November 1, 2008
By Our Correspondent
MUTARE - At least five people were shot dead last weekend when police
launched an aerial raid by helicopter on alleged illegal diamond panners in
the diamond rich Chiadzwa area of the eastern province of Manicaland.
Passmore Nyakureba, a lawyer with the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights told
the Zimbabwe Times Friday that the police used live ammunition to drive out
multitudes of diamond diggers who fled into nearby mountains during the
"The situation in Chiadzwa resembles a war situation," Nyakureba said.
"According to our investigations, at least five people were confirmed dead
as a result of last weekend's police raid alone. The figure could be higher
as we are yet to confirm some of the reports.
"This has become an everyday scenario. The only difference is that the
police this time dispatched a helicopter in a bid to drive out gold panners
from Chiadzwa. Up to five people die virtually every week as a result of
being shot by the police or after being bitten by police dogs and left for
dead. Some have been maimed for life."
Police are said to have used tear-smoke to force the panners out of their
holes before they fired live ammunition at them.
Efforts to seek comment from police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner
Wayne Bvudzijena were fruitless.
Assistant Commissioner Chagonda, the officer in charge of crime in
Manicaland province refused to discuss the matter with The Zimbabwe Times.
He insisted on this reporter driving to his base in Manicaland, some 270
kilometres from Harare, to discuss the issue.
"I cannot discuss such information with you on the phone," he said. "I would
be much comfortable if you come to my office for us to discus the matter."
Human rights violations are said to be rampant at Chiadzwa.
Nyakureba said the police would hand the bodies of their victims over to
relatives without any post-mortem being carried out.
The police are also said to be arbitrarily arresting on travellers on the
main road to the Chiadzwa area on suspicion they are prospective diamond
He said any traveller whose identity card does not bear the code number 75
which is the number assigned to the district was arrested.
"Any one whose identity card bears a different number faces immediate
arrest," said Nyakureba.
He said his organization was always fighting to free people from arbitrary
Said Nyakureba: "As many as 200 people can be arrested at one given time in
Chiadzwa. They are all charged with one offence and tried in one sitting.
Even worse is the fact that that they can all be remanded collectively
against their rights to be tried as individuals.
"As many as 500 to 1000 panners can be found at Mutare central remand prison
at any given time. Most of the time, the cells will be without any water or
food. A hundred people are forced to eat food that would normally be meant
for 20 people and feeding is often once a day."
Chiadzwa is situated in the Marange communal area, more than 300 km east of
The human rights situation has deteriorated in Chiadzwa since 2006 when rich
deposits of diamond were discovered in the area by villagers.
When a Zimbabwe Times crew visited the area last week scores of people
related heart-rending stories of abuse at the hands of the police.
A dealer, who is a frequent visitor to the area to sell clothing and
foodstuffs, said desperate panners were occasionally seen by the main
roadside while waving for transport carry injured colleagues to the border
city of Mutare. The injured are normally carried on makeshift stretcher
"There are many risks that one faces as soon as one sets foot in this area,"
said one panner.
"If you are not shot at by the police, you can fall victim to criminals who
have invaded the area to rob people of valuable goods. Sometimes you can be
attacked and robbed by your own colleagues after you discover a diamond."
Harare, Zimbabwe - A cholera outbreak which hit the Zimbabwe capital,
Harare, this week has claimed five more lives health officials said on
Saturday. Earlier, health authorities had reported one death from the
outbreak, and at least 20 others hospitalised.
A special medical centre has been created in the capital to treat the
growing number of victims, most of who are believed to have become ill after
using unclean water.
At least three of the deceased drew water from the same well in one of the
poorest suburbs of the city.
Cholera has broken out in many parts of the country and has so far killed
more than 30 people.
Poor sanitation, especially use of unclean water, is widely blamed for the
Harare - 01/11/2008
Thulani Mpofu, Correspondent
a.. Last Updated: November 01. 2008 11:37PM UAE / November 1. 2008 7:37PM
BULAWAYO, ZIMBABWE // Veterans of Zimbabwe's 1970s liberation war who went
on to became enforcers for Robert Mugabe, the president, are in disarray, a
development analysts say could weaken his party's future election campaigns.
The militants led bloody campaigns for Mr Mugabe during several elections
over the past eight years - intimidating, beating and sometimes killing
But now veterans who fought the liberation war under Zimbabwe People's
Revolutionary Army (Zipra), the military wing of the Patriotic
Front-Zimbabwe African People's Union (PF-Zapu), have broken away from the
original Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans' Association (ZNLWVA).
They say they are being sidelined by former fellow association members who
fought under the Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (Zanla), the
former military wing of Mr Mugabe's party, the Zimbabwe African National
Union (Zanu), which was populated by elements from the country's dominant
Shona tribal grouping.
Only a few former Zipra combatants, the rebels say, are benefiting from
ministerial, ambassadorial and senior civil service appointments or other
government-supported programmes, whereas their Zanla colleagues are enjoying
the lion's share of the national cake.
The Zipra liberation fighters fought under the late vice president, Joshua
Nkomo, and mostly came from the Ndebele-speaking Matabeleland region, in
Before their planned rally here on Saturday, apparently to test the waters
for a Nov 25 inaugural convention, they have already appointed an interim
executive. Reports say the veterans' breakaway is a precursor of plan to
revive Zapu, their former party, which united with Mugabe's Zanu in 1987 to
Given the split, said John Makumbe, a professor of political science at the
University of Zimbabwe, Mr Mugabe might no longer depend on the war
"They used to give him strong and unconditional support, but even they no
longer see value in supporting him. It will certainly have an impact on
Zanu-PF because without war veterans and the youth militia, the party cannot
campaign. But this is a pattern we have seen since February."
Mr Mugabe is battling internal divisions, which exploded on the eve of the
March general election when a faction sponsored by Simba Makoni, a former
minister and member of Zanu-PF's top secretariat, decided to contest the
presidential election as an independent.
Ray Ncube, a retired army colonel now interim chairman of the Organisation
of Zipra Veterans, is bitter that despite liberating their country from
British colonialism in 1980, members of his organisation continue to wallow
in abject poverty.
"The main reason why we have broken away from ZNLWVA is that our membership
of that organisation has not helped," Mr Ncube said.
"If you want to see a poor veteran, just look around for a former Zipra
soldier. He has no land, no formal job, and no money to fend for their
families. To see a former battalion commander, who sacrificed his life to
liberate his country, sustained lifetime injuries during that war, living in
abject poverty is painful. You ask yourself why we went to war in the first
Another grievance, said John Gazi, the interim secretary of the veterans'
group, was the failure by Mr Mugabe's government to return 20 farms and 28
businesses, seized from Zipra in the 1980s after armed clashes between Zipra
elements and the national army.
Of the 25 farms that were taken, Mr Gazi said, five farms have been returned
and only two of the 30 businesses seized have been officially handed over.
Numbering about 30,000, the veterans shot to prominence in 1997 when they
staged raucous demonstrations, including one inside a high court during a
sitting, to arm-twist Mr Mugabe to award them gratuities of US$4,000
(Dh14,700) each and lifetime pensions.
