by Nqobizitha Khumalo Wednesday 14 November 2007
BULAWAYO – An alarming 25 000 Zimbabwean school teachers have left the
country since January, unhappy over poor pay and working conditions, a
teachers union said on Tuesday.
The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), which said it is carrying
out an audit of teachers in the country, said out of that total 10 000
teachers had left in the last three months alone despite the government
hiking teachers’ and other civil servants’ salaries in October.
The union said its survey had also revealed that the exodus was no longer
limited to mostly junior to middle–ranking teachers, with senior and more
experienced educationists such as district education officers and provincial
directors also leaving.
“By August 15 000 teachers had left the country. This number is now 25 000
according to a survey we are conducting nationwide,” said PTUZ secretary
general Raymond Majongwe.
Teachers earn Z$17 million per month, far less than the $21 million an
average family of five is estimated to require for basic goods and services
Majongwe said the majority of teachers who quit had been absorbed in
neighbouring countries such as Botswana, South Africa and Namibia, with many
working as labourers at construction sites in South Africa, which is
preparing to host the 2010 Soccer World Cup tournament.
Both Minister of Education Aeneas Chigwedere and his permanent secretary
Stephen Mahere were not immediately available for comment on the matter.
However, Chigwedere last week told Parliament that Harare would approach its
southern African neighbours to ask them to stop taking Zimbabwe's teachers.
Thousands of skilled workers - including doctors, nurses, engineers and
teachers - have been forced abroad by an acute economic recession, critics
blame on repression and wrong policies by President Robert Mugabe’s
Zimbabwe employs about 108 000 teachers but educationists say the country
requires about 120 000 fully qualified teachers to ensure effective learning
All in all, about three million Zimbabweans or a quarter of the country’s 12
million people live abroad after fleeing home because of political violence
and an economic crisis marked by the world’s highest inflation of nearly 8
000 percent, rising unemployment and food shortages.
Mugabe, in power since Zimbabwe’s 1980 independence from Britain and seeking
another five-year term in polls next year, denies ruining the economy and
instead blames his country’s troubles on sabotage by his Western enemies. -
by Wilfred Nyamayaro Wednesday 14 November 2007
HARARE - Six-year old Henry Phiri runs to his mother's side as the convoy of
vehicles draws near the plastic shack that they call home.
The vehicles are belching red dust which immediately changes the colour of
the black plastic roofs in this shanty settlement of over 5 000 families in
Hatcliffe Extension, 20 kilometres north of Harare.
Other children scurry for cover while men and women in tattered clothes look
in awe as the vehicles screech to an abrupt halt near a shack.
Upon catching a glimpse of opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, the men and
women break into song and dance, chanting opposition slogans with a din that
disturbs the tranquil afternoon atmosphere of this wretched settlement.
Not far from the gathering crowd, a soldier who is guarding an unfinished
school chuckles at the sight of Tsvangirai.
Several months ago, the soldier would probably have hurried to his radio, to
call upon reinforcements to come and "deal" with Tsvangirai and his
Maybe times are changing after all!
Even soldiers are feeling the pinch of a national crisis that has seen
massive brain drain and disgruntlement in the civil services sector as the
government fails to pay a decent wage to its employees.
"Our president has come. The people's president has come," a man shouts as
he rushes to shake Tsvangirai's hand.
The opposition leader was on tour of Hatcliffe Extension, one of the shanty
settlements where the government dumped thousands of people during a
clean-up operation of so-called "illegal settlements" in mid-2005.
The clean-up codenamed Operation Murambatsvina (Operation Remove Filth) and
condemned as inhumane by a United Nations envoy, displaced 700 000 people
and indirectly affected another 2.4 million people.
A government publication later revealed that Operation Murambatsvina was
meant to displace the urban population where the opposition enjoys massive
support in a bid to forestall possible civil uprising following the flawed
Parliamentary election held in March 2005.
Some of the displaced families returned to the villages from where they had
come in the first place. However, thousands of families who had no rural
homes to return to were dumped at places like Hatcliffe Extension, where the
government promised to build them new houses.
Two years down the line, President Robert Mugabe's government is still to
honour its promise to build homes these families out of squalor.
Here at Hatcliffe, the government has only built 15 small huts - and even
these are yet to be completed. The people have no access to clean water and
survive on shallow wells dug next to their makeshift latrines.
"We are always suffering from diarrhoea," said Johannes Ranjisi, a widower
who lives with his four children in a one-roomed shack.
"Our children had every reason to run away from your vehicles because the
last time such a vehicle came, it had government officials who came and lied
to us that they would provide decent housing," he added.
