Thu 10 November 2005
HARARE - Police yesterday arrested six student leaders at the restive
University of Zimbabwe (UZ) while union leaders arrested on Tuesday for
organising street protests remained in detention as President Robert Mugabe
resorted to iron-fist tactics to crush swelling public discontent.
Armed police swooped on the UZ campus in the afternoon, grabbed
student leaders they found addressing students about hardships at the
campus, beat up some of the leaders before taking them away for detention.
The arrested student leaders are Zimbabwe National Students Union
president Washington Katema, UZ Students Executive Council president,
Hentchel Mavuma and four others: Collen Chibango, Garikayi Kajawo, Mfundo
Mlilo, Wellington Mahohoma and Tawanda Chitekwe.
The student leaders, who have not been charged, were still in police
cells by late last night as Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi warned that
their arrest and detention should save as an example to Zimbabweans that the
government would crush any illegal protests.
Mohadi said: "Yes I can confirm that there were some people who were
arrested for trying to stage an unlawful demonstration. They broke the law
and they were picked up by the police. The government will continue to
arrest those who willfully break the law."
Under the government's draconian Public Order and Security Act (POSA),
Zimbabweans must first seek permission from the police before they can
gather in groups of three or more to hold public meetings or demonstrations.
The police have used the controversial law to clamp down on the main
opposition Movement for Democratic Change party and civic society groups by
banning several of their meetings.
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions president Lovemore Matombo, the
union's secretary general Wellington Chibhebhe and about 200 workers were on
Tuesday arrested under the POSA for organising public marches in Harare and
other major cities to protest against Zimbabwe's worsening economic
The union leaders and the workers have not been charged yet but were
still locked up in cells in Harare and the neighboring dormitory Chitungwiza
Also detained by the police is the chairman of the National
Constitutional Assembly (NCA) civic alliance, Lovemore Madhuku, after his
group last Saturday organised demonstrations across the country to demand a
new and democratic constitution for Zimbabwe.
The demonstrations by the NCA, which groups together churches, labour
unions, students' groups, women and civic rights groups, were also to
protest against a senate election at the month-end.
In a long list of detainees, the police are also holding the MDC mayor
of Chitungwiza, Misheck Shoko, who was arrested on Tuesday. Shoko has
frequently clashed with Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo after the
mayor resisted attempts by the government to wrestle control of Zimbabwe's
third largest urban centre.
But indications were that the police might want to charge Shoko with
corruption related to Z$2.2 billion provided by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
to the city which Chombo claims was misused. Shoko denies misusing the
The student leaders arrested yesterday were planning to march to the
Ministry of Education offices in central Harare to present a petition to the
Education Minister urging him to act to improve fast deteriorating learning
and living conditions at the run-down UZ Campus.
Likewise, the ZCTU leaders and workers arrested earlier in the week
were also marching to the Ministries of Labour and Finance to present
petitions, warning the government workers were "hungry and angry" after six
years of an uninterrupted economic recession.
In a statement issued after the arrest of the student leaders, the
Student Solidarity Trust said: "These unwarranted arrests and the scale at
which protests and arrests have both been taking place are a sure sign of a
state in decay, where citizens are finding it hard to get by, and when they
say it, they are brutalised for saying so."
The six year economic crisis - which critics blame on mismanagement
and corrupt rule by Mugabe - has seen inflation shooting to beyond 300
percent while food, fuel, electricity, essential medical drugs and nearly
every other basic survival commodity is in critical short supply because
there is no hard cash to pay foreign suppliers.
An estimated quarter of the 12 million Zimbabweans face starvation
unless more than one million tonnes of food aid are urgently provided
between now and the next harvest around March/April 2006.
Mugabe, the only ruler Zimbabweans have ever known since independence
from Britain 25 years ago, denies ruining the country's economy and instead
blames the economic crisis on sabotage by Western governments he says are
out to punish him for seizing land from whites and giving it over to
landless blacks. - ZimOnline
Thu 10 November 2005
KAROI - The Zimbabwe government has evicted the 18 last remaining
white farmers in the prime farming district of Karoi but President Robert
Mugabe's friend, Billy Rautenbach, has been allowed to keep his farm in the
area that lies 203km north-west of Harare.