This triggered a crash of the local currency, and pushed the economy into a
downwards spiral from which it has yet to escape.
In June 2000, as Mr Mugabe faced what looked a certain electoral defeat at
the hands of the then few months-old opposition Movement for Democratic
Change, he invited war veterans to boost his campaign. An orgy of violence
targeting MDC supporters followed and his party won the legislative poll by
a five-seat margin.
Worse violence followed in July the same year, when the ex-combatants, with
tacit government backing, led countrywide invasions of white-owned farms.
The MDC estimates that between this year's March election and the June
presidential election runoff, about 100 of its supporters were killed by
suspected Zanu-PF supporters led by war veterans and the youth militia.
Timothy Sibanda, 56, a former Zipra cadre loyal to the breakaway group, said
he was a foot soldier of Zanu-PF's re-election campaigns, but he had nothing
to show for that.
"Zanu-PF would have been history were it not for our work, especially in
rural areas," Mr Sibanda said. "People laugh at us because we remain poor
despite our hard work."
However, Joseph Chinotimba, the self-styled commander of the 2000 farm
invasions, said Mr Ncube and his ilk have no future. "They are misguided
elements who have no support on the ground.
"But I must say Zanu-PF and genuine war veterans are one. The ministers that
you see are war veterans. President Mugabe belonged to Zanla and his first
vice president [Joseph] Msika was Zipra. So the point is Zanu-PF and war
veterans are united."
* The National
Saturday, 01 November 2008 21:06
Senior Zanu PF officials were yesterday booed by angry supporters
after Vice-President Joseph Msika chickened out of a meeting to discuss the
revival of PF Zapu at White City Stadium.
The fairly attended meeting was called off at 4pm - more than six
hours after its scheduled start with an announcement that Msika had suddenly
This was despite the fact that staff from the Vice-President's office
had spent several hours at the venue preparing for his arrival.
The venue was also teeming with Central Intelligence Organisation
(CIO) operatives since morning.
"He (Msika) called me to his house to discuss this meeting," Zanu PF
provincial chairman, Mcloud Chawe told the agitated crowd. "Unfortunately
the old man is not feeling well and since this was his meeting we have
decided to move it forward."
"The national chairman, John Nkomo cannot attend because he is
travelling to South Africa for a medical check up.
"Since some of the questions that will be asked here will be too big
for me, we would rather find another date for the meeting."
Following the announcement, Information and Publicity Minister,
Sikhanyiso Ndlovu and other Zanu PF officials tried to leave the stadium
sparking protests from war veterans who demanded to be addressed.
The former freedom fighters then took turns to address the crowd
calling on PF Zapu to break away from the ruling party.
A group of less than 20 carrying Mugabe's campaign posters caused a
stir when they started singing while the meeting was still in progress. They
left the stadium after they were ignored.
"We have been waiting for this for too long," said a war veteran from
Harare, who exchanged harsh words with Ndlovu. He had tried to stop the
minister from leaving the stadium before addressing the crowd. "Our leaders
are running away from us when we want them to address the real issues and
this is why Zanu PF is always losing in this part of the country."
Ndlovu had also been booed by the crowd after he chanted Zanu PF and
Former Home Affairs Minister and veteran nationalist, Dumiso Dabengwa
who broke ranks with Mugabe during the March elections was also at the
The war veterans said they were giving the Zanu PF leadership
including Msika, a week to call another meeting. Zanu PF officials, who
spoke at the meeting, took turns to denounce Mugabe and the ruling party.
Saturday, 01 November 2008 21:04
THE Kellogg Foundation, which supports activities in Zimbabwe,
yesterday suspended its operations in the region amid reports that
"significant financial irregularities" had been uncovered at its offices in
Pretoria, South Africa.
In a statement released simultaneously in South Africa and the United
States yesterday morning, the Foundation said a former US diplomat had been
appointed to advise on future programming.
The Foundation has awarded grants of more than US$350 million to
deserving causes in Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland
and Zimbabwe since 1986.
Its operations in Zimbabwe include integrated rural development
projects in Bulilima-Mangwe in Matabeleland South province and Chimanimani
in Manicaland. There was no immediate comment from the head of Kellogg
Foundation in Zimbabwe by the time of going to print.
But early last year The Standard reported that Kellogg officials had
misled their visiting senior officials by diverting them to a project in
Manicaland that had been financed by an entirely different donor as they
themselves had nothing to show the visiting mission.
Established in 1930, the Kellogg Foundation supports children,
families and communities as they strengthen and create conditions that
propel vulnerable children to achieve success as individuals and as
contributors to the larger community and society.
The Foundation said it was suspending operations in southern Africa
for the duration of a "financial audit" of its Pretoria office and that it
had also has asked James A Joseph, who was the US Ambassador to South Africa
from 1996 through 1999, to help the Foundation restructure its programming
in the region.
Sterling K Speirn, president and CEO of the Foundation, said: "We are,
of course, distressed that our important work in the region has been
compromised and will take all necessary steps to determine the facts, take
action against those responsible, make every effort to recover the missing
funds and redirect them to worthy beneficiaries.
"We will also take steps to strengthen our administrative systems to
prevent a reoccurrence of this highly regrettable incident."
Speirn said, retaining Ambassador Joseph, President Emeritus of the
Council on Foundations and now a professor at Duke University, "underscores
our commitment to southern Africa".
"Ambassador Joseph's stature, record of achievement, and reputation
for integrity gives us great confidence in our ability to continue serving
children and communities in Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, South
Africa, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe."
Foundation spokesperson Gregory A Lyman, senior vice-president and
corporate secretary, said preliminary indications from the audit showed that
"several hundred thousand dollars" may have been diverted illegally, and
that the final amount may be higher depending on the audit result.
In the meantime, all financial transactions had ceased and all assets
have been secured until the forensic audit is completed.
Lyman said the auditors and Foundation attorneys were working closely
with South African law-enforcement authorities to conduct a "thorough and
Ambassador Joseph's role will be to advise Kellogg Foundation
management on its programme in the region until all Pretoria issues have
been resolved and steps taken to ensure that Foundation operations in
southern Africa are sound and serve the people of the region.
Lyman said Ambassador Joseph was "the ideal person" to help the
Foundation set its future course in Africa, noting that the Kellogg
Foundation first consulted the Ambassador almost a quarter-century ago when
the Foundation first made the decision to expand operations to the region.
Saturday, 01 November 2008 20:40
THE government last week tried to show a semblance of normalcy in the
education sector by going ahead with Grade VII examinations and holding a
graduation ceremony at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ), when there was no
learning for the better part of the year right from primary schools to
The government also announced that the UZ would open tomorrow for the
2008/2009 academic year - almost three months after the day the new semester
was supposed to have begun. Other state universities remain closed.
Lecturers, teachers and students unions on Friday slammed the move to
open the UZ when the government - through higher and tertiary education
permanent secretary, Washington Mbizo - acknowledged last week that staff
records were in a shambles. They said the latest moves were a government
attempt to "save face and create the impression that all is well".
