November 18, 2008
By Raymond Maingire
HARARE – Anti-riot police on Tuesday violently disrupted a protest march by hundreds of disgruntled workers from Harare hospitals as they sought to register with the authorities their mounting concern over the collapse of Zimbabwe’s health delivery system.
The police blocked a peaceful march by more than 700 hospital workers who attempted to leave Parirenyatwa Hospital to present a petition to the Minister of Health, Dr David Parirenyatwa at his offices at Mukwati Building in the city.
The marchers comprised doctors, nurses, nurse aids and general workers from Harare, Parirenyatwa and Chitungwiza hospitals.
According to Dr Simba Ndoda, the secretary general of the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association, there were representatives from Chinhoyi and Kadoma hospitals, which have also been forced to close down due to the crisis.
Relating the incident over the phone, Dr Ndoda said the police descended on the marchers in the hospital grounds and assaulted them.
“The police beat us thoroughly,” he said, “They stopped us as we were about to exit the grounds of Parirenyatwa and they beat us up and followed right into the nurses’ homes.
“As I am speaking, we are in hiding at Harare Hospital. We hear police are looking for us.”
He said police had initially informed the protestors not to proceed with the march “for political reasons” as they feared it had potential to grow into fully blown riots by disgruntled Zimbabweans.
Said Dr Ndoda, “We had asked for approval to go ahead with the march but the police denied us permission, citing political reasons. The police said they feared some people would join the march and the situation would become uncontrollable.
“We wanted people to now the real reasons why doctors are on strike. The State media is quick to misinform the public that doctors are insensitive to the plight of ordinary people who are dying in their thousands in hospitals because of the strike by doctors.
“We wanted people to know that while we have genuine reasons to go on strike because of perennially poor working conditions, it is still not possible for us to perform our duties as there is nothing to use.”
According to Dr Ndoda, almost 99 percent of Zimbabweans rely on government hospitals.
Primrose Matambanadzo, Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights co-coordinator said Tuesday’s march was more than a strike by hospital workers.
“This was more than a strike,” she said.
“A strike is where you stop going to work for one simple reason. This time we are decrying the total collapse of the whole health system.
“This is an issue where we have all reasons to be concerned. We cannot continue to watch helplessly while patients die in thousands.
“Doctors have been on strike for weeks but nothing is being done to address the situation.”
She said an earlier meeting with the permanent secretary of health to register their concerns did not bear any fruit as nothing was done to address the situation.”
By the time of going to press, there were no official reports of any arrests or casualties.
But baton-wielding anti-riot policemen continued to cordon off the whole Parirenyatwa hospital premises late into the afternoon. Police trucks were patrolling the grounds.
Zimbabwe’s government hospitals stopped operating nearly three weeks ago due to a strike by doctors over poor working conditions.
Critically ill patients have been turned away ever since. An emergency room is in operation at Parirenyatwa hospital.
Mpilo hospital, Bulawayo’s biggest hospital also closed last Wednesday, citing similar reasons.
Thousands of patients are being referred to private hospitals which charge for their services in US dollars.
Efforts to obtain comment from the Minister of Health Dr Parirenyatwa were fruitless.
But government still maintains the health situation in the country is still under control as the country’s central bank is being tasked to procure scarce drugs from abroad.
Nov 18, 2008, 11:25 GMT
Harare/Johannesburg - Zimbabwean riot police beat striking doctors and
nurses at a Harare hospital on Tuesday and sent them running for cover in
wards, witnesses said, as reports emerged of dozens more dead in a
fast-spreading cholera outbreak.
The protest took place at Parirenyatwa general hospital where around 200
doctors and nurses, from that hospital and Harare General hospital, held a
demonstration to demand better pay and equipment.
Witnesses told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa they saw police armed with
assault rifles, tear gas and batons beat some of the protestors. The
protesters carried placards saying: 'We want drugs in our hospital' and
'enough is enough!'
Parirenyatwa, the country's largest hospital, and Harare General are both
effectively closed because of a long-lasting strike over pay and conditions
Observers say the city's health services have effectively ground to a halt
as the country's economic disaster accelerates.
The doctors and nurses are demanding to be paid in foreign currency, instead
of the near worthless Zimbabwe dollar. They are also demanding the
restoration of basic equipment levels.
Syringes, surgical gloves, even toilet paper, are running low or have run
out at hospitals across crisis-hit Zimbabwe, where a outbreak of cholera has
now spread south to the border with South Africa.
In the southern border town of Beitbridge, 36 people have died in four days
of the disease, a local doctor told the state-controlled The Herald
The border crossing into South Africa is the busiest in Africa, thronged
daily by thousands of poor Zimbabweans either fleeing hardship or stocking
up on basic commodities such as soap and cooking oil they can no longer
obtain at home.
The town's hospital has cleared out all other patients to make the
institution a cholera treatment centre, where 431 people had been admitted
and more deaths are expected, The Herald reported.
Independent medical organizations have warned for years that Zimbabwe, which
is wracked by hyperinflation, food shortages and a breakdown of basic
services, is sitting on a 'cholera time bomb.'
Over 150 are estimated to have been killed in outbreaks of the disease this
HARARE, ZIMBABWE Nov 18 2008 15:06
Up to 1,4-million people are at risk of cholera if it continues to spread
unchecked across Zimbabwe, Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) said on Tuesday,
as official media reported 73 people have died of the disease.
The state-run Herald newspaper said that cholera had killed 37 people in
Harare, while another 36 died and 431 were hospitalised in Beitbridge, on
the border with South Africa.
"Most of the admissions were on Sunday afternoon, after people had learnt of
the outbreak. We expect that number to increase," Beitbridge medical officer
Taikaitei Kanongara told the paper.
The disease has spread rapidly around the country over the last month due to
the breakdown in sanitation in many urban centres.
Médecins sans Frontières said it has set up cholera treatment centres in
Harare, where 500 patients have been treated so far and an average of 38 new
patients are admitted every day.
Most patients come from the Harare suburbs of Budiriro and Glen View,
Médecins sans Frontières said in a statement, but warned that a total of
1,4-million people in the capital are at risk if the disease keeps
"Things are getting out of hand" at the Budiriro clinic, said Médecins sans
Frontières water and sanitation officer Precious Matarutse.
"There are so many patients that the nurses are overwhelmed. In the
observation area, one girl died sitting on a bench. The staff is utilising
each and every available room and still in the observation-area patients are
lying on the floor," she added.
Another Médecins sans Frontières worker, Vittorio Varisco, warned that
clinics were running out of space for the patients.
"It is a constant challenge to keep up with increasing patient numbers,"
"Today patients at the Infectious Diseases Hospital are lying outside on the
grass and we are setting up tents with additional beds as an overflow for
Cholera is endemic in parts of rural Zimbabwe, but had been rare in the
cities, where most homes have piped water and flush toilets.
But after years of economic crisis, the nation's infrastructure is breaking
down, leaving many people without access to clean water or proper
sanitation. -- Sapa-AFP
By Peta Thornycroft
18 November 2008
According to doctors in Zimbabwe, the cholera epidemic in Harare is claiming
many lives and the government is massively under reporting the death
statistics from this easily preventable disease. Peta Thornycroft reports
that broken water pipes and sewage systems are responsible for most of the
cases in Harare at a time when almost all government health services have
In Harare Tuesday, doctors from the state's largest hospital in Harare were
prevented by riot police from demonstrating against the government's lack
provision of medicines, equipment and living wages.
