By Michael Wines The New York Times
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 2005
BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe has one word
for reports that Operation Drive Out Trash, an urban-demolition campaign
aimed at slum dwellers that his government describes as a civic
beautification program, has rendered thousands of his impoverished citizens
"Nonsense," he told ABC News in an interview broadcast in the United
States on Nov. 3. "Thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands.
Where are the thousands? You go there now and see whether those thousands
are there. Where are they? A figment of their imagination."
Perhaps Mugabe has not been to Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second-largest
Just five kilometers, or three miles, west of the center of Bulawayo,
Robson Tembo and his wife, Ticole, live in the open air in a small pen, 3.5
meters by 3.5 meters, or 12 feet by 12 feet, built of deadwood and scrap.
Rows of plastic grocery sacks hold the collected assets of their 72 years.
Eight kilometers north, Nokuthula Dube, 22, her two daughters and two
orphaned relatives are squatting in an unfinished two-room house of cinder
blocks. During a reporter's recent visit, an unidentified woman lay curled
up on the concrete floor of the house's only closet, sleeping.
On the other side of town, Gertrude Moyo, 28, lives with her four
children and seven other families in tents, pitched in the bush.
More than simple homelessness binds the three families. Until a few
months ago, they all lived in Killarney, a shantytown that had housed
Bulawayo's less fortunate citizens since the early 1980s.
Today, Killarney is a moonscape of sunbaked dirt, scrub and burned-out
rubble. Last May and June, police officers reduced its huts to wreckage,
burned the remains and routed the area's more than 800 residents as part of
Operation Drive Out Trash.
"They had iron bars as long as this," Robson Tembo said of the police,
stretching his arms wide. "They demolished part of every hut, and then they
told us to destroy the rest."
He said he refused, and so the police finished the job, leveling his
two-room home built of wooden poles and metal walls.
More than five months after the demolitions began, Zimbabwe's
government continues to insist that the destruction of 133,000 households,
by its own count, was a long-overdue slum-clearance effort that has caused
its citizens only temporary inconvenience.
The government contends that the vast bulk of those made homeless have
been relocated to the rural villages where they lived before migrating to
the cities, mostly to look for work. Others, it says, will be placed in
thousands of new homes being built to replace the illegal huts that have
Mugabe has rejected the United Nations's attempt to raise $30 million
to aid the victims of Operation Drive Out Trash on the ground that Zimbabwe
has no crisis. Despite a public appeal by the UN secretary general, Kofi
Annan, on Oct. 31, the government has rejected any assistance that implies
that its evicted citizens are in distress.
Yet many are in great distress. Relying on the estimates of Zimbabwe's
government, the United Nations says 700,000 persons were displaced by the
May and June demolitions and a later campaign, Operation Going Forward, No
Turning Back, in which police officers routed those who tried to return to
the cities and rebuild.
An August survey of more than 23,000 Zimbabwe households by the South
Africa-based advocacy group ActionAid International places the number of
those made homeless as high as 1.2 million - more than 1 in 10 Zimbabweans.
Where many have gone is a mystery. The government carted thousands to
holding camps that were later disbanded, and transported thousands more by
trucks into the countryside and left them there, ostensibly near their rural
homes. Those people are registered with local officials, but almost
certainly, they are but a fraction of the total.
So where are the homeless?
"This remains what I'd call an invisible humanitarian crisis -
invisible to international eyes, the reason being that those who were
displaced have been dispersed," said David Mwaniki, who oversees ActionAid's
work in Zimbabwe.
Many are probably with relatives; a few have fled the country.
Others are in the bush, surviving off the kindness of neighbors. Many
more have vanished into hovels, tents or half-built houses.
The United Nations says 32,000 of Bulawayo's 675,000 residents lost
their homes and were ordered to leave the city during the demolition
campaign; city officials put the number at 45,000. Torden Moyo, who directs
an alliance of local civic groups called Bulawayo Agenda, says there is no
doubt where they have gone.
"Ninety-five percent are now back," he said. "They're still
struggling, still homeless, still penniless, still shelterless. They've been
made refugees in their own country."
Killarney is proof of that. Before the demolitions, it was dirt-poor
but thriving, subdivided into three villages with stores and services. All
that has been razed and burned. Northeast of town, not far off the road to
Bulawayo's airport, 10 stunted cornstalks and some greens grow in a
makeshift plot outside the unfinished house where Dube and her family are
staying, but the five of them live on donated cornmeal from a nearby church.
Dube returned from her niece's school in June to find her home in
Killarney's Village One wrecked and on fire. Homeless and pregnant, she lost
her housecleaning job in a nearby suburb. Her husband, Nomen Moyo, had to
move away to keep his job as a gardener. Dube said she and the children
walked for a week, sleeping by the road, before finding the shell where they
In September, Dube had a daughter, Mtokhozisi. She left her 3-year-old
daughter, Nomathembe, and the two orphans, 10-year-old Pentronella and
14-year-old Kevin, alone while she gave birth in a local hospital. She
walked home from the hospital with her newborn.
"I left in the morning," she said, "and arrived around 3."
A few weeks ago, a man appeared.
"He wants us to leave," she said. "He's claiming that this is his
Asked where they would go, she said, "Only God knows."
Across town, Moyo, who lived in Killarney for 23 years before being
driven out on June 11, lives in a three-meter by five-meter tent with her
four children. Her husband died a year ago. She said the police first took
the family to a transit camp for the homeless, then to the tent. Moyo said
she was told to wait for a new home.
The government is building a row of houses next to her tent, and says
they are for those who lost their homes in the demolitions. But Moyo said
the police had told her that her family was going not to a new home, but to
a plot of farmland north of town.
Mon 14 November 2005
BULAWAYO - Zimbabwean main opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) party leader Morgan Tsvangirai on Sunday accused his vice-president
Gibson Sibanda and other top MDC leaders of having been bribed by the
government to destabilise the six-year old party.
In a sign of widening and clearly irreconcilable differences in the
opposition party, Tsvangirai also announced the expulsion of 26 MDC members
contesting the November 26 senate election in open defiance of his call to
boycott the poll.
Addressing a rally to drum grassroots support for his anti-senate
campaign in Zimbabwe's second largest city of Bulawayo, Tsvangirai said: "I
find it sad that Gibson Sibanda, a close associate of mine for over 20
years, chose to rebel against me. But it is not surprising because we know
that his faction was bribed to destabilise the MDC by ZANU PF (President
Robert Mugabe's ruling party)."
Tsvangirai, who only last week told foreign diplomats in Harare that
efforts were underway to unite his divided party, told the meeting: "All
those who defied the directive (to boycott election) are no longer members
of the party.
"That's a simple issue, but it is our hope that Sibanda and his group
will finally see reason and part ways with ZANU PF. We sincerely hope that
they will come back and be part of us."
The rally was attended by about 3 000 people, a far cry from the
multitudes that Tsvangirai used to address in Bulawayo before divisions in
MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi - among other top leaders who have
revolted against Tsvangirai, immediately shot back at his party leader,
accusing him of being an dictator whom Zimbabweans should not be burdened
with as their president.
Nyathi, who also said Tsvangirai's expulsion of the 26 MDC senate
candidates was unconstitutional and void, said: "I think it is becoming
clear to many people that Tsvangirai is not fit to lead this country,
everybody is left with no doubt whatsoever that Zimbabwe is one country
which should not be burdened with this man as its president."
He added: "The purported expulsion of those who stand as senators
(candidates for the senate) is null and void, that is vintage Tsvangirai,
breaking the constitution yet again, breaking the procedures within the
The MDC, which until now had appeared Zimbabweans' only alternative to
Mugabe's government, has virtually split into two rival factions after
disagreeing over whether to contest the election to create a senate that
critics - including both factions of the opposition party - agree will only
be there to extend Mugabe's patronage network.
Tsvangirai rejected a narrow vote last month by the MDC's national
council - its most powerful decision-making body outside congress - for the
party to contest the election.
In rejecting the vote, Tsvangirai said the MDC could not waste time
contesting an election that was certain to be rigged by Mugabe and ZANU PF.
He said it would be hypocritical for the MDC to join the senate when the
party had vehemently opposed a controversial constitutional amendment
providing for the creation of an upper house that was forced through
Parliament by ZANU PF.
The MDC leader, who insists the party wants what he calls a
people-driven and wholesale constitutional reform process to deliver a new
and democratic constitution for Zimbabwe, also says the senate is a waste of
resources for a country that should be focusing its efforts on fighting
hunger threatening a quarter of its 12 million people.
But a faction of the opposition party led by secretary general
Welshman Ncube - although Sibanda has been publicly shown as the leader of
this faction - strongly opposed Tsvangirai insisting the MDC should contest
the senate poll after its council voted for the party to do so.
