BY ZAKEUS CHIBAYA in Johannesburg & WILF MBANGA in London
A mass exodus of soldiers from the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) across the
crocodile-infested Limpopo River to neighbouring South Africa has begun as
morale sinks to an all-time low. In a desperate bid to stop the haemorrhage,
the ZNA has confiscated the passports of many.
The soldiers, mainly from the junior ranks, are joined by disenchanted
members of the notorious Green Bomber youth brigades. Interviews with a
number of deserters indicate financial hardship as the major reason for the
And fear now stalks Zimbabwe's streets as armed soldiers and policemen go on
a spree of robberies as the dwindling buying power of their shrinking
Zimdollar begins to bite. The Consumer Council says the average five-person
family in Zimbabwe now needs Z$11 million (and rising weekly) simply to
survive, as the standard of living retreats to levels last seen in the
1950s. Junior army and police officers earn between Z$2-3 million monthly.
(25 litres of petrol costs Z$2 million.)
Some allege 'kangaroo' courts martial. "We are being accused by the people
of protecting the dictator. But he is also oppressing us. I was arrested for
supporting the Movement for Democratic Change and tortured before I managed
to escape to South Africa," said a member of the Air Force of Zimbabwe from
"Repression in the army is vigorous. I was court-martialled twice for
indiscipline and tortured in army cells before I fled for my safety. But I
will return one day to fight for justice," said a former soldier from
"There is a witch hunt in the army and we were being persecuted on daily
basis for supporting the opposition party. We are forced to stay in the
barracks without food and the army is now being run as a private tuckshop.
Some soldiers are forced to go and work at senior officers' farms using
state resources. The corruption is rampant -everyone is trying to fill their
own stomach," said an ex-army officer.
The President of the Zimbabwe Action Support Group, Remember Moyo, told a
press conference in Johannesburg recently: "There is a need to use
disgruntled soldiers to
Many are finding well-paid employment with security companies in South
Africa, where they are perceived as well-trained and disciplined.
However, this is no longer true in Zimbabwe where the government is
beginning to reap the whirlwind of the lawlessness it unleashed in 2000.
After years of acting with impunity on behalf of the government, soldiers
and policemen are now resorting to crime in order to survive. Several have
come before the courts recently, accused of armed robbery.
Professor Gordon Chavunduka, former UZ vice-chancellor and sociologist, told
IRIN that the lawlessness in the armed forces mirrored what was happening in
the rest of the country. "There is a general breakdown in the rule of law in
the country and what is happening in the army is not an isolated incident.
The rest of the civil service is now rotten to the core."
Members of the security agencies now posed a great threat to the general
populace said Eldred Masunungure, a lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe,
as police and war veterans in Masvingo and Chiredzi went on the rampage,
looting farm equipment worth billions of dollars
A ZNA source said the army would deploy more military intelligence officers
in Botswana and South Africa in an attempt to monitor the movements of the
NYANGA - The family of former Rhodesian Prime Minister, Winston Field, who
was kicked out by Ian Smith for being too liberal, have been evicted from
their farm in the Eastern Highlands.
One of Winston's sons, Jeremy, has been living on Ezulwini Farm for many
years. He and his family were last week been evicted from the remaining
25-hectares of their property by a Central Intelligence Organisation
Ezulwini Farm was subdivided into 80 plots at the height of the land
invasions in 2000, leaving its previous owners with 25 hectares. The
property has crops estimated at over $8 billion, has five hectares under
timber valued at $3 billion, four hectares of apples with an estimated value
of $3 billion and four hectares of potatoes worth $2 billion.
The farm exports cut flowers and blackberries worth close to £160 000
annually. Apart from the homestead, there are eight holiday cottages on the
Mike Nyakatawa, a CIO operative, allegedly moved into the farmhouse after a
group of youths who had been camping on the farm evicted the Field family.
The farm has not been listed for acquisition.
Meanwhile one of the leaders of the pro-Senate MDC rebels, Welshman Ncube,
is said to have moved 240 head of cattle on to Onverwag farm near Gweru,
which was grabbed from a commercial farmer.
A source told The Zimbabwean this week: "He already owns one farm,
'Rusfontein', near Nalatale. This was paid for. However, if you ask the
staff on Onverwag who they work for, they'll tell you, 'Welshman Ncube'. In
fact, it's no secret in the whole Daisyfield area. Ncube has been there
since August 2005."
HARARE - Reacting to the systematic interference of the Zimbabwean
independent radio station Voice of the People (VOP) since September 18,
Reporters Without Borders has voiced outrage at a campaign to jam dissident
radio broadcasts which the Zimbabwean authorities are clearly orchestrating
with Chinese help.
The press freedom organisation pointed out that this "state sabotage" of VOP
comes three years after it was the target of a still-unsolved bombing in the
heart of Harare.
"Robert Mugabe's government has once again shown that its policy is to
systematically gag all independent news media," Reporters Without Borders
said. "The use of Chinese technology in a totally hypocritical and
non-transparent fashion reveals the government's iron resolve to abolish
freedom of opinion in Zimbabwe."
The press freedom organisation added: "We reiterate out belief that Zimbabwe's
progressive submission to the dictatorship of a single view is being made
possible by the incomprehensible failure of the great African democracies to
take a stand against this behaviour by the Harare government."
VOP beams a radio programme to Zimbabwe every evening from 18:00 to 19:00
GMT on the 7.120KHz shortwave frequency using a relay station belonging to
the Dutch public radio station Radio Netherlands on the island of
Madagascar, in the Indian Ocean. - RSF
HARARE - Residents gathered recently to discuss the supplementary budget
that was prepared, announced, advertised and implemented by the City of
Harare without consulting residents.
