The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

MDC rift final?

The Zimbabwean


HARARE - Confusion reigns within the five-year old opposition MDC, which
appears headed for a major split this weekend. Warring factions have failed
to reach common ground on the Senate dispute and a meeting of the party's
70-member national council scheduled for Saturday is under threat. Members
of the pro-Senate group have dubbed the meeting an 'illegal gathering' and
threatened to boycott it.
But MDC presidential spokesperson, William Bango, told The Zimbabwean
confidently earlier this week: "The national council will meet to look at
recent events and chart the way forward for the MDC as a party. There is so
much interest in this meeting that we believe all councillors will attend."

A highly-placed source within the opposition party said MDC president Morgan
Tsvangirai had no constitutional right to call a national council meeting.

"This can only be done by the secretary general, Welshman Ncube, or his
deputy, Gift Chimanikire," said the source. "Tsvangirai, as president of the
party, cannot unilaterally call a council meeting."

The weekend gathering is seen as a last-ditch attempt to heal the rift
within the party that arose over the question of whether or not to
participate in this month's senatorial elections. Two executive meetings
held in recent days have failed to reach any agreement.

The pro-Senate group is of the opinion that Tsvangirai has been negotiating
in bad faith because he has rejected their offer to withdraw from
participation in the elections in return for the dismissal of four members
of what they regard as 'the mafia cabinet'. It is understood that this term
refers to a small group of confidants close to Tsvangirai, which includes
Ghandi Mudzingwa, Dennis Murira, businessman Ian Makone and his wife

"They have been giving the president wrong advice. In fact they are entirely
responsible for this crisis," said the source. "If only one group attends
the Saturday meeting, the crisis will simply continue. Dialogue between both
groups is what is necessary to establish a common position. So far this has
failed because of Tsvangirai's intransigence regarding this group of

The source also alleged that Harvest House, the MDC headquarters and venue
of the meeting, was a 'no-go area' for members of the pro-Senate group.
"There is no purpose in calling a council meeting to reverse its decision
(to participate in the Senate elections) after weeks of intimidation,
threats and beatings (against members of the pro-Senate group)," he said.

Bango said the meeting, to be chaired by party chairman Isaac Matongo, was
crucial. It would also consider the 'careless utterances' of MP Job Sikhala
who claimed recently that the party illegally received financial donations
from Ghana, Nigeria and Taiwan. Sikhala has since retracted this statement
but has been suspended by Tsvangirai.

But even if the council meeting was to reverse its previous decision
concerning senate participation, it is understood that the Matabeleland
provinces would disobey. "They have indicated that they will not obey the
council directive because some provinces in Mashonaland were allowed to
disobey the last council resolution. So why should they now obey?" said the

Rebel MDC constituencies, mostly in Matabeleland, have already fielded and
registered 26 candidates for the 50 contested Senate seats.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Papers ignore Daily News case

The Zimbabwean

HARARE - In a depressing example of how repressive media laws have eroded
journalistic standards, not one newspaper - state or private - carried the
stunning news that the regime has quietly dropped charges against 44
journalists from the banned Daily News, previously the country's top-selling
The Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe (MMPZ) in its report covering Oct.
17-23 noted that the international organisation, Reporters Sans Frontiers,
which works for press freedom around the world, reported that no court
officials, including the judge, showed up for the trial Oct. 12.

"SW Radio Africa (26/10) picked up the story the following day while the
rest of the media missed it," said MMPZ. "The fact that only the niche
market radio station reported the matter clearly shows the adverse effects
of repressive media laws . leaving the partisan government controlled media
the dominant source of information."

The apparent abandoning of the case against the journalists on charges of
practising without a state licence - the so-called offence carries a jail
term of up to two years under draconian anti-press laws - follows the
acquittal of the first Daily News journalist charged, Kelvin Jakachira. The
paper's owners, Associated Newspaper of Zimbabwe, said the authorities were
embarrassed and had decided to "let the case slowly die a natural death."

MMPZ quoted a report in The Zimbabwean that, in another bid to choke the
free flow of information, the authorities are using Chinese satellite
equipment to jam broadcasts by a small, independent station, Voice of the
People. Staff from the monitoring body tuning into the station have heard a
"steady droning interference" in recent weeks.

Recalling that SW Radio Africa had to switch broadcasting frequencies in the
run-up to the March elections because of jamming, MMPZ said that attempts to
starve the nation of alternative sources of information were "desperate acts
of people frightened of the truth."

The serious split in the Movement for Democratic Change over contesting
Senate elections continued to provide the state mouthpieces with a choice
opportunity for biased and narrow coverage, consisting of abusive and
hysterical personal attacks on leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

The Herald and other state-run media suddenly found approval for Tsvangirai's
opponents in the MDC for contesting the election which, as usual, the ruling
Zanu (PF) will make certain it wins.

The MMPZ said the state papers were so engrossed in attacking Tsvangirai as
a criminal, fake democrat and suchlike that there was no attempt to examine
"the underlying implications of such divisions on the party's survival and
indeed the country's struggle for democracy."

The private media, the MMPZ added, adopted a "generally professional"
approach to the split, giving both MDC factions opportunities to articulate
their positions.

Reserve Bank Gideon Gono's announcement of a total policy turnaround -
floating the hapless Zimbabwe dollar - was handled by the state media with
its usual combination of being supine and having no memory. There was no
analysis of Gono's revised estimate of inflation by year-end from 80% to
280-300% as a clear admission of failed policies; no asking why, if floating
the dollar was supposed to be a cure for the economic crisis, it had been
ruled out before; no examination of the effect of the devaluation - though
that word was avoided - on inflation and the soaring cost of living.

And, finally, the state media suffocated Gono's plans to introduce a new
currency next March. This, noted the MMPZ, is a "move usually taken by
countries with failed economies."

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Operation Garikai - dismal picture

The Zimbabwean
op garikai
A recent tour by a parliamentary committee of four sites in Harare where Operation Garikai is supposed to be happening revealed a dismal picture
HARARE – A recent tour by a parliamentary committee of four sites in Harare where Operation Garikai is supposed to be happening revealed a dismal picture. Deadlines have been missed, no one is living in what few houses have been half-built, cement, money and fuel is desperately short, and the authorities cannot build houses without outside help.
At Hatcliffe Extension there are about 3 000 stands, but the house building target is a modest 520 - and even this has been missed. Col. K. Gwanetsa, chairman of the reconstruction operation in the Harare Metropolitan Province, told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Local Government that the programme was being hindered by interference from ‘imperialists and sanctions’. Individuals and groups would have to build the other houses because the authorities have no money.

No one has moved into the 520 constructed houses, which have no floors. People whose homes were destroyed in Operation Murambtsvina are still living in plastic shelter provided by UNICEF, which is also supplying water. The Catholic Church as provided some of the plastic sheeting and poles for the makeshift shelters.

