By Lance Guma
31 October 2008
SADC Secretary General Tomaz Salomao has finally admitted the power sharing
deal signed on the 15th September was fraudulently altered before the
signing ceremony and different from the one agreed to by the parties on the
11th September. The Tsvangirai MDC initially raised the concerns in an
interview with Newsreel in early October, complaining that ZANU PF had
doctored the agreement to alter certain clauses in the document that was to
be signed a few days later. Despite Monday's Troika meeting acknowledging
this fraud, the communiqué released by Salomao after the meeting said
nothing about the issue. But analysts felt it was important for the Troika
to come out publicly and condemn the alteration.
The Tsvangirai MDC accused Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, Secretary
General of the MDC Mutambara group Welshman Ncube, and Thabo Mbeki's
representative at the talks Mujanku Gumbi, of making the changes to the
document, without Tsvangirai's knowledge. The party claimed Chinamasa, Ncube
and Gumbi changed clauses relating to - an increase to the number of
non-constituent senators issued to the Mutambara faction, a clause stating
that a replacement for vice prime minister cannot be a non-constituent MP
and that parties would jointly consult each other on the appointment of
ambassadors and other key government officials.
Salomao has now publicly admitted to the alterations in interviews with
journalists and pledged that the issue would be resolved. This follows
pressure from the MDC who wrote a stinging letter to the SADC headquarters
highlighting their concerns. Meanwhile Mugabe's ZANU PF party held a
politburo meeting this week in which sources say the party resolved not to
make any concessions on the ministries they grabbed using a government
gazette issued by Mugabe. If this is true it could mean the urgent full SADC
summit which was called for, after Monday's deadlock, could again be a waste
South Africa's SABC reported on Friday that the SADC summit will now be held
in Johannesburg next week.
By Alex Bell
31 October 2008
A new report by Amnesty International has called for an end to the culture
of impunity that has thrived in the country and has recommended the
establishment of an independent commission of inquiry to look into all
aspects of human rights violations that have occurred since 2000.
The Amnesty International report, Zimbabwe - Time for Accountability,
details that at least 180 people have been murdered and more than 9,000
tortured since the general election in March, by people loyal to the ruling
regime. The report goes on to examine the impact of the post-election
violence on the victims and makes recommendations to all parties
participating in the current political talks on how to break the cycle of
impunity that has plagued the country for decades.
The report warns that with the rainy season coming, tens of thousands of
Zimbabwean farmers who were victims of the recent wave of state-sponsored
human rights violations are facing another failed agricultural season. Most
of the victims of political violence from rural areas were farmers who were
managing to feed their families. But according to the report, often their
arms and legs were broken during beatings and torture and they are unable to
till their lands for the upcoming farming season - leaving them dependent on
food aid, possibly for the rest of their lives.
The report details the experience of Lyn, an 86-year-old farmer, who was
supporting her family with food grown in her fields before the flare up of
politically motivated violence. She was assaulted in July for not attending
ZANU-PF meetings and her back was injured and her arm broken after she was
assaulted by war veterans. She told Amnesty International: "I am now
disabled. I can't work in the field. I want to be compensated for the
injuries. I want (my attackers) to be brought to justice."
The report also comes in the wake of the United Nations agricultural
assessment that almost half the population will face starvation in January,
as a result of the combined economic, political and humanitarian crises that
has devastated the country. People's basic human rights to proper medical
care and food are daily being violated as the fight to survive continues in
plain view of fighting politicians.
Amnesty explains in its latest report that no one has been held accountable
for the gross human rights violations that have occurred, despite the fact
that the attackers are identifiable and often well known figures. The
culture of impunity so clearly evident in Zimbabwe has also raised concerns
with Human Rights organisations across the Southern African region, that the
situation sets a bad precedent for the rest of Africa.
The vast majority of victims interviewed by Amnesty said that they could
name their attackers - the majority of which were in the security forces,
war veterans or local ZANU PF activists. The fact that perpetrators did not
even attempt to conceal their identities clearly illustrates the level of
confidence they had that they would never be held to account for their
crimes, under the protection of the Robert Mugabe regime.
The recent power-sharing deal contains no clause relating to amnesty for the
perpetrators of political violence which means, in theory, that their future
prosecution would be possible. But there are concerns that such a move could
further jeopardise the future of a power sharing government in Zimbabwe, as
senior members of the military and police loyal to Mugabe, who could have
prominent positions in the new government, are said to have orchestrated the
Despite this, Amnesty International says the power-sharing deal has created
a rare moment of opportunity for the Zimbabwean authorities to tackle the
long standing legacy of impunity for human rights violations and build a
culture of accountability.
Fri 31 Oct 2008, 11:49 GMT
By Paul Simao
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Human rights abuses are going unpunished and the
food crisis is worsening in Zimbabwe while President Robert Mugabe and the
opposition bicker over forming a government, Amnesty International said on
Mugabe and the leaders of the opposition MDC agreed last month to share
power, but talks have stalled over control of ministries. Setting up a unity
government is seen as critical to reversing an economic meltdown in the
southern African nation.
Zimbabweans are struggling to survive amid chronic shortages of meat, milk
and other basic commodities as a result of the collapse of the agricultural
sector. The country is dependent on food handouts and malnutrition is on the
"We are disappointed that the parties have continued bickering over who
controls what ministries and not looked at finding a long-lasting solution
to the human rights crisis in Zimbabwe," Simeon Mawanza, the rights group's
Zimbabwe expert, said at a news conference in Johannesburg.
"Human rights was never at the centre of those talks."
London-based Amnesty said no one had been held accountable for the beatings,
torture and other rights violations that occurred before the June
presidential election even though it said most victims it interviewed could
identify their attackers.
It said the perpetrators usually were in the security forces, Mugabe's
ZANU-PF party or were pro-Mugabe war veterans. The 84-year-old Zimbabwean
leader has blamed the opposition for the bloodshed that killed more than 100
A March presidential election won by Movement for Democratic Change leader
Morgan Tsvangirai was generally peaceful, but the June run-off was marred by
widespread attacks on opposition supporters by security forces.
Tsvangirai pulled out of the second round, citing the attacks on his
supporters. Mugabe won the one-candidate race, prompting an international
outcry and paving the way for the start of power-sharing negotiations.
Those talks culminated in a September 15 agreement that spurred hopes of a
quick economic recovery.
But Zimbabwe's agriculture-based economy has continued to unravel during the
weeks of fruitless talks over formation of a cabinet, and there are now
fears the coming harvest could be worse than last year.
Amnesty said the election-related violence had worsened the food crisis and
that many Zimbabweans were on the verge of hunger, in some cases surviving
on wild fruit and rotten food suitable only for animals.
"The bulk of the people targeted in rural areas were subsistence farmers,"
Mawanza said. "They had their arms broken, their legs broken. They will
require food aid." There are an estimated 13 million people in Zimbabwe.
The 15-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC) has called for
an urgent full-scale summit to try to break the deadlock threatening
Zimbabwe's power-sharing accord. Officials had said the meeting might be
held as early as this week.
(Editing by Richard Balmforth)
By Tichaona Sibanda
31 October 2008
ZANU PF militia have this week terrorised Epworth, east of Harare, attacking
MDC activists and forcing many to flee the area. At least 20 needed hospital
treatment. One MDC activist is still missing.
Some MDC activists have gone underground while others have sought refuge in
other areas of the capital. A source told us the 'Green Bombers' started
their offensive in Epworth on Wednesday and have been carrying out night
time searches for the 'enemies' (MDC supporters).
MDC Senator Morgan Femai said the ZANU PF militia have been beating MDC
supporters for what they say is revenge, alleging that Tsvangirai is
refusing to join a power-sharing government with Mugabe.