The meeting was the third the Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA)
has held in its efforts to reach out to the majority of residents who face
routine problems in terms of service delivery and other local governance
Mike Davies, CHRA chairperson, said Harare residents needed to first deal
with the national political and economic crises before there is responsible
"There cannot be any resolution to the local crisis until we resolve the
national crisis," Davies said. "We need to have a political solution before
we can resolve the economic issues. At this stage we do not need people to
retreat into coping strategies in order to survive. Residents of Harare
should make a bold statement regarding the illegitimate commission and take
"A clear strategy on rates boycott is our key. We should squeeze the City of
Harare financially. We are going to engage the business community and big
corporate organisations and unite to punish the Municipality for acting
outside the law."
After this opening the majority of residents called for more public meetings
in high density areas to ensure that all residents were mobilised ahead of
the massive action to bring Town House to a standstill. Petitions would be
presented to the respective Municipal offices in all suburbs at a particular
day, yet to be agreed upon.
A key ally would be the workforce of the City of Harare. It was agreed that
CHRA will no longer pursue the quiet route but will respond appropriately as
the situation demands.
BY OWN CORRESPONDENT
BULAWAYO - MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai with about 12 members of the
National Executive held a rally at White City Stadium last Sunday. Overnight
a group of 40 young people slept at the rally site to protect equipment and
late in the evening they were attacked by over 200 youths with sticks, knob
kerries and other simple weapons. Two of them were injured - one seriously.
On Sunday he had to have an eye removed and is now recovering in hospital.
Despite the overnight violence, the rally went ahead without hitch - except
for a small group of young people who came clearly looking for trouble. They
were dealt with by the Police.
It is difficult to estimate the crowd but it was several thousand people.
The press was there and expressed surprise at the size of the crowd, mainly
of high-density suburb dwellers. They gave Tsvangirai a huge reception. All
the speeches were well received and when rain threatened, they shouted that
they would sit in the rain if he would continue to speak.
Tendai Biti spoke powerfully on the economy and the struggle to live. Isaac
Matongo too was excellent, and clearly made an impact. He and Biti also
dealt with the issue of the constitution and what had happened in the
National Council meetings. The Youth Chairman for Bulawayo spoke with
emotion about the need for unity and no tribalism. All speakers said there
would be no tribalism in the MDC.
Tsvangirai spoke for about 20 minutes. He dealt with the issue of the way
forward, the Senate and the desire to work with civil society on a new
constitution for the country - one that would bring freedom and human and
political rights back. There was no doubt about the general sentiments on
the Senate issue - all remarks about not participating were received with a
roar of approval and a show of hands.
The Police were present - but apart from watching and searching the odd
vehicle they left us alone and were in fact quite pleasant for a change. I
thought they actually indicated in small ways that they were quite happy to
be there. The group I took all came from David Coltart's constituency, about
12 people, were all pro-Tsvangirai and against participation.
The President's announcement that he was going into Lupane this weekend was
greeted with a roar of approval and I was asked if I would go and take
people! Matongo explained what happened there last weekend and denied they
had even stopped at Lupane after the Police had denied them permission to
Where does this all leave us? I think the pro-Senate guys must be thinking
hard about what is happening. At Beitbridge they held a rally last Monday
with Gibson Sibanda and Welshman Ncube. I was there on Thursday and Friday
and could not find one person who attended. The local District leadership is
boycotting the election. In the Bulawayo townships they are getting very
BY MARTINE STEMERICK
BULAWAYO - What President Mugabe has done to the people of Zimbabwe is
nothing short of criminal, says Archbishop Pius Ncube. The devastation
wrought by Operation Murambatsvina is now common knowledge, but the
heartbreaking effect upon the children of an entire nation has yet to be
realised in its enormity. Most children have no place to go to school,
300,000 just sit in the dust. They have no real conception of who they are
anymore - they have lost everything, even their identity.
"The social situation of Zimbabwe was very bad even before this, largely as
a result of the AIDS crisis," Ncube said in a recent interview. We have more
than one million orphans. We have homes that are headed by children. You'll
find a little girl of 15 looking after three siblings. There are over 700
dying each day. The hospitals cannot help; there are no drugs. So, it was
already a difficult situation.
"Mugabe himself is an old man of 81. He had a liberal education from the
church, and this is what he is doing to his people. Such a criminal thing he
is doing to the people," he said.
Ncube accused Mugabe of having a political agenda. "He wants all development
to go through his party. And those who are not with his party will not get
any loans or any permissions or permits to do business. He wants to
peasantify people: to drive them into the country. In this way, they have no
power. Then Mugabe's party can propagandize as much as possible because out
there, you have no electricity, no e-mail, there is no other alternative
source of information. The whole purpose is to break the people's identity
and pride, so that he can use them as puppets for his own personal power."
The task facing those who want to help is overwhelming. Ncube's priorities
are: "The basics - food first, then blankets and clothing; then we must see
how we can help them educationally." He said the church should stand up to
affirm the people very much in a Biblical way. "Widows, orphans and the poor
should be respected. God's judgement is going to fall upon those who oppress
them. So, the role of the church is to stand with the people, to condemn the
evil acts of the government." - Christmas offerings to feed orphans and
widows can be made to "Alvaston Methodist Church - the Zimbabwe Fund", c/o
Revd Dr Martine Stemerick, 137 Shardlow Road, Alvaston, Derby DE24 0JR (UK)
Every penny will go the poor in Zimbabwe.