At Whitecliffe where 1,157 people are working on the reconstruction, Col Gwanetsa blamed the lack of progress on large boulders on some stands, fuel and funding shortages. Water has been brought from Lake Chivero but no sewerage system is connected. The colonel was unable to explain why.

Out of 9 000 stands at Whitecliffe, 277 have houses at roofing stage. No one is living there, and the colonel and his officials, in answer to questions, said they would be having meetings about who would be allocated houses.

At Hopley, the committee was told the soil is too sandy, and there is no cement, fuel or funds. Most of the time the workforce was idle, chatting and doing nothing productive. Some 1 000 families are living there in small plastic shelters provided by UNICEF. There is a water crisis. On the day the parliamentary visit, Oct. 25, the people had waited most of the day for water from UNICEF. It had not arrived by the time the committee left.

At Majubeki Lines in Mbare families were living in the open and sewage was flowing nearby.

The Combined Harare Residents Association said that, as well as the dire situation of people whose homes were razed, most of the beneficiaries of any new houses were civil servants, and the cost of the new houses remained unclear.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mabelreign vendors evicted

The Zimbabwean

HARARE - The Harare Magistrate's Court has refused to hear a case brought by
vendors in Mabelreign against their eviction in what lawyers say is a denial
of basic human rights and another grave undermining of the rule of law.
The plight of the Mabelreign vendors, who were subsequently evicted,
followed the refusal on Oct. 5 of the Provincial Magistrate hear an appeal
to stop eviction by several hundred people at Tsiga Grounds in Mbare. The
High Court later ordered that the Tsiga group could stay, living in squalid
conditions on open ground after their homes were crushed in Operation

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), who have taken up the cases, said
that the refusal by the Provincial Magistrates (Civil) Court Harare to hear
eviction cases compromised access to justice by poor and disadvantaged
communities, and left state excesses unchecked.

The refusal of Harare magistrates to hear cases against authorities
installed in the capital by the Zanu (PF) regime appears to be prompted by
fear of reprisals from superiors in the Justice Ministry.

"We call upon the Chief Magistrate to urgently investigate the actions taken
by the Magistrates' Civil Court Harare," ZLHR said in a statement. "Judicial
officers must be seen to be protecting their independence, exercising their
mandate without fear or favour, and demanding adherence to the principle of
separation of powers."

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Murambatsvina victims in toilets

The Zimbabwean

SUNNINGDALE - AT least 19 victims of the regime's vindictive Operation
Murambatasvina are sleeping in the open together with their breastfeeding
wives at a house belonging to a Good Samaritan here.
According to Mrs Masaraure, CHRA's Ward Coordinator for Sunningdale, the
Operation Murambatsvina victims are living outside the house of a widow only
identified as Mrs Mashura.

When rain fell a few days ago, these victims slept in various toilets of
neighbours after their plastic shelters were overwhelmed with pouring rains.
They have nowhere to go. The single ladies among the victims have resorted
to prostitution and other illicit activities to earn a living.

Some of them used to operate flea markets before the regime demolished
peoples' homes and forcibly shut down the informal market. It is common
cause that the informal market employed the majority of Zimbabwe's workers.

Masaraure told CHRA Information Department that their attempts to assist
other victims of Operation Murambatsvina who were on the HIV/Aids ARV
programme were blocked by Hubert Nyanhongo, the Harare South Member of
Parliament (MP).

"We sourced food baskets and blankets for HIV/Aids people in two groups and
other victims of the 'Tsunami' a fortnight ago," she said. "The food and the
blankets were forcibly taken by the area MP Nyanhongo. He distributed them
to Zanu (PF) supporters at the Sunningdale Community Hall. He told us that
we could not do anything within his constituency because enemies of the
State had sourced the food."

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Water is a right - CHRA

The Zimbabwean

CHITUNGWIZA - The actions of the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA)
in bullying the Chitungwiza Municipality and its residents come as no
surprise, says the Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA). "We
denounced the pseudo-privatisation of water supplies from the beginning.
Water is a social right. Denying water to residents is both illegal and a
violation of the Declaration of Rights as enshrined in the country's
Constitution, which states that all citizens have the right to clean,
affordable water."
CHRA asserts that the chronic water situation is the result of the
mismanagement of the city by a succession of councils and mayors who failed
to address the massive growth of the city's population as well as of the
satellite towns that depend on the water system.

"The transfer of our assets to ZINWA has been done behind closed doors
without consultation with or the approval of residents. CHRA's efforts to
find out the details have been met with the usual silence from those who
purport to rule over us. Residents should not be hoodwinked by the so-called
agreement between ZINWA and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to settle the
debt of the Chitungwiza Municipality. The regime that presides over Zimbabwe
owes the council more than $25 billion, equivalent to 70% of total
outstanding debts," says a statement from CHRA.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP


The Zimbabwean


HARARE - It's the time of thin-skinned sweet oranges, dust, sore eyes,
industrial strength moisturiser and fires.

On Saturday I woke at 5am to the sound of a tipper truck off-loading granite
on the tarred road outside my bedroom window. It was the cypress tree in the
garden next door on fire. Flames shot 40 metres into the sky and threatened
a tree under which my sister had parked her car. I'd read that Harare has
only one fire engine with fuel so I woke her and we raced down stairs.

When the flames subsided, a frightened young gardener told us that he was
not the one. Someone had thrown a cigarette over the wall. Later I alerted
an employee of the long absent owner who lives two streets away. When I
returned the wooden shingle on the gable had caught fire and not long after
the fire engine arrived just as it's supposed to do!

Tendai was setting off in her school uniform while my sister and my
neighbour chatted in pink dressing gowns on a jacaranda carpet. Firemen in
yellow helmets were up long ladders extended against very high palm trees
where they extinguished the fires that still smouldered in their tops.

There is to be no more general food aid until after the November Senate
elections which the MDC have just announced that they will not contest. Or
maybe they will. There seems to be some dispute on whether it's better to
grab the senatorial perks and forget about the party. Chenjerai Hove calls
this greed 'the Zimbabwean disease.' I think it's probably our greatest

Today I went out to Chitungwiza and was appalled at the extent and legacy of
Murambatsvina ('Operation Clean out the Filth.') Great piles of rubble line
either side of Simon Mazarodze, Seke and Chitungwiza roads. I felt sick
because poor people have to work so hard to build their homes. They buy a
few bricks every week and a bag of cement when they can afford it. They're
always scrounging, watching for a bargain and they carry enormous loads on
bicycles or pay exorbitant transport costs. They dig the sand them selves
and cart it in wheelbarrows for miles. What must it feel like to see such
effort trashed in a few moments? Perhaps only the farmers know. I saw one
family living in the roof of their former house propped up on a few blocks.
A whole shopping centre had been razed to the ground. In St Mary's only a
few brave souls sit in the searing sun vigilant and ready to flee with their
pathetic goods. The place where I used to buy bananas is bare earth.