They have also demanded salaries in foreign currency. The Parirenyatwa
Hospital where the doctors were demonstrating stopped admitting patients
last month because specialist doctors refused to to work under the present
conditions. Now the rest of the doctors have formally announced a work
Zimbabwe University closed the country's only medical school Monday and sent
all third fourth and fifth year students home because of what it describes
as the prevailing conditions.
This unrest in the state medical fraternity comes against the background one
of the worst cholera epidemic in Zimbabwe. Doctors Without Borders, which is
trying to assist says 1.4 million people in Harare are now at risk of
catching this preventable disease.
In the Budiriro suburb, to the west of Harare city center, many people have
dug wells in their gardens to get water.
The city's water pumping works break down regularly as little maintenance
has been carried out for several years. Some parts of Harare have had no
water into houses, or sewage waste removal all year. Sewage flows down the
streets of several high density suburbs.
The water from many of these wells is infected, doctors say, and account for
much of the cholera.
At one clinic in Budiriro which is being used as an emergency treatment room
and which is overflowing with new admissions, at least 60 people have died
in the last two weeks according to an official who asked not to be named.
The government has admitted many more have died and nearly 500 people have
been treated for cholera in Beit Bridge on the border with South Africa.
Other urban areas in the country have also reported an outbreak of the
Many people are at home with the disease which can and has killed people in
Harare in 24 hours from first symptom.
Donors are providing drugs and equipment to the Infectious Diseases Hospital
in Harare which is the only one left in the city able to treat people for
cholera The only doctors available are some from the Zimbabwe National Army.
The Combined Harare residents association says it monitored the infectious
diseases hospital for only and hour this week, and in that time five adults
and one child died of cholera. It says there are no health centers open in
most of the city and and that the government has stopped the staff from
talking to the media.
Doctors say only those who can afford private health care can get medical
treatment in Zimbabwe now. They say most of the state's health centers are
closed around the country.
Zimbabwe had the best state medical care in Africa for at least 10 years
after 1980 independence.
Many of those dying of dehydration from the ongoing epidemic are also
suffering from HIV/AIDS, said one Harare doctor. He said so many people have
damaged immune systems and do not get enough to eat and therefore have
little resistance to recover from cholera.
The government has only disclosed partial statistics and some doctors
believe several hundred people have died from cholera in the last month. The
outbreak of cholera has come just as the annual summer rains are due to
begin and doctors have warned that more than 1.4 million people could be in
danger of contracting the disease unless urgent action is taken.
November 18, 2008
By Our Correspondent
MUTARE - State security agents have seized 30 tonnes of scarce maize-meal
which was being sold on the black market and which they believe belongs to a
senior Cabinet Minister.
There has been a critical shortage of the staple commodity for months.
Security sources say the maize-meal has been linked to Ignatius Chombo, the
local government minister and one of President Robert Mugabe's closest
There was no immediate confirmation from Chombo himself but officers from
the President's Office said the 600 bags of maize meal allegedly belonged to
The maize meal was offloaded at Chikwariro Business Centre in the Marange
District of Manicaland two weeks ago and was on offer for sale at US$50 per
50 kilogram bag. The now famous Chiadzwa diamond fields are in the heart of
The Grain Marketing Board the only authorised distributor of grain in
Zimbabwe charges ZW$100 000 or less than US$1 for a 50 kg bag of maize.
The bags were loaded in a shop belonging to a businessperson identified only
The security agents said, acting on a tip, they had trekked the consignment
all the way from Harare and after it was offloaded at Chikwariro Business
Centre they pounced. By then 15 bags had been sold to desperate villagers.
The area is awash with United States Dollars because of its close proximity
to the diamonds fields of Chiadzwa.
"We had been informed that a truck had been making deliveries to Chikwariro
Business Centre over a long period of time so we decided to follow - up,"
said a security source. "We were surprised to realise the maize meal
belonged to Minister Chombo."
He said they were eager to establish where the Minister had sourced the
maize from and why it was being sold on the black market.
"People do not have maize meal and a minister diverts such an important
commodity on to the black market it must be taken seriously," the source
Millions of villagers in Zimbabwe face severe hunger due to lack of food
because of poor harvests last agricultural season which are largely on
government's controversial and skewed land policy.
Efforts to get Chombo to respond to allegations that he is the owner of the
contraband maize-meal were not fruitful.
By Lance Guma
18 November 2008
MDC Secretary General Tendai Biti still faces a treason charge, despite a
court on Tuesday dropping two other charges. His lawyer Chris Mhike
confirmed to journalists that the charges relating to 'insulting the
President' and 'causing disaffection to the armed forces' had all been
dropped. But the Harare East MP still faces charges relating to 'treason'
and 'making statements likely to cause public disorder.' His next hearing
will be on the 4th December.
Biti was arrested on 12th June this year on arrival at Harare International
airport from South Africa, where he was in self-imposed exiled. Soon after
the March elections, won by the MDC and its leader Morgan Tsvangirai, Biti
addressed a press conference in which he announced the party's own tabulated
election results. This was because the government run Zimbabwe Election
Commission refused to release the results within the stipulated time frame,
sparking fears they were tampering with the result.
The Mugabe regime then engineered an elaborate propaganda campaign in which
they accused Biti of plotting to rig the elections on behalf of the MDC. A
fake 13 page letter, allegedly written by Biti, was then published in the
state run media outlining the supposed MDC rigging plans, which included
bribing polling officers to overstate MDC votes.
Meanwhile state media reports say the drafting of Constitutional Amendment
19, to give legal effect to September's power sharing deal between the MDC
and ZANU PF, has begun. Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu told the
Herald that once the government's legal drafting team had finished their
work, both ZANU PF and the MDC would have a chance to scrutinize the
But MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa told Newsreel they would reject anything
drafted by ZANU PF on it's own. 'This is the same attitude of unilateralism
from ZANU PF that has been a problem,' he said, adding that both parties
should be involved in the drafting of the Amendment. Chamisa blasted the
whole concept of ZANU PF communicating with the MDC via the media, saying
they expected formal communications between the two parties.
Responding to the SADC resolution recommending the sharing of the Home
Affairs Ministry the MDC has set out several conditions for joining the
government. These include the enactment of Constitutional Amendment 19, the
equitable sharing of ministries, composition of the National Security
Council, correction of the agreement which was illegally doctored before the
singing ceremony and the appointment of provincial governors, permanent
secretaries and ambassadors.
Despite false state media reports, claiming the MDC would join the all
inclusive government, the party reiterated Tuesday they would not join until
their conditions were met.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
Tue 18 Nov 2008, 16:34 GMT
By Cris Chinaka
HARARE, Nov 18 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe is drafting a constitutional amendment
empowering President Robert Mugabe to form a unity government, the
information minister said on Tuesday, despite the opposition's refusal to
join a cabinet.
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has said it will not
join a unity government with Mugabe until all issues in power-sharing talks
In the government's first public reaction to a decision by Morgan
Tsvangirai's MDC on Friday not to join a power-sharing administration until
a dispute over some cabinet posts has been resolved, and the constitution
amended, Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu was quoted by state radio as
"The state is currently drafting Constitutional Amendment Number 19, which
will be gazetted soon after consultations with the two formations of the
The amendment would allow Mugabe to form a unity government.
Tsvangirai has accused Mugabe of trying to take control of the most powerful
ministries and freeze out his party in violation of a Sept. 15 power-sharing
agreement seen as the best hope of rescuing Zimbabwe's economy.