"They cannot say they are opening for the sake of opening, like they
have been doing with primary schools," said Zimbabwe National Students Union
(Zinasu) president Clever Bere.
Bere said students "won't sit idly and cowardly".
"If they want the university to open, they must ensure all is in place
for the students to get quality tuition. If our demands are not met, we will
not stop; we will continue to tackle the authorities head-on."
On Friday's graduation, Bere said it was "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".
Announcing the opening of the institution, Mbizo said there would be
no student accommodation on campus. He however did not explain how the
institution's dilapidated ablution facilities would handle the more than 10
000 students expected at the institution.
As a result of the accommodation, transport and food, said Zinasu,
students would find it "difficult to concentrate whilst hungry".
President of the Zimbabwe State University Lecturers Association
(ZSULA), Government Phiri said lecturers were taking a wait and see attitude
on the opening. He said it was "not practical" for lecturers to go to work
tomorrow, as they will need many times more cash than they can withdraw at
the bank for a one way trip.
"As long as our demands have not been met, we can not start teaching.
It is not just about getting salaries, but salaries that are enough and
accessible," said Phiri.
"We do not have power when it comes to deciding when the institution
opens, that's the administrative role of the Vice-Chancellor and his team.
Our power is in the delivery of tuition services."
Lecturers' representatives are on Tuesday morning scheduled to meet
with officials from the Ministry of Finance to discuss payment alternatives.
Phiri said only after that meeting would they be able to decide whether or
not to resume duty.
Progressive Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) secretary-general,
Raymond Majongwe said the decision to open the UZ and administer public
examinations was a "bad reflection on the government".
"Grade VII examinations were conducted in a chaotic and erratic
manner. Some schools wrote after others," Majongwe said. "There were several
mix-ups. In some cases, people who are not known at some schools were called
to invigilate. There were certain instances where headmen also invigilated
Although most primary and secondary schools managed to stick to their
calendar, there was not much activity as teachers were on strike for the
better part of this year. The situation was worsened by the political
shenanigans before and after the March and June elections.
Last month, Zinasu petitioned Parliament to urgently act on "the grave
distress of the students". The students union said "the infrastructure at
all state institutions is in a dilapidated state" and that "reading and
teaching materials are either not sufficient or not available".
The petition said because of the current economic melee, it had become
"really difficult for students to sustain themselves".
UZ lecturer John Makumbe said it was a "very unwise decision to open
the university now".
"It is a disaster. How can we open when there is no water? The toilets
are in a terrible state right now when there is nobody there, and what when
there are up to 14 000 people?" Makumbe said. "This is a perfect recipe for
a cholera outbreak. It's an unhealthy situation. There are no lecturers. We
know from postgraduate courses that most lecturers have not been showing up
for the obvious reason that they are not adequately paid."
At the Midlands State University authorities recalled the October
salaries for lecturers. No explanation was immediately given.
Lecturers who spoke to The Standard said the move was just like
dismissing them from work.
Secretary General of the MSU Lecturers' Association (MSULA), Tenson
Tawanda Mugodzwa said lecturers had been told to register again for them to
be able to access their salaries.
"Although some of the lecturers went to register some did not as they
felt that this was demeaning. It has never happened before. We have always
known that the registration exercise only applies to students," fumed
However, those who registered also had their salaries of between $2
and $2,5 million recalled.
Nhamo Mhiripiri, a senior MSU lecturer, said the withdrawal of the
salaries was humiliating. He said this was victimisation of the few
lecturers still remaining in the country.
Attempts to get comment from the Acting Vice-Chancellor, Rungano
Zvobgo, were fruitless. His secretary said he was attending the UZ
graduation in Harare. The Registrar's phones went unanswered.
The lecturers are demanding that professors at state universities get
around US$8 000 and lecturers around US$5 000. Due to the licensing of shops
to sell goods in foreign currency, lecturers, like most Zimbabweans, are now
struggling to make ends meet as they cannot raise forex.
No official comment could be immediately obtained from the UZ. But
speaking at the institution's graduation on Friday, UZ Vice-Chancellor Levi
Nyagura acknowledged "the past academic year had many challenges" but he
said despite the challenges "the university remained focused on its core
Saturday, 01 November 2008 20:13
MEDICAL staff at Harare Central Hospital - one of Zimbabwe's largest
referral hospitals - met on Friday morning and resolved to continue with a
stay away to press the government to address deteriorating conditions in the
health sector and improve their working conditions.
For the past two weeks Harare Central and Parirenyatwa hospitals have
been turning away patients, informing members of the public the hospital is
closed because there is no staff.
More than 50 medical personnel who attended Friday's meeting said they
were "not on strike" but were failing to go to work as it has become
expensive for them to commute daily because of escalating transport costs.
The staffers also resolved not to come to work because there are no
drugs while other essential medical equipment is not functioning. Going to
work under the current circumstances, they said, made them feel guilty of
continuously endangering the lives of patients by pretending as if
everything was in order.
"We resolved to stay at home until next week Friday because we can't
continue to come to work just to watch patients die because there is nothing
here," said one nurse, speaking on condition of anonymity.
"There are no drips, no antibiotics, no sutures and anaesthetics for
operations. It is better we close until we have a fully functional health
delivery system. What we have now is a system that endangers the lives of
Soon after the meeting, The Standard understands that the Permanent
Secretary for Health and Child Welfare, Dr Edward Mabhiza visited the
hospital to assess the situation. Sources at the hospital say Mabhiza
arrived at the hospital around 11am on Friday and expressed shock at the
"He met with senior medical personnel and consultants at Harare
hospital and promised government would look into the grievances of health
workers. He was very convincing, really. I think he has realised that this
is a huge problem now and knows government has no money."
Chairman of the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights, Dr
Douglas Gwatidzo said the closure of the country's hospitals had greatly
affected many people who depend on the public health system for medical
Gwatidzo urged government to "come clean" and admit its failures and
declare an emergency in the health sector so that the donor community and
other concerned Zimbabweans can assist.
"Many people will continue to die if the Minister of Health doesn't
tell the truth about the crisis at hand," Gwatidzo said. "We urge government
to reconsider its position and declare an emergency in the health sector so
that many deaths will be avoided."
Earlier last week, Health and Child Welfare Minister David
Parirenyatwa denied hospitals had closed down telling The Standard the
health sector had not been spared by the prevailing economic crisis in the
Saturday, 01 November 2008 20:11
WOMEN'S rights organisations have petitioned Southern Africa
Development Community (Sadc) heads of state "to encourage speedy resolution"
of the current deadlock over the allocation of the Ministry of Home
Affairs - and as it has now emerged - nine others between Zanu PF and the
Sadc leaders are expected to meet again soon in yet another bid to
find a way of implementing a power-sharing agreement signed on September 15.
Leaders of the Women's Coalition of Zimbabwe and the Feminists Political
Education Project (FePEP) confirmed to The Standard they have already
prepared communiqués to be presented at the Sadc leaders' meeting. Gender
activists have also mobilized women to picket at the venue of the talks,
which is yet to be confirmed.