It's the most senseless and cruel thing that I've ever seen.

My plans change about every three days, roughly as often as the supermarket
prices. I'm far more in love with my home and life here than I'd realised.
And for the moment happiness is a full tank of petrol.

It's always been a serious offence to own foreign currency but the only way
you can buy fuel is with foreign currency. The authorities have said that
they will 'turn a blind eye to this' for the moment. But the eyes of the CIO
and the bent police who know where your car (and foreign currency) is
normally kept at night will not have such blind eyes!

I've just had e-mail from a friend in the UK saying to contact her when I'm
settled there. Will I ever feel settled there? I swing from the
philosophical to the nostalgic and back again all the time.

Another friend who is descended from Cajuns who lived deep in the Louisiana
bayou writes that their village is now in the Gulf of Mexico. Life is a
precarious and risky business and the only astonishing thing is the amount
of energy we put into trying to make it safe!

After the viciousness of the recent demolitions I can only see a growing
fear and a subsequent wearing down ahead of me. Mugabe seems to be a hero in
much of Africa, the East and Venezuela. He's seen as the man who had the
balls to give the whites their comeuppance. But I've just read Tony Leon
(opposition SA MP) on a recent poll that suggests that only 14% of black
South Africans support him - those with liberation struggle connections of
course! Not the masses Mugabe purports to represent. Either way Zimbabwe has
a long and turbulent adolescence ahead and I'm probably too old to extend
her the indulgence she'll need.

The Financial Gazette, The Zimbabwean and a crunchie cost Z$112,000,00! So I
came home and asked Sekuru Patson to harvest the real honeycomb. He now sits
abandoned on a bench in the garden in full bee kit surrounded by some very
angry bees while Agnes and I are imprisoned in the house.

A friend came for lunch today and we decided that one of the worst things is
being treated disdainfully if not like a criminal. There is no civility left
in any type of officialdom and yesterday a young supermarket till operator
spoke to me in the same way. He seemed to think was normal. She's had enough
of 4 am visa queues and will surrender her Zimbabwe passport because a long
since departed Irish grandfather is about to be very useful!

The bore hole man is also going to reclaim his British passport. His wife
has been desperately ill and he managed to get 50 litres of fuel a week from
Noczim on compassionate grounds to run his business. He is pathetically

Some believe that there is something political afoot but maybe it is just
our hopes that there is something afoot. I hope IT doesn't happen when I'm
not here! After all these years of grinding down it would be disastrous to
miss the finale. Not that I believe in one, it will be more of a whimper I

It seems a pity to leave when I could live on the proceeds of my veranda
furniture for months. An identical version was on sale at the St John's
School Fair for Z$80,000,000,00. (US$950)

It's very hot and people have that washed out, sweaty and exhausted look
that comes with extreme heat. Our equivalent of the mistral, the mbambara is
blowing and my skin feels as if it'll crack if I smile. I live in a kikoyi
and jump in and out of the pool all day.

My neighbour has just rung to say that the area behind our famous
neighbour's house is on fire. He's not here and it's the time of day when
his cook visits the kachasu sellers who are of course back on the corner. A
totally stoned young man who also lives there assured me it was an
electrical fire. I noticed that the macadamia tree is laden with nuts.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Detention Watch from Zim Assoc.

The Zimbabwean

LONDON - On Sunday 30 October the Zimbabwe Association's fourth Annual
General Meeting brought together over 80 Zimbabweans from across the UK.
Letters of support were received from a number of members unable to attend.
The ZA Chair, Patson Muzuwa opened the meeting with a welcome to all. The
regular business of the AGM was addressed by the committee and ZA members.
The ZA coordinator, Sarah Harland, reviewed the main activities of the ZA
over what has been a particularly busy past year. Following elections, the
ZA committee welcomes two new members, Edith Nenohwe and Dumi Tutani.

Wilf Mbanga, editor of The Zimbabwean and guest speaker, expressed the need
felt by many to keep in touch with their roots, to be updated and informed
on events in a deeply troubled country. As the numbers outside Zimbabwe grow
it is 'increasingly important to maintain the community,' he said. Mbanga
commended the ZA as 'a perfect example of the community in action, providing
practical and helpful information.' As a community newspaper, however widely
dispersed the community, The Zimbabwean is a vital forum for discussion and
analysis. 'Access to information is vital for democracy to succeed,' he

Ravi Low-Beer of the Refugee Legal Centre and a key member of the winning
team in the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal hearing on risk on return, gave
an update on the current asylum situation. The Home Office has one more week
in which to appeal the AIT decision of 14 October (this will expire by 7
November at the latest), declaring all removals back to Zimbabwe to be too
risky. The downside of the decision is that for those who have been denied
refugee status, it can result in being stuck in a legal limbo of no status,
no support, and no right to work.

The forthcoming challenges will therefore be on the right to support,
reviewing whether individual cases have good reason to launch a fresh claim,
and the more difficult policy area of the right to work. Low-Beer reminded
us that Zimbabweans are one of several nationalities facing extreme
difficulties with regard to asylum, and it is only through solid, reliable
and politically aware work such as that of the ZA in the recent tribunal
hearing, that such significant changes are achieved.

His careful and informed feedback to questions was greatly appreciated by
all, and he was thanked for the enormous hard work he has put into
Zimbabwean cases over the past year.

At the end of a busy and lively day the final impression left by all
including contributions from the floor, was the importance of recognising
strength in unity. Despite the challenges, different standpoints and
personal views, working together and taking action certainly has produced
positive results.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Tsvangirai a political powerhouse

The Zimbabwean

The current struggles within the struggle pertaining to the MDC's two
factions seem to confirm the joke that if you leave two Zimbabweans on the
moon for one day the following day you will find that they will have formed
five political parties. Just six days after its formation, the MDC seems to
have finally become a victim of the chronic disease afflicting Zanu(PF) -
factionalism. The current dispute regarding whether or not to participate in
the ridiculous senatorial elections scheduled for 26th November is not
entirely unexpected. There have been several discussions within the MDC in
relation to what the best methodology for removing a dictator should be.
Similar debates have also been engaged in by progressive civic organizations
in Zimbabwe.
Perhaps the unfortunate aspect of the MDC's intra-party disagreements is
that the party is essentially being torn apart by a demonstrably
insignificant issue of a useless Senate. None of the current MDC Members of
Parliament can genuinely argue that the Senate will be of any redeeming
value to democracy and good governance in Zimbabwe. Indeed, if they wish to
be honest, MDC MPs should admit that their presence and participation in
Parliament is equally of no consequence to how Zimbabwe is governed. The
dictator and his Zanu(PF) party are still doing practically as they wish in
terms of governance and the passing of Africa's most repressive laws. The
MDC is totally powerless to stop the regime from ruining the nation. It is a
fertile imagination that assumes that by participating in the senseless
Senate the MDC will be contributing positively to the restoration of
democracy, law and order in this country.

