Zim Independent - Editor's Memo
The snake charmer
THERE was once a famous snake charmer who taught his giant snake to
around him and retreat at his command. He'd say, "Coil!" The snake
wrap around his body all the way up to his head where it would lick
face. Then the snake charmer would say, "Retreat!" And the snake would
uncoil and slither across the floor.
This became such a great
trick that he went on tour where auditoriums
exploded at his artistry in
dealing with the pet snake.
One night he and the snake went on stage
in front of the biggest crowd ever.
It was his big night. Like always, he
said, "COIL!" and the snake coiled
around him but it began to constrict him.
Everyone gasped. Then he said
"RETREAT!" Nothing happened. Again he shouted,
Still nothing. "RETREAT, RETREAT!" And there in front of the
crowd the snake
crushed him and began to swallow him headfirst. The crowd
thought this was
the charmer's new trick. Enthralled, the audience jumped
from their seats
and exploded into applause with calls of "encore" as the
curtain came down.
After the show, backstage, the charmer's assistant
remembered how the poor
man got the snake. It was just a baby - so small he
could have crushed it in
his hand. He played with it, let it grow and it
became a source of his
newfound fame. It finally crushed him and swallowed
President Robert Mugabe's pet has been his disastrous agrarian
severe food shortages and the accompanying economic meltdown, which
spawned inflation of 139,9% and forecast to touch 522% by the end of
year. Debate on the implementation of the fast track land reform
has made President Mugabe - a master of deception - a "star". He has
audiences with his oratory prowess, especially when taking a cheap
the British or any quarter that does not believe that he is the
thing that ever walked on the African continent.
filled auditorium in Sandton during the Earth Summit, South Africa in
and in September at the United Nations headquarters in New York,
applauded the septuagenarian leader's tongue-lashing against
interference in Zimbabwe's domestic affairs. Meanwhile the charmer's
has continued to grow as the audience lusts for more feats
The applause that has rung in auditoriums for
our dear leader appears to
have given Mugabe another layer of thick skin. But
it has not changed poor
villagers' diet from wild fruits to the sadza they
should eat, after people
in 2002 voted for a responsible president who
promised that noone would
starve. The applause has not filled shop shelves
with bread, mealie-meal,
cooking oil, margarine, flour, sugar etc (The
shopping basket is already
full of emptiness). The applause has not provided
tillage to the new farmers
nor has it provided seed and fertiliser. It has
not opened closed factories
or reduced the unemployment rate from the
conservative estimate of 70%.
There is a real threat of a drought
this season, which means another famine
on top of an already unfolding
humanitarian disaster induced by the agrarian
reform and fictitious estimates
given by Lands and Agriculture minister,
Joseph Made. Remember the Bible
says: "If a ruler listens to lies, all his
officials become wicked."
President Mugabe has used the applause to confuse
manifesting themselves through land reform with the survival
political order and protection of personal projects. If anything, it
strengthened his resolve to engage in acts of bravado with the snake that
President Mugabe, currently bubbling with youthful
enthusiasm not matched by
the requisite strength and resolve to deal with the
crisis, will yearn to carry his snake to more
international capitals and do
more tricks. But then there is always the
looming danger of the snake
growing big enough to want to try new tricks on
its handler. "COIL" RETREAT,
RETREAT, RETREAT YOU DAMN SNAKE!! Applause and
l Iden is away somewhere on the streets of Manhattan, New
York where he went
to receive his World Press Review award.
Border says $650 mln lost to fires
BORDER Timbers said a fire on Charter Estates two weeks ago that was
by illegal occupiers, has destroyed 21700 cubic metres of timber
In a statement to shareholders, Border said
around 60% of the timber would
have been exported.
The fire was
started on October 17 and resulted in the loss of 755 hectares
including 395ha of forest, the company said.
"This fire, before it
could be contained, had spread to the neighbouring
Forestry Company of
Zimbabwe plantations and engulfed a significant area."
Border noted that its
properties had now been delisted as a result of the
protection afforded to
the company under the German-Zimbabwe Investment
Protection Agreement, but
illegal occupiers have still not been removed
despite "repeated requests" to
Donnelly trashes claims of diplomatic
THE government has contrived a phoney diplomatic
stand-off with Britain in a
bid to distract attention from its catalogue of
problems at home, a senior
British envoy has said.
Harare's political fall-out with London in the latest issue of
Zimbabwe magazine, British High Commissioner to Harare, Brian
government created a "false fight" to camouflage the
deepening political and
"The last three months have seen official relations
between Britain and
Zimbabwe sink to their lowest levels since Independence,"
he said. "The
government's rhetoric blaming Britain for the country's
troubles has become
louder and shriller as its own responsibility for the
decline of Zimbabwe
has become ever more evident to the rest of the
Donnelly said government's claim that Britain wanted to
"The notion that Britain
wants to re-colonise Zimbabwe - always
implausible - has become simply
absurd," he said. "Why would Britain want to
take on responsibility for a
politically-polarised nation with one of the
fastest shrinking economies in
The crack British diplomat said Zimbabwe had a trade
surplus with Britain,
and Zimbabweans in Britain remit around £15 million
"So who is colonising who? British interests, however
defined, are best
served by a Zimbabwe at peace with itself and with a
thriving economy. The
rhetoric makes no sense and it just isn't
Donnelly said government was determined to obfuscate real
"The intent is clear enough: to cast
Britain as the scapegoat. But this is a
false fight," he said. "It is not a
fight which Britain seeks or wants. And
it could be quickly ended if the
government were to change course and put
into practice the democratic values
it repeatedly says in believes in."
Government, he observed, would
not change to avoid self-destruction.
"It (government) seems determined
to continue to move in the opposite
direction. The democratic space is still
being progressively reduced by
actions clearly designed to discourage or
prevent legitimate opposition and
to curtail freedom of expression," he
"The continuation of unsustainable and chaotic land reform
have brought unjustifiable pain and suffering to farmers and
alike, threatens to mortally wound the key sector of the
Although Zimbabwe used to be self-sufficient, he said, it
had now become a
"And on top of all this the country
now faces famine. We understand that
small farmers produce 70% of the maize
crop and that they were badly hit by
drought. This is not at issue," he
"But it is mismanagement that causes a drought to become
Inadequate preparations despite ample warning; inadequate
hamstrung by economic and political policies which create obstacles
than smoothing the path."
Donnelly said Britain would
continue to help Zimbabweans go through the
current man-made food
"But it is a matter of profound disappointment that we have
to spend £32
million on emergency aid and assistance when we would rather
the money in sustainable development, including a viable land
programme, in a country as full of potential as
The British envoy said Britain would not withhold food aid
local policies because the masses would suffer and not the
"It is undeniable that aid donors are filling the gap
government should be
filling itself," he said. "Britain does not think it is
right that the
poorest and most vulnerable sectors of society should pay that
Strike cripples health delivery services
THE crisis at two of the country's major referral hospitals,
and Harare Central, has taken a turn for the worse due to the
strike by health workers, the Zimbabwe Independent has
Health workers on strike include laboratory technicians,
radiographers. The workers, who had been on a go-slow, went
on a full scale
strike last Friday.
They are accusing government
of reneging on its earlier promise to award
them a pay increase in
Dr Howard Mutsando, president of the Hospital Doctors
Association, said the
situation at the hospitals was not
"Patients are having a very difficult time as medication
is now very
expensive," said Mutsando.
"If a patient is very
critical we cannot do anything except send him/her to
first so that samples are taken.
"Those who cannot walk have to pay
for an ambulance to go into town. There
is an erratic supply of drugs at the
wards as pharmacists who order and
issue out the drugs are on strike," he
Investigations by the Independent revealed that patients had to
huge amounts of money for medical expenses.
intravenous urogram (X-ray to check on urine flow) costs only $6 000
government hospitals but at private laboratories it costs $22
Patients who are involved in road traffic accidents and need a
to their skull) pay $21 000 at the referral hospitals and a
000 at private hospitals.