"In addition to the communiqué, we will also be sending a delegation
of women," said WCoZ co-ordinator Netsai Mushonga. "We will also mobilize
civil society wherever the talks would be held to help us in sending our
message across. These politicians do not seem to care about what is going
on. The consequences on the ground are deadly, especially for women. As
women we are very disappointed, as they are clearly negotiating in bad
One of the FePEP co-ordinators, Theresa Mugadza said what was
worsening the situation was the secrecy in which the talks were being held.
"The truth is that nobody knows what is happening in this process,"
Mugadza said. For us, this is more of an information-seeking mission, to
find out what is happening."
In their petition, FePEP members said "women are continuing to die of
hunger while Sadc refers the matter back and forth; hesitant to make a
decision that would save people's lives".
Reads the petition: "Your Excellencies, it is our firm belief that
final resolution of the Zimbabwe question, lies fully with Sadc and history
will judge Sadc harshly should it fail to arrest the exploding humanitarian
crisis in Zimbabwe. Sadc has a responsibility and indeed a duty to help
Zimbabwean leaders help themselves as they have clearly failed collectively,
to resolve the issues affecting their electorate."
On Monday, over 300 WCoZ picketed outside the Rainbow Towers Hotel
where members of the Sadc organ on politics, defence and security were
meeting the facilitation and negotiating teams. The women, dressed in black
and white, all had empty plates and pots "to display our hunger".
Their mission of getting an audience with the heads of state was
however not accomplished as the police descended ruthlessly on the women.
According to WCoZ, 47 women were arrested, while 11 others were injured.
Over the past month, WCoZ, FePEP and Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA)
have successfully mobilized women to demonstrate against the snail's pace on
the implementation of the agreement.
The women's organisations argue "people are dying of hunger on a daily
basis". They also want the incoming government to be clear on its commitment
on gender parity, which according to the activists means a 50-50 allocation
Three weeks ago, the women successfully picketed at the Rainbow
Towers, and were addressed by the three negotiating teams and their
principals, and members of the facilitation team.
By Vusumuzi Sifile
Saturday, 01 November 2008 19:44
A British journalist was last Thursday arrested at Harare
International Airport on allegations of practising journalism without
Phillip Warington Taylor (36) intended to return to Britain after
spending 30 days in Zimbabwe when Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO)
agents arrested him aboard his flight, which was about to take off.
"We went to court today and he is out of custody on $150 000 bail,"
Taylor's lawyer Harrison Nkomo said. He is expected in court on November 5.
Taylor, who was ordered to surrender his passport, is denying the
charges being preferred against him saying he never at any point practised
journalism during his month-long stay in the country. He says he was only a
The Zimbabwe government is infamous for its heavy-handed treatment of
foreign and private media journalists, with many having fallen victim to
arrests especially during election periods.
Taylor's arrest was effected after an historic signing of a political
agreement between Zanu PF and the two opposition MDC formations where a
pledge was made to "uphold and develop press freedom".
Saturday, 01 November 2008 19:16
Prime Minister-designate, Morgan Tsvangirai says government should
declare this year a non-agricultural season because a critical shortage of
inputs would make serious farming almost impossible.
Addressing a rally of close to 20 000 people at Mamutse stadium in
Masvingo recently, Tsvangirai hit out at the Zanu PF government accusing it
of failing to plan ahead of the agricultural season.
Tsvangirai said Zimbabweans would not have anything to harvest even if
the country receives abundant rains.
"We have no agricultural season to talk about this year, the country
is facing a serious shortage of inputs and that means we will not have
anything to harvest even if the rains come," he said. "This year it will be
fair if we say there is no agricultural season at all."
A few weeks before rains are expected to set in, farmers are failing
to access inputs such as seeds and fertiliser.
The only farming plan in place appears to be a conditional rescue
package worth R300 million organised by the South African government. It
depends upon a political agreement.
Tsvangirai predicted that Zimbabweans would continue begging for food
"We will definitely be a country of beggars for the next two years. We
have no option but to beg for food aid from other countries beginning from
this year, through next year until the harvest time of the year after next."
The Prime Minister-designate said the level of starvation needed a
leadership that shows commitment to its people before cases of death begin
to be recorded.
"We are aware of the level of starvation hitting people in the country
especially those in the rural areas. People are fighting for wild fruits
with donkeys for survival. This is very bad. The people need to be helped by
their leaders but is seems those who claim to be leading the country are not
concerned," Tsvangirai said.
The MDC leader told a cheering crowd that continued to shout nzara,
nzara (hunger, hunger), that his party had already started efforts to source
food aid from other countries and "if the power- sharing deal materialises
the issue of hunger will be our first priority".
He however called for commitment from parties involved in the
power-sharing deal that has been stalled by failure to break the impasse on
the allocation of ministries.
Saturday, 01 November 2008 19:11
A Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Community (ZimVAC) interim report
that claims that opposition controlled areas in Matabeleland South do not
need urgent food assistance has sparked fierce accusations that the
government is politicising operations of aid agencies.
ZimVAC comprises the government, United Nations (UN) agencies and
non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and it carries out hunger
vulnerability assessments in the country.
But its latest report was mainly compiled by government officers in
August following the ban on the operations of non-governmental organisations
in June on accusations that they supported the opposition.
The Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development
reportedly sent a circular to all non-governmental organisations ordering
them to prioritise most food insecure districts as identified by ZimVAC.
According to the ZimVAC interim assessment report, Bulilima, Mangwe
and Matobo are excluded from the districts that need urgent food assistance
despite reports that villagers are now surviving on tree leaves, roots and
Coincidentally all the three districts are controlled by the Professor
Arthur Mutambara led Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
Zanu PF-controlled Beitbridge, Insiza and some parts of Gwanda are
identified as the most food insecure.
Umzingwane is the only MDC- controlled district that falls in the same
"There is no way that they can say Plumtree has enough food,"
complained Bulilima East MP, Norman Mpofu.
"I have serious cases in Bulilima of people who are on the brink of
starvation and the NGOs that normally come to their rescue are saying they
cannot assist because they are guided by the ZimVAC report."
He said it was curious that almost all the districts that were
classified as food secure were in the hands of the opposition. The whole of
Matabeleland South was in 2006 declared a disaster area following successive
droughts and aid agencies say the situation has since worsened due to a
combination of factors.
"The Grain Marketing Board (GMB) is selling a 50kg of bag for $280 000
and in addition to that villagers hire private transporters as fleets from
government departments such as DDF are grounded," Mpofu said. "Without the
donors, people are going to starve to death.
"We also feel there is a political hand in this report because the
benefiting districts have Zanu PF MPs and those who don't were left out."
Matabeleland South governor, Angelina Masuku was not available for
comment as she was said to be away on an outreach programme.
Aid agencies say the suspension of field operations by the government
delayed the implementation of food assistance programmes that would have
provided food aid to an estimated two million people.
Saturday, 01 November 2008 18:47
THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) says National Employment
Councils should start negotiating for foreign currency denominated salaries
in response to the prevailing environment.