'We have always known ZANU PF to negotiate in bad faith, but it shocks us to
learn they are beating up our supporters to try and force Tsvangirai to join
the inclusive government,' Femai said.
Femai confirmed that former Mines Minister Amos Midzi, the losing ZANU PF
candidate for Epworth in the March 29 election, instigated the violence as
he was in the area a few hours before the attacks.
Nelson Chamisa, the MDC spokesman said the Zanu PF youth militia set up two
torture bases in the area, one located in Ward 4 at Rueben Shopping Centre
and the other at Maulani. The MDC has managed to identify the ring leaders
as Zanu PF youth chairman for Epworth, known as Zimbwe. Others have been
identified as Garakara, Chikandiwa and Makangira.
'The behaviour of these Zanu PF thugs is a violation of the Global
Political Agreement, which recognises the basic freedoms of people
such as association, assembly, speech and movement. The latest violence and
thuggery once again exposes Zanu PF's sincerity deficit in this political
deal,' the MDC said in a statement.
The statement added; 'The people of Zimbabwe know what they want. They want
freedom, prosperity and development. No amount of violence will stand
between the people and their vision'.
Fri 31 Oct 2008, 14:03 GMT
By MacDonald Dzirutwe
HARARE, Oct 31 (Reuters) - Zimbabweans are losing faith in a power-sharing
deal and fear their once-prosperous country will collapse without a
breakthrough in deadlocked talks.
On Sept. 15, Zimbabweans witnessed the unthinkable -- President Robert
Mugabe signed the agreement with old foe MDC opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai after decades of hostility.
Their handshake raised hopes that a new leadership would take on the
challenge of easing the world's highest inflation rate and severe food, fuel
and foreign currency shortages.
People like Rudo Kashangura, a 27-year-old bank manager and mother of two,
struggle to scratch out a living in an economic meltdown. It's a feat that
requires both tenacity and ingenuity.
Kashangura sometimes sells, in foreign currency, fuel coupons received from
her employer to cushion herself against an inflation rate now officially at
230 million percent.
"I just know we are on our own," Kashangura told Reuters. "We have no hope
that these people will agree on anything. We are not counting on it."
Mugabe's ZANU-PF and Tsvangirai's opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) are locked in a dispute over control of key posts, with the interior
ministry at the centre of the stalemate.
Arthur Mutambara, who leads an MDC breakaway faction which also signed the
deal, is also seeking government positions.
The pattern at the talks has become all too familiar for Zimbabweans, who
could once boast after independence in 1980 that their country was one of
Africa's most promising.
High hopes. Frenzied accusations. Then an announcement that negotiations
have not collapsed and will continue.
Zimbabweans say the politicians who have promised to rebuild the southern
African country are oblivious to their hardships, blinded by a stubborn
State hospitals have closed some of their wings as drugs shortages bite at a
time when there are rising cases of cholera due to water shortages and
crumbling sewage infrastructure.
The plight of teachers is another example of Zimbabwe's economic decline.
Thousands have left for better jobs in neighbouring countries and others
have been reduced to hawking basic goods to survive. Universities have been
shut since June.
Zimbabwe's political leaders are expected to take part in an urgent regional
summit likely to be held next week. But similar gatherings have only dashed
"There is too much mistrust and I don't think it (summit) will help," Moses
Kufa, an illegal diamond miner in the eastern border city of Mutare, said by
Kufa said he and his colleagues have to bribe the police to allow them to
dig for the precious stones.
"I do not think that there is appreciation from the leaders of the suffering
we are going through. Only God will deliver us from this madness because on
our own we have failed," he said. (Editing by Michael Georgy and Richard
HARARE, Friday - Zimbabwe's opposition has warned that violence is flaring up in volatile townships following the deadlock between the country's two major political parties over the allocation of cabinet positions.
The main faction of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which joined President Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF and another faction of the MDC in a September 15 power sharing deal, said its supporters were coming under increased attacks by ruling party militias.
A man was on Thursday critically injured after he was allegedly hacked with a machete, and police fired teargas to disperse MDC and Zanu PF supporters fighting each other in Epworth, a shanty town on the outskirts of Harare.
At least 20 MDC supporters were reportedly wounded as the parties clashed over accusations that both sides were playing hard ball at the cabinet talks.
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has called for an emergency summit to tackle the dispute after four regional leaders failed to bridge the gap between the two sides early this week.
"The behaviour of these Zanu PF thugs is a violation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA), which recognises the basic freedoms of people such as association, assembly, speech and movement," MDC spokesman, Mr Nelson Chamisa said. "The latest violence and thuggery once again exposes Zanu PF's sincerity deficit in this political deal."
Zanu PF militants are alleged to have set up torture bases in many parts of Harare following the collapse of the negotiations and began terrorising known opposition supporters.
The veterans of the country's 1970s liberation war have warned MDC leader, Mr Morgan Tsvangirai of unspecified action if he continues to hold out in the dialogue.
The former fighters played a critical role in President Mugabe's controversial June 27 re-election after they set up torture bases throughout the country to intimidate voters to vote for the veteran leader.
Mr Tsvangirai, who beat Mr Mugabe in the first round of the poll in March, was forced to pull out after more than 100 MDC supporters were murdered and thousands driven away from their homes.
An agreement in Zimbabwe would allow politicians to turn their attention to the nation's economic meltdown, which has led to chronic shortages of food, gasoline and most basic goods; daily outages of power and water; and the collapse of health and education services.
The political environment also remains highly charged as the main parties blame each other for the devastating crisis.
October 31, 2008, 16:00
Political analyst Ibbo Mandaza says the option of fresh elections in
Zimbabwe is no solution. Most analysts believe the 14-member regional
grouping, SADC, will find a breakthrough to the deadlock in cabinet sharing
Mandaza says apart from wasting resources, there is also the possibility of
a recurrence of violence witnessed in the last elections. The Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), led by Morgan Tsvangarai, says they are divided
over some 10 key cabinet posts, while Zanu-PF plays it down to just the home
Sources close to Zimbabwe's cabinet sharing talks say the SADC extraordinary
summit to resolve the impasse is set to be held in South Africa next week.
Analysts believe SADC chairperson, President Kgalema Motlanthe, is likely to
direct operations, taking over from facilitator Thabo Mbeki.
Human rights group, Amnesty International, says the people of Zimbabwe
cannot wait any longer for a political solution to the country's crisis, as
most Zimbabweans feel they are living life on a knife edge.
Herald Reporter 31.10.08
AT least four people have now died of cholera in an outbreak in Harare's
Budiriro high-density suburb that has been traced to a single well.
Officials fear there may be further unreported casualties since all the four
died in hospital.
The latest three deaths were a husband and wife and an unrelated child in
another part of the suburb, the city council was told last night.
The four deaths and another 40 confirmed cases have been traced to a
contaminated well dug by one house owner in the suburb.
Some Budiriro residents have been buying water from households with wells
following drastic cuts in water supplies by Zinwa during the last five
Of the 40 non-fatal cases, 26 are still being treated at Beatrice Infectious
Diseases Hospital, which has been put on an emergency footing and is only
taking cholera cases while the outbreak is contained.
The City Health Department suspects the number of infected people could be
much higher, taking into consideration that in past outbreaks for each
patient treated there were up to 10 others who never reported to a council
The department has implemented a three-pronged strategy to contain the
outbreak: quarantining ill people in the suburb, disinfecting all wells, and
trucking in clean water in bowsers until Zinwa restores supplies.
The department has set up a quarantine camp in the suburb to facilitate
initial treatment as well as minimise the risk of moving patients to other
parts of the city.
Government and council health staff are disinfecting all wells with chloride
of lime while making sure such wells are closed to the public.
City Director of Health Services Dr Stanley Mungofa told the council last
night that the outbreak was the worst since 2005.
He suspected there could be other fatalities linked to the cholera outbreak
once all suspicious deaths in the suburb had been investigated.