The farmers had survived the government's chaotic and violent farm
seizure programme over the past five years but were in the last week
ordered to leave their farms for new black owners, most of them senior
officials of Mugabe's government and ruling ZANU PF party who already own
several farms seized from whites.
The governor of Mashonaland West province (under which Karoi falls),
Nelson Samkange, confirmed the evictions, telling ZimOnline that the white
farmers had been ordered to leave and pave way for blacks who were just as
"It is true that they have been given notification letters so that
they move out but who told you that we (blacks) are not capable of farming
to feed the nation?" said Samkange.
Samkange would not say what criteria had been used to allow Rautenbach
to keep his farm while other white farmers in the area were being evicted.
The controversial Rautenbach, who is wanted in South Africa to answer
to some criminal charges, is said to be a personal friend of Mugabe.
The latest farm seizures that come just as the main planting period is
getting underway after the country received its first substantial rains
about a week ago, flies in the face of assurances two weeks ago by Mugabe's
first Vice-President, Joseph Msika, that the government was not out to
chase away all white farmers.
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor and Mugabe's economics point man,
Gideon Gono, has also publicly stated that Harare wanted to retain some of
the white farmers to help revive the mainstay agricultural sector which is
in a state of near total collapse after the farm seizures which began five
But on the ground the government appears determined to drive away all
remaining white farmers with close to a hundred evicted across the country
in the last three months.
One of the Karoi farmers ordered off his property, Ben Tamblach, said:
"I was shocked because Vice President Msika and Gono have since denounced
new (farm) invasions but unfortunately I have found no joy from the Minister
of State Security Didymus Mutasa who is said to be out of office for the
three days I have been to Harare."
Mutasa, who oversees land reforms and food aid distribution, is one of
the government hardliners over the land issue. He was about three months ago
quoted by the local media as having said white farmers were filthy and
should all be removed from the land.
Tamblach said a former chief executive officer of a government-owned
agro-bank was eyeing his farm and had deployed about 15 self-styled
veterans of Zimbabwe's 1970s war of independence to chase him away from the
The farmer said he had 50 hectares of potatoes at the flowering stage
and had prepared 200 hectares of maize while another 100 hectares of winter
wheat had already been harvested.
Zimbabwe has grappled severe food shortages since the government began
its farm seizure programme in 2000. While erratic rains have contributed to
the shortages, agricultural experts say farm seizures are largely to blame
for falling food production which has tumbled by about 60 percent over the
past five years.
An estimated quarter of the 12 million Zimbabweans face starvation
unless more than one million tonnes of food aid are urgently provided
between now and the next harvest expected around March/April 2006. -
Thu 10 November 2005
NKAYI - Thousands of villagers in the dry Nkayi district about 200km
north of Zimbabwe's second biggest city of Bulawayo are surviving on wild
fruits as hunger deepens across the country.
The villagers told a ZimOnline news crew that toured the area
yesterday that they were now surviving on wild fruits after running out of
their staple maize-meal.
"We are now surviving on umkhemeswane/matamba (an indigenous wild
fruit), and what we do is that we crush it open then eat this brown stuff
inside. It's very delicious, but you can't survive on it forever. We need
grain and maize-meal," said one of the villagers, Sibangani Dube.
Another villager, who only identified himself only as Nsingo, added:
"We are basically surviving by the grace of God. Imagine eating wild berries
for a week and yet you still manage to go on, it's amazing."
Zimbabwe is facing severe food shortages largely blamed on President
Robert Mugabe's disruption of the key agricultural sector after he seized
large white-owned farms for redistribution to landless blacks five years
The chaotic and often violent farm seizures, knocked food production
by about 60 percent to leave once food self sufficient Zimbabwe dependent on
food handouts from international aid agencies.
But Mugabe insists the food shortages are mainly a result of drought,
rather than the land seizures, which he argues were necessary to correct
colonial land ownership imbalances.
The Zimbabwean leader last year barred aid agencies from distributing
food saying the country had harvested enough to feed itself.
International aid groups say at least four million of Zimbabwe's 12
million people may need food help this year or they will starve. - ZimOnline
Published: Thursday, November 10, 2005
By Caitlin Pike
Freelance cameraman Cyrus V Nhara and camerawoman "Sara" were named as the
winners of this year's Sony Impact Award at the annual Rory Peck Awards on
They won for their film Zimbabwe: Forced Evictions, which was the first
footage of the slum clearances to reach the international community.
Sara has chosen to remain anonymous to protect both her safety and ongoing
efforts to broadcast images around the world from Zimbabwe.
Their footage, which was broadcast by ITN in June, captured the devastation
caused by Zimbabwe's controversial slum clearance policy.
The Sony Impact Award recognises humanitarian footage shot by a freelance
that has had an impact worldwide and contains images that have changed
perception or policy.
Alexander Lomakin, the first cameraman to film the aftermath of the Beslan
school massacre, won the Rory Peck hard news award for his film Beslan
Ruhi Hamid's film about the Asian tsunami, At the Epicentre, Proposal by
journalists and politicians to film in main committee corridor is denied by
House of Commons claimed the features award.
The two films portray different perspectives of the risks facing freelancers
from natural and man-made events.
Lomakin said: "We were not prepared for the events of 3 September, but in
the chaos I managed to do a bit more, a bit quicker than colleagues from
other companies, thanks to the support I received from my team on the
Hamid's film tells the story of the 7,000 survivors of the Indonesian
village of Lampuuk, which was flattened by last year's tsunami. Judges'
comments included: "At first I thought this was a big production with a huge
crew and a director on board, but she did it all herself, which is
This year's Freelances' Choice Award was presented to print journalist
Fatima Tlisova for her continuous bravery, commitment to the story and
efforts to help fellow journalists.
The Rory Peck Awards are the major fundraising event for the Rory Peck
Trust, which this year celebrates its 10th anniversary. The trust was
established in memory of Rory Peck, who was killed on assignment in Moscow
The Times November 10, 2005
By Jan Raath
a.. The American Ambassador to Zimbabwe returned to Washington
for "consultations" yesterday after President Mugabe's Government threatened
to expel him.
Diplomatic sources said that the high-level consultations "may
be followed by important changes" in US relations with Zimbabwe.
Christopher Dell flew home after Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, the
Foreign Minister of Zimbabwe, accused him of inciting revolt in a speech
last week that blamed Zimbabwe's present crisis on the Government's
mismanagement and corruption.
Mr Dell said that since 2000 the purchasing power of Zimbabweans
had collapsed to what it had been in 1953 and that the country's human
indicators of development, once the envy of sub-Saharan Africa, were now the
lowest in the world.
"I know of no other example in the world of any economy that, in
times of peace, has contracted so precipitously in the course of six years,"
His remarks were reviled in the state-controlled press, and Mr
Mugabe said that the ambassador could "go to hell".
By Zvamaida Murwira
THE dissolved National Railways of Zimbabwe board has denied allegations of
incompetence, inefficiency and lack of transparency levelled against it last
week by the Minister of Transport and Communications, Mr Christopher
Mushowe, when he fired them.
However, Mr Mushowe stood his ground yesterday, saying the board had failed
to perform to expectations and deserved to be fired.
Announcing the dissolution of the board last week, Mr Mushowe cited the
board's failure to implement turnaround strategies approved by the Cabinet,
failing to recover debts and collect rents on properties and bickering over
"If they are aggrieved by the decision to fire them they should come to me
or go to the courts for recourse and not to the media because what I did is
provided for by the relevant statutes. I am the one who appointed the board
and if I am not satisfied with it I am empowered by the National Railways of
Zimbabwe Act to dissolve it." said Mr Mushowe yesterday.
Responding to allegations by the minister, former board chairman Mr Samuel
Geza said in a statement his board could not implement the turnaround
document approved by Cabinet because the ministry had instructed them in
July 2005 to suspend implementation.
This, Mr Geza said, followed lobbying by some members of the NRZ management
and some unionists who did not hide their hostility to the turnaround plan.
Further, said Mr Geza, full implementation of the turnaround plan was not
feasible, due to lack of funds, since the turnaround document had not been
submitted to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe for consideration under the
Productive Sector Facility.
The turnaround document approved by Cabinet in May 2005 proposed the
unbundling of the parastatal into four strategic business units: freight and
equipment, passenger services, infrastructure and road motor services.
Mr Geza said the central bank was supposed to release $20 billion (later
raised to $1 trillion) to fund the recapitalisation of the NRZ from its
concessionary rate facilities.
"As things were, the board's hands were tied in carrying out the full
implementation of the turnaround despite the fact that NRZ at that time had
only 13 fully powered locomotives out of a fleet of 175."
NRZ, however, received $69,05 billion from the central bank under the
Parastatals and Local Authorities Reorientation Programme.
Mr Geza also maintained that the minister did not respond to the board's
requests to appoint a substantive general manager following the departure of
Mr Munesu Munodawafa.
"On this issue the minister had prevented the board from inviting
applications to fill the post left vacant in June 2005 by the previous
general manager, arguing that he had to clear the matter with his principals
He goes on to say: "The acting general manager could have never been an
agent of change given the pressures from his peers."
Turning to the Chitungwiza rail link, Mr Geza said the minister took it away
from local empowerment groups and gave it to NRZ to implement - but without
making the necessary funds available.
"The empowerment groups had financial commitments from the local banking
funds would be released as soon as a BOOT (Build, Own, Operate and Transfer)
agreement was signed between the ministry and the empowerment groups and a
Government guarantee was obtained," he said.
"This project should have been executed in 2004 with the NRZ being
subcontracted to carry out the construction of the line and other civil
works, running and managing the initial operations as well as carrying out
the necessary maintenance work on equipment and infrastructure."
BOOT is a concession to construct a facility, own and use it for a period of
time before transferring it.
To give that project to NRZ implied Treasury would raise the capital and
operating budgets, meeting the deficits and yet the Government was fully
stretched, he said.
"Yet the empowerment groups had come up with a model that generates
surpluses from an economic corridor linked to the line to subsidise the
losses incurred by the commuter rail services. At this rate, the residents
of Chitungwiza may not see the advent of commuter rail services for a very
long time," he said.
Mr Geza denied allegations of failing to collect rents, saying that was done
by estate agents who were paid on commission for their services.
"With neighbouring railway administrations NRZ has longstanding agreements
where reconciliations of monies owed to each other are done on a quarterly
basis through current accounts. Settlements are then made by way of payments
to those owed by those owing the others," he said.
"However, NRZ has had a dispute with Spoornet of South Africa on some items
of reconciliation going back to 2003 which still have to be finalised with
the help of the two central banks of Zimbabwe and South Africa."
Mr Geza said Spoornet, which owed NRZ more than R10 million, was insisting
on paying in local currency, which the parastatal was opposed to.
The other members of the dismissed board were vice-chairman Mr James
Maphosa, Dr Ruth Labode, Mrs Martha Rukuni and Mr Aaron Munzava.
The minister said a new board would be announced soon.
In firing the board, Mr Mushowe announced the appointment of Air Commodore
Tichafa Karakadzai as the new general manager, replacing Mr Munodawafa who
has been assigned to another post in Government.
www.chinaview.cn 2005-11-10 05:31:55
HARARE, Nov. 9 (Xinhuanet) -- National Constitutional Assembly
Chairman of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change Lovemore
Madhuku and Chitungwiza Mayor Misheck Shoko have been arrested for inciting
public violence, police said Wednesday.
"They are in police custody for inciting public violence. They
were arrested separately. Inciting public violence falls under the Public
Order and Security Act as well as under Common law," Zimbabwe Police
national spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena said.
The spokesperson added that on two separate occasions during the
first week of this month, Madhuku made utterances deemed to betantamount to
inciting public violence and calling for the removal of President Robert
Mugabe from office.
"The first incident led to a demonstration on Saturday that
resulted in the bombing of a police post and the injury of a policeman," he
Turning to the mayor of Chitungwiza, Bvudzijena said Shoko called
for the violent removal of the government on November 6, 2005.
On that date, the government announced that it had appointed
Chitungwiza District Administrator Godfrey Tanyanyiwa to monitor the
operations of council, with the mayor still required to carry on reporting
"Shoko made the utterances at a creche in Chitungwiza. It was at a
meeting attended by adults," said Bvudzijena.
The arrest of Shoko comes a week after ruling party supporters for
two days running barred him from entering council premises on allegations
that he was responsible for the poor service delivery system in the town.
As a result, the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and
Urban Development, Ignatius Chombo appointed Tanyanyiwa as a measure to halt
the collapse in the service delivery system of thetown. Enditem
POLICE have been put on high alert to crush any political violence that
could arise ahead of the forthcoming Senate elections on November 26,
Commissioner Augustine Chihuri has said.
He said although they were happy with their preparations so far in pursuit
of a peaceful election, the police would not tolerate any form of violence
from any quarter.
Comm Chihuri said political violence would not be brooked, adding that the
Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) had already put in place measures and
strategies to guarantee security for all the people before, during and after
He reassured contesting political parties and individuals of their security
in the elections, saying they should not fear to campaign within the
respective constituencies they are standing in.
If they received any threats of violence or intimidation, Comm Chihuri said
they should immediately report at any nearest police station and necessary
measures would be taken.
"Senate elections are only two weeks away. . . (I) take this opportunity to
reassure the nation that everyone's peace and security will be ensured
before, during and after the elections. Political violence will be dealt
with immediately and decisively without fear or favour.
"The message of zero tolerance to political violence propagated during the
March (parliamentary) elections remains relevant and should be disseminated
to all and sundry."
Comm Chihuri said it had always been his organisation's position and desire
that all elections should be held in a peaceful environment.
"To meet this goal, the ZRP has put in place a number of measures and
strategies to guarantee security for all.
"Our preparations as ZRP started with the establishment of the (Senate)
Elections Committee which is headed by Senior Assistant Commissioner Nonkosi
Makhosana Ncube, who is presently the officer commanding police in
Mashonaland Central Province," he said.
Comm Chihuri said the committee had visited provinces, addressing officers
on the expectations of both the organisation and the nation that each
individual member should fulfil during the forthcoming elections.
He expressed satisfaction that the visits had adequately prepared the police
officers for any eventuality during the polls.
He said the other mandate of the committee would be to effectively steer and
co-ordinate all police activities related to peace and orderliness during
He said a comprehensive national operational plan that would guide
provincial commanders on the duties of the police before, during and after
the elections, was already in place.
He reminded political parties and contesting candidates to abide by the law
during their campaign period.
The Electoral Act specifies acts deemed improper in the conduct of elections
as undue influence, and illegal transportation of voters. It further
prohibits certain activities in the vicinity of polling stations such as
canvassing for votes and distribution of leaflets and pamphlets, obstructing
voters and wearing party regalia during the voting period.
Comm Chihuri said police officers were conversant with these regulations and
would act accordingly whenever breaches occurred.
November 10, 2005
by The Editor
The Zimbabwe government should feel more concerned about deteriorating
conditions and attitudes within its own borders than with the remarks made
by a foreign ambassador to a gathering of students.
United States Ambassador Christopher Dell had the audacity to say that
gross government mismanagement had contributed more to wrecking Zimbabwe's
once prosperous economy than the drought and limited sanctions that
President Robert Mugabe often blames.
As a result of this the Zimbabwe Foreign Ministry yesterday summoned
Dell to protest about the speech. He was handed a diplomatic note and is
flying to Washington "for consultations" following Zimbabwe government hints
that he might be expelled.
Dell's views, unpleasant and possibly undiplomatic as they may be to
the ears of Mugabe's cabinet, are hardly likely to stir revolution among the
populace, as averred.
Far more serious is the lack of freedom of speech which led to this
week's arrests of scores of trade unionists. Zimbabwe police yesterday
charged more than 120 people for staging protests to demand better living
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) had called protests in
six cities and towns to highlight the plight of Zimbabwe's workers, who are
struggling with low wages, high inflation and shortages of fuel and
Their demonstrations were also intended to draw attention to the
flooding of the local market with cheap Chinese imports which have been
blamed for the closure of dozens of small businesses.
However, the marches were broken up by heavily armed riot police on
the contested grounds that the necessary authorisations had not been
obtained and were a threat to public order. Such heavy handed responses are
likely to do more harm to the Mugabe government than the mere expression of
a foreign envoy's views.
Updated November 9, 2005
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