In September, the central bank allowed some retailers and wholesalers
to sell their goods under the Foreign Currency Licensed Wholesalers and
Retailers dispensation, a move the labour body says pushes workers into
abject poverty as they do not have the foreign currency to buy goods.
Lovemore Matombo, the president of the ZCTU says the issue of foreign
currency denominated shops had been distorted by the central bank as they
had left out the workers from the equation.
Workers who cashed in foreign currency at the end of the day are paid
in local currency that is depreciating.
"We are saying every NEC (National Employment Council) should start
negotiating salaries in foreign currency," Matombo said, adding that if
employers failed to comply the labour body would be left with no option but
to call for protests "which will be successful this time around".
A survey by Standardbusiness showed that some retailers had taken
advantage of the foreign currency craze to price their goods in foreign
currency even without obtaining a licence from the central bank.
"This is survival. We are living in an abnormal environment and we
should charge in foreign currency if we are to continue in business," said
one manager at a retail shop.
Standardbusiness also witnessed a worrying trend in which products
priced in foreign currency increased in what economic analysts say reflects
the devastating effects of hyperinflation that is eroding the purchasing
power of money, foreign currency included.
Employers interviewed said last week that inasmuch as they would have
wanted to pay in foreign currency, they cannot implement on an ad hoc basis
without clearance from the central bank.
"We have not been told to pay workers in foreign currency. If we cross
the path of the central bank we risk losing our forex trading licence," one
executive at a retail chain said.
John Mufukare, Employers' Confederation of Zimbabwe (EMCOZ) executive
director, said the remuneration policy would be discussed at the
organisation's annual convention next month. He says the remuneration policy
currently obtaining is neither national nor sensible and Zimbabwe needed a
new policy if companies are to survive in the New Year.
"We are a stakeholder-driven organisation. . .let solutions come from
our members and we will fine-tune them," he said.
Pressed whether EMCOZ members were prepared to pay salaries in foreign
currency, Mufukare referred all questions to David Govere, newly elected
president. Govere said he was going out of town and would be back in the
office tomorrow (Monday).
Zimbabweans' woes have been compounded by unrealistic cash withdrawal
limits overshadowed by rising inflation which official statistics show is at
231 million percent, as of July. But independent economists believe the
government figures are being massaged. Professor Steve Hanke, a director at
Cato Institute, a Canadian based economic think-tank says Zimbabwe's wayward
inflation had reached 10.2 trillion percent as at 24 October.
For ordinary Zimbabweans, who have no access to foreign currency it
costs an arm and a leg to put food on the tables as the $50 000 maximum cash
withdrawal limit hardly buys anything.
A 2-litre cooking oil costs $450 000 while a 10kg bag of maize meal
sells at $600 000. A bar of laundry soap costs $110 000. For a 2kg packet of
sugar one has to part ways with $300 000. A loaf of bread has zoomed past
$100 000. This means an ordinary household needs an average of $2 million to
buy a few basic items. At the rate of $50 000 a day withdrawal limit, one
has to go the bank for 40 days: a feat that is begging an entry into the
Guinness Books of Records.
Since December last year, the country has faced a cash crisis which is
showing no signs of abating due to runaway inflation that requires large
sums of cash to buy basic commodities.
The crisis was exacerbated by the withdrawal of the German firm,
Giesecke & Devrient, from supplying banknote paper to Zimbabwe as Berlin
tightened its screws over Harare's deteriorating political environment.
Saturday, 01 November 2008 18:46
Shops and supermarkets have started scrapping zeros from their price
lists as rising inflation quickens the return of the 10 zeros loped off the
Zimbabwean dollar in August.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) re-denominated the local currency
and re-introduced coins into circulation after the banking system began to
experience problems with large transactions. The Central Bank hoped the move
would ease the crisis.
But supermarket and shop managers say they have started encountering
problems with the zeros again - two months after the RBZ intervention.
At Meikles Supermarket, a notice read: "Customers please note that we
have removed three zeros from the prices."
A shop attendant who refused to be named as he was not authorized to
speak to journalists said: "Prices keep going up everyday and even if we
remove three zeros, they will be back again in less than a month."
The cost of goods and services continue to go up on a daily basis,
sparked by the continued fall of the local dollar against major currencies.
A 2-litre bottle of Mazoe Orange juice now costs a staggering $5
billion at R Chitrin Supermarket, meaning that about several teachers need
to combine their monthly salary of $90 000 a month to buy it.
"The prices at shop shelves are different from the ones that customers
pay as prices increase before they reach the till operator," said economist
Oscar Chiwira, from the National University of Science and Technology
"Inflation has just gone haywire in Zimbabwe and zeros, no matter how
many are slashed, will keep racing back. This is the worst crisis in
Zimbabwe's living memory."
Inflation, which is the highest in the world, is officially pegged at
231 million percent but independent finance institutions put the inflation
figure at around 800 million percent.
President Robert Mugabe blames business people for making the local
currency worthless and stoking inflation fires through rampant price
increases in a bid to incite Zimbabweans to revolt against him.
In July, he threatened a state of emergency in a bid to reign in the
Already, the set of coins that were reintroduced on 1 August by the
central bank have long been made worthless by hyper-inflation.
Saturday, 01 November 2008 18:44
TN Bank, on the cards for over a year, will open next month after a
change in the settlement system and a go-slow at Air Zimbabwe derailed its
plans for the October launch, a senior official said last week.
The bank is jointly owned by TN Financial Holdings Limited (TNFHL) and
Trust Holdings Limited (THL).
Tawanda Nyambirai, TNFHL group CEO told Standardbusiness that the
scraping of the Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) meant that it was now
difficult to pay various suppliers for services to be rendered, as they were
demanding cash payments.
Last month the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) stopped RTGS, a facility
that allows instantaneous transfer of funds among companies and individuals.
"They were now demanding cash and we had to go back to the drawing
board," Nyambirai said.
He said the go-slow at Air Zimbabwe delayed the delivery of imported
equipment from the UK by two weeks and this affected the roll-out plans.
According to the new schedule by 20 November, the configuration of the
banking system would have been completed and the bank will open to the
public on 6 December.
The pre-opening inspection by the central bank will be conducted once
work on the infrastructure is completed Nyambirai said, adding the RBZ are
always updated on developments.
TN Bank will open with one branch at 101 Kwame Nkrumah Avenue, while a
branch in Gweru and Bulawayo will be opened under phase two of the roll-out
Nyambirai said the shareholders had so far injected US$3 million into
the project and was confident the bank will hold its own in the over-banked
"We do not see competition. There is a big vacuum that needed to be
filled," the TNFHL boss said.
TN Bank will rub shoulders with 14 other commercial banks for the same
client base but Nyambirai said their products were designed to tap into the
pool of unsatisfied clients.
Neptune, a UK-based firm was engaged to set up the core banking system
and another foreign company would be engaged to provide services Nyambirai
was unwilling to disclose for fear of giving away the project to
This is the second time the bank had postponed its launch.