He urged the council to reintroduce the risk allowance for staff treating
diseases such as cholera to ensure that staff remained dedicated to duty.
Yesterday a high-powered medical team comprising Minister of Health and
Welfare Dr David Parirenyatwa, town clerk Dr Tendai Mahachi, Dr Mungofa,
officials from the City Health Department, the World Health Organisation
and Unicef toured the suburb to assess the situation first-hand.
The team recommended that people stop fetching water from the shallow wells
for the meantime as Government, Harare City Council and their
partners work on disinfecting the water sources.
Addressing residents of the suburb yesterday, Dr Parirenyatwa dispelled
rumours that the wells had been poisoned.
"Investigations by my ministry and its partners have revealed that the
persons who died and all the cases that were attended to in the suburbs were
a result of cholera. To verify the extent of the problem, we have taken
samples from the wells for testing, but as of now we recommend that you
stop using water from these wells until they are certified free of the
"Unicef will soon provide water bowsers to alleviate the situation while the
water wells are being disinfected against the bacterium that causes
cholera. I want to dispel rumours that these wells had been poisoned as
investigations have shown that the patients were suffering from cholera. It
is important to educate people in the suburbs of the symptoms of the disease
to avoid unnecessary confusion," Dr Parirenyatwa said.
He said the country had recorded cases of cholera in two provinces, namely
Harare Metropolitan and Mashonaland West, where at least 30 people
had died. As a result, he said, people needed to take all the necessary
precautions against the disease.
Dr Mungofa said that council would meet with its health partners this
morning to map out strategies to stop the disease from spreading further.
Friday, 31 October 2008 13:47
University of Zimbabwe (UZ)
The long waited graduation ceremony at UZ is taking place today, 31
October 2008. Students have been waiting for their results since August. It
is doubtful if the results are a true reflection of what the students were
supposed to have learnt since there were no proper lectures in the last
semester. The college is due for opening since end of August. Lecturers at
the University of Zimbabwe have threatened to go on strike.
Grade 7 Examinations
The Ministry of Education announced that grade 7 pupils were supposed
to write their final examinations on Monday, 27 October 2008. It is
disturbing to note that these students were forced to write exams without
learning the whole year. Teachers have been in and out of strikes and this
has serious implications on the quality and type of education the students
The Secretary General for Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe
Raymond Majongwe insists that 2008 academic year be written off as an
UNICEF has also declared 2008 a wasted academic year in Zimbabwe.
Mutare Polytechnic College
About `80 students from the college staged a demonstration on Tuesday,
28 October 2008 over shortage of food. The Vice Chancellor of the
college had announced that the college could no longer afford to provide
students with all the three meals until end of semester on the 7th of
This angered the students who then staged a peaceful march. When the
ZINASU crew visited the college the following day, hungry students were seen
milling around the college vowing to continue demonstrating until the issue
is addressed. The Secretary General of the SRC who is also a ZINASU General
Councilor cited that students were angry because they are hungry and that
they were supposed to have started writing their final semester exams on
Monday but till Wednesday nothing was written, the administration was citing
that papers had not yet arrived from Harare.
Students from various colleges staged yet another demonstration in
Harare on Monday. The march coincided with the SADC troika on defense and
politics meeting which was supposed to break the political stalemate in the
More than 200 students in conjunction with other youth formations
protested against the failure by the three political players in coming up
with a solution to the multi-faceted crisis the country is grappling with.
The march was disrupted by armed police who arrested 50 people and injured
15 in the process. The students demanded the opening of tertiary
institutions, adequate funding for academic and non academic personnel among
Colleges still closed
Colleges nationwide are still closed amid speculation that many of
them might open next year January. Amongst those that are closed are
University of Zimbabwe, National University of Science and Technology,
Midlands State University, Bindura University, Chinhoyi University of
Technology, Africa University. The Minister of Higher and Tertiary
Education, Mr. W.Mbizvo announced on Tuesday that the University Of Zimbabwe
is opening next week Monday but highlighted that there are no lectures and
the University will not be able to provide accommodation to all the students
due to sanitary problems.
Recommendations / Action plans
ZINASU is organizing national protests to push for the opening of
tertiary institutions ZINASU will host International Students Day on 17
November where various stakeholders will be invited and an all inclusive
education coalition launched under the theme "Save our Education, Save our
ZINASU will engage Parliament especially the portfolio committee on
education on the various issues affecting students.
ZINASU will continue to provide platforms for public meetings as an
opportunity to get public input into advocacy strategy formulation
2008 must be declared a wasted academic year
From The Chronicle, 31 October
Some banks have slashed six zeros from the currency to accommodate the
growing number of digits, which economists believe were fuelled by the
"burning" of foreign currency. A survey around the commercial banks and
building societies, yesterday showed the banking sector had lopped off six
zeros this week. Even the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) has also removed
zeros. According to the ZSE notice in the Press yesterday, the value of
equities was quoted in low digit figures such as $500 and $1 000. However,
some banks effected the changes yesterday with account holders now required
to write $5 on the withdrawal slips instead of $50 000. The banks have
pasted notices on entrances to inform clients about the new developments.
Stanbic Bank, one of the leading commercial banks operating in the country,
on Friday put out a circular informing its customers that with effect from
Monday, it would remove six zeros from all accounts. "With effect from 27
October, 2008 account balances with the bank will be re-donominated with
figures rounded off to the nearest 1, 000, 000 as a work around solution,"
read part of Stanbic Bank circular. Another commercial bank, CFX also
slashed zeros yesterday in reaction to the swelling number of digits due to
the increased transactions influenced by money spinning. A senior worker at
CFX said they were having a torrid time accommodating zeros in their
computer system. "We removed the zeros today (yesterday). It's all because
of many zeros, people are depositing trillions of dollars again," he said.
As part of the currency reforms introduced by the banks, the institutions
have suspended opening of new accounts as well as giving out large sums of
cash to sick people. Mr Last Mzondo of Nkulumane 5 had a horrible experience
at ZABG where he was denied $3 million to foot his daughter's medical bill.
"They just told me that they have suspended giving out cash. I don't know
what to do because my daughter Emily is really sick," he said. Economic
analysts warned last week that banks had to devise ways of coping with the
growing number of digits as bank accounts continued to swell due to the
"burning" of foreign currency and limitations on withdrawal amounts. A
number of people and companies are accumulating large sums of money in their
accounts through changing foreign currency using cheques after the central
bank banned the use of the Real Time Gross Settlement System. The rates that
are being used are astronomically higher than the cash rates charged by
banks and illegal foreign currency dealers on the street.
Most machines used in the country are calibrated to cater for 12 digits only
but indications are that some accounts have amounts surpassing the figures.
Analysts noted that some of the accounts have been swelling partly due to
the low maximum withdrawal limits. For the past few months, the central
bank, has been pegging the limit at amounts that are so insignificant that
most workers needed more than 30 working days to withdraw a salary. The
country has faced numerous cases where the central bank has had to respond
by lopping zeros from the currency. However, analysts believe that removing
zeros has failed to solve the problem on a long-term basis as evidenced by
the latest developments. Central bank Governor Dr Gideon Gono loped 10 zeros
when he introduced new currency two months ago, but the same problems have
resurfaced. Analysts feel there is need to support the manufacturing sector
as only increased production could help ease the shortage of foreign
currency that is fuelling the black market rates. They noted that while
people and companies were accumulating large sums of money in the accounts
the figures did not correspond with overall production that contributes to
the improvement of the economy.
Zanu-PF enlists the help of the spirit world
After failing to defeat them on an earthly plane, Zanu-PF activists in
Mashonaland Central have turned to spiritual warfare against supporters of
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). They are using a
mixture of fear and superstition to punish those who voted for Morgan
Tsvangirai in this year's elections.