The Ncube faction also argues that in attempting to single handedly
overturn the decision of the council, Tsvangirai was showing the same
dictatorial traits that Mugabe is accused of. The pro-senate faction has
successfully sponsored candidates in 26 of the 50 senate constituencies.
But the dispute between the two MDC factions has also assumed an
ethnic dimension with Tsvangirai strongly supported in Harare and other
areas dominated by his Shona tribe. Ncube is strongly supported in Bulawayo
and other areas populated by his Ndebele tribe.
Most top leaders of the MDC in Bulawayo, including city executive
mayor Japhet Ndabeni Ncube, boycotted Tsvangirai's rally.
Among top officials of the party who attended the rally were party
women's wing leader Lucia Matibenga, national youth chairman Nelson Chamisa,
national chairman Isaac Matongo, economic affairs secretary Tendai Biti,
legislator Tapiwa Mashakada and Thokozani Khuphe, who is legislator for
Makokoba constituency in the city.
There were minor incidents of violence outside the rally venue when
pro-Tsvangirai youths clashed with about a dozen youths whom they did not
want at the rally, accusing them of belonging to the Ncube faction. But the
police were swift to quell the skirmishes.
But Short Wave Radio Africa reports that a ward chairman in Bulawayo's
Nkulumane constituency, Samuel Musaka, lost his front teeth when he was
brutally assaulted by pro-Ncube youths last Friday.
The radio quoted MDC national executive member for Bulawayo, Gertrude
Mtombeni, as saying that Sibanda's official driver led the assault on
Musaka, who was ambushed and attacked on his way to the central railway
station to collect fliers and posters for Tsvangirai's Sunday rally. -
Mon 14 November 2005
HARARE - The white Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) says its members
have lost equipment worth billions of Zimbabwe dollars over the last two
months after hordes of government supporters and newly resettled farmers
ransacked their properties.
Hendrik Olivier, the CFU president told ZimOnline at the weekend that
the white farmers had lost equipment, chemicals and seed as the chaos
brought about by the new wave of farm invasions which began about two months
The CFU boss said the government supporters were taking harrows,
tractors, fertiliser and in some cases seed from the remaining 600 white
farmers across the country. The seizures were said to be rampant in
Masvingo, Midlands and Mashonaland West provinces.
"Property worth billions of dollars has been lost but it is difficult
at the moment to put the exact value since the seizures are ongoing and we
are still receiving reports countrywide.
"Most of the people seizing the equipment are A2 beneficiaries (newly
resettled black farmers) and they are taking advantage of the chaos on the
farms brought about by the recent constitutional changes," Olivier said.
The Zimbabwe government about two months ago passed controversial
constitutional changes which barred white farmers from contesting the
seizure of the properties in the courts.
The new amendments triggered fresh farm seizures across the country
with State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa threatening to weed out all the
remaining white farmers in Zimbabwe.
Olivier also said the police were reluctant to investigate the cases
of theft on the farms.
"We have received mixed reactions from the police but in most cases
they simply ignore our pleas to investigate the incidents," Olivier said.
Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena could not be reached for comment
on the issue.
Zimbabwe is facing severe food shortages blamed on President Robert
Mugabe's seizure of white-owned farms for redistribution to landless blacks
five years ago.
The farm seizures slashed food production by 60 percent leaving
Zimbabweans needing food aid from international aid groups for survival. -
Mon 14 November 2005
GWANDA - A Zimbabwe government minister was last week accused in court
of unlawfully dressing 20 private security guards in police uniform and
sending them to evict illegal gold panners from their panning site near
Gwanda town which he then took over.
An official of a private security firm in Gwanda, which lies about
150km south of Zimbabwe's second largest city of Bulawayo, told a
magistrate's court that Deputy Labour Minister Abednico Ncube hired guards
from the company and dressed them in police uniform before unleashing them
on the gold panners.
Vengai Maphosa, who is a director of Undercover Security firm, was
testifying in court where he and his guards are facing charges of illegally
possessing and abusing police uniforms.
He told the court that Ncube approached him seeking to hire some
guards. Maphosa, who was remanded out of custody, said that he did not know
that the deputy minister would issue police uniforms to the guards in order
that they would use the uniforms to scare off gold panners.
Speaking to ZimOnline at the weekend Maphosa claimed that he had only
learnt of the abuse of police uniforms after his guards were arrested by the
real police who were coincidentally patrolling in the area where the gold
panners were supposed to be evicted.
"I told the police that Ncube had hired the guards for a private
mission. But when they called him, he denied ever hiring the guards. He said
he knew that the laws of Zimbabwe were against such things," Maphosa said.
The deputy minister however denied ever hiring guards from Maphosa's
company let alone issuing police uniforms to the guards.
He said: "Those people are lying. Ask the police, they have a full
version of my comments on that. I do not have access to police uniforms and
I did not send anyone. Those arrested in police uniform should say where
they got the uniforms from."
Senior officials of President Robert Mugabe's government and ruling
ZANU PF party have in the past been accused of illegally dealing in precious
minerals especially gold.
But this is the first time that a government minister is being accused
of hiring private people and illegally dressing them up as state police in
order that they could scare off rivals to a gold claim. - ZimOnline
November 13 2005 at 06:07AM
Harare - The leader of Zimbabwe's main opposition party says more than
20 members who plan to stand in next month's Senate election effectively
expel themselves from the party by doing so, the state-owned Sunday Mail
Last week, 26 Movement for Democratic Change members who registered
for the poll were given seven days to withdraw their candidature but had not
done so by Saturday and William Bango, spokesperson for MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai, said they had "automatically expelled themselves from the
"Anyone who takes part in an election without the consent of the
national council will do so as an independent and this is well known among
party members," Bango told the Sunday Mail.
The only real challenge to President Robert Mugabe's rule has been
undermined by an internal split since an announcement by Tsvangirai last
month that it would boycott voting on November 26 for the new Senate.
The Senate is seen by critics as intended to bolster Mugabe and his
ruling Zanu-PF and Tsvangirai says the election will no doubt be rigged to
ensure a Zanu-PF win.
Tsvangirai maintains the party was evenly split over whether to
participate in the poll and he used his presidential authority to boycott.
But some senior MDC officials denied that and accused Tsvangirai of
unilaterally dictating party policy.
Some members of the party have chosen to run for just over half of the
50 seats up for grabs in the 66-seat chamber anyway, plunging the
six-year-old MDC into its worst crisis to date. Mugabe will appoint six
senators while the remaining 10 will be reserved for local chiefs.
The "expulsion" could scupper efforts to reconcile the two factions.
Bango was not immediately available for comment on Sunday.
But MDC Deputy Secretary-General Gift Chimanikire, who supports poll
participation, told Reuters the 26 remained party members and were
proceeding with campaigning for the election in clear defiance to
"Our October resolution that we take part in the elections still
stands and it is on that basis that MDC candidates are preparing for the
elections under the MDC banner," Chimanikire said.
Tsvangirai last week said the MDC's decision-making national council
had met and reversed a "purported decision" it had taken in October to
participate in the elections, but Chimanikire and members of the
pro-election faction did not attend saying the opposition leader had no
authority to call the meeting.
Mugabe and Zanu-PF have faced international sanctions and condemnation
for allegedly rigging past elections and using violence to intimidate
voters. Mugabe denies the charges.
Mail and Guardian
13 November 2005 09:37
Twenty-six members of Zimbabwe's beleaguered opposition party
who refused to withdraw as candidates for this month's Senate elections have
been expelled, a spokesperson said on Sunday in a move likely to lead to a
final split in the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
In a telephone interview, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai's
spokesperson William Bango confirmed reports in the state-run Sunday Mail
that the officials had "automatically expelled themselves".
Last weekend, the MDC leader, who has faced a serious challenge
to his leadership over the Senate issue, gave 26 party members who had
registered to stand as candidates in the November 26 polls seven days to
change their minds or be expelled.
Tsvangirai is resolute against any participation in the Senate,
but other senior party officials do not agree.
In October, the MDC leader overruled a vote by his party's
national council narrowly in favour of participation. But he managed to
secure a vote against participation during a second, controversial meeting
of the national council a week ago.
"When the council makes a decision and gives a deadline, if that
deadline is not respected then they have to face the consequences," Bango
According to the Sunday Mail, dissenting opposition officials
have no intention of falling in behind Tsvangirai. Many of those who oppose
the MDC leader are from the southern Matabeleland provinces, which have
traditionally been hotbeds of opposition.
The MDC leader says participation in elections in Zimbabwe is
useless because the current electoral system "breeds illegitimate outcomes".
But party members from Matabeleland are believed to be unwilling
to let President Robert Mugabe's ruling party sweep all the Senate seats
without a fight.