Ndlovu said Mugabe was still in the process of assembling a new cabinet, but
he and the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) gave no timetable on when
it would be announced.
"He (Ndlovu) urged the public to be patient as the process of forming a
government is a process and not an event," the ZBC said.
MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa was not immediately available to comment on the
report. But in a statement earlier on Tuesday, the MDC dismissed reports by
state media of divisions in its leadership on whether to join the unity
"The party, from the leadership to the membership, is fully committed to the
successful conclusion of the (power-sharing) talks in the shortest possible
time," the MDC said.
"It is in this context that the National Council unanimously resolved not to
be part of an inclusive government until all the outstanding issues have
been disposed of," it said.
"On this issue, the party speaks with one voice," it added.
Zimbabweans hope that the Sept. 15 power-sharing deal will ease political
tensions and create a united leadership to help rescue a crumbling economy.
Many critics accuse Mugabe, in power since independence in 1980, of ruining
the country with controversial policies, but the 84-year-old Zimbabwean
leader says the economy has been sabotaged by forces opposed to his
nationalist stance. Inflation, officially at over 230 million percent, is
out of control and food and fuel shortages are widespread in Zimbabwe, a
once prosperous country and former British colony. (Reporting by Cris
Chinaka; Editing by Michael Georgy and Mark Trevelyan)
Tue Nov 18, 10:56 am ET
PARIS (AFP) - Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai warned
President Robert Mugabe on Tuesday not to form a government without him,
vowing to use his majority in parliament to render such a regime unworkable.
Speaking on a trip to France, Tsvangirai said Mugabe had to keep a promise
to form a coalition with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change after
disputed elections otherwise his legacy as a liberation hero would be
"If he wants to proceed with a government without us I know he knows that is
unrealistic and that government will not be functional," Tsvangirai said.
"He needs us, we control parliament and he needs a deal for his own sake, to
salvage his own legacy."
Although Mugabe and Tsvangirai both signed an agreement in mid-September to
share power after a protracted post-election dispute, its implementation has
stalled amid a row over the division of key ministries.
Although Mugabe's camp has warned the veteran president now plans to form a
government "forthwith" and berated the MDC for trying to "dictate from the
However, the MDC wrested control of parliament from ZANU-PF for the first
time in March's joint presidential and legislative elections and Mugabe is
dependent on parliament to pass the annual budget.
Western nations have said they are ready to release hundreds of millions of
dollars in aid, but not while Mugabe retains his sole grip on power.
After meeting with lawmakers, Tsvangirai said Europe must "put as much
pressure as they can to ensure that President Mugabe and ourselves ... come
to a conclusion on this political impasse."
Turning to the extreme poverty in which most Zimbabweans live and which many
blame on Mugabe's economic policies, Tsvangirai said his people were "facing
a dire humanitiarian situation."
"By January we will be feeding five and a half million people, that's three
quarters of the population," the oppostion leader told reporters, adding
thet he had urged EU leaders to make humanitarian aid their top priority.
He made the appeal the same day that the medical charity Doctors Without
Borders reported that up to 1.4 million people were at risk of cholera if it
continues to spread unchecked across Zimbabwe.
The European Commission provided Zimbabwe with around 90 million euros (114
million dollars) in humanitarian aid in 2007, but all development aid to
Mugabe's regime has been frozen.
With inflation running at more than 231 million percent, half the population
requires emergency food aid, while a breakdown in basic services has led to
deadly outbreaks of cholera in Harare.
UN aims to increase peace keeping troops to record numbers
A proposal would be voted for later this week by the UN security council in
order to bring the 17000 troops in DR Congo to 20000.
Tuesday 18 November 2008, by Desmond North
The French UNA believes that more troops will be needed to guarantee the
tranquility in DR Congo and have presented a draft resolution to the United
Nations Security Council aimed at increasing the number of UN troops in the
country by 3,000.
At present, there are about 17,000 soldiers and police in DR Congo - the
biggest UN force of its kind.
In the last few months, fighting between the Congolese army and rebels has
escalated, and more and more children are being kidnapped to bolster numbers
amongst the various militia.
As the crisis continue, there are growing concerns that foreign forces are
being drawn into the conflict, as eyewitnesses continue to sight Angolan and
Zimbabwean troops in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The clashes have driven hundreds of thousands of people from their homes and
created a humanitarian crisis.
The fighting comes as UN envoy Olusegun Obasanjo continues efforts to broker
an end to the conflict.
Reports however claim that the United Nations is unsure which countries
would contribute the extra troops, or when they could be deployed.
The Security Council is expected to vote on the proposal later this week.
18th Nov 2008 17:07 GMT
By Ian Nhuka
BULAWAYO - Zanu-PF is remaining defiant despite the looming split of the
party. Shaken to the marrow when former minister, Simba Makoni ditched it to
pursue his own presidential bid in February, Zanu-PF has been further jolted
amid intensifying moves by former PF-ZAPU members to repudiate the 1987
Unity Accord and revive the revolutionary party (PF-ZAPU).
Former minister and Zanu-PF politburo member, Dumiso Dabengwa is widely
reported as the brains behind the revival of PF-ZAPU and on Saturday the
acerbic Nathaniel Manheru warned Dabengwa in his Herald column that attempts
to revive PF-ZAPU would be met with the full force of the law as he alleged
the former government minister was or about to engage in some form of
Manheru appears to insinuate Dabengwa is working with the West and the
opposition MDC to train cadres to fight and remove Zanu-PF from power.
A founder member of Makoni's Mavambo initiative, he has also been
instrumental in the split of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans
Association between former ZIPRA and ZANLA fighters.
He claims that the ex-ZPIRA cadres are not benefiting from their membership
of the parent association. The former ZIPRA cadres have held several
meetings here, including one at White City Stadium, which was supposed to be
addressed by Vice-President, Joseph Msika two weeks ago.
Dabengwa's loyalists have said the new PF-ZAPU will launch during the second
week of next month. But, Zanu-PF's politburo secretary for education,
Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, a former PF-ZAPU cadre himself has said the ruling party
is not worried.
Dabengwa is alleged by Zanu-PF to have misused billions of dollars meant for
the Matebeleland Zambezi Water Project (MZWP) and senior sources say the
government is investigating with the intent of prosecuting hm.
Dabengwa has been at the helm of the water project from its inception over
almost a decade and half. The project has, however failed to take off in
earnest, leaving the Matabeleland region poorer given that the project was
initiated as the answer to the region's perennial water shortages.
Before Dabengwa's defection, the ruling party had turned a deaf ear for
years to calls for an intensive audit into the affairs of the project whose
original plan dates back to 1912.
Speaking to journalists at the party's provincial headquarters here at the
weekend, Ndlovu said Zanu-PF is a voluntary organisation and people are free
to join and leave.
"Zanu-PF is a democratic party," said Ndlovu, on the sidelines of a meeting
to diffuse the storm over the re-emergence of PF-ZAPU."As such, the people
you are referring to are free to leave the Zanu-PF. No one is forced to be a
member of the party, if they want to leave it is up to them. In any case, I
do not see the reason why people want to revive ZAPU when PF-ZAPU and
Zanu-PF united and signed the Unity Accord."C
ertain elements in the ruling party's provincial executive for Bulawayo have
openly supported the re-launch of PF-ZAPU. Zanu-PF has responded to this by
instituting a commission of inquiry to assess the state of the party in the
city and recommend the way forward. Members of the commission are the party's
deputy politburo secretary for women's affairs, Eunice Sandi, senior party
members - Callistus Ndlovu and Abednigo Nyathi.