One medical doctor at
Parirenyatwa Hospital said they had no choice except
to revert back to the
rudimentary methods of diagnosis.
"We have resorted to using 'bush
methods' because no proper diagnosis can be
carried out when most workers are
on strike," said the doctor.
Patients sometimes had no adequate food
"We are eating only one slice of bread these days," said
one patient. "The
quality of food has been deteriorating although we are
paying huge sums of
When the Independent visited the two
hospitals this week, patients
complained that the situation was deteriorating
Another patient said they were being compelled to buy
syringes when they
wanted to be injected.
"Patients are being
asked to provide syringes if they want to be injected,"
said Elton Mutsena, a
relative of one critical patient.
"We have had to scrounge around for
medicines as well and I am not sure
whether I will be able to continue to buy
drugs. If this strike continues my
uncle will die," said
Dr David Parirenyatwa, the Minister of Health and Child
Welfare, said he was
working flat out to rectify the problems afflicting
"Tomorrow (today) I will be visiting all
affected hospitals to assess the
situation on the ground," said
"I will continue to negotiate with the paramedics and
the Public Service
Commission to solve this
Parirenyatwa admitted that there were food shortages at
Zimbabwe, SA to step up dialogue
ZIMBABWE and South Africa have agreed to step up talks to resolve
deepening local crisis and tackle a range of other issues of mutual
it emerged this week.
South African foreign ministry
spokesperson Nomfanelo Kota said in an
interview this week the two countries
agreed last month to engage in serious
dialogue after President Robert Mugabe
met South African Foreign minister
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma in
"They agreed that there is going to be a joint Zimbabwe-South
in six months," she said. "It was also agreed that there is
need to continue
with the initial inter-ministerial
Dlamini-Zuma was in Zimbabwe on October 10-13 and met
President Mugabe and
her counterpart, Stan Mudenge to discuss bilateral
Zimbabwe's deepening political and economic
South Africa was reported in the state media as having
endorsed the Zanu PF
government's policy during Dlamini-Zuma's visit as she
did not see "any
Kota said the two countries agreed to
resuscitate the frozen
inter-ministerial talks, which failed to resolve the
due to lack of political will.
South African launched the inter-ministerial initiative after
general election. South Africa had prepared a rescue package for
nothing materialised as only one meeting which included the
Finance, Agriculture, and Industry was held in Pretoria early
Kota clarified misrepresentations by the state media which
Dlamini-Zuma had said the media was exaggerating the Zimbabwe
"The minister was asked two questions by (ZBC's Reuben) Barwe,"
"One of them was: 'Minister do you believe the media determines the
for Zimbabwe and South Africa?' She answered saying: 'I don't believe
because the meeting we are having was not organised by the
Kota said the state and private media which picked up the
stories misrepresented Dlamini-Zuma.
interpreted wrongly," Kota said. "The other question from Barwe
there a looming bloodbath in Zimbabwe?' The minister answered
didn't see any looming bloodbath. I have a transcript of that.
I'm very good
in capturing what somebody says verbatim."
Kota said Dlamini-Zuma
also said the media everywhere, including in South
Africa, wants to write
This followed a leading question from Barwe, which
claimed the independent
press in Zimbabwe painted a gloomy picture of the
The leading questions and the responses thereof were
reported in the
government media as original statements from
"So tell me where was the attack on the media? Those
issues were just blown
out of proportion," she said. "I have a record of what
happened. There was
no press briefing as some media claimed. These questions
were asked as we
were going into a lift after the minister paid a courtesy
call on President
Mugabe at Zanu PF headquarters."
Zim elections a farce - analysts
ZIMBABWE'S engagement in antagonistic electoral politics is
becoming a farce and undermining prospects of economic recovery,
Commentators warned that as long as the
country remained locked in hostile
and topsy-turvy politics, it would not
emerge from international isolation
and its economic
University of Zimbabwe (UZ) analyst Brian Raftopoulos said
volatile electoral politics could consign the country to a
"Clearly, what we are seeing is that
these elections and by-elections are
becoming a farce," Raftopoulos
"We are confronted with an ominous re-emergence of one-party
as a result of these seemingly endless elections which are
national attention from real issues."
Zimbabwe has been
gripped by bruising electoral combat since the February
referendum. It looks set to continue on the same path
until 2008 due to
forthcoming by-elections, mayoral polls, 2005 general
election and the
presidential poll in six years' time.
The current political fever
started during the constitutional reform
campaign and the subsequent
referendum in which government suffered a shock
defeat at the hands of civic
organisations in collaboration with the
opposition Movement for Democratic
Since the February 2000 referendum, the country has
been reeling under
rancorous politics which have left bitterness all
Analysts say the legacy of the 2000 general election, the
poll, recent local government elections and on-going
by-elections, has seen
serious divisions along political, racial and -
apparently - ethnic lines.
Observers point out that Zimbabwe is now
more fractured, fragmented and
rudderless than it was before
Although scores of people have died and thousands abused, the
casualty of Zimbabwe's medieval politics, analysts say, has been
UZ law lecturer and civic activist, Lovemore Madhuku,
politics were worsening the national emergency.
will not be able to do much in terms of dealing with national problems
keep involved in such elections," Madhuku said.
"For example, during
the Insiza by-election, at least 10 ministers - from
the Vice-president right
down - were camped there for about two weeks. That
Government officials who swamped Insiza before the
included Vice-president Joseph Msika, Home Affairs
minister Kembo Mohadi,
Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo, State
Security minister Nicholas
Goche and Youth and Gender minister Eliot
There was also Matabeleland South provincial governor
Masvingo provincial governor Josiah Hungwe and Information
Moyo who, together with Zanu PF followers, literally
Madhuku said there was need for
constitutional reform to revamp and
consolidate Zimbabwe's outdated electoral
"We can't continue to have this disjointed system in which
parliamentary, presidential, local government and mayoral elections
different times," he said.
"In Kenya, for instance, all
elections are held at the same time. That is
Raftopoulos said the opposition should review its interest in
elections to avoid damaging its image.
"The MDC should
reconsider its participation in these elections because they
are being used
to destroy it and to close the democratic space," he said.
won't hold democratic elections because violence is central in its
to continue clinging to power."
Madhuku said Zanu PF was now using
"sophisticated forms of coercion and
violence" to win elections and pretend
to be popular despite its economic
sabotage and thuggery.
warned this sort of repression could end up producing extremist and
Libyan fuel deal faces collapse
THE Libyan fuel deal has been mothballed amid revelations
that government is
illegally availing itself of Independent Petroleum Group
(IPG) fuel and has
to date built up a US$18 million debt in three
The Zimbabwe Independent has it on good authority that
despatched a team to Kuwait, led by Noczim chairman Charles
former intelligence operative Justin Mupamhanga to negotiate
links with the Independent Petroleum Group of Kuwait. IPG
delivered, through the pipeline from Beira to the Mabvuku
over 85 million litres of fuel.
This is more
than the current consumption of between 60 and 70 million
No Libyan product has, however, been delivered in the past six
last week's payment of US$9 million by the Commercial Bank of
part payment of the US$65 million composite
Industry sources this week said the Libyan suppliers were
secondary sources of the commodity as there were no real benefits
"In fact, the Libyan fuel is now 18%
more expensive than what IPG is
charging," the source said.
said Libyan suppliers had put a premium on the price because of
poor creditworthiness and their being prepared to bring fuel all
the way to
the Mabvuku holding tanks without being paid.
