel, claiming it did not have sufficient
first-class cricket experience and some selectors had conflicts of
"I told the ZCU that if my concerns were not met then I would
consider my position," Streak says. "Instead the board accepted a resignation
I did not offer. I have a problem with that. I raised issues that needed
dealing with, and still need dealing with.
"This is not in the
interest of cricket and, much as I under stand that boards must be sovereign,
they have to understand that they would not be there without the players. The
board are office bearers for the game, but the most important people in the
game are the ones out there earning the money, out at the coal face doing the
Streak's dismissal led to a boycott by 15 other white players
and a welter of further allegations against the board, including racial
discrimination, bribery and political inteference. It is a situation which
clearly pains him deeply.
"All I have done is try to remain faithful
to my country," he says. "I could earn more money playing county cricket but
I choose to stay here and try and play Test cricket for
Streak has a 2-month contract with Warwickshire which he will
take up in June. The plan was that he would have just completed a home series
with Australia and would return home in time to face England.
It is an
irony, given his failure to join Andy Flower and Henry Olonga in their World
Cup protests, that with England likely to go ahead with the tour, Streak is
unlikely to face them. It is indicative of the pressure he faces at home that
hedeclines to publicly offer advice to players weighing up whether to
"I cannot tell them whether to come or not to come. My board
might say I had coerced them to stay away and I would find myself sued for
loss of income. They have to make their own decision based on the information
they have at hand. The safety and security aspect is not going to change, so
it comes down to each player's choice." Given a clear choice, there is no
doubt what Streak's would be.
Local Journalists Who Report for Foreign Media Outlets Threatened
Media Institute of Southern Africa
PRESS RELEASE May 7, 2004 Posted to the web May 7,
On 30 April 2004, Minister for Information and Publicity
Jonathan Moyo threatened to arrest Zimbabwean journalists who report for
foreign media outlets.
Addressing journalists at a press conference in
Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second largest city, Moyo said there is "enough space in
Zimbabwe's prisons for journalists caught dealing with foreign media houses."
He added that "after dealing with corrupt financial businesses, the
government would deal with the journalists."
Moyo said the media was
"the next enemy" that needed to be dealt with for allegedly being "terrorists
of the pen."
"President Mugabe has said our main enemy is the financial
sector, but the enemy is the media who use the pen to lie about this country.
Such reporters are terrorists and the position on how to deal with terrorists
is to subject them to the laws of Zimbabwe," Moyo added.
For further information, contact Zoe Titus or Kaitira
Kandjii, Regional Information Coordinator, MISA, Street Address: 21 Johann
Albrecht Street, Mailing Address; Private Bag 13386 Windhoek, Namibia,
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, Internet: http://www.misa.org/
Andrew Meldrum in
Pretoria Saturday May 8, 2004 The Guardian
Zimbabwe has closed the
country's private schools and arrested nine school heads, after the education
minister reportedly told a delegation of parents that the government was
going to take over the schools the way they seized white-owned farms. In
the wave of forced closures and arrests President Robert Mugabe's officials
have accused the schools of being racist.
"We are dealing with racist
schools. They are all former white schools - all racist," Aeneas Chigwedere,
the education minister, said on state television. "They throw Africans out
simply by hiking fees."
Members of Zimbawe's black elite and professional
classes have easily afforded the school fees. The private schools have
overwhelmingly black student bodies and many members of the school boards are
President Mugabe's own son, Robert Jr, and the children of many
cabinet ministers attend private schools.
The headmaster and two board
members of Hillcrest College in the eastern border city of Mutare were
arrested by police yesterday, according to school officials, making a total
of nine heads who have been taken into custody in the past two
Many heads have gone into hiding to avoid being jailed over the
weekend. Beatrice Mtetwa, a lawyer, is a board member of Harare's leading
Roman Catholic school, St George's College, where Robert Mugabe Jr is a
pupil. She confirmed that a committee of eight concerned parents went to see
Mr Chigwedere. "They reported back at a public meeting of parents that
the minister said that he will do to the schools what was done to white
farmers, and that ultimately the government will take these schools over as
Zanu-PF controls the courts."
Hartmann House, a Catholic primary
school for boys in Harare, reopened yesterday after being closed for four
days. The school, which Mr Mugabe's son attended, pressed a court case in
which the judge declared the closure illegal and ordered police to allow it
to reopen. Two other private schools were pressing similar court cases in
An estimated 30,000 students attend 45 private
The schools have raised fees by up to 75% since January because
of rampant inflation, currently running at 580%. The government says any
increase in fees above 10% is a crime.