In addition to the commission of inquiry, the party dispatched its national
chairman, John Nkomo over the weekend to address meetings and hear the
concerns of party supporters.
In his public address before holding a closed meeting with party officials,
Nkomo also sounded defiant.
This is not the first time that Zanu-PF has faced such a crisis and each
time it underwent the trying times, it emerged stronger, according to Nkomo.
He issued a call for party unity."We have to leave a firm legacy so that
when we are gone those remaining will always look up to us," he said.
At least six members of the party's provincial executive have left. They
include Effort Nkomo (secretary for information and publicity), Andrew
Ndlovu (secretary for security) and Tryphine Nhliziyo, (secretary for
By Lance Guma
18 November 2008
The recently re-formed PF ZAPU, which broke away from ZANU PF last week, has
threatened to evict the Central Intelligence Organization from Magnet House
in Bulawayo, a building they are said to own. Both ZANU PF and PF ZAPU came
together under a unity accord in 1987, but power sharing talks this year
between ZANU PF and the MDC have left senior PF ZAPU members feeling they've
been marginalized. With virtually the entire ZANU PF Bulawayo province
defecting or considering doing so, the PF ZAPU party is already flexing its
muscles. A large portfolio of PF ZAPU buildings, farms and businesses were
seized by ZANU PF at height of the Gukurahundi Massacres, guaranteeing
Our correspondent Lionel Saungweme reports that former Zimbabwe National
Liberation War Veterans Association chairman, Andrew Ndlovu (now a member of
the ZIPRA Veterans Association) told a meeting of ZAPU members two weeks ago
that they intend to take Magnet House back from the CIO. It's not clear
whether the spy agency are tenants in the building or whether government
simply allowed them to use it. Another interesting scenario will be Queens
Park Police station. The building is also said to be owned by PF ZAPU.
Previously it was known as the Lido Hotel and was used after the war to
house injured or disabled former freedom fighters from PF ZAPU's military
wing ZIPRA. PF ZAPU are also demanding the building back.
Last weekend the leaders of the group declared the unity accord 'dead and
buried.' Former Home Affairs Minister Dumiso Dabengwa, war vets leader
Andrew Ndlovu, Tryphine Nhliziyo the ZANU PF secretary for administration
for Bulawayo Province, and publicity secretary Effort Nkomo are some of the
prominent backers of the breakaway. Last Wednesday ZANU PF tasked National
Chairman John Nkomo with the job of persuading the defecting PF ZAPU members
to rejoin. But he did not succeed and PF ZAPU is already preparing for a
consultative conference in December, which will culminate in a congress in
After the unity accord in 1987 Mugabe refused to hand over the ZAPU and
ZIPRA properties he seized in 1982. In 2004 ZANU PF claimed the properties
had been returned but this was denied by PF ZAPU who said the properties
remain in the hands of third parties, linked to the ruling party. The
failure by government to return these properties is also one of the reasons
listed by PF ZAPU for now breaking away from the unity accord. Analysts
believe the emergence of the MDC and its strong support from the
Matabeleland region has diluted the importance of PF ZAPU. With ZANU PF and
the MDC still appearing to be in discussion about a unity government, the
breakaway members might also feel this will create room for another
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
MASVINGO, November 18 2008 - Zanu PF forced supporters from Mucheke to
attend a poorly organised graduation ceremony at the Great Zimbabwe
University in Masvingo at the weekend when only about half of the 687
students who were supposed to graduate showed up.
The supporters, clad in ZANU PF regalia, took up most of the seats,
ignorantly ululating. They also carried banners inscribed with the words,
'Down with Economic Saboteurs, Long Live President Mugabe, Our Land, Our
Prosperity', among others.
Most of the visibly unhappy graduates, who did not even celebrate
after being capped by President Robert Mugabe, said they had little to show
for their academic qualifications, given the unemployment rate pegged at
more than 80 percent, as well as the record inflation rate of 235
"There is nothing to write home about, it's just some useless
certificates, and I wonder why I wasted all those years. Imagine, someone
with little formal education making more money by selling fuel than a
degreed person, it does not make sense," said one of the graduates who
Another graduate who boycotted the function said it was illegitimate
for President Mugabe to cap them as he is not formally recognized as head of
state following his controversial one man June 27 runoff election which the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) boycotted citing violence
among its supporters.
"Why should I go and bow down before Mugabe when he is not recognized,
even by SADC, as the legitimate head of the state? It (the graduation
ceremony) is really a sham. If it was MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai
capping us, then I would have been very happy and willing to go," he said.
GZU, which has a plethora of problems, among them massive staff
exodus, stationery shortage, accommodation crisis, among others, was given
ten state-of-the-art vehicles by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), a move
analysts said was more like "treating the symptoms rather than the causes of
the collapse in the education system".
"He is trying to curb the brain drain by donating cars. How can he
give twin cabs when the university is currently closed and does not even
have bond paper and cartridge to print? It does not make sense," said an
The Herald (Harare)
18 November 2008
Posted to the web 18 November 2008
SENIOR officials allegedly dismissed seven National Youth Service (NYS)
graduates from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Bulawayo branch for allegedly
unearthing shady foreign currency deals.
A memo addressed to the RBZ Governor, Dr Gideon Gono and dated 6 November,
which was leaked to Chronicle by sources close to the story, alleged that
there was rampant corruption and numerous underhand foreign currency
dealings at the RBZ financial Intelligence Inspectorate and Evaluation
office in Bulawayo.
The sources alleged that the seven were dismissed after "stepping on the
toes of some big guns" by raiding Eskimo Hut for selling goods in foreign
currency without a licence.
The raid was reportedly carried out on 23 October and R5 983, US$320 and 20
pounds were confiscated.
The youth service graduates are said to have been dumbfounded, when on the
following day, their superior (name supplied) summoned them and instead of
showering them with praise, dismissed them.
They had been attached to the branch since 2005.
During their three years at the RBZ, the graduates among other things,
reportedly arrested suspects and recovered money that was earned illegally.
The money amounted to R400 000, US$10 000, Z$15 billion (revalued) and P6
They also recovered 300 grammes of gold bound for externalisation and
unearthed scams in which some RBZ bosses were allowing some shops to sell
goods in forex without licences.
The graduates are then reported to have filed the leaked memo, in which they
alleged that most illegal foreign currency dealers were working in cahoots
with RBZ officials who supply them with cash and shield them from arrest.
They also claimed that at times gold recovered from suspects was never
deposited at the central bank.
They said the owners bribed RBZ officials and the police and got their gold
back without going to trial.
The NYS graduates expressed dissatisfaction with working conditions at the
branch and said they were frustrated by the actions of their superiors who
often hindered progress by sometimes calling them off certain assignments
where they had vested interests.
"We are not happy about the reporting structure at the financial
intelligence office. They (superiors) are derailing progress by at times
taking sides when achievements like the Eskimo Hut raid are made. The
scandal rocking the main Bulawayo RBZ branch was reported to office bearers
long ago but no action was taken," read part of the memo.
The allegations come barely two weeks after a massive scandal involving 24
workers from the Bulawayo branch who were suspended after it was discovered
that they were giving themselves amounts that were way above the then daily
Sources within the central bank said criminal charges against the bank
employees could not be pressed, as there was nothing criminal that they had
Efforts to get a comment from the heads of the RBZ intelligence office in
Bulawayo, Mr Tendayi Chasi and Mr Misheck Moyo, were however unsuccessful.