The tenets of the deals
between Zimbabwe and Libya have always been shrouded
in secrecy. The Libyans
have reportedly protested that the oil-for-Zimbabwe
assets arrangement had
not yielded the desired results, hence their fuel had
to be paid for in hard
currency in line with supplies from other
The source said IPG was now doing exactly that but at a
lower cost. However
relations are reportedly frosty following government's
"theft" of IPG fuel.
More than 15 million litres have been illegally drawn
The Independent understands a consortium of Libyan businessmen,
Mustafa Tayeb Khattabi of the Libyan Arab African Investment
The source said the government had kept the deal with the
Libyans open for
the purpose of goodwill.
Zimbabwe and Libya this
year renewed a US$360 million line of credit with a
Libyan bank for the
supply of fuel. This has, however, failed to operate
normally because of
Zimbabwe's failure to pay dues on time.
"It is now back to
over-the-counter deals and the National Oil Company of
Zimbabwe is sourcing
foreign currency on the black market to pay suppliers,"
Libyan ambassador Mohammad Azzabi confirmed this week that a
delegation from Tripoli was due in Harare "soon" but would not
their names and mission.
"I don't know what they will
discuss but we expect our people here soon,"
THE PRESIDENTIAL ELEPHANTS OF ZIMBABWE
SOME OF THE ORIGINAL “PRESIDENTIAL” ELEPHANTS :
The four female elephants that Alan Elliott refers to in his ‘Presidential
Elephants of Zimbabwe’ coffee-table book are still sighted regularly on the
“Skew Tusk” (the matriarch of the “S” family group) is estimated now to be
approximately 46 years old. Her latest calf was born last July. Having
recently broken both of her tusks, she is less distinctive looking these days
with her skewed tusk currently quite short. She is, however, still doing well
and is now totally at ease with vehicles, often wandering close to the research
4WD with her calf in tow. Tuskless “Inkosikazi” (the matriarch of the “A”
family group, who has been renamed “Annie” for study purposes), is now estimated
to be approximately 50 years old. Her latest calf is approximately 2 years
old. “Ridge” (the matriarch of the “W” family group, who, with a big “W” injury
in her right ear, has been renamed “Wendy” for study purposes) also has a calf
approximately 2 years old. “Disc” (the matriarch of the “D” family group),
still with her big floppy ear, seems to be spending increasing amounts of time
on the Estate with her family group.
At least two of these elephants - “Skew Tusk” and “Inkosikazi” - based
on the text of the ‘Presidential Elephants of Zimbabwe’ coffee-table book -
have been known to be utilising the Hwange Estate as part of their home range
for over 28 years, and still continue to do so.
ELEPHANT MOVEMENTS :
The elephant groups are most regularly sighted around Konondo, Mpofu and
Mtaka pans. All three of these pans are pumped by ‘Touch the Wild’. As long as
water remains available, the elephants will no doubt continue to find refuge on
the Hwange Estate.
The home range of the ‘Presidential Elephants’ is currently unknown,
although it is believed that they spend time inside the National Park. It is
hoped, as part of the current ‘social structure and population dynamics’ study,
that a number of elephants can eventually be collared (with microlites used for
tracking purposes) in order to determine where the elephant groups go when they
temporarily move off the Estate.
ELEPHANT NUMBERS :
There is no doubt that the number of elephants on the Hwange Estate is
increasing. There is a predominance of young, with the current population
seemingly dominated with calves under 10 years old. There appears currently to
also be an influx of calves under 12 months old. Having witnessed, on a number
of occasions over the past year, a clan of elephants at Konondo pan numbering in
excess of 300, there is little doubt that their total number could currently lie
somewhere in the vicinity of 400-500.
As soon as the in-progress photo identification library is more complete,
an accurate population count will be determined.
POACHING PROBLEM :
Snared elephants are becoming an increasingly unwelcome sight. Often
effecting small calves, snares have been sighted around heads, around necks,
around legs and around trunks. Clearly, the poachers aren’t intending to catch
an elephant, however it seems that the elephants are often the unfortunate
victims. Surprisingly, other animal species on the Hwange Estate are currently
being sighted less frequently with snares. Perhaps this is because the poachers
are getting ‘better’ at setting their snares, and only the elephants are
managing to break free from them.
Hopefully with funding from various local and international wildlife
conservation agencies, and the advice of experts in the elephant field
Africa-wide, we will be able to deal successfully with snare removal effecting
the ‘Presidential Elephants’. Plans are also in place to increase
anti-poaching/anti-snare patrols on and around the Hwange Estate.
ELEPHANT IMPACT ON VEGETATION :
A study, separate to the long-term ‘social structure and population
dynamics’ study, is currently underway to determine the impact of elephant on
the vegetation of the Hwange Estate. This PhD thesis is due to be written up by
ELEPHANTS AT EASE WITH HUMANS :
Mothers still routinely bring their new born babies for introductions.
Just last week one of the members of the “A” family group used her trunk to
encourage her new-born (still pink behind the ears, with ears still flat against
the head) to come just inches from the door of the research vehicle. There was
no doubt that the mother was encouraging her baby to have no fear.
We are continuing to foster an environment where there is, in fact, no fear
for the “Presidential Elephants of Zimbabwe”.
PRESIDENTIAL ELEPHANT RESEARCH PROJECT
WITH ‘TOUCH THE WILD’)
UPDATE - JUNE 2002
Prepared by SHARON PINCOTT
PROJECT OBJECTIVES :
A thorough understanding of the social structure and population dynamics of
the elephants on the Hwange Estate remain the key objectives of this project.
In order to be able to understand the population dynamics of the elephants
on the Hwange Estate, sex and age structure estimates will ultimately be
determined. The age and sex composition of a population is influenced by such
things as age at sexual maturity, age at birth of first calf, conception rates,
birth and death rates, calf survival and interbirth intervals, all of which will
be recorded. Various behavioural and social characteristics such as changes in
group size and composition will also be monitored.
PROGRESS TO DATE :
This is a study that would be impossible without first getting to know the
individual elephants. Individual identification is key to the findings that
will ultimately follow. Individually identifying hundreds of elephants is a
time-consuming task, one that now, 7 months into my study, continues to dominate
my daily observations. Due to the severe frosts of last year, in combination
with other factors unknown, the elephant families were only visibly active on
the Hwange Estate for approximately 4 of these 7 study months. Hence,
individual identification still continues today, with good progress currently
A formal naming convention has been instigated. Elephants are being given
names beginning with the letter assigned to their family group - e.g. all
individuals in the ‘A’ family are being given names starting with the letter
‘A’. A cross-reference to the adhoc elephant names previously assigned by past
researchers is being maintained where practical. Individual identification work
Only when key identification is complete, will substantive data begin to
Some initial observations are summarised below, although it must be noted
that longer-term, detailed observations of known individuals is required in
order to be able to develop and substantiate early findings.
EARLY FINDINGS :
The ‘Presidential Elephants of Zimbabwe’ is an elephant
population that can likely be expected to increase. There is a predominance of
young, with the current population seemingly dominated with calves under 10
years old. There appears currently to also be an influx of calves under 12
A typical interbirth (calving) interval is said to be approximately 4 years
(although this is yet to be confirmed for the elephants on the Hwange Estate).
It follows therefore that there could be birth peaks every 4 years or so, and
that we are currently in the midst of one such peak.
Trends in population size can, however, only be answered over time. An
accurate population count will ultimately be determined.
Elephants drinking multiple times each day
Because individuals on the
Hwange Estate are known, it is possible to determine if the same elephants are
returning to drink multiple times each day. Family groups of elephants have
been sighted drinking up to three times each day, often at the same, or closeby,
pans. The likely percentage of elephants returning multiple times to drink each
day will be determined over time. This has possible implications for waterhole
game counts, given that when a population is not intimately known, the
likelihood of counting elephants multiple times would appear to be high,
resulting in over-estimates of elephant numbers.
