AI Index: AFR 46/030/2005 (Public)
News Service No: 306
16 November 2005
Through the African Union and the New Partnership for Africa's Development
(NEPAD) African Heads of State and Government have made a commitment to
human rights and accountability in Africa. We are calling on African leaders
to honour these commitments and end their long silence on human rights
violations in Zimbabwe.
Today in Zimbabwe, hundreds of thousands of people are internally displaced
and destitute, not because of a war, an earthquake or a tsunami, but because
their own government has forcibly evicted them, demolished their homes, and
destroyed their property and their livelihoods. These acts, totally
unjustifiable under international law, have been widely condemned. However,
African States have remained conspicuously silent and have not demonstrated
the political will to respond to the human rights crisis in Zimbabwe.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), Kofi Annan, has described
Zimbabwe's mass evictions as "a catastrophic injustice...carried out with
disquieting indifference to human suffering".
UN Special Envoy on Human Settlement Issues, Anna Tibaijuka, has reported
that the government's Operation Murambatsvina directly affected 700,000
people, indirectly affected at least a further 2 million people and "has
precipitated a humanitarian crisis of immense proportions".
Human rights are being further violated in the context of the humanitarian
crisis. There is considerable evidence that the Government of Zimbabwe is
unable or unwilling to ensure that those affected have access, at the very
least, to minimum essential levels of food, water, shelter and medical care.
It is denying victims the humanitarian help they so desperately need:
a.. Thousands of people, including children, the ill and the elderly, are
facing the rainy season with little or no shelter. The government is not
providing basic shelter for those in need, and it is blocking the UN and
churches from doing so; police have forced destitute people from churches at
b.. More than four million people need food aid, but the government is
limiting food aid distribution, having also blocked a UN appeal for
humanitarian aid and forced tens of thousands to return to rural areas where
food security is already low.
c.. Tens of thousands need clean water and sanitation, but the government
is restricting the work of aid agencies that are trying to assist.
d.. Despite the already grave humanitarian and internal displacement
crisis the government has continued to evict people; some families have been
forcibly evicted and moved several times in the past few months.
Zimbabwe's consistent failure to respect human rights has been well
documented, including in reports published in 2005 by the African Commission
on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR) and the UN Special Envoy on Human
Settlement Issues. In the face of such clear, well-documented and
large-scale violations, member States of the AU and UN have a duty to ensure
that the recommendations of such regional and international problem-solving
mechanisms are implemented in order to address the present deprivation of
African citizens and deter such harmful practices in the future.
The silence of African States in the face of the grave suffering caused by
forced evictions, in Zimbabwe and elsewhere on the continent, has created
the regrettable impression of tacit approval of forced evictions as a policy
Today, we call on African States, individually and in their capacity as
members of the AU, to:
a.. Publicly express concern about the deteriorating human rights
situation in Zimbabwe, including the human rights violations that have been
a direct consequence of Operation Murambatsvina;
b.. Publicly encourage and offer support to the Government of Zimbabwe to
implement the recommendations contained in the reports of the ACHPR and the
UN Special Envoy on Human Settlement Issues, as a matter of urgency;
c.. Place the human rights and humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe on the
agenda of the AU January 2006 Assembly of Heads of State and Government;
d.. Condemn the refusal of the Government of Zimbabwe to cooperate with
the Special Envoy of the African Union Commission when he visited Zimbabwe
in July 2005 and insist that he be allowed to return to Zimbabwe, fulfil his
mandate and report to the AU on the situation of internally displaced people
e.. Call for the immediate lifting of all unnecessary restrictions on the
provision of humanitarian assistance, including restrictions on the
provision of temporary shelter.
f.. Call for the provision of effective remedies for the victims of the
mass evictions and demolitions and all other human rights violations,
including access to justice, reparations, guarantees of non-repetition,
compensation and restitution where possible;
g.. Call for an end to impunity for perpetrators of human rights
violations in Zimbabwe and for those responsible to be brought to justice;
h.. Pledge to seek alternatives to forced eviction in their own
We also call on African States as members of the UN to:
a.. Give full support to the UN initiatives aimed at addressing the human
rights and humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe and to put pressure on the
government to allow independent human rights monitoring in Zimbabwe,
including UN Special Rapporteurs.