It seems clear to me that there are quite a few MDC members that are now
salivating for the crumbs that fall from the dictator's rich table. Asking
them to forego such perks as twin-cabs, hefty travel allowances, hotel
accommodation in Harare, etc. is asking too much. Given the economic crisis
that Zimbabwe is currently experiencing, few, very few people would be
willing to sacrifice a monthly salary, even if it is doled out by the
dictator, for the good of the nation. I submit that the MDC faction that is
in favour of participating in the meaningless senatorial elections comprises
people who are thinking regionally, sectionally, if not selfishly. They are
not thinking about the nation as a whole in this matter.

The argument that in constituencies where Zanu(PF) lost in the March 31
elections it is necessary to participate in the senatorial elections in
order to keep Zanu(PF) out of those areas is fallacious and myopic. It is a
stretch of the imagination to assume that the MDC has kept Zanu(PF) out of
these constituencies since the dictator's party still governs those areas in
every sense of the word. It is therefore unfortunate to have to sacrifice
the principle of refusing to legitimise the illegitimate regime just in
order to keep Zanu(PF) out of a few constituencies. To what effect has the
keeping out of Zanu(PF) from these areas been of benefit to the removal of
the dictator from office and the restoration of democracy and good

Yet if we examine the MDC intra-party dispute from another angle we realize
the subtle hand of the South African government actively working to
facilitate the ouster of Morgan Tsvangirai from the leadership of that
party. It is not a secret that our southern neighbours have never been
comfortable with a worker's party coming into political office whether in
Zambia or in Zimbabwe. Naturally, they fear for their own demise should
Cosatu, one day, think of forming a political party in the manner that the
Zambian MMD and the Zimbabwean MDC were conceived. God forbid! A more
acceptable development, the South Africans are likely to argue, is an
opposition political party led by an intellectual in Zimbabwe. South Africa
is therefore hoping that the current dispute in the MDC will result in one
of their preferred "home boys" taking over from this worker, Morgan.
Unfortunately for the South Africans, Morgan Tsvangirai is a political
powerhouse throughout Zimbabwe and beyond its borders.

The MDC dispute is as old as Plato. It is the age-old battle between
politics and the law. Where does the law end and politics begin? Experience
has taught us that in all such disputes it is always the politics that wins
in the end. We watch the developments in the MDC with excitement as the date
of the useless Senate elections fast approaches. Mugabe has promised that
the representation of his party in the Senate will be much higher than it is
in the lower chamber. We all know what that means, of course.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Struggle within a struggle

The Zimbabwean

LONDON - October will go down in my history as a bizarre month. A lot of
things have happened in my life which have left me puzzled and confused.
Some of the happenings are personal whilst others affect all Zimbabweans.
The refugee community suffered a loss when Ngwena unfortunately committed
suicide. This was just the tip of an iceberg to highlight the plight of
asylum seekers. The beginning of this month saw the long awaited decision by
the immigration tribunal court. They ruled that it is not safe to remove
Zimbabwean asylum seekers and hand them over to the Mugabe regime.

There were jubilations and celebrations among the Zimbabwean community in
the UK. Unfortunately this ruling came too late for people like Ngwenya but
nevertheless it is a big relief to the hundreds of asylum seekers from
Zimbabwe. The struggle for asylum seekers is made worse by ruthless people
who take advantage of these vulnerable people. The likes of Oswald Ndanga
who was recently sentenced to 27 months in prison for running a con where he
pretended to be a lawyer and immigration consultant.

Oswald Ndanga once served as Zimbabwe's deputy Minister for foreign affairs
and was appointed the country's ambassador to the then Soviet Union, now
Russia. He was also a chairman of MDC UK Luton branch. Asylum seekers turned
to him in their hundreds as he was a fellow Zimbabwean and they thought he
understood their plight. Instead of helping them he took advantage of their
ignorance and took their hard earned pounds.

I have friends, relatives and other people I know who are victims of Ndanga.
How can we succeed in our struggle when we fight amongst ourselves?
Fortunately, we do have Zimbabwean solicitors who are doing a fantastic job
and it would be unfair to paint them with the same brush.

Let me remind you of the Song Struggle from the album called Hondo by
Leonard Zhakata. Most of you are aware that the song was banned from
airwaves in Zimbabwe. In the Song Zhakata makes it clear that it is good to
be victorious, but victory is only achievable if the team is united:
Zvakanaka kukunda wani, asi zviri nyore kukunda pamwe chete.Tikaita struggle
within a struggle, tingakunde sei.. Rangu pfumo ndokanda kumhandu iwe rako
pfumo okanda kuneni.

This is exactly what has happened in the fight for asylum in UK because of
people like Ndanga. This is sadly also happening to the opposition party MDC
in Zimbabwe as witnessed by the events that took place in this month of
October. Instead uniting to fight the regime in Zimbabwe, they are having
struggles within a struggle. What they seem not to realize is that, it is
Mugabe who benefits and the suffering is felt by the man in the street.

October also brought me a personal loss. We are all aware of the struggle
for survival in Zimbabwe in view of the collapsed health system. I feel that
I betrayed my countrymen when I packed and left the country. I salute all
the health professionals who are still in Zimbabwe who are doing a fantastic
job regardless of the collapsed heath system.

My father was diagnosed with cancer and had to undergo an operation. It
turned out that the cancer had already spread and there was nothing the
doctors could do. My young brother who was only a teenager was diagnosed
with Kidney failure last year. He had to be dialyzed (using a kidney
machine) as his kidneys where not functioning well. He surprisingly made a
fully recovery and was discharged from the renal (kidney) unit. He no longer
required the use of a kidney machine as his kidneys started to function

Unfortunately he developed again the kidney problem this year and had to use
the kidney machine to survive.

It was a struggle as the kidney unit at times ran out of the medicines to
use. The medical staff did a fantastic job against all odds. We had to
source the medicine from private pharmacies and also form South Africa. This
was in vain as my young brother Matthew eventually passed away on October
19th, a day after my father had been operated on. My father died a week

As the struggle comes home please remember that there are people out there
suffering and do not use political office as a route to riches. Use it to
benefit the suffering people of Zimbabwe. I am looking forward to November,
as October was too long and unbearable.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Should they burn the house then?

The Zimbabwean

There are two incidents at the height of the often-violent land invasions
that caught my attention and demonstrated how base the human psyche could
One altercation involved a group of ex-combatants occupying a certain farm
against a group of "new settlers" who had been given occupation letters for
the same farm by the district administrator (DA). The veterans claimed right
of occupation because, they said, they were the foot soldiers who chased
away the original white commercial farmer. So, according to them, had it not
been for their vigilance the white man would still be there and no offer
letters would have materialized from the DA. The new farmers too maintained
they had the government letters and, therefore, were the legal occupants.
After bickering for days one veteran suggested they burn the farmhouse then,
so none of them would live in it. Apparently, the differences were over
occupation of the farmhouse, not farming per se. The house was doused with
petrol and burnt, that is how the problem was solved.