Oestrous, Musth and peak Calving periods
Previous records show that the
peak conception period on the Hwange Estate is likely to be in January, at the
height of the wet season when the cows are typically in top condition and many
of the bulls are in musth. With a 21.5 month gestation period, the majority of
births, based on these previous records, would likely occur in
Some of the older, highest-ranking males are currently in musth. It has
been documented in other African countries that high-ranking males time their
musth period to coincide with the females aggregating into large groups, thereby
increasing the probability that they will find an oestrous female. My
observations on the Hwange Estate to date suggest that May/June/July is a key
period when large numbers of elephants often aggregate. It is possible,
therefore, that musth and oestrous periods will occur frequently during this
current period when large aggregations of elephants can be observed. Calves
conceived during this period would be born during the months of
February/March/April/May, which would coincide with the high number of small
calves currently being sighted.
Three new-born babies, each only a few days old, were recently sighted on
the same day. They are amongst the high number of infants, all under just a few
months old, currently being sighted regularly. These three new-born calves
would have been conceived in early-August 2000. The rains were late in 2000.
The females would have presumably still been in good condition in early-August,
and hence the frequency of oestrous in the females would likely have been high.
More observations are necessary to determine peak conception/calving
periods on the Hwange Estate, if indeed there is an actual ‘peak’.
Family groups, Bond groups and Clans
When resources are plentiful,
as they are currently, large aggregations of elephants can often be found on the
Hwange Estate. Many of the family groups combine to form what is generally
referred to as a ‘bond group’, comprising a number of elephant families that are
often related. Bond groups combine to form even bigger groups known as ‘clans’,
which comprise a number of family and bond groups that share the same
home-range. Elephants are not territorial. As the dry season progresses these
bond groups and clans will likely come together less often. They will typically
divide back into the smaller family groups in order to maintain foraging
efficiency, as food becomes more and more scarce. They may, however, congregate
in large numbers for water.
Family groups are sometimes fragmented, even in
current times of plenty, with some members of a family ‘missing’ from a group
for lengthy periods of time. An extraordinary greeting ceremony was witnessed
recently when the matriarch of one family group was reunited with an adult
female from the same family, likely to be her sister. There was boisterous
vocalisation combined with excited urination and emotional trunk entwining high
into the air.
Some calf mortality has been observed, with a number of
deaths having occurred sometime during my end-December 2001 to end-April 2002
absence. Calf mortality is said to be highest in the first 12 months of life.
Insufficient data has been collected to date to give calf mortality percentages,
however this will be possible over time. The factors appearing to impact calf
survival will also be documented.
Twins & Suckling Another’s Calf
Twins are said to occur in less than
1% of conceptions. There is at least one set of twins currently on the Estate.
These calves, one male and one female, are estimated to be approximately 1 year
old, and are the calves of a matriarch. They suckle her simultaneously. One of
the adult females in this same family group was recorded to have given birth in
December 2001. By May 2002 her calf was dead, but this adult female continues
to lactate, and now occasionally suckles one, but never both, of the twins. She
is suckling calves that are not her own. Ongoing observations are necessary to
determine if such behaviour is common.
WHAT NEXT? :
It is widely acknowledged that more information can often be obtained, with
greater validity of results, if an elephant population is intimately
Individual identification and observations of known individuals continues.
UK to blame for Zimbabwe, claims
is just mouthpiece of Bush'
CAPE TOWN British
defence secretary Geoffrey Hoon was taken to task by
Congress (ANC) MPs yesterday for Britain's failure to
fulfil its Lancaster
House undertaking to fund land reform in Zimbabwe.
The harshly critical
questions posed to Hoon during a briefing to
Parliament's defence and foreign
affairs committees, was the most public
demonstration yet by members of the
ruling party that they blame Britain for
the situation in Zimbabwe, and not
President Robert Mugabe.
Hoon also came under fire from the MPs for
Britain's failure to condemn the
military coup in Pakistan but for being
highly critical of Mugabe and the
situation in Zimbabwe.
In reply Hoon
said Britain was ready and willing to provide funds for land
Zimbabwe but insisted it must be undertaken in terms of the rule
He said Britain was not prepared to hand over money that would end
up in the
pockets of those exploiting the situation.
Hoon said Britain
would honour its past undertakings if there was a chance
of real land reform
The MPs accused Britain of having contributed to the
"demise" of Zimbabwe
and of having "reneged" on Lancaster House
Hoon said there was little evidence of the rule of law in
government had not been elected democratically and did not
observe the rule
of law. He said Britain was pressing for democratic
elections in Pakistan
and in Zimbabwe.
Britain was anxious about the
situation in Zimbabwe out of its concern for
the people of the country. That
was why the British contributed £32m in aid
to Zimbabwe last
Hoon was also criticised by the ANC over Britain's support for
Iraq, and was accused of being a mouthpiece for the Bush
Hoon sharply rejected the suggestion and stressed that
Britain had publicly
and loudly disagreed with the US on particular issues.
He said Britain had
played "an enormously influential role" in persuading the
US to go through a
United Nations (UN) process on Iraq.
He was proud
of the role Britain had played and its position was that the
matter had to be
determined by the UN and international law.
Hoon said any action against
Iraq had to be in terms of international law,
otherwise Britain could not be
part of it.
In reply to ANC MP Mewa Ramgobin, Hoon said that the world
needed to take
the development of weapons of mass destruction very
"We could say we will wait but if left undisturbed they will
The UN resolutions had to be backed up by
force "if not, what is the purpose
of the resolutions"? he asked.
and its leader, Saddam Hussein, had to understand that the
community would use force to back up resolutions of the UN.
diplomacy should be the preferred way of dealing with the matter and
action a last resort. "No decisions have been taken by the UK to
I can guarantee that."
He said, however, that if threats of force were
made then those making the
threats had to be prepared to "see it
ANC defence committee chairwoman Thandi Modise said there was
concern in SA
over the increased US interest in Angola. She said there was a
linking the US desire for attacks on Iraq and its interest in
that was oil.
Walkout widens rift in Zimbabwe farmers'
Two leaders of Zimbabwe's Commercial Farmers Union (CFU), which
the country's white farmers, stood down as divisions deepen
within the union,
it said yesterday.
In separate statements issued by the union yesterday,
president Colin Cloete
and director David Hasluck are said to have resigned,
but internal bickering
about how to respond to government's seizure of white
farms has fuelled
speculation the two were forced to leave.
not been well within the ranks of the once powerful 4500member union
the land reform exercise got underway, soon after voters rejected
government-backed draft constitution in early 2000.
constitution contained a clause that allowed the government of
Robert Mugabe to seize white-owned farms without compensating
Until then, the farmers enjoyed a good relationship with
Mugabe on numerous occasions assured farmers their
interests would be looked
after but all that changed after the rejection of
the draft constitution,
when veterans of Zimbabwe's liberation war
spearheaded often violent
invasions of white commercial farms.
the beginning of the crisis, the union has vacillated between dialogue
the government and confrontation in the courts as the best means to
the land seizure issue.
Cloete and Hasluck were seen as advocating
dialogue while some union members
preferred the government to
In August, a group of farmers, disillusioned with the union's
stance, broke away to form Justice for Agriculture (JAG) that is
eviction orders issued to 95% of the white commercial
Hasluck raised eyebrows recently when he attacked former
Britain for ignoring the historical background to Zimbabwe's
programme, and said Britain should help to pay compensation to
who have been forced off their land.
Mugabe took the
bait and called on white farmers to join the government in
its "fight against
Britain" over land reform.
Mugabe has accused Britain of reneging on a
promise it made to fund land
reform in the country. Britain rejects the
accusation, saying it will only
support land reform that is fair and
transparent and reduces poverty.