MDC supporters in Mbire constituency told me that many are now living in
terror, as spirit mediums harass them for joining the opposition. This is
particularly prevalent in Ward 16, where in March local voters overturned
three decades of Zanu-PF dominance.
In this case the mediums are a group of three women and two men, all of them
believed to be at least 60 years old. They are from neighbouring Mozambique,
and each year they visit Mbire, normally performing rituals to bring rains
and a good harvest. But this year their mission is political.
Few are willing to talk about what is happening, but Ward 16 MDC councillor
Derrick Nhawu confirmed the rumours I had heard.
"The spirit mediums accuse us of conniving with some other evil forces to
cause all the misfortunes that befell Zanu-PF in March," he said. "People
are threatened with mysterious death, and told they will bring misfortune on
jA villager described to me how the rainmakers, as they are known, would
organise a local gathering, as if about to perform a traditional dance. But
this time their real target would be a known local supporter of MDC.
Once the ceremony began they would be seen to spit in the direction of the
target's home, shout his name, and pretend to be possessed by spirits,
forecasting death and misfortune, and speaking in "tongues".
They are sometimes said to offer to exorcise their victim of the evil
spirits which have taken over his soul, in return for payment of cows and
"We have reported the matter to the local police," said the villager, "but
they will do nothing. They tell us they are afraid to act. We think they are
just as afraid of the rainmakers as we are."
Posted on Friday, 31 October 2008 at 10:21
HARARE. October 31 2008 - The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) run high
school is demanding Zimbabwe dollars cash or foreign curency in top up fees
to cover food and examination stationary, it has emerged.
"They have two invoice books, one for the Zimbabwean dollars and
another one for foreign currency payments. If you pay in US dollars its USd
120 and I don't know what exchnage rate they will be using. I also don't
know where they expect civil servats to get foreign currency from," said one
According to a letter sent to parents on October 27, the school is
demanding third term top us fees of Zd 4 million dollars and the school
management mantains that the money should be paid in cash.
In the letter, the headmaster of the school, a Mr JM Chingonzoh, said
the money is urgently needed "to settle the employee salaries for October
2008 and thereafter and food provisions for students".
He also said the money was needed to pay the school's electricity bill
and for the school administration.
"Since most providers of the above demand cash payment, the school
requests the same from you," reads part of the letter giving the deadline
for payment as Friday, October 31.
One parent said there was no way he could raise Zd 4 million at such
short notice when banks allowed a withdrawal limit of Zd 50 000 a day.
"I went with a bank cheque but the school adminstration declined the
payment. I don't know where they expect us to get such amounts of money."
said the parent.
Most parents who sent their children to the police school are serving
members of the police force and government employees who earn vey poor
The government has not licensed schools to charge in foreign currency.
Efforts to get a comment from the school proved fruitless as the
school's landline number went unanswered.
Fri 31 Oct 2008, 19:14 GMT
By Louis Charbonneau
UNITED NATIONS, Oct 31 (Reuters) - The United States and Zimbabwe may not be
on the best of terms, but they had a rare moment of unity on Friday when
their U.N. envoys joined forces to vote against establishing global arms
Nearly 150 nations voted in favor of drafting a legally binding arms trade
treaty that would tighten regulation of, and set international standards
for, the import, export and transfer of conventional weapons.
The resolution presented to the First Committee of the U.N. General
Assembly, which focuses on disarmament and international security, passed
with an overwhelming majority of 147 votes.
The United States and Zimbabwe cast the only votes against the resolution.
Other arms exporting nations like China, Russia and Israel expressed their
reticence by abstaining.
Britain's U.N. Ambassador John Sawers referred to the isolated pair of
nay-sayers as "a rather curious combination."
The United States has been extremely critical of Zimbabwean President Robert
Mugabe and worked with Britain earlier this year on a failed attempt to
persuade the U.N. Security Council to impose sanctions on him and other
"We hope that the next U.S. administration will look again at their approach
on the arms trade treaty and recognize that this has benefits for all
responsible arms manufacturers and traders," Sawers told reporters.
"The only impact it will have will be to bear down on the irresponsible and
illegal transfer of weapons," Sawers said.
He said two conferences in March and July 2009 will work to negotiating the
precise standards that will become part of an actual arms trade treaty.
U.S. DISLIKES ARMS CONTROLS
U.S. envoy Christina Rocca told the First Committee that the reason she
voted against the resolution was that Washington feared it would lead to a
"weak treaty" because it would need the support of major weapons
manufacturers to get passed.
"We support the goal of promoting responsibility in arms transfers and
reducing the destabilizing trade in illicit arms, but we do not believe a
global arms trade treaty would accomplish that goal," she said.
Several diplomats said the vote was in keeping with the dislike the
administration of U.S. President George W. Bush has for international arms
controls in general.
Amnesty International's Brian Wood welcomed the vote, saying it "moves the
world closer to an arms trade treaty with respect for human rights at its
heart, the only way such a treaty can really stop the carnage."
He added that it was "shameful that the U.S. and Zimbabwe governments have
taken an unprincipled stand today against a treaty that would save so many
lives and livelihoods."
Anna Macdonald of Oxfam International said that the recent fighting in
eastern Democratic Republic of Congo showed what unregulated arms transfers
She said irresponsible arms transfers "have flooded the world's conflict
zones for decades, fueling death, injury and poverty, such as is happening
now in DRC (Congo)." (Editing by Anthony Boadle)
October 31, 2008
[Ecumenical News International, Harare] Christian students in Zimbabwe have
accused the United Nations of taking a soft stance towards their country's
human rights record while insisting that only the world body can resolve the
southern African nation's political and economic crises.
"The crisis in Zimbabwe is worsening each day. Zimbabwe African National
Union-Patriotic Front dictators are becoming more and more arrogant and yet
the world's biggest institution is not taking any action," the Student
Christian Movement of Zimbabwe (SCMZ) said in a statement on October 28.
Once a model of economic and political stability, Zimbabwe's rights record
has been tainted in recent years by state-sponsored violence against
opponents of Robert Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party, who have ruled the
southern African country since its independence in 1980.
The U.N. has sent various envoys to Zimbabwe. These have included Haile
Menkerios of Eritrea who came to seek a solution to long-standing tensions
between Mugabe's party and the main opposition, and Anna Tibaijuka and Jan
Egeland who came to assess the aftermath of a controversial urban clean-up
drive which left hundreds of thousands homeless.
But the student movement said the visits by the U.N. envoys should be
followed by action against the Zimbabwean government.
"SCMZ challenges the U.N. to get beyond sending envoys and observer
missions," the students said.
China and Russia in July vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution for
targeted sanctions against some Zimbabwean leaders.
On October 29, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that Mugabe had
disappointed the international community.
Talks to resolve the Zimbabwe crisis "have been taking too long," Ban said,
speaking in the Philippines. "I sincerely hope that President Mugabe will no
longer disappoint the international community ... He should meet the
expectations of the international community."
The student organization said the reason why only the United Nations could
help Zimbabwe out of its crisis was that attempts by the main regional
African grouping, the Southern African Development Community, to forge a
power-sharing government between Zanu-PF and the Movement for Democratic
Change had stalled over the allocation of key government ministries.
On October 27, some SADC heads of state held meetings with the political
rivals aimed at closing the rift between them but their bid failed,
prompting them to refer the matter to a full meeting of the regional body.
"Their [SADC] interventions are however limited by the nature of African
history and the 'brotherhood' whereby it is very difficult for African
leaders to stand firm against the irresponsible Zimbabwean government," the
Zimbabwe students said. "This leaves the U.N. as the only institution with
the real power to provide solutions for the crisis in Zimbabwe."
Meanwhile, the leader of the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe, Bishop Sebastian
Bakare, has won this year's Swedish Per Anger prize for his work to promote
human rights in Zimbabwe.