LONDON - Lizwane Ndlovu, the Zimbabwean ex-Yarl's Wood hunger-striker, died
last week, the NDADC has reported. Her family is making frantic arrangements
to have the body repatriated to Zimbabwe.
Many campaigners in the North West supported the Zimbabwean hunger-strikers
and participated in the July 4 2005 picket outside British Airways in
Manchester where they called on the Home Office to release all Zimbabwean
immigration detainees. Ndlovu is reported to have been not been well since
being released from detention in July. Campaigners say she subsequently fell
into a coma, and was hospitalised in Birmingham City Hospital. She leaves
two young children in Zimbabwe. Campaigners are calling for an investigation
to establish if the conditions of Lizwane's detention in Yarl's Wood, or the
effects of detention, may have contributed to her death. - Full details:
LONDON - As readers will be aware, one of the trickiest problems facing us
concerns the use of Malawian and South African passports by Zimbabwean
asylum seekers. Last week we met the Director of Malawi Watch, Billy Banda,
whose organisation is concerned about the fate of Zimbabweans stranded in
Malawi with no support structures.
Mr Banda provided us with much valuable information about the present
situation in Malawi and the mechanisms involving immigration there.
The question was posed as to how many times the British Government had
informed the Malawi Home Office of 'Malawians' they were returning? We were
surprised to learn that the Malawi Home Office Minister had not received any
direct information from the British authorities about the removal of
'Malawians'. It became very clear that there has been a breakdown in
communication, which needs to be investigated.
It was also agreed that it was important to set up a mechanism to establish
whether passports had been properly issued before people of disputed
Zim/Malawi nationality were removed from the UK. If investigations took
place BEFORE deportation then it would be possible to identify genuine
Malawians who would have access to family support structures within Malawi.
People who were identified as being Zimbabwean should be entitled to
continue their claims for asylum within the UK.
The meeting ended with mutual agreement to work together to deal with the
current Zim/Malawi nationality problems. Later that week a further meeting
took place at the Malawi High Commission and steps are being taken to
resolve some of the issues mentioned above.
Among the Zimbabweans currently in detention is a person who successfully
resisted removal to Malawi last week. With luck the increase in knowledge of
what is happening in Malawi may help his case to be resolved more
Also in detention are seven Zimbabwean detainees at Yarls Wood. Four of them
have been on hunger strike since 1 November. Fortunately they all have
competent lawyers who have been working hard to obtain their release: two
are due for a bail hearing on 15 November and we are hopeful that they will
be granted bail; one is likely to be released on Temporary Admission within
the near future; the last member of the group is awaiting the date of a bail
hearing. Two other detainees from different centres have been released
recently. There are also a few people in detention whose cases are known as
Third Country cases. These are people who have spent time in other EC
countries before claiming asylum and the law states they must be returned to
whichever European country they first entered to claim asylum there.
WARNING: We have heard that people are being required to pay large sums of
money for information about Immigration. This consists of forms, which are
downloadable from the Internet for free, plus a one-page list of
instructions. The people running this particular scam are only contactable
via mobile phones. Please be careful when parting with money! Make sure you
know what you will receive for your cash. Always get receipts. If asked to
pay money into bank accounts, keep a record of the transaction. Remember
that much information is available for free
BY STANFORD MUKASA
WASHINGTON - Zimbabwean civic society took a step towards mass action last
week when the ZCTU, NCA and students staged spectacular demonstrations
through the country.
The demonstrations were unfortunately short lived. Mugabe's armed police and
the army moved in quickly and suppressed them.
Mugabe can smile from ear to ear that he has for the umpteenth time managed
to suppress any mass action against him. But one thing stands out about the
last demonstrations. They were spontaneous and managed to put onto some
streets about 200 people.
The biggest challenge for the civic society leadership is about how to build
the momentum for mass protest. One-day protests do not have a long-term
impact on Mugabe. MDC president, Morgan Tsvangirai, NCA chairman, Lovemore
Madhuku, and ZCTU secretary general, Wellington Chibhebhe, have warned on
several occasions that Mugabe is creating conditions for a mass action.
Many people have strongly urged MDC and the civic society leadership to
engage in long-term planning for mass action. If last week's demonstrations
had been part of a long-term strategy more people should have poured into
the streets immediately after their first group of colleagues had been
arrested by the police. This would have stretched the resources of the
Mugabe is aware that such a series of spontaneous demonstrations could
seriously challenge him. He also knows that it is becoming more difficult to
put down the demonstrations because people are now getting more determined
and less afraid of the police.
He has therefore earmarked over $15 billion to destabilize the MDC. Some
unconfirmed reports say the amount is over $300 billion. What MDC is going
through right now is undoubtedly a result of Mugabe's determination not only
to divide the party but to remove Tsvangirai as president.
The destabilisation effort is tied to the succession issue within Zanu (PF).
Mugabe's hand picked successor Joyce Mujuru does not enjoy popular support.
She iss surrounded by power hungry officials who, the moment Mugabe steps
down, are unlikely to give her their support.
But somehow Mugabe hopes that if Mujuru can secure victory in the
presidential elections it could be difficult for the factions in Zanu (PF)
to challenge her. In order to gain enough popular support to give her
victory at the next elections Mujuru will need to defeat Tsvangirai.
Now everyone knows that in a free and fair election Mujuru would be soundly
defeated. The elections would have to be rigged extensively.
It is very difficult to believe that the MDC group of six has rebelled
against Tsvangirai for the flimsy reason of the controversial vote of the
What makes their position so ridiculously illogical is they are recognizing
the first vote of the national council but not the second - which rescinded
the earlier vote. They have rejected the second vote on the grounds that the
national council's meeting was unconstitutional and they had in fact urged
supporters to boycott the meeting. Yet they sent apologies for not
attending, thus recognizing the legitimacy of the meeting.
Next, Gibson Sibanda makes a statement calling for an independent republic
of Matabeleland. That statement gets widespread media coverage. It is not
until several days later that Nyathi, not Sibanda, denies having made such a
statement! Asked why it had taken Sibanda such a long time to respond Nyathi
could only say they do not read state media that much. This was a naïve and
evasive response. Nyathi has not been very articulate in answering some
questions which focus on the rebels' motives.
What seems to be happening is that the rebels led by Welshman Ncube have
become wittingly or unwittingly collaborators in the program by Mugabe to
destabilize MDC. The state media in particular have given extensive coverage
to the pro-senate lobby in the MDC. All of a sudden Ncube, Nyathi, Sibanda,
Chimanikire and Ncube have become strange bedfellows with Mugabe.
Their fanatical obsession with participating in the senate elections in a
complete contradiction to their vociferous denunciation and opposition to
the bill that established the senate in the first place has given rise to
suspicions that they may have struck a secret deal with Zanu (PF). - Letter
from America is a weekly analysis broadcast every Monday evening
(www.swradioafrica.com) and Tuesday morning 1197 Khz medium wave.
By LITANY BIRD
Dear Family and Friends,
Wearing a little red paper poppy on my shirt this second week of November
has been something I've done ever since I can remember. I was disappointed
this Friday to see just a dozen or so scrappy paper poppies lying in the
bottom of the cardboard box two days before Armistice Sunday. At first I
thought that this international day of remembrance must have become the
latest casualty in Zimbabwe's determination to cut itself off from the rest
of the world. I was wrong.
The reason there are no poppies this year is because 20 000 little red paper
flowers sent from the UK have been impounded by Zimbabwe's department of
customs. Apparently even scraps of red paper used for charitable purposes
and to remember the end of World War One, are not exempt from our government's
desperate attempts to raise money. Customs want Z$53 million to release the
poppies and so, those of us lucky enough to find them, are wearing crumpled
poppies left over from last year and I wear my tatty one with outrage but
also with pride.
It has been altogether a very shocking week in Zimbabwe and trying to keep
track of the events has been very difficult due to almost no coverage by
state media. ZBC TV, whose motto is "When it happens we will be there", have
obviously been in other places this week but even so, bit by bit, one way or
another, the real news does eventually get out.
This week the MDC Mayor of Chitungwiza was detained by police. Six
University of Zimbabwe student leaders were arrested for trying to embark on
a demonstration about deplorable conditions on campus. Tuesday's countrywide
demonstrations by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions and the National
Constitutional Assembly left all their combined leaders arrested and between
120 and 200 others who had been brave enough to take to the streets with
Also this week came the shocking news that airfares have been increased by
1600% and for anyone planning on visiting their families in South Africa
this Christmas, a return ticket will cost Z$34 million. Each return ticket
to the UK now costs Z$140 million and this is crushing news for hundreds of
thousands of Zimbabwean families which are split up across continents. With
an average teacher taking home less than Z$10 million a month, there is no
hope at all that even professionals will be able to be united with their
families this year.
The good news is that the rains have started and in Marondera we have had
104 mm (4 inches) in five days. The bad news is that what little wheat there
is this year is sitting out there in the fields getting wet. The wheat is
not being harvested because of chronic diesel shortages that have persisted
since the March elections. Until next week, Ndini shamwari yenyu.
In the early hours of Monday morning police trucks descended on Harare's
poor who were still sleeping rough around Mbare Msika, months after the
government's much-touted Operation Garikayi failed to materialise in the
devastating wake of Murambatsvina.
This is despite a High Court order, secured by Lawyers for Human rights,
barring police and municipal authorities from removing them again.
These poor people, who have suffered untold hardships since their homes and
livelihoods were destroyed, have now been taken to an unconfirmed
destination. Many of them have died. They have been forced to watch their
If Hopley Farm is anything to go by, they are now totally isolated in the
middle of nowhere - held virtually as prisoners, with no sanitation, running
water, food, shelter, health or educational services.
Humanitarian assistance has also been denied such victims in the past. Even
local churches, attempting to deliver food and blankets, have been barred.
It was in a place like this that Murambatsvina's tiniest victim, Baby
Precious, (The Zimbabwean 9-15 September) died at a few weeks old.
Once again, the United Nations has offered to raise US$30 million for
emergency shelters, but this has been declined by the Zimbabwean government.
Ironically, the latest 'clean up' has been occasioned by the forthcoming
visit of another UN special envoy to assess the situation.
When will Kofi Annan and his people learn? They seem incapable of realising
just what kind of monsters they are dealing with. What is it going to take
to convince them? The extent of human suffering caused is beyond words .
It is more than two months since Tibaijuka's report - and the UN has been
walking on eggshells ever since. We call on Kofi Annan to take decisive
action. Now. It is already too late for many. How many more will have to pay
with their lives?
Surely the Zimbabwe government's stony-hearted refusal of assistance should
not be allowed to prevent the UN from coming to the rescue of a nation being
held to ransom by a small group of political bully-boys and their armed
Zims are different
EDITOR - The government here in Britain has not always handled immigration
matters in a very efficient or rational way. The country is almost swamped
in some parts with an assortment of newcomers of every colour and creed.
