Sat 19 November 2005
HARARE - Zimbabwe's economic conditions have worsened in 2005 compared
to the previous year, with gross domestic product (GDP) expected to plunge
7.2 percent, according to International Monetary Fund (IMF)'s annual
economic review released this week.
The decline in GDP follows an improvement in 2004, when the economy
contracted by only 4.2 percent when central bank led economic reforms
averted a total collapse of the southern African economy. GDP declined by
10.7 percent in 2003.
But last year's gains have been eroded, with inflation, which had
eased to 230 percent early this year, accelerating to 411 percent in October
this year and is seen reaching its peak of 624 percent attained last year in
The IMF said the forecast of a 7.2 percent GDP decline this year is
due to continued sharp falls in agricultural output, as well as accelerating
inflation and shortages of foreign exchange, which have stoked shortages of
basic goods, diesel and fertilizers.
Analysts concurred with the Bretton Woods institution, which urged
President Robert Mugabe's government to implement comprehensive economic and
structural reforms, but doubted Harare had the political will to implement
far-reaching economic reforms.
"This has been the call by the Fund now and it was the point of
departure when they stopped lending money to us," consultant economist John
Robertson said yesterday.
"Until such a time when the government comes up with bold measures to
address the problems there is no telling when this crisis will end."
The IMF repeated calls made by many Zimbabweans that the government
should exercise fiscal restraint through cuts in the public sector wage bill
and added that adequate food security and social safety nets would need to
be provided to vulnerable groups, especially those affected by HIV/AIDS and
a controversial demolition of houses earlier this year.
It also urged Harare to fully liberalise the exchange rate regime, one
of the sticking points with donors, and to leave the determination of the
exchange rate to the market.
The reintroduction of the interbank market for foreign currency last
month has failed to ease crippling forex shortages with some exporters
blaming central bank intervention for a static exchange rate.
"A credible exchange rate is one that is determined by the market.
This is not what we are seeing at the moment because the Reserve Bank is
giving direction on what rates they are comfortable with," James Jowa, a
Harare-based economic commentator told ZimOnline.
The IMF welcomed the recent monetary tightening, but noted that
further sustained tightening would be required although commending the
central bank's efforts to strengthen banking supervision.
Its prescription for an economic turnaround included deregulation,
public enterprise reform, fiscal reform, and particularly civil service
reform, land and agricultural reform and improvements in governance to
increase investor confidence.
The international money lender said it welcomed Zimbabwe's surprise
loan payments which have substantially reduced arrears, but sought
clarification regarding the source of funds Harare used to make the
payment. - ZimOnline
Sat 19 November 2005
HARARE - Like every child his age Shamiso Mutete (not his real name),
would love to play with the toys everyday after school.
But life in Harare's poverty-stricken Kuwadzana suburb appears
determined to deny the 11-year old Mutete the opportunity to be a child. For
at the toll of the last bell everyday at the government-run Kuwadzana
primary school, Mutete must transform from being a carefree child into a
seasoned bread winner for his family.
From school he dashes home to change from his school uniform and to
eat a little lunch - if there is something to eat that day - before he
rushes to the local supermarket to buy several cartons of cigarettes.
The grade-six pupil is already good friends with shop assistants at
the supermarket who always ensure they reserve enough cartons of the most
cigarette brands for the youngster.
Come the evening and the hard work begins for Mutete and his two
friends at Sunset Nightclub in the suburb where they sell cigarettes to
patrons, among them prostitutes, thieves, petty drug dealers and factory
workers relaxing after a hard day's work in Harare's poor-paying industries.
"I help raise money to pay for my school fees and food for my family
from selling cigarettes here," says the shy boy, who says he dreams of
becoming a pilot one day - a dream the youngster may never nurture to
reality if he continues plying beerhalls every other night.
But Simba, the bar tender, is quick to defend Mutete and her friends.
Simba says bars and nightclubs would normally not allow people below the age
of 18 but according to the barman, Zimbabwe is no longer a normal country
and neither are Mutete and his friends living up a normal child's life.
"It's not a normal situation but we are not in a normal country
either," says Simba, the emphasis in his words indicating his firm
conviction that the rules and norms must be broken in order to help the poor
children raise much needed cash.
He continued: "Conditions in the bar are obviously not conducive for
such young children. But we also know that they are not street children.
They are from proper families too poor to fend for the children so they get
their survival from here."
You just need to listen to the young Mutete speaking to learn how true
the barman's words are.
Mutete's parents are all alive but they are among the millions of
unemployed Zimbabweans and the little money his father raises as a part-time
shoe cobbler is not just enough to feed the family let alone send children
This is how the 11-year old narrates his situation: "I envy some of my
classmates when they talk about their favourite TV shows because for me
there is no time to watch TV. It is work and work, otherwise we will starve.
"My school fees is $280 000 (about US$4) a term. After raising the
schools fees by selling cigarettes I try to raise some more money so I could
assist my father to pay the rent and water bills as well as buy some food."
Such is the plight of an increasing number of Zimbabwe's children as
the southern African nation battles an economic meltdown described by the
World Bank as unseen in a country not at war.
The six year-old crisis has seen inflation shooting to beyond 400
percent while food, fuel, electricity, clean water for cities, hard cash,
essential medical drugs and just about every basic survival commodity is in
critical short supply.
The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change party and
government critics blame the crisis on repression and economic mismanagement
by President Robert Mugabe.