b.. In particular, we call on African members of the UN Security Council
(Algeria, Benin and Tanzania) and those States that will become members in
January 2006 (Ghana and Republic of the Congo) to allow the Security Council
to be regularly informed on the situation in Zimbabwe, including the
situation in respect of the UN's humanitarian access to displaced and
Associacao Justica, Paze Democracia (AJPD)
Amnesty International - Botswana
Ditshwanelo (The Botswana Centre for Human Rights)
Women in Law in Southern Africa - Botswana
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO (DRC)
Association Africaine de défense des Droits de l'Homme (ASADHO)
Collectif des Jeunes du Sud-Kivu (COJESKI)
Comité Droits de l'Homme Maintenant
Fondation Bill Clinton
La Voix des Sans Voix
Ligue des Electeurs
Mouvement des jeunes et Etudiants pour la Patrie
Observatoire Congolais des Droits de l'Homme (OCDH)
Réseau Provincial de Défense des Droits Humains-Kin (REPRODHOC)
Afro- Asian Peoples' Solidarity Organisation (AAPSO)
The Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights
Initiative Africa (IA)
Human Rights Concern
African Women Lawyers Association
Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (Africa)
Media Foundation for West Africa
People's Dialogue for Human Settlements
The Arc Foundation
Amnesty International - Kenya
Association of Media Women in Kenya
Citizens Coalition for Constitutional Change
Independent Medical Legal Unit
Kenya Medical Association Human Rights Committee
Kisumu Urban Apostolate Programmes - Pandipieri
Men to Men
Men for Gender Equality
People Against Torture
Release Political Prisoners Group
Social Reform Centre
Young Women Leadership Institute
Federation of Women Lawyers
Gender and Media Southern Africa (GEMSA)
Lesotho Closthing and Allied Workers Union
Lesotho Council of Non-Governmental Organisations
Lesotho Durham Link
Lesotho Society for mentally Handicapped Persons
Lesotho Youth Federation
Media Institute of Southern Africa - Lesotho
NGO Coalition on the Rights of the Children
Women in Law in Southern Africa - Lesotho
Young Women Christian Association
Amnesty International - Liberia
Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR)
Civil Liberties Committee
Institute of Policy Interaction (IPI)
National Media Institute of Southern Africa (NAMISA)
Women in Law in Southern Africa - Malawi
Women in Law in Southern Africa - Mozambique
Association for Children with Language, Speech & Hearing Impairments (ClaSH)
Big Issue Namibia
Clement Daniels Legal Practitioners
Katutura Community Radio 106.2 FM
Legal Assistance Centre of Namibia
Namibia Development Trust
Namibia NGO Forum
!Nara Training Centre
National Society for Human Rights (NSHR)
People's Education, Assistance and Counselling for Empowerment (PEACE)
The Rainbow Project
Women Leadership Centre of Namibia
Civil Resources Development & Documentation Centre (CIRRDOC)
Concerned Professionals (CP)
Gender Development Action (GADA)
Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP)
Prisoners Rehabilitation & Welfare Action (PRAWA)
Women Advocates Research & Documentation Centre (WARDC)
Amnesty International - Senegal
Convergence Africaine pour la Democratie et les Droits Humanins (CADDU)
Justice Watch Association (JUWA)
National Union of Somali Journalists
Somali Human Rights Defenders Network
Samotalis Coalition for Human Rights
Somaliland National Human Rights Network
Action Support Centre
Action Support Centre and Coalition for Peace in Africa (COPA)
Amnesty International - South Africa (AISA)
Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa (ACT-Southern Africa)
Association for Community and Rural Advancement (AnCRA)
Association of Rural Advancement (AFRA)
Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR)
Centre for Rural Legal Studies (CRLS)
Coalition for Peace in Africa
Community Law Centre
Crisis Coalition Zimbabwe
Eastern Cape Agricultural Research Programme (ECARP)
Free State Rural Development Association
Heal Zimbabwe Trust
Karoo Centre for Human Rights
Land Access Movement of South Africa
Land for Peace
Lawyers for Human Rights - Stellenbosch Office
Legal Assistance Centre
National Land Committee (NLC)
Nkunzi Development Association
Peace and Democracy Project
Programme for Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) - University of Western Cape
Rural Legal Trust (RLT)
South Africa National NGO Coalition (SANGOCO)
Support Centre - ACTION for Conflict Transformation
Southern Cape Land Committee
Solidarity Peace Trust (SPT)
Southern African Women's Institute of Migration Affairs
Southern Africa Litigation Centre
Transkei Land Services Organisation
Treatment Action Campaign
Women on Farm Project
Zimbabwe Action Support Group
Zimbabwe Advocacy Campaign (ZAC)
Zimbabwe Exiles Forum
Zimbabwe Human Rights Lobby Group
Zimbabwe Political Victims Association (ZIPOVA)
Zimbabwe Torture Victims Project (ZTVP)
Coordinating Assembly of NGOs (CANGO)
Women in Law in Southen Africa - Swaziland
BEB Rural Development Option
Grassroot Initiative Support Trust
Media Institute of Southern Africa - Tanzania
Same Network of NGO/CBOs
Tabora Development Foundation Trust
Tabora Development Society
Tanzania Christian Farm Development Trust
Anti Voters Apathy (AVAP)
Catholic Centre for Justice Development and Peace (CCJDP)
Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace
Children in Need (CHIN)
Foundation for Democratic Progress (FODEP)
Justice for Widow and Orphans
Legal Resources Foundation (LRF)
Southern African Centre for Conflict Resolution and Disputes
Women in Law in Southern Africa - Zambia
Women for Change
Zambia Association for Research and Development (ZARD)
Zambia Civic Education Association
Counselling Services Unit
Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ)
Human Rights Trust of Southern Africa (SAHRIT)
Legal Resources Foundation (LRF)
Media Institute of Southern Africa
Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe
Nonviolent Action and Strategies for Social Change
Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ)
University of Zimbabwe Legal Aid and Advice Scheme
Women in Law in Southern Africa - Zimbabwe
Women of Zimbabwe Arize (WOZA)
Zimbabwe Association for Crime Prevention and Rehabilitation (ZACRO)
Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights
Zimbabwe Civic Education Trust (ZIMCET)
Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights)
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
Zimbabwe Peace Project
Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE)
Catholic Institute for International Relations (CIIR)
CIVICUS - World Alliance for Citizen Participation
Habitat International Coalition - Housing and Land Rights Network
Human Rights Watch (HRW)
International Bar Association's Human Rights Institute
Network for Social Justice (FAHAMU)
Endorsed by NGOs in Asia, Europe and Americas
Amnesty International - India
Applied Research Institute - Jerusalem (ARIJ)
Asociación Agenda Mujeres, Lima-Perú
Asociación de la Vivienda Económica (AVE)
Asia Pacific Socio-Economic Research Institute
Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law & Development (APWLD)
Associação De Moradores Do Jardim Nova Esperança I E Ii - Sumaré/Sp - Brasil
Associação Grão - Diversidade e Cidadania
Association for Youth and Cultural Organisation
Barka Foundation for Mutual Help
C.D.D.H - Centro de Defesa dos Direitos Humanos, Brazil
Centre for Trade Union & Workers Services (CTWC)
Centro de Direitos Humanos de T.Otoni
Centro de Direitos Humanos, Brazil
Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales/Center for Legal and Social Studies
Centro de Estudos e Ação da Mulher Urbana e Rural - Brasil
Centro de Estudos e Defesa do Negro no Pará - CEDENPA
Charter on Poverty Issues (Canada)
Comité de Campaña por una vivienda Digna
Concordamos e assinamos esta Declaração Conjunta, Brazil
Condepe Conselho Estadual de Defesa dos Direitos da Pessoa Humana, Brazil
Corporación Humanas de Chile
Curitiba - Brasil
D.D.H - Centro de Defesa dos Direitos Humanos, Brazil
Educational Assistance Organs Federation
Ensan Center for Democracy and Human Rights (Palestine)
Entidade APJ - Aprender Produzir Juntos
European Roma Rights Centre , Hungary
Faorlist e da Comissão de Direitos Humanos da Alepa
FDDCA_ Frente de Defesa dos Direitos da Criança e do Adolescente do Vale do
Federação de Órgãos para Assistência Social e Educacional (FASE) (Social and
FOCO - Argentina
Foro de Mujeres del Mercosur, Paraguay
Grupo Tortura Nunca Mais da Bahia- Brasil
Grupo Tortura Nunca Mais/Paraná, Brazil
Grupo Tortura Nunca Mais/São Paulo, Brazil
Habitat International Coalition - Latin America
Human Rights Council
Igreja Evangélica Projeto Vida em Volta Redonda
Instituição: Missionárias de Jesus Crucificado, Brasil
Instituto de Desenvolvimento e Direitos Humanos (IDDH)
Instituto de Estudos Sócio Ambientais - IESA
International Development Exchange
l'Organisation Mondiale Contre la Torture (OMCT)
LANUD - Instituto Latino Americano das Nações Unidas para a Prevenção do
Macapá - Brasil
MAM FUNDACIONAL, Peru
Mines, Minerals & People (mm&P) - India
Movimento Nacional de Direitos Humanos (National Human Rights Movement),
Movimentos Sociais de Teófilo Otoni
NASA - Núcleo de Ação Solidáira à Aids, Brazil
National Alliance of HUD Tenants
National Economic and Social Rights Initiative, USA
Núcleo de Atendimento as Vítimas de crimes Violentos NAVCV
Ordem dos Advogados do Brasil, Brasil
Organização Ser Mulher - Centro de Estudos e Ação da Mulher Urbana e Rural -
Pastoral do Menor-Diocese de T.Otoni;
People's Movement for Human Rights Learning (PDHRE)
Peruvian Women Center Flora Tristan, Diverse Women Diary
Public Against Torture in Israel
SCANOVI - Associação de Catadores de Materiais Recicláveis Teófilo Otoni,
Social Rights Advocacy Centre, Canada
Tratamento do Delinqüente, Brazil
União Geral Dos Moradores Dos Bairros Vilas E Jardins De Curitiba E Região
Vânia de Melo vValadão Cardoso
November 16 2005 at 02:10AM
Windhoek - Namibia has said it cannot accommodate starving elephants
from Zimbabwe, as proposed by some officials in that country, as it was
already grappling to take care of its own jumbo population.
Zimbabwean wildlife authorities said they were considering moving
elephants from the country's overburdened national parks to Namibia after at
least 50 starved to death.
Some 50 elephants died in the famous Hwange National Park, where the
population had soared to more than 75 000, nearly double the park's
estimated capacity of 45 000.
Zimbabwe has a total elephant population of 100 000, one of the
biggest in Africa. Hwange is on Zimbabwe's western border with Botswana,
which also has a large elephant population.