In another case, one war veteran promised a beast for his relative's wedding
because, he said, he was "given land." Upon arrival at the farm, another
veteran was jealously guarding a herd of healthy cattle, which he too
claimed was his because he was the most instrumental in chasing away the
former white rancher. After a fierce argument the first veteran threatened
to kill all the beasts so no one would ever lay claim to them again. Sensing
danger the second veteran begrudgingly agreed to release the beast to save
the rest.

These two incidents remind me of the current chaotic squabbles within
Zimbabwe's biggest opposition party Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

To start with, MDC Welshman Ncube's pro-participation faction has no
business in the senate because the party in general and him in particular
roundly condemned the 17th Amendment of the Constitution that gave birth to
that legislative creature. There is definitely no democratic space to
defend. What is more, Zanu PF has already "won" 19 seats unopposed on top of
the spare16 constitutionally guaranteed. Tsvangirai was right to call for a
boycott of a poll that "breeds illegitimate and predetermined outcomes."

Their very public divisions and backbiting are intriguing. The factions
raised the stakes too high by taking their power struggle into the public
domain, including giving interviews to the ferociously anti-MDC state media,
which cannot care anymore about factualism, balance or editorialisation.
Registration of 27 candidates under an MDC flag and their tacit approval by
Themba-Nyathi raised the stakes even higher.

It is increasingly becoming difficult for reason to prevail now because both
factions fear yielding will result in public humiliation that will shatter
their reputation and future political careers. Tsvangirai vowed to stop
senate campaigns amid serious allegations of insider violence against
participation faction. In defiance the party's Bulawayo spokesperson, Victor
Moyo, declared Matebeleland a restricted zone for Tsvangirai because it is
an Ndebele territory. Moyo added onto the problem a new separatist dimension
of tribalism. It is serious when our collective memory recalls the danger of
playing the Shona/Ndebele card that created Gukurahundi in the 1980s.

Out of the blue, St Mary's MP, Job Sikhala, poured more petrol on the house
by publicly claiming that MDC leadership received funding from foreign
governments- US$2.5 million- from Nigeria, Ghana and Taiwan. He, like Moyo,
adds another layer of problem because the Zanu (PF) government step is
likely force an Ari Ben Menashe sort of trial under the Political Parties
(Finance) Act. Zanu (PF)spokesman, Nathan Shamuyarira, milking Sikhala's
"revelations" speculated on ZTV that with that kind of underhand funding
there was a possibility of gun trafficking. The circus became more
ridiculous by Sikhala's futile attempts to disown his claims accusing
journalists of misquotation.

Certainly, the whole saga has confused masses of ordinary party supporters
who made the MDC a strong opposition over its six-year existence. They lost
their lives, livelihoods, and properties for the party.

All is not lost. Tsvangirai can still come out stronger if he goes back to
these people. He needs a countrywide rollout programme, not just to thwart
senate campaigns by his intra-party nemeses, but also to rejuvenate and
restore public confidence in opposition politics.

By calling for a boycott of the senate, Tsvangirai merely confirmed a
suspicion that was dawning on weary Zimbabweans that elections could not
remove President Mugabe's regime under the current biased institutional
framework. Now that he has abandoned elections strategy, he should convince
the people that there is another route to achieve democratic change

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

News from Downunda

The Zimbabwean

" . but in Zimbabwe we never took any notice of speeding fines!" he
spluttered as he faced the magistrate from the dock. "Well Mr M... you are
in Australia now and you don't just ignore speeding fines. We will overlook
it this time, but not again."
Very funny in the telling, but not so funny in its implication - or in what
has happened subsequently. For so many years in Zimbabwe we had to 'make a
plan' or do things which were not always strictly according to the letter of
the law. It became almost a way of life because in a law-less society it is
often the only means by which you survive.

Unfortunately, this is having some damaging consequences now. Sometimes it
is difficult to remember or to realise that you don't break the law in a
country like Australia, because you will get found out and reparation will
be made!

The Zimbabwe Connection has found it harder and harder, for example, to
place diesel mechanics in sponsored employment. Yet it is one of the most
urgently needed trades positions in this country. We could not understand
it - the cv's seemed to be impeccable, the references were good - but there
was growing wariness on behalf of Australian employers. Eventually we
learned that there had been three examples of 'diesel mechanics' with
impeccable cv's and references - who, when they arrived in Australia at
considerable expense, time and frustration to the potential employers,
turned out to have no idea of the difference between a nut and a bolt. All
three were sent back to Zimbabwe - so it benefited nobody.

The first occasion was laughed off. But by the third occasion the word was
out in the industry Australia-wide . 'don't trust Zimbabwean diesel mechanic
qualifications.' There is now substantial suspicion from potential employers
when we present a cv for a 'qualified' diesel mechanic. So all those
well-qualified diesel mechanics who are wondering why things have suddenly
dried up are being penalised.

Similarly, Zimbabweans arriving in Australia are finding they have to
undergo the third degree in terms of medical examinations. The reason?
Forged medical documents from the few, saying they are clear of such
diseases as HIV or tuberculosis - and when they get here, they are found to
be positive. They also get sent straight back. But it impacts, thereafter,
on everyone arriving from Zimbabwe.

Sadly, we have in the last month, had another case which will harm the
credibility of Zimbabweans wanting to start a new life.

Someone qualified in a skill momentarily in high demand worldwide, accepted
a company's offer of a well salaried position, plus airfare, hotel
accommodation and extraordinary social and material support for his family
to get here. After six weeks, mysteriously and without notifying his
immediately superior, he just went back to Zimbabwe, apparently ". to sort
out some house plans."

The company phoned me somewhat taken aback. I hoped there was a better
reason for it. But unfortunately we will probably never know the truth of
the situation. Apparently, after he had accepted this position with all its
perks and arrived in Australia, he was offered something else in the Middle
East and decided to take that instead . leaving the Australian company high
and dry. He has since denied that there was another job in the offing - but
we will never know.

What we do know is that it did dent the credibility of the five other
excellent people employed by this company at the time and they will have had
to work twice as hard to prove themselves as a result

We have another three people whose ability to earn a living in Zimbabwe has
all but disappeared and they are on the brink of being offered jobs with
this same company. Is that company likely to take the risk and employ
further Zimbabweans now?

It is very sad for those who may never know why they didn't get that
sponsorship offer after all.

Migration has become a very tricky issue worldwide as people from disrupted
societies try to make new lives for themselves elsewhere. Countries like
Australia welcome their new migrants, but they are watchful of them and will
not be made fools of.