The heads of the private
schools say they have repeatedly submitted written requests to raise fees,
supported by audited accounts. But the requests have received no response
from education officials, not even an acknowledgement.
frightening," said one parent. "Everyone, black and white, is furious. It's
ridiculous to call the schools racist. Most schools are overwhelmingly black
and the students mix together well."
Zimbabwe's government schools,
attended by the vast majority of students, are suffering a serious breakdown
as a result of the economic crisis. School enrolment has dropped by 60%
because parents cannot afford the fees, according to a survey by the
International Monetary Fund.
In recent years the Mugabe government has
allowed the country's once proud education system to decline. State schools
are in a critical condition with many having classes of more than 80 pupils
and severe shortages of teachers, textbooks, desks and classrooms.
government is awarding civil servants pay raises of 300%, said John Makumbe,
political science lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe. "So why can't
private schools put up their fees by 75%? This is a classic example of the
Mugabe government playing the race card and trying to use whites
as scapegoats for his failed policies.
"Government schools are in a
shambles so Mugabe is trying to put the blame on the private schools. It is
the same as seizing the farms and closing down the private press. But people
are not falling for his propaganda."
Nine Zimbabwe legislators underwent voluntary Aids tests today in a
landmark public bid to fight the stigma around an epidemic killing an
estimated 3 000 Zimbabweans every week. Legislators from President Robert
Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party and the main opposition Movement for Democratic
Change put aside political rivalry to visit a public counselling and testing
clinic, one of 18 centres offering the service.
"In the history of
Zimbabwe we've never had legislators come together, joined in action in the
fight against HIV/Aids," said Miriam Mhazo, the deputy director for HIV
service at Population Services International, which co-runs the programme.
Critics have accused Mugabe's government of failing to launch a high-profile
awareness campaign to tackle the epidemic in the country despite one of the
highest rates of HIV/Aids infection in the world.
Mhazo said only about
277 000 Zimbabweans, about five% of the adult population, have utilised the
public testing services since the government launched the programme in 1999,
largely due to the stigma attached to the disease. "To win the war against
HIV/Aids we need more (people tested) and this is why we applaud the action
of the members of parliament because it is going to motivate more people to
come forward for testing," Mhazo told journalists and Aids
The MPs, wearing white t-shirts printed with the words "We did
it on May 7 2004", kept up a flow of cheerful banter as they went through the
exercise but none revealed their status after the tests. Last August
Zimbabwe unveiled national HIV/Aids infection data that showed a lower
caseload for the disease than indicated by previous United Nations
David Parirenyatwa, the health minister, however, said more work
was needed to tell whether the estimate - that 1.82 million of Zimbabwe's 14
million people were infected with HIV in 2003 - represented a true drop from
United Nations Aids body UNAids figure of 2.3 million from
Health officials estimate that the disease kills an average of 3
000 Zimbabweans a week and hospital administrators say about 50% of
the country's hospital beds are occupied by people with
Aids-related conditions. - Reuters
'Scribbling the Cat': The
Infantryman By LAURA MILLER
Published: May 9, 2004
Fuller's first book was subtitled ''An African Childhood'' but it could have
been called ''A British Memoir of an African Childhood,'' so powerfully did
it recall the genre of which the Mitford sisters' writings are prime
examples. ''Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight'' featured many classic
elements -- the disorderly, impecunious household; the ''well-bred'' and
oppressively eccentric parents; lots of booze, lots of dogs and lots and lots
of tea -- all rendered with the dry tang of a gin and tonic. Tonic with extra
quinine, that is, since ''Dogs'' juiced up the old formula by transplanting
it to a perilous setting, plagued with civil war, poisonous reptiles and
tropical diseases. This gave Fuller the ideal vehicle both to celebrate her
family's dotty, stiff-upper-lip gallantry and to portray the casual racism of
the white Rhodesian milieu in which she was raised.
Following up a
successful memoir of childhood is never easy; those who try often seem to be
scrounging for material. Fuller has decided to attack the task by chasing
down the grimmest aspect of ''Dogs,'' the role of her family and their
friends in the brutal effort to put down black insurgents fighting for
control of the former British colony. Fuller, who learned to clean and load
an FN rifle when she was still too small to shoot it without being knocked
over backward, grew up watching her farmer father head off with police
reservists to hunt guerrilla fighters in the bush. She wore T-shirts with
jingoistic slogans and was taught at school to pray for victory.