It was billed to open in August month but its launch was pushed to
last month after a delayed US$12.5 million capital raising initiative to
meet RBZ minimum capital requirements for commercial banks.
TN Bank, in which TNFHL has a 91% shareholding, was born after the
former Trust Finance applied for the conversion of its finance house licence
to a commercial bank in which approval was granted by the RBZ in March.
TNFHL had bought 75% stake in Trust Finance in 2006 with THL retaining
the remaining 25%. THL now has 9% after the group did not raise enough money
in the bank's rights issue.
Notwithstanding a change in the shareholding structure, Nyambirai said
the existing board would remain in place as independent directors
constituted a majority.
Saturday, 01 November 2008 18:43
KUMBIRAI Katsande , managing director of top horticultural firm,
Ariston Holdings, has bounced back as the Confederation of Zimbabwe
Industries (CZI) president.
Katsande, who takes over from Callisto Jokonya, was elected CZI boss
at the organisation's annual congress in Harare last week.
Allied Timber Holdings' chief executive officer Joseph Kanyekanye and
AICO Africa's Happymore Mapara were elected his vice-presidents. CZI's
vice-presidents wield equal power.
It is understood that the organisation had difficulty in finding a
candidate for the hot seat, with most executives politely declining the
The organisation reportedly asked Jokonya to extend his tenure but he
also declined saying he wanted to concentrate on his business.
The CZI presidency turned into a hot seat amid deteriorating relations
between government and business at the back of a biting economic
Government has frequently accused business of conniving with Western
powers and the opposition to advance a supposed illegal regime change
Among others, government last year attempted to "tame" business with a
price slash campaign which landed most CZI members behind police cells on
allegations of overcharging goods.
The deteriorating relations saw the outgoing president, then
well-known for his pro-government stance, suddenly changing his rhetoric and
denouncing all "human" solutions to the country's economic mess and in a
sense of despair, inviting all Zimbabweans to seek divine intervention
"The outgoing executive was doing a good job," the soft spoken
Katsande said. "We will continue from where they left although we are aware
there is a lot of pressure now as you heard congress saying they do not know
where business will be in the next two weeks."
The experienced industrialist hopes to draw from his past experience
in the same position.
Katsande's experience also spans around directorship of several
companies, among them diversified banking group FBC Holdings, Hunyani
Holdings and Nestle Zimbabwe. He also served as a board member for Barclays
Bank of Zimbabwe, the Grain Marketing Board, Olivine Industries and the Cold
Saturday, 01 November 2008 18:41
INDUSTRY captains gathered at the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries
(CZI)'s annual congress last week warned business might soon come to a halt
due to a plethora of problems, among them the country's continued failure to
form an all-inclusive government.
A sense of despair engulfed the congress as the participants
constantly referred to the economy as a "dead man walking" and a "bomb that
will detonate anytime".
They said they were finding it difficult to continue with operations
as their businesses were broke.
"We do not know where we will be in the next two weeks," CZI immediate
past president Callisto Jokonya said. "Zimbabwe has been on the reactive
mode for over 10 years and we are saying to our people stop and think."
They said among others, they were having problems with the central
bank's discriminatory foreign currency licences, saying had the system been
applied across board, it would boost industry activity and encourage
competition. They also said they were finding it difficult to rely on
cheques as a means of payment.
Among other problems dogging the industry in the past decade is a
widespread shortage of fuel, foreign currency, raw materials, skilled labour
and unreliable power and water supplies.
"But as they say, a dead man can walk," Jokonya said. "Our politicians
had done well by engaging in dialogue."
The congress noted that it was sad that Zanu PF and the two MDC
formations were failing to form a government, an integral step towards
formulating sound economic policy to heal the economy.
Among other resolutions, participants said they would this week seek
audience with leaders of the three political parties with the hope of
encouraging them to break the political impasse and form a government.
"We hear the outstanding issue is that of the ministry of Home
Affairs," Jokonya said. "As business, we understand that government wings
complement each other and we are thus wondering what is wrong."
The industry captains said the way forward for Zimbabwe was to switch
to a free enterprise economy but with emphasis on a fully developed
monitoring mechanism. They said for better economic results, the country
needs to get rid of organs like the National Incomes and Pricing Commission
(NIPC), adding that most companies are yet to recover from some of NIPC's
measures, particularly a campaign to lower prices last year.
They said the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe needs to be autonomous and
focus on its monetary obligations of managing the interest and exchange
rates while any quasi-fiscal activities must go through parliament.
The industry captains also said there was need for concentration on
agricultural production for food security. They expressed concern about
widespread hunger and said they would offer themselves to government so they
could assist with aid distribution. They also said more support should be
given to communal farmers as they were best positioned to produce to the
A supportive infrastructure development strategy was cited as an agent
to Zimbabwe's improved participation on the regional market.
Held under the theme "Manufacturing Sector Restoration:Gateway to the
Future", the CZI congress also emphasised the need to revamp the
manufacturing sector whose contribution to the country's annual wealth has
fallen from 25% in the 1980s to about 10%.
Jokonya said ordinary Zimbabweans also needed to be patriotic and stop
"burning the country". He was referring to the parallel market's foreign
exchange operations which see the value of the local currency constantly
sliding against major currencies.
Saturday, 01 November 2008 19:02
THE only people who do not appear to appreciate the extent of
nationwide starvation are the leadership of Zanu PF.
That is why there is incessant bombardment of obscene announcements of
beasts to be slaughtered, how many tonnes of maize-meal, rice, flour, sugar,
tea, eggs and sausages will be consumed at the party's annual congress
scheduled for Bindura in December.
These people have no sense of shame. They are completely out of touch.
People are starving and the only ones unaware of this are Zanu PF
Just to amplify the point, villagers throughout the provinces are
being asked to contribute to the hosting of Zanu PF's congress. The extent
of denial of reality in the party defies narrative.
It is this denialism that leads them to go on national radio and
television to announce that end of year examinations are proceeding without
problems when in some cases children have been sharing exam papers; that
universities are reopening for the first semester of the 2008/2009 academic
year when the institutions' staff have just stopped short of taking to the
street to protest conditions; and that hospitals have not closed down even
when it is evident to the sick visiting the health facilities that there are
no resources or staff reporting for work because they can't afford
Local and international humanitarian organisations have since the ban
on activities of non-governmental organisations on June 4 this year warned
of a major humanitarian crisis. The government has done nothing to
demonstrate a sense of urgency in reversing the effects of its June
Villagers are dying because of inadequate food, while the situation in
urban areas has been worsened by the cholera epidemic - itself a result of
government's neglect which resulted from its stubborn refusal to heed
warnings about commandeering the water and sewage treatment responsibilities
of local authorities and handing them to the Zimbabwe National Water
Organisations such as the NGO Forum and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human
Rights could assist relatives of people dying from cholera to sue Zinwa and
the government for negligence which has caused the unnecessary loss of
lives. Maybe the government and Zanu PF could then begin to put people
After more than 20 recorded deaths from cholera and promises that the
government "was doing everything in its power" to ensure no further lives
were lost, last week residents of Ward 14 in Kambuzuma, who were trying to
do something to prevent the spread of cholera in their area after several
reported cholera-related deaths, woke up to teargas and arrests. So much for
political dialogue and power-sharing!