On a more positive note - we are off to do a workshop next week in a farming
area where there are 26 farming or agriculturally orientated ex-Zim families
settled. We have the Minister of Agriculture and the heads of regional
development boards coming to talk to them about the future and opportunities
which might exist to help them get back on their own again.

There will be many a backward glance, many reminiscences, many heartbreaking
stories - but they are moving on, their kids are settling and they are
determined to succeed. They're Zimbos - that's why! The few chancers
excepted, we are still good "blokes" to have around!

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Democratic space a myth

The Zimbabwean

WASHINGTON - The so called 'gang of six' members of the MDC have
consistently argued that the party must participate in the Senate elections
in order not to cede what they call democratic space to Zanu (PF).
What is being totally ignored in all this is that the 'top six' do not seem
to have learned from the history of elections in Zimbabwe.

MDC has lost in all major elections. What makes them expect any different
results, given the fact that everyone knows that Mugabe's survival now lies
in his staying in power? Why do they think they have a remote chance of
winning? Have they not learned from history?

They have totally ignored the groundswell of opinion among the majority of
MDC supporters against participation in the Senate elections.

Democratic space in Zimbabwe is a myth. It does not exist. MDC MPs have not
made any significant achievements in Parliament. Some of the most repressive
legislation, like AIPPA and POSA, has been passed under the very noses of

The sound and smell of cash, the fantasy of government-supplied cars is too
much a temptation for the MDC pro-Senate lobby to resist. Ultimately this is
their only motivation - making money in an economically depressed Zimbabwe.

There is a remarkable contrast between Mugabe's gravy train and the feudal
existence of the masses of Zimbabweans. In one town an ox-drawn cart is
being used to remove garbage. In many other areas ox-drawn ambulances are
taking the country back decades.

Some victims of the so called Operation Murambatsvina have told horrifying
stories about how they are struggling to survive, after their properties had
been destroyed by the Mugabe regime and are now left homeless.

The question for the pro-Senate election group in the MDC is how they hope
to improve people's lives by being in the Senate. They have not been able to
do so while in Parliament! What do they promise they will do for the people
if they vote for them?

A member of the MDC, Sekayi Holland, said in an interview recently that it
had not been the National Council's tradition to vote formally. Decisions
had been reached informally and by consensus. She said she received an
invitation to attend the National Council meeting too late for her to make
it from Bulawayo to Harare in time. She later received information about the
impending vote, and she and her colleague, Grace Kwinjeh, sent in proxy
votes. They were both denied - even though there is nothing in the MDC
Constitution that disallows proxy votes. Had their votes been accepted the
vote could have been 33 - 33.

But even more unprocedural and undemocratic was the turncoat delegates who
voted against the instructions they had received from their provinces.

Strangely enough, Welshman Ncube defended this, saying they voted as members
of the National Council and not as representatives of their provinces. This
was a classic denigration by Ncube of the democratic rights of the provinces
for a direct input into the National Council, something the MDC had always
taken pride in.

The denial of proxy votes and the upholding of turncoat votes in the
National Council strengthened the view by many that this was carefully
orchestrated vote in favour of participation in the Senate.

Zimbabweans must distance themselves from this cancerous pro-Senate election
group. Tsvangirayi must put together a caretaker cabinet made up of people
he can work with to promote the interests of the Zimbabweans. He must not
allow himself to be held hostage by self-serving individuals. The fact that
he has stood his ground so far is a hopeful sign that MDC will have at least
a leader who will not sacrifice people's interest for 30 pieces of silver
from the Senate gravy train.

He must also mobilize the masses against the Senate elections as well as
against the dictatorship of Robert Mugabe. Some observers believe that
Tsvangirayi now has a chance for a real mass mobilization as long as he gets
rid of the excess baggage of opportunists who have surrounded him for all
these years.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

We want productive farmers

The Zimbabwean

Dear Family and Friends,

A friend of mine recently had occasion to visit a commercial farm that had
been seized by the government for re-distribution. Just five years ago every
acre of the farm had been involved in intensive agricultural production.
Eggs, tobacco, beef, maize and mutton had come off this land every year.
Over 50 men had been employed on this farm less than five years ago and
these men, with their wives, children and extended families had lived and
thrived on this property. And now, my friend who visited this farm recently,
said that what he had seen was so painful that it made his "heart sore with
shame." My heart is also sore to have to relate this story as I too knew
this farm, this piece of land, the owners and many of the farm workers and
their families who had made such a good life and living on this land.

The boundary fences surrounding the property are mostly non-existent, the
wire stolen, the poles long since taken for firewood. The chicken houses
have been stripped, wire mesh gone, tin roofing sheets removed and all that
remains is the concrete floors - cracked, chipped and with grass crawling
through in tough runners. The farmhouse, my friend says, is "finished". The
ceilings have gone. There is no longer electricity in the house; electrical
wires and their conduits have literally been dug out of the walls, along
with the wall plug sockets, light fittings and connections. Windows are just
holes in walls as window frames and burglar bars have gone, chiselled out of
the walls.

There is no longer water in the house; the bathroom and kitchen geysers have
gone, the stainless steel kitchen sinks have been removed and in the
bathroom the taps have been taken. Outside, on the land, there is little
activity. Aside from a few little scratches where rape and tomatoes are
being tended near the dam, there is not much else going on. Big fields are
unploughed, seed does not wait stacked in the sheds, fertilizer and
chemicals are not piled in workshops. In less than two weeks Zimbabwe's
rainy season will begin and tragically what my friend saw is not an isolated

The Governor of the Reserve Bank is repeatedly pleading for massive
increases in production on seized farms. Vice President Joseph Msika keeps
on threatening to remove farmers who are not using the land they were given
but hints that this is a delicate process. Barely a month ago Vice President
Joyce Mujuru said: "If you are not farming properly, this is sabotage at its
highest level.... We want farmers who work the land for maximum production,
not incompetents and idlers who just sit and do nothing."

