15 November 2006
Zimbabwean opposition leaders have deplored the World Food Program’s reduction of assistance to Zimbabwe, arguing that this will strengthen the government’s hand in the use of food as a political tool in addition to leaving many Zimbabweans hungry.
The Associated Press reported from Stockholm, Sweden, where opposition leaders traveled at the invitation of the Olof Palme Center, that secretary general Tendai Biti of the Movement for Democratic Change faction led by MDC founding president Morgan Tsvangirai called the WFP decision "tragic" in its likely impact on rural dwellers.
Secretary-General Welshman Ncube of the rival MDC faction said the decision would, by widening food shortages, increase Harare's ability to use food distribution through state channels as an instrument of political control - an accusation that has often been lodged against the government of President Robert Mugabe.
But International Crisis Group senior analyst Sidney Masamv in Pretoria, South Africa, told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that food shortages are in fact of concern to Harare as they reflect the failure of its land reform policy.
Zimbabwean Women Demand Fair Half Share Of Leadership Posts
15 November 2006
Women activists are urging Harare to uphold its commitment to boost participation by women at all levels of political leadership and decision-making, and will underscore their point with a march in the Zimbabwean capital on Thursday.
Director Rutendo Hadebe of the Women in Politics and Support Unit said women hold only 22 percent of leadership positions though the government has signed a Southern African Development Community declaration calling for women to hold half such jobs.
Her organization has planned the march in Harare to launch its 50-50 Campaign. The group is also urging Harare to ratify an African Union protocol that calls on member nations to implement the principle of equal representation for women.
Hadebe told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that this week's action was prompted by recent events including the country's rural elections in which only about 150 women were elected compared with more than 1,200 men, as well as a sometimes acrimonious debate on domestic violence legislation.
More reports from VOA'S Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...
15 November 2006
Rifts within the ruling ZANU-PF party are widening ahead of the party’s national conference early next month as insiders report Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono, widely perceived as a favorite of the president, has been pulled into the brawl.
Some cabinet members and ruling party members of parliament regard Gono as a potential presidential contender in 2008, and are agitating for him to resign. Various parliamentary committees have asked him to come and explain his policies against a backdrop of continued recession and inflation running at an annual 1,070%.
But ZANU-PF member for Makonde Leo Mugabe, chairman of the transport and communications committee, told VOA’s Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that Gono has asked ZANU-PF chief whip Joram Gumbo’s parliamentary coordination committee to set up a joint session so he can brief members of several committees at the same time
Ruling party sources said Gono wants to avoid grilling by unfriendly parliamentarians. Last week he was summoned before the National Economic Recovery Council chaired by Vice President Joyce Mujuru and an extraordinary cabinet meeting presided over by President Robert Mugabe over the recent importation of substandard fertilizer.
Political analyst Sydney Masamvu of the International Crisis Group in South Africa said ZANU-PF is divided into three camps ahead of its annual conference: one aligned with Mujuru, another to her rival and presidential aspirant Emmerson Mnangagwa, and the third, including Gono, comprising confidants and loyalists of President Mugabe.
Speaking up in his own defense, Gono recently told the Standard newspaper that unnamed cabinet members were “grandstanding and deliberately misrepresenting facts” in an attempt to smear him ahead of ZANU-PF conference.
Economist John Robertson remarked to reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that Gono's ouster would do nothing to resolve Zimbabwe's crisis.
afrol News / The Zimbabwean, 15 November - The commanders of Zimbabwe's joint forces have confronted President Robert Mugabe about his succession plans - but once again the wily politician has evaded the issue. Generals told President Mugabe he should stick to his plan to step down in 2008, and that he should pick a successor within the country's military leadership.
Authoritative sources said the top generals, under the
umbrella of the Joint Operation Command (JOC), met Zimbabwean President Mugabe
in one of their regular briefings ahead of the ruling ZANU-PF party conference
scheduled in two weeks time.
They told him frankly that he should act now on his promise to step down in 2008 and appoint a successor in order to "to preserve his legacy" it was learnt this week. Sources said the commanders were particularly concerned to find out from Mr Mugabe himself whether he intends to remain Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces after March 2008.
"The JOC heads told the President that they wanted to preserve his legacy, and they were amenable to the idea of any serving or retired army general coming in as his successor. They also emphasised that any change of civilian government should be done constitutionally," said a source close to the meeting.
The JOC comprises General Constantine Chiwenga, Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, Lieutenant General Phillip Valerio Sibanda, Commander of the Zimbabwe National Army, Air Marshall Perence Shiri of the Airforce, Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri and Happyton Bonyongwe, Director-General of the spy agency, Central Intelligence Organisation.
The generals have been largely silent on their preferred alternative to President Mugabe, and did not propose any particular candidate during the meeting.
They however told the President that the absence of a clear succession plan was fuelling apprehension. This could be quelled by the appointment of a popular candidate who could unite the warring factions within the ruling party that have resulted in its dwindling national support base in recent months.
Other sources said the generals' feelings were shared by a number of senior ZANU-PF officials who had clandestinely lobbied them to confront the 82-year-old leader and challenge him on whether he would back up his retirement words with deeds in the interest of peace.
However, top ruling party sources said the succession issue was not even on the provisional agenda.
Although President Mugabe has permitted debate on the succession, he has at the same time moved swiftly to destroy politically anyone who has declared an ambition to succeed him. He recently castigated his cabinet colleagues for consulting n'angas - traditional medicine men - in an effort to gain favour.
He is also well known for saying one thing and doing another. He characteristically ducked the issues raised by the generals saying supporters should be urged to rally behind the ruling party.
There is a strong element with ZANU-PF that wants him to extend his stay until 2010, thus synchronising the general and presidential elections every five years. But analysts say the President no longer has the stamina nor the appeal to woo a restless and angry electorate, reeling from record inflation and unemployment.
According to the highly placed sources, it was pointed out to Mr Mugabe in the meeting that his support base in former ZANU-PF strongholds such as Masvingo, the Midlands and Manicaland had dwindled and that he could only bank on the vote in the Zimbabwean province of Mashonaland.
Some analysts said the Harare cabinet had also been weakened by divisions as powerful military and business factions tried to influence its economic decisions and jockey for favourable positions in the nearing post-Mugabe era.
By Gift Phiri
© afrol News / The Zimbabwean
By Cris Chinaka
HARARE (Reuters) - One fire lit more than a century ago by British colonialists burns on in southern Africa not as a scorching reminder of oppression but as a torch lighting a path.
The legacy of colonial and mission education remains strong even in Zimbabwe, locked in a bitter battle with its former colonial master and suffering economic meltdown.
Zambia and Malawi, the other, very different members of the former Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, share the trend.
Regional experts say that after independence, African nationalists expanded a system in which they either taught or studied, believing education was key to black advancement.
"There is a common heritage in the school system that has worked well for the region," said Eldred Masunungure of the University of Zimbabwe. "The education torch is burning brightly but in other areas, the light is just flickering."
Radicals in the three countries, which for 10 years to 1963 were tied together in a forced political marriage as British colonies, have at times agitated for an overhaul.
But they have only won only slight changes from bureaucrats wary of tinkering with success and more public schools have been opened more private and Christian-run mission colleges allowed.
"There are problems of course, but compared to other countries and regions, the level of investment in education is quite commendable and the results are evident," a regional (British Council) education official said.
Those results are a mixed blessing for the countries themselves as many well-educated, English-speaking professionals head overseas.
EDUCATED BUT UNEMPLOYED
Zimbabwe is a case in point.
President Robert Mugabe, a Jesuit-educated teacher who acquired half a dozen degrees while in detention for 10 years up to 1974, is credited even by his critics with investing heavily in education at independence in 1980.
Thousands of schools were built, and primary and basic secondary education were practically made compulsory.
Its secondary education is now rated among the top three in Africa after Tunisia and Kenya in the latest U.N. survey, but many say this is threatened by the economic slide.
With the economy shrunk by more than a third in eight years in a crisis blamed on Mugabe's policies and unemployment at 80 percent, an army of educated and trained students are jobless.
An average 200,000 school leavers join the job market yearly but a quarter of Zimbabwe's 12 million people -- including many skilled workers -- have been forced to seek a living abroad.
In Zambia, experts say steady investment in education over the years is producing a fair number of trained professionals who, along those from Zimbabwe and Malawi, often seek work in richer neighbouring economies such as South Africa and Botswana.
While Zambia's economy has been growing at an average 5.1 percent over the last five years, critics say the state now has to back up its drive to improve primary education by pouring resources into higher education.
Embarrassingly, Zambia's last public secondary school was built in 1970, and the country has only two universities -- the University of Zambia in Lusaka and another on the Copperbelt.
"In comparison to other African countries, we have a good base and we are fairly competitive. But there is a lot more to do," says former Zambian Education Minister Brian Chituwo.
"We have to bridge the growing gap in teacher training, to work hard to maintain and to improve standards," he added.
"ETON OF AFRICA"
Zambia, Malawi and Zimbabwe have three types of schools -- public, private and mission -- with local boards to run exams and sometimes offer highly-respected Cambridge Education examinations and certificates.
Their universities also manage their own courses along the traditional British system and many have exchange programmes with colleges in the former colonial power.
But while the British education legacy survives in many forms today, former Malawian strongman Hastings Kamuzu Banda went one step further in the 1980s.
Banda, the official Life President of Malawi, which he ruled for 30 years until 1994, carved an elite school in middle of one of the world's poorest countries, a move seen by his critics as a reflection of a stiff and eccentric character.
The Kamuzu Academy, predominantly staffed by tutors from Britain, offered studies in classics because the "Ngwazi," or Saviour as Banda was known, believed no person was truly educated unless had studied Latin and Greek.
The academy's immaculate buildings set in green lawns and a landscaped garden were dubbed the "Eton of Africa" by Banda's admirers. Its stature declined with his loss of power and the government recently formed a trust to maintain standards.
In Zimbabwe, Mugabe says despite the economic slide, his government is determined to build on its heritage, noting he and former white Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith both benefited from an education trust founded by Cecil John Rhodes who led British colonialism in southern Africa in the 1890s.
"We share Rhodes in that respect," he said.
13 November 2006
The government of President Robert Mugabe continues its repression of dissidents in Zimbabwe. According to a report by the independent monitoring group, Human Rights Watch, "Over the past year the government has reacted to a spate of nationwide protests against its policies on social, economic, and human rights conditions in the country by intensifying its efforts to intimidate, silence, and punish those who expose abuses and exercise their basic rights."
The Mugabe government, says the report, "has taken no clear action to halt the rising incidence of torture and ill-treatment of activists while in the custody of police or the intelligence services."
Georgette Gagnon, deputy Africa director at Human Rights Watch, says, "When Zimbabweans engage in peaceful protest, the government responds with brutal repression." She says, "The authorities use torture, arbitrary arrest and detention to deter activists from engaging in their right to freely assemble and express their views."
One student activist taken into custody told Human Rights Watch, "During interrogation, they beat me with baton sticks, clenched fists and kept kicking me." The student said, "Each night they would come and they would strip me naked and then handcuff me with my hands between my legs so that I would not be able to move while they beat me."
The Human Rights Watch report documents the September 13th assault on fifteen trade unionists at the Matapi police station in Harare. They were taken into custody and beaten after participating in a peaceful demonstration protesting the deteriorating economy.
In its latest human rights report, the U.S. State Department cites President Mugabe's "steady assault on human dignity and basic freedoms." U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, Jeffrey Krill, says, "Zimbabwe continues to move in the wrong direction":
"They continue to arrest and detain opposition leaders and their supporters. And then last year they closed down an independent newspaper, showing just how unwilling they are even to accept criticism. So the Zimbabwean government continues to be a real human rights offender on the continent."
President George W. Bush says the U.S. "is concerned about a leadership that does not adhere to democratic principles."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.
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Apology and Retraction
“On 06 November 2006 a letter was published under the heading JAG Open Letter Forum No. 453, describing an incident which had allegedly taken place at TM’s Borrowdale supermarket and which letter was extremely critical of TM.
TM has denied strenuously the events described in such letter and its legal practitioners have requested that JAG publish TM’s explanation of events.
We do so below:
Our instructions are to state that the individual concerned was observed deliberately packing a large number of plastic bags into a green South-African type shopping bag (not as suggested by him that he “had a few plastic bags over”). After the customer had paid for certain purchases and left the checkpoint area, an employee of TM asked him to go to the manager’s office and he complied willingly. The manager requested permission to check the customer’s shopping bag and, having been granted this, discovered 67 unused bags, which had not been purchased and had been removed improperly. The customer then suggested, unconvincingly, that he had brought the bags from home. When he was advised that he had been seen putting the bags into this chopping container, he acknowledged immediately that this was correct and offered an apology for taking them. He then asked if he could take the bags home for use. His request was denied, but he was advised that TM had a similar product for sale. The customer did not take up the offer to make the purchase. The plastic bags were retained by the manager and the customer was allowed to leave.
He was clearly embarrassed at having been caught attempting to remove a large number of plastic bags for his own use. These, incidentally, are purchased by our client at a current cost of $6.50 each.
It is understood that when the individual went to the car park, he uttered a disparaging comment about the President and Zimbabwe, which attracted the attention of a uniformed policeman and a plain-clothed official, who took up the issue with him.
The incident in the car park was obviously provoked by the improper utterance concerning the President and had nothing to do with the incident relating to the plastic bags.
The persons who confronted him were clearly State security operatives and had no connection with TM Supermarkets.
The fallacy of the facts presented in the offending letter, of course, is that our client is in business to attract customers, not deter them, as your complainant suggests.
IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES, JAG IS HAPPY TO RETRACT THE ORIGINAL LETTER AND TO ISSUE AN UNRESERVED APOLOGY TO TM FOR ANY HARM WHICH MAY HAVE BEEN CAUSED TO IT BY THE PUBLICATION OF THE ORIGINAL LETTER”.
The JAG Team.
Letter 1 – Eric
Dear Jag Team,
I enjoy the jist of your letter!
I am fully aware of the hard work and dedication you guys put in and I know it is full time and nothing is ever a problem- you are on call 24hrs a day! It must be often a thankless and frustrating task!?
Please accept my apologies as we will not be able to attend but are with you in spirit and back your efforts. I was reading some of the open letter forum letters and concur with them fully ( J Kockett,B Norton, G W-Smith, M&A Herud etc )
Good luck with the meeting and I do hope your attendance is high and debate is fruitful.
Moreover Thanks Again to all of you and please keep things together - we really appreciate it, even from afar.
Letter 2 – Rev George Martin
I was, this afternoon, forced off the road at about 79 km from Harare, travelling West, by a huge transport rig, whose driver, miscalculating the speed need to overtake my Toyota going up hill at a steady 100k/hr, before the next set of double lines, forced me off the road. I was simply lucky that there was none of those rocks that the same drivers often leave on the shoulder of the road. The registration number is AAS 8999. The cab is dark blue. The driver stopped in Marondera, and I stopped, too, to point out that his driving had been dangerous , culpably so. He, of course, claimed that he had done nothing wrong and that he had his witnesses, (which was true as seven men got out of the cab, also illegal.) Going to the police would be a waste of time, with numbers, perjury and colour being on the side of the driver.
I write this so that, maybe the owner of the rig might read it and know that he employs a dangerous bully as a driver. Also, drivers of small vehicles beware!
I guess that, as bullying and perjury start at the top, the people of Zimbabwe will degenerate further into selfish yobs.
Rev. George Martin Monday 13th Novmber.
Letter 3 – C J Coleman
Thankyou for the notice - regret unable to attend. C.J.working on queen bee breeding in South Australia and big project on pollination funded by Landcare.
Yours Shirley and C.J. Coleman
Thank you for the notice of meeting --- regrettably I am "Confined to Barracks" following minor surgery, so am unable to attend --- please record my apologies, and I look forward to a Sitrep of Proceedings in the near future. I am sure the debate will be of great interest and useful.
Regards and Thanks
Could we, through you, tell J Kockott to get a grip with life - he is one of the lucky, wealthy people that are able to afford, to get out the country, where some of us, have to stay here, to keep our heads above water, to survive and now rely on getting a lease, to see if we can secure some sort of life here? It is so easy to cities and point fingers, BUT, every case in this
country is different and each and everyone of us, have had to make our own plans, like you have J Kockott, but you have been the lucky ones, to be able to be out the country to make your plan, so good luck to you and try to change your attitude a little and be loyal to your fellow farmers, who are struggling to adjust and make a living and maybe, one day, we will have
money, like you, that you obviously made out of farming, right here in Zim.
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MEMORIAL SERVICE - DENISE OLDKNOW
Memorial service for the late Denise Oldknow who sadly passed away on the
4/11/06 in NZ after a brave fight, will be held on the 17/11/06 at 3pm at 17
Kingsmead Rd, Borrowdale
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The youths unleashed a reign of terror in
The crackdown by the youths comes a few weeks after Industry and International Trade Minister Obert Mpofu threatened to crack the whip on business for hiking prices without government approval.
Skyrocketing prices are just one on a long list of problems bedevilling Zimbabwe in its seventh year of a bitter economic meltdown described by the World Bank as the worst in the world outside a war zone.
The youths, who are graduates of the government’s national service training programme, were deployed under an operation code-named “Operation Sunrise Two” to enforce price controls on selected basic commodities.
Sources within the police told ZimOnline that the price monitoring teams comprise agents from the feared spy Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), the police as well as the army.
Scores of businessmen who spoke to ZimOnline yesterday said they were harassed and beaten up by the youths on Tuesday for allegedly hiking prices without government permission.
“They came here and started harassing me for selling bread at $300, just five cents above the government approved price.
“When I told them that I did that because of a shortage of smaller denominations of the local currency, they started accusing me of sabotaging government efforts to stabilise prices.
“They said we were working with the MDC to topple Mugabe from power,” said businessman John Frank.
Several other businessmen in
Mpofu confirmed that the government had deployed the youths in cities and towns saying they were assisting the police and officers from his ministry to monitor prices of controlled commodities.
“They are there to beef up our manpower base because there are so many shops to be visited, yet we have very few members of staff.
“Their duty is just to enforce the law and that is what we have told them to do. Those who have been genuinely ill-treated are also free to report at police stations and I am sure the police will act accordingly,” said Mpofu.
Police spokesman Inspector Shepherd Sibanda rejected charges that the youths were harassing people saying those with genuine complaints against the youths should approach the police.
"No-one is above the law and the youths can be arrested just like everybody else as long as they are found on the wrong side of the law,” said Sibanda.
Human rights groups have often accused the youths of torturing and harassing opponents of the government. But the government denies that the youths harass opposition supporters. - ZimOnline
MASVINGO – A former white commercial farmer has filed a spoliation order against a
The former farmer, John Fraser, was kicked out of his farm near Mupandawana rural service centre in the southern Masvingo province in 2001 by Indigenisation and Empowerment Minister Samuel Mumbengegwi.
Mumbengegwi found over 300 cattle on the farm and gave Fraser a week to remove the cattle. But Fraser failed to comply with the ultimatum arguing that the reallocation period was too short.
The minister however demanded “grazing fees” arguing that as the new owner, the Frasers had no right to let their cattle graze on his property.
But the Frasers again failed to pay the fees leading to the minister forcibly seizing the whole herd.
In his affidavit, Fraser says: “Our property was taken over by the government at the height of farm invasions but when the new owner came, he grabbed a herd of about 300 cattle.
“The new owner who is one Samuel Mumbengegwi failed to give us enough time to relocate our cattle and later demanded grazing fees from us.
“We failed to pay the required fees resulting in the minister taking into his custody the said animals. We have written several letters of demand but nothing has materialised. We are therefore seeking an order to have the cattle returned to us.”
Mumbengegwi was given 14 days to file his opposing papers.
Contacted for comment yesterday, Mumbengegwi scoffed at the legal challenge.
“The white commercial farmer is just wasting his time. The issue is over and he will never win the case,” said Mumbengegwi. - ZimOnline
Mnangagwa heads a faction of ZANU PF that is embroiled in a mortal fight with a rival faction of the party headed by former army commander Solomon Mujuru.
Mnangagwa’s quest for the country’s top job received a severe knock in December 2004 after he lost the vice-presidency of ZANU PF and the country to Mujuru’s wife, Joice.
In a stinging letter to Mugabe that points to interesting behind-the-scenes manouvres to succeed the veteran leader, the war veterans accused Mnangagwa of sowing seeds of confusion in the province.
“Your Excellency, there are two distinct ZANU PF factions in the
“Those who support Hon Mujuru and his Excellency, the President are considered renegades,” the war veterans said in a letter that was shown to ZimOnline. “It seems there is an urgent need to address these issues.”
The war veterans allege that a delegation from the province which went to see Mujuru earlier this year was being labelled “reactionaries” by the Mnangagwa camp.
The former fighters attached a list of over 25 senior ZANU PF officials and state security agents who had been allocated farms for backing Mnangagwa’s bid for the presidency.
They also queried why Mnangagwa's portrait, instead of Mugabe's, was on display in the province's public buildings and party offices saying “whatever this means is subject to conjecture.”
The former fighters also accused Mnangagwa of being involved in illegal gold mining ventures in the province.
“It is an open secret that more than 90 percent of the small-scale mines in the province are directly or indirectly owned by Cde Mnangagwa and July Moyo,” said the former freedom fighters.
Moyo is a former Cabinet Minister and ZANU PF chairman for the
Contacted for comment yesterday, Mnangagwa said: “I don't comment on rubbish.”Mugabe’s spokesman George Charamba could not be reached for comment on the matter raised by the war veterans. - ZimOnline
Harare denies spying on Botswana