Tsvangirai, who was accompanied by his party's spokesman Nelson Chamisa,
moved from hut to hut, listening to heart-rending tales of the daily
struggle that is life in one of the poorest spots in strife-torn Zimbabwe.
At one such shack, Tsvangirai was invited into the "house" only to be told
when he was already inside that the gaping hole he had used to enter was
actually not the door but a "wall" of the house that just needed some
"We have no school here. They said that they would provide everything but it
was just lies," another woman shouted as Tsvangirai toured the area.
"We know more lies are in store for us. They will be coming again soon to
seek our votes but we will not be fooled again," said Martin Gezi, who said
he lived with his brother, a security guard.
Addressing journalists after the tour, Tsvangirai slammed the government for
taking people for a ride and promised that if elected, his Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) party would fight to provide jobs, shelter and other
basic human needs.
"Two years after they destroyed people's houses, they still have not
delivered on their promise of providing shelter to the people," Tsvangirai
"In the new Zimbabwe, never again should a government get away with lying to
the people. We believe that democracy begins with a decent roof over one's
head. We are committed to giving people jobs, food, shelter, schools and
medicines," he added.
Zimbabwe holds joint presidential and parliamentary elections next year.
Tsvangirai and his MDC party nearly ousted Mugabe and ZANU PF in elections
in 2000 and 2002 but this time round the party is seen as weaker after it
split into two rival parties in 2005.
The Tsvangirai faction of the MDC and the other camp of the opposition party
led by academic Arthur Mutambara are expected to field separate candidates
in the polls, a move analysts say could only split and weaken the opposition
Back at Hatcliffe Extension residents broke into song and cheering again as
they waved goodbye to Tsvangirai as he drove out of the settlement.
Yet a few others stood and gazed indifferently as the opposition leader
drove away, probably wondering whether he too would not let them down - just
as Mugabe has done - were they to give him power next year. - ZimOnline
by Ntando Ncube Wednesday 14 November 2007
JOHANNESBURG - A coalition of Zimbabwean civic groups says southern
African states should grant temporary residence permits to displaced
Zimbabweans until the political crisis in their country is resolved.
The Zimbabwe Diaspora Civic Society Organisations Forum (Zimcos), said
at least 60 percent of displaced Zimbabweans have been harassed and
discriminated against in neighbouring states where they have sought refuge.
In a petition submitted to the Southern African Development Community
(SADC) secretariat in Gaborone, Botswana this week, the Forum said regional
leaders must help stop discrimination against Zimbabweans in their
"Our petition is that SADC countries (should) grant temporary
residence permits to Zimbabweans who have sought refuge in their countries,
until the crisis in Zimbabwe is over.
We petition SADC to allow Zimbabweans whether political or economic
refugees, to settle where they are but without necessarily changing their
"When the crisis is over (we are certain that) they will go back,"
read part of the petition.
At least three million Zimbabweans, a quarter of the country's 12
million population, are estimated to have fled hunger and political
repression at home into neighbouring countries, particularly South Africa
The Zimbabweans have however in the past complained of harassment by
the police and immigration officials in SADC countries who accuse them of
fanning criminal activities in their host countries.
The Forum said SADC countries should halt the chronic arrests,
deportation and detention of displaced Zimbabweans saying the majority of
Zimbabweans were willing to return home if the economic and political
The call by the Forum comes hardly a week after the United
States-based Refugees International urged the United Nations to play a
greater role in providing for the needs of the growing number of Zimbabwean
refugees in southern Africa.
The group said South Africa, Zambia and Botswana should stop deporting
Zimbabweans flocking to their countries but should instead develop new legal
framework to provide fresh solutions to the refugee problem. - ZimOnline
By Patience Rusere
13 November 2007
Officials of the faction of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic
Change led by MDC founder Morgan Tsvangirai said authorities in Manicaland
Province arrested six members of the party Tuesday Chipinge South for
challenging local authorities who denied them the right to purchase maize
from a Grain Marketing Board depot.
Faction spokesman Nelson Chamisa said violence broke out between the MDC
members and individuals believed to be members of the local ZANU-PF ruling
party when they questioned the basis on which they were denied access to
The Grain Marketing Board, a government cereals monopoly, controls
distribution of much of the grain produced in the country or purchased by
the government in foreign markets, such as nearby Malawi or neighboring
South Africa. The opposition and civic groups allege that the GMB in rural
areas excludes opposition supporters.
Chamisa said he did not have all the names of the arrested, but he believed
one was the organizing secretary for the faction in Chipinge, Caleb
Muchakotama. He said no charges had been brought as yet in the matter to his
Chamisa told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe the
incident reflected the government's systematic use of food for political
In a similar incident, the MDC reported that members were denied the
opportunity to buy maize at a GMB depot in Chimanimani, also in Manicaland.