Some are here legally, others are not. Many are English-speaking from
countries in the Commonwealth, others from out of the way places in Europe
and elsewhere and able to communicate only in their mother tongues
Westminster and Whitehall should understand that Zimbabweans are in a rather
different class from many other emigrants. First of all, their ties with the
United Kingdom are strong. Their country at one time, thanks to firm
leadership and hard work, was the "bread basket" of the part of Southern
Africa it occupied. Thanks to a strict selective immigration policy in
colonial times, and an educational system both before and after 1980 most
inhabitants are well educated and disciplined.
Nobody wants to remain in Britain true democracy is restored back home and a
capable caring government holding the reins of power in Harare. Britain has
been good to most seeking asylum from Zanu (PF) atrocities and even to
others bordering on the "economic migrant" category. Believe me there will
be long queues at Gatwick and Heathrow as soon as RGM and his cronies are
gone, and there may well be not a few of Caucasian countenance in the
booking-in line as well
So once again, Blair give our blokes a break especially as you do not seem
to possess the spirit or guts to deal with and dethrone someone fitting in a
historical sense alongside tyrants of the past like Caligula and Pol Pot!
NEILL DE SPERANDUM, London
Promises worth nothing
EDITOR - The Zanu (PF) regime makes no attempt to disguise its blatant
anti-democratic nature and its complete contempt for the rule of law. The
clique who have monopolized the party in its pursuit of personal wealth and
power have betrayed the principles of the liberation struggle and debase
those ideals everyday with their pathetic mouthings of such slogans as
"Zimbabwe will never be a colony again" when they are frantically selling
off the country to anyone foolish enough to trust them. Fortunately their
belief that the Chinese government would be stupid enough to believe their
lies has proven to be a delusion. The Chinese are realistic enough to see
that any promise made by Mugabe or his sycophantic ministers is worth less
In their desperate search for recognition and legitimacy, they ship off that
despicable sell-out Makwavarara to Moscow to beg for a few refuse removal
trucks and a pat on the head. We all know that Moscow is ruled by the
Russian mafia so it comes as no surprise that they would support our own
criminals at home. Perhaps Chombo should send his pet to Rangoon, Pyongyang,
Minsk and other strongholds of gangster governance to suck up and get
Chombo has now removed any pretence of constitutionality in his destruction
of local authorities held by the opposition. His pathetic bullying tactics
are entirely consistent with the Zanu (PF) mentality which is "if you oppose
us, you are our enemy and we will destroy you, irrespective of any law".
These criminals see the law a just another tool to be used or ignored
according to their wishes. Just as Smith before them, the ruling Mafioso
care nothing for democracy, human rights or freedom and only for power and
money. The idea that a democratically-elected Mayor can be placed under the
supervision of a mere District Administrator is not only demeaning but
illegal. There is no provision for such an arrangement in the Urban Councils
As with the debacle over the Senate elections, there will be those MDC
officials in elected office who will try reach some modus vivendi with the
dictatorship, to try accommodate and implement the directives from the
regime thereby preserving their illusionary power while enjoying the
practical benefits of salaries, cars etc. Such people in the MDC who think
that by participating in Mugabe's games, they can somehow ameliorate the
effects of such antics, are seriously deluded and are merely serving to
legitimate the illegitimate. We cannot resolve our national crisis by
refusing to confront the core issue, namely the theft of the State by a
criminal element that has subverted the constitution, stolen elections and
engaged in extra-legal murders and violence. The State must be liberated
before any meaningful change can take place.
Senate boycott won't help
EDITOR - Political parties exist primarily to contest elections and to give
people a choice of who should govern the country. In its short existence the
MDC has already participated in two parliamentary elections and one
presidential plebiscite. As expected Zanu (PF) has used violence and
intimidation to win the elections but the MDC has always emerged stronger
and more purposeful.
Morgan Tsvangirai has, on at least two of these elections, called for
non-participation on the grounds that they breed illegitimate and
predetermined outcomes. In my opinion Tsvangirai's aversion to elections
emanates from the simple fact that he is a perennial loser of elections.
He lost the 2000 parliamentary elections, which were supposed to be the
easiest to win on an MDC ticket and in his home constituency, and the
presidential elections of 2002.
His fellow executives in the MDC have won elections and are therefore more
suitable to lead the party. Tsvangirai has been given enough opportunities
to demonstrate his inadequacies as a leader and this could be the right time
for change within the party.
The one ideology that Tsvangirai stands for is civil disobedience and from
his days in the ZCTU this seemed to work for him but unfortunately this
strategy cannot work for him now as a political leader. He has moved from
urging people to stay away from work to instructing the masses to stay away
from the polls. Robert Mugabe will not be removed from power by stayaways.
The truth right now is that whether or not the MDC participates in the
elections, there will be a senate in Zimbabwe and from what I know Robert
Mugabe would prefer a senate or a parliament without any member of the
opposition in it, so why give him the pleasure by not taking part? If being
in the senate comes with financial benefits so be it.
I am not in any way suggesting that Welshman Ncube is a saint, far from it.
He has massive shortcomings as a politician but on this particular issue I
think his stance is right. Remember he is the one who wrote the letter being
used by the British Home Office to dismiss asylum claims by Zimbabweans in
which he stated that people who did not possess letters of confirmation
signed by him were not genuine members of the MDC.
The Home Office has used this letter to deny thousands of genuine Zimbabwean
refugees sanctuary leading to their deportation. He wrote the letter at a
Zimbabwe was going through the worst imaginable politically-motivated
violence against white commercial farmers and black people perceived to be
members of the opposition. A man who makes such a serious error of judgement
cannot be trusted to run an effective opposition political party.
Participation in elections should not be a matter for discussion or debate.
It should be mandatory because African governments are not bothered by
boycotts and stayaways, as these serve to perpetuate their infinite and
obnoxious hold on power.
BINGLEY SIBINDI, UK
Student leaders targeted
EDITOR - It is very disheartening to read each and every day that students'
representatives have been suspended. What is the way forward for these poor
people? First, it was at the Harare Polytech, then UZ and now Bindura.
What is going to happen to student politics? Does that mean that students
have no right to be represented? These students unions are our voice and
guardian against the perpetrators of our rights. Students have a right to be
heard and the constitution of the UZ rights says that there should be a
student body, but surprisingly it exists on paper and not in practice.
We have given diplomacy enough time and it has failed to deliver the
required results. We are going to rise as the students of this nation who
are eager to defend their right to be heard. The living conditions at the UZ
are appalling. How can we go for a week without sadza? This is a clear sign
of incompetence by the administration. The toilets need some serious
attention but not from the students' meagre funds.
CONCERNED STUDENT, Harare
EDITOR - I think that Zanu (PF) really wants the Third Chimurenga to be the
last Chimurenga of all. The Fourth Chimurenga - the essential one to rid the
country of Zanu is the last thing they want and yet it will surely come as
day follows night.
Has Zanu perhaps managed to postpone the start of this Fourth Chimurenga by
the dangling of a sweet juicy carrot in the form of a few possible seats in
a Zanu Senate? A section of the opposition appears to have found this
irresistible and has given it a new description - a constitutional crisis
It would appear that these intellectual Wannabee Senators might well be
exposing themselves to becoming members of the Zanu Debating Society - where
there is little sense of urgency.
Heaven forbid that 40 years hence Zimbabwe's history books read - Professors
Coltart, Ncube and Sibanda then became Honourary Members of the Zanu
Debating Society there by delaying the start of the Fourth Chimurenga while
millions faced starvation.
Unconfirmed reports indicate that the leader of the Matabeland Farmers'
Association has also been 'encouraged' by Zanu to raise $3 billion for the
Zanu Congress in Umzingwane. It might be difficult to seek international
support/sympathy for commercial agriculture if the farmers do 'agree' to
raise $3 billion for Zanu. The logical argument from the international
community could well be that commercial farmers are happy with Zanu to raise
such cash for famished Zanu fat cats - when millions face starvation. On
what grounds can such actions be defended?
JL ROBINSON, Australia
Funeral parlour rip-off
EDITOR - Please allow me to share with you and the rest of the country the
latest scam involving Funeral Parlours based on personal experiece.
A female close relative of mine died in the early hours of Saturday 5th
November at her Hatcliffe home and her unemployed husband reported the death
at the local Police Station. He was informed that he would have to make
private arrangements for the movement of the body to a morgue, as the Police
no longer provided such a service. He was then asked by a Police Officer on
duty whether he would be willing to contract Vineyard Funeral Services who
were already on their way to pick up another body of similar circumstance.
He paid $1m in cash (which seemed reasonable considering the prevailing fuel
situation) for the transportation of the body to a mortuary. Since the
driver could not furnish him with a quotation for further services if so
required, he suggested that the husband visit Vineyard Parlour for a
quotation. Meanwhile it was assumed that the body would be taken to a
government hospital for Post Mortem.
On the next morning, the husband obtained a Doctor's Report from
Parirenyatwa and informed that the deceased's national ID was retained by
Vineyard. On collection of the ID form a reluctant representative of
Vineyard (assume they wanted to process on behalf), he then proceeded to
Market Square for a Death Certificate and Burial Order. All went well as he
managed to get all the requisite documentation for burial.
On arrival at Parirenyatwa Hospital Mortuary later in the afternoon to
collect the body for burial, we were taken aback to find it missing. After a
records search we were then advised to contact the Funeral Parlour and upon
arrival, we were perplexed to be presented with a quotation of charges due
amounting to $4.5m over and above the $1m already paid. Even though there
was no direct contact and consultation between the Parlour and the aggrieved
husband or any family representative, we were presented with a $600,000
charge referred to as Consultation Fee, a further $800,000 charge as
shortfall on transport (for allegedly not opting for full service), a
projected charge of $1,600,000 for Mortuary Storage (assume overnight and
day of collection, $800,000/day) and other ancillary charges.
This was despite the fact that there was no agreement or instruction or
contract signed for these charges and on querying the charges above, we were
boldly, bluntly and rudely told by the Services Manager, a Mr Pakete, that
the charges stand and hence the body could strictly and only be collected on
cash payment on charges as per the Quotation presented (not invoice) and
that we are liable for the Consultation Fee charge of $600,000, by virtue of
talking to him.
The next morning saw us meeting the Owner and MD of Vineyard, a Mr Chikanda,
a very arrogant insensitive, rigid and uncompromising man by all standards
and we were similarly told, albeit rudely that the Consultation and Total
Charges stand and that we were by virtue of talking to him riding on other
charges. Despite repeated pleadings (never felt so denigrated and this low)
and highlighting the apparent communication breakdown, the man stood his
ground. The only consolation we had was the dropping of the extra charge on
transport after the driver testified before all present that he had not
fore-advised the husband on this and other charges, the conditionality and
company policy. At the end of the day, we paid under protest.
I wonder how many others have been caught in this way?
CHEATED BY DEATH, Harare
No unity of purpose
EDITOR - As events keep unfolding in the opposition party, it has become
clear that neither faction is going to budge. The issue is not about who is
right or who is wrong, the issue is that Mr Morgan is a dictator in the
making more or less like Mr Robert himself. If he is refusing to accept the
results of the election they held to determine whether to take part or not
then he should stop preaching about democracy because he himself does not
know its meaning.
Zimbabweans themselves also do not have unity of purpose because we talk of
removing the present government yet we ourselves are torn by tribalism.
Apparently it has become clear that Zanu (PF) has lost hope of winning the
hearts of the Ndebele people and thus would do anything to make sure there
is friction between the two main ethnic groups. This ensure that they will
remain in power because the two groups will be divided as to who should rule
the country after Bob.
If people in Matabeleland and all other regions would unite and speak with
one voice and implement one decision, honestly Mugabe would have been
history by now. My heart really bleeds when I see that events in the MDC
have taken a tribal route because this will see Zanu (PF) coming out
stronger and eventually kill the opposition. Meanwhile Prof Ncube is right
in saying they should take part. He and others should also by the same token
map a way forward in trying to bring peace ?in the party.
Meanwhile I urge all MDC supporters to vote against Zanu (PF), especially in
Matabeleland where it is contesting in all constituencies.
DR DU TOIT, Bulawayo
Tribalism will never work
EDITOR - First, I thank The Zimbabwean for not being biased. I think this
whole split in MDC is due to greed, bitterness and hatred on the part of the
pro-senate group. It really proves that Gibson Sibanda and crew never joined
MDC to liberate Zimbabweans as a whole but to earn political strength as
member of a particular ethnic group.
It leaves me with the conclusion that they merely wanted to use Mr
Tsvangirai as he is from the majority tribe. The recent revelations of his
outbursts in public clearly indicated that he is just like one of those Zapu
2000 fellows who tried and failed to get into government based on tribal
The man is treading on dangerous grounds, tribalism will never work for
Zimbabweans and if he is intending to form or join a party with such belief,
it will just fade like grass. We do not need division in Zimbabwe, there is
nothing wrong with having a patriotic Ndebele, Manyika, Karanga or Zezuru
president in Zimbabwe.
I wish to give advice to his followers, especially the well respected
intellectual Prof Ncube. He must use his intelligence to calculate the
possible disasters of the venture he has embarked on. He may end up going
from hero to zero, like his very friend Prof Moyo.
And to journalists whose publications are supporting these divisions and
increasingly publishing accusations against Mr Tsvangirai, I beg you to stop
using the power of media to destroy Zimbabwe's for your own personal
benefits. We need leaders that have been tried and tested, not intellectuals
who put other people in front to work the field and hurry to reap when the
fruits are ripe, only to go and feed themselves and a minority.
Everyone needs to be equal in Zimbabwe and be able to benefit from all its
riches. Pasi ne division. Varume ava varikungoda zvigaro chete, kwete kuti
vanhu vasununguke. Please Zimbabweans don't follow them, they will use you
Mliswa terrorised us
EDITOR - I read with interest of Themba Mliswa's confrontation with the
We from Karoi are well acquainted with him and his antics, which are
renowned. He has terrorised the people of the district regularly, both
verbally and physically over the past few years, in fact he continues to do
mayhem, destruction and deceit, all in the name of Didymus Mutasa, whom he
claims is his uncle.
He also claims to be an ex-Peterhouse student which leaves the reputation of
that institution questionable, particularly with the psychopathic tendencies
GRANNY JONES, Karoi
Walking for pizza?
EDITOR - Oh, happy, happy day! We can now walk for a pizza take-away which
is a blessing as it is good for our clogged arteries. Pizza? (The
Zimbabwean, October 21 - 27)
Almost the entire population is walking, the lame, the halt and the blind,
because we HAVE to, and it is not for take-aways, but the most basic of
necessities. In pity's name, how can this be a blessing for those too
feeble, sick, or impoverished to do so? Or those who cannot purchase the US
Dollars at$ 90,000 upwards with which to buy fuel to try to get to their
doctor. ( It has been illegal to have these dollars or any Forex for years!)
Walking to the Pizzeria for a take-away, whilst possibly good for one in a
country having clean air, should not be forced on its citizens by a
government bloated in both size, ineptitude and corruption. Those still able
to afford a Pizza might like to cast their eyes on ordinary folk, so very
many of whom would consider it a blessing beyond measure to have a square
meal let alone a take-away, while vast numbers have done nothing but walk
all their lives.
Look at the elderly, the sick, the dispossessed after the "clean up", the
unemployed due to business closures the pensioners who, try as they might,
see not a single solitary blessing in finding themselves caught in the
hellish trap that their once beloved home and country has become, with no
hope of relief any time soon, if ever. As for Kariba sunsets, a glass of
wine, hair conditioner etc. Enough said!
Judith Todd's letter showed empathy for those not "blessed", and has eyes
that really see. I give you my latest Invoice from Honey Dew Farm, two days
ago: (prices in Zimdollars) Carrots loose, small,10,730.00, Flora Margarine
400,000.00, sandwich loaf 49,000 .00 (This was 35,000 five days ago), Two
(2) small onions 5,141.00, green beans, loose, 6,762.00 (a mere handful),
One gem squash 3,534.00, one tin Grapefruit 35,000.00, VAT @ 17.5% $ 5,213,
TOTAL $510,167 No meat whatsoever. This will not last two of us a week, and
I am luckier than many, but not for much longer.
BY A CORRESPONDENT
HARARE - Zimbabwe's state-run media excelled themselves with abusive and
distorted coverage of UN concerns over the humanitarian crisis triggered by
Operation Murambatsvina, and of the US ambassador's forthright speech
blaming gross economic mismanagement and corrupt rule for the nation's
The media watchdog, Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe (MMPZ), in its weekly
report covering Oct. 31 - Nov. 6, said that, in addition, the state media
showed its complicity in the regime's persecution of councils run by the
Movement for Democratic Change by skewed coverage of Chitungwiza.