Instead of diverting food, which should be directed to starving people
in the villages and many urban areas, transport and scarce fuel, Zanu PF
should be mobilising the transport to be used by organisations such as World
Food Programme, World Vision, Care and others to transport food to the needy
in order to stop more Zimbabweans from starving to death.
Zanu PF can for once demonstrate that it puts people first, not only
in its slogans but in everyday practice by scrapping its congress because
current hardships render such a gathering highly inappropriate and offensive
to the majority of Zimbabweans for whom starvation is a looming reality.
It would be outrageous to feast for days in Bindura while the majority
of the people can hardly afford to provide a day's meal for their families.
Saturday, 01 November 2008 18:58
THERE was a time, in the eighties, when villages across Zimbabwe
became hosts to young men like Mukoma Zhuwawo.
These were young men from Mozambique, having crossed the border to eke
out a living far from the raging war in their homeland. They worked hard,
these young men, tilling the land and looking after cattle.
There was a time, too, in the nineties, when we received young men and
women who had travelled thousands of miles, hitch-hiking along the way, from
the genocide in Rwanda. Some of them became good friends when they joined
university. They were decent young men and women who sought shelter and
comfort in our home.
I remember speaking to our guests and asking about the conditions they
had left behind. Their stories weighed heavily on our hearts. They carried
many wounds of war - they had lost families and friends.
I remember wondering at the time whether we, too, could find ourselves
in a similar situation. At the time, that Zimbabwe could descend into
absolute poverty and utter chaos was far from the mind. It is not far
There has been a reversal of fortunes. The likes of Mukoma Tendai are
now foraging in the Mozambican hinterland, perhaps Mukoma Zhuwawo is now his
host. Young Zimbabweans are paying the last penny; they are using the last
of their energies to cross borders into Botswana, South Africa and thousands
of miles away into Britain, Australia, USA, etc.
But what are the chances that Zimbabwe could also descend into civil
conflict, the type that made young men and women run from their homes in
Rwanda, Somalia, Mozambique and the DRC into Zimbabwe? The possibility is
certainly no longer far-fetched. There are already situations we thought we
could never have. I remember the wild laughs when visitors from Zambia in
the late eighties brought the worthless Zambian Kwacha. Yet it never quite
fell to the depths that the Zimbabwe dollar has reached.
At this rate, that Zimbabwe could descend into civil conflict is
therefore not beyond imagination. It is no longer something to be easily
dismissed. There are a number of reasons why the situation may deteriorate
to the state of conflict:
Zimbabwe has failed and continues to fail to find a political solution
to its problems. Normally, questions of leadership are decided through
elections. This has, so far, not worked in Zimbabwe. The other option, as we
saw in Kenya earlier this year, is to submit to a negotiated settlement.
This has not worked either and holds little prospects of success. When
politics fails and when politicians fail, this creates opportunities for
military strongmen to take power. This will not allay fears of conflict; it
will only heighten them.
ith political failure comes desperation and desperation causes people
to think of crazy things. Desperate men develop very dangerous minds,
especially when coupled with poverty and a paucity of options for survival.
Zimbabwe is reaching, if not so already, the Hobbesian state of nature where
life is "nasty, brutish and short". In this kind of world it is only the
fittest who survive by virtue of force.
Beyond and, indeed, within the large political party structure, the
Zimbabwean political landscape is characterised by deep cracks along
regional and ethnic lines. This is an often understated reality but only
because it is an inconvenient reality. Zanu PF's unity, or what appears on
the surface, is driven by the common desire to retain power and the mutual
benefits accruing to rival factions. If the equilibrium that sustains the
mutual interests shifts, there is likely to be chaos between the rivals.
For its part, the MDC (already divided since 2005) is united only by a
common desire to drive out Zanu PF from power, perhaps less so by any common
vision or ideology that would withstand the challenges of a post-Mugabe era.
The different factional conflicts, which simmer under the surface like a
volcano, could erupt at any time.
When it all breaks down, the Big Men, especially within or connected
to the military who have their spheres of influence could easily mobilise
impressionable and desperate young men to engage in a free-for-all brawl.
There is a huge reserve of unemployed young people, the type that Frantz
Fanon referred to as the Lumpen Proletariat which is vulnerable to
manipulation and easily led.
Violence has always been employed by the powerful to suppress the
largely pliant majority of ordinary people. There is a growing pool of
desperate young men who in their crucial teenage years have been led to
believe that violence is a perfectly legitimate way of resolving disputes.
The then burgeoning middle class of the nineties has been severely eroded
and in its place is the growing Lumpen Proletariat. They have very little to
lose; nothing but their lives to protect and when it comes to the worst, who
knows what risks they could take?
Add to this the large numbers of youth militias, better known as the
Border Gezi Youths or Green Bombers, after their olive green garb, who have
been indoctrinated in the virtues of the fist. They have killed, raped and
assaulted at will without fear of the law's enforcement. Then there is also
the growing number of deserters from the military, as recently reported in
parts of the media. These are poor young men who know how to use arms; they
are desperate and who knows what they might do if they got hold of arms?
Zimbabwe has experienced a tumultuous history since it was founded as
the colony of Southern Rhodesia in 1890. The culture of violence and
impunity did not commence in the Zanu PF - MDC era as is often presented.
Right through the violence of the colonial era, the bloodshed of the
liberation war in the 1970s, to the unmitigated atrocities in Matabeleland
during the 1980s, Zimbabweans have endured pain, loss and suffering. There
are divisions and suspicions along the fault lines of race, ethnicity and
class. The nation has not healed.
he post-2000 violence has undoubtedly received greater coverage and
intensified the hostilities. People naturally want to account for what
happened; they want justice and accountability in order to have closure. If
there is no proper system in place, people could easily resort to chaos,
where they take the law into their own hands, with devastating results. All
these episodes in the history of the nation are festering wounds and chances
are that they will burst, and when they do, it will not be a pretty sight.
We Zimbabweans have long thought of ourselves as a sophisticated
nation. We got independence late in the day, long after our African
counterparts had experienced the political and economic demise of the
post-colonial period. We had our sunshine years when dark clouds hung over
most of Africa. We never thought we would get to their sorry state. But they
have moved on; they are moving on and we are where they were in their dark
days, only worse.
If we still think civil conflict is unimaginable in Zimbabwe, perhaps
it is time to wake up and smell the coffee. There are too many factors
building up to create a very dangerous situation, largely because politics
and politicians seem to be failing.