Earlier in October, Bakare issued a pastoral letter castigating state
corruption and blaming Mugabe's government for a general breakdown of social
service that has seen at least 30 people die of cholera over the past month,
as residential areas in several towns went for up to two weeks without
Photo: Eric Kanalstein/UNMIL
The Zimbabwe Association for Crime Prevention and Rehabilitation of the Offender (ZACRO), a prisoners' rights group, said jails were in a "deplorable state".
Israel Chamboko, 30, (not his real name) from Highfield, a low-income suburb in Harare, the capital, spent three years in Chikurubi maximum security prison on the outskirts of Harare for car radio theft. He has vowed never to go back.
"Generally, life was unbearable; we hardly had enough food to eat, not enough water, our cells were hot, dingy and smelly in summer and extremely cold in winter," he said.
"If you told the guards you were sick they would laugh in your face and say, 'criminals deserve to die'. They didn't care if you were HIV positive, or you were diabetic, or that you had any of these chronic illnesses. We were all just criminals with no rights."
The ZACRO report said water cuts were frequent, while sanitation often consisted of one bucket in the corner of a cell occupied by a number of inmates, and another bucket with water for washing and drinking.
Findings also revealed that the country's 55 prisons including satellites, with a capacity of around 17 000, were holding over 35,000 inmates. Overcrowding and the unhygienic conditions were also contributing to the spread of diseases such as tuberculosis (TB) and cholera.
Pellagra, a deficiency disease, was also common. It is caused by a lack of vitamin B3 and trypophan, an essential amino acid found in meat, poultry, fish and eggs, all foodstuffs no longer available in jails.
The lack of condom distribution in prisons has also exacerbated the spread of HIV/AIDS. Prison authorities refuse to provide condoms to inmates in the belief that it will encourage homosexuality, which is illegal in Zimbabwe.
HIV positive prisoners
In a country with one of the highest prevalence rates in the world, prisons have not been spared the effects of the pandemic. ZACRO's information officer, Wonder Chakanyuka, said at least 10,000 people in prisons were living with HIV/AIDS, but their needs were being neglected.
Although antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) were available, the treatment was not accompanied by proper nutrition. Inmates in most prisons were surviving on just two meals a day, and at least two prisoners died every day as a result of hunger and disease.
"The main problem is that nutritious food is not available, which is necessary to boost immunity of inmates affected by the pandemic. The shortage of food in most prisons remains a scenario undermining disease mitigation programmes in the prisons."
HIV-positive inmates also do not have access to drugs to treat opportunistic infections. ZACRO found that because of the shortage of drugs, prisoners were obliged to buy their own medicines through their relatives, but the escalating cost of medicines meant many families could barely afford this extra expense.
The justice system in Zimbabwe is such that people
want to throw away the keys after locking someone up; society simply forgets
"People in prisons have rights like us that should be protected and respected. The justice system in Zimbabwe is such that people want to throw away the keys after locking someone up; society simply forgets about them."
Acting spokeswoman for the Zimbabwe Prison Services (ZPS) Granitia Musango said the prison service was doing the best it could in light of the economic meltdown in the country.
"The Zimbabwe Prison Services' mandate is to ensure all prisoners are treated with respect and dignity while in prison ... However, it must be noted that the Zimbabwe Prison Services, like any other government institution, has not been spared by the economic crisis."
sale - food is also a currency
"There is nothing you can buy in local currency, everyone now wants foreign currency and this is causing so much suffering, as people are failing to buy food because they do not have any foreign currency," said Thabani Msipa in the southern city of Bulawayo.
At the beginning of October the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) licensed hundreds of shops to sell goods in foreign currency, and unlicensed retailers followed suit.
Msipa gets a monthly remittance of R300 (US$30) from his two sons working in South Africa, but it is not enough. "The price of goods in the shops is too much, even in foreign currency. A 10kg bag of maize-meal is going for R100 (US$10) here in Zimbabwe; a similar bag costs about R40 (US$4) in South Africa."
Lindiwe Moyo, a primary school teacher, is even worse off: she has to feed a family of six on her meagre salary. "The only people who are accepting Zimbabwean dollars are vegetable vendors. We have been surviving for weeks on green vegetables from our garden, which we mix with soup from the tomatoes we buy from the local market."
She said simple basics like bread, maize-meal and cooking oil were all beyond her reach, and sometimes the family slept on empty stomachs. An average salary is Z$400,000, currently less than US$4 on the parallel market, but a loaf of bread costs Z$100,000 (US$1).
We have nothing left to eat
In theory, rural areas are better off. Although they face the same shortages as a result of a disastrous harvest and a staggering inflation rate of over 230 million percent, they do have access to wild foods - a traditional emergency larder in times of hardship.
Zimbabwe's food crisis was deepened by a three-month ban on NGOs imposed by the government in June, after accusing them of supporting the opposition. The ban was lifted at the end August, but the NGOs - central to relief work - are yet to resume full-scale operations.
"We have nothing left to eat and it is useless even checking with other villagers, as they also have nothing to eat, and we are just waiting for [the development agency] World Vision to resume food distribution," said Samuel Ndlovu, in the Nkayi district of southern Zimbabwe's Matabeleland North Province.
"Every day we eat the wild fruit that are available in the bush, but the fruits are not good to eat every day; and school children are no longer going to school but spend the whole day looking for the wild fruits."
When food does become available in the depots of the state-run Grain Marketing Board, a 50kg bag cost Z$1.4 million (US$14), far too expensive for most villagers, said local councillor Cain Ndlovu.
"As a result, you find that people from urban areas are the ones who buy the maize for resale in urban areas, where they sell the maize in foreign currency because it is also not available in urban areas," he explained.
"We should just have airlifting of food to affected areas, as is happening in the Darfur region [of Sudan] and other areas in the world, because very soon we will be recording fatalities," the councillor said.
The UN World Food Programme has warned that by the beginning of 2009, 5.1 million Zimbabweans - almost half the population - will be in need of food aid. The organisation has appealed for US$140 million to help meet those needs.
Because of the challenges and difficulties I am exposed to on a daily basis
I wake up with pains all over my body. My body is mostly swollen and weak.
My doctor tells me that my blood pressure levels have gone high. She tells
me that I need to rest, but I cannot afford rest, I cannot afford to be
sick. Not in this environment where I am subjected to economical, social,
political and psychological frustrations. My bulging stomach has become
representative of the problems I endure on a daily basis and an antithesis
of the joys of womanhood and every growth of my tummy is an increase in my
pain, frustrations and agony. I long for joys of motherhood but the
environment I live in makes sure I can only long and dream of how it feels
to be pregnant in an environment where I can afford the basics - a reality
that remains an elusive quest.
Every day I wake up with worries and serious issues of concern regarding my
pregnancy. I am employed but nothing seems to balance and work for me. I
have to think of ways of raising money for my next appointment with my
gynaecologist and for the hospital delivery charges and the doctor's
delivery fee. All these are charged in US Dollars. I have even attempted to
apply to the Reserve Bank for the authority to withdraw cash in excess for
the 50 000 daily limit but with no success as the whole financial system is
corrupt and dysfunctional. Every day that passes brings an element of fear
and anxiety as I still do not know when and how I will be able to raise the
The doctor and the hospital fees are just one of the few elements I have got
to worry about. Most of my clothes can't fit anymore. I need new big clothes
to accommodate my growing body and for my baby. The clothes are very
expensive. I move around shops daily hoping to find something affordable but
have no luck. I have money in the bank but can only withdraw fifty thousand
dollars a day which only covers my one way transport costs to work. The
cheapest clothes I can get are around 700 to 800 thousand dollars and I am
expected to pay for them in cash. The shops do not accept cheques or
transfers. The prices change on a daily basis and have no idea how I am
expected to raise such figures a day. In Zimbabwe being pregnant has grown
to be some form of punishment whose fine no one seems to know.
The sad part is dealing with my cravings. The environment in Zimbabwe just
wipes away the joys of womanhood. Everything is a frustration for me. I
seem to find things I crave for and if I do the price just thwarts the
excitement completely. It is an unfathomable task to afford a basic healthy
diet something I need seriously in such circumstances. Sometimes my appetite
just fades as eating the same vegetables and sadza everyday is a pain to me.
I lead a miserable life and cannot wait for the day I will deliver and look
at the new challenges.
With my mind dawdled with the challenges and frustrations of pregnancy,
after work I get to a home without electricity and water. I now have to
fetch water from a nearby school borehole and make fire as no one knows when
the electricity will be back. I now view pregnancy as a burden and the
burden is made worse by the miserable living conditions I am expected to
endure every day. I dread the day my baby will be born in this environment
and I shudder to think if he or she will be able to survive in this mire.
This entry was posted on October 31st, 2008 at 5:29 pm by Fungisai Sithole
The Herald, the official newspaper, maintains a government line that political dissent is manufactured by foreign powers, who pull the strings of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC); these same imperialists are the cause of Zimbabwe's economic disaster.
The newspaper has dismissed images of people tortured in this year's election campaign, overwhelmingly MDC supporters, as pictures of "road accident victims".
According to the Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe, an independent trust promoting press freedom, the abduction and murder of an MDC activist, Tonderai Ndira, was described as an "incredible ... the-dog-ate-my-homework" fairy tale.
In September, two senior editors of Zimpapers, the stable of pro-government newspapers, were rewarded with top-of-the-range luxury German cars by the governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
The private media, struggling with a lack of funding, lack of access to government ministers, and an inability to report from rural areas in fear of the security services, are also branded as "sell-outs" and "agents of imperialism". Their coverage, in turn, is almost consistently critical of the government.
And yet, despite the intense political polarisation on the printed page, Zimbabwe's journalists see themselves as professionals, just doing their jobs, and often wind up in the same bars at night.
"Anti-private media sentiments come from our bosses; otherwise, we have no problems with our comrades because we are in the same field," one journalist from the state media told IRIN.
Farai Mutsaka, who worked for The Daily News, once the country's most popular newspaper but now banned, said that trying to sow division between journalists would not work.
"Basically, journalists are colleagues. They studied together, some even share flats. Maybe it has not sunk into the minds of politicians that some of the stories about the goings-on in government could be the result of information-sharing among journalists from across the divide."
Godwin Mangudya, a freelance journalist, worked for both the government-owned news agency, ZIANA, and The Daily News before it was closed by the authorities. "What binds us together is our profession of journalism, and not who we work for."
Friday, 31 Oct 2008 10:50
inthenews.co.uk discovers why Zimbabwe can never move on from a year to
forget until those responsible for human rights abuses are held to account.
When Robert Mugabe announce in June that foreign aid organisations had to
leave Zimbabwe, relief agencies had to take stock of their operations in the
Although the ban was lifted three months later, the confidence of aid
agencies was knocked.
Simeon Mawanza of Amnesty International UK was among those re-evaluating his
role in the Zimbabwean crisis.
For security reasons the human rights group does not actively campaign in
the southern African country, which is also the reason why a major new
report from Amnesty International is today being presented in neighbouring
Speaking ahead of the publication of the report - which warns that the
future of the Zimbabwean people rests on a knife-edge - Mr Mawanza told
inthenews.co.uk that human rights abuses were being set aside amid further
negotiations to shore up the country's future.
March 29th: Presidential elections take place, with Robert Mugabe
facing the strongest challenge to his 28-year rule in the shape Morgan
April: Zimbabwe electoral commission says 'irregularities' mean the
election results will be delayed
May 2nd: Mr Tsvangirai awarded 47.9 per cent of the vote and Mr Mugabe
43.2 per cent as both men miss out on 50 per cent share needed to avoid a
run-off, scheduled for the end of June
May to June: Politically-motivated violence escalates, with MDC
supporters, as well as their families, being targeted by Zanu-PF activists
June 22nd: Mr Tsvangirai announces he is withdrawing from the poll as
the death-toll among his supporters exceeds 100
June 27th: Mr Mugabe stands unopposed and wins 85.5 per cent of the
July: Power-sharing talks begin to create workable governance of
Zimbabwe. Although Mr Mugabe is re-elected as president the MDC has more MPs
in parliament than Zanu-PF for the first time
July to September: Talks continue amid growing international concern
September 15th: Mr Mugabe and Mr Tsvangirai sign an historic power-sharing
deal that sees the former remain as president and the latter become prime
September: Cracks appear in the agreement when Zanu-PF and the MDC are
unable to agree on the allocation of key ministries
October: Zimbabwe's central bank admits that inflation has hit 231 million
per cent as aid agencies warn of worsening food crisis
Fight for justice
Mr Mawanza told inthenews.co.uk that the future of Zimbabwe, not just the
power-sharing talks, hinged on an end to the impunity that the perpetrators
of human rights abuses continue to enjoy.
"It is very clear who these people are to bring them to justice," he told
inthenews from Johannesburg. "In committing their violations of human rights
they felt assured that they would never be brought to justice.
"The lasting solution to the current crisis is to prioritise justice.
"The Zimbabwean authorities must ensure that the victims of the recent
violence do not have their right to justice taken away by the mediation
"This is the important thing in the context of the ongoing dialogue, that
the government sees it should prioritise issues of impunity."
In the build-up to the second presidential contest, which Mr Tsvangirai was
forced to withdraw from, 180 people were killed by pro-Mugabe militia, many
of the aggressors operating under the remit of government security forces.
During the same time more than 9,000 people sought medical assistance
following torture and beatings, while 28,000 were displaced.
Many of the victims of the human rights abuse, which Amnesty International
maintains is still rampant, were more than happy to share their experiences.
Clara, a 32-year-old from Gutu, said she was assaulted for being an MDC
"At night a group of about 200 Zanu-PF supporters came to my home and
demanded to see me and [my sister]," she told Amnesty International.
"They ordered us to come out. When we didn't they started breaking doors.
They went through each and every room in the house until they got to the
room where I was sleeping. On that day I was not feeling well. I was five
months pregnant at the time.
"They dragged me outside and started hitting me with thick sticks. They
accused me of being misled by Morgan Tsvangirai. They said they wanted to
teach me a lesson."
CM, an MDC director for elections in a Mashonaland Central district, told
Amnesty International his home was attacked days before the second vote when
he refused to join Zanu-PF.
"I first heard dogs barking," he said. "I looked through the window and saw
my home surrounded. They knocked on the door and ordered me to come out and
accompany them to the camp but I refused. I saw them going to the chicken
run and the goats' pen and they found nothing. I recognised some of them...
"They said that it was the end of me. Then they started stoning the door and
forced it to open but I did not come out. Then they started stoning the
whole house and it started to collapse, while we were still in the house. I
then decided to run, but only managed to run for about 50m and they caught
"They started beating me with metal bars breaking both my legs. They said
they wanted to kill me to force a by-election. I then passed out."
Mr Mawanza told inthenews.co.uk that he heard similar stories throughout
"Victims did not need to be encouraged to speak to us... most of them are
demanding justice. They wanted their stories to be told," he said.
"The cry for justice is not only coming from international organisations but
from within Zimbabwe. That voice is not going to be quietened."
As well as the wider international community, Amnesty International wants
neighbouring countries and regional bodies to answer its call for justice in
"We are not only concerned about long-term issues but the immediate needs of
victims," Mr Mawanza explains, referring to victims in need of counselling
and rehabilitation, as well as farmers unable to feed their families with
"They can't wait for the politicians to end their bickering... they need
"The ban has already been lifted [but] what we hear from human rights
organisations that the distribution of food is not covering everyone.