There has been widespread speculation the six-year-old party
will split over the issue, despite Tsvangirai's promise earlier this week
that he had launched an internal "healing process". -- Sapa-DPA
From The Sunday Argus (SA), 13 November
Catrina Kloppers, 75, is a rancher with 500 cattle in dry southern Zimbabwe,
but more than 20 policemen armed with AK-47s arrived this week at night,
turned off the electricity, disconnected her telephone, and loaded all her
farming equipment onto lorries including her only tractor and trailer. "When
the rains come any day now the farm will be so muddy I won't be able to get
around to feed the calves," she said. Kloppers, widowed 13 years ago, shares
her ranch with a Zanu PF deputy minister and an MP who helped themselves to
two thirds of her land. They need her to keep the boreholes running.
Kloppers said: "They told me if I complained they would take the borehole
pumps. I told them the deputy minister's cattle would die without water, so
they left them. You can't be a sissie in Zimbabwe, it's a hard life. I don't
want to live anywhere else. Zimbabwe is my home, although I am fully
Afrikaans and I like the people here."
Many influential Zanu PF leaders, such as reserve bank governor Gideon Gono,
are desperate for those white commercial farmers who have survived six years
of the ethnic purge, to remain and increase production. He repeatedly says
that increased agricultural production is the only way to economic recovery.
He also advanced loans to many of the farmers now being evicted across the
country. Lands minister Didymus Mutasa said he didn't know of any of these
developments on the land - the biggest number of evictions and seizures of
equipment since the height of the land wars in 2002. According to veteran
political analyst Brian Raftopoulos, Zimbabwe is in danger of becoming
"ungovernable". He said: "The state has run out of resources for patronage
and there is discord over the policy and therefore an intensification of
state theft because of the general decline of the economy. The battle is
over who is in control. The ruling party is under siege and the state will
intensify its theft of resources and its authoritarian responses."
Andrew McMurdon, 85, thought he had seen the worst when President Robert
Mugabe's thugs slung him into jail and kicked him off his much loved farm
three years ago. Now living in Masvingo, 250km south of Harare, close to
where he farmed for 50 years, McMurdon has become a victim again. Every day
this week army and police were stealing tens of millions of rands of white
farmers' equipment claiming their looting is legal. McMurdon's equipment,
rescued when he lost his farm, was stored in a Masvingo warehouse and was
stolen by police this week. This week, police roamed across Masvingo
province and southward towards the South African border hunting down
farmers' equipment. They tell white farmers it is being done in terms of
last year's Acquisition of Farm Equipment or Material Act which allows the
government to seize equipment but stipulates that compensation must be paid.
Farmers know Mugabe's pledges of compensation are meaningless. As annual
inflation topped 400% this week and food prices shot up by 80% in a month,
Zimbabwe is on its knees and millions are hungry. Many of Mugabe's militants
who launched the violent campaign against commercial farmers and millions of
workers are also being kicked off land they claimed to make way for Zanu PF
By Lebo Nkatazo
Last updated: 11/14/2005 04:39:32
SQUABBLES within Zimbabwe's main opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) took a dramatic turn Sunday when the opposition party's national
chairman, Isaac Matongo, accused the pro-Senate faction of plotting to kill
party leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
Addressing a crowd of 2000 people at White City Stadium in Bulawayo, Matongo
also accused a faction -- said to be led by MDC secretary general Welshman
Ncube -- of colluding with Zanu PF over the 2002 treason charges against
However, Tsvangirai appeared to be in a conciliatory mood, saying the door
was still wide open for the two parties to work together if the other one
withdrew from the Senatorial polls.
He also criticised his deputy, Gibson Sibanda -- who is also advocating for
the MDC to field candidates in Senate elections -- for openly attacking him
in the media, but added that he regretted that they were now clashing.
"If we have a problem in our bedroom, it is not good to do what VP Sibanda
is doing telling everybody about it. Let's sit down and discuss these
problem ourselves," he said.
"I have worked with Sibanda for over 20 years for this struggle and it pains
me to see how this relationship has come to this point," he added.
Tsvangirai reiterated that MDC Senate hopefuls who defied his call to
withdraw their candidature by last weekend's deadline had automatically
expelled themselves from the party.
"Those who failed to meet Saturday's deadline have expelled themselves from
the party," Tsvangirai stressed.
The Bulawayo rally was also attended by MDC MP for Makokoba Thokozani Khupe,
Nelson Chamisa of Kuwadzana, city of Gweru executive mayor Sessel Zvidzai
and some notable Bulawayo city councillors.
The MDC, founded in 1999, has split over Senate elections due on 26
November. Tsvangirai supports a boycott of the elections, while another
faction supports participation -- arguing strongly that the MDC needed to
consolidate its hold in areas that it already controlled, especially in the
stronghold of Matabeleland.
In Chitungwiza just outside Harare, the pro Senate group addressed a rally
in Chitungwiza, near Harare and vowed that they would forge ahead with
MDC deputy secretary-general Gift Chimanikire introduced the party
candidates at the gathering that was also attended by party heavyweights Job
Sikhala, Trudy Stevenson, Priscilla Misihairambwi-Mushonga and Renson
Chimanikire, who blasted Mafikizolos (recent arrivals) in the MDC accusing
them of causing chaos, said the opposition would participate to defend its
territories from the governing party.
Chimanikire scoffed at the anti-Senate stance displayed by Tsvangirai saying
the party leaders persuaded two top party officials out of the March general
elections on the grounds he would permit them to run in the Senatorial
"Tsvangirai persuaded Morgan Femai and another official not to take part in
the March elections so that they would stand in the Senatorial polls,"
"He never informed anyone in the leadership that the MDC was no longer going
to stand in the polls," he added.
Other legislators who also addressed the rally attended by an estimated 3
000 supporters, denounced dictatorial tendencies within and outside the MDC.
St Mary's MP, Job Sikhala, attacked perceived enemies in the party telling
them "to go and die."
"I did not start politics today, but when I was 16 years. Who are you to
tell me to move out of the MDC? I say to those denigrating me - mai vako
(your mother), go and die," the outspoken MP said.
He then said St Mary's constituents have a right to defend their sovereignty
and territorial integrity when
Renson Gasela said the MDC could only defend its domain from Zanu PF by
taking part in the polls.
"If Zanu PF win the Senate elections here, our MPs would be supervised by
that party's Senator. We must therefore defend our territories, a good
commander protects and secures what he has already conquered," he said.
Glen Norah MP, Priscilla Misihairambwi-Mushonga castigated "dictators in the
party" while Stevenson urged party officials to respect the constitution.
By Walter Marwizi
THE pro - Senate faction in the MDC is likely to boycott the congress
scheduled for end of February next year, leading to break up.
Sources in the party told The Standard that reconciliation between the two
factions was impossible because of the intensity of the differences.
The conflict reached a new peak last week as Morgan Tsvangirai, buoyed by
National Council meeting he called on 5 November in Harare, embarked on a
tour drumming the message among the party faithful that he was still in
charge of the party.
In Mabvuku, he said: "Ndoda kukuudzai pano kuti musangano uno une one
president. Ndini. Kana ndati tirikuinda takadai, ndookotoenda ikoko. Kana
mazorumwa nemapere, mozondivhunza" (I want to tell you right now the MDC has
only one president. I am its president. When I say this is the route we
shall take, that is the direction we will follow. If there is a cost, I am
Party sources told The Standard the speech only served to widen the rift
between the factions.
While Tsvangirai is pushing for a boycott of the Senate elections, 26
members of his party have registered to contest the 26 November poll.
"I don't see us going to congress together. I don't see it happening. It's
possible we might resign altogether, if we see that the president is not
willing to restore the founding principles of the party," said an official
with the pro-Senate faction.
But MDC spokesperson Paul Themba-Nyathi, who ignored a directive that
Tsvangirai was the sole spokesperson of the party, said his faction would
not leave the MDC.
"We would not do that. It is those that have placed themselves outside the
parameters of the party's constitution who should reconsider their position
in the party."
Trudy Stevenson, the party's secretary for policy and research, said it was
possible disciplinary action would be taken against Tsvangirai.
"Yes, there might be action against the President but it's up to the
disciplinary committee. He has contravened the constitution on several
counts. How can you be leading a national crusade for a national
constitution when you are violating your own constitution? It's illogical
Other officials in the pro-Senate faction told The Standard that they could
not see themselves sharing the same table with Tsvangirai at the congress
unless he reaffirmed his commitment to democracy.
It is at the congress that Tsvangirai is expected to push for an amendment
to the constitution of the opposition party, to give him powers over the
party's national executive.
At the moment, aides to Tsvangirai say he is hamstrung by a constitution
which demands that he consults each time he makes a decision.
The MDC constitution was designed to ensure that "another Mugabe did not
emerge in the party".
Already Tsvangirai has given the go-ahead for the establishment of a
constitutional amendment committee, which will gather evidence from the
provinces to form the basis of the draft to be submitted to the congress.
But Themba-Nyathi hopes reason will prevail and people will abandon plans to
change the party's constitution.
"We are very frightened that they want to change the constitution so as to
create a one-person rule. I am afraid some people have not learnt from Zanu
Asked whether they would go to congress as one, Themba-Nyathi said:
"It will depend on whether those who have created violent militias dismantle
them and whether those who have sought to turn the MDC into an instrument of
intolerance desist from their practices."
By Walter Marwizi
TELEACCESS boss, Daniel Shumba, is set to lose the country's second fixed
operator's licence as punishment for his alleged involvement in the United
People's Movement (UPM), The Standard can reveal.
Shumba, the former Zanu PF Masvingo provincial chairman was suspended from
the ruling party late last year after attending the Tsholotsho meeting that
rattled the ruling party, after six of the 10 provinces in the country
decided on who should succeed President Robert Mugabe.
The meeting, which came up with the so-called Tsholotsho Declaration,
prompted Mugabe to purge party stalwarts who reportedly tried to block Joice
Mujuru from becoming Vice President of Zimbabwe.
Thereafter Shumba, who was dominating Masvingo politics, took a back seat in
Zanu PF, concentrating his energies on his company, which has failed to roll
out its network due to crippling foreign currency shortages.
However sources this week told The Standard that State security agents had
placed Shumba under surveillance after suspecting that he was heavily
involved in the UPM, which is being fronted by Tsholotsho MP, Professor
The agent had also recommended that his licence be withdrawn since a member
of the opposition could not be entrusted to run such an enterprise which
would compete with the State- run TelOne.
Apart from placing full page advertisements and coming up with a CD, titled
We will rock them, which has been widely circulated, UPM has been mum on its
There were suggestions that disgruntled Zanu PF supporters and those from
the MDC would join it and launch a formidable challenge to the ruling party.
Shumba, who is reported to be UPM's interim chairperson, could not be
reached for comment last week as he was locked up in a shareholders'
However, The Standard understands that pressure is mounting on the Postal
and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) to urgently
withdraw the licence from him.
Asked to comment on reports that State security agencies had recommended
that Shumba's licence be withdrawn, Potraz director general Cuthbert
Chidoori said in a written response on Friday: "No comment."
TeleAcess was awarded a second fixed network licence in 2003 after the
Supreme Court dismantled the state owned Posts and Telecommunications
Corporations (PTC) monopoly.
However, the organisation has failed to roll out the project mainly due to
forex shortages. Early this year, TeleAccess tried unsuccessfully to raise
$150 billion earmarked for the roll out the multi billion-dollar project.
The withdrawal of the licence will impact on its bankers CBZ who have been
financing the day-to day operations.
Nyasha Makuvise, CBZ CEO, told a parliamentary portfolio committee that
TeleAccess would embark on tobacco farming to raise the requisite foreign
currency. The outcome of the farming venture is still to be made public.
By Foster Dongozi
NEARLY one million Zimbabweans in urgent need of treatment cannot access the
life-saving Anti-Retroviral drugs, The Standard has been told.
People living with HIV and AIDS face certain death as they are unable to get
ARVs from government referral hospitals such as Parirenyatwa, Harare, Mpilo
in Bulawayo, and Chitungwiza.
Activists and advocacy specialists in the fight against HIV and AIDS met
last week and recommended that the government treat the HIV and AIDS
pandemic as a national emergency.
Official figures, say up to 700 000 out of just over two million people
living with HIV and AIDS in Zimbabwe, are in urgent need of ARVs.
However, only 12 000 Zimbabweans are on ARVs.
Under the Global Fund scheme an estimated 270 000 people should by now be
AIDS service organizations have, as a result, started working on a petition,
on the apparent failure to take the distribution of the life-saving drugs
seriously, which will be presented to President Robert Mugabe.
Mary Sandasi, the director of Women and AIDS Support Network (WASN) said the
government needed to show that it was serious about combating the pandemic
and providing treatment.
Sandasi said: "The government has already declared that the HIV/AIDS
pandemic is an emergency and therefore the petition is meant to make sure
the leadership treats the issue like an emergency."
Continued delays in availing treatment, the anti-AIDS activist said, would
result in the ruling class leading a country of orphans.
She said the petition would be copied to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, the
Ministry of Finance, and the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare.
Sandasi fears people living with HIV and AIDS could start developing
resistance to ARVs because of interruption to supplies.
However, the CEO of Parirenyatwa, Thomas Zigora, said ARVs were being
distributed at the hospital.
He said: "As of now the Opportunistic Infections Clinic at Parirenyatwa has
a register of up to 250 infants and 300 plus adults who are accessing ARVs.
Those on the register are getting the drugs."
Another AIDS activist, Sostain Moyo of the Zimbabwe Activists on HIV and
AIDS (ZAHA), said: "Thousands of people will soon be dying when the effect
of not getting AIDS drugs becomes apparent. A lot of these people will die
because they would have developed resistance to the ARV drugs."
Moyo also implored international organizations not to abandon people living
with HIV and AIDS because of differences with the Zimbabwean administration.
"HIV/AIDS does not discriminate along political lines. Our neighbours in the
region are getting a lot of ARVs and we hope the international community
will not continue to shun us because of political differences."
The deputy minister of Health, Edwin Muguti said the lack of foreign
currency had affected the operations of most aspects of the economy.
"Our economy is not operating at 100 percent capacity and that means some
areas will be affected like fuel supply and the provision of drugs. There is
no doubt that there is need to increase the number of people on ARVs but
with insufficient funding, that will always present challenges. We hope our
partners like UNAIDS, UNICEF and WHO will complement our efforts to ensure
as many people as possible access the drugs."
By Godfrey Mutimba
MASVINGO - Police and war veterans in Masvingo last week looted farm
equipment worth more than $15 billion from a commercial farm, four years
after the farm was invaded, The Standard has learnt.
The owner of the farm and equipment, Tilma Pepler, told The Standard that
riot police led by Assistant Commissioner Loveness Ndanga pounced on his
Rhodene home where he has kept the equipment since his eviction from the
farm. He said they "looted" all the equipment.
"Police and people I suspect to be war veterans came and seized all my
farming equipment. They said it was an order from the government. They were
led by assistant commissioner L Ndanga," Pepler said.
When he was evicted in 2001 the government instructed farm owners to remove
their machinery. However, he was surprised when the police came for the same
equipment he was ordered to remove from his former property.
Police took the equipment to Phoenix club, a police-owned recreational
facility in Rhodene low-density suburb.
When The Standard visited Phoenix, piles of disc harrows, planters, five
tractors and other farming equipment were waiting to be auctioned.
"I really don't understand what is happening. Since the time I was pushed
off my farm I have been assisting new farmers using this equipment as a
means for fending for my family. They could hire my equipment here and there
and it was very helpful to them but now the equipment is gone," he said.
Pepler said he was pursuing legal action through the help of the Commercial
The reports in Masvingo come at the same time that a farmer in Chiredzi,
Peter Henning, reported a similar raid on his two properties at Hippo
Valley, after a visit by Ndanga.
He said: "Last Saturday two armed police details were deployed on our Farm
36 to 'guard' the equipment kept there. We could not get clarification for
the motivation at the time."
But two more armed officers were deployed on Farm 40, a residential stand,
with a workshop where the Hennings live and keep their machinery. He said
the armed officers said they had been deployed to prevent him from moving
his equipment out of the yard.
Only two weeks ago, Vice President Joseph Msika attacked war veterans in
Bulawayo for continued farm invasions on the few remaining commercial farms.
Officers in the Masvingo Press and Public Relations office said they were
not aware of the cases.
By our correspondent
A STING operation by police working under Operation Recover Gold netted a
senior Air Force of Zimbabwe officer in Kadoma, The Standard can reveal.
Wing Commander Chrispen Nkomo (50), was arrested by CID officers after he
and an accomplice allegedly loaded up $437 850 000 into the boot of his car
The money had been paid by undercover police detectives who pretended to be
Nkomo, and another accused person, Wellington Joshua Dube Gadzira (28)
appeared in court on Wednesday accused of theft by false pretences.
According to the State case, on October 28 this year, detectives on patrol
in Chakari area met Gadzira who claimed to have in his possession 1kg of
gold. An agreement to buy the gold was reached.
On 5 November, Gadzira phoned Detective Inspector Henry Dowa and arranged to
meet at Kadoma Ranch Motel as he had 417 grams of "gold".
Sources in the police said the detectives then went to the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe where they were given new bank notes amounting to $437 850 000 in
order to set up a trap.
Nkomo who uses a service vehicle, Peugeot 306 registration number 325MM01
drove from Chakari to Kadoma Ranch Motel in the company of Gadzira. Around
9PM, Gadzira called Inspector Dowa on his mobile phone and Nkomo went into
the bar while his accomplice was concluding the transaction with the
Dowa is said to have indicated that he was prepared to buy 417 grams at $1
050 000 a gram and he paid for it using the RBZ money.
The two assisted each other to carry the bag which contained the cash to
where their vehicle was parked, because the detectives had indicated that
they wanted the bag back.
The two appeared before a Kadoma magistrate Mr Claudious Chimaga on
Wednesday where Gadzira was granted $5 million bail.
But Dumisani Kufaruwenga of Dzimba, Javaraza and Associates successfully
made an application of refusal to place Nkomo on remand.
Kufaruwenga argued in court that the Air Force officer was not aware of the
Nkomo will appear in court by way of summons
By Caiphas Chimhete
HUNDREDS of children are dropping out of school while others are fainting
during lessons, mostly in the country's rural areas, as hunger takes toll,
The Standard has been told.
Teachers' organisations last week expressed concern over the increasing
number of school children who are dropping out of school because of hunger.
They said some pupils were passing out during lessons because of hunger,
after going for days without a proper meal.
MaCdonald Mangauzani, the Progressive Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ)
acting secretary general, said the increasing number of pupils dropping out
of school because of hunger had become a major concern.
As a result, Mangauzani said, PTUZ is conducting research to establish the
exact number of pupils that have dropped out of school because of widespread
hunger prevalent in the country.
"Quite a huge number of children are dropping out of school because they are
too hungry and their parents can no longer afford to buy food. The problem
is worsening on a daily basis. There are some reports of pupils passing out
during classes," said Mangauzani.
Zimbabwe Teachers' Association (Zimta) president, Tendai Chikowore, said
although her organisation had not done any survey on pupils dropping out, it
had become common knowledge that the worsening economic situation was
forcing pupils out of school.
"Even those who work here in town are facing food problems. What more of
people in rural areas? Generally life is tough nowadays. Remember, the cost
of commodities is going up daily and this is affecting everyone," said
Dropping out of school as a result of hunger and general poverty, is most
common in the perennially dry parts of the country. Preliminary findings by
the PTUZ indicate that Chiredzi, Mt Darwin and some parts of Manicaland are
the most seriously affected areas.
The PTUZ said the economic downturn had exacerbated the problem as parents
struggled to raise enough money for school fees and levies for their
Mangauzani said the dropout rates could have been lower had the government
allowed non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to distribute food relief to
needy families countrywide.
Although hunger is most pronounced in rural areas, more and more urban
families are also failing to send their children to school as poverty takes
"Some pupils in towns have cut the number of days they go to school because
they cannot afford the high transport costs," noted Mangauzani.
Teachers who spoke to The Standard in Harare said even though the numbers of
pupils dropping out because of hunger in the capital city was still low,
they could soon rise as the economic environment worsens.
Both the Minister of Education Sport and Culture Aeneas Chigwedere and his
permanent secretary, Stephen Mahere, were said to be out of the office last
Acting permanent secretary, Lazarus Bowora requested questions in writing.
"Address your questions to the Quality Assurance Division at Ambassador
House but you only get your answers probably next week," his secretary said.
Revelations of children dropping out of school because of hunger come at a
time when the government has barred NGOs from distributing relief aid to
needy people. Zimbabwe, once southern Africa's breadbasket, is facing a
serious food crisis and an estimated 5 million people are desperately in
need of food aid.
By Gibbs Dube
BULAWAYO - Management at the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ)
headquarters here are virtually being held hostage by 11 war veterans who
set up a "crack force to clean up the mess" at the financially troubled
The war veterans, most of them not attached to the parastatal headquarters,
and led by Gibson Siziba, a maintenance auditor at the NRZ's Mechanical
workshops, are allegedly terrorising workers suspected of involvement in
Siziba and his gang, who forcibly occupied an office, are reported to have
started their orgy of violence, intimidation and routine inspection of the
NRZ's books a year ago and efforts to stop their activities have been in
vain as they apparently enjoy the patronage of top government officials.
Authoritative sources within the NRZ told The Standard last week that they
were living in fear of the gang which monitors the general manager, line
managers and junior staff members, apparently without the authority of the
"These people are causing havoc at the NRZ. They say they are on a clean up
mission of the parastatal and report their activities directly to the
Minister of Transport and Communications. Employees suspected of corruption
are tortured and intimidated," said one of the senior managers who declined
to be identified.
He said the top management was working under fear as the gang visited their
offices unannounced, often forcibly taking away their files and demanding
explanations about the parastatal's financial matters.
"We don't know what they are up to but our conclusion is that they have been
tasked by some politicians to monitor every employee as NRZ unions are known
to have strong links with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC," he said.
The sources said armed NRZ security guards, at the instigation of
management, last week besieged the offices of the "crack force" and forced
Siziba and his gang to stop their operations and leave.
But a senior manager said: "These attempts appear to be in vain as the gang
is still terrorising workers although it is now operating from the
Mechanical Workshops where Siziba is employed as a maintenance auditor.
"His job entails keeping stock of NRZ equipment at our workshops and nothing
else. He is not in charge of auditing NRZ books because he is not qualified
for that job. Members of his gang are also not qualified to inspect or audit
our books. They are outsiders who have no idea of auditing procedures" he
Contacted for comment, Siziba refused to talk to The Standard citing NRZ
regulations that prohibit staff talking to the Press. But he confirmed the
"clean up" saying this was an on-going exercise. "The campaign is an ongoing
exercise within the parastatal but I cannot tell you more than this," said
NRZ public relations manager Fanuel Masikati said the parastatal was aware
of the gang and efforts were being made to stop the "crack force's"
He declined to comment on suggestions that the gang was linked to top
government officials who were monitoring NRZ unions linked to the MDC.
Efforts to get a comment from the Minister of Transport and Communications,
Christopher Mushohwe, were fruitless.
By Godfrey Mutimba
DISGRUNTLED Zanu PF politicians in Masvingo departed from the norm and
rounded on the government accusing it of paying little attention to
development projects, saying this had resulted in perennial food shortages
in the province, The Standard has learnt.
In contributions during a recent pre-budget consultative meeting at the
Civic Centre, speakers attacked the Ministry of Finance for marginalising
Masvingo province in development projects compared to other provinces.
They blamed the government for deliberately overlooking the province, as
most potential projects that could boost the development of the province
were not getting sufficient funding from the Ministry of Finance.
David Chapfika, the Deputy Minister of Finance, attended the meeting.
Senate aspirant, Dzikamai Mavhaire of the 'Mugabe must go' fame slammed the
government for staggering projects that could help curb food insecurity in
He cited the giant Tokwe-Mukorsi Dam project, which has so far remained
uncompleted and demanded to know why the government was failing to fund the
project that has the potential of transforming Masvingo into the breadbasket
of Zimbabwe through irrigation schemes.
"Why is it that new projects are funded when the existing ones are still
incomplete? In 1984 the construction of Tokwe-Mukorsi needed only $60
million but now it requires billions of dollars to complete.
"The project has long-term benefits in the province and once completed we
will never again suffer from food insecurity,'' said the outspoken
The Masvingo politicians demanded that Chapfika take their complaints to
central government which must act decisively on Masvingo which they said was
the only province with the greatest number of unfinished projects.
Among other incomplete projects in Masvingo are the Mpandawana - Kurai road,
Masvingo - Renco road and the Nuanetsi projects - all abandoned in their
Higher and Tertiary Education minister, Stan Mudenge, took a swipe at the
manner government funds were disbursed to various projects saying Masvingo
was among the most disadvantaged province in terms of development.
Mudenge said: "Our province always suffers from massive food shortages but
can do a lot in helping industry. We have a lot of potential here but if we
ask for resources they don't come.
"We have the largest number of dams in the country but we don't get funds to
buy irrigation equipment to boost our agriculture. If you look at the mining
industry it is now crumbling. We have the Mashaba mines that have piles and
piles of Asbestos fibre that is on demand in many countries and if we ask
for resources to exploit it we are told there is no fuel yet other provinces
get the fuel they need,'' charged Mudenge.
Other politicians who concurred with Mavhaire and Mudenge were Bikita West
MP, Claudius Makova, Chief Fortune Charumbira and Masvingo provincial
governor, Willard Chiwewe.
However Chapfika defended his ministry saying suspension of projects was
country-wide due to lack of foreign currency.
"The government is not sidelining Masvingo. The problems of foreign currency
and fuel shortages have forced the government to suspend various projects
around the country,'' Chapfika said.
By Caiphas Chimhete
NYANYADZI - Suspicion of witchcraft among villagers in Gudyanga village in
Chimanimani district of Manicaland province is derailing children's
supplementary feeding programmes, impacting negatively on the health status
of children in the hunger-stricken area, The Standard has established.
Villagers have withdrawn their children from the feeding scheme for fear
they could be bewitched at the feeding centres, which are located at
individual people's homesteads.
This is despite that most of the parents are very poor and cannot afford a
balanced diet for their children. As a result, the children show clear signs
of malnutrition - potbellied stomachs and matchstick legs.
Villagers who spoke to The Standard last week confirmed withdrawing their
children saying they feared that their children could be bewitched or
poisoned at the feeding centres.