Zimbabwe's main growing season is right now. Little is happening. In the
supermarket this week piles of seed maize sits on the shelves. People cannot
afford to buy it and have no fuel to transport it. People talk of how new
farmers are becoming multi billionaires this October - they queue for their
government fuel allocation which they buy at 30 000 a litre and then sell
for 100 000 a litre on the black market. You certainly can't make that much
money farming so why even bother. Until next week, Ndini shamwari yenyu.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Put the country first

The Zimbabwean

Editorial comment

Several people of good heart have been trying to mend the rupture in the
MDC. We commend them. The party's national council is meeting this weekend
in a last-ditch attempt to heal the rift. It would appear to us that the
split has been caused, in the overall scope of the tragedy that is Zimbabwe
today, by what is really a minor difference of opinion. Whether or not to
stand for the senatorial elections is not a major principle.
Surely there are far more important issues at stake than this? The MDC has
come a long way and it very nearly unseated the ruling party in the 2000
general elections. The Zanu (PF) 'victory' had nothing to do with the ballot

We hope that those who will participate in Saturday's meeting will put aside
their personal feelings and desires and put the country first. The two
groups need each other. It would appear Morgan Tsvangirai has the moral high
ground and much public support for his anti-senate stance. But the Welshman
Ncube group has the mandate from the last national council meeting. They are
all intelligent people - surely they can rise to the occasion and put this
sorry debacle behind them. An irrevocable split will play directly into
Mugabe's hands. He will be the only winner.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Fine tuning election-rigging

The Zimbabwean

Editorial comment

It comes as no surprise that more than 150 000 Zimbabweans have been
deprived of their votes in this month's senatorial elections. The official
reason given is that although they have permanent resident status, they are
descendants of one or two foreign-born parents and therefore are not
considered citizens of Zimbabwe. These join hundreds of thousands of others
who were internally displaced as a result of Operation Murambatsvina and
therefore will not be able to vote either.
What do all these people have in common? They are mostly supporters of the
MDC residing in areas that voted for the opposition in previous elections -
i.e. urban and former commercial farming areas. The majority of those who
are being disenfranchised are from Zvimba North and Manyame constituencies
near Norton. The Manyame March 2005 general election result is being
contested because there was clear stuffing of ballot boxes.

This latest development should be seen clearly for what it is - simply
fine-tuning the well-established Zanu (PF) election-rigging mechanism.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Rampant corruption spreads

The Zimbabwean

Editorial comment

The recent audit report on the ministry of higher education reveals starkly
the extent to which profligate corruption has become unashamedly entrenched
within the Zanu (PF) administration. The wastage of limited resources
continues unabated at the levels of senior government and it seems nobody
has the will or the power to stop it. As career civil servants, supposedly
uncontaminated by politics, the permanent secretaries are the accounting
officers in each ministry. It is up to them to control expenditure, stamp
out corruption, and manage the affairs of the ministry - while keeping a
firm, though subtle, hand upon the politically-elected ministerial
incumbents who come and go.
However, in the case of the ministry of the higher education the permanent
secretary himself is the major culprit in the abuse of state resources -
allocating himself no fewer than eight vehicles. The finance director in the
ministry personally consumed 1000 litres of fuel (currently selling at £1 or
Z$100 000 per litre and unavailable most of the time even at that price) in
a 48-hour period. Little wonder that the minister himself has three vehicles
on permanent allocation to him as well as his luxury ministerial Mercedes

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Stamping out corruption is undoubtedly
the biggest challenge facing a new administration.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

VOP back on the air

The Zimbabwean

BULAWAYO - One of Zimbabwe's two independent radio stations, Voice of the
People (VOP) is back on the air with a new frequency. VOP, whose journalists
are based in Zimbabwe, has been off air for three weeks after experiencing
jamming of its broadcasts, allegedly by Zimbabwean security operatives
trained by Chinese secret service.
The station is now available on SW 11705 KHZ in the 25 metre band. Meanwhile
there are indications that the government is also jamming Voice of America's
special programmes on Zimbabwe - Studio 7.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Lest we forget

The Zimbabwean

HARARE - It is desperately important that journalists remind the people of
Zimbabwe and any other friends of Zimbabwe of the socio-economic and
political state of the nation of Zimbabwe BEFORE the farm invasions.
This is terribly important because Zanu (PF) would like to establish their
sickening propaganda view that the primary purpose of the MDC was and
continues to be to function as a "sellout organization" which Britain both
founded and funded.

In fact, the MDC was formed in 1999 in response to a very desperate need for
the removal of Zanu (PF). This sentiment began way BEFORE the farm invasions
(even as far back as 1986.)

The farm invasions began in 2000 as a desperate measure by Zanu (PF) to
rekindle the revolutionary flame and woo the black electorate that had been
swept away by the young MDC!

It is not a secret that if the MDC had not been there, the status quo would
have still been with us (as far the farm "ownership" situation is

It was the ZCTU leaders, ie Tsvangirai and co., who were asking why the land
question was not being addressed so that the unemployed and the landless
could benefit from having pieces of land allocated to them!

Zanu (PF) then picked up the whistle and then ran away with it, throwing
away all logic in the desperate process.
It will then be very sad and very wrong if the founders, members and
sympathizers of the MDC go down in history as having unsuccessfully tried to
install a counter-revolutionary political party.

It must never be forgotten that Zimbabweans across the spectrum (workers,
intellectuals, farmers, the unemployed, the entrepreneurs .virtually
everyone supported the "MUGABE MUST GO" refrain!

We must be reminded of the rampant corruption that was increasing unchecked!

We must be reminded of the nepotism (eg the illegal removal of Engineer
Simbarashe Mangwengwende from the leadership of ZESA to make way for Mugabe's
corrupt, arrogant and inefficient brother-in-law, Sidney Gata.)

We must be reminded of the wasted resources where Zimbabwe was made by
Mugabe to adventure into the DRC to prop up the dictatorship of Laurent

We must be reminded of the alleged looting of the mineral wealth of the DRC
and the subsequent assassination of the youthful Minister of Defence Moven
Mahachi who was calling for a thorough investigation into the allegations
from the UN that Emmerson "Soft-As-Wool" Mnangagwa and others were getting
filthy rich from siphoning the mineral wealth of the DRC.

Please remind us of the economic mismanagement -where Zanu (PF) concentrated
on building "white elephants" eg the new Harare International Airport etc in
order to create opportunities for crooks and saboteurs like Leo Mugabe to
siphon State and other resources.

Remind us of the assassinations and disappearances of many great and
valuable citizens of Zim eg Josiah Magama Tongogara, Witness Rukarwa, chris
Ushewokunze, Sidney Malunga, Zororo Duri, William Ndangana, Prof "Mas",
Willie Dzawanda Musarurwa, and other lesser personalities like Ms Rashiwe
Guzha, the CIO Boss Eddison Shirihuru, Albert Mugabe, Peter Pamire, and all
the others.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Woza tours Europe

The Zimbabwean
Sabine Fiedler-Conradi of the Harare Munich Partnership addresses the Amnesty International demonstration in Innsbruck with Woza’s Jenni Williams (right).
INNSBRUCK – WOZA’s Jenni Williams visited the Amnesty International Group in Austria recently, where she addressed members of AI and the Harare Munich Partnership on the sufferings of women in Zimbabwe today.
The group has been very active in writing letters and holding demonstrations to raise awareness of the plight of Zimbabwean women in Europe. To celebrate the visit, the group organised a march round the streets of Innsbruck, escorted by the Austrian police, to the beat of six big drums and repeated calls of “WOZA!”

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe: what's in the word?