When this reporter visited their offices soon after lunch, an official said
they had gone out but would be back before the end of the day.
They could not be reached on their mobile phones and on calling their
office, it was first said they had gone out.
Later, the person who answered the phone said they were not at work.
"They are not at work today (Monday), you will have to try to reach them
tomorrow," said the person who answered the phone.
By Violet Gonda
18 November 2008
A UK asylum tribunal ruled on Monday that Zimbabweans unable to demonstrate
loyalty to the Mugabe regime might be at risk of persecution if sent back
home. The case was taken to the tribunal by a teacher known only as RN.
The Zimbabwe Association, a support group for asylum seekers and refugees,
said because RN was a test case it contains in its conclusions country
guidance clauses which may cover other cases with similar backgrounds. This
means Zimbabwean asylum seekers who fall into the additional categories
identified in RN as being at risk may be able to pursue their cases in the
UK courts. (See paragraphs 258-262 of the RN ruling below)
It is believed that there are many thousands of Zimbabweans who may be
affected by this ruling. The Zimbabwe Association hopes people will be able
to get the protection that they deserve, and get on with their lives in the
UK until the situation improves back home.
Zimbabwe Association spokesperson, Sarah Harland, said it's a significant
and welcome decision, which recognises the escalation of violence in
Zimbabwe throughout 2008.
She said it is possible that there is going to be movement at last because
some cases have been on hold since 2005, after a Country Guidance case known
only as AA started. AA was an anonymous failed Zimbabwean asylum seeker who
was challenging his forced removal to Zimbabwe on the grounds that it would
not be safe for him to return.
Harland said since the start of the AA cases in 2005, many individual cases
have been on hold because country guidance cases were repeatedly appealed by
the Home Office and the Refugee Legal Centre. (Incidentally AA himself was
given leave to remain recently by the Home Office on an individual basis).
"Now we are really hopeful some of these long standing cases can be
resolved," Harland said about the ruling on the RN case.
The group stressed the tribunal ruling is not a blanket decision and cases
will continue to be assessed for credibility and considered on an individual
People are advised to contact their individual lawyers for advice and ask
how the RN ruling will affect them. If the situation improves in Zimbabwe or
there are signs of a meaningful power sharing deal between the political
parties, it is likely that a new Country Guidance case will be identified
and heard to reflect the changes in the situation in Zimbabwe.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
APA-Harare (Zimbabwe) For crisis-weary Zimbabweans, a bird in hand is worth
two in the bush - literally.
With inflation officially pegged at more than 230 million percent and cash
not readily available in banks, the people of this once prosperous southern
African country have learnt the hard way - that holding onto to real assets
is a better way of preserving the value of their money compared to cheques
as a means of payments.
More and more Zimbabwean businesses are therefore demanding payment in the
form of fuel coupons in lieu of cash.
Banks themselves have not been spared from the credit crunch, with some
financial institutions now asking clients requiring new cheque books to pay
20 litres of fuel or the United States dollar equivalent.
A leading Internet service provider is also demanding a monthly subscription
fee of 600 litres of fuel for corporate clients and 20 litres for
A vehicle auctioneer was the first to introduce the fuel coupons payment
system around June as cash shortages began to worsen.
An eight-year economic crisis has rendered the Zimbabwe dollar virtually
worthless, with most transactions officially or unofficially now taking
place using the more stable United States dollar or South African rand
The value of the Zimbabwe dollar is on an unprecedented free-fall, blamed on
illegal foreign currency traders and money printing by the central bank.
Even the state-owned Zimbabwe Newspapers Group this week started refusing
cheque payments, preferring the more stable US dollar.
Tue 18 Nov 2008, 13:47 GMT
By James Macharia
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Zimbabwe, which has the second largest reserves of
platinum after South Africa, is forecast to lift platinum output this year
despite a political and economic crisis, a report said on Tuesday.
Johnson Matthey, the world's top platinum refiner and fabricator, said in a
review the southern African country is expected to lift platinum production
by 5.9 percent this year to 180,000 ounces, outperforming its earlier
"Zimbabwe has seen quite a good performance in the platinum mines despite a
difficult and challenging operating environment," David Jollie, a research
official at JM, said.
A political crisis in Zimbabwe has deepened over a disputed presidential
vote. The country also has the world's highest inflation rate and is
suffering from food, fuel and foreign currency shortages.
JM said despite these challenges output is seen rising by more than 10,000
ounces this year.
he world's No. 2 platinum producer Impala Platinum (Impala), is the leading
foreign investor in Zimbabwe's mining sector, where it is expanding its
joint venture operations.
Its bigger rival Anglo Platinum also sees Zimbabwe as crucial to its
expansion plans, and is currently developing a new platinum mine in the
At Mimosa, a 50/50 joint venture between Implats and Aquarius Platinum,
platinum production in concentrate fell 6 percent in the first half of 2008,
mainly due to power outages and equipment failures at the mill, JM said.
But in the second half of the year, mining operations improved and the
company had a large stockpile of ore, which should ensure higher platinum
group metal output, JM said.
At Zimplats Holdings, in which Impala owns 86.9 per cent, production of PGM
in concentrate fell by 9 percent to 94,000 ounces in the first half of this
year, on lower mill output, falling grades and electricity shortages.
But production of platinum matte rose 6 percent to 54,000 ounces as Zimplats
processed concentrate built up ahead of the smelter during a furnace re-line
in 2007, JM said.
Despite power shortages, a lack of enough skilled labour and high costs of
inputs, Implats has said it views Zimbabwe's platinum sector as a "blue sky
It plans to expand output to 100,000 ounces a year at Mimosa from 69,000
ounces currently, and to 160,000 ounces at the Zimplats operation, which
produces 91,000 ounces a year.
18 November 2008
Residential property investors from Russia and South Africa are snapping up
houses in the world's economic basket case, says Andrew Golding
Residential property investors from Russia have been snapping up houses in
Zimbabwe, probably the most troubled economy in the world.
As hyperinflation reaches unbelievable percentages in the millions and the
local currency crashes to levels that have left high-flying corporates
earning the equivalent of an astonishing US$5 a month and less, some
adventurous property buyers have been scouting around Harare for deals.
This was revealed on Thursday by Dr Andrew Golding, chief executive officer
of the Pam Golding Property (PGP) group at his annual presentation to the
media in Cape Town on Tuesday.
He said that he expects volumes for his group to be down by about 20% for
the financial year ending in February, and that figures within his
organisation suggest South African house prices have dropped about 10% in
nominal terms since the last quarter of 2007.
Buyers are now scarce thanks to the huge difficulty buyers have in obtaining
mortgage finance, he said.
An exception is the super-prime market above R20m where buyers pay cash. "In
thin trading, these properties appear to be priced more relative to a
worldwide comparison for a similar property," said Golding.
The PGP group has a strong presence in Zimbabwe, where its agents report
that the market "relatively buoyant in recent months" has turned from a
sellers' to a buyers' market.
"Property here, however, is still seen as an important form of investment,
with high interest especially among South Africans, as well as Russian
He said buyers in Zimbabwe were generally seeking investments in the US$200
000 to $450 000 (about R2m to R4m) in the residential market, and from $450
000 upwards in the commercial sector.
In Zimbabwe, property has proved to be a good store of value as have stock
market shares while inflation steadily pushes up prices of goods and
services by the hour.
That is, said Golding, until recently. He attributed the change in market
conditions largely to the faltering political negotiations.
Despite a farcical election process, Robert Mugabe has been calling the
shots in Zimbabwe and refusing to share power with opposition leader Morgan
In the meantime, the business sector has imploded. Shops, empty for months,
have closed down and Zimbabweans are battling to access their money in
banks. Starvation and outbreaks of deadly diseases like cholera are now the
big worries as Zimbabweans pin their hopes on a major shift in the political
Estate agents are harrassed regularly by the authorities who suspect many
properties are changing hands for foreign currency - technically illegal
although many in the population are surviving on US dollars and rands.
Golding told Realestateweb that there's a genre of investors who will
potentially take an alternative view on property because potentially high
rewards come with high risks.
His organisation has received calls from investors in the US and elsewhere
wanting more information on the risks in Zimbabwe.
Golding said many South African business operators are also keeping a close
watch on Zimbabwean developments and are planning to enter the market. When
the Zimbabwean situation turns, as it ultimately must even if that time is
still some way off, the world is expect to inject money into the country to
help pick it up.
When that happens, there should be a "natural spin-off" in the property
sector is the thinking of these investors, he said.
Other African countries where South Africans have been snapping up
properties include Mozambique, Mauritius and Seychelles.
After Mauritius opened its doors to foreign investors, initially most buyers
were from France and the United Kingdom, but this has changed - with more
than 80% of buyers now from South Africa, he said.
Buyers in Mauritius are interested in commercial as well as residential
property, said Golding.
"Why don't Zimbabweans do something?": it's so easy to say, isn't it? In
fact, so easy and obvious that one wonders why Zimbabweans themselves haven't
thought of this already and, why haven't they kicked up their heels and done
this mysterious 'something' that is the solution. The mutterings about the
need to 'do something' grow with frustration. We hear it in our family,
between friends, people in our community, and it has filtered through on
more than one occasion via the comments on this blog. I'll bet "Why don't
Zimbabweans do something?" is right up there in the Top 5 topics of
conversation around rare meals and rarer braais.
Everyone has an opinion on exactly what it is that needs to be done,
including: mass action on the streets, giving SADC time to resolve the
issue, work stayaways, launching a civil war, boycotting work - you know,
you've heard it all before too. Everyone also has on opinion on why
Zimbabweans do nothing: apathy, hunger, fear, the communication vacuum, a
crisis of leadership, the fact so many have left, etc etc.
Rarely, does the conversation swing into the topic I am really interested
in; and that is, 'Well, what can we as a group sitting here right now do?
Let US do something!'.
Many of the people I know who ask me "Why don't Zimbabweans do something?"are
people who are not doing very much in the way of activism themselves. When I
hear this question, my knee-jerk response is: "Well, tell me what YOU are
doing". I get blank looks along with replies like, "There's nothing I can
do!", or "It's not up to me, it's the majority who have to react and
The majority. Those wonderful amorphous faceless people who hold our
salvation in their hands but never step forwards. Everyone thinks they know
who the majority are, but it seems to me that it depends very much on who
you are talking to. If its a middle-class black businessman you're talking
to, then 'the majority' are likely to be the informal traders living in the
high -density areas (presumably with informal free time on their hands). If
it's a white person, then the odds are that they mean black Zimbabweans. If
its a rural person, struggling to eke out a living from nothing, the
majority probably means those in the towns who seem to have just a tiny bit
more. For the elderly, its the young people. If its a Zimbabwean in the
diaspora, then the odds are that they are probably talking about Zimbabweans
in Zimbabwe. And so on.
I am consistently struck over and over again by the way people who ask this
question make very little room in the discussion for the words 'Me' or 'I'
or 'Us'. In fact, I think the question "Why don't Zimbabweans do something?"
is fairly easily answered, and I think it probably stems directly from the
missing 'Me' or 'I' or 'Us' in the question being asked. It may be that in
asking the question, the questioner fails to see that they themselves are a
critical part of the problem they are so furstrated by.
When it comes to big headline grabbing results, we all know what we want to
see. Yes, it is true that if every single Zimbabwean took to the streets and
marched on State House peacefully and with determination, that it would be a
big positive step towards our future.
But this next bit is also true I think: if everyone -everyone - been as
committed and had worked as hard over the years as some of the activists I
know (who are all very ordinary people), things would also probably be quite
different now. For example, what if everyone, not just a few, wrote to SADC
and bitterly complained? What if everyone wrote to the African press and
made sure that the media new how deeply and seriously angry the public were
with the ineffectual fools determining our futures? What if every time
something went wrong, there was a marked and significant response from the
public everywhere? I can't help but wonder how would that impact on the
morale and energy of 'the majority'?
So how does a person start doing something? Honestly, you just make up your
mind and get on with it. I loved the way the New Zealand lady who collected
all these medical supplies started by saying "Stuff it, I'm going to send
something". Start there.
The next bit is harder - WHAT to do? I appreciate that for many this can
feel a little bit like being given a blank sheet of paper under exam
conditions and told to produce something that needs top-marks, but requires
you to produce both the question and the answer at the same time. We want to
be told what to do; we crave direction and leadership. The problem is
though, that if we sit around and wait for leadership, direction,
instruction, we could be waiting forever. Working alone can also feel
fruitless, even if it isn't. You may find yourself asking yourself, 'Am I
wasting my time doing this?'.
So I have a proposition.
I propose that this blog audience works together, on one project at a time,
being very focussed and pulling together, pooling resources and ideas, and
making it happen.
I propose the ideas come from YOU (don't wait for us to tell you what to
do). I have today set up a side-post blog asking what projects people think
can be achieved via this blog audience - use the comments on that post to
put your idea forward and to lobby for it (as always, proposals for war /
violence etc, will not be published). We will decide on a shortlist
suggestions at the end of the week, and put up a poll on this blog that you
can then all use to vote for the one idea we will all work on together. Once
we've nailed down your first project, we will set up a forum where you can
discuss and work together privately and securely, without the delays caused
by comment moderation. This forum will only be accessible to those who sign
up to use it. We'll participate when we can, but making your project happen,
will be up to YOU. We'll do what we can to support in the way of resources,
and chip in ideas and comments as well, but the success or the failure, is
I never ever ask the question "Why don't Zimbabweans do something?". It isn't
that I don't think it is a relevant or interesting topic of debate, it's
just that the question doesn't naturally come to the top of my head. Years
of being an 'accidental-activist' has shifted my focus: the question I
always stew over and the one that I discuss with colleagues is more along
the lines of: "Right guys, things are getting much worse, what are we going
to try and do next?".
Let's try change the question.
This entry was written by Hope on Tuesday, November 18th, 2008 at 12:25 pm
Last Christmas Birgit Kidd and her Zimbabwean husband Michael built a small castle out of banknotes. Each wall was about one metre high and a metre wide. The money was to pay the wages and Christmas bonuses of the sawmill owned by the Kidds.
The inflation that affects Zimbabwe might be seen as a joke, if it were not such a serious matter. In October inflation was officially 231 million per cent, but the real inflation rate is 1.4 trillion per cent, says Birgit Kidd, 67, sitting in the kitchen of her niece in Helsinki.
Kidd has lived in Zimbabwe with her husband since 1983. The two met in Kouvola, where Michael was a student.
In recent years Kidd has witnessed at close hand how Zimbabwe has fallen into deep misery. Ever since independence in 1980, the country has been led by the autocratic President Robert Mugabe, who has taken his country from prosperity to economic ruin.
Kidd, like some experts, compare the situation in Zimbabwe to that of a country that has undergone a war, even though there has been no fighting in the country for decades.
“Unemployment is over 80 per cent, schools have closed their doors, teachers have left the country, or they are on strike.”
Kidd's previous visit to Finland was two years ago. Since then, Zimbabwe has changed very much.
“The biggest change has been in the way the city looks. Stores have been closed, and large groups of people are wandering everywhere, because there is no fuel, and it is expensive to get a ride”, Kidd sighs.
Life expectancy in Zimbabwe has plummeted. For women it is 34 years, and for men it is 37. AIDS and other diseases claim victims, because of a shortage of both medicines and doctors.
Between three and four million Zimbabweans have left the country, most of them to get work in neighbouring South Africa or Botswana. The reduction in labour can also be seen at the sawmill owned by the Kidds.
“At the most, we had 50 people working. Now there are only 30. “Many have died of AIDS, although we try to take care of our workers.”
The UN’s World Food Programme (WPF) said on Tuesday that it was cutting food rations in order to be able to feed more people. According to the WPF, two million Zimbabweans received food aid in May, and by the end of the month there were five million who needed it.
Kidd has not watched the degradation in silence. In Chimarniman, the region where she lives, she works with the opposition party MDC, which won a majority of seats in the Parliament for the first time in the elections earlier this year.
Voters also cast ballots for the President, and according to most assessments, the winner was MCD Chairman Morgan Tsvangirai.
The party is now negotiating a power-sharing agreement with Mugabe’s Zanu-PF. Actually, agreement on the matter came already on September 15th, after pressure from abroad, but Mugabe still refuses to give the opposition any important ministerial portfolios to the opposition.
In spite of losing the election, Mugabe managed to turn things around so that he can remain in office.
“After the first round, we knew that Tsvangirai won. People were weeping with joy, and even large men were moved to embrace each other”, Kidd says.
“Then came grief and rage. We could not go onto the streets, because we knew who had the guns.”
Good news from Zimbabwe? In fact, there is some. The election campaign in Chimaniman was fairly peaceful, even though supporters of Zanu-PF wandered around at night, intimidating people.
“From February through the day before the elections on March 28th, I drove my open lorry around Chimaniman. There were always between 15 and 18 MCD members on board shouting slogans and singing.
Violence against the opposition has been going on for years, and the Kidds experienced some as well. In 2004 they were severely beaten.
After the elections people have had their faith renewed that the rest of the world had not forgotten them.
However, the fear has not gone away.
Kidd says that she sees people who wear the Zanu-PF shirt, but at close range they show the open palm of their hand - the sign of the opposition.
“Year after year I have been saying that next year everything will change. Zimbabwe is my home, and I need to be positive. But I doubt that I will see the day that the country is in good shape”, Kidd says. “Still I always say that your children might see it.”
Helsingin Sanomat / First published in print 12.11.2008
Tuesday, 18 November 2008 15:45
Thousands of desperate Zimbabweans are flocking to Manica and Chimoio
to buy groceries, which are far cheaper than those found in supermarkets in
Mutare and other cities across the country.
A survey carried out by this paper at Forbes Border Post last week
showed that Zimbabweans had taken to crossing the border to shop for their
A visit to these towns last weekend revealed that Zimbabweans had
swamped shops in Manica and Chimoio where basic commodities and canned beer
were being loaded onto trucks.
Shops in Manica and Chimoio are working overtime and on many occasions
are unable to cope with the demand created by Zimbabwean shoppers.
A cross-border trader, who is a teacher by profession, told The
Standard in Manica: "I cannot survive on the little I am getting as a
teacher. I will not go back to work if they (government) do not do
something. It's far better to do what I am doing than to waste time in front
Many teachers who have joined the cross-border trek see no hope in
continuing to work as professional educators because of the pittance they
are paid by the government.
Women, too, have joined in the trek. Gloria Machiwa said: "We never
thought that Zimbabweans would end up going to Mozambique to buy groceries
like we are doing. We hope that the negotiations between the political
parties will come to fruition."
Machipanda is about 20km from the border, while Manica and Chimoio are
60km and 94km respectively.
Even young children have abandoned school and joined the great trek to
Mozambique. Boys of school going age have exchanged their satchels to become
porters, lugging consignments of commodities belonging to traders for a fee.
The Forbes Border Post is probably the busiest of entry points into
Although no official comment was readily available from the Principal
Immigration Officer in Mutare, a Mr Mukombero, sources in the department
said an average of about 10 000 people were crossing the border weekly with
95% of them crossing to buy groceries.
Tuesday, 18 November 2008 15:45
MASVINGO - Revellers enjoying a good night out got a rude awakening
last Friday when they were severely assaulted by armed officers who accused
them of buying alcohol in foreign currency.
The police officers clad in riot gear and armed with AK 47 assault
rifles pounced on the unsuspecting revellers at around mid-night at Liquids
They demanded to know why patrons were buying the beverages in foreign
currency before pouncing on them with baton sticks.
The Standard witnessed the officers beating up the revellers. Some of
the officers appeared drunk.
Revellers who were visibly shocked by the raid, reminiscent of events
last seen in the run-up to the violent June 27 presidential election
run-off, pleaded with the menacing police officers for mercy.
The police then demanded the closure of the club, accusing the owners
of selling their beer in foreign currency.
"We wonder whether police brutality in this country will ever come to
an end," said Esau Gonese, who was nursing a broken arm.
Officials at the club who declined to be named for fear of
victimisation said they were surprised by the police action against
"We were surprised to see armed police officers descending on our club
and beating up everyone for no reason and later ordering us to close the bar
before chasing away our clients.
"We also wondered why they targeted our club and ignored others."
Police spokesperson, Inspector Phebion Nyambo, said he was not aware
of the incident
Tuesday, 18 November 2008 15:43
ZANU PF has been hit by a spate of resignations of senior office
holders in at least three provinces as moves to revive PF Zapu gather
momentum throughout the country.
In Bulawayo alone, six provincial executive members relinquished their
posts after the ruling party launched a witch-hunt to identify leaders
behind an aborted Zanu PF rally to formally announce the breakaway.
Provincial spokesman, Effort Nkomo, treasurer Tryphine Nhliziyo and
war veterans' leader Andrew Ndlovu are some of the officials who have
abandoned Zanu PF, which was divided by its September 15 power-sharing
agreement with the MDC.
"This (PF Zapu revival) is an unstoppable movement," Nkomo said last
week. "It is painful that when you were so loyal organising party functions
you hear that you are being investigated."
Nkomo was referring to a commission of inquiry to investigate the PF
Zapu revivalists set up by Zanu PF politburo members from Matabeleland led
by Information and Publicity Minister, Sikhanyiso Ndlovu.
The formation of the commission was announced just days after
Vice-President Joseph Msika chickened out of a planned PF Zapu rally in
Msika, who has remained mum on the latest developments fuelling
speculation that he is quietly backing the initiative, sent his private
secretary to the rally, which was supposed to lay the groundwork for the
relaunch of the party.
John Nkomo, another senior PF Zapu leader in Zanu PF, has also not
commented on the revival of the liberation movement that was swallowed by
Zanu PF in 1987.
But veteran politburo member Thenjiwe Lesabe and senior executives
from Matabeleland North and South have also attended high-profile meetings
to discuss the party's rebirth.
The meetings attended by former Zanu PF politburo member Dumiso
Dabengwa resolved that a convention should be held before the end of the
Former Bulawayo secretary for security, Andrew Ndlovu, who is
promoting PF Zapu's revival, said he had cut ties with Zanu PF.
As leader of the war veterans, Ndlovu spearheaded President Robert
Mugabe's re-election campaigns since 2002.
Zanu PF commissar Elliot Manyika has dismissed the resignations saying
in any case provincial elections were due before the end of this month in
most of the provinces. In Bulawayo, elections will be held on November 29.
Ndlovu said that a fight over properties might soon erupt. Among these
properties is the Zanu PF headquarters in Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and
South, which were owned by PF Zapu before the merger.
"What it means is that we should campaign side by side peacefully and
those who say they are still Zanu PF in Bulawayo must move out of our
headquarters at Davies Hall, which is a Zapu property and go back to
Compensation House, where they were based."
Tuesday, 18 November 2008 15:40
BULAWAYO - Information and Publicity Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu says
government should have arrested MDC leaders including the opposition party's
president, Morgan Tsvangirai, in order to force him to agree to be a junior
partner in a unity government.
Commenting on Tsvangirai's rejection of a Southern African Development
Community (Sadc) resolution calling for the MDC and Zanu PF to share the
Ministry of Home Affairs, Ndlovu said President Robert Mugabe was frustrated
by delays in setting up a government of national unity and it was important
that measures were taken to compel Tsvangirai to get into the government.
"The government has been lenient and patient with Tsvangirai and this
leniency is not a sign of weakness," Ndlovu said. "We could have invoked
serious harsh measures and arrested the MDC leadership long ago and went
ahead to form a government in reaction to this interference by the West."
The MDC announced on Friday that it would join a unity government once
the constitution had been amended to give effect to the September 15
MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa dismissed Ndlovu's statements as the
"rantings of a loser".
He said Zimbabweans were suffering and the last thing they wanted was
to have Tsvangirai or any of the leaders of the MDC arrested.
"Such statements can only be said by someone who has either lost his
mind or an election," Chamisa said.
Commenting on Sadc's ruling that MDC and Zanu PF should share the
Ministry of Home Affairs, Ndlovu claimed that Zanu PF was not happy with the
regional body's decision.
"We have complied but we are not happy. It has always been Home
Affairs under Zanu PF and we never intended to release it to the MDC.
"To co-share the ministry with the MDC is too much of a compromise on
Zanu PF's part and the ruling party will not go beyond that. No more
compromises will be done by the ruling party."
Ndlovu also warned civic groups like the National Constitutional
Assembly against "trying to destabilise" the country by staging nationwide
protests to push for new elections.
"These are some of the things that the government does not want," he
said. "These groups should stick to their core business or become political
"We will not allow the NCA and its partners to derail the peace
process. There is a machinery to deal with that."
Last week, police beat up NCA activists for taking to the streets,
demanding new elections in order to break the deadlock over the
power-sharing arrangement between Zanu PF and the two MDC formations.
However, the NCA said that despite the arrest of its activists, it would not
be intimidated and would continue with the demonstrations.
Tuesday, 18 November 2008 15:40
BULAWAYO - President Robert Mugabe has reportedly sent emissaries to
try and persuade veteran nationalist Dumiso Dabengwa to return to the ruling
Zanu PF fold in a last-ditch effort to save the fragile Unity Accord, The
Standard has learnt.
Dabengwa who abandoned Mugabe in the run-up to the March presidential
election to back former Zanu PF politburo member, Simba Makoni, has been
linked to renewed plans to revive PF Zapu.
A fortnight ago, Zanu PF set up a commission of inquiry after senior
officials organised a rally at White City Stadium where they intended to
inform Vice-President Joseph Msika of their decision to pull out of the 1987
Msika chickened out of the meeting at the last minute after he was
reportedly told of the mood at the stadium where ex-Zipra fighters were
chanting anti-Mugabe slogans.
It has since emerged that prior to the meeting, Matabeleland South
governor Angeline Masuku had approached Dabengwa with a message, allegedly
from Mugabe calling for a truce.
Masuku, a Zanu PF politburo member and former senior member of PF
Zapu, on October 19 reportedly met other Zanu PF officials from the region
at her farm on the outskirts of Bulawayo to tell them about Mugabe's plea.
She is said to have told a meeting attended by 35 members of the
central committee that Mugabe feared Zanu PF would collapse if Dabengwa did
not return into the fold.
"Masuku said President Mugabe had told her that his heart was bleeding
because Dabengwa was no longer in Zanu PF," said the source who attended the
meeting. "She said Mugabe asked her to get people who can convince Dabengwa
to come back to Zanu PF."
Dabengwa was part of the gathering at White City. He received a
standing ovation from the former Zipra fighters who hailed him as their
Dabengwa confirmed that Masuku had tried to persuade him to return to
Zanu PF, claiming that Mugabe had sent her.
The former Home Affairs Minister said he had also dismissed "several"
other emissaries from Mugabe who had brought a similar message.
"Masuku approached me recently with a request from Mugabe asking me
to re-join Zanu PF. I told her that I would never go back to that party," he
said. "I told her that my time with Zanu PF ended when I left it. It's not
Masuku alone who has approached me."
Masuku last week said those trying to win back the former Home Affairs
Minister should stop "using my name".
"I don't want to be involved," she said.
Tuesday, 18 November 2008 15:36
BULAWAYO - A Botswana MP last week called for a ban on Zimbabweans
buying maize-meal in bulk, accusing them of fuelling food shortages in the
Debating President Ian Khama's recent State of the Nation address,
Francistown West MP Tshelang Masisi said Botswana could not afford to
continue "feeding" Zimbabweans when its own people were starving.
"The food situation is a serious source of concern because Zimbabweans
hoard maize-meal, which they take to their country at the expense of
Batswana," he said.
Masisi called for the deportation of those caught buying the scarce
commodity in bulk.
Since early this year, Zimbabweans have been flocking into Botswana in
search of maize-meal after the government relaxed import duty on basic
The staple maize-meal, sugar and cooking oil, which are in short
supply locally, are some of the commodities that are highly sought after.
The debate in the Botswana parliament comes at a time when grain
shortages are intensifying throughout the country.
Last week, the Famine Early Warning Network (Fewsnet), an arm of the
United States Agency for International Development, warned that food
shortages in Zimbabwe were set to worsen in the next few months.
In its latest report, Fewsnet said given "the current economic turmoil
and political instability", the government and donors were not well placed
to deal with the looming famine.
The World Food Programme also announced that it was cutting food
rations given to starving Zimbabweans after a poor response to an appeal for
more donor support.
Aid agencies estimate that at least five million Zimbabweans will face
starvation by the beginning of next year. If Botswana goes ahead with the
ban on the importation of maize-meal in bulk the move might mean that even
those with access to foreign currency would face starvation.
Meanwhile, a 19-year-old man from Gweru was crushed by a goods train
last week as he tried to steal grain from a moving locomotive.
The tragedy comes amid reports that Zimbabweans are resorting to
desperate measures to eke out a living in the wake of the worsening food
Midlands police spokesman Emmanuel Mahoko said Lisures Maseko died on
Monday morning at Somabhula Railway Station, about 30km from Gweru as he
tried to offload grain from a moving train.
Mahoko said when the train approached the station, Maseko tried to
jump in with the intention to steal but was run-over by the locomotive.
"His accomplice informed the police after the late Maseko was run over
by the train," he said. "The accomplice said they intended to steal maize
from the goods train."