Very few feeding centres operate from clinics or schools.
"We want the food to be given to each household so that each family can
prepare its own meals. As it is, people are not very keen to have their
children fed at the centres because we do not trust each other," said one of
Under the Witchcraft Suppression Act it is a crime to accuse anyone of being
a witch or having bewitched someone.
The villagers are against the food - mostly porridge - being prepared at
people's homesteads. The beneficiaries, including Aids orphans, converge at
the centres twice a day for meals. Parents take turns to prepare the food
for the children.
When The Standard visited Mapandani feeding centre at headman Makiwa's
homestead in Gudyanga village last week, child showing signs of malnutrition
were jostling to get their allocations.
Out of the estimated 50 children who are supposed have their food at the
centre, only 21 are turning up.
"People here do not trust each other and that's why some withdrew their
children. They believe in witchcraft too much. However, others are just lazy
to come and prepare food for their children so they prefer not to send
them," said Panganayi Makiwa, who heads Mapandani feeding centre.
Dispelling villagers' fears, she said no child had fallen ill since the
start of the programme some three months ago. She attributed the suspicion
of witchcraft to the general mistrust among the villagers.
At another feeding centre at Nhachi village, villagers agreed to share the
food equally before it is prepared.
The World Food Programme and Save The Children - Norway are among the relief
agencies providing food to vulnerable children and families in the area.
South Africa-based regional public affairs officer, Mike Huggins, said the
organisation had not received reports of parents withdrawing their children
from the programme for fear of witchcraft. "I have not heard about that,"
said Huggins, whose organisation provides maize meal, porridge, cooking oil,
sugar and salt.
He said as of September, the WFP was assisting about 230 pre-school children
and 80 000 orphans in the country. "But all in all, we are feeding about 1
million people in Zimbabwe and the number is increasing on a monthly basis,"
THE basis of appointing ministers is the expertise, knowledge and
performance they bring to the Cabinet. However, since 2000 there is
overwhelming evidence that despite President Robert Mugabe's "Development
Cabinet" ministers are subverting attempts or decisions to improve
conditions in Zimbabwe.
Last week, the sacked chairperson of the National Railways of Zimbabwe
(NRZ), Dr Sam Geza, described how the Minister of Transport and
Communications, Christopher Mushohwe, was "the major stumbling block in the
implementation of the parastatal's turnaround programme". It was one of many
examples of either neglect or oversight that subverts attempts at
Prior to Geza's disclosure, evidence of rampant abuse of vehicles and fuel
allocation at the Ministry of Higher Education and Technology had been
uncovered by an internal audit. Both examples point to an urgent need not
only to deal with, but to make government ministers accountable for failure
of their ministries to perform. Both cases demonstrate extreme lack of
It is partly as a result of concern over failure to perform that there is
growing argument appointments need to be performance-linked and that there
should be a scorecard that forms the basis for appointing, reappointing or
dropping ministers from the Cabinet.
The case of the ministry of Transport and Communications shows what appears
to be a clear pattern of disregard of professional opinion and advice - in
this case by the NRZ board - by a government minister, resulting in the
parastatal missing out on accessing resources from the Reserve Bank.
But more significantly, the allegations appear to explain the paralysis
obtaining at the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe, the national carrier,
Air Zimbabwe, the protracted industrial disputes at the postal services,
Zimpost, at the telecommunications operator TelOne and the unresolved case
of unavailability of mobile telephone lines at NetOne, when the parallel
market is awash with the lines, but at a premium. The collapse of both
Zimpost and TelOne has given rise to alternative courier and
telecommunications operators respectively.
It is a remarkable coincidence that all the examples of sectors that are
losing their market share and competitive edge fall under one ministry.
Reports that a band of war veterans is terrorising management and staff at
the NRZ headquarters in Bulawayo amid suggestions that they enjoy the
protection of the minister raise questions of what the intended goal of
disruption to the parastatal's activities could be.
The tragedy is that there are no significant indicators of positivity
emerging from the paralysis.
Geza acquitted himself well as a Permanent Secretary and it is his
performance during his tenure in government that we believe influenced his
appointment as chairperson of the NRZ board.
But last week he spoke of the frustration and humiliation his board endured
at the hands of the Minister of Transport and Communications and more
importantly how the minister was misleading Vice President Joice Mujuru, who
oversees parastatals and local authorities.
Now that the real cancer has been diagnosed and confirmed, the overburdened
taxpayers expect bold and decisive action against those identified as the
major obstacles to turning around the fortunes of the parastatal.
The rapid decline of the NRZ from being a key player in the transport sector
in this country, impacts on the capacity and performance of other industries
that are/used to be dependent on it for movement of their goods and raw
materials. The significant contributory role the NRZ plays in Zimbabwe's
economic recovery cannot be overstated.
The second case of impeding the agenda of the "Development Cabinet" is that
of the Ministry of Higher Education and Technology, where an audit uncovered
pervasive corruption in which billions of taxpayers' funds were allegedly
misappropriated through rampant abuse of vehicles and fuel allocation.
Sadly the case at the Ministry of Higher Education and Technology is in the
contrast to the working conditions of teachers/lecturers and their
subsequent neglect on the one hand and the ministry's penchant to spend on
luxury vehicles on the other. It is failure to provide incentives and
resources for enhanced productivity and staff retention that has resulted in
a brain drain not only from the ministry but the country.
Agriculture is another well-documented and unparalleled mess.
The ministers concerned should be held accountable. We believe there are
sufficient grounds for the Parliamentary Portfolio committees and the
recently established Anti-Corruption Commission to start demonstrating they
have some spunk.
Failure to act can only give succour to deviant ministries. The cases cited
here provide sufficient ammunition for axing ministers from Cabinet at the
By our staff
MOTORISTS should brace themselves for a fuel price increase amid revelations
that fuel importers have made representations to the Ministry of Energy and
Power Development for a review of price.
Although the actual price could not be ascertained, Standardbusiness heard
last week that it was in the region of $50 000 per litre and would likely to
be effected after the Senate elections.
The price of fuel was last increased in September. Currently the pump price
of fuel is $$22 300 per litre for petrol while diesel is sold at $20 800 per
litre. Designated service stations sell fuel at US$1 per litre while the
illegal black market is selling the precious liquid at $100 000 per litre.
Industry sources say the adjustment of the fuel price was meant to provide a
lifeline to the importers who indicated that they were selling fuel at a
Fuel importers, sources said, had called for an adjustment of the price
following the introduction of the forex floatation system last month.
Muzi Bukhwele, Petroleum Marketers' Association of Zimbabwe (PMAZ) CEO,
referred all questions to the Energy Ministry.
Justin Mupamhanga the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, could neither
confirm nor deny receiving correspondence from fuel importers saying he
would make an announcement when the time is ripe.
Zimbabwe has been grappling with acute fuel shortages over the past six
years blamed on the shortage of foreign currency following the slump in top
foreign currency earners, agriculture and tourism.
Agriculture has been on a free fall since the 2000 farm invasions while
tourism receipts have been on a slump.
Analysts say the increase in the price of fuel will push annual inflation
northwards. Year on year inflation for the month of October stands at 411%.
sundayopinion by Shari Eppel
RECENT events within the MDC raise a fundamental challenge to civil society.
From 1999 until early 2005, many in civil society perceived themselves as
having aims and values in common with the MDC, such as the desire to return
Zimbabwe to greater democracy, repeal repressive legislation, and promote
the equality and accountability of all Zimbabweans
Above all, support for the MDC has been driven by the desire for an
accountable political leadership, with limited powers invested in any
individual - of a leadership that cannot defy the law with impunity, as
other Zimbabwean leaders have done for one hundred years.
Since October 2004, there has been a growing element of thuggery within the
MDC, with its President, Morgan Tsvangirai, failing to condemn intra-party
violence against certain members of his own leadership. In the wake of the
2005 elections, this violence escalated, with several senior MDC office
bearers being stripped naked and sjamboked by MDC youths, inside MDC party
Two officials had bones broken by these party youths. A decision of the
National Council to fire the youth - who are facing criminal charges - was
subverted by the President of the MDC; a few days after their dismissal, he
insisted on re-employing them as his bodyguards. When there was a call for a
further internal inquiry into the violence, Tsvangirai tried to sack his
fellow top five officials.
It was pointed out that this was unconstitutional - that the President did
not have the sole power to dismiss his senior colleagues, and the dismissals
did not take effect.
In September 2005, Tsvangirai showed contempt for the MDC constitution and
the outcome of a democratic vote by the National Council of MDC: the council
voted by a
narrow margin in favour of participation in the Senate elections. In
defiance of both this outcome and the constitution, Tsvangirai publicly
announced the intention of MDC to boycott the November senatorial elections.
This action has resulted in a serious split in the party. In 26
constituencies out of 50, candidates across seven provinces have submitted
nomination papers and will contest the Senate elections. Those supporting
participation are claiming that the issue is no longer the relevance of the
Senate; it is that of not allowing a leader who defies his own constitution
to get his way, de facto.
They say that their President has increasingly shown signs of usurping more
power than he is entitled to, and the line has to be drawn somewhere. The
National Council voted to participate and this decision must be respected.
Currently, therefore, four of the MDC top six leadership are holding rallies
encouraging participation - and the President of the party is holding
rallies in their wake, calling for a boycott.
The situation is ridiculous and confusing to most Zimbabweans. However, it
is clear that a vote in this election has become not so much a vote for a
particular senatorial candidate, as a vote against a national leader who
wants to break rules and promote violence within his own party with
Civics is currently facing a key challenge: will civil society speak out
against those elements in the MDC that now believe themselves above the
constitution of their own party, in the same way that they have condemned
Zanu PF for lawless, unethical behaviour?
So far, civil society has failed to condemn or even reprimand Tsvangirai in
any convincing way. Human rights NGOs risk being severely compromised if
continue to remain publicly silent on this issue - and Zimbabwe risks one
dictator being replaced by another.
People are desperate not to see the MDC disintegrate at this stage, after so
many have invested so much - even their lives - in the struggle for
democracy in the last five years. Yet civics must decide - is it enough to
say "Mugabe must go", regardless of what or who replaces him, or is now the
time to make a stand and to state unequivocally, that whatever the cost,
Zimbabwe will not tolerate leaders who will not publicly condemn political
violence by elements in their own party, who do not abide by the will of the
majority and who do not abide by the rules?
If MDC does disintegrate as a coherent political force in the next six
months, which seems a real possibility, civic organisations will need to
stand for principle: they cannot waver now. It is the role of human rights
activists and legal NGOs to document intra-party MDC violence as impartially
as they have documented Zanu PF violence against the MDC. In six months from
now, there could be a vacuum as far as truly democratic and principled
politics is concerned.
Civics will need to be that voice; if or when new political forces emerge,
civics must judge such forces against clear principles of democracy,
inclusiveness and accountability. The loss of an ethical political
alternative to Zanu PF, if it happens, is going to leave millions without
hope. Civics will need to lobby and document even more consistently on
behalf of the increasingly repressed and voiceless poor and must prepare to
capture the tragedy of this historical moment for future generations. Civics
could soon be faced with the enormous task of trying to empower and rebuild
some notion of democracy in a nation of dashed hopes, with a devastated
economy, great hunger - and a proliferation of unscrupulous political
Mugabe must repent for the sake of the nation
IT is high time the whole country faced up to the reality of the disaster of
our land reform. Our agriculture has totally collapsed even though from his
helicopter cockpit, the minister responsible for the sector thinks
Poverty has gripped the nation with a vengeance mainly because of the
country's policies on land and other sectors of our economy. After
everything has been said and done, the blame lies squarely at President
Robert Mugabe's feet (as captain of the Titanic). The usual criticism of
other leaders in the West is old and tired.
For once at this late hour, I would like to hear our President admit failure
and accept responsibility for creating the disaster the country is facing.
After all to err is human. At the rate the President is ruining the country,
his late Jesuits mentors must be turning in their graves seeing the
destructive path taken by their product.
It is a historic fact that the Jesuits have been in the fore front of
preaching the word of God and improving farming in the country. Why does the
President not emulate his mentors by donning a work suit and encouraging
people to work on the farms instead of lecturing to people?
Of course, the President's advanced age may not permit that but being seen
in overalls at the farms can be inspirational enough. It is
counter-productive to force land onto people who are not farmers at heart
but greedy cellphone speculators.
Swallow your pride for the good of Zimbabwe and recall commercial farmers
back on to their old farms not because whites are better than our black
farmers but because of their long history in farming, their financial
resources and because it is the right thing to do.
Mugabe began to act strangely when white farmers gave their support to the
MDC, forgetting that Zanu PF was the initial recipient of white farmers'
largesse. If there was ever a stark example of sour grapes, Mugabe is a
typical example. The President gladly received the commercial farmers'
financial donations when it suited him but now he hates them with a passion.
Another advice for the President is that he should get rid of his current
group of advisers because it has led him astray. He should go back to the
general public and select a new group of unsophisticated advisers. He should
avoid fancy degreed advisers who have contributed nothing towards the good
of the country.
The President should also make peace with teachers who are closest to
society than any other profession. He should make use of retired teachers by
encouraging them to go into farming. Most if not all teachers would welcome
land as part of their retirement package. But alas, once retired, the former
teachers are cast away like useless rubbish.
Recruited retired teachers can work very effectively with commercial farmers
since many of them will have the literacy advantage and record keeping
experience compared to most new black farmers. Teachers are also notoriously
law-abiding people. Retired teachers can team up with commercial farmers and
the new land owners to work together and become a force to reckon with.
Another bitter pill for the President is to relieve the Commissioner of
Police, Augustine Chihuri for what he did and did not do as leader of the
country's police force. Our police force was once upon a time a force
respected by everybody especially children. It was always a joy to watch
smartly uniformed police officers assisting school children and elderly
people to cross busy streetintersections.
But thanks to Chihuri, today's police force is dreaded by all and sundry.
Chihuri should be replaced by an apolitical man or woman whose main and
foremost task will be to clean up the police force.
The new force should then go into the farming regions and remove all those
unwelcome elements terrorising the farming community. After the farms, the
new force should investigate our judiciary which has been badly soiled by
politicians and weed out corrupt elements.
The President should not listen to the likes of Didymus Mutasa who benefited
from the generosity of the late Guy Clutton-Brock, who established Cold
Comfort Farm. Once the President has committed himself to restoring real
order, he should not be swayed in any way by anybody.
Forgiving the President is going to be a difficult task for many Zimbabweans
but let us look at what South Africa did - let us have our own Truth
Commission. Through the commission Zimbabweans will be able to formulate
ways of forgiving each other.
Let us bite the bullet and act now.
Hidden agendas of Zim cricket officials' threaten the sport
ZIMBABWE Cricket has once again been humiliated but this time by Kenya who
defeated Zimbabwe in all the matches played.
We also read reports that officials from Mashonaland together with police
were interrupting club games as the power struggle goes on to ensure that
those in charge of Zimbabwe Cricket continue to manipulate the provinces
with the aim of ensuring they remain in office.
Sadly, those manipulating Zimbabwe Cricket have shown very little interest
in the game but have shown without any doubt that all their hidden agendas
are designed to retain power and control the money earned by Zimbabwe
Cricket as a test playing nation. The damage done to the sport is enormous
and it would seem to interested observers that they are happy to do anything
to avoid probing questions and transparency. Isn't it time that those
supporters of the game (including the Sports Commission) call for a new
democratic constitution and a forensic audit to finally answer the questions
and suspicions that everyone needs answered, including many of those
employed by the union.
The modus operandi of Zimbabwe Cricket is to intimidate and bully all those
who query or question their actions. Lately the intimidation has moved from
the chairman's use of a "rented crowd" organized by Zimbabwe Cricket from as
far afield as Mutare to try to stop awkward questions being asked.
However, the bullying and intimidation of provinces and administrators who
question Zimbabwe Cricket's actions and intentions continues. I think I am
right in saying there are at least three defamation cases against Zimbabwe
Cricket officials awaiting to go through the law courts and three labour
cases all emanating from their cowboy hire-and-fire management style. A
clique within ZC have been trying to manipulate and subvert the Mash CA and
now the Midlands CA to try to entrench complicit "yes" men in the provinces.
Any question anyone may have had about the lack of transparency by Zimbabwe
Cricket was surely confirmed by the recent annual general meeting held in
Bulawayo . For the past 60 if not 100 years the annual general meeting has
been held in Harare nearly always at a place and time to ensure maximum
participation of those supporting the game. This year it was held in
Bulawayo at 9.00 AM which despite what Zimbabwe Cricket might claim, was
designed to ensure as small an attendance as possible and as few questions
as possible. There were two policemen at the door to ensure that journalists
were not allowed in for the first time in 100 years but a motley "rented
crowd" was allowed whose job it was to jeer questioners to shut them up on
the pretext that they also wanted to ask questions. They failed to ask even
One question was raised at the AGM why the constitution was not adhered to
in regard to the accounts and chairman's report. The chairman apologised
claiming the auditors were under pressure and asked that this discrepancy be
approved by convention as it had been known to occur in the past.
In my view this was done deliberately to ensure that participants of the
meeting were given as little time as possible to study the accounts and ask
what may be considered awkward questions. This selective use of convention
indicates the double standards employed by the ZC administration. Let me
* Convention shows that the AGM should be held in Harare where the largest
number of stake holders could attend at a time considered convenient to
* Convention shows that the press were always welcome at all AGMs.
* Convention shows that every honorarium paid to an official of the cricket
board was disclosed by way of a note in the accounts. Yet the payment some
three years ago of 50 000 pounds to the chairman was not mentioned anywhere
but "hidden" in the accounts. Asked what made up directors expenses, the
answer from the then CEO was "meetings and travel expenses only".
Where could the 50 000 pounds be shown if it wasn't in directors expenses.
This all happened in the presence of the board which included a headmaster
and a retired judge all of whom made no effort to correct what appears to
have been a deliberately misleading answer.
May I suggest that this non-transparent board call a special general meeting
to field all questions to vindicate themselves and clarify the rumours and
stories that abound which create so much suspicion and mistrust.
R A Gripper
NetOne promotion: is this real or another con trick?
PLEASE help the country expose the fraud perpetrated by the cellphone
Has there been a winner of one of the four prizes offered by NetOne
promotions? I am one of thousands of people using the facility offered by
NetOne but I have never come across a winning card.
The company has removed cheaper cellphone cards from circulation. The public
is now offered cards from as high as $50 000. Phoning costs have increased
but the service has deteriorated. Many NetOne users have been scratching
away hoping to win one of the attractive prizes advertised only to be faced
with the "play on to win", slogan.
There is really no need for NetOne to launch such a false promotion since
customers will still buy the cards anyway. How many millions have to be
poured in to enable four lucky customers to win the four prizes?
NetOne must do something about the poor service people are getting from the
cellphone company. I have been trying to contact one of my daughters in
Harare without any success.
All I received during the past three days has been the message telling me
the line is busy. Thank God the machine does not charge me for giving me
that negative information otherwise I would have spent the whole $50 000
without speaking to my daughter.
Can someone at NetOne explain this state of affairs? One would do better to
travel all the way to Harare by bus to talk to relatives there than to rely
on our phone systems. Please NetOne clean up your act otherwise I will soon
throw my cellphone into the deepest mineshaft in the country.
Zimbabwe can not afford luxury of a useless Senate
ZIMBABWE is in a very serious crisis, experiencing severe haemorrhaging
politically and economically, because Zanu PF doesn't care about people
The present predicament we, as a nation, find ourselves trapped in was
precipitated by very bad policies authored by the government. This has
become the death of knell of a once very promising economy in Africa.
Yet the Zanu PF government itself remains in denial; they claim that they
are not culpable and they refuse to own up to their very costly blunders. In
addition to their litany of blunders we now have ex-detainees' gratuities
and Senate elections.
Can we afford to have such luxuries at this dire moment? More to the point -
can our economy afford these expenses and sustain development? In the first
place do we need a Senate and what is its role and relevance in our present
The government has certainly lost any sense of empathy with the suffering
people of Zimbabwe. The country is rapidly being consumed by a myriad of
problems and no-one in the Zanu PF leadership seems to care.
Instead of the government taking measures to reduce its expenditure, it is
extending its benevolence to appease its faithful party followers by giving
them gratuities and re-introducing the Senate.
It now seems whatever the government does these days, be it in introducing
new legislation or amendments to existing laws, it is all to its own
advantage. Its policies are designed to cement and consolidate its absolute
control of all facets of our lives.
Furthermore, they continually offer gifts and favours such as farms and
monetary loans to party followers and friends. Such paternalism and nepotism
are bound to fail.
The government needs to be sensitive to the plight and feelings of the
suffering masses because they are God's creation and not State artefacts to
be trifled with.
Rev Fr Norbert T Fokisa O. Carm
St Killian's Mission
This is warped reasoning
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe was at his acerbic best once again, calling the US
ambassador to Zimbabwe, Christopher Dell, to go to hell. His sin; he dared
criticise Zanu PF's ruinous policies that have seen a once prosperous nation
reduced to a basket case.
By making what every sane Zimbabwean should regard as constructive
criticism, Dell is accused of interferring in Zimbabwe's internal affairs.
None of his critics, including Mugabe, could refute Dell's statements with
empirical evidence to show that the envoy was wrong in his assessment of the
What it boils down to is that as Zimbabweans we should just be left alone to
mess up our economy without interference.
It can only be in Zanu PF where you will find this type of warped reasoning!
MDC should discard political prostitutes
EVEN when it is evidently clear that the State is on fire, there are those
who are part of the problem who will always be the beneficiaries of the
chaos. Such people will continue to sing while the country burns.
In spite of all this, the government has got its priorities misplaced, as
has the ruling party itself. Members of Zanu PF are falling over each other
to please President Robert Mugabe and history has proved that those who sing
loudest have been rewarded the most.
What this hero-worshipping has only succeeded in achieving is perpetuation
of the stay in power by someone whose dictatorial tendencies are legendary.
The country we all pretend to love dearly is on fire and we expend our
energies on things that do not help the economy, which as we all know is in
This is why the Governor of the Reserve Bank suggested recently that there
has to be a good relationship between Zimbabwe and international financial
institutions and ensuring there are people with experience on the farms.
This acknowledgement came after he realised that without help from others we
Sadly, the politicians have not helped the central bank governor's cause.
For example, President Mugabe went on the offensive against the
International Monetary Fund, while Didymus Mutasa, the Minister of State for
National Security, who is also responsible for Lands, Land Reform and
Resettlement, threatened a purge of commercial farmers. We all know what
happened after his announcement in Masvingo.
If Zimbabwe entertains any hope of getting investors then the statements by
Mugabe and Mutasa were most unfortunate. They were as good as shooting
ourselves in the foot. No sane investor will be so foolish to take such a
high risk as investing in a place where there is no respect for property
rights, no clear economic policies and where there is no rule of law.
Mugabe is tightening his grip on power and the amendments to the
Constitution are tailor-made to suit his political survival. But they could
be his greatest undoing because they show that he is prepared to go down
with this country. He simply does not care.
It is a fact that in any organisation, such as the MDC, there will be
differences of opinion. It is healthy for the party and democracy. But it
also true, that there could be opportunists among the leaders who choose to
ignore the basic principles which laid down the foundation of the MDC.
The MDC should not become home to political prostitutes. The time to stand
by the founding principles of the MDC is now.
MDC's great betrayal of the majority
MANY people paid the supreme sacrifice in the belief of the possibility of a
genuine political alternative in the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC). But far from vindicating the belief in this possibility, the
MDC no longer looks any different from that which it seeks to replace.
There can be no greater betrayal than this - that at the most critical
moment that the majority of its followers expect decisive leadership,
prevarication predominates the opposition.
Morgan Tsvangirai the leader of the MDC takes his party into three elections
and loses. Michael Howard of the Tories did not require so many humiliations
before he realised that someone better could position the Conservatives for
a better chance at wresting power from Tony Blair's New Labour.
Morgan Tsvangirai believes in democracy, but when his party votes 33 to 31
for participation in Senate elections, he cries foul and seeks to usurp all
functions of the MDC - in effect carrying out a coup d'etat. When will he
learn to lose and shut up?
If you go into any contest you undertake to accept one of two things: accept
that you have won, or that you have lost.
If there was consultation at grassroots level, which led to the National
Council's decision, why is it necessary to go around the country trying to
convince people to do the opposite of what they had indicated to the MDC?
MDC must prove Tsvangirai wrong on Senate elections
IT is interesting that those among the MDC top six who are opposing Morgan
Tsvangirai's stand on Senate elections only have the party's constitution as
their defence. Let me remind them that even President Robert Mugabe is
ruling the country according to the constitution!
The important thing is what do the people of Zimbabwe who are MDC supporters
want? Instead of them talking about the MDC constitution, they should be
reminded that when a constitution goes against the wishes of the majority,
then it is a bad constitution. Democracy is about the wishes of the
majority, not the top six, not the National Council or Politburo!
So to Professor Welshman Ncube, Gibson Sibanda, Gift Chimanikire, Paul
Themba Nyathi, Fletcher Dulini-Ncube and others, the challenge for them is
prove that the majority of the MDC supporters, not the council, prefer
participation in the Senate elections.
Tsvangirai is saying the people do not want participation; prove him wrong!
To me Tsvangirai would be a dictator if the Ncube faction proves that the
majority of the MDC supporters prefer participation in the Senate elections,
otherwise it is the Ncube faction that would be full of dictators hiding
behind the MDC constitution.
Is the Ncube faction hiding behind the constitution to avoid going back to
the people? I did not hear of any consultations with the people of Zimbabwe
when the Bill was brought to Parliament or when Mugabe talked of
re-introducing the Senate. Or were they afraid of what they might find out?
Are they afraid to admit that Zanu PF has once again out-manoeuvred them?
From the day the Bill was first read in Parliament, the MDC should have had
a counter strategy because it was obvious that it was going to be law given
the majority of Zanu PF MPs in Parliament.
There is only one way to end the infighting in MDC. Go back to the
people whom you claim to represent, or else you are breeding dictators who
hide behind constitutions and ignore the people they claim to represent.
Remember, all constitutions can be overridden by people power!