Now after the failure of the Sadc Troika, we have to wait for the Sadc
Summit. The question is: what if that, too, fails? But even if it does
succeed, there is little evidence of good faith and political will on the
part of politicians to make things work. No amount of beautiful clauses, not
even control of "key ministries" will transform Zimbabwe's fortunes unless
the politicians invest sufficient trust, confidence in each other and act in
good faith. Things could get much worse. Politicians have the responsibility
to halt the slide on the slippery slope toward civil conflict.
nAlex Magaisa is based at, Kent Law School, the University of Kent and
can be contacted firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
The Fallacy Of Tsvangirai's Hand In Western Sanctions
Saturday, 01 November 2008 18:56
DO the editors of the state media honestly think that all their
readers/listeners are so daft?
How can they justify the denial of a passport to MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai on the flimsy grounds that there is no passport paper in
Zimbabwe? People are getting passports everyday, and I am sure state
reporters can find this out with a short trip to the passport offices in
The state media and the government further argued that Tsvangirai
should be the last person to get a passport because he refused to condemn
sanctions imposed by the Western countries on Zimbabwe. Firstly this is
being dishonest to the public because people are getting passports despite
those sanctions. Furthermore Tsvangirai did not impose any sanctions on
Zimbabwe so why should he call for them to be scrapped. Tsvangirai is often
portrayed by Zanu PF as a puppet of the West. It then boggles the mind how a
puppet can tell the master what to do, with the master willingly obliging.
The western economies are going through problems of their own at the moment,
and anyone who thinks words from Tsvangirai are going to produce miracles is
Lest I be accused of calling for more suffering for the people of
Zimbabwe, I wish to acknowledge that indeed sanctions are making a desperate
situation in Zimbabwe even worse. Western countries imposed what they termed
"targeted sanctions" on selected individuals in President Robert Mugabe's
government. The problem was that as long as aid and funding was coming to
other government bodies and agencies under influence of the government,
corrupt officials would always get access to these funds and abuse them, so
the targeted sanctions were not very effective so they were unofficially
The state media recently carried stories about the abuse of government
vehicles by officials in different ministries, including that of Information
and Publicity, showing that Zanu PF corruption knows no bounds. For as long
as Zanu PF remains in power, people are going to suffer whether sanctions
are removed or not. It doesn't require a great mind to know this.
If Tsvangirai could influence the Western governments to do anything
about sanctions (which he can't), it would be to call for the strengthening
of these sanctions so that all those people who have abused power can never
be allowed to travel anywhere outside Zimbabwe.
Tsvangirai might have his own share of political miscalculations, but
the criticism he is currently getting regarding the status of the
power-sharing talks with Zanu PF is unfair. It is Mugabe who is negotiating
in bad faith by allocating to himself the largest share of important
ministries when he lost both the parliamentary and presidential elections in
March, and only calls himself president by virtue of a shunned June
The government press keeps telling people that Zanu PF won the popular
vote in the March 29 parliamentary elections conveniently forgetting to
mention that parliamentary elections should be based on the number of seats
won and not total votes cast. If they want to use the popular vote, then
they should consider the presidential votes where Mugabe won an embarrassing
43% of the votes.
While accepting that there is no other way out of the current
political mess other than through dialogue, it is too much to expect MDC to
accept a raw deal just for the sake of progress. Knowing Zanu PF's evil
machinations, it would be political naivety for people to suggest that
important government ministries aren't important because everyone will be
part of one happy family. Unless we see a serious change in tone in the
government press, we should always view Zanu PF as a party against the
wishes of the majority, and not as a friend.
Hudson Yemen Taivo
Getting The Facts Right
Saturday, 01 November 2008 18:54
I wish to lodge a complaint against your story headed, Army Officer
denies PLWAS access to aid, by Bertha Shoko, which was published in your
issue of 26 October 2008.
The story is untrue because I have no authority to decide which
non-governmental organisation can or cannot operate in which area. This is
the brief of the District Administrator.
My organisation has nothing to do with the army, although I am serving
in the Zimbabwe National Army.
My sincere hope is to assist people in difficult situations, such as
people living with HIV and AIDS, the disabled, orphans and other vulnerable
The story also alleged that I threatened Sister Margaret of
Mashambanzou or that I denied them access to food and medication. I attach
correspondence written to her, seeking assistance for the same people who
came to your newspaper to complain. I urge them to follow the normal
channels and approach the District Administrator or other relevant
As you may be aware, non-governmental organisations were banned from
carrying out their activities on 4 June 2008, where would people like me get
foodstuffs for PLWAS under such circumstances and which NGOs were able to do
I was recently in Masvingo where the National Association of
Non-Governmental Organisations met and elected a committee to look after
concerns around foodstuffs. It is puzzling that I could be accused of
seeking to deny food to people in need when on the other hand I am involved
in the process of trying to source food for them.
Your reporter did not consult me or even Sister Margaret in order to
ascertain the truthfulness of the allegations against me. I feel you owe me
Director, Miriro Orphanage Home Retreat Farm
Another Sadc Summit A Futile Exercise
Saturday, 01 November 2008 18:53
I have reservations about the effectiveness of another Sadc summit on
the Zimbabwean impasse.
I was made to believe that as we had the Sadc chair in Zimbabwe on
Monday it was no longer necessary for the organisation to keep on grouping
at the expense of the Zimbabwean people.
What is new they want to discuss? Most of these leaders have been
sitting on our case for the past nine years so either they cannot resolve it
or they want to see our continued suffering.
I hope the new South African leader takes heed of Ian Khama Seretse
Khama's advice that the crisis can only be solved by the holding of free,
fair and internationally supervised elections.
The other thing is that from the very first time it became apparent
that Zanu PF was not in the mood to go the Sadc president must have acted
swiftly. Instead they showed us that they would rather have President Robert
Mugabe as if they are the ones who voted.
As long as former president Thabo Mbeki is the mediator the MDC must
refuse to be part of the talks as he is the one who is fighting for Mugabe's
continued stay. Zimbabweans showed him the red card. Now the whole Sadc has
decided to go against the Zimbabwean people. What is it they want us to do
before they can act?
As they are always drawing parallels with the Kenyan situation, do
they want us to first go on an orgy of violence as did Zanu during the run
up to June 27? We are past that period. We refuse to be drawn into senseless
killings by Zanu PF. Mugabe was not the people's choice and there is
therefore no way they can continue entertaining him.
All the Sadc leaders except King Mswati III have opposition parties so
why do they want Zimbabwe to be without any opposition party? How can
someone lose and yet refuse to go and instead have regional leaders urging
the winning candidate to be subservient to the loser? What kind of legacy
are the leaders of Sadc leaving to current and future crop of politicians?
How can they let Mbeki get away with the claim that the parcelling out
of ministries by Mugabe unilaterally was the best arrangement? Mugabe must
be taking the back seat just like Professor Arthur Mutambara. Instead you
get the two of them being the most vocal, waxing lyrical.
MDC 'report back' Rallies Spot-on
Saturday, 01 November 2008 18:51
THE move by the MDC leadership to carry out "report back rallies", is
The rallies are giving the people an opportunity to hear from the
horse's mouth what the situation regarding the government of national unity
As Zanu PF is using the state media to churn out falsehoods regarding
the talks, the MDC can only rely on these rallies to brief the people on the
current state of the talks.
The people shall govern.