The Zimbabwean

In his book, The Phantom Voyagers, Robert Dick-Read examines the theory that
Indonesian mariners came to Africa and Madagascar long before Europeans and
Arabs, and left their mark. Here the author explores the meaning of the word
"Zimbabwe,'' and a possible link between ceremonies in Madagascar and
Apart from the widely known Great Zimbabwe, there are at least 150 other
Zimbabwes hidden in the bush between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers. What
were they for, and what does the word mean?

The conventional wisdom is that it derives from the Shona dzimba dza mahwe -
meaning 'houses of stone'. Charles Bullock, who worked closely with the
Shona, wrote 85 years ago that, when asked to say 'stone houses' the Shona
said dzimba dza mahwe -' houses of stone'. But, according to Bullock, the
records of early Portuguese visitors implied that 'Zimbabwe' signified
'Court'. Bullock added, "I have certainly heard (Zimbabwe) used for ordinary
pole and daga huts where lives the priestess of the mhondoro cult; and also
for burial places of chiefs; and also for the miniature places of sacrifice
to the tribal spirit."

As none of the buildings Bullock referred to was built of stone, and as none
of the 150 Zimbabwes was ever known to have contained houses built of stone,
Bullock concluded that Zimbabwe simply meant: "Lo! A great house."

His interpretation seems logical. And if - as we believe - Central Africa
once had a closer relationship with the maritime people of Madagascar, it is
not suprising to find parallels between ceremonies in Madagascar and
Zimbabwe. From the supreme Malagasy God Zana-hary, to the Shona's Mwari,
there are many religious cults and beliefs that echo each other across the

For example, the Tromba cult, which was widespread in Madagascar, may have a
direct bearing on Zimbabwean history. This cult provided a pathway for the
spirit of the dead to rejoin the ancestors and the great god Zanahari-bé.

Cult ceremonies took place within a series of concentric compounds. The
large outer compound, surrounded by a sturdy fence, was the vala-bé, simply
the 'great' compound. Inside, also within fence, was the vala-mena, the red,
or 'royal' compound. And inside that was the vala-mena, a large thatched
wooden building, of no particular significance externally, but of vital
importance within, which was the Zomba-bé (pronounced Zumba). This meaning
is identical to Bullock's interpretation of Zimbabwe, i.e. "The Great House".

The Zomba-bé, contained another miniature building, the Zomba-faly, housing
the bones and other relics of the ancestors.

This arrangement of enclosures within enclosures within enclosures is
reminiscent of The Great Zimbabwe where - if the comparison is valid - one
would have expected to find the building housing the ancestral relics within
the inner stone-walled enclosure.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Van Hoogstraten - Tzar or Old Nick

The Zimbabwean

How much do most Zimbabweans really know about Nicholas Van Hoogstraten
except that he is very rich, owns a lot of property and business in the
country, was briefly jailed in England's Belmarsh prison, and is a
frightening character who admires Robert Mugabe and all his works -
describing him as "100 percent decent and incorruptible". (Hard to agree
with him here).
Enlightenment comes, so long as you wait long enough, read enough and are
lucky to have access to an array of information resources - not the least
being TV and the internet. I watched last week's close-up of the man on a
BBC2 television programme with enormous interest. I wanted to make up my own
mind about him - since his wealth helps to prop up a regime which has all
but destroyed the gains of Zimbabwe's precious freedom.

I am intrigued by the mysteries of human nature, especially if it verges on
the inhuman. For me, there is nothing so revealing as body language. Van
Hoogstraten revealed himself to be full of contradictions and - if his
uncontrollable twitch, his mouth continuously working nervously - is
anything to go by, he is as insecure as hell. Clearly, he is also
extraordinarily vain and yet absolutely terrified in his chosen, unlovable
role as a 'loner', modelling himself on Attila the Hun. He is not nearly
hairy enough.

His boasts of his heartlessness - a set piece showed him shouting down the
phone: "I don't care if he [a man owing him rent] is being carried off in an
ambulance, I want my money, NOW!" I think this sort of thing, like his
threatening judges who he said "should never set foot in southern Africa" or
"they will never see the light of the day" is designed to frighten people.
One fearless judge has called him a "self-appointed emissary of Beelzebub"
(old Nick?) whilst his own bravery seems mostly to be directed towards
people who want to part him from his money.

He says he won't be coming to live in Zimbabwe soon because he has five
young children in England and he softens towards his eldest son who will be
his heir. The pleasant-looking young man may inherit huge shares in Zimbabwe's
tourist, mining, banking and agricultural industries (if they ever recover
from their present doldrums): 35 727 640 shares in the Rainbow Tourism
Group, 32 percent of coal produced in Hwange, 20 percent of NMB, seven
percent of CFI, Ltd., one of Zimbabwe's biggest agro-industrial firms, about
600 000 acres of farmland - he is Zimbabwe's largest private landowner.

This latter holding was given in exchange, we are told, from some dodgy
dealings regarding the regime's defence requirements. His farms have been
'spared from seizure apparently to thank him for financial support' (Sadly
for him his ownership has been ignored by carelessly enthusiastic

This strange man contradicts himself: talking of how he spends his money: "I
don't need it but it's my money and if I choose to give it away I'll choose
one of the charities I support in Zimbabwe". Charity? Now there's a softie!
He has recently said that he is tired of making money and plans a career in
politics: "I am already involved with politics... well, not in this
 country." Has anybody told him that, being white and, generous though he is
towards Mugabe, he cannot bank on a place in Zimbabwe's ruling class, not
yet anyway. The ethnic cleansing around the farms and businesses has caught
on amongst Mugabe's violent young green bombers who are getting hungry and
fast running out of new targets.

His 'grandiose second palace' in Zimbabwe . 'to match his £30 million palace'
in England would be fit for a king. The absolute monarch who rules in
Zimbabwe right now is about a quarter of a century older than Nicholas.
Perhaps Mugabe's present palace would not be good enough for a would-be
second Tzar Nicholas.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

We want to destroy cricket - Mliswa

The Zimbabwean
sport cricket disrup
Mliswa's handiwork - John Coat, a farmer beaten by Temba Mliswa in
This is a letter sent to Ozias Bvute, Chief Executive, Zimbabwe Cricket, concerning the recent disruption of the provincial chairmen’s meeting.
Dear Mr Bvute

We which to draw to your attention to an orchestrated incident that occurred on Friday October 21 2005 at approximately 10:30am, to which you may be aware! This incident happened at Old Hararians Sports Club, where the Provincial Chairmen from all the provinces were having an organised meeting to discuss various issues concerning the state of the game in Zimbabwe.

All those present were as follows:

Mr C Robertson - M.C.D.W.A. - Chairman
Mr A Kemp - Matebeleland Districts - Chairman
Mr A Essat - Matebeleland - Chairman
Mr M Ebrahim - Masvingo - Chairman
Mr T Savory - Midlands - Chairman
Mