BY WALTER MARWIZI
MORGAN Tsvangirai yesterday poured cold water on claims by Theresa
Makone that she was the chairperson of the party's women's assembly.
In what signifies a major climb-down by Tsvangirai, the MDC faction
leader said, through spokesperson William Bango, Makone's election was not
yet "water under the bridge" as she suggested two weeks ago.
A defiant Makone, elected in controversial circumstances in a Bulawayo
restaurant, declared no one could stop her from leading the women' assembly.
She claimed, after chairing her own women's assembly meeting, that
both the national executive and national council would not remove her as it
was "purely a women's issue".
But asked to categorically state who he regarded as the official
leader of the women's assembly, Tsvangirai said a decision still had to be
made on the matter.
At a heated national executive meeting a few weeks ago, Tsvangirai
said Makone's election was "water under the bridge", after encountering
opposition from senior officials. There was massive discontent with the
manner of Makone's election.
Yesterday, Tsvangirai said: "This matter is within the purview of the
organs of the party and a decision is yet to be taken on it.
"The leader of the party is bound by the decisions of the party. It is
common cause the matter is still being dealt with in the channels of the
He referred to a story in The Standard which said discussion on the
matter was deferred until the party chairman, Lovemore Moyo presented a
report to the national executive (NE).
Tsvangirai yesterday said there was no sinister agenda to the delay in
holding the meeting.
He said this was due to the absence of key members and logistical
"You find that a number of NE members might be committed elsewhere,"
he said. "Some might be key people who have to present reports. Also, the
money for transporting members, especially those outside Harare has not been
secured. Delays to crucial meetings have happened before and there is
nothing unusual about it."
The climb-down by Tsvangirai is likely to come as a relief to senior
party officials disgruntled with the manner in which the issue had been
It could also project Tsvangirai as a democrat who listens to the
people and allows the party to refocus its energies on the 2008 elections.
Today Tsvangirai will meet provincial and district chairpersons in
Harare, where he is expected to update them on the ongoing South
African-brokered talks with Zanu PF and preparations for the harmonised
The meeting will largely be consultative since the delegates cannot
make any binding decision under the MDC constitution.
BY WALTER MARWIZI
GODWILLS Masimirembwa, the man charged with ensuring business does not
fleece consumers, has been exposed as a disgraced lawyer forced to quit a
clerical job after his employment sparked a legal storm.
The Standard's investigations uncovered Masimirembwa's dark past as a
disgraced lawyer reduced to working for a pittance as a clerk for a law
Masimirembwa now chairs the National Incomes and Pricing Commission
(NIPC). His appointment outraged the legal fraternity, some of whose members
raised questions about his suitability and integrity.
After his chequered career as a lawyer, Masimirembwa ended up working
for Musunga & Associates as a legal clerk, the aim being "to rehabilitate
The attempt backfired when in February 2006, the Law Society of
Zimbabwe demanded an explanation from Musunga & Associates: how they could
employ someone struck off the register?
The firm sought in vain to justify the appointment on humanitarian
grounds. They said their main objective was to "rehabilitate" Masimirembwa
who had gone "astray".
The appeal topped the agenda of an LSZ meeting on 5 June 2006 which
decided that he could only be allowed to practise after it had granted him
Eight days later, a disgraced Masimirembwa resigned from Musunga and
Associates. Investigations reveal that before he was de-registered,
Masimirembwa engaged in conduct described by the LSZ as "unprofessional,
dishonourable or unworthy".
The Legal Practitioners' Disciplinary Tribunal, hearing the case, was
told that sometime in 1993, he failed to account for $118 135 31 belonging
to the Bindura Town Council. The council had instructed him to collect
arrears of assessment rates from property owners within its jurisdiction.
On 7 March 1995, the High Court granted a default judgement under case
No. 79041/94. Masimirembwa did not defend or dispute the allegations.
In fact, after service of the summons on 11 February 1995, he signed
an acknowledgment of debt undertaking to pay $127 782 05. But no payment was
made. Masimirembwa issued 60 trust cheques to the town council - all
Another complainant, R Chakanetsa who sold his Glendale house lost $72
The sale was handled by City Estate Agents, who after receiving the
money handed it to Masimirembwa.
In another case, Masimirembwa advised a client, E Mupfukudza that he
was facing a fraud case carrying a 17-year prison term. He was advised to
withdraw his money ($60 000) from personal accounts and deposit it in the
lawyer's trust accounts. The lawyer said it would not only earn better
interest, but be accessible to his family and be secured by LSZ.
Afterwards Masimirembwa warned Mupfukudza the Department of Taxes
could seize his Mercedes Benz 190D. To forestall that, the vehicle had to be
surrendered to the lawyer.
Masimirembwa's law firm sold the vehicle, valued at $80 000 to C A
Wright. He could not account for the $60 000 deposited in the trust
The LSZ deplored his conduct and struck him off their register.
On Friday, Masimirembwa denied he was a crook or a fraudster.
"Yes," he said, "there were problems at my law firm. I admitted that
to the society. We failed to keep proper books of accounts but I never stole
anyone's money. I was never convicted of that.
"These things happen and it was a mistake. I accept I was
He said their books were not balancing because an employee stole from
their trust funds. He said he would sign the cheques "as the principal",
unaware there were going to pay the employee's personal accounts, rentals
and "other things".
"I fired him after realising what he was doing. I have since paid
everybody I owed money. I don't owe anybody a cent."
Asked if such a background made him a suitable holder for his new job,
which demanded ethical business credentials, Masimirembwa said: "These
things do happen. It was a sad incident in my life but I am fully
rehabilitated now. I have informed my principals about it and nothing can
stop me from heading the commission."
He disclosed that he had instructed his lawyers, Costa & Mudzonga, to
apply for re-admission to the LSZ.
By Vusumuzi Sifile and Nqobani
CLEMENTS Ncube is a Zimbabwean working in Gaborone. Two weeks ago, he
travelled to Bulawayo to wed his girlfriend, Soneni Moyo.
He desperately needed a marriage certificate for his wife to join him
The wedding was to be held at the Tredgold Magistrates' Court. Ncube
had hired an 18-seater minibus to bring friends and relatives from Botswana.
When Ncube finally arrived in Bulawayo he found the magistrates were
on strike and the wedding ceremony at Tredgold could not take place. They
"This is unfair," he said.
This is an example of how, when justice decides to go on strike, many
things go awry.
Among the affected are prisoners. Some have remained in jail because
there is no one to try them.
The Standard has established that in a number of prisons and holding
cells, inmates are exposed to disease outbreaks. Cells are now dangerously
The scarcity of foodstuffs on the formal market means feeding remand
prisoners is no longer the routine. Suppliers complain their debts are not
being settled on time or at all - so they won't deal with the prisons.
In Bulawayo, the situation at the Central Police Station was described
by an officer as "just terrible".
"There is a risk of a disease outbreak, as there is a water and food
shortage," he said.
Magistrates went on strike two weeks ago demanding a 150% pay hike.
They want their salaries reviewed every three months. They want the same
luxury cars as judges.
Enias Mungate, president of the Magistrates' Association of Zimbabwe
(MAZ), in a letter to the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary
Affairs, said their salaries and working conditions were "demotivating".
They are demanding a pay hike of about $25 million to over $80 million
Protests over low pay and poor working conditions have led to a
serious brain drain in the judiciary.
In August, four criminal courts in Bulawayo shut down after
magistrates resigned. Remand prisoners remained in prison.
Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena had this comment: "There is
nothing we can do but to continue to arrest offenders. But we are not facing
a crisis. If the cells are crowded, we could move them to other places."
The parliamentary portfolio committee on Justice, Legal and
Parliamentary Affairs last year described the prison situation as
Last week, the committee was told the ministry had exhausted its 2007
On Thursday, the ministry's acting permanent secretary Chisingaperi
Chaitezvi and the chief magistrate Herbert Mandeya, said the Public Service
Commission indicated it could only review salaries next year.
The government recently ordered the striking magistrates back to work
while their "grievances were being looked into". But the magistrates would
In some cases, magistrates and prosecutors went away with court keys,
locking out police prosecutors, ordered to hear cases by the Ministry of
Home Affairs. The police prosecutors were dismissed as "sell-outs" by their
Police prosecutors were posted to the courts on Tuesday at the request
of the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.
In Bulawayo, police prosecutors wrote to Officer Commanding Bulawayo,
Senior Assistant Commissioner, Lee Muchemwa, advising him of their
predicament after being locked out of the courts.
Under the law, the police cannot strike.
Prosecutors and magistrates earn between $16 million and $26 million
respectively, according to sources.
By Our Staff
THE City of Harare should, from next year, stop defaulting on its
budget promises, the Borrowdale Residents and Ratepayers' Association said
The residents spoke at a pre-budget consultative meeting with council
"The council has in the past defaulted on its budget promises and we
are saying from next year, they have to start doing what they tell us they
will do," the association executive committee's Dick Groves, said.
Residents complained also that contrary to promises to collect garbage
twice a week, the council only collected refuse once a month for the greater
part of this year.
They said the council should next year start refunding people if it
failed to collect garbage as promised, so as "to strike a balance of
"If you make me give you my money after promising you would collect
garbage twice a week but end up collecting it only once a month, then it
will be fair for you to refund me for those weeks on which you would have
defaulted," said one resident.
The council was also urged to re-ink its printers as most residents
found it difficult to read invoices. They said the billing system needed to
be looked into.
They suggested the council demanded nothing more than the ratepayer's
birth certificate when determining pensioners' rate.
The ratepayers said they were outraged by the council's rate hikes and
demanded that the rates be reduced next year.
"The council effected a 900% hike since October and that is
outrageous," said another resident. "We are not asking for a freeze on rates
next year but we are saying that in 2008, the council should take into
account the recent hike and reduce its rates."
Representing the council at the meeting was Innocent Sithole, District
Officer for Borrowdale.
He would not respond to the residents' concerns, saying he had been
sent to take down minutes.
Sithole said more senior people who were initially assigned to chair
the meeting were held up by other council commitments.
"We feel very insulted that the council invites us to a meeting of
this sort, at a very short notice of only 18 hours and when we have done all
we can to attend, we find there is no one to respond to our concerns," the
residents told Sithole.
The meeting, held at the council offices in Borrowdale, was poorly
attended and the residents' association blamed this on the short notice.
By Nqobani Ndlovu
BULAWAYO - War veterans' leaders are being paid, in one instance $100
billion, for co-ordinating marches to drum up support for President Robert
Mugabe, it emerged last week.
Other reports say the marchers have been rewarded with cash and peanut
butter and cooking oil manufacturing machines worth several billions of
The revelations came as the war veterans prepared for the "Million
Men-Women March" in support of Mugabe's candidature in the 2008 presidential
War veterans' chairman, Jabulani Sibanda, who is leading the marches,
confirmed last week they were being paid for marching.
"The source of the machines and the money is not important," he said
in Bulawayo, "but what is important is that donations were made to the
provincial war veterans' structures for their role in the marches. We
sourced the machines as the war veterans from various donors."
Authoritative sources revealed that 11-member provincial structures of
the veterans were given $100 million for participating in the marches.
Sibanda confirmed 30 November as the date for the "million" march.
But he could not give the exact cost of the machines. The countrywide
marches have divided Zanu PF's leadership, with some senior officials
joining them, while others have snubbed them, as the worst example of the
promotion of a "personality cult".
The Standard could not independently establish the origin of the
machines and the money. It was claimed by other sources all the largesse
could be coming from the President's Office.
"Most of the provinces were given the equipment just after the
marches, while the remaining few provinces are yet to receive the peanut
butter and cooking oil manufacturing machines," said sources.
The ex-combatants have since August held marches in Harare and other
cities in support of Mugabe, as "the only one fit to rule Zimbabwe despite
an unprecedented economic crisis".
Analysts say the marches are an attempt by Mugabe to silence
dissenting lieutenants in the Zanu PF hierarchy, who are pushing for him to
step down and pave the way for a new leader.
The veterans are Mugabe's hard-line supporters, as he is their patron
and initiated their violent participation in the 2000 land reform fiasco and
the subsequent election campaign in which the party lost 57 seats to the
The parliamentary and presidential elections are scheduled for next
June. Mugabe's term was to have ended next year, but has been extended amid
Two party stalwarts believed to be eyeing the presidency are
Vice-President Joice Mujuru and Emmerson Mnangagwa, Minister of Rural
Housing and Social amenities.
BY CAIPHAS CHIMHETE
CORRUPTION has reached "epidemic" proportions in Zimbabwe and the
public are skeptical of the government's seriousness in tackling graft, a
recent study by Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ) has concluded.
A Comparative Study of National Integrity Systems in five Southern
African countries launched in Harare last week says institutions established
to spearhead the anti-graft crusade are "fledgling", and anti-corruption
crusade is only targeting the weakest members of society.
"Corruption in Zimbabwe has reached epidemic proportions
. . .," says the report. "The public is largely skeptical about the
seriousness of the government efforts, in light of the reported levels of
corruption in the public sector by high-level officials that seem to escape
the wrath of the law."
According to TIZ corruption perception index of 2006, Zimbabwe is
ranked 130 out of the 163 countries, closer to Africa's most corrupt nations
such as Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Kenya. These countries are ranked 142.
The previous year, Zimbabwe was ranked 107 together with Zambia,
Vietnam, Belarus and Eritrea.
The TIZ comparative study also looked at Botswana, Mozambique,
Swaziland and Zambia, where there were also indications of an increase in
TIZ says the establishment of the Ministry of State for State
Enterprises, Anti-Monopolies and Corruption as well as the Anti-Corruption
Commission (ACC) to fight graft had not made any difference.
"Neither the Ministry nor the ACC are fully operational at this
stage," says the study.
The Minister of State Enterprises, Anti-Monopolies and
Anti-Corruption, Samuel Undenge, could not be reached for comment as he was
said to be attending meetings.
Zimbabwe has many unsolved cases of graft that involved senior
politicians since 1980.
Several senior government officials were named in the Willowgate
scandal, the Pay-for-Your-House scheme and War Victims' Compensation Fund
but their cases were either dropped or left hanging in the air.
The First Lady, Grace Mugabe, was among those said to have
"undeservedly" benefited from the Pay-for-Your-House scheme.
Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri, Vice-President Joice Mujuru,
her husband retired General Solomon Mujuru, among others, were said to have
benefited unfairly from the same fund.
In its recommendations, the TIZ urges the government to empower
anti-corruption institutions so that "they have teeth to bite". They should
be endowed with adequate resources to effectively carry out the job.
"The government must strengthen its resolve to combat corruption in
and outside the state and move from more symbolic to a more substantive
commitment," says TIZ.
Speaking at the launch TIZ-Zimbabwe regional advocacy, desk officer,
Mary-Jane Ncube, said she was hopeful the study would help in the fight
TIZ also launched another book, Whose Fault Is It? an in depth look at
the declining state of public service delivery in five southern African
countries, including Zimbabwe.
BULAWAYO - A university student leader, recently charged with treason,
has now been suspended for three years - over demonstrations against high
Mehluli Dube, the National University of Science and Technology's
Student Representative Council (SRC) vice-president, was handed his
suspension letter two weeks ago.
He is alleged to have led last year's protests, which caused NUST's
Dube is already facing treason charges after he allegedly told a
public meeting if President Robert Mugabe was not removed from power through
elections, then he would be "removed by the bullet".
According to a statement from the Zimbabwe National Students Union
(ZINASU), Dube was suspended together with another NUST student leader,
Themba Maphenduka, for causing "unrest in November last year by demanding
the withdrawal of high tuition fees".
The two were not immediately available for comment.
Their suspension follows a disciplinary hearing held at NUST last May.
Scores of student leaders were arrested during the protests calling for the
reversal of what the students considered high tuition fees.
NUST spokesperson, Felix Moyo, could not be reached for comment on the
suspensions as he was said to be away on business.
But ZINASU said the suspensions were a "strategy to disqualify the two
from contesting for union leadership positions as it came a day before
elections. . .to elect new student leaders".
Dube joins PF-Zapu leaders Dumiso Dabengwa and the late former Zipra
commander, Lookout Masuku, on a list of people in Matabeleland, who were
once charged with treason.
Other politicians include the late opposition leader Ndabaningi
Sithole. The Movement for Democratic Change faction leader Morgan Tsvangirai
was also charged with treason.
Treason carries a death sentence or life in prison.
By Davison Maruziva
IN one of the most vivid illustrations of the brain drain, 20
teachers - including the headmaster - at a Harare school are leaving the
country for greener pastures at the end of the year (2007), amid suggestions
that rather than stop the exodus the government should have an expatriate
But the view from educationists was that bonding would not stop people
from leaving if they wanted to because of internal and external factors
weighing on individuals.
Gateway School Trust, which runs a junior and high school in Emerald
Hill, Harare, will be losing teachers mostly to South Africa.
Others, however, are being lost to the profession altogether.
Lovett Manduku, chairman of the Gateway School Trust, confirmed the
loss of the teachers to The Standard last week.
"Yes, it is true," he said. "We are losing 20 teachers between the
primary and high school, mostly to South Africa and some of them are leaving
the teaching field altogether.
"They complain mostly that they cannot afford to come to work. They
are finding it difficult to make ends meet. The problems are the current
economic situation, but the chances are that once they leave they will not
come back. We will lose them. They will not be teachers."
He said there was virtually no support from their overseas counterpart
Christian organisations to help the trust retain the teachers.
Asked to what extent the government appreciated the skills drain,
Manduku said while some of the ministers' children attended their schools,
it was at the lower levels and not ministerial levels where there was
acknowledgement of the crisis.
"When we discuss the issues with District Education Officers," Manduku
said, "they tell you that even government schools are also suffering. They
are not spared.
"In the private sector, virtually every school is losing, although
they may not be losing as many as we are."
Manduku said the headmaster of Gateway High School, Marcus Chibisa,
would be retiring, as he would be turning 60.
"He will be giving us notice at the end of the year and will leave at
the end of the first term."
Some of the teachers at Gateway told The Standard that apart from
South Africa, they were going to Botswana, Namibia and even as further
afield as Australia. Two weeks ago the trust began advertising for teachers
to replace the ones leaving.
The Progressive Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe, says more than 13 000
competent and qualified teachers have left the profession so far this year -
that's an average of 1 300 teachers leaving every month. An estimated 4 800
left the country last year, with South Africa, Mozambique and Namibia the
But Jameson Timba, the chairman of the Association of Trust Schools,
which has an estimated 1 800 teachers, said although they do not have
current statistics of teachers leaving the country for greener pastures, the
impact of recruitment of Science and Maths teachers by the South African
government was being felt.
He said the impact was more pronounced in Zimbabwe, "because in the
region we are currently the leading producer of quality teachers and within
the region we are also the leaders because of our infrastructure for
Timba said rather than panicking or trying to stop the exodus, the
government should actually be facilitating teachers wanting to leave the
The government, he said would benefit, if part of the teachers'
salaries was sent back home, if they were considered expatriate teachers.
He said the reason why such a policy did not exist was because ever
since the current Minister of Education, Aeneas Chigwedere, came into
office, he had apparently not made any attempt to establish a national
advisory board, although this is provided for under the Education Act.
"I believe he can get more value for no benefit and at no cost to the
government as the services provided are purely on a voluntary basis. There
would be similar boards at regional level. Education is a shared
Chigwedere told Parliament last week that the government had resolved
to bond newly-qualified teachers and would require neighbouring countries to
approach it before employing Zimbabwean teachers as part of measures to stem
the tide of brain drain.
But Professor Caiphas Nziramasanga, who chaired the Commission of
Inquiry into Education and Training in 1999, told The Standard that while
bonding was not new and was an international practice, manpower migration
Last week Nziramasanga said that bonding was just one of the
solutions, but it would not stop people leaving. Although Zimbabwe inherited
the policy of bonding, it abandoned it after independence because the
country was producing teachers surplus to its requirements.
"Whether we increase salaries, buy houses for teachers and cars on
graduation day," he said, "bonding cannot stop the desire of people to move
to new places. The true excuses are that people are just intellectually
curious. If my quest for adventure is stronger I will go."
While identifying the current drive for teachers by South Africa and
the strength of the Rand against the Zimbabwe dollar as being some of the
drivers of the migration of skilled manpower, Nziramasanga said what
infuriated him were instances of teachers leaving without notice, abandoning
their classes and trekking into the Diaspora.
Describing such conduct as "professionally criminal" Nziramasanga
said: "I do not care about the reasons (for leaving). The teacher also has
responsibilities where he/she is going. Morally and objectively, it is
unfair to the innocent children and parents who are paying through the nose.
Children are suffering for reasons which are not their own."
BY CAIPHAS CHIMHETE
THE recent appointments of former government employees to positions of
influence in the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) have been condemned by
the opposition and civil society.
Of the nine commissioners, five have served in various capacities in
President Robert Mugabe's government, accused of manipulating previous
The appointees include Bernard Chahuruva, the new ZEC deputy chief
inspector. Chahuruva is a former district administrator for Murehwa, Kadoma,
Hurungwe and Makonde.
The director of administration, Juba Chekenyere, was a management and
financial accountant in the government.
Director of polling and training, Ignatius Mushangwe, is a former
district registrar for Karoi, Bindura and Marondera. He was a deputy
provincial registrar for Mashonaland Central and Mashonaland East.
Japhate Murenje, the director of election logistics, is a former
provincial registrar for Mashonaland East and Midlands while James Chidamba,
director of human resources, is a former principal Employment Officer for
the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare in Matabeleland
ZEC spokesperson, Utoile Silaigwana said the appointments were made on
merit rather than political allegiance.
He said the commission advertised the positions in the media and
people who responded went through the normal interviewing process.
"And the best candidates were chosen. It was purely on merit and
nothing else," Silaigwana said.
But Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) spokesperson Nelson Chamisa
said the ZEC had been "impregnated" with Zanu PF functionaries to enable the
party to manipulate next year's elections in its favour.
This, said Chamisa, was contrary to the Zanu PF/MDC agreement reached
under South Africa-brokered talks to re-constitute the current ZEC, which
the MDC has described as illegal.
"This whole electoral process has been 'Zanuised' and we are going to
raise the issue with all the stakeholders. We can't afford to have another
flawed plebiscite when people are suffering like this," Chamisa said.
The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) believes the appointments
were a clear testimony that Zanu PF intended to rig the elections.
NCA national spokesperson, Madock Chivasa, said the appointments
signalled that next year's elections would not be free and fair.
"The fact that the present laws are subjected to abuse by the
executive might also suggest that the people who have been appointed are
sympathetic to the present government," Chivasa said.
The NCA felt the present ZEC would not allow any opposition political
party to form a government in 2008.
"Instead, what Zimbabweans will witness is a well stage-managed
election in which President Mugabe will retain his post as the head of
government," he said.
To cover up the "hoax", the NCA said, Zanu PF would allow an
insignificant number of MPs from the opposition to win in urban
constituencies, where MDC enjoys more support than Zanu PF.
Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) board chairman, Noel Kututwa
said the background of the appointees was insignificant.
"What is important is for the commission to be independent because
these people would be operating on instructions from the commission. I don't
think their background would be a problem," Kututwa said.
Kututwa said he would have preferred the appointments to be made after
the amendment of the Electoral Act.
"Because of Constitutional Amendment 18 there is need to change the
Electoral Act and the composition of the Commission could change as well,"
BY our CORRESPONDENT
GWERU - Zanu PF will win next year's elections because the current
constitution gives it a crucial advantage over the opposition, says Lovemore
The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) chairman told a Midlands
regional assembly recently the NCA would continue to fight for a new
people-driven constitution to guarantee free and fair elections.
"As NCA we are saying free and fair elections are only possible under
a new people-driven constitution and we are saying if people are to vote
next year and for the elections to be free and fair we should have a new
constitution," he told his members.
Madhuku claimed opposition politicians were aware Zanu PF would win
next year but alleged most were "blinded by greed".
He criticised the MDC for agreeing to the 18th amendment of the
But he dismissed proposals for the formation of a new opposition party
as it would not be able to wrest power from Zanu PF as long as the current
constitution remained in place.
On the talks brokered by South African President Thabo Mbeki, Madhuku
said Zanu PF was forced into the talks by the concerted efforts of the MDC
and other stakeholders under the Save Zimbabwe Campaign banner, yet civil
society had been left out.
"During the defiance campaign in Highfield, where we told the
government that it was a prayer meeting, we were thoroughly bashed and we
were together with the MDC. But when they were called for negotiations, the
MDC just ran and left the civic society in the open and the discussions are
only between Zanu PF and MDC."
Madhuku claimed the two factions had admitted to him that during the
ongoing talks they had agreed to write a new constitution without the
involvement of other stakeholders and the general public, which he said was
Madhuku said NCA regional assemblies were being held throughout the
country to amplify their disagreement with the MDC on the constitutional
amendment, and to show they were committed to a people-driven constitution.
JOHANNESBURG - A prominent
international refugee organisation is calling for an end to the deportations
of undocumented Zimbabweans by neighbouring countries.
After a month-long fact-finding mission to the region, Refugees
International (RI), a US-based non-governmental refugee advocacy group,
published a bulletin, Zimbabwe Exodus, on its observations.
"Large numbers of deportees regularly re-cross the borders illegally
immediately after deportation, where they are subject to dangerous
environmental conditions and often fall prey to criminal gangs. Deportations
are very costly for the host governments and do not achieve the goal of
deterring undocumented migration," the bulletin said.
Estimates of the scale of migration from Zimbabwe range from 1 million
to over 3 million people, while international donor agencies say more than a
third of the population, or 4.1 million people, require emergency food
assistance. Zimbabwe has the highest inflation rate in the world, nearly 15
000%, unemployment levels of 80% and acute shortages of basic foodstuffs,
fuel and electricity.
In the first seven months of 2007, the Reception and Support Centre of
the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) processed 117 737 people
repatriated from South Africa at its Beitbridge centre on the Zimbabwean
border - about
40 000 more than in the last 6 months of 2006.
The IOM has estimated that about 35% of those arriving at the centre
immediately make their way back to South Africa.
According to unofficial estimates, about 40 000 Zimbabweans were
repatriated from Botswana to Zimbabwe in 2006. RI said in its bulletin that
"what is abundantly clear is that Zimbabwe currently suffers from a near
complete lack of basic goods - food, petrol, soap, paraffin - and that
Zimbabweans outside their country are actively engaged in providing those
goods to family members back home."
Attempts by governments of neighbouring countries to find a solution
to Zimbabwe's ongoing problems must "de-link" these political interventions
from other considerations, so that they can "address the domestic
consequences of Zimbabwean migration, including strains on social services,
xenophobia, and the growth of an undocumented underclass that is in need of
The initiative by the Southern African Development Community - of
which the Zimbabwean migrant target countries of Botswana, South Africa and
Zambia are all members - to broker a solution to Zimbabwe's political
problems had deflected attention from the large-scale migration from
Zimbabwe, "as it draws attention to the humanitarian crisis inside
Zimbabwe", RI said.
Zimbabweans were being typecast by the United Nations and neighbouring
states as economic migrants, while the nature of the migration was complex,
and "the attempt to categorise the outflow (of people) ultimately obstructs
the humanitarian response by focusing on why people do (or do not) qualify
for aid," RI commented.
"Clearly not all Zimbabweans have a fear of prosecution . . . however,
economic and political grounds for leaving are not mutually exclusive. The
circumstances of the crisis call for new legal approaches, in line with
progressive interpretation of refugee and international human rights
The main host countries of Zimbabwean migrants, South Africa and
Botswana, "should acknowledge the nature of the Zimbabwean migration, and
provide adequate protection and assistance to those in need," the bulletin
The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) defines a "refugee" as a person who has
fled his/her country of nationality or habitual residence, and who is unable
or unwilling to return to that country because of a "well-founded" fear of
persecution based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion or
membership of a particular social group. This definition excludes those who
have left their homes only to seek a more prosperous life.
The home affairs parliamentary portfolio committee in South Africa
recently condemned the "animal"-like treatment of foreign nationals by the
authorities and the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has
launched an investigation into the death of a Zimbabwean refugee.
Zonke Majodina, deputy chairperson of the SAHRC, said the deportation
of Zimbabweans had become "a revolving-door phenomenon that costs the
country (South Africa) millions and does not solve anything."
She said the SAHRC had been monitoring the treatment of foreign
nationals and the conditions were "not up to scratch", as the home affairs
department lacked adequately trained staff, and their processes were
"cumbersome, bureaucratic and overly complicated". - IRIN
Save the Children said there were no reliable estimates of the number
of child migrants in the region, who were mainly from Lesotho, Mozambique,
Botswana, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Most of them were drawn to South Africa because "These children have a
powerful sense of futility about the lack of opportunities available to them
at home, combined with a strong sense of possibility in relation to those
available in South Africa. The fact that South Africa does not actually
provide even basic services to many [child migrants] on the border seems not
to deter these children."
The report recognised that the death of parents from HIV/AIDS could
also contribute to child migration, and that girl children were especially
vulnerable to the disease. "Many girls described crossing to South Africa by
having sex with the border guards ... alternatively, some of the girls in
the study described travelling across the border with truckers in exchange
The need for children to cross borders "only emphasises the work that
remains to be done in the region on fundamental challenges such as HIV and
AIDS and poverty."
South Africa's home affairs department could not be reached for
BY OUR STAFF
BULAWAYO - The Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority
(ZPWMA) is losing millions of dollars every week to fish poachers taking
advantage of the authority's failure to mount patrols.
The Standard established a critical shortage of beef has resulted in
an upsurge in fish poaching.
Fish has become a substitute for beef and chicken, which disappeared
from butcheries following the government's price blitz in July.
Retired Major Edward Mbewe, the spokesperson for the ZPWMA, said they
were losing millions to poachers.
"There is an increase of fish poaching by individuals who are not
paying fishing charges to the authority," Mbewe said.
They were trying their best, he said, to stop the menace.
Sources said the ZPWMA faced a critical shortage of fuel and the boats
used to sniff out the poachers. It is also short of money and staff to
effectively mount patrols against the poachers.
Johhny Rodriguez, the chairman of the Zimbabwe Conservation Taskforce,
blamed the government for turning down donations from independent
organisations keen to protect wildlife.
"The government has shot itself in the foot for blacklisting some
organisations and refusing donations from us," Rodriguez said. "The ZPWMA
lacks capacity since it is facing fuel, boat and staff shortages to carry
The group was blacklisted by the government in 2005 after it raised an
international alert on the animal crisis in the Hwange National Park due to
The government, after being exposed for its failure to save the
animals from thirst in 2005, accused the group of making false reports.
"ZPWMA is losing several millions to fish poachers who are not paying
any fees and taking advantage of the beef shortages," said Rodriguez. "We
risk losing all the fish to poaching."
By Our Staff
RECENT government actions concerning the private media are part of
hoax intended to mislead the international community ahead of the European
Union-Africa Summit in Lisbon, Portugal, The Standard has learnt.
President Robert Mugabe is expected to attend the EU-Africa Summit
next month and the government is anxious to present a façade of relaxing the
draconian media environment, ahead of the meeting so that Mugabe is not put
in the dock over harassment of the private media.
The Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) yesterday said the
appointment of a committee to re-look into Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe
(ANZ) - publishers of The Daily News and The Daily News on Sunday - by the
Minister of Information and Publicity, lacked a clear mandate on how this
would be accomplished.
The committee was appointed on 14 November 2007.
"The individuals selected have questionable credentials, if one goes
by their personal and institutional views. The committee chairperson,
Chinondidyachii Mararike is a prominent State media columnist who has
written widely in The Herald.
"MISA-Zimbabwe investigations also disclose that Charity Moyo once/or
is still working in the External Affairs section of Zanu PF," Misa said.
While the Minister of Information and Publicity says the committee was
put in place "in the true spirit to demonstrate a democratic and liberalised
media", MISA-Zimbabwe says the true spirit of democracy would be to repeal
the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act and all undemocratic
media laws that have shackled the operations of the media and enjoyment of
freedom of expression rights in Zimbabwe.
MISA-Zimbabwe also argues that the mere fact that the media operates
at the benevolence and whims of committees appointed by a government
minister is the truest demonstration of an undemocratic government that is
opposed to different and critical views.
"This ANZ issue, coming as it does, against a background of the
arrests of The Financial Gazette's Jacob Chisese and Hama Saburi and the
Zimbabwe Independent and Standard's Raphael Khumalo on 9 November 2007,
demonstrates a government still determined to repress independent media
The police arrested the newspaper executives for increasing the prices
of their publications.
"These arrests and arguments in support of this action fail to account
for the production costs of the newspapers.
"The state media, on the other hand, receives state support in the
form of subsidised newsprint and fuel among other material and financial;
support. This, contrary to Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, will not create a
diverse and plural media but a dominance of one political view, that of the
government and Zanu PF.
"It is in this environment that ANZ might be relicensed by the
committee, knowing very well that the economy itself and the new tactics by
the Incomes and Pricing Commission might as well maintain the ANZ off the
"MISA-Zimbabwe dismisses the latest developments as a mirage to
hoodwink the local and international community and raise the waning
democratic credentials of the government and its sub organs such as the
by Jennifer Dube
SWEDEN, through the Swedish International Development Co-operation
Agency (Sida) has committed more than US$700 000 towards a project aimed at
scaling up the fight against HIV and AIDS in Zimbabwe's private sector.
Unveiled last week, the three-year revolving fund will be administered
through the International Labour Organisation (ILO), which will work in
conjunction with employers' and labour organisations.
"Sweden believes that actors are needed to win the fight against HIV
and Aids - the government, multilateral agencies, bilateral cooperation,
private sector, churches, civil society and all other instruments in the
tool box must be used," said Swedish ambassador Sten Rylander in Harare last
The first phase of the project saw the implementing partners, the
Employers' Confederation of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions, receiving a computer and a printer each.
Director and ILO Representative for Zimbabwe Tayo Fashoyin, said the
two organisations were to receive a vehicle each under phase two of the
project to be launched this week after the finalisation of customs clearance
Aimed at contributing towards the reduction of the adverse
consequences of the HIV and Aids scourge on the socio-economic development
of the private sector, the project will benefit both private sector workers
and their organisations and the employers and their organisations.
Secondary beneficiaries include employers' and workers' spouses and
family members, service providers, community-based organisations and
non-governmental organisations, among others coming into contact with the
Rylander said a strong tripartite interaction among employers, workers
and government was necessary for the project's success.
He also encouraged other donors to come on board and support the
EMCOZ's David Govera and ZCTU's Lucia Matibenga pledged their
organisations' commitment to the successful implementation of the project.
Zimbabwe is among other sub-Saharan African countries battling with a
high HIV and Aids prevalence.
Both Rylander and Fashoyin welcomed recent news that the country's HIV
prevalence rate this year dropped from 18,1% to 15,6% saying the statistics
By Nqobani Ndlovu
BULAWAYO - Zimbabwe's largest retail supermarket chain group, OK
Zimbabwe sustained a record 1 000% operational loss in business during the
controversial government price blitz.
The chain was forced to suspend its expansion programmes due to
The price blitz, launched in July, left many companies on the brink of
collapse, forcing many to retrench workers after downsizing operations while
some shut up shop altogether.
The government defended the price freeze on the grounds that it would
stop businesses from creating a crisis in a bid to incite inflation-weary
Zimbabweans to revolt against the government.
But OK Zimbabwe chairman Eric Kahari, in a statement last week, said
this resulted in the company registering over $1 trillion operational
"The introduction of the price freeze during the second quarter
created significant commercial obstacles and many businesses struggled to
sustain operations at the prescribed prices," said Kahari.
His comments were contained in the OK Zimbabwe unaudited financial
results for the half year ended 30 September 2007.
"Operating losses increased by 1 120% to $1.2 trillion as revenue
growth did not keep pace with increases in overhead costs. Such losses
caused by price reductions from the price blitz compounded the company's
poor operating profit performance.
"The capital expenditure programme was suspended when the price freeze
was imposed, but expenditure to $142 billion spent mainly on store
refurbishment and replacement of equipment."
Kahari said the company, due to little merchandise for sale, did not
renew employee contracts after they expired.
As the government continues to keep the lid on prices, most companies,
especially retail chains, have resorted to job cuts to reduce overheads.
Thomas Meikles (TM) Stores group which is part of Meikles Africa,
recently laid off about 300 workers due to persistent unavailability of
goods on the market, in a bid to reduce crippling costs.
Retail shops are not allowed to apply replacement costs in their
pricing systems, making it impossible to restock without fresh capital
To restock the companies now have to rely on bank loans which they get
at rates of between 450% and 550%.
The government maintains that retails should only effect a profit
margin of 20% on all commodities, a figure analysts say will force most
companies to close shop.
BY NDAMU SANDU
HOSPITALITY group Zimbabwe Sun Limited (Zimsun) is in talks with three
potential partners to fund local and regional expansion projects.
Standardbusiness heard last week that the partners would inject
capital to fund refurbishment of Zimsun hotels as well as developing hotels
in East and West Africa.
In return, the partners would receive shareholding in the hospitality
A source familiar with the developments at the group said new hotels
might be built in Tanzania, Equatorial Guinea, Angola and possibly Ghana and
Although the identities of the partners remain a closely guarded
secret pending finalisation of the discussions, Standardbusiness is reliably
informed that the three players are from the East and West.
Two weeks ago Zimsun issued a cautionary statement saying it was in
negotiations with a potential partner for its regional expansion project.
"Pursuant to the company's regional expansion strategy the company has
entered into negotiations with a potential partner," Zimsun said.
"Should these negotiations be successful, there may be a significant
impact upon shareholding in the company."
In June, Zimsun announced it had entered into a tourism development
agreement with the Equatorial Guinea government involving the operation of
hotel facilities and consultation on the development of a sustainable
tourism infrastructure in the oil-rich country.
Zimsun also won a tender offered by the Bauchi State Government of
Nigeria to operate a safari lodge in Yankari Game Reserve.
In its half year ended 31 March 2007 results Zimsun announced a four
percentage points increase in room occupancy to 38% from the previous year.
Group CEO Shingi Munyeza told an analysts' briefing in June the group
was currently in negotiations for an additional 1 000 rooms over the next
three years to begin early next year.
He said such an investment was necessitated by the realisation the
country would require three times the accommodation capacity in the next
Analysts say Zimsun's initiative to hunt for foreign currency
injection in return for shareholding is a response to the foreign currency
crunch of the last seven years.
Zimsun will become the second listed company to offer shares in return
for foreign currency.
In May, telecommunications giant Econet Wireless announced plans to
dial up foreign investors through issuing new shares in return for an
injection of US$30 million.
The money will be used to expand network capacity from 800 000 users
to 1.2 million by year end.
MOST countries that believe in accountability demand an audit into
projects they are funding. Zimbabwean authorities, apparently, do not
believe donors should track how resources contributed by their governments
The British government announced recently it was giving about eight
million pounds to the World Food Programme to help feed Zimbabwe's hungry
population - estimated to reach four million by the end of this year. The
British Ambassador to Zimbabwe last week decided to see how some of the
funding is being used.
But the State reacted hysterically after Ambassador Andrew Pocock led
a delegation of the United Nations World Food Programme to Shurugwi to
observe how food aid distribution was being conducted.
The government and the ruling party, Zanu PF, have been accused of
politicising food distribution, a charge which the authorities have always
denied. If the government has nothing to hide, the visit to Shurugwi by
Ambassador Pocock would have been an opportunity to demonstrate to the
international donor community that the government and the ruling party are
unfairly criticised. But they panicked, hence the hysteria. The guilty are
The government abuses international relief aid. It misrepresents
itself to ordinary Zimbabweans, particularly the rural folk, suggesting it
and not the international community is providing the assistance to sections
of society in need and therefore they should in turn vote for the ruling
party. Sometimes crude tactics are employed: Production of a ruling party
membership card and declaration of allegiance to Zanu PF before one is
allowed to benefit from aid from external donors. This government has no
One of the reasons former Chimanimani MP Roy Bennett got into trouble
was because he captured on camera Zanu PF offering food to the electorate in
exchange for votes-outside a polling station!
Ambassador Pocock was right to conduct a verification exercise. While
he was touring Shurugwi, villagers in Umguza in Matabeleland North were
accusing the government of distributing relief food provided by the
Organisation of Rural Associations for Progress only to supporters of the
ruling party. Similar charges came from Tsholotsho in Matabeleland North,
and Chimanimani last week. This government is cruel.
It is important, where necessary to expose the abuse, hypocrisy and
cruelty practised by the government and the ruling party. The reason why the
authorities are against non-governmental organisations working with
communities in need is because the full extent of their neglect by the State
would be exposed.
The number of school children dropping out of school continues to
increase because of government's failed policies. Similarly, a greater
majority of Zimbabweans are unable to access health care while development
in rural areas has suffered decline as witnessed by collapse of
infrastructure. The government has no political will to improve the welfare
of the rest of the people. But it would like to continue to misinform them
that their suffering is a direct result of external interference.
Ambassador Pocock did the right thing to challenge the government. He
was able to expose government lies that Britain is responsible for their
suffering. But he was also able to prove that the UK government will
continue to stand by the people of this country during their hour of need.
The government and the ruling party are unhappy by visits such as the
one to Shurugwi by foreign diplomats because State coercion of villagers
will become evident. This is what frightens the government. It has something
to hide. Otherwise, it would welcome anyone wishing to see how international
aid is reaching the intended beneficiaries.
Donor-funded programmes that are run fairly, transparently and
successfully would be models for further funding. The government wants
funding but detests accountability.
sundayopinion By Bill Saidi
TO my column last week, What Would You Ask Jesus, Marx, Mzingeli? I
received the following responses:
I found some of the remarks you made about the bible and Christianity
in your last Sunday opinion, requiring comment.
For a start, the bible is rich in information that can transform
people and nations . . . has already been from history for those people and
nations who have understood it!
I think it's how one reads and understands the bible
. . . I now know that you need to read the bible with spiritual
revelation, if you are to get the value of the word of God . . .the bible.
I think it is from the above misunderstanding that you went on to say
that the bible proposes a "life of plenty after death".
You know Jesus came and died for us, so that we can have life. That
life starts from here on earth. Jesus suffered a lot for us, so that we
should not suffer!
The bible says Jesus was made poor so that we should be rich. As such,
the life of plenty and abundance actually starts here on earth and not after
death, for those who have come to live in the glory of God.
If you are interested I can arrange the supporting bible references
(scriptures) for you. I just thought I should take the opportunity to share
with you the beautiful Gospel of Jesus Christ and what it says about our
Many other people and I follow your opinions and it will be important
if you are also correctly advised, as what you write is read by many people
and impacts on their lives.
Warm regards with love
I refer to your article in The Standard dated 11 November 2007 and I
must say I was deeply disappointed by your comments about (or should I say
mockery of) JESUS CHRIST and The Bible.
I have to admit that you are an excellent writer but kana tashaya
zvekunyora tisatuke Mwari (If we have nothing to write about, let us not
insult the Lord).
Saving Zimbabwe is one of the things that Jesus can do instantly, but
reference should also be made to 2 Chronicles 7:14: "If my people who
recalled my name, humble themselves, seek my face and pray, I will heal
their land and forgive them."
The people of Zimbabwe are not turning away from their wicked ways and
they are seeking human solutions to their problems, not bearing in mind that
only God can get us out of this mess. (not even the ouster of President
Mugabe from office, as you may think and/or suggest).
Secondly, I would like to put you in the light concerning the issue of
(and I quote you) "For Marx and Engels: Weren't their theories of equality
as haywire as the Bible's proposition of a life of plenty only after death?"
To start with, whoever told you or made you believe that the Bible
(the word of God, thus meaning God) promised a life of plenty only after
death greatly misled you.
The Lord in His Word says: "I have riches and honour to give;
prosperity and success. What you get from me is better than the finest gold,
better than the purest silver. I walk the way of the righteous; I follow the
paths of justice, giving wealth to those who love me, filling their houses
with treasures." Proverbs 8:18-21
If you want to, you should also read Jeremiah 29:11, Matthew 6:32-3:
"Seek ye God first and His Kingdom and everything else shall be added unto
you." (A life of plenty is part of everything, isn't it?),
And lastly Mark10:28-31.
Just some food for thought, Mr. Saidi . . . Did you know these facts?
I sure didn't till someone enlightened me.
Death is certain but the Bible speaks about untimely death!
Make a personal reflection about this. Very interesting, read until
the end . . .
It is written in the Bible (Galatians 6:7): "Be not deceived; God is
not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."
Here are some men and women who mocked God:
Some years before, during an interview with an American magazine, he
said: "Christianity will end, it will disappear. I do not have to argue
about that. I am certain. Jesus was ok, but his subjects were too simple;
today we are more famous than Him." (1966). Lennon, after saying that the
Beatles were more famous than Jesus Christ, was shot six times.
Tancredo Neves (President of Brazil:
During the Presidential campaign, he said if he got 500 000 votes from
his party, not even God would remove him from the Presidency. Sure, he got
the votes, but he got sick a day before being made President, and then died.
Cazuza (Bi-sexual Brazillian composer, singer and poet:
During a show in Cancun (Rio de Janeiro), while smoking his cigarette,
puffed out some smoke into the air and said: "God, that's for you."
He died at the age of 32 of AIDS in a horrible manner.
The man who built the Titanic
After the construction of the Titanic, a reporter asked him how safe
the Titanic would be. With an ironic tone he said: "Not even God can sink
it." The result? I think you know what happened to the Titanic.
Billy Graham visited her during the presentation of a show. He said
the Spirit of God had sent him to preach to her. After hearing what the
preacher had to say, she said: "I don't need your Jesus." A week later, she
was found dead in her apartment.
The ex-vocalist of the AC/DC. On one of his 1979 songs he sang: "Don't
stop me, I'm going down all the way, down the highway to hell." On the 19
February 1980, Bon Scott was found dead, choked by his own vomit.
In Campinas, Brazil, a group of friends, drunk, went to pick up a
friend. The mother accompanied her to the car and was so worried about
the drunkenness of her friends, she said to the daughter, who was already
seated in the car, holding her hand: "My Daughter, Go with God and May He
She responded: "Only If He (God) Travels In The Trunk, Cause Inside
Here . . . It's Already Full."
Hours later, news came that they had been involved in a fatal
accident; everyone had died, the car could not be recognized, but
surprisingly, the trunk was intact. The police said there was no way the
trunk could have remained intact. To their surprise, inside the trunk was a
crate of eggs; none were broken.
Christine Hewitt, a Jamaican journalist and entertainer said the Bible
(Word of God) was the worst book ever written. In June 2006, she was found
burnt beyond recognition in her motor vehicle.
Many more important people have forgotten that there is no other name
that was given so much authority as the name of Jesus. Many have died, but
only Jesus died and rose again, and he is still alive.
P.S: If it were a joke, you would have sent it to everyone. So are you
going to have courage to send this? I have done my part, Jesus said
"If you are embarrassed about me, I will also be embarrassed about you
before my father."
Have a blessed day!!!
Sundayview by Judith Todd
THE ranks of the ruling party were swelling a little. The Speaker of
Parliament, Didymus Mutasa, announced that three of the sitting white
members of parliament had crossed the floor to join Zanu PF. They were John
Landau, Tony Read and John Kay.
This happened on Friday 21 August 1987, when parliamentary seats
reserved for whites were abolished under a constitutional amendment. All
citizens of Zimbabwe would henceforth be registered on a common voters'
roll. I should have been rejoicing, but the way it had been done just made
me laugh. The ruling party had tempted to their side the very whites who had
either done nothing or had seemed to do nothing against the injustice of
minority rule, or had actually been part and parcel of the Smith regime. The
only purpose of this crossing of the floor was to cement the power and
position of Zanu PF. We were watching an unholy alliance unfold.
A politically high-ranking friend rang me that night, wanting to know
what I thought of developments. I suggested that the ruling party, to which
he belonged, should now be renamed Zanu RF in recognition of their new
bedfellow the Rhodesian Front, the white supremacist political party that
had led us into UDI and the war. He groaned and, realising he was in pain, I
stopped teasing him.
At 4.20PM on Tuesday 1 September, the telephone rang. I happened to
glance at my watch. Someone said he was calling from the Parliament of
Zimbabwe, and that Dr Joshua Nkomo wanted to speak to Mrs Judith Acton.
I said Mrs Acton was speaking.
When Nkomo came on the line, he was very gentle and a little jocular.
It must have taken time to track me down to my parents' house in Bulawayo.
"What are you doing down there in the hinterland?" Nkomo asked.
I told him I was on holiday. We chatted a little about inconsequential
things, and then he said he wanted to talk about the new structure of
Parliament. There would have to be members nominated to fill the seats
formerly reserved for whites. "Your name is down," he said. "What do you
think of that?" He needed an urgent response. I said I was honoured. If I
had been approached by anyone else, I would have needed time to think and to
consult, for example, him. But since it was actually him asking me, I could
just say yes immediately, "if, of course, Parliament means anything any
more," I added.
Nkomo was pained. He assured me that Parliament was important, even if
at times it didn't seem to be. He said we must work hard at making it even
more important. We agreed that I would see him on my return to Harare . . .
Minister Nkala was being tempestuous again and, in mid-September,
ordered the closure of all PF Zapu offices, which were then ransacked by
security agents. It was also announced that ministers Callistus Ndlovu,
Chikowore, Nkala and Kadungure were in Matabeleland, and that they had
dissolved all councils in Matabeleland North on the grounds that these
structures were assisting dissidents, to whom they were diverting drought
relief food. That month, Bulawayo's Chronicle inadvertently reminded its
readers of how long Zapu had been under siege . . .
Twenty-five years and two days later, and with no prior announcement
from Joshua Nkomo or from Zapu, the headline on the front page of The Herald
was: "Zapu lines up team for Assembly contest." The story read, in part:
"The former Zipra intelligence supremo, Cde Dumiso Dabengwa, and Sir
Garfield Todd's daughter, Mrs Judith Acton, are among seven PF Zapu
candidates who will contest vacant seats in the House of Assembly that were
created with the abolishment of white reserved seats."
I telephoned immediately to alert my parents, as the publication was a
bolt from the blue for me and would be worse for them. When Nkomo had rung
me, he'd said there was some hurry as he had been asked to submit a list of
candidates to the prime minister the following day, which was why he needed
an immediate yes or no from me. The following week in Harare he told me it
had been hoped Zanu and Zapu could have an agreed list for the former white
seats so that there would be no need for a contest. Matters were still under
discussion and, when appropriate, relevant announcements would be made. He
also said that when he saw Prime Minister Mugabe, he had stressed that I was
an independent and didn't belong to Zapu. I thought that was very kind of
In the subsequent searches of Zapu's offices, including those of
Nkomo, state security seized the list of Zapu candidates, which was then
leaked to The Chronicle and The Herald. This effectively torpedoed the whole
apparent negotiation process between Nkomo and Mugabe. The way the
announcement was made in the press gave the impression that the fielding of
candidates was a unilateral and aggressive move by Zapu to fill the formerly
Karl Maier was the first person to ring. He sounded very surprised and
quite glad. He got the news that morning from the British journalist and
publisher, David Martin. Karl was astonished to hear that I had been named
as a candidate and was amazed to hear about Dumiso. He had got the
impression from Du just the week before he said that he was weary of
Robin Drew rang from the Argus Africa News Service. He sounded
pleased, but was worried that the news had been leaked before time. He was
right. Anyway, he said, he was glad I had thrown my hat into the ring, and
he hoped "we shall see you there, and that we shall hear you".
Moeletsi Mbeki rang me. "Is this a typical Herald misprint?" I
explained that it wasn't. He said if he weren't a refugee, he would have
liked to be one of the people needed to sign my nomination form . . .
Godwin Matatu rang and asked to speak to the MP for Nowhere. It was
true that the new MPs would have no constituencies.
Two days after publication of the list, Prime Minister Mugabe
announced that the closure and searches of the PF Zapu offices had uncovered
"immense evidence" linking Mr Nkomo's party to dissident activity. Joshua
Nkomo was always referred to by Zanu PF as mister, or doctor, to emphasise
that he was not a comrade. A close associate of Nkomo, PF Zapu MP Welshman
Mabhena, detained in connection with the so-called treason plot in 1985, was
detained again. It was all very sad, and I thought how the rulers of South
Africa must be relishing these events.
Each nominee for a parliamentary seat was given a form to be signed by
20 people supporting the nomination. As I'd been nominated by PF Zapu, I
planned to try to get 20 signatures from people who were not PF Zapu, and
decided to go ahead despite all the grim news. The prospect of any PF Zapu
nominees getting into Parliament seemed remote. An unknown number of
councillors from the dissolved councils in Matabeleland North had now been
Godwin Matatu rang to say he had something grave to tell me. We
arranged to meet at Sandro's restaurant at 2.30PM that day.
Excerpt from Judith Todd's latest book, Through the Darkness; A Life
in Zimbabwe, available from www.zebrapress.co.za.
Sundayview by Brilliant
THE situation in Zimbabwe now is a serious cause for concern. Even
regional bodies, together with the AU seem toothless. It is the Zimbabweans
themselves who should rise above their petty differences and agree on a
common solution. During my short stint at home when I was lecturing at the
National University of Science and Technology I witnessed a clear case of
suffering. Imagine a country which runs without an official currency for
nearly five years.
Imagine a government that passes price controls on commodities that
are not even available in the shops. This theatrical move is even buttressed
by the fact that there is a minister who presides over a government
sanctioned taskforce whose members have criminal backgrounds and have no
clue on how to run a business. To make matters worse, some of them have even
failed to manage their small families let alone businesses. The question
that follows then is: what happens to the ordinary citizens when the
government is run by thugs and criminals, and when the State is generally
Naturally ordinary citizens tend to emulate their criminal leaders.
This is almost the situation in Zimbabwe. Nearly everyone now survives on
University graduates have literally discarded their degree
certificates and are resigned to foreign currency dealing and selling fuel
on the black-market. Some university lecturers have also resorted to selling
fuel as a way of keeping themselves afloat. Imagine if a whole minister of
religion (pastor) is involved in the black-market fuel business. In Zimbabwe
people are generally losing their sense of responsibility and merit.
When citizens lose their moral compass the future struggles. When a
sense of responsibility is completely lost as is the case in Zimbabwe,
society suffers, particularly those who still wish to hold on to reason and
morals for their future.
I was reminded by one close colleague that, "if you still want to act
and live in a straight way, then you do not belong here". The general 'dos'
and 'don'ts' usually generated by society as means of safeguarding human
decency are no longer applicable anymore. Humanity suffers in such a state;
the sense of communalism, ubuntu, is fast being substituted by selfishness.
There is even a strong likelihood that if this continues then a strong
grand picture of social decadence continues, future generations and
posterity will have nothing to inherit. Even the new government that
succeeds Zanu PF will have a lot of work in terms of re-engineering society.
I have also noticed that police officers who should be the custodians
of the law are not only desperately hungry but continue working in their
torn service uniforms.
The state of their shoes sums it all. I could easily glean that most
of these dedicated men and women in the force are breadwinners. If they are
in such a state, then what has happened to their families? The sad aspect is
that they still wish to save the nation-state loyally, while the State
denies them their proper dues. It is now the State which criminalizes them.
If this is the situation then, who will police society? Is it not
generally expected that when the State fails to provide for its citizens,
particularly those men and women who are serving diligently in the force
then corruption runs amok? When there is such a state of social decay, then
where is the future? Zimbabwe is now a good example of the gap between the
rich and the poor widening everyday. Surely, whoever, said, "the poor will
never inherit the earth had a point".
After all this has been said and done, with the picture I have
created, imagine a President who stands at the UN 62nd general assembly and
claims all liberation credentials. Is it not right then for people to
sensibly say, "to hell with his liberation credentials"? If liberation has
brought us so much suffering we are then forced to question whether we had
it in the first place. Or was it just a case of a black face which simply
substituted a white one without changing past colonial structures?
Is Mugabe not the same as his former colonial masters and handlers?
Furthermore, this is a president who presides over a criminal government,
with ministers who openly engage in criminal activities in the name of land
reform and black empowerment. Yet the courts are always busy with ordinary
citizens being sentenced to prison day in and day out say, '...in Africa a
prison is where a big criminal puts smaller ones'? Whatever happened to the
liberators? Was Dambudzo Marechera wrong for writing the following words?
...it seems to me for all the ideals our independence is supposed to
represent,it's still the same old ox-wagon of the rich getting richer and
the poor getting poorer. There's even an attempt to make poverty a holy and
acceptable condition. You say you're hungry, and the shef peers over his
three chins down at you and says 'Comrade, you're the backbone of the
revolution as if your life's ambition is to be as thin and lean as a
mosquito's backbone.' And you try to say 'Shef, I don't want to be the
backbone, I want to be the big belly of the struggle against neo-colonialism
like the one you got there underneath that Castro beard.' And before you
even finish what you are saying he's got the CIO and the police and you are
being marched at gunpoint to the interrogation barracks. (Marechera 1984:
Brilliant Mhlanga is a human rights activist and an academic from the
National University of Science and Technology.
MDC should exploit current crisis to win March election
THE first principle
of public office is that the incumbent holds it in trust for the public. A
leader is not supposed to consort with political crooks and when confronted
to lie, prevaricate and to play politics.
When Morgan Tsvangirai announced the dissolution of the
Lucia Matibenga led Women's Assembly of the MDC he made few friends
within the party. Party cadres condemned the move.
The MDC has travelled a long journey littered with thorns since 1999.
Therefore the conduct and ethos of the party leaders and how they relate to
the followers is a fundamental aspect we should consider during these dark
That the mainstream MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai is a party in a state
of disorder today is not questionable because of the Matibenga issue.
Alliances have been shifting between party members as mudslinging, character
assassination and dirty tricks now abound.
Today the party is on the slope to destruction because of that
fundamental assault on the women's assembly establishment.
Ideological inflexibility coupled with self interest is encouraging
intolerance between the party leaders and those at the top consequently
resort to the most hard line and violent methods in dealing with opponents.
But this state of affairs will and cannot last.
All politics is about negotiation. It goes without saying that if you
set your price too high or walk away too soon you could miss out on a great
deal and it is equally self evident that if you set your price too low you
will fall out too cheaply.
A lot of Zimbabweans were maimed, had property destroyed, killed, lost
loved ones, and now we have this before a very crucial election!
We deserve better from our leaders. The question to our leaders is:
You used to invoke a sense of pride in all of us fighting the blood thirsty
regime; What has happened now to that sense of belonging?
What has happened to that camaraderie in struggle which we now seem to
want to lose at this crucial time?
What has happened to that accessibility that every party supporter had
to our leaders, without being labelled as belonging to factions/tribe which
Whatever happened to the loving and a nurturing attitude to young
talent, however tough and difficult the going was?
What has happened to that common touch that does not need to be
protected by a phalanx of hangers-on, political malcontents, or guards of
At a time when the MDC is looking to its future and leadership of the
country, we must disown leadership that is remote, insecure, centralising
and struggles for party posts.
The MDC should instead seize the opportunity presented by these
troubling times to prepare for elections next year, and to unite the people
despite their differences.
Zanu PF leaders worshipping power and wealth
BILL Saidi asks in his column what help "Jesus of Nazareth would
have to offer to help us recover from the excesses of this government".
He would not promise miracles. Only charlatans promise miracles.
It is infantile to hope that divine power will restore what we have messed
The road He has mapped out for us is well known, the basic moral
law and commandments: You must not kill, commit adultery, steal, and give
false witness. You must not do to others what you do not want them to do to
you. You must love God with all your heart and soul, and your neighbour as
He has taught us in parables, e.g. the Parable of the Good
Samaritan. You must not bypass your suffering brother.
If you take the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus seriously
you will not inflict a Tsunami on the people of Mbare while living in luxury
Most of our leaders were brought up in Christian schools. They
know all this. But they no longer worship the God of Jesus Christ, the God
of justice and love. They worship at the altar of power and wealth, and
offer up human sacrifices, the victims of torture and murder, of starvation
and crumbling health services.
Even if they attend spurious national days of prayer do not be
fooled. Jesus of Nazareth agrees with Isaiah: "You may multiply your
prayers, I shall not be listening. Your hands are covered in blood" (Is. 1:
Leaders must go back to these basics. Politicians who lie and
steal will never restore this country to its former prosperity which is to
be shared by all.
And this applies also to the new leaders still waiting in the
Fr Oskar Wermter SJ
THE Spaniards have the distinction of offering awards that no
one in the world except Zimbabweans seem to take seriously.
I recall an ad recently congratulating the CEO of Zesa for a
prestigious award. I did not take much notice of it until on Monday when The
Herald announced in a Page One main story that, "Power supplies to improve:
I couldn't figure out whether this was the usual Herald mischief
or misreading of the situation on my part. I live in the northern suburbs
and on the very Monday Zesa said we should witness an improvement in the
supply situation, we lost power just before 6AM until just before midnight.
As I write there is no power.
And I am sure the people that gave the Zesa CEO an award will
have no problem in explaining just what the award was in honour of.