But Mugabe, Zimbabwe's sole ruler since independence 25 years ago,
denies ruining the once prosperous country, saying its food and economic
problems are because of sabotage by Western countries opposed to his seizure
of land from whites and giving it over to blacks.
Critics blame the land seizures - which Mugabe says were necessary to
correct an unjust colonial land tenure system that gave all the best land to
whites - for destabilisng the agricultural sector, causing a 60 percent drop
in food output.
Whatever the causes of Zimbabwe's economic and food crisis, the
children have been the hardest hit according to Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions (ZCTU) president Lovemore Matombo.
Matombo, who was last week arrested for organising anti-poverty
demonstrations, says child labour was on the rise as many under-age children
were being forced to work to help their parents raise cash for survival.
"Some of the cases are of children who have been forced to head
families because of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. But we are now witnessing a
growing trend where children, whose parents are still alive are forced to
work part-time and supplement family incomes. It's an unfortunate trend that
is on the rise," says the union leader.
Thomas Chitewe, from Help Our Children, a local group formed to
mobilise assistance for children from poor families, concurred with Matombo.
He said: "The economic climate has had devastating and horrendous
effects on Zimbabwean children. Many no longer enjoy their childhood because
they are forced to become adults at an early age. Many families can't afford
to give their children the life that they deserve because of poverty."
But Mutete and his friends must consider themselves lucky that they
can sell cigarettes and still go to school.
Not so for 14-year old Mavis Rukuni, who says she was forced to
abandon school altogether and become a housemaid for a richer family in town
so she could raise money for her parents and siblings.
She told ZimOnline: "My parents did not have money to send me to
school. I had to look for work and I send some of my money back to the
village so that my parents and remaining younger sister and brother can
use." - ZimOnline
Sat 19 November 2005
JOHANNESBURG - Led by the tiny hand of her 11-year old daughter, who
is dressed in a skimpy red skirt and a faded white top, Anna Mazango trails
across to a bench at Joubert Park in central Johannesburg.
Mazango, who is blind, is engrossed in an animated discussion in Shona
with her daughter Tariro, interrupted only by the regular outbursts of
laughter that pierces through the din of the heavy early morning traffic
On a patch of lawn not far from the blind mother and her daughter, a
large group of young men converse loudly in a blend of the Shona language
indigenous to Zimbabwe and the Ndebele language found both in South Africa
Sporting rugged jeans and T-shirts confirming a shared loyalty to
South Africa's two leading soccer clubs, Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs,
each one of the young men finds an opportunity to pull out of the
conversation and take loyal puffs out of the circulating dagga joint.
Outside the park, it is business as usual for the rest of the
sprawling metropolitan of Johannesburg.
But behind the relative serenity exuded by these Zimbabweans here, is
a gripping story of how they fled their troubled motherland in search of a
better life in South Africa.
The stories of their "Great Trek" southwards are as dramatic as the
tales of how they met and came to be friends in a hostile city, where danger
and death lurk in the dark alleys.
For Mazango, coming to Johannesburg was never part of her plans. She
says she left Harare in June after her shack was destroyed by the government
during the controversial "Operation Murambatsvina" clean-up campaign.
The United Nations says at least 700 000 people were left homeless
after President Robert Mugabe's government destroyed thousands of houses and
backyard shacks in what the Zimbabwean leader said was an attempt to restore
the beauty of cities and towns.
Another 2.4 million people were also directly affected by the clean-up
exercise, according to the world body's special envoy Anna Tibaijuka who
probed the housing demolitions.
"When I left Harare, I was fleeing from the police who wanted to take
us to a holding camp outside the city. We heard that there was no food at
the camp so I decided to flee to my rural home in Bikita.
"But along the way a friend, who is also blind, convinced me that
rural life held no promise for disabled people. So we decided to hike free
rides in buses until we got to Beitbridge.
"Begging proved just as difficult as it was in Harare, so we were
again forced to leave. Through arrangements with some bus crews, we paid our
way to Johannesburg," said Mazango.
Mazango says after she arrived in Johannesburg, she expected a quick
change of fortune.
She was in for a rude surprise.
Amid the glitter and glamour of the "City of Gold" as Johannesburg is
affectionately known, Mazango says she was met with open hostility on the
streets and cold indifference at the Refugee Reception desk at South
Africa's department of home affairs.
"Officials at the refugee reception told me I was lying that Mugabe
was being cruel even to the disabled. The officials said being blind did not
make one qualify for refugee status.
"They even suggested that I hand over the child to an orphanage if I
was unable to care for her. But I cannot hand over the child into an
orphanage because she is my eyes," she says, clutching her daughter closer.
Frank Mbuso, one of the young men smoking dagga and chatting about
soccer, has a different story to tell.
"No one knew I was coming to Johannesburg and I had never been here
before. All I had was a phone number and an address for my uncle. I told the
men who smuggled me here that the uncle had agreed to pay the fare upon my
"When we got here, I phoned my uncle who said he had no money and he
did not know of my coming, so the men said they would hold me till he paid.
They also promised they would start beating me up daily until they took me
back home if the money was not paid," said Mbuso.
Mbuso says he was kept in "detention" for close to a week before he
bolted to safety. He survives by taking odd jobs in Johannesburg.
The odd jobs pay him just enough to be able to buy some food and to
pay bribes to Johannesburg's police officers, who are notorious for
demanding bribes from illegal immigrants who are only eager to pay to avoid
being deported out of the country.
Summing up the plight of not only these Zimbabwean immigrants gathered
in the park here but of the hundreds of thousands more illegal immigrants
in the other parts of South Africa, the 24-year old Mbuso added: "It is the
suffering and the constant fear of arrest and deportation that brings us
There are millions of Zimbabweans living in South Africa, the majority
of them illegally, after fleeing their country because of political
persecution and worsening hunger over the last five years.
Nkosinathi Tshuma, of the Heal Zimbabwe Trust in Johannesburg that
assists the immigrants, said there has been a renewed upsurge in the number
of Zimbabweans flocking to South Africa as hunger and economic hardship
worsened in recent months.
"At the moment the number of people arriving is so high that
humanitarian organisations and churches are simply getting overwhelmed,"
With thousands more refugees expected from Zimbabwe, it remains to be
seen whether the South African government will finally and officially
acknowledge the humanitarian crisis spilling over from its northern
neighbour and mobilise local and international support for the refugees. -
Sat 19 November 2005
HARARE - Twenty United States (US) non-governmental organisations
(NGOs), including churches, have petitioned the US government to allow
Zimbabweans living in that country to remain even after the expiry of their
visas until conditions in the crisis-hit southern African nation improved.
In a letter sent to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff on
Thursday this week, the groups said persistent human rights violations by
President Robert Mugabe's government and its mismanagement of Zimbabwe's
economy made it dangerous for Zimbabweans to return to the country.
The NGOs said Zimbabweans already in the US should be granted
Temporary Protection Status (TPS) to enable them to stay in that country.
The TPS allows nationals of mostly strife-torn countries deemed unsafe to
return to, to remain in the US until conditions in such a country improve.
The US groups' letter read in part: "Thousands of Zimbabwean nationals
living in the United States - including students and professionals - where
asylum is not a viable option yet would find it impossible to return to
Zimbabwe safely due to the extraordinary conditions of political and
economic insecurity that currently prevail.
"For these individuals, Temporary Protected Status is needed in order
to prevent them from being forced to return home to a country that is
unwilling or unable to provide its citizens with basic protections."
Among organisations that signed the petition include several US-based
African and Asian groups such as: African and Asian Ethiopian Community
Development Council, Church World Service/Immigration and Refugee Program,
Episcopal Migration Ministries, Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, Kurdish Human
Rights Watch, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service and Southeast Asia
Resource Action Center.
It was not possible yesterday to establish from Chertoff's office when
it planned to respond to the NGOs' letter.
An estimated four million Zimbabweans are living in exile after
fleeing a severe political and economic crisis gripping the southern African
nation for the past six years. Many of the Zimbabwean exiles live in South
Africa, Botswana, Britain, US, Canada and New Zealand.
Zimbabwe's crisis has seen inflation shooting beyond 400 percent while
fuel, food, electricity, essential medical drugs, clean water for cities,
hard cash and just about every other basic survival commodity is in critical
Critics blame the crisis on repression and economic mismanagement by
Mugabe. But the Zimbabwe leader, at the helm since the country's
independence from Britain 25 years ago, denies ruining the country.
Mugabe instead claims Zimbabwe's problems are because of sabotage by
Western countries out to punish his government for seizing land from whites
and giving it to landless blacks.
The NGOs' appeal for Zimbabweans to be allowed to remain in the US
comes as British authorities last August halted the forced deportation of
Zimbabweans saying they could be in danger if they were sent back to their
country. - ZimOnline
November 18 2005 at 07:49AM
By Angus Shaw
Harare - Civic and human rights groups urged African leaders on Friday
to pressure Zimbabwe to restore the rule of law and end human rights
An alliance of 25 groups said the Zimbabwe government mostly ignored
calls by the African Commission on Human and People's Rights to observe
In a report in January, the Africa Commission criticised Zimbabwe for
enforcing repressive media and security laws, failing to guarantee the
independence of the judiciary and allowing politics to influence the work of
police and state agents.
"Respect for the rule of law has deteriorated further since the Africa
Commission's report was published," the alliance said.
The alliance of churches, lawyers and doctors groups and civic
organisations cited an eviction campaign in May and June.
The United Nations estimated the demolition of thousands of homes,
shacks and markets in a campaign across the country known in the local Shona
language as Operation Murambatsvina, or Clean Out the Trash, left at least
700 000 people homeless.
In carrying out the evictions, police "repeatedly failed to act within
the law, ignored court orders, beat people and destroyed their property,"
the alliance said in a statement.
The African Commission human rights body is scheduled to meet in
Banjul in the West African nation of Gambia next week, ahead of a summit of
the continent-wide African Union in January.
The alliance said Zimbabwe authorities continued to harass charities,
voluntary organisations and independent journalists and restrict fundamental
rights of freedom of movement, free expression, equal protection of the law
and access to the nation's courts for redress.
"Almost none of the African Commission's recommendations have been
implemented," said the alliance.
In a separate statement, Amnesty International and affiliated
international and Zimbabwe groups called on African leaders "to end their
long silence on human rights violations in Zimbabwe".
They said the evictions forced tens of thousands of people to return
to impoverished rural areas where already there was not enough food. The
government was unwilling or unable to provide affected families with minimum
essential levels of food, water, shelter and medical care, they said.
"African states have remained conspicuously silent and have not
demonstrated the political will to respond to the human rights crisis in
Zimbabwe," the statement said.
It said more than four million of the 12.5 million population were
currently in need of food aid and tens of thousands were in need of clean
water and sanitation.
But the government was limiting food distribution and restricting the
work of charities trying to assist in water and sanitary programmes, it
The government routinely does not respond to the charges of civic and
human rights groups.
It insists the eviction campaign was to remove illegal dwellings and
curb black market trading by street vendors and stall holders. It denies the
country is facing a humanitarian crisis.
Zimbabwe is suffering its worst economic crisis since independence in
1980, with acute shortages of food, gasoline and medicines and other
essential imports. Inflation has soared to 411 percent, one of the highest
rates in the world, and unemployment has reached 80 percent.
The meltdown has been blamed on government mismanagement, corruption
and the often violence seizures of at least 5 000 white-owned commercial
farms since 2000.
About 300 people have died in political violence since 2000 and
thousands of cases of politically motivated assaults, kidnapping, rape and
torture have been reported by human rights groups. - Sapa-AP
The Herald (Harare)
November 18, 2005
Posted to the web November 18, 2005
THIEVES have vandalised 25 Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa)
Holdings transformers worth about $25 billion in Harare alone in recent
months, plunging some parts of the city into darkness.
Zesa Holdings general manager for corporate communications Mr James Maridadi
said yesterday in an interview some of the affected areas included parts of
Mabvuku and Hatfield.
"Thieves have vandalised the 25 transformers by either draining oil or
stealing copper cables and it cost in the region of between $500 million and
$1 billion to replace a single transformer.
"Although the transformers that had been vandalised can be repaired, some
that include the one in Mabvuku and the other one in Hatfield are beyond
repair so we have to find replacements," he said.
Some parts of Mabvuku and Hatfield have been without electricity for the
past three weeks owing to the vandalism of the transformers.
Mr Maridadi said Zesa Holdings was working round the clock to restore
electricity in the affected areas through alternatives that included
Thieves were believed to be taking advantage of the temporary power cuts to
vandalise the transformers before selling either the drained oil or copper
cables on the black market.
Zesa Holdings, he said, had officers who made routine patrols but it
appeared the thieves were outwitting them.
Mr Maridadi appealed to local authorities and members of the public to
assist in curbing the vandalism of transformers.
Vandalism of electricity infrastructure and theft of overhead conductors and
underground cables is rampant and accounts for 70 percent of power outages.
In Harare alone, replacement of stolen material is costing the power utility
about $20 billion a month.
The Herald (Harare)
November 18, 2005
Posted to the web November 18, 2005
SOME suburbs in Harare and its satellite towns will have water cuts of up to
12 hours in every 48 hours to ensure that all areas receive water at
adequate pressure for at least the other 36 hours.
The local authorities and the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) -
which provides the bulk supplies - have agreed to the rotational cuts in
order to cope as demand exceeds the maximum supply of 600 million litres a
Zinwa board chairman Mr Willie Muringani said yesterday demand had risen to
750 million litres a day and parts of Harare, Chitungwiza, Ruwa and Epworth
have been facing a critical shortage with Norton having been without water
the whole of this week.
Only Harare's central and southern suburbs had adequate supplies since,
without demand management, they get what is available first.
Although water is pumped to the reservoirs that serve northern and eastern
Harare, Ruwa and Norton, it is not enough. Low reservoir levels mean low
pressure and, consequently, some users going without water.
Mr Muringani said the new water demand management system had been introduced
in consultation with the local authorities of Harare, Chitungwiza, Ruwa,
Norton and Epworth.
"The demand management involves cutting off supplies to one section of the
town, and transferring the resultant saved water to another section. The
boosted reservoir levels will help to achieve satisfactory pressures which
enable water to be accessible to consumers in each section on alternate
days," he said.
Under the previous system, the supply to Chitungwiza was throttled while the
feeders to Ruwa, Epworth and other Harare suburbs were closed on alternate
But this was not working. Water had to be continually pumped to Ruwa after
officials advised of the critical shortages in the town. Ruwa has grow so
fast that even with a 24-hour bulk supply, the town does not get enough
water and the local board has to ration households. The new system will see
supplies cut in rotation to all areas so that each of them will have a
decent supply most of the time.
Zinwa, Mr Muringani said, had discussed the issue with the local
authorities' technical staff, who were now implementing the demand
management programme in tandem with Zinwa's programme.
The peak water demand for Harare Metropolitan Province during the hot season
is 750 million litres per day while the current optimum output of treatment
works is 600 million litres, leaving a deficit of 150 million litres.
Mr Muringani said more than 40 percent of the produced water was lost
through leaks throughout the distribution network, which was archaic and
needed complete overhaul.
The Zinwa chief said there was need to rehabilitate existing treatment works
and to construct an additional treatment plant with a capacity of 200
million litres a day to cover for the shortfall.
Local authorities were urged to pay Zinwa on time and repair leaks within
Remitting dues to Zinwa timely would enable the authority to re-invest and
maintain water infrastructure.
Turning to quality, he said water produced by the authority met World Health
However, Mr Muringani said, it was possible for the water to be contaminated
through openings created by pipe bursts or through pipes after repair work.
Water could also be contaminated in storage tanks on sites such as hotels
and institutions as this increased retention time of the water, thereby
depleting residual chlorine. There was also the possibility of
cross-contamination in the pipes through spillages from sewerage leaks.
Mr Muringani called upon industry and other stakeholders to contribute
towards the maintenance of quality raw water by reducing pollution, adding
that currently the water levels were low and this compromised the quality.
Since taking over the distribution of bulk water supply in May this year,
Zinwa has made tremendous progress towards addressing the water situation.
To this end, it has commissioned four high-lift pumps at Morton Jaffray
waterworks and another two at Prince Edward Dam.
This, Mr Muringani said, had stabilised water output and reduced losses
The distribution of bulk water is a joint project between Zinwa and local
authorities with the former tasked with distribution of water to reservoirs
while the latter are responsible for all reticulation, distribution to
consumers - such as households, schools, hospitals and business premises -
within their administrative boundaries, and maintenance of infrastructure.
The Zinwa chairman paid tribute to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and
Government for funding and supporting the authority.
The Herald (Harare)
November 18, 2005
Posted to the web November 18, 2005
THREE people and 130 cattle have succumbed to an anthrax outbreak that has
hit most parts of Masvingo Province in the past few weeks.
The dead are from Bikita, the worst affected area where 14 livestock deaths
The resurgence of anthrax cases in both humans and livestock has raised
alarm bells in the Department of Veterinary Services which has expressed
concern at the impact of the outbreak on the province's beef herd.
Acting provincial veterinary officer for Masvingo Dr Charity Sibanda
yesterday confirmed the anthrax-related deaths of the three people and
scores of cattle in Bikita.
Dr Sibanda said it was disturbing that the highly contagious disease had
resurfaced in Masvingo this year in the aftermath of a massive anthrax
outbreak last year, which almost decimated the province's beef herd.
"There has been an outbreak of anthrax in the province over the past few
weeks which has already claimed three human lives and 14 livestock in
Bikita. We suspect that most people who were affected by the disease might
have contracted it from biltong made from beef from animals that died during
last year's outbreak," said Dr Sibanda.
She added that the outbreak had to date been reported in six districts,
namely Masvingo, Bikita, Zaka, Chivi, Gutu and Chiredzi. Zaka was the worst
affected in terms of livestock fatalities with 64 cattle having already
succumbed to anthrax. In Gutu, the disease has claimed 32 cattle while 17
cattle died in Masvingo district with Chiredzi and Chivi recording less than
10 deaths each.
Dr Sibanda said the veterinary department did not have sufficient stocks of
anthrax vaccines to inoculate all the cattle.
"We only have enough stocks to cater for areas where outbreaks of the
disease would have been reported. We would have wanted to go on a wholesale
vaccination exercise of all the cattle in the province, but we cannot do
that because we do not have enough stocks to inject all the cattle at once,"
said Dr Sibanda.
Last year, anthrax - which is an acute infectious disease caused by
spore-forming bacteria, called bacillus anthracis, which can stay in an
environment for about 60 years, killed hundreds of cattle in Masvingo
The disease has already severely dented Masvingo's efforts to replenish its
(Women of Zimbabwe Arise - WOZA)
OVER FOUR HUNDRED members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise
(WOZA) took to the streets of Bulawayo and Harare
Thursday 17 November in protest against the holding of
Senatorial Elections instead of dignifying Zimbabweans
with food, water, housing and basic needs. The women
were able to complete their demonstrations and
disperse before Riot Police could arrive. Information
to hand indicates that four women were arrested after
the protest and Lawyers are attempting to obtain their
WOZA, known or their peaceful street protests, have
conducted over 30 protests in its three year existence
and over 800 women have spend up to 48 hours in
custody, some more than once. On 31 March over 265
women and 20 babies spent a night in custody after
conducting a prayer vigil on Election night.
In the marches, women carried placards with differing
messages, including, 'the Senate will make us poorer',
'we are starving' and 'Senate is not a priority'. They
distributed WOZA's newsletter, Woza Moya (Come Healing
Wind) and sang songs like Amalungelo (we are fighting
for our rights) and chanting 'Tairamba Senate (we have
refused the Senate)'.
In Harare women marched towards Parliament and left
their placards and flyers there. Riot Police
approached walking very slowly and most of the women
had already dispersed before they could arrest only
four women. WOZA takes this to signify that their vote
is for dignity, not poverty. The procession began in
Fourth Street and ended close to Parliament. This is
the sixth WOZA demonstration in Harare this year.
In Bulawayo, as women gathered to prepare for the
march, three bus loads (approx 250) of Youth Militia
arrived, parked and disembarked. Leaders had to keep a
cool head and waited to determine if the WOZA march
was on the notorious brigade's agenda. Very soon
though, they walked off to queue at a nearby bank,
obviously hoping to obtain a few pennies for
themselves. Having determined this, the protest began
harnessing extreme courage after chanting the Woza
Moya slogan. The demonstration proceeded along Fife
Avenue to The Chronicle offices where the women left
their placards and fliers before dispersing. When The
Chronicle reaches the streets tomorrow without a
mention of the WOZA demonstration, it will be further
evidence that there is no freedom of the press even
when the news happens right outside their front door.
Riot Police and Law and Order Vehicles were seen
speeding towards The Chronicle by the dispersing
women. Once again WOZA caught them napping! This is
the ninth WOZA demonstration in Bulawayo this year.
The leaders of WOZA are currently in a safe house
aimed at preventing the normal attempts to arrest them
in their homes after failing to get them at their
'place of work' in the streets.
WOZA is also part of the 'Speak Out Coalition', which
is calling for a Boycott of the Senatorial Elections
and is asking citizens to participate in a protest
referendum. The referendum choices are simple: vote
for the Senate and vote for more poverty; boycott the
Senate and vote for Dignity. This is an activist
grassroots door-to-door campaign being conducted in
urban and rural areas. Results will be announced next
week. For more information, please email
17 November 2005
WOZA, the acronym of Women of Zimbabwe Arise, is an
Ndebele word meaning 'Come forward'. WOZA was formed
in 2003 as a women's civic movement to:
-Provide women, from all walks of life with a united
voice to speak out on issues affecting their
-Empower female leadership that will lead community
involvement in finding solutions to the current
-Encourage women to stand up for their rights and
-Lobbying and advocacy on those issues affecting
For more information, please contact Jenni Williams,
Magodonga Mahlangu or Ellah Hwenzira on +263 91 300
456, +263 91 362 668 or +263 91 377 800 respectively
Electronic photos of the Bulawayo and Harare
processions are available upon request.
Mail and Guardian
18 November 2005 03:54
Two Danish artists said advertisements they created that ran in
a Zimbabwean newspaper on Friday were meant to poke fun at Zimbabwean
President Robert Mugabe.
Jan Egesborg and Klaus Rohland said they presented the ads as
art work to business weekly the Zimbabwe Independent, but did not mention
the intended message in order to avoid being censored.
"The point of our art is to make global political art and to
make fun of despots," Egesborg said, adding two more ads are set to be
published in Sunday's edition of The Standard, another Zimbabwean newspaper.
The ads look like bank notes carrying the text "Try a foreign
bank account", which the artists said is a reference to allegations that
Mugabe and his closets associates have transferred large sums of money
They also featured drawings of cocks -- a symbol associated with
Mugabe in Zimbabwe.
The artists declined to say how much they paid to get the ads in
The media in increasingly autocratic Zimbabwe is tightly
controlled and criticism of Mugabe and his government is often quickly and
The political crisis has been accompanied by the worst economic
crisis since independence in 1980. Mugabe claims the country's financial
woes result from sanctions imposed by the West in the wake of his
government's seizure of white-owned farms.
The European Union, the United States, Australia and New Zealand
have imposed sanctions on Mugabe and about 200 of his closest associates and
their families, denying them the right to visit or operate personal bank
accounts there. -- Sapa-AP
South African and Zimbabwe have signed an agreement to increase
co-operation on defence and security matters.
The two neighbours undertook to share security information and to
co-operate in enforcing immigration laws.
After the signing, South Africa's intelligence minister scolded a
journalist who raised questions about Zimbabwe's record on human rights.
Details of the deal were not released but Zimbabwe's secret police is
accused of torturing opposition activists.
South Africa is a key player in attempts to negotiate an end to
Zimbabwe's political crisis.
President Thabo Mbeki has been criticised at home and abroad for not
putting more pressure on President Robert Mugabe's government to end abuses.
"This week's historic meeting further consolidates a long-standing
socio-political and economic relationship between our two countries," South
African Intelligence Minister Ronnie Kasrils said at the signing of the
agreement in Cape Town on Thursday.
After the signing, a journalist asked Mr Kasrils how South Africa,
with a "good human rights track record", could sign agreements with
Zimbabwe, which had a "poor human rights record".
Mr Kasrils apologised to his Zimbabwean counterpart, Didymus Mutasa,
for the question.
"We have very strong ties with our neighbour and we are indebted to
our neighbour for achieving freedom and liberty," Mr Kasrils said.
Mr Mutasa suggested praying for the journalist.
"Lord forgive him for he does not know what he is saying," Mr Mutasa
Numerous activists from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
have said they have been detained and assaulted by Zimbabwe's secret
police - the Central Intelligence Organisation.
Thursday's agreement also provides for South Africa pilots and
instructors to be trained in Zimbabwe.
Also on Thursday, Zimbabwean and international human rights groups
called on the African Union to speak out against human rights abuses in
"The silence of African leaders on Zimbabwe represents a failure to
honour their commitments to the human rights of ordinary Africans," said a
statement from a human rights coalition that includes Amnesty International,
Zimbabwe's Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions and Zimbabwe Lawyers or
"Hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans have seen their homes
demolished. Now desperate, displaced and homeless people are being denied
the aid they so badly need - and forced evictions and demolitions continue
to take place."
The UN says 700,000 people were affected by a Zimbabwe government
clampdown on illegal housing and trading earlier this year.
18 Nov 2005 15:31:54 GMT
By Stella Mapenzauswa
HARARE, Nov 18 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's about-turn on U.N. housing aid for
those left homeless by its slum demolitions signals a recognition of the
government's lack of resources as well as an attempt to thaw frosty
relations, an analyst said.
President Robert Mugabe's government drew sharp criticism over the crackdown
earlier this year, which the United Nations said had destroyed the homes or
jobs of at least 700,000 people and affected the lives of 2.4 million
A U.N. official in Harare told Reuters on Wednesday the government had
finally agreed to accept a $30 million humanitarian relief programme after
the shantytown demolitions, following months of rejection.
Critics say the crackdown worsened the plight of poor urban Zimbabweans
grappling with an economic crisis widely blamed on the government and
reflected in soaring inflation and unemployment as well as chronic shortages
of food, fuel and foreign currency.
Zimbabwe's acceptance of U.N. help reflected Harare's realisation that it
did not have sufficient resources for the required rebuilding and also
wanted to heal relations ahead of a visit by a U.N. official next month,
analysts said on Friday.
"The economic ... imperative would dictate that the government accept the
assistance because it does not have the financial or other resources to
provide structures for those affected," said political analyst Eldred
Masunungure of the University of Zimbabwe.
"This could also be a diplomatic move to try and smooth the rough edges that
had been created between Zimbabwe and the U.N. after its report. It is a
charm offensive to say 'we are as humane as any government should be',"
Masunungure told Reuters.
A spokesperson for a local housing rights group applauded the government's
move, saying the state's own rebuilding exercise had only benefited a small
fraction of those left homeless.
"We welcome the government's acceptance of U.N. aid. We would hope that the
assistance would be directed at people that need it the most because at the
moment we still have people living in the open," said the spokesperson for
Housing People of Zimbabwe.
On Wednesday a U.N. spokesman in Zimbabwe, Yasuhiro Ueki, said the world
agency would construct 2,500 housing units during the first phase of the
programme and that 10 pilot houses would be built next week for government
Earlier that day, 150 international rights groups led by Amnesty
International and the Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions petitioned
African governments and the African Union to act on what they called a
humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe.
African governments have largely been silent on human rights issues in
Zimbabwe, in contrast to criticism from Western governments and African
churches, trade unions and rights groups.
The United Nations has protested against Zimbabwe's eviction earlier this
week of hundreds more people from a slum in the capital city of Harare that
previously had been cleared of residents. The government has defended its
slum crackdown, saying it was meant to root out black-market trade in
foreign currency and other scarce commodities that it said thrived in
By Lance Guma
18 November 2005
Leading Zimbabwean economist Erich Bloch has singled out corruption in
both the private and public sector as one of the biggest causes of the
country's economic problems. He was commenting on admissions by Finance
Minister Herbert Murerwa that price controls have contributed to the current
hyper-inflationary environment. Bloch believes however this is only part of
the problem and there is a need to tackle corruption which has seen the
country listed amongst the 30 most corrupt countries in the world.
In an interview with Newsreel Bloch said price controls in any event
have never worked anywhere in the world. Controls make it unprofitable for
manufacturers to produce and sell goods. This is what has created shortages
which in turn have fuelled a black market dominated by high prices. He urged
the government to spend money which it had and not that which it intends to
borrow. He revealed that in the first nine months of the year government
borrowings had grown by 1078 percent and that this was fuelling money supply
growth and ultimately inflation.
Bloch also stressed the need for a marked increase in productivity and
said the Agriculture sector needed to be restructured in order for it to
contribute towards rebuilding the economy as it once did. He conceded
politicians in Zimbabwe don't want their political objectives to be
over-ridden by economic considerations and that this is contributing to the
current problems. Meanwhile Finance Minister, Herbert Murerwa told a
pre-budget consultative meeting that market forces were now destined to play
a bigger role in the 2006 budget. Cynics however say this might be one of
the conditions for a bail out loan from South Africa.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
By Violet Gonda
18 November 2005
South Africa has been criticised for signing an intelligence deal with
Zimbabwe despite its neighbour's appalling human rights record.
In spite of growing international condemnation of Zimbabwe, the two
countries signed an agreement to strengthen defence and intelligence ties.
Observers say Mugabe, who is smarting from military sanctions, will use this
deal to get around the arms embargo from the West.
Political analyst Professor Stanford Mukasa said, "Thabo Mbeki is
putting his imagined national security interest over the humanitarian
interest of the people of Zimbabwe. This defence agreement means Mugabe will
be able to invoke South African military resources to suppress the people of
Zimbabwe." The outspoken commentator said this is similar to the time the
apartheid regime brought in military resources to the Smith regime who used
it suppress the freedom struggle.
The security agreement has been seen as a slap in the face for human
rights and civic groups across Africa, who this week issued a joint letter
to African Heads of State calling for them and the African Union (AU) to
address the human rights and humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe.
After the signing of the bilateral agreement in Cape Town on Thursday,
a journalist was humiliated when he raised questions about Zimbabwe's record
on human rights after the signing between South African Intelligence
Minister Ronnie Kasrils and his Zimbabwean counterpart Didymus Mutasa.
They attempted to mock the journalist by avoiding answering this very
serious and truthful question.
The journalist had asked Mr Kasrils how South Africa, with a "good
human rights track record", could sign agreements with Zimbabwe, which had a
"poor human rights record".
Kasrils apologised to Mutasa, for the question and said, " "I find it
rather insulting that you (the reporter) should level such a question here
at us with this delegation from Zimbabwe. "I apologise to them that they
have to sit here on an historic occasion when we have signed two agreements
which are so important to the security, stability, the development of both
our peoples and countries."
Mutasa on the other hand suggested praying for the journalist saying,
"I just want to say that he (the reporter) doesn't have to apologise to us
and that perhaps the best (is) that all of us here should agree to say to
our honourable reporter is simply, to pray for him. "Lord forgive him for he
does not know what he is saying. The liberation struggle was much more
painful than the insults we are getting from some of these misguided
Professor Stanford Mukasa said, "It is the world that must pray for
Didymus Mutasa because he has become such a helpless psychiatric case. he is
one of the most useless members in Mugabe's cabinet and whatever he says
should not surprise us."
The agreement provides for a joint permanent commission on defence and
security, boosting military, police and intelligence co-operation. It will
also tackle specific areas of concern - such as cross-border crime and
illegal immigration. There are about three million Zimbabweans living in
South Africa, many of them without papers, seeking refuge from political
repression and economic collapse.
Critics say that South Africa is under no military threat and the
agreement raises the possibility of intelligence being passed to Zimbabwe on
activists living in South Africa.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
By Tererai Karimakwenda
18 November 2005
The water crisis that has gripped the whole country has continued
without any serious intervention by the government. There is no doubt that
the problem is serious. Talk to Zimbabweans in any part of the country about
water and you are sure to get someone angry. Experts say it cannot continue
this way and urgent solutions are needed. While the government
procrastinates, animals are dying in the National Parks, citizens are going
without water for months and waterborne diseases have created a health
According to the state paper The Herald, the National Parks and
Wildlife Management Authority has so far lost 99 animals at Hwange National
Park. The authority's public relations manager Retired Major Edward Mbewe
told journalists on Tuesday during a tour of the park that more than 40
elephant, 53 buffalo, a giraffe, three zebra and two impala succumbed to
thirst and black leg, a disease that affects animals when the ground is too
dry. He also said his office had sent recommendations to the government
seeking authority to cull the elephants from 75 000 to "manageable figures."
Meanwhile, the Namibian government has rejected Zimbabwe's request to
take some of the country's starving elephants saying it was already facing
serious problems with its own jumbos. Our correspondent Warren Moroka
reports that Zimbabwean deputy environment minister Andrew Langa had
suggested some of the starving elephants in Hwange National Park could be
moved to Namibia. But Ben Beytell, the director of the country's parks and
wildlife department, said Namibia was also facing worsening serious water
shortages and grazing pasture for its 16 000 strong elephant population. He
added that the northern Caprivi Strip was already under siege from elephants
escaping hunger and drought in Botswana's Chobe National Park.
What has not been reported is how Dr. Beytell and Namibian authorities
feared receiving Zimbabwe's animals because they might be diseased.
Outbreaks of foot and mouth and anthrax have been common on the Zimbabwe
side, and Namibia did not want to take any chances. Zimbabwe's neighbours
are also experiencing water shortages, but they are better prepared and well
staffed. They also have the spare parts for pumps and other irrigation
equipment. In comparison the Zimbabwe government is literally broke, and
animals are the least of their concern.
The parks department needs over Z$500 million to purchase a minimum of
five new water engines in order to restore water services in the park.
While the animals suffer, the water crisis has continued to
deteriorate in many towns around the country. The Herald reported that some
suburbs in Harare and its satellite towns will have water cuts of up to 12
hours in every 48 hours. It says local authorities and the Zimbabwe National
Water Authority (Zinwa) have agreed to the rotational cuts in order to cope
as demand exceeds the maximum supply of 600 million litres a day.
But these are not permanent solutions. An injection of money is what
is needed to fix and maintain the infrastructure.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
By Tererai Karimakwenda
18 November 2005
The former member of parliament for Chimanimani and MDC national
executive member Roy Bennett has spoke out against the senate elections and
the idea of some sort of a government of national unity. In a wide ranging
interview with the Reverend Martine Stemerick on Friday, Bennett blamed
Britain as the former colonial power and South Africa as our biggest trade
partner for interfering in the internal affairs of Zimbabwe.
Bennett said the 2 powers are more interested in a reformed ZANU-PF
combined with elements of a split MDC who would form this government of
national unity. The idea, he said, would be to sweep all the human rights
abuses committed by Mugabe and his cronies under the carpet. There would be
no truth and reconciliation commission and those responsible for the
murders, theft and corruption that have plagued our country will simply get
away with it. But when the idea was presented to many Zimbabweans on the
ground, Bennett said it was rejected hugely. Zimbabweans were not interested
in any of it, and basically want to focus on bread and butter issues. He
said a senate is absolutely not needed right now and is a waste of enormous
amounts of money.
Bennett also explained how the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe is
an embarrassment to the British government and South Africa. He said the
more the issues became critical and disruptive, the more these governments
conspired to make the situation amicable. Bennett believes they want to
soleve the Zimbabwe crisis and wind up with no egg on their face.
Bennett was very strong in his opinions and very deeply concerned
about what is happening to the ordinary people. Although he believes in the
end Zimbabweans will triumph as they are resilient and wonderful people, he
was concerned about the food crisis and the water situation which are both
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
By Lance Guma
18 November 2005
Riot police descended on the University of Zimbabwe on Thursday and
re-arrested the entire student leadership. What had been planned as a
routine meeting between the student body and the Vice Chancellor, Levi
Nyagura ended up in dramatic scenes of brutality. Nyagura accused the
students of violating the conditions of their suspensions. This despite the
fact that High Court Judge Ben Hlatshwayo dismissed the alleged suspension
as null and void, since the students had a right to express their
Nyagura tried to get the students to sign suspension letters and
called the police when they refused. The Secretary General Mfundo Mlilo says
authorities feared they were about to instigate a demonstration and hence
the quick arrests. They were assaulted whilst in custody and on release on
Friday, Garikai Kajau one of the leaders was admitted at the Avenues clinic
with a swollen eye. Mlilo narrated how they were confined to over-crowded
cells with human waste all over. He believes the state is worried the
restlessness at the university will spill into a national revolt.
There has been a gradual and systematic victimization of the student
leaders on the campus. The President Henthel Mavuma was earlier in the year
expelled on frivolous cheating charges while the others were first removed
from residence, suspended and then arrested twice in 2 weeks. According to
Mlilo, the Vice Chancellor is trying to circumvent a High Court order by
issuing fresh suspensions for the student leaders. Meanwhile hundreds of
riot police were stationed at the university campus in anticipation of
student demonstrations over the arrests.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news