The opposition said officials denied maize to those could not prove
membership in the ruling party.
Officials at GMB headquarters could not be reached Tuesday for comment.
Spokesman Fambai Ngirande of the National Association of Non-governmental
Organizations said the political use of food is increasing as elections
The government has called local elections in January 2008 followed by
parliamentary and presidential elections in March of next year.
By Blessing Zulu and Carole Gombakomba
13 November 2007
The British parliament and Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic
Change are urging London to investigate Barclays Bank for possibly violating
European Union targeted financial sanctions against Zimbabwe's ruling elite.
The Sunday Times of London reported this week that Barclays lent 750 million
pounds to at least five Zimbabwean cabinet ministers in the first half of
this year alone through a Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe program called the
Agriculture Sector Productivity Enhancement Facility intended to stimulate
recovery in the moribund sector.
Among the beneficiaries, according to the Sunday Times, were State Security
and Land Resettlement Minister Didymus Mutasa, Policy Implementation
Minister Webster Shamu, Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, Agriculture
Minister Rugare Gumbo and Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa.
All five are subject to European Union sanctions intended to cut them off
from funds or other economic resources under the control of EU nations.
President Robert Mugabe recently boasted, however, that his government was
getting around the sanctions.
A government representative to the House of Lords, Baroness Royall of
Blaisdon, told peers Monday that an investigation is under way to determine
whether the loans reported by the Sunday Times represent a breach of the EU
Secretary General Tendai Biti of the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change faction led by MDC founder Morgan Tsvangirai condemned Barclays and
urged the international community to launch a probe. An official at Barclays
corporate headquarters in London refused to comment on the matter.
Attorney Otto Saki of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights told reporter
Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that it is morally wrong for
Barclays Bank to fund the farm operations of ministers who have used
violence to seize land since 2000.
The EU said, meanwhile that it will expand humanitarian aid to Zimbabwe. EU
funding to Zimbabwe in 2006 totaled more than US$125 million - over US$282
million including bilateral contributions from EU members - the European
European ambassadors who recently visited EU projects in Zimbabwe said they
would like to fund water and sanitation programs in Bulawayo.
Members of the British upper house also asked the government what it is
doing to ensure Zimbabwe is discussed at the upcoming meeting of heads of
government of the Commonwealth of nations set to open in Uganda next week.
Speaking for the government, Baroness Royall of Blaisdon responded that as
Zimbabwe is no longer a commonwealth member, it would not be on the formal
agenda but would be discussed on the margins of the meeting.
That meeting on the sidelines next Wednesday is being organized by the Royal
Commonwealth Society of London, whose director general, Stuart Mole, told
reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that there is much
the Commonwealth can do to help to end the Zimbabwe crisis.
Since 2003 a Commonwealth committee headed by Jamaica has been seeking ways
to bring Zimbabwe back into the organization following President Mugabe’s
decision to pull out of the group of mostly former British colonies.
Senior Programs Officer Phillip Pasirayi of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
said that while Zimbabwe isn’t likely to rejoin the Commonwealth soon, such
interventions are beneficial.
By Innocent Gonese (MP)
The recent arrest of the Attorney General, Sobusa Gula Ndebele, on
allegations of Contravening Section 174 (1) of the Criminal Law
(Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23 has once again shown the ZANU
(PF) regime's lack of appreciation and understanding of the concepts of the
rule of law, separation of powers and independence of the Attorney
General's office. The action shows a contempt and disdain for constitutional
principles and is symptomatic of a regime that has lost its way and
While we hold no brief for Mr. Gula Ndebele and we express no opinion on the
correctness or otherwise of the decision he is alleged to have made in
relation to Mr. Mushore, our concern as the Movement Democratic Change is
that the behavior of the Police undermines the remaining vestiges of the
public's confidence in the justice delivery system. Over the years we have
witnessed the battering that the rule of law has received at the hands of
the ZANU (PF) regime and this latest incident simply reinforces the point
that we must return to constitutionalism and respect of our institutions.
While our constitution is defective and needs a complete overhaul, it does
give some independence to the judiciary and the Attorney General and in this
regard Section 76(7) of the constitution is clear and unambiguous in that it
gives unfettered powers to the Attorney General and it states that he or she
"shall not be subject to the direction and control of any person or
authority". One would therefore have expected that in the exercise of his
duties the Attorney General is vested with discretionary powers in matters
relating to prosecutions.
In any civilized society, there are ways of dealing with issues and if it
was felt that the Attorney General had exceeded the bonds of the powers
vested in him, then the proper procedures would be to institute proceedings
for his removal instead of hauling him before the Police as
a common criminal.
Unfortunately, Zimbabwe is neither a civilized nor a democratic country and
it would be too much to expect the ZANU (PF) regime to pay any regard to
legal nicecities and Zimbabwean citizens have over the years been victims of
this high handed approach only for the cases to collapse due to lack of
It is not only members of the opposition and civil society who have been
arrested on trumped up charges and the arrest of the Attorney General comes
in the wake of the acquittal of Levison Chikafu, the Manicaland Area Public
Prosecutor. Mr. Chikafu was not even placed on his defence and he was
cleared of all five charges he was facing after being discharged at the
close of the state case. He made allegations that his prosecution was
politically motivated because he had the courage to prosecute some high
The ZANU (PF) regime has shown in the past that it is not comfortable with
people who execute their duties in a professional way and it has a long
history of ignoring legal advise given to it. It was not comfortable with
the previous Attorney General and one hopes that we are
not witnessing a situation where this is persecution and harassment related
to political differences. We have noted that the Attorney General's Office
Bill which went through its first reading and received a non adverse report
from the Parliamentary Legal Committee has not seen the light of day and is
gathering some dust in some office somewhere and one wonders whether there
is a link between the latest incident and the Bill.
As the Movement for Democratic Change, we believe that Zimbabwe can only
move forward when we have a government which derives its mandate from the
people through elections which are held freely and fairly under a democratic
people driven constitution. It is only such a government which can observe
democratic norms and standards and respect its institutions, the rule of law
and democracy. Expecting ZANU (PF) to do so is to live in world cuckooland
and expect that a leopard can change its spots.
Hon. Innocent Gonese (MP)
Secretary for Justice Legal And Parliamentary Affairs
12 November 2007
By Ntungamili Nkomo
13 November 2007
Human rights activists said Tuesday they will present resolutions on
Zimbabwe to the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights when it
convenes on Wednesday in Brazzaville, capital of the Republic of the Congo.
The rights organizations meeting under the auspices of the African NGO Forum
said they want the African Union to take a more active role resolving
Zimbabwe's crisis and to engage the opposition as well as the ruling party.
They demanded that Harare halt what they allege is torture of human rights
campaigners and opposition figures.
Meanwhile, the Commission deferred to May the case of human rights lawyer
Gabriel Shumba, who has sued the Zimbabwean government for his alleged
torture. AU officials said Zimbabwe did not submit a response to the
Shumba told reporter Ntungamili Nkomo of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that
the NGO resolutions will be submitted to the African Commission on
By Ndimyake Mwakalyelye
13 November 2007
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria said Tuesday it had
rejected proposals from Zimbabwe’s for further grants to combat TB and
Global Fund Communications Officer Nicolas Demey said grant proposals
submitted by Zimbabwe seeking a total of US$48.5 million for malaria and
US$25.5 million for tuberculosis over a five year period were turned down
for technical weaknesses.
He said he could not determine whether Zimbabwe had also applied for another
grant to fight AIDS, noting that proposals go through stages before reaching
a technical review panel which recommends successful proposals to the Fund's
Neither Zimbabwean Health Minister David Parirenyatwa nor any other senior
official in the national health system could be reached immediately for
To date the Global Fund has turned down Zimbabwean proposals in five of
seven funding rounds. However, to date the Fund has disbursed around US$35
million with approximately US$50 million more pending disbursement to
So far in 2007 the Global Fund has approved 73 new grants for a total of
US$1.1 billion, the highest in any single year since its creation in 2002.
To date the Fund has made grants totaling some US$10 billion to the benefit
of 136 countries.
Fund Executive Director David Kazatchkine said the billion-dollar mark
attained this year reflected "high-quality demand for resources," a trend to
Fund figures show AIDS and malaria accounting for 48% and 42%, respectively,
of the funding approved, with tuberculosis grants accounting for 10%.
Demey rejected the charge which has often been leveled against the Fund that
its rejection of the latest Zimbabwean applications was political, given the
significant declines in Zimbabwe’s HIV prevalence rate in recent years.
He told reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyelye of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that
the Fund encouraged Harare reapply to the next round to run in March-June
Teachers troop out in search of money
Published 2007-11-14 06:20 (KST)
Zimbabwe's eight-year long political, social and economic turmoil is
undoing all the successes that the country had recorded since it attained
independence from British colonial rule in 1980.
Now it threatens to destroy its future too, as hordes of disgruntled
teachers are opting to abandon pupils in search of greener pastures anywhere
outside the borders of their homeland.