However, Namibia's director of parks and wildlife management, Ben
Beytell, said there was no way the country could accommodate more jumbos.
"We already have enough elephants of our own," he said.
Namibia has an elephant population of about 16 000 and grazing is
scarce. Namibia's problem was compounded by the fact that elephants from the
Chobe National Park, in neighbouring Botswana, were fleeing to the Caprivi
Strip due to dry conditions in the park.
This week Caprivi residents urged the Namibian government to relocate
some of the elephants as they were exhausting the limited water resources
and were destroying crops.
Zimbabwe's deputy minister for the environment and tourism, Andrew
Langa, said: "The situation is bad in the Hwange park.
Some of the solutions we are looking at in order to reduce the deaths
are to cull and take some of the elephants to Namibia".
Zimbabwe national parks chief Morris Mutsambiwa warned that if the
trend continued "we are going to have a major disaster in Zimbabwe".
"Vegetation will be destroyed and water will run out in parks. If we
have a major drought we are going to have massive deaths of elephants and
other animals as they run out of food and water," he said, adding that
farmers had been urged to buy elephants.
This article was originally published on page 7 of Cape Times on
November 16, 2005
Mail and Guardian
Sarudzayi Zindoga | Tunis, Tunisia
16 November 2005 05:41
The President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, on Wednesday attacked
the United States at the opening of the World Summit on Information Society
(WSIS) in Tunis, Tunisia, for monopolising the governance of the internet.
Addressing delegates at the second phase of the WSIS, Mugabe
said the summit is supposed to empower all countries in their development
endeavours and engender confidence in internet users outside Europe and
He said this can be done by allowing for a more transparent and
multilateral approach to internet governance.
"We challenge the still undemocratic issue of internet
governance, where one or two countries insist on being world policemen on
the management and administration of the internet," said Mugabe.
He added: "Indeed, why should our diversified world be beholden
to an American company for such a sensitive undertaking?"
He also said that developed nations continue to frustrate
measures such as technology transfer and preferential trade terms that would
advance the information society.
"These negative subterfuges have the capacity of weakening the
WSIS process and stripping it of the action-oriented approach it had taken."
At present, the internet is controversially managed and
administered by a US company called the Internet Corporation for Assigned
Names and Numbers (Icann).
Icann is responsible for coordinating the management of the
technical elements of the domain name system to ensure that all users of the
internet can find all valid addresses. This is done by overseeing the
distribution of unique technical identifiers used in the internet's
operations and the delegation of top-level domain names such as ".com" and
A heated debate concerning internet governance has been going on
between negotiators since Sunday ahead of the WSIS opening on Wednesday.
However, negotiators from 100 countries have agreed to leave the
US company in charge of the internet system, averting a possible showdown at
this year's summit.
World heads of states are expected to ratify a declaration
incorporating the deal during the WSIS, but a group of countries, including
China, Cuba and Iran, has proposed replacing Icann with a multicountry group
under United Nations auspices.
Meanwhile, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said the UN will not
police or take over the internet in his official opening speech at the
He said: "The UN doesn't want to control the internet and the US
deserves a thank-you for creating the internet and managing it honorably."
He went on to say that countries need to acknowledge the need
for more international involvement in governance discussion.
"Let these discussions continue; the UN will support this
process in every way it can," he said.
In other news reports, businesses at the summit were in support
of the stance taken by the UN.
The Coordinating Committee of Business Interlocutors (CCBI) said
proposed models of internet governance would only serve to tarnish the
efficiency of the internet.
Speaking on behalf of the CCBI in an official preparatory
process leading up to the summit on Wednesday, Ayesha Hassan said: "We do
not support an intergovernmental oversight mechanism. It is not responsive
to the day-to-day needs of the internet and its users."
She added that this would slow decision making and create
uncertainty, which can only hinder innovation and investment.
By Lance Guma
16 November 2005
Zimbabwe's opposition edged closer to a final split when the Secretary
General Welshman Ncube issued a directive for all party vehicles and
stationery to be brought to the Bulawayo regional offices. Sources in the
party say the directive was issued last week Thursday but only officials
loyal to Ncube complied. Information Officer Maxwell Zimuto, Sylvester Qoma
Majekuza in the organizing department and other officials sent their cars to
Bulawayo even though they are based in Harare.
Most of the vehicles have been parked at the regional offices at 15th
Avenue and Herbert Street while the remainder taken to the provincial
offices at 2nd Avenue and Jason Moyo streets. Zimuto however quickly moved
in to deny the handover saying the car was never his in the first place. The
Mazda 323 in question was always part of Ncube's security entourage and had
been handed over at the Secretary General's Harare home. The same car
initially was being used by Nkanyiso Maqeda in the information department
before he left for the United Kingdom.
The MDC headquarters at Harvest house meanwhile has become a no-go
area for all those considered pro-senate sympathizers. Officials like
Zimuto, Majekuza and a lady in the information department known as Christine
have stopped entering the offices. While they commute to work everyday they
are not getting inside Harvest House and seem to carry out their duties via
mobile phones. Meanwhile at the Bulawayo offices, all pro-Tsvangirai
officials are being hounded out of their positions and replaced with those
At the party's Gweru's provincial offices all Ncube sympathizers were
chased away and the vehicles the officials had intended to take to Bulawayo
seized. An employee with the party says operations have ground to a halt.
People employed in particular positions have been uprooted depending on whom
they support and a lot of re-organization is taking place.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
Thursday, November 17, 2005. 0:06am (AEDT)
Miners Anglo American and BHP Billiton have helped set up a $US500 million
fund to improve Africa's investment climate and promote good governance.
Economist Dikgang Rapudi says the Investment Climate Facility is designed to
attract more money to countries that submit themselves for assessment under
the continent's home-grown plan to improve political and economic
"Anglo, BHP Billiton and others came forward to say, 'how can we help
improve the investment climate of countries that show good governance', and
that is how the fund was founded," Mr Rapudi said.
"It is a $US500 million facility, founded by big business but driven by
Mr Rapudi works for the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD),
Africa's economic recovery strategy.
Peer review, under which countries voluntarily submit themselves for
evaluation by a panel of eminent Africans, is considered one of its main
showcases for improving governance.
Some 23 countries have asked to be evaluated under the program.
The first reports - from Ghana and Rwanda - are expected to be adopted by
African heads of state at a meeting in the first quarter of next year.
Leaked reports on the two countries suggested improved political and
economic management, but add that much more could be done to guarantee
faster economic growth.
But peer review's voluntary nature has been criticised by donor groups and
They say countries with political or economic management problems, like
Zimbabwe and Swaziland, do not put their names forward for evaluation.
"Countries that are being peer reviewed would be primary beneficiaries
although it is not projects in those countries alone that would qualify for
funding, it is something to improve the business environment on the whole
continent," Mr Rapudi said.
The fund would target improving areas of regulation administration,
streamlining tax structures and promoting partnerships between governments
and private business.
"It would also be used for projects that fight corruption and made business
more effective and efficient and fuelled faster wealth creation on the
continent," Mr Rapudi said.
"Mozambique's Government, for instance, could draw from the fund to tackle
its cumbersome tax reporting structure to bring them in conformity with
A board to manage the fund, which will be based in Johannesburg, was being
tapped and could be in office as early as December.
The buzzword of many in the world today is the issue of climate change. This
has been enhanced by the storms that have ravaged different parts of the
world this past summer in the northern hemisphere. In the southern
hemisphere we wait to see what is in store for us and I fear it will not be
either pleasant or easy to deal with.
The general consensus is that climate change is going to make areas of high
rainfall, wetter and areas of low rainfall drier. So here in Matabeleland we
can expect (if the predictions are true) that our average precipitation will
decline in the next decade. This will make agriculture here an even less
attractive business activity than it has already become because of the
impact of the illegal occupation of commercial farms and the consequential
destruction of the support infrastructure that maintained agriculture here
during the past 100 years.
What made this country a success in agriculture was a whole range of
factors - all of which are now in disarray. We had a unique population of
highly trained and skilled commercial farmers, a network of world-class
research centers and an excellent extension programme. The commercial
banking system and a substantial grid of industrial firms completed the
picture, enabling farmers to produce and compete in global markets despite
sanctions and all the other impediments that third world farmers have to
contend with - including the Common Agricultural Policies of the EU. This
was also facilitated by large, well run marketing organisations.
The large-scale commercial farmers were able, in a dry season, to bring
irrigation to bear on an astonishing 80 per cent of all commercial arable
land. Some 280 000 hectares of arable land could be irrigated - most of it
not for long because of stored water shortages, but for long enough in a dry
season to make the difference between a crop and a failure. Because of this
capacity, despite a 40 per cent mean variation in rainfall from one year to
another, Zimbabwe became one of the largest producers of white maize in the
world, a leading breeder of crop varieties and self sufficient in all other
grains. We also became the third largest producer and exporter of flue cured
tobacco and a large producer of a wide variety of other agricultural
What is not generally understood is that the small scale or peasant sector -
which in itself was a major component of the agricultural industry,
producing in a reasonable season up to 70 per cent of maize grains and over
80 per cent of all seed cotton; has been equally affected by the collapse of
commercial agriculture and its support infrastructure. Peasant sector
production has in fact declined in line with the decline in overall output -
not by quite the same extent, but still very significantly.
Climate change will further damage the prospects of the subsistence sector.
These farmers, some 800 000 of them - mostly women, do not produce
significant surpluses and with the growth in urban populations the
dependence on commercial large scale farming is likely to grow significantly
in the years ahead. This deteriorating outlook for the capacity of the
small-scale sector to meet even subsistence needs is being compounded by the
HIV/Aids situation. Many families on the land simply do not have the human
capacity to do the hard physical work that is required for subsistence
farming. This is a factor that is being reinforced by the flight to other
countries of millions of young adults who would otherwise be available to
help with the work in rural areas.
This is a nightmare situation and one which, if not addressed by all those
responsible, could simply result in Zimbabwe becoming a perennial target for
food aid on a massive scale. We have not fed ourselves for the past 5 years
and this years cropping season is likely to be the worst for many decades.
This condemns us to being food aid recipients in 2006 right through to May
2007. This "hunger season" will require food imports from all sources to
feed the majority of our population and half will require assistance, as
they cannot afford the food.
It needs to be understood that a recovery in agriculture will not be easy
and will take many years, if not decades. It will not even begin if we do
not recognise that the so-called "land reform" exercise has been an
unmitigated disaster - for everyone. It is absolutely necessary to
acknowledge that only large-scale commercial agriculture - perhaps conducted
by companies with the required resources and expertise, can actually cope
with the new climatic conditions that are emerging in this part of the
world. However, they simply cannot even start operations without real,
concrete, long-term security over assets, including land. Unless Africa
comes to grips with this reality it is difficult to see much more than a
continuing crisis in the food and agricultural sector, not just in Zimbabwe
but anywhere where similar conditions exist.
But while we recognise that climate change is affecting our farming
activities, we must also recognise that there are massive changes taking
place in other spheres that might also be described as "climate change". The
changes in the political climate for example. No longer can tyrants like
Mugabe get away with what he is doing unscathed. The new era of instant
communications and the emergence of a coherent international consensus on
basic, universal, human and political rights has changed all that. The
growth of democratic States and the demise of autocratic, Marxist power
blocks has reinforced these trends so that we now have a much more
principled and robust international environment that is intolerant of those
who violate the perceived norms that constitute good governance.
Mugabe has not got away with his antics - he has and is being punished for
them and will one day be held accountable. That is what these modern 21st
century dictators fear most. The specter of Saddam in the dock before judges
is a constant nightmare for those who violate the new rules.
Closer to home it has been encouraging this past three weeks to see how
ordinary people in Zimbabwe reject the old tyrants of tribal politics and
ethnic divides. I well remember the 60's when the two dominant nationalist
Parties battled it out for turf in the Townships. Killings and riots,
directed not at the white minority government of the day, but at each other.
Setting back the agenda for black rights and political freedom by 20 years.
Local leaders trying the same story today are being simply brushed aside by
the people and I see great hope in that for the country as a whole.
16th November 2005
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
issue date :2005-Nov-17
ZIMBABWE's overstretched urban councils are crumbling as the local
authorities fail to provide residents essential services due to the economic
hardships prevailing in the country, several mayors have said.
The plight of towns and cities has resulted in poor service delivery that
includes persistent water shortages, sewer blockages and non-collection of
refuse, among a host of other ills.
A number of mayors interviewed by The Daily Mirror yesterday said the harsh
economic climate had resulted in the councils failing to provide basic
infrastructure to match increasing populations as attempts to provide
necessary infrastructure in the country's towns are being overstretched by
rapid population growth.
The local authorities are failing to maintain existing infrastructure while
most council clinics are running without essential drugs and personnel, with
ambulances grounded either due to fuel and spare parts shortages.
Kadoma mayor and president of the Urban Councils Association of Zimbabwe
(UCAZ) Fani Phiri said the city had not been spared by the current economic
challenges, adding that some parts of the city had gone without water for
the past two days.
"We are facing similar problems like any other urban council and as we speak
now, some areas including the Central Business District (CBD), Munhumutapa
and parts of Rimuka have gone for two days without water due to electricity
cuts. Our dams are 40 percent full and this is causing pumping problems to
our reservoirs," he said.
Phiri said the municipality's ambulance fleet was almost grounded due to
fuel shortages forcing the town to buy fuel on the parallel market.
The UCAZ president complained that the government was not doing enough to
address the plight of urban councils, stressing that some of the problems
bedevilling councils emanated from the Urban Councils Act.
"We also feel that as urban councils, some of the provisions of our parent
Act are restricting us to operate efficiently. We cannot procure the fuel
from abroad on our own and we are not allowed to purchase some goods costing
a certain price without going to tender," Phiri said.
"This has increased bureaucracy, especially if you note that most of the
prices stipulated by the Act do not reflect the current inflationary
environment," he added.
Chegutu Mayor Francis Dhlakama yesterday confessed that the town "was as
good as dead".
"Chegutu is as good as dead. We have water problems. While we need 30
000-mega litres a day, we are able to purify only 12 000 . From that we get
less as some is lost through leakages."
He also noted that the town was failing to provide street lighting
endangering the lives of residents. The mayor said that had resulted in
cases of muggings going up, adding his council welcomed the idea of Zesa
Holdings taking over the maintenance of street lighting in the town.
Dhlakama also complained about refuse collection being a nightmare with
residents paying for services not being provided for.
From Page 1
Gwanda mayor Thandiko Zinti Mnkandhla revealed that council was failing to
retain and attract qualified staff due to poor remuneration.
"As I speak we do not have a substantive town engineer or internal auditor.
Because of fuel shortages we are almost grounded," Mnkandhla said, before
reminding The Daily Mirror that the Matabeleland South capital was also
experiencing problems with illegal gold panners.
John Hourton, the Kariba mayor, expressed the same sentiments, but quickly
pointed out that the major problem facing the resort town was provision of
Although he could not immediately give statistics regarding the housing
backlog, the mayor said thousands of people there lived in the open.
"During the clean-up operation we destroyed 2 000 homes and we have not been
able to provide a single house as we have run out of materials. The families
are still sleeping outside," Hourton said.
In a recent interview, Harare spokesperson Leslie Gwindi said the city was
currently making do with a fleet of at least 24 refuse collection trucks,
well below a third of the 80 normally required to provide an effective
The capital's ambulance fleet of 25 was this week grounded due to fuel and
spare parts shortages.
Bulawayo has also been facing acute water shortages due to successive
droughts and last week the government refused to declare it a water shortage
area, a development that would have resulted in resources being mobilised to
seek alternative solutions to the problem.
Problems seem to have overwhelmed Chitungwiza, the third largest urban
centre in Zimbabwe, where a visit revealed raw sewage flowing in streets and
in front of houses, while roadsides are littered with rubbish and rubble.
Last week, the town's mayor, Misheck Shoko attributed the problems to lack
of fuel and foreign currency, saying they were beyond council control.
Shoko said he had then proposed that council hire pushcarts for refuse
collection after their vehicles got stuck due to fuel shortages.
"As the mayor I made a proposal to council that we use pushcarts to collect
refuse. It is still a proposal and it is yet to be approved," said Shoko.
The dormitory town has been facing a myriad of social amenities problems,
including erratic water supplies, electricity cuts and blocked sewers.
Deputy minister of Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development
Morris Sakabuya acknowledged the current problems, and said that was the
reason why the government had asked urban councils to come up with
"We are aware of the problems. That's why councils have been asked to put in
place turnaround strategies. We want them to charter a way forward on how
they intend to go about their issues," the deputy minister said.
"The problem with most councils is that they are just operating without set
targets and always want to put the blame on government when something goes
On allegations that the government was excessively interfering in the
affairs of urban councils, especially those run by the opposition MDC,
Sakabuya said: "That is the problem with opposition politics in Zimbabwe.
The government cannot just sit while services go down. We react to
situations on the ground. If things go wrong people always ask: Where was
the government? If we intervene, they start calling it interference."
On the issue of fuel, the deputy minister said it was difficult for all
sectors to get preferential treatment and satisfy everybody given the
foreign currency squeeze in the country.
According to the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa), the water
problems gripping Harare and Chitungwiza are due to the dilapidated
infrastructure at its water treatment plants and reservoirs resulting in low
These have forced Zinwa to ration water supplies to the capital and its
environs to boost water levels in the reservoirs.
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
issue date :2005-Nov-17
FINANCE Minister Herbert Murerwa has said government is going to remove
price controls as they had contributed to the overall hyperinflationary
He hinted that market forces were destined to play a bigger role in the 2006
national budget that will be presented on 1 December.
"The Ministry of Finance has been conducting national budget consultations.
The country is facing a hyperinflationary environment compounded by pricing
distortions that are constraining and affecting the budget.
Government is going to remove all price controls," Murerwa said yesterday.
He was speaking at a pre-budget consultative meeting held in Harare.
The Minister of Economic Development Rugare Gumbo, Deputy Minister of
Finance David Chapfika, former Finance Minister Simba Makoni, among others
attended the consultative meeting.
Key sectors of the business community such as the Zimbabwe National Chamber
of Commerce (ZNCC), Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI), and Chamber
of Mines made their recommendations though the broad financial services
sector chose to stay away from the event.
This becomes the second time in recent months that Murerwa has moved away
from government's previous policy on price controls, which it introduced in
2003 to stem unscrupulous pricing policies in a hyperinflationary
Currently the government has placed basic commodities such as bread, mealie
meal and sugar under price control, but most retail shops have tended to
ignore the gazetted prices and set their own.
In some cases, such as with sugar, the setting of a controlled price has
seen the commodity disappearing from shelves only to be found on the black
market at an exorbitant price.
The price controls, that have remained as one of the productive sector's
major sore points with government, has resulted in shortages of most basic
commodities as companies are not being adequately compensated for high
Giving a further hint that next month's 2006 national budget presentation
will give market forces a bigger role to play in economic activity, Murerwa
lauded recent measures by the central bank that resulted in a more market
driven foreign exchange regime.
After adjusting the exchange rate in line with the monthly inflation rate in
July, August and September - that saw the exchange rate devalued in line
with inflation - the central bank took its boldest move last month, when it
removed the poorly performing auction system.
Under the new modified system companies are now allowed to retain up to 70
percent of their foreign currency in the foreign currency accounts that they
can liquidate at the market driven inter-bank foreign exchange system.
The remaining 30 percent will be liquidated at the official government
The modified system has been described as a major concession to the export
sectors of the economy aimed at generating increased foreign currency
"We need to implement measures to complement export viability. The central
bank has taken a big step and market forces will now play a bigger role in
the determination of the exchange rate."
The new inter-bank rate auction system saw the local currency devalued from
$26 000 to about $60 000, a development that will make export companies more
competitive and lead to more foreign currency inflows.
"What the central bank has done on moving the exchange rate will go a long
way in making foreign exchange available on the official market," Murerwa
added in response to observations from the floor.
He gave assurances that the national budget he was going to announce next
month would take into consideration the monetary policy, input of
stakeholders involved and emphasised that it would not tamper with the
"If we start tampering with it we might not get the results that we need,"
he said, giving more hope for a market driven budget that will strictly
monitor government expenditure and give more incentives to a struggling
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Nov-17
AS the MDC intra-party clashes intensify over participation in the November
26 Senate polls, the police in the past three weeks have arrested 30
activists of the opposition on charges of violence.
Addressing journalists in the capital yesterday, the police senatorial
elections commander, Senior Assistant Commissioner Nonkosi Ncube said 19 MDC
members were arrested in Bulawayo, 10 in Midlands and one in Matabeleland
The country's main opposition party is torn into two camps, one led by
president Morgan Tsvangirai and the other headed by secretary general
The Tsvangirai faction is against participation while the other group
fielded 26 candidates for the elections.
The top cop said of the MDC violence: "So far the police have arrested 30
people in connection with politically motivated crimes. All of the arrested
were MDC supporters who were engaged in intra-party violence. It is
disturbing to note that some misguided youths have chosen to engage in intra
party violence. There was intra-party violence which degenerated in to a
fight where catapults and stones were used at White City Stadium in Bulawayo
where MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai was addressing a rally last Sunday."
She added: "It is encouraging to note that there have been no reports of
political violence or clashes in some provinces such as Mashonaland East,
Masvingo, Manicaland, Harare, Mashonaland West and Matabeleland South.
Generally, the situation in the country is calm."
Moving away from the issue of violence, she said the police have put in
place an operational strategy before, during and after the polls.
"Our task as law enforcement agents is primarily that of maintaining law and
order and as a committee we are convinced that our state of preparedness
ahead of the Senate elections is up to expectations," Ncube said.
She urged the contesting candidates to notify the regulating authorities
whenever they want to campaign or hold political meetings in compliance with
the Public Order and Security Act.
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
From Netsai Kembo in Mutare
issue date :2005-Nov-17
STILL smarting from the ripple effects of an illegal hefty fare hike last
month, commuters in Mutare are yet again bracing for another fare rise with
operators arguing the move was necessitated by soaring fuel prices on the
Public transporters in the eastern border city had this week warned of a
massive fare review any day this week to cope with the escalation of fuel
prices on the black market last weekend.
"Transporters feel that the reviews are necessary.
"This is largely prompted by the recent black market fuel price hikes
compounded by the fact that most of us depend on the parallel market for
supplies," said an operator.
The Zimbabwe Stage Carriages Association (ZSCA) spokesman, Richard Masonga
confirmed news about the imminent fare hikes which he also attributed to
escalating fuel prices.
"The reviews are certain. All what we are waiting for are deliberations on
the percentage rate of adjustment," he said.
"The adjustments are essential to keep us in business since the price of the
commodity on the parallel market has nearly doubled."
Masonga explained that the increments, though over-burdening commuters, were
essential since transporters now relied mostly on fuel from the black
Prices of petrol and diesel on the parallel market over the weekend was
hiked massively from $600 000 to $900 000 and $500 000 to $800 000 per five
The pump price of both petrol and diesel is $20 000 per litre.
City transporters last month again illegally hiked fares by between 30 and
50 percent, citing viability problems.
By Lebo Nkatazo
Last updated: 11/17/2005 01:47:38
ZIMBABWEAN prosecutors have withdrawn corruption charges against President
Robert Mugabe's nephew, Leo Mugabe.
Leo Mugabe and his wife, Veronica, walked free Wednesday before they had
entered their pleas.
Mugabe and his wife were facing charges of contravening the Grain
Marketing Board Act and the Customs and Excise Duty Act.
They were arrested three weeks ago after police acted on claims that in
2003, the two diverted 30 tonnes of flour worth $147 million to Mozambique
without having been cleared in terms of the law.
State Prosecutor, Gerald Butaumocho said there was no evidence linking the
two to the charge.
"There has been no evidence linking all the accused to the crime," he told a
magistrate's court in Harare.
Amidst the silence of a stunned audience, the prosecutor added that
investigations in the matter were leading nowhere.
Last month, and two days after they were arrested, the two were granted bail
on stringent conditions.
Each of them was asked to deposit $50 million bail with the Clerk of Court,
to jointly surrender surety in the form of title deeds valued at $700
million, not to interfere with GMB employees and to surrender passports and
other travelling documents.
A chain smoker, Mugabe was recently booted out of his Journey's End Farm in
Mashonaland West for failing to utilise it. Currently he is farming in the
same province after invading another property, Nhangadza from a white
The former Zimbabwe Football Association boss is the son of Sabina Mugabe,
President Mugabe's sister.
"Chombo may deny it, but he has been a busy and enthusiastic hatchet man in spearheading his party's bullying campaign against MDC mayors in Harare, Bulawayo, Mutare, Kariba and now Chitungwiza."