"Those who are affected by the 2008 violence, they are being ignored, they
fear reprisals in their own communities.
"The security situation is still a cause of concern for us, many people are
still in hiding and scared about returning to their communities."
Observers have already highlighted the impossible position the MDC and Mr
Tsvangirai find themselves in. Although the party wants to bring the
perpetrators of human rights abuse to justice, it is officially in
partnership with a Zanu-PF party which has said it will pull out of any
power-sharing agreement if its legislators, members or supporters are
"All political parties must recognise the right of victims to an effective
right to justice," Mr Mawanza cautioned.
"We are calling on politicians not to take any measures that will take away
"Anyone in Zimbabwe who was behind the violence, MDC or Zanu-PF, needs to be
investigated and brought to justice.
But Mr Mawanza insists revenge is far from the minds of the victims of
violence witnessed in Zimbabwe this year.
"This is not about retribution justice, this is about correcting what was
done in the past, with the victims at the centre.
"We understand that this is very difficult given the long history of
"Politicians need to realise this is about people suffering... we must end
Simeon Mawanza was talking to Matthew Champion. Nqobani Ndlovu also
contributed to this report
30° South Publishers (Pty) Ltd.
"He who tells the truth is not well liked"
Bambara of Mali proverb
Kevin Woods was sentenced to death in Zimbabwe and jailed for twenty years
by Robert Mugabe. For more than five years of his detention he was held in
the shadow of Mugabe's gallows, cut off from the world, naked and in
solitary confinement. He had been a senior member of Mugabe's dreaded
Central Intelligence Organization, the CIO, and was jailed for committing
politically motivated offences against the ANC in Zimbabwe, on behalf of the
then apartheid government of South Africa.
"This is not a pretty story. This is a book, archetypal somewhat, of Africa
north of the Limpopo River. It is a story during which I lived, and nearly
died, sometimes in defence of the country of my birth, and sometimes in
defence of a racial system in South Africa (apartheid) that I never really
believed in, but chose nonetheless, to aid in its time of need against its
perceived communist-inspired enemy.
However wrong society may view extremist action, people often do these
things from the best possible personal conviction, belief or motives, but I
always knew that my actions would have consequences far down the line, as
they did, and still do have."
From Mugabe's confidant to condemned prisoner he recounts his life on the
edge as a double agent.
"I have spoken of many scenes and cases I attended and witnessed, and maybe
it's because of the repetition that they have stuck in my mind. I've related
some of these horrors to CIO colleagues, to my South African handlers and to
other colleagues, maybe in the pub or wherever, or remember them after lying
sleepless in my bed at home. Subsequently, after years of solitary
contemplation on the cold concrete floor of my cell in Chikurubi, I have
visions of bloodshed and murder engraved on my memory. I suppose some of the
cases remain with me because of their exceptional brutality, or their
excessive overkill, or other more poignant mental triggers, such as a small
child standing outside the flaming wreck of her grass-thatched rural hut
which had just been torched by 5th Brigade soldiers, with her whole family
"I was in Lupane in February 1983 during the curfew when reports of a large
massacre reached the CIO office there. I went and had a look, together with
my Lupane team and just to the north of Lupane and among the gutted and
smoking ruins of the thatched huts of a large village, like something out of
Apocalypse Now or Dante's Inferno lay scores of dead and wounded people who
had just been shot by 5th Brigade. Most of us have seen this in Vietnam
films for instance, but this was very real, and not a movie."
"In my report I told the plain truth, that the 5th Brigade was responsible,
while at the same time, and referring to the same incident, Mugabe's
ministers were denying it and blaming the dissidents, but at the same time
refusing any independent observers into the curfew area to establish just
what had happened. By refusing such an investigation the government proved
it had something to hide."
Woods explains the desolation of being abandoned by the South African
government when he was compromised and in his book he details his lone fight
to maintain his humanity, self-dignity and sanity in a prison system that
belongs to the Middle Ages.
"Many years later, on the 14th May l997 when FW de Klerk stood in front of
the Truth and Reconciliation Commission he told them that in his capacity as
head of the former government and leader of the National Party that neither
he nor his colleagues in cabinet and on the State Security Council had
authorized any unlawful acts. So you tell me please where we, as a group
here in Zimbabwe obtained South African Air Force helicopters for our 1986
raid on ANC facilities in the Zimbabwe capital? And remember that the Lusaka
and Gaborone ANC facilities were attacked simultaneously."
Removed from society and with his fundamental human rights arbitrarily
withdrawn, Woods has been to the depths of despair and utter hopelessness
while coping under the most desperate conditions imaginable.
"People on death row pray a lot. I did. When you've nothing, absolutely
nothing to hang on to, God makes it so easy for you to lean on him. You don't
feel God's help - but you have to lean somewhere, and why not a God? Hope is
a wonderful thing. Hopelessness will destroy you. Often I would manufacture
hope, just to get me through each agonizingly long day, when there was
actually nothing to hope for."
"Many were the times I was swathed in blankets and kneeling on the floor of
my cell, utterly devoid of hope and the willingness to carry on and all I
had was a five-word prayer: "God, please give me hope!" It must have worked,
as time after time, wearing my knees bald from kneeling on the rough
concrete, I uttered the same short prayer, and I got through."
I sat there on death row a few times and heard other inmates being removed
in the dead of night, to be taken to the death chamber which adjoins the
prison hospital. I heard their chains dragging on the floor, I heard their
spine-chilling wails and tears, and I heard the deep kalunk of the trapdoor
as they were killed. I remember so well the horror and dread in me.
When Woods was incarcerated in Chikurubi the Berlin Wall still stood, the
Cold war was in full swing with Thatcher and Reagan in power. When he
finally walked out a free man, he walked into a world he no longer
recognized-a world of email and cell phones, the European Union, the
sub-division of Russia and the Middle East crisis, not to mention 9/11.
This book will inspire you to take an introspective look at your own life,
your aspirations and ambitions. His story, unlike so many others has a happy
ending with him hugging his now-adult children and meeting former President
Nelson Mandela being the highlights.
The Kevin Woods Story was released in October 2007.
30° South Publishers (Pty) Ltd
+27 11 673-2218
Signed copies of the book can be obtained direct from
firstname.lastname@example.org at a cost of R200 each excluding P & P
Also the book is now out in soft cover.
Mugabe's crimes: options for now and the future
It is important to realise the serious nature of Mugabe's crimes in attempting to predict his future behaviour. It is important to realise that the case against him and his henchman is one of cold blooded mass murders. Without judging them guilty before a formal trial, it is noteworthy that this is a crime that attracts the Capital punishment, hanging to death to be precise. The question that common sense should ask therefore is, would anyone usher themselves to the gallows by allowing a new dispensation which would try them. No one with the choice would willingly avail themselves to criminal proceedings of such a crime even if they were 100% sure of their innocence. The route that Mugabe decided to take is one with not many options, it is a one way street. Mugabe will never ever win an election freely and fairly and will always need to perform some trick to stay in power. Mugabe will forever be tainted black, not grey and definitely nothing nearer to off white, no deal will ever make him look a darker shade of grey. Even if he dies, his henchman will want to maintain the status-quo for as long as possible.There is no doubt that even if amnesty is promised now, it will not hold when the wheels have turned and they know it, for then the wheels would have turned rendering them vulnerable. It will always be necessary for Zanu pf to keep that threshold of power that prevents the wheels from turning. Most unfortunately, it is this threshold of power that's needed to change the country's fortunes. It is impossiblefor Zanu to allow the wheels to turn as it is certain to run over them. The only plausible alternative for them would be to claim asylum in fellow brothers' countries like Mengistu did . There is a big but with this route, the West will use trade and aid as strings for towing them to the Hague. The options certainly couldn't be fewer, i will leave Chiwengwa to research that route and how to go about it. Zimbabweans! It is time we woke up to the reality that Zanu PF will borrow as much time as our fear allows. Can Zimbabwe afford more time? will there be a country still?
The myth of friends from the east
For a while now i have wondered about the so-called friends from the east. I have wondered why they have left us sink so low. For if they were our friends, they would be ashamed and embarrassed to be friends with our rugs, ashamed enough to do something, embarrassed for us enough to cover our groins.I am left with no option but to surrender the use of that word . From now on, i will put quotes around that word , there surely is something weird about our friendship. I proceeded to interrogate the likelihood of significant volume trade with our "friends". Prior to this mess, Zimbabwean economy could be summed up into three main activities, Agriculture, Mining and Tourism.The world bank records shows china's GDP per capita at 5,345,Russia's at 14,743 giving our "friends" an average of US$10044. Britain and America are at $33,535, $45,790 respectively giving them an average of $39.000 thus four times that of our "friends", for those of you not familiar with these figures, the per capita gives an estimate indication of wealth generated per individual in the country's economy, it is vital to understand that tourist numbers arriving from respective countries are highly correlated to this figure, for it roughly determines how much each individual has as money to spend(disposable income) of course in addition to other factors like language, culture, in country economic variables etc. Our so called "friends" from the east, on average are so poor that they cannot generate us the desired volume of tourists. The critical fact is that our look east policy is misguided in respect of the Tourism Industry. Decent volumes of tourists will come from our "detractors", the West. Considering that a third of our forex earnings came from tourism, should we sacrifice the tourism industry for Mugabe's hatred for the west?. On to agriculture, we all know that Tesco, Sainsbary and the West generally were the biggest buyers of our all year round Agricultural produce like beans and beef, this is so because of higher disposable incomes that allow the choice of buying imported organic produce "special meat" from Zimbabwe, Kenya etc. Again our average "friend" from the east is still at the level where he has to make do with whatever is available, the basics sort of thing! its a bit like trying to sell oysters to Zimbabweans, if u know what they are that is! The people cant even afford their staple food, of course u can sell to a few in borrowdale, significant volumes are only wishful thinking, regardless of your advertising budget and even having the glorified Sharon Mugabe on the Job. Only the mining industry can thrive in the look east policy, that's if u are ignorant of the fact that, China recently overtook South Africa as the biggest producer of Gold, which we claim to have so much of. Of course it is fact that our "friends" have done rather well of late, it must be understood that this is because of improved trade relations with our "detractors". Our "friends" buy raw materials from us and our African brothers, process it into electrical goods and sell to our "detractors". Today every electrical goods shop in the UK stocks goods made in China. Its time Zimbabweans woke up to the reality of doom under Mugabe and his look east policy, Look east is Mugabe biased personal choice and not based on facts, figures and strategic thinking. Zimbabweans need to start processing their own raw materials and stop buying finished goods from our "friends". Success based on selling raw materials will forever be minimal. There is no successful economy that does not deal with our "detractors",The likelihood of Zimbabwe restoration under this policy is zero at least in the next 100years if not more.
SADC : A question of Jurisdiction!
In matters of resolving disputes, jurisdiction is a critical element. SADC has become a laughing stock because of lack of jurisdiction. Time has come when advising alone is not enough, because of lack of jurisdiction, they cannot tell Zanu PF what to do decisively. Hence under SADC's watch, hundreds of Zimbabweans will continue to be brutally murdered in highly organized state violence, millions of livelihoods will continue to be destroyed. " Zimbabwe is not a province of South Africa",Mbeki says, no jurisdiction by implication. "African solutions for African problems" he says the following morning, which is which? This is proper chuff from wheat, no wonder why they got rid of him. "no crisis in Zimbabwe" today, tomorrow calls for emergency summit, help me out here? my head is spinning. Zimbabweans have gone round and round in circles about people who clearly admit that they have no jurisdiction, and yet on the other hand claim to be able to solve the Zimbabwean crisis by virtue of being African. What is specifically African about a murder? What is an African solution to a murderer? Will Mbeki explain to my neighbour why she had to bury her son with no limbs? The African way i know goes about traditional healers trying to find out how and why a person has died?, even when they had full blown AIDS which we "all saw with our own eyes". In the African way, people are never buried without an explanation. Zimbabwe has been caught up between this jurisdiction grey area for the last 10years, during which everything has been lost. Ultimately, its all "makumbo enyoka", nothing! They will forever enjoy oysters and vodka in hotels pretending to be carving out an African solution. It is time we woke up to the reality that resolving disputes requires jurisdiction and we have outsourced to those without it.
It doesn't take a political analyst to figure out that Mugabe is not sincere, Zanu pf has no intention of sharing power at all. In case you didn't know, the Home Affairs Ministry is responsible for Zimbabwe Republic Police, Registrar General (runs the elections) and Immigration. If the MDC got this ministry, it could win a presidential election, announce results promptly, Give visas to an unlimited number of foreign journalists and arrest perpetrators of political violence especially the born free "war veterans", all of which will not happen without it. For MDC and the people, this is what the deal is about, for Mugabe, this is a sure way disposing of himself and his party. Mugabe cannot afford to give the home affairs ministry away. It's the Zanu PF lifeline, It will only take a few arrests of militias to spill the beans and the party will be in disarray. Zanu pf will continue to use the Police to suppress dissents from within the party and external opponents by arresting, assaulting and dragging them through courts for trumped up charges. The police are an integral part of Zanu PF survival, without it, Zanu Pf is paralysed, will they paralyse themselves by surrendering it? . Even should they agree to some sort of arrangement, they will forever undermine the deal,. No significant investor will put their asserts on the line with Mugabe anywhere near power, he has proved himself far too untrustworthy. It is time we woke up to the reality that significant change means doom for Mugabe and Zanu pf has no intentions of allowing that to happen.This inclusive government is now clearly a pointless exercise even should signatures end up on dotted lines. This will only prolong the suffering of the people with a far less than mediocre response from financiers. It is time Tsvangirai realised that he is falsely giving hope for a still born union and sabotaging the country with this meandering. It is time Tsvangirai realised that best for Zimbabwe now is a wholesome uprooting of Zanu Pf not a deal of any sort.
For how long?
Today 2000 Zimbabweans die of preventable causes every week, our brothers and sisters are abused and killed in foreign land, our grandmothers and sisters are rapped and brutalised in rural areas, our children survive on roots, no schools and universities. Zimbabweans need to fully understand the magnitude of the monster among us. In addition, they need to own it, realise that no one else in the world feels nor should they feel greater ownership of Zimbabwe's destiny than them. The British can talk sanctions, the Africans can profess brotherly love until kingdom come, the fact remains, the country is burning. How long shall we allow Mugabe to play GOD in our lives, how long shall blood be spilled at every election, how long shall we stand in ques for food, water and our own money in the bank. how long shall we watch our civilisation disintegrate before our eyes, how long shall we watch our youths grow into uneducated criminals, how long shall we live in fear of Zanu PF, time has come to conquer fear, for we have seen the harvest of fear, more fear. it is time to hand this issue to where ultimate jurisdiction resides, the people! enough of brothers without jurisdiction, enough of outsourcing our problems to pipe smoking alcoholics, is it not a shame we bury our hopes with the godfather of dictators Muswati to help us, is it not a shame we bury our hopes in deemed chaff from wheat Mbeki to help us, they couldn't have him for themselves, why us? it is time the so-called civil societies raised their civil constituencies from the dead, all that should happen for us to say enough is enough has already happened, the time is now, now not tomorrow, not later, not when the sun sets, not at dawn, NOW is the time! Together we can! aluta continua!!!
Ivy Chiparaushe is an independent Zimbabwean writer and can be contacted on email@example.com