In September 2007, Maidei Madu, 27, a primary school teacher in
eastern Zimbabwe, finally packed her bags and headed to neighboring South
Africa, as many had done before her.
She took a three-month leave from her job on the pretext that she was
going to see her husband who had emigrated to South Africa three months
earlier. But the truth was she had no intention of coming back to her
beleaguered homeland. She was going for good to find a job in South Africa.
Thousand of teachers across Zimbabwe are deserting their jobs over
poor pay and working conditions, leaving pupils unattended. Teachers
currently earn US$17 a month, a paltry figure, which cannot help them to
cope with the country's hyperinflation.
Consequently, hordes of teachers are leaving. Zimbabwe has lost many
of its skilled and highly educated professionals over the past decade to
both neighboring and far-flung countries.
When teachers like Madu choose to go look for jobs elsewhere, they do
not give any notice of resignation or retirement. They simply abscond,
making it difficult for the government to keep track in order to find
According to Zimbabwean Ministry of Education officials, finding
replacements for absconding teachers is nearly impossible as the country is
facing a shortage of teachers.
"We are working on raising teachers' salaries to curb this exodus and
something will be done soon. We do not like it either, so very soon things
will be better in the education sector. We know the plight of our teachers,"
said Zimbabwe's Education Minister Aeneas Chigwedere.
"What is happening is that teachers are being poached by our
neighboring countries. I even have advertisements in the papers from the
neighboring countries advertising for our science and mathematics teachers
and this is why they are absconding."
The high levels of education and training of Zimbabwean teachers (as
well as other professionals) make them attractive in many countries around
With inflation hovering above 8,000 percent and rising, it is clear
that the government will not be able to meet the ever-growing salary demands
Apart from that, food and fuel shortages, electricity cuts, and lack
of teaching materials have all but left teachers, and many other
professionals, in a place where they cannot properly execute their roles.
As a way to curb the exodus of teachers, President Robert Mugabe's
government recently announced that it would ask its Southern African
neighbors to stop poaching Zimbabwean teachers.
The Zimbabwean government also recently resolved to bond newly
qualified teachers and now requires neighboring countries to approach it
before employing Zimbabwean teachers as part of measures to mitigate the
brain drain in the education sector.
Whatever the case, it is Zimbabwe's future that stands to lose the
most, and urgent action is required to stop the bleeding of a
November 14, 2007
Peter Tatchell: Thunderer
Uganda is drifting towards dictatorship, just like Zimbabwe a decade ago.
The Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni, is a new Robert Mugabe in the
making, a budding tyrant who is subverting democracy and human rights
(according to Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch) through voter
intimidation, hounding opposition politicians, detention without trial,
torture, extrajudicial killings, media censorship, corruption, suppression
of protests, homophobic witch-hunts, and crackdowns on universities and
And how is he rewarded for these abuses? By being given the honour of
hosting the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Kampala in
two weeks' time.
The Queen and Gordon Brown will accept the hospitality of a despot who has
abolished limits on presidential terms in an attempt to ensure that he
remains president for life; framed the opposition leader Kizza Besigye on
charges of rape and treason; and who is implicated in massacres in the
Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and northern Uganda.
While thousands of Ugandans are searching for loved ones held without trial
in Museveni's secret detention centres, the Commonwealth Secretariat is
fussing obscenely over hotel standards for delegates and whether Kampala's
upgraded mobile phone and internet connections will be ready in time for
Museveni was once Uganda's great democratic hope. He now heads an often
lawless, criminal state. Last month the East African Court of Justice found
Uganda guilty of violating the rule of law and the rights of its citizens.
Previously, in 2005, the East Africa Court of Justice ruled that Uganda must
pay the DRC up to £5.6 billion in compensation for its war of aggression,
plundering of resources and killing of civilians.
Similar abuses have been happening in the civil war in northern Uganda. More
than 1.5 million people were herded into camps by the Ugandan Army. Some
were beaten, raped and killed; many more fell ill and died from
unsanitary conditions. In the worst period, fatalities peaked at 1,000 a
Zimbabwe was suspended from the Commonwealth for breaching the
Commonwealth's 1991 Harare Declaration on good governance and human rights.
Uganda's violations have, in contrast, merited barely a murmur of criticism.
Why the double standards? The Commonwealth's tacit collusion with Museveni's
abuses is the most shameful betrayal of the Ugandan people since its feeble
response to Idi Amin's murderous regime in the 1970s. If the Commonwealth
won't defend its humanitarian principles against autocratic leaders, what is
the point of its existence?