Saturday 18 November 2006
BULAWAYO - An alliance of Zimbabwean churches says it will next week
launch a four-week disobedience campaign to force President Robert Mugabe's
government to repeal draconian legislation.
The Christian Alliance, which is made up of major Christian
denominations in the country and is bitterly opposed to Mugabe, said it will
launch the campaign on Wednesday outside Parliament Building in Harare.
A spokesman for the Alliance, Useni Sibanda, told ZimOnline yesterday
that the organisation had received backing from the two factions of the
splintered main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party.
Sibanda said the Wednesday protest was part of the "Save Zimbabwe
Campaign" which was mooted last July during which the two MDC leaders,
Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, pledged to work together to oust
Mugabe and the ruling ZANU PF party.
"Mutambara and Tsvangirai have confirmed that they will attend the
launch of the civil disobedience campaign and most civic organisations have
indicated that they will join the process outside Parliament on Wednesday
afternoon," said Sibanda.
ZimOnline could not independently confirm last night whether
Tsvangirai and Mutambara would be part of the campaign.
Gabriel Chaibva, who is the spokesman in the Mutambara-led faction,
was evasive on the matter only saying the MDC will take part in any
democratic campaign against Mugabe's administration.
"We have been in contact with the Christian Alliance since July and
our view is that we would support any democratic actions against the Mugabe
"But the issue of whether President Mutambara will be there on
Wednesday will be up to him himself," said Chaibva.
Tsvangirai's spokesman, William Bango said although he was aware of
the Christian Alliance's initiative, he was still to be briefed on his
president's itinerary for next week.
The Christian Alliance has been highly critical of Mugabe accusing the
veteran Zimbabwean leader of serious human rights violations against
The alliance has boycotted an initiative by another group of church
leaders seeking a solution to Zimbabwe's seven year old economic crisis. The
government accuses the Alliance of backing the MDC.
"The campaign is to force the government to open up space for genuine
dialogue and to repeal laws such as AIPPA (Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act) and POSA (Public Order and Security Act).
"The two laws make it difficult for anybody to talk about anything
including the National Vision Document that the government says people
should talk about because people have to meet to discuss that," Sibanda
Cotacted for comment last night, Nathan Shamuyarira, the ZANU PF
information chief, scoffed at the plans saying government will not fold its
hands while the country is plunged into mayhem.
Shamuyarira accused the Alliance of being an extension of the MDC.
"This is the MDC coming under the guise of civic organisations. But
there is nothing serious in what they are planning to do.
"The government will not allow these people to cause mayhem and if
they have any serious issues they want addressed, they should bring them
through the right channels for debate in Parliament," said Shamuyarira. -
Saturday 18 November 2006
HARARE - Victims of last year's clean-up campaign who are staying at a
holding camp in Harare have accused the ruling ZANU PF party of nepotism
after it allocated 3 000 housing stands to its supporters only last Monday.
About a hundred families are still staying in shacks at the camp which
was set up as a temporary holding camp following the demolition of their
houses and backyard shacks last year.
The housing demolitions left about 700 000 homeless and indirectly
affected another 2.4 million people, according to a critical United Nations
(UN) report compiled by UN envoy Anna Tibaijuka.
Sources at the farm told ZimOnline yesterday that Hubert Nyanhongo, a
ZANU PF legislator for the area, on Monday handed over the housing stands to
his party's supporters, triggering complaints from the farm residents.
"This has been going on for a long time now. Nyanhongo simply brings
his people, who are not on the official list, to take up stands here and yet
we have families who have been staying here since last year," said one
resident of the camp who refused to be named for fear of victimisation.
"We have been here for over one year now and I feel very short-changed
when people come from nowhere to take up stands ahead of us - real needy
families," said another man who has stayed at Hopley for the past year.
The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party has in
the past accused ZANU PF of sidelining its supporters in the allocation of
the stands, a charge denied by the ruling party.
Most of the houses that have been built under an ambitious government
reconstruction exercise which was launched after the housing demolitions
have been taken up by ZANU PF supporters and those well connected to
influential individuals within the party.
Senior social welfare officer at Hopley Farm, Ezekiel Mpande, refused
to comment on the matter.
Contacted for comment, Nyanhongo said: "The allocation of stands is
above board. I only brought in people whose houses were destroyed during the
clean-up and I did not ask their party affiliation." - Zimonline
Saturday 18 November 2006
HARARE - Peter Chingoka is set to hold on to the chairmanship of
Zimbabwe Cricket when the union finally elects a substantive board today to
end the term of an interim committee appointed by government in January.
At the helm since Zimbabwe gained Test status in 1992, Chingoka has in
the last two years been under siege to leave office on the basis of
corruption and mismanagement allegations levelled against him.
The Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) dissolved the last
substantive board in January as calls for Chingoka's removal intensified,
but the 52-year-old administrator was still retained to lead the interim
Sources close to ZC yesterday indicated none of the candidates
nominated for today's board polls appeared keen to challenge Chingoka, who
is still widely seen as acceptable to both local and international
stakeholders despite the criticism he has faced.
The board elections follow the acceptance of ZC's amended draft
constitution after the union struck off a widely unacceptable provision that
empowered the sports minister to handpick seven of the union's 12 board
The SRC endorsed the revised constitution last week, which paved the
way for today's elections.
However, none of the former administrators who have been calling for
Chingoka's ouster are in the running for board posts.
Today 13 directors will be elected, from which the chairman and his
vice will be chosen.
Seven of the candidates will come from the 10 provincial chairpersons,
while six will be chosen from the nominees passed by a nomination court on
Most of the provincial chairpersons - who will form the electoral
college - are believed to owe their allegiance to Chingoka, who dissolved
traditional cricket structures and replaced them with the new 10 provinces
during his chairmanship of the interim committee. - ZimOnline
By Blessing Zulu
17 November 2006
Zimbabwean civic groups have taken issue with a government statement to the
African Commission on Human and People's Rights to the effect that it has
responded to complaints of human rights violations by setting up a
commission on human rights.
Civil society activists said human rights abuses by the government continue,
including in particular the violent repression of protest. The government
has for the first time in eight years submitted a report on human rights.
The document, covering 1998-2006, should have been filed every two years
during that entire period, but was not.
Sources at the African Union agency said the report was filed only after
pressure from commisson members and civic groups.
In another move which observers called a surprise, the government tacitly
conceded it had violated human rights, describing such transgressions as
"challenges." Harare previously accused human rights groups and Western
governments of exaggerating human rights abuses in the country in order to
tarnish the government's image.
Representing Zimbabwe were Margaret Chiduku and Lawrence Muratsi, directors
in the Ministry of Justice. The civic groups present in Bangui, the Gambia,
home of the commission, include the Media Institute of Southern Africa, the
Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO
Legal advisor Wilbert Mandinde of the Media Institute of Southern Africa
told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the
government's admission that human rights violations had taken place was an
unexpected turn of events.
By Scott Bobb
17 November 2006
In Zimbabwe, the association representing commercial farmers is reacting
with caution to the government's latest offer to compensate white farmers
for farms seized under a controversial land reform program. The call comes
days after the government distributed the first leases to the recipients of
The spokeswoman of the Commercial Farmers Union in Harare, Emily Crookes,
says the Union is suspicious of the latest compensation offer. She says the
Zimbabwean government previously has offered less than 10 percent of the
market value of buildings and equipment and no compensation at all for the
"It's not the first time that such lists have appeared and I think, really,
the proof will be in the pudding as to what level of compensation they will
offer to all these farmers," she said.
Crookes says her organization has advised farmers on the list to request a
copy of the offer in writing and then make their own decision.
The Zimbabwean government says some 240 farmers have accepted compensation
since the controversial program was launched seven years ago, 30 of them
About 4,000 farms have been seized since the year 2000 in what the
government said was an effort to rectify injustices committed under
colonialism. Some farms were occupied by force and the violence led many
white farmers to leave the country.
About 900 white-owned commercial farms are reportedly still operating in the
The government's offer to discuss compensation with more than 1,000 former
farm owners is the largest offer to date. It came a week after President
Robert Mugabe distributed the first lot of 99-year leases to beneficiaries
of the program.
Crookes says her organization is happy if the latest developments bring more
stability but she says the distributions have brought more attempted
"There is quite a bit of disruption once again on the ground, unfortunately.
We're doing our best to try and stabilize it as much as possible," she said.
"But it does seem with the 99-year leases [that] some have taken it as a
call to, well, maybe this is our last chance to grab things [farms]."
Crookes says some white farmers have accepted compensation out of
desperation, but many are waiting in hopes of a better deal under a
Economists say the land reform program is largely responsible for the
dramatic fall in agricultural production in Zimbabwe. It contributed to a
general economic decline characterized by shortages of food and other basic
goods and an inflation rate of more than 1,000 percent.
Mail and Guardian
Angus Shaw | Harare, Zimbabwe
17 November 2006 05:16
New data shows a child is abused every hour in Zimbabwe and more
than half the reported cases involve sexual abuse, a coalition of child
protection groups said on Friday.
"Are Zimbabweans really horrified by these statistics?" said
Childline director Audrey Gumbo. "Are we really being jolted into action?
Because this is what is needed -- action", including the strict enforcement
of existing child-protection laws.
The Child Protection Working Group said sexual abuse was
worsened by beliefs that sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/Aids,
could be cured by having sex with a virgin.
"This is the most repulsive of myths," said Betty Makoni,
director of Girl Child Network, a member of the Child Protection Working
Data released ahead of the World Day for the Prevention of Child
Abuse on Sunday showed 8 600 cases of abuse -- or 24 a day, or one an
hour -- were reported last year across this country of nearly 12-million
people. Other cases went unreported. There was no indication that trends had
United Nations children's agency representative Festo Kavishe
said in traditional Zimbabwean life, fear of reprisals and families'
willingness to reach settlements over abuse cases enabled the problem to
fester undetected and unreported.
"Silence on this issue shelters the perpetrators and is a crime
against children," the coalition said in a statement.
Traditional and religious leaders "must be unequivocal in their
condemnation of child abuse. They must lead by example and voice."
In the past, some tribal healers reportedly prescribed sex with
juveniles as a remedy for sexually transmitted diseases, HIV infection and
More than 20% of Zimbabwe adults are estimated infected by the
virus that causes Aids. An estimated one million Zimbabwean children have
been orphaned, mainly by HIV/AIDS.
"Children who are sexually abused are also the most vulnerable
to contracting HIV/Aids. The impact can, therefore, quite literally last a
lifetime and be fatal," the coalition said.
Zimbabwe is suffering its worst economic crisis since
independence in 1980, with soaring inflation of more than 1 000%, the
highest in the world, and acute shortages of food, gasoline, essential
imports and medicines.
The meltdown has seen a sharp decline in public health services,
deepening poverty and a rise in prostitution described by aid agencies and
charities as a "coping mechanism" forced on desperately poor women and
girls. -- Sapa-AP
By Tererai Karimakwenda
17 November 2006
Many pastors in Zimbabwe are fed up with the political and economic
situation and have been applying to leave and go to South Africa. This is
according to Steven Chiadzwa of The Zimbabwe Pastors Forum. He has been on a
mission to encourage the church officials to stay. Chiadzwa said the church
in Zimbabwe has long been infiltrated by the government's central
intelligence officials and this is why the suffering parishioners have no
voice and no representation.
Chiadzwa runs The Hope Centre which was established by The Pastors
Forum in Johannesburg to help Zimbabwean refugees. He said CIO's have
infiltrated church and donor organizations there as well. The pastor
believes the eviction this week of Zimbabwean refugees from the Central
Methodist Church in Joburg, where they were being sheltered, was
orchestrated by agents. CIO's are also believed to be behind the Sunday
Mirror newspaper which is being distributed in South Africa. An official at
the Pastors Forum alleged that journalists from the paper tried to solicit
bribes from them to not print stories damaging to the organization. Pastor
Chiadzwa said the Sunday Mirror is linked to The Daily Mirror in Zimbabwe.
"And we all know who is behind that" he added.
The Pastors Forum recently dismissed most of the staff at their Hope
Center in Johannesburg after discovering they were being paid by CIO's to
supply information about the organization. They were exposed before much
damage and had been done and Chiadzwa said he thanks God for this. The Forum
decided to relocate to new offices that are more secure.
Chiadzwa said on his trip to Zimbabwe he noticed many people can no
longer afford to travel to church because it is too expensive to take the
whole family. So some pastors are conducting services on the street. He said
some churches have closed down since they cannot afford to rent buildings
for their congregations. Only the established ones like the Catholic church
can sustain their operations. The pastors who want to leave will now have a
very difficult time getting legal status in South Africa. According to
Chiadzwa, immigration laws there have changed a great deal.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
By Violet Gonda
17 November 2006
The government is extending its control of the media by forcing the
largest journalism school in Zimbabwe at the Harare Polytechnic, to enrol
students who have undergone National Youth Service training. This has
reportedly been happening for sometime and has resulted in the exodus of
lecturers from the department of mass communication.
Sandra Nyaira, the Co-ordinator of the exiled journalists network in
the UK, said it's not only the journalism school, but many institutions of
higher learning that have been ordered to give priority to these students.
The National Youth Service indoctrinates students in camps set up by the
She said this has had a negative effect on the standard of education
as under qualified youths are enrolled in these tertiary institutions. Good
lecturers are leaving their jobs because of intimidation as so "many eyes"
look at them in the classroom.
Nyaira said lecturers in the Mass Communication department left
because they felt they could not teach or talk openly. She added; "Trying to
teach about the contemporary issues that are happening around them was
actually putting their lives at risk. I know one of the best broadcast
lecturers is now in America. Others are in the UK. I can talk about so many
others who have left because they can't take it anymore. Some are just
basically in Zimbabwe not doing anything or preferring to do something
One of the lecturers reportedly said; "I have taught so many students
over the years and I knew in our classes we had CIO's. but nothing that
happened at that time could actually make you worry. but now it is actually
difficult. It is a different ball game altogether. People are scared. They
don't know who is taking notes, who is reporting on who."
The news comes in the wake of other reports saying graduates of the
government's controversial youth militia programme will be drafted into the
civil service next year. It's believed the youth will be employed as
government youth development officers and stationed in all provinces of the
Although the government has said the youth centres are meant to instil
discipline and patriotism, over the last few years the notorious youth
militia have been widely known to wreak havoc on people. They have been used
in most parts to beat, harass, torture and murder opponents especially
towards the run up to elections.
It is the same graduates who were deployed in Bulawayo recently under
an operation code-named "Operation Sunrise Two" to enforce price controls on
selected basic commodities. According to the news website Zimonline hundreds
of youths recently unleashed a reign of terror in Bulawayo beating up and
harassing businessmen and informal traders whom they accused of inflating
prices in a bid to sabotage the government. The news site said the crackdown
by the youths comes a few weeks after Industry and International Trade
Minister Obert Mpofu threatened to crack the whip on businesses for hiking
prices without government approval.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
By Tererai Karimakwenda
17 November 2006
Zimbabweans who want the government to know they are suffering under
the current economic crisis are being urged to participate in a 5-minute
protest next Wednesday by making as much noise as possible. This unusual
form of peaceful protest has been organised by several organisations under
the Save Zimbabwe banner. This includes labour, students, political parties,
churches, youth and women's organisations.
Itai Zimunya from The Crisis Coalition said the idea is to make noise
using whatever is near you at the time, like hooting your car, whistling,
banging pots and pans or just simply shouting. He said they did not want to
go back to the strategy of asking people to gather at some place like fodder
for the police who always assault peaceful demonstrators.
A statement released by The Crisis Coalition said: "The protest will
be against the ever increasing cost of living, collapsing health sector, the
demise of education, food shortages, falling life expectancy rates,
suffocation of democratic space and violation of women's rights by the
It also described the suffering Zimbabweans are going through saying
"The people are in pain, they have suffered enough. They are demanding a
government that is sensitive, accountable, transparent and democratic. The
Save Zimbabwe Campaign Taskforce is determined to fight an emancipatory
struggle against tyranny and poverty."
The first five minute national protest is on Wednesday 22 November,
from 13:20 hours to 13:25pm.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
17 November 2006
Zimbabwe's perennial fuel shortages are set to continue despite the US$50
million line of credit established in July with the French bank BNP Paribas,
a top official of the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe has told parliament.
Noczim Chief Executive Zvinechimwe Churu told the energy committee that the
fuel made available as a result of the deal was too little and arrived too
late. He said only 62 million million litres of fuel have been imported
since January, Churu said, whereas committee chief Joel Gabhuza said the
country needs 192 million liters a month.
Gabhuza, member for Binga of the Movement for Democratic Change faction led
by Morgan Tsvangirai, told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for
Zimbabwe that the fuel squeeze will continue until more hard currency is
Fourteen authors from nine African and two European countries came together
to launch the publication of the second edition of "Outside the Ballot Box:
Preconditions for Elections in Southern Africa" on November 16.
The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) announced the launch of the
book, which focuses on controversial subjects such as strategies for change
in Zimbabwe, the growth of poverty in South Africa, and the character of
liberation movements as governments.
The book dissects elections held over the past year and discusses those
pending in the near future. It emphasizes the importance of the rules for
elections in Africa to remain consistent and the need for a pan-African
consensus and consolidation of election principles, norms and standards.
A PDF version of the book is available at