Those prayers went unanswered, and Rhodesia became Zimbabwe in 1980 under
Prime Minister Robert Mugabe.
''Scribbling the Cat'' begins with
Fuller, who currently lives in Wyoming with her American husband and two
kids, on a visit to the Sole Valley in Zambia, where her parents now run a
fish and banana farm. The Rhodesian war and its legacy gnaw at her, but her
father won't talk about it much: ''Scared to death. Bored to death'' pretty
much sums up his take on the experience, and he dodges her questions about
having any regrets. Not so K, an otherwise unnamed banana farmer who lives
nearby. He is a veteran of the Rhodesian Light Infantry, an all-white unit
with a reputation for lethality. He fought for five years against rebel
forces across the border in Mozambique, and when he first meets Fuller he
admits to having done terrible things in the war, weeping freely in front of
her. ''It's not hard to find an old soldier in Africa,'' Fuller remarks.
''What is harder to find are old soldiers who will talk about their war with
K is a remarkable man, well worth a book, but soon after
introducing him the winningly blunt narrator of ''Don't Let's Go to the Dogs
Tonight'' becomes disingenuous. She sets up K's character as a mystery
requiring an ''answer'' and herself as so possessed by the riddle that she
proposes a road trip through land-mine-studded Mozambique in search of the
origins of K's ''spooks.'' But K could hardly be more transparent. He readily
tells Fuller about his hard-luck childhood (his mother had polio), a
harrowing stint at boarding school (where he was raped), his episodes of
berserker-style rage, his nightmares about the war, his failed marriage (she
cheated on him with his best friend), the death of his 5-year-old son from
meningitis, his conversion to born-again Christianity and his conviction that
God killed his child to punish him for the deaths he has caused -- all before
they hit the road. His darkest wartime secret, that he tortured a young
African woman into revealing the location of an enemy ambush, Fuller hears
about even before they reach Mozambique.
What this contrived quest
does provide is a narrative line for Fuller's book, that old chestnut of the
physical journey that mirrors an inner one. But it's Fuller's soul that needs
searching, not K's. K doesn't deny or repress his memories of the war; he
wrestles with them every day, and he doesn't have to go to Mozambique to do
it. He agrees to the trip because he's smitten with Fuller, although he knows
she's married and, even worse, an unbeliever. As for the horror of war, what
K -- and, later, some of his former comrades -- has to tell Fuller is,
unsurprisingly, just what soldiers have been telling noncombatants for some
time now: that the dehumanization of the enemy that makes organized killing
possible eventually dehumanizes the killers; that the longer a conflict goes
on, the greater the drift toward atrocity; that soldiers carry terrible
psychic scars resulting from what they've witnessed, suffered and
''I own this now,'' Fuller writes after hearing of K's worst sins.
''This was my war too. I had been a small, smug white girl shouting, 'We are
all Rhodesians and we'll fight through thickanthin.' '' As confessions
of culpability go, this one is fairly abstract. Who really blames
little children for believing whatever their parents tell them, however vile?
When it comes to less grandiose and more personal transgressions --
say, exploiting the emotional vulnerability of a lonely man desperately
trying to overcome a past of violence and hatred to build a decent life --
she refrains from self-examination. Though Fuller describes K in the
fetishistic language of romance novels (he is ''beautiful, but in a careless,
superior way, like a dominant lion,'' with lips that are ''full and
sensual, suggesting a man of quick, intense emotion''), she avoids discussing
whether or how her attraction might have affected the book or her
''Dogs'' benefited from Fuller's refusal to sentimentalize or
explain much of her chaotic childhood, but with ''Scribbling the Cat'' that
reticence has become a fault. Fuller telegraphs her disapproval of K's values
and politics, without laying her own open to scrutiny. She doesn't seem
to respect his faith despite the obvious good it has done him. She
accuses herself of indulging in a reckless curiosity (''scribble'' is African
slang for ''kill''), but she's strikingly incurious about any questions that
might really challenge her settled view of herself. However wild the trip,
she winds up more or less where she started.
writes the Last Word column for the Book Review and is a staff writer for