So far 9154 whiteowned farms covering
17,4-million hectares have been
forcibly acquired by the government. The
government says it has resettled
300000 landless blacks on the
While some farmers have complied with the eviction orders, the
those who have chosen to fight is in the balance as the government
legal holes whenever a farmer wins in court.
Of patriots, puppets and hypocrites
10/31/02 10:42:46 AM (GMT +2)
THE Herald, the authoritative voice
on goings-on in the government,
quoted Information Minister Jonathan Moyo at
length on September 27 this
year on the controversy surrounding elections
that had been held two weeks
before by the Zimbabwe Union of
Lest I be accused of publishing falsehoods, the Herald
quoted Moyo as
"That is not an election. It's a farce.
It's like Osama bin Laden
standing against George Bush for the presidency of
Al Qaeda and waking up
the next day proclaiming resounding victory and having
One may ask: who was being referred to
as Bush and as Osama bin Laden
and which organisation was being compared to
Al Qaeda? Food for thought.
Since the year 2000, when political
differences in Zimbabwe
heightened, various stakeholders with differing
political views have been
involved in name-calling
is Zimbabwe that you are viewed as either a puppet of the
West or a patriot,
depending on how your opinions are interpreted by those
who want to maintain
the status quo.
Being a supporter of President Robert Mugabe's ZANU
PF party qualifies
you to be called a patriot in Zimbabwe. That is the bottom
line of the
definition of patriotism in this country today.
your beliefs are contrary to those of the ruling party, you are
Some among us, in striving to be more patriotic than
become the worst hypocrites. Others have become bootlickers in
It's no wonder that the selective
application of the law is the order
of the day. There are people within the
political leadership of Zimbabwe who
have become a law unto
As a country, we are reaching a stage where we are
being schooled to
see and say no evil about the prevailing situation in
In addition, the leadership in Zimbabwe now always sees a
in the background whenever any criticism is levelled against the
by a black Zimbabwean.
The government always sees the
hand of so-called unrepentant
Rhodesians and the British.
problem with this theory is that it suggests that we, black
incapable of publicly pointing out the ills that bedevil
our country without
the help of a white man.
It suggests a nation that suffers from an
inferiority complex. It
suggests the leadership has little regard for the
mental capacity of its own
What is so superior about a
Do we Zimbabweans, need a white man to voice the
concern that we are
starving in this country and that we have to queue for
bread, which are in short supply, on a daily
Do we need a white person to complain about the general high
living, which has resulted in wages chasing ever-rising
Do we need a white person to tell us that the economy is
operating on a parallel market?
Do we need a white
person to point out that health facilities are
collapsing and the cost of
medical care is out of the reach of many
Do we therefore need the help of whites to demand that
government acts to satisfy our needs and makes it possible for us
in our beloved Zimbabwe?
The leadership in Zimbabwe
should know that black Zimbabweans have the
capacity to think on their own
and distinguish right from a wrong.
The leadership should see
problems for what they are and rectify them
and stop seeing the white person
behind its own failings.
In life, people - including leaders who
are human beings anyway -
should accept failure and constructive
One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter
and, in the same
vein, one man's sell-out can be another's
Rhodesians called Mugabe a terrorist at the height of the
1970s war of
liberation but the election results in1980 proved
In the light of recent name-calling and developments
unfolding in our
beloved nation, history will best judge who are the true
sell-outs of our time.
The paradox of the land of milk and honey
10/31/02 9:54:23 AM (GMT +2)
world-acclaimed Nobel Prize acceptance speech of December 10
1964 in Oslo,
Norway, Martin Luther King Junior elucidated his fervent dream
that "I have
the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three
meals a day
for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and
equality and freedom for their spirits".
I do not know what King
would have said today if he were still alive
to witness the limbo in
Martin Luther King Junior was not alone in this dream as
later and on the eve of April 18 1980, Zimbabweans shared the same
the midst of independence euphoria.
The dream for many
Zimbabweans was that the then Rhodesia, a "state
sweltering with the heat of
oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of
freedom and justice" in the
independent country! The new political
dispensation was envisaged to usher in
a gamut of opportunities for the
majority of rights-starved and economically
sidelined Zimbabweans. It was an
Everyone ecstatically looked forward to an egalitarian country that
"flowing with milk and honey", akin to the Biblical Promised Land of
which the "Israelites" had been promised by the powers that be soon
being emancipated from the wrath of "Pharaoh"!
It was purportedly
going to be a country laden with abundance in every
sanity, food, economic impetus and development, human
rights and freedom,
among many a sumptuous delicacies I cannot exhaust
Zimbabweans were also promised to be extricated from the tentacles
oppression and poverty but I am not at liberty to analyse the extent
which these promises were fulfilled, or otherwise, lest I suffer from
paralysis of analysis and be castigated an "unpatriotic"
I should nonetheless, share with readers a quotation
(that stole my
heart) by the talented William Shakespeare in Macbeth to the
effect that "it
is a tale, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury .
The unequivocal truth about Zimbabwe, 22 solid
"independence", is that the milk and honey are nowhere to be
found and are
still nothing but unfulfilled promises. The painful reality
landlocked southern African country is that most people are
thinking of the days before "exodus" to the "Promised
All that the independent country has dished out in abundance
hunger and starvation, escalating poverty, shortages and incessant
Many things are in short supply in this sovereign country: sugar,
oil, maize and maize meal, bread, foreign currency, tourists,
good governance and, worse still, common sense!
Zimbabweans are dangerously and extremely hungry such that food has
prized phenomenon in the "New Canaan", just as ideas to salvage the
comatose are to the powers that be of poor country. The hunger has
exacerbated by the "sovereign" country's international relations that
utter shambles owing to the "patriots'" adherence to quick-fix
policies that are divorced from sanity.
I am reminded of Exodus 9
verse 15 when God was determined to save the
Israelites from enslavement by
Pharaoh and He made it unequivocally clear
that " for now I will stretch out
my hand that I may smite thee and thy
people with pestilence; and thou shalt
be cut off from the rest of the
earth". The only friends we are left with are
our "brothers" the Libyans and
the Malaysians whose bona fides I am still to
Our international relations are in a deep quagmire because
stretched sovereignty too far and "spread patriotism too thin", to
Theodore Roosevelt's words.
It is a pity that the majority
is suffering owing to demagogic
policies that are instituted by a few people
who misconstrue this country as
a personal fiefdom.
my mind as I reminisce the fate of many a Zimbabwean people
who made a
"choice" and I do not quite know if Lucky Dube's words in "It's
apply in this context to the effect that "this choice I made didn'
t work out
the way I thought it would"!
The economy has been frog-marched
towards the cliff-edge of
cataclysmic doom and all that is left is
Inflation is incessantly galloping towards horrendous
unemployment levels are ballooning beyond elastic limit; the
is grossly overvalued (this has fuelled a thriving black
market); and the
architects of this republic are Pharaoh-hearted about
devaluing the Zimbabwe
dollar notwithstanding overwhelming economic
indicators to that effect!
I will not zero in on ever-plummeting
real wages that have gone well
below the pre-1980 levels lest I be labelled
an "unpatriotic" citizen!
The agricultural sector of a country that
once boasted being the bread
basket of southern Africa has been suffocated by
a fast track land
resettlement programme that, prima facie, sought to
through addressing the skewed land ownership in the
country, but has
unfortunately aggravated the limbo by being everything but
planned and sane!
All that we have grown is hunger and the
emaciation of the "liberated"
Zimbabweans. Luther's three-meals-a-day dream
has been turned into a
nightmare for Zimbabweans who have been reduced to
chronic patients of
The promised freedom has
"come" in form of the replacement of
draconian pieces of legislation with
worse demonic indigenous ones that have
been overhauled through the august
house of Parliament.
This reminds one of Keith Richburg's
assertions in Out of America when
he beamed that in most African countries,
"power simply passed from a white
dictatorship to an indigenous black one and
the end result has been more
repression, more brutality".
heart bleeds with pain when I reminisce the architects of this
penchant determination to crush the opposition and turn this
country into a
one-party state. I am equally incensed by the replacement of
Law and Order Maintenance Act (LOMA) with the Public Order
and Security Act
(POSA) and a bonus shoddy one in form of the dreaded Access
and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) which has dealt a fatal
blow to the
If there is anything that Zimbabweans have
had in commendable
abundance, then it is suffering and worse suffering,
Churchill's saying correct that the land of milk and honey is
"blood, toil, tears and sweat"!
a.. Canisio Mudzimu is a freelance writer. He can be contacted on
The hour for martyrs has dawned
10/31/02 9:52:02 AM (GMT +2)
The outcome of the
Insiza by-elections and the recent local government
elections did not show
that the ruling party is gaining popularity, it also
did not show that the
opposition is losing support but what it did show is
that apathy and
cowardice amongst us have become the backbone of Robert
hold on the country.
Apathy is clear when people just do not go and
vote and cowardice is
obvious when people refuse to act; first by being
fearful of going to vote
and secondly by lacking the bravery to stage a
palpable protest to end the
rot which is feeding on their
At this juncture it is undisputable that the law of this
land does not
apply to citizens with voices that oppose the ruling party and
it is now
cause for great concern when the opposition continues to rely on
courts yet a violent hand has clearly written on the wall that it will
tolerate voices that call for democracy, human rights, good governance
Opposition supporters, including the
late Learnmore Jongwe, have been
subjected to serious violence because there
is no law to protect them in
It is therefore
shocking that whenever the oppposition is brutally
attacked it rushes to the
very same courts that have failed to protect them.
The Shona will
say "kwadzinorohwa matumbu ndiko kwadzinomhanyira"
supporters always seek solace from the very courts that
treat them like
The opposition seems to be filled with slow learners who
believe that democracy will be dished to them on a silver
The MDC leaders in particular, must spare a sobering thought
themselves why a cloud of apathy and cowardice has suddenly engulfed
people. No one will ever convince us that it is not the intimidation by
PF that is causing apathy and that it is not the lack of courage by
leaders that is causing cowardice.
It follows that to fight
apathy the people must fight intimidation by
stubbornly refusing to show
Perhaps a small quote from Malcolm X will help clarify the
here: "It doesn't mean that I advocate violence, but at the same
time I am
not against using violence in self-defence. I don't call it
violence when it
's self-defence, I call it intelligence."
Therefore to fight cowardice MDC leaders must be courageous enough to
Malcolm X's beautiful notion of intelligence.
That notion also
wavers on the premise that if the people are given a
of the vile nature of what confronts them and the
basic causes that produce
that wickedness (in our case Mugabe and ZANU PF)
then they create a sound
agenda based on a workable action plan.
Nobody must wait for hunger
to drive them mad because although a
hungry man is an angry one, he is also
the feeblest and feeble people cannot
protest. Thus feeble people in Insiza
could not have protested when they
were being intimidated to vote for the
An objective analysis of the miserable events taking
place in this
country today can only but point towards some ultimate showdown
One may call it mass action, a
revolution, a stayaway, a go-slow or a
political showdown or even a
confrontation between the oppressed and the
oppressors, the haves and the
have nots, whatever way one may wish to define
it - that stand-off is
The hour for martyrs has dawned and if I am to be
one, it will be for
the cause of democracy.
Learnmore Jongwe -
God bless his soul - was a martyr, even at his age.
There is therefore, no
reason why the people should continue to weep and
gnash their teeth when they
can sacrifice their lives for the good of their
Martyrs die for what they believe in and so if there is anyone who
that the present government must go, then I must repeat - the hour
martyrs has dawned!
It is not the time to endorse a decaying system
of governance that has
seen us fatigued in long winding queues for all the
basic commodities. It is
certainly not the time to tolerate such a system but
to destroy it.
That is the only thing that can save this
People are wallowing in dire poverty and hunger has crept
thresholds and it will not depart before families
Hunger will not depart before Mugabe is gone and
Mugabe will not
depart unless the people mobilise to dethrone him in any way
Civic groups such as the National
Constitutional Assembly and the Free
Zimbabwe Movement must be seen
organising the opposition and the people of
this starving nation to form one
thick queue facing State House rather than
If hunger can make people so systematic that they form
for crucial foods, then why is it that a sense of justice and
make them methodical enough to combine these various queues
into one solid
march enroute to Chancellor Avenue and petition the President
for a few
Such a realistic favour as his
resignation is hardly too much to ask
for since it is abundantly clear that
he has failed to govern even beyond
his cronies' doubt.
people in the urban areas are Zimbabwe's last hope. They have been
because hunger had not yet made a meaningful mark in their
households. Now it
has spread from the rural areas to the cities and towns
where it is making
the loudest and most horrendous impression.
Nobody needs to be
advised that a protest, which will dwarf the 1998
food riots a hundred-fold,
remains the final resort for redemption.
This showdown is here and
if you are not prepared to die, then remove
the word "food" from your
a.. Taungana Ndoro can be contacted
Will the troops shoot to kill eight months after? (Part
10/31/02 10:40:30 AM (GMT +2)
THIS is a
continuation of the theme we were discussing last week.
question is: what is the likely behaviour of men and women in
dark glasses eight months from the March 2002 controversial
By way of recapitulation, we made the observation last
a.. Beyond the uniform and dark
glasses, men and women in uniform
and dark glasses were fellow citizens who
have a sense of right and wrong
just like you and me;
there is a coherent and credible plan to get the country
out of the political
and economic mess it is in, time is coming soon when
the troops will not
shoot at fellow citizens legitimately protesting the
c.. By responding with the recent wave of
legislation, those that are responsible for
advising the government in this
crisis have either become bankrupt of ideas
or they are reactionaries of the
d.. The eight months
since the controversial presidential election
have allowed us all to reflect
and take an audit on our rulers;
e.. The country is fast reaching a
consensus about the source of its
Men and women in
uniform and dark glasses are part of this emerging
consensus since they are
part of the general citizenry.
What else is there to say about the
likely behaviour of men and women
in uniform and dark glasses, you might ask?
It is as follows:
Institutionally, men and women in uniform and
dark glasses are the
last guarantors of constitutional order and good
governance in any society
before the general citizenry takes steps to demand
a new social contract or
social ordering of things.
institutions of good governance - parliament, judiciary and
executive - fail
or get perverted, the military (if it does not also become
to assess the situation with a view to executing its
constitutional duty to
protect the country and sovereignty of the people and
their right to be
governed well. This is generally difficult without a
national consensus that
the affairs of the country are being poorly run.
My view is that
Zimbabwe has reached that national consensus that the
affairs of the country
are being run or managed badly.
But the problem arises from the
fact that, in Zimbabwe's case, the
military as an institution may have been
perverted or corrupted by the
political guardians deliberately to gain their
loyalty when things come to a
head. The show of support on the eve of the
March presidential election is a
case in point to support this
This possibility is real if what we hear of "goings-on"
rackets in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is true.
Even if the
United Nations report about our top army commanders' involvement
diamonds" were half-true, it reflects and smells very badly of an
was once praised as one of the finest by international standards of
(By the way, I learn of late that DRC stands for
Republic of the Congo. How apt a name!)
three weeks ago, the Daily "Truth" came out with a front page
story from a
Spanish newspaper (El Pais) and we asked what one would expect
Nyarota and his contacts in foreign papers.
Today we hear the same
unpatriotic stories from the world body, the
UN. All we can say is that the
UN report is "the work of groups that were
opposed to Zimbabwe's involvement
in the DRC in the first place".
This is unsatisfactory. Maybe they
had opposed our involvement,
precisely because they suspected our reaction to
the sight of diamonds.
Apparently they were right.
haripu-tirwe. You can't conceal the truth forever,
particularly where so many
are involved. Even if it were a small group - and
48 people is a
They will start squealing on you as you fail to meet their
payment to keep quiet. Some will squeal to clear their
among chefs. It has happened before when Eddison Zvobgo,
without portfolio, came clear on the excesses of the
The strategy that we will silence
them by giving them "40 acres of
land and a mule" (the "mombe mbiri
nemadhongi mashanhu" strategy) won't
work. In fact, it adds pain to injury
when those who never fought in the DRC
war, or in any war for that matter,
allocate themselves huge farms and build
mansions for their families from
these reportedly "illicit diamonds".
Lithi abantu ababoni? Bayabona
vele. Munoti vanhu havaoni? Vanoona
mbune. You think people don't see? They
see very clearly.
Prior to its involvement in the DRC, our military
had performed its
international duties with exemplary excellence. You name
Rwanda, Kosovo, Mozambique and so on (even RENAMO is still
what happened at Gorongoza in 1985!).
DRC, the UN has been citing the Zimbabwe Defence Forces with
high praise in
its international missions. Namuhla sokwenzenjani? Ko nhasi
zvaita sei? What
has happened today that the same UN singles us out
No, no, no, don't give us that Blair and Bush
nonsense because Britain
and America are not new arrivals at the United
Nations. They have always
been there. Tirikushaisha veduwe-e-e; let's admit
we are mistaken, people.
A parallel discourse or debate about these
issues and contradictions
is raging among men and women in uniform and those
in dark glasses. Like in
the civilian debate, there are basically two camps:
those who want the
status quo to continue. Like in its civilian counterpart,
this group is
getting smaller and smaller.
And there are those
who are for change. Similarly, like their civilian
counterparts, they are
getting more and more numerous.
Like in the civilian discourse, the
debate is beginning to narrow down
to individual and institutional
Seemingly, all is well in Parliament, but it is
not; it cannot be.
Seemingly, all is well within the judiciary, but it is
not; it cannot be.
Seemingly, all is well within the presidency, but it is
not; it cannot be.
And again all is seemingly well within the uniformed
forces, but it is not;
it just can't be.
It is the strain of
contradictions in the latter that is often the
straw that broke the camel's
back. It is about to. But in what direction
should the camel run
People make mistakes. For goodness sake, why not admit making
and we move ahead? (Part Three? Maybe).
Professor Masipula Sithole is a lecturer of political science at
University of Zimbabwe and director of the Harare-based Mass Public
Institute. While he is currently on sabbatical leave in the United
America, Sithole can be contacted at e-mail address email@example.com and
(202) 429 3819.
FinGaz - Comment
Insiza's wake-up call
9:58:48 AM (GMT +2)
INSIZA'S parliamentary by-election result is a
final wake-up call to
the opposition MDC to urgently re-think the wisdom of
its participation in
Zimbabwe's national elections that are held under the
present uneven playing
The MDC's participation in these
polls, while understandable by all
democrats, has merely served to confer a
semblance of legitimacy and
respectability to such elections.
shown once again by events in Insiza, these elections are almost
accompanied by political violence meant to influence the outcome
Furthermore, the very electoral rules under which
are held are patently unfair if only because they virtually
ruling ZANU PF, one of the contestants, to be the prosecutor,
jury and judge
at the same time.
In reality, the election rules
favour the governing party, which in
turn ensures that the entire election
machinery is staffed by personnel who
either belong to ZANU PF or are its
In the case of Insiza, one of the MDC's
Kadengu, was shot at in violence that must surely
have intimidated him and
other opposition followers.
of the MDC's chief election strategists in the area claims
to have been
ordered out of the province until after balloting after being
fomenting violence there.
The MDC's own election candidate for
Insiza, Siyabonga Ncube, had to
flee the constituency for his safety after
being twice attacked by groups he
and other witnesses said were ZANU PF
Ncube has quoted police as saying they could not guarantee
if he remained in Insiza, a claim so far not repudiated by the
Then we had the issue of food handouts
in the famine-hit area. The
internationally respected World Food Programme
(WFP), a United Nations
agency, publicly accused ZANU PF youths of seizing
three metric tonnes of
its maize which it said were later dished out to
ruling party followers in
The UN agency subsequently
halted the food distribution. The
government, which accused WFP's food
distribution partner in Insiza of being
an MDC sympathiser, then decided to
increase its maize handouts there at a
time when most villagers had no
It then became a case of "hungry voters choosing between the
maize", as one Zimbabwean newspaper, the Daily News, reported on
We note that both police and election officials have
that the actual balloting at the weekend went off peacefully
questions must indeed be asked on the effect of the pre-poll
against MDC officials on the actual election result.
Could the large number of Insiza voters who did not turn up to cast
ballots - more than half of the registered voters - have anything to
the fear of retribution, as happened after both the 2000
election and this year's presidential ballot?
ZANU PF's use of
violence as a tool in elections, plus the highly
flawed electoral rules which
cry out for an immediate overhaul, must surely
make the point to the MDC that
its participation in polls to try to bring
about democratic change is not
serving any purpose.
In other words, the opposition party must go
back to the drawing board
to examine its options in the face of very serious
challenges that it faces.
But what could the party do, many are
asking, pointing to a virtual
government ban on industrial strikes and mass
stayaways which the MDC and
its supporting partners have in the past used as
a political weapon?
In the circumstances, others searching for a
possible solution are
asking whether there could be a compromise government
of national unity
between the MDC and ZANU PF, at least as suggested by
presidents Thabo Mbeki
and Olusegun Obasanjo of South Africa and Nigeria
But a quick and sharp answer to this suggestion, at
least from ZANU PF
's perspective, has all but killed this thinking.
President Robert Mugabe
has made clear that such a government is not only a
non-starter but that
ZANU PF will not countenance it.
So the MDC
has been left with very few, if any, other viable options.
Many in the land,
clearly tired and angered by ZANU PF's misrule of two
decades, are anxiously
waiting for answers.
We ask: could the opposition party be facing
possible annihilation by
an entrenched ZANU PF, which is determined to use
everything and anything to
remain in power?
Striking teachers barred from leaving
10/31/02 10:06:44 AM (GMT +2)
JOHANNESBURG - The impasse between striking teachers in Zimbabwe and
government over better pay continued this week as a further 230 teachers
served with letters of suspension.
So far close to 700 teachers
have been ordered not to turn up for work
following a break-down in talks
between the government and the Progressive
Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe
(PTUZ), the union said.
"Contrary to reports, none of the 627
teachers that were fired had
been reinstated. In fact, just today (Tuesday)
230 of our members received
letters of suspension. They have been ordered to
stay away from schools,"
PTUZ spokesman Macdonald Mangauzani
Mangauzani added that the suspension held for three months
teachers would not be remunerated during this time. Moreover,
would not be allowed to leave the country without the
permission of the
ministry of education and could not seek other employment
The teachers, who began the nationwide
strike on October 8, are
demanding a 100 percent salary increment backdated
to January this year and
another 100 percent cost of living adjustment
backdated to June.
On Monday, Education Minister Aeneas Chigwedere
announced that the
government would assess the conditions of service for
teachers in a move
that will see them receiving hefty salary increments in
January next year,
the state-controlled Herald newspaper
Zimbabwean teachers are among the poorest paid in the
region. A high
school teacher takes home $20 000 (US $365) a month - IRIN
11 MDC Insiza poll agents assaulted
10/31/02 10:06:13 AM (GMT +2)
BULAWAYO - Eleven election agents of
the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) in the just-ended Insiza
were rounded up on Monday night and severely
assaulted by suspected ruling
ZANU PF supporters, an MDC spokesman said this
But police in Gwanda, the provincial capital of Matabeleland
where Insiza is located, said they were not aware of the alleged
MDC officials in Bulawayo named the victims as Khumbulani
Themba Moyo, Fiso Nyathi, Thulani Ncube, Nkululeko Sibanda, Mester
Oxford Nyoni, Agnes Sibanda, Keziya Dube, Simbarashe Ncube and Zodwa
MDC provincial spokesman Victor Nyoni said the 11, who
polling agents during last weekend's Insiza parliamentary
by-election won by
ZANU PF, were rounded up from their homesteads in Fort
Rixon on Monday night
by ZANU PF militia.
They were then
allegedly detained and assaulted at a secret location
in the area. They were
reportedly released yesterday morning.
"They are seriously injured.
I have personally ferried all the injured
to a private hospital in Bulawayo.
They are all in bad shape," Nyoni said.
ZANU PF officials in
Matabeleland South this week said they were too
busy celebrating their
party's Insiza victory to comment on the matter.
"Call Britain for
comment," said one ruling party official in the
Gwanda office, repeating
government and ZANU PF claims that the MDC is
backed by Britain.
"My bosses are out celebrating this sweet victory. Go away."
Bulawayo, ZANU PF youths clad in green military fatigues of militia
trained under the guise of national youth service stoned the regional
of the MDC during their victory celebrations earlier this week,
running battles with opposition supporters.
The façade of the MDC
offices and several vehicles, including those
belonging to passersby, were
extensively damaged in the hour-long
skirmishes. MDC youths retaliated by
stoning ZIDECO, a private college owned
by ZANU PF's deputy commissar
- Staff Reporter
CFU refuses to hold ballot on evictions
10/31/02 10:04:58 AM (GMT +2)
Farmers' Union (CFU) national executive this week threw
out requests by
members to hold a referendum to determine whether the union
litigation against the government's mass eviction of farmers
CFU vice president Doug Taylor Freeme said the union,
squabbles which culminated in the resignation of CFU president
and director David Hasluck earlier this week, had refused to
heed calls by
many of its members to call for a referendum. He declined to
Most of the CFU members had expected the
council to call for a
referendum after Tuesday's meeting so that members
could vote on whether
they wanted the union to represent them in challenging
"We are not going to have any
referendum on the issue," Freeme told
the Financial Gazette after Tuesday's
A senior official in the council said the union's
afraid that members would have overwhelmingly voted for the
CFU to represent
the white farmers in litigation against the
The insiders said some remaining members were
threatening to pull out
and cease their subscriptions, the mainstay of the
CFU, if the leadership
continued to refuse to yield to their
Figures from the CFU show that between 600 and 1 000
members out of an
original 4 500 registered farmers two years ago are still
farming. The rest
have been evicted from their farms by the government under
The official said members
questioned the leadership's wisdom in trying
to engage the government in the
face of forcible evictions and when
President Robert Mugabe and his senior
officials had already ruled out talks
with the CFU.
government says the CFU leadership should drop all court action as
precondition for dialogue, which the white farmers' body had done after
March presidential elections.
But the CFU only found to its grief
that the government sought to use
this to accelerate its land reforms of
seizing more farms without paying
2000, the Supreme Court ruled that the government's land
programme was illegal. But last year in November, the same
court - this time
headed by newly appointed Chief Justice Godfrey
Chidyausiku - ruled that the
programme was legal.
CFU insiders say following the government's
amendment of the Land
Acquisition Act in which farmers were given 90 days to
wind up their
operations by mid-August this year, members then approached its
to challenge the evictions, but Cloete's executive refused hoping
amicable end to the matter.
A CFU official said: "The
leadership argues that why use the courts in
a country where justice has been
perverted and where we will be
steam-rolled, but members are saying it still
does not help to do nothing as
very few farmers are still on the
"Members say that the policy of remaining quiet or of
aggressor has not worked, hence the need for the CFU to
spearhead the court
Meanwhile it emerged this week that
Taylor Freeme is tipped to take
over the presidency of the union from Cloete,
while Jerry Grant - currently
deputy director for commodities - would be
appointed to the position of full
CFU director to replace Hasluck
10/31/02 10:04:17 AM (GMT
LAST week we published an article regarding a
submitted to the United Nations' Security Council by the panel of
the illegal exploitation of natural resources and other forms of
the Democratic Republic of the Congo
In our article, we summarised parts of the
were relevant to Zimbabwe. Inter alia we
"The UN investigators said a network of
Zimbabweans led by
Mnangangwa and also including controversial private
businessmen such as
Billy Rautenbach, a Zimbabwean facing criminal charges in
South Africa, had
turned Harare ' into a significant illicit diamond trading
Following publication of the story by
Gazette, Mr Rautenbach telephoned our offices and spoke on
occasions to our Assistant Editor Nqobile Nyathi, who was then
Editor-in-Chief, and our News Editor Abel
He told both that he had not been involved
in any trade in
diamonds from the DRC and that he was not mentioned at all in
the report. He
said that the UN investigators who had compiled the report had
company of any wrongdoing.
also told us that it was not correct to say
that he had a case to answer in
South Africa. He said that the courts in
South Africa had recently cleared
him, as was evident by a recent court
order requiring South African
authorities to release a number of his assets
that had been seized pending
the determination of various allegations
Mr Rautenbach felt that our report had tarnished
and demanded that we publish a satisfactory correction. We suggested
Rautenbach, or his lawyers, should provide us with the correction
required to be published but Mr Rautenbach declined to do
We would like to clarify the fact that there is
statement in this report suggesting that Mr Rautenbach was involved in
However the report, which makes
a number of adverse
comments in regard to the involvement of Zimbabweans in
in the DRC, does in fact mention Mr Rautenbach, contrary
to his allegations.
What it says about Mr Rautenbach is
"Zimbabwean Billy Rautenbach headed a
joint venture cobalt
mining company and was Chief Executive of Gecamines from
November 1998 to
March 2000. Although stripped of his cobalt concessions in
Rautenbach told the panel that the government of the DRC had
company, Ridgepoint International, mining rights to Gecamines
Shinkolobwe, which include substantial deposits of uranium,
cobalt. Mr Rautenbach's representatives said that any new
agreement would be
subject to the new mining code of the DRC and any uranium
would be open to inspections by the International Atomic
Immediately following these
statements, the report goes on
levels of mineral exploitation would be
impossible without the collusion of
highly placed government officials who
provide mining licences and export
permits in return for private gain. The
panel has compiled extensive
documentation of such facilitation."
statements were intended to refer to the reported
deals of Zimbabweans and
others in mineral exploitation in the DRC.
"Although Ridgepoint International, run by
the previous foreign investor in the Kababankola concessions,
had to operate
with much more dilapidated processing plants, it generated
more than $20
million profit within eighteen months of taking
The dollars referred to in this report
are US dollars.
As to Mr Rautenbach's suggestion that
the recent South
African judgment, which released his assets previously held
by South African
authorities, effectively cleared him of all allegations, it
understanding that this is not entirely
Firstly, we understand that the South African
ordered the release of Mr Rautenbach's assets inter alia on the grounds
procedural irregularities in the seizure thereof.
Secondly, we understand that that order is the subject of
appeal on the part
of the authorities.
Thirdly, we understand that it has
not been possible for
the South African authorities to make any progress with
the prosecution of
the allegations which they have against Mr Rautenbach due
to his continued
absence from South Africa since late
South African authorities have repeatedly stated
would like to have Mr Rautenbach extradited to South Africa to
to complete their investigations and prosecute the allegations
completion, but that their efforts have not been successful.