Chitungwiza became yet another victim of the Mugabe regime's tactic of
taking over councils where the MDC has been voted into control by blaming
the opposition for poor services without putting the problems into the true
perspective "as indicative of the general collapse of basic amenities in all
the country's major towns and cities, including Harare," the MMPZ noted.
"While the government media myopically presented Chitungwiza as incompetent,
they showed little concern over the mismanagement of Harare's own crumbling
amenities, including crippling water shortages, garbage mountains,
intermittent street lighting and decaying roads, among other issues," the
"As a result, all 17 stories they carried (ZBH 13 and the government press
four) on the water crisis in Harare merely highlighted the human suffering
caused by the water shortages and avoided taking the government-appointment
commission running the city to task."
The state mouthpieces never actually reported what UN Secretary-General Kofi
Annan said about Zimbabwe - that there is a humanitarian crisis as a result
of the state razing of homes and livelihoods and his concern at Robert
Mugabe's refusal to allow UN aid to the victims. Instead, The Herald
diverted attention by depicting the statement as being part of a British
conspiracy to demonise the country.
The Herald converted comments by British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw that
he had "discussed" the statement with Annan to mean he had "admitted"
pressuring the UN chief into issuing it. A BBC documentary on Zimbabwe
became in The Herald's agenda of distortion evidence that Britain had a
"hidden hand in the Secretary-General's statement."
However, the MMPZ credited SW Radio Africa, Studio 7 and The Financial
Gazette as giving a fairer presentation of the Annan statement, clearly
reporting what he had said.
The full import of US Ambassador Christopher Dell's forthright and
well-researched speech - laying to rest the regime's weary mantra of blaming
the ever-worsening economic crisis on so-called Western sanctions and
drought - also did not make it into the state media.
Instead, the state media carried a barrage of personal attacks against Dell.
The MMPZ cited The Herald as reaching "offensive extremes" when its abusive
columnist Nathaniel Manheru suggested that Dell was on a sexual escapade
when detained recently by members of the Presidential Guard while walking in
the Harare Botanical Gardens.
However, the monitors said that in a "rare display of unison" both the
private and state media agreed on the country's poor preparations for the
2005/6 farming season and its potential to make even worse the current dire
food situation. The Herald even carried startling revelations by Deputy
Agriculture Minister Sylvester Nguni that the decline in agricultural
production was due to the regime's skewed land reform policies.
But The Herald, true to form, then carried a contradictory statement by
Agriculture Minister Joseph Made, reverting to the old scapegoats of drought
and sanctions, without making any attempt to reconcile the two.
ZBH simply ignored these issues. The broadcaster carried stories about the
chaos in the agricultural sector and tried to downplay the reality by
depicting the authorities as working tirelessly to boost production.
BY ROY BENNETT
Beaten down, beaten up, many victims of Murambatsvina have been forcibly
relocated three or four times. Some have died, millions are without food,
shelter, water or hope. And yet the world continues to ask: "Why don't the
people of Zimbabwe stand up?" Roy Bennett speaks to Revd Dr MARTINE
Roy: People often say "Why don't the people of Zimbabwe stand up?" Explain
to me how you get a person who has been completely dehumanized and
brutalized and has had his dignity taken away to stand up. At any time he is
called, he is told: 'Sit down!" He lifts his feet up. He is beaten on the
bottom of his feet. He's got no one to complain to. He can't go to the
police to get any protection. He's got no legal representation. There's no
Red Cross. There are no human rights organizations that can help him.
And outside in the rural areas, if people stand up for opposition politics,
they are beaten. Their homes are destroyed. The food is politicised. Those
people daren't stand up against the regime, because if they do, it's certain
death for them with absolutely no assistance from anybody else.
So how do they rise up? How do they stand up? How do you organize people in
those circumstances? It is very difficult and very sad. But as long as the
grip that Robert Mugabe has through his armed forces on the people and the
repression that is given to them, as long as that is maintained and Mugabe
is propped up by other governments who supply the money so he can keep
feeding the military who keep carrying these human rights abuses on the
people, he will remain.
Martine: The kind of thing I saw in one little village is that the wife of
the local MP controlled the grain marketing board depot and she was
unwilling to give food, maize meal, to anyone who did not hold a Zanu (PF)
party card. The people literally said, "We're starving. The children can't
go to school. They are too weak."
Roy: That's correct. And it's not even a case of people who do not hold a
Zanu (PF) card. Let's go right back to 1980. As soon as Robert Mugabe and
his Zanu (PF) government were challenged in any way by any form of
opposition, he resorted to oppression and violence. We saw it in
Matabeleland with the massacres. Zanu (PF) has been able to retain power in
Zimbabwe for over 20 years by totalling suppressing any form of opposition
that dared stand up against it.
The MDC was formed in 1999, and when Mugabe was defeated in the referendum,
he realized he no longer had the mandate from the people of Zimbabwe. He
declared war on his own people. In every election, the people have been
warned: 'if you don't vote for us, there will be consequences.' So, this
last election was the final straw. People in the cities were warned: 'If you
do not vote for us, you will see what we will do.' The Commissioner of
Police is on record as having said, 'We will deal with these maggots.'
Didymus Mutasa, the Minister of State Security, is on record saying: 'If
seven million people starve and die, we will be left with seven million of
the right people who support the right political party.'
Mugabe knew full well what the election results were. They know they were
severely beaten in many constituencies. So what are they doing now? They are
following up on their threats.
Unless the food is brought in through the churches and through organizations
that represent the people and has absolutely no control by the government,
it is never going to benefit the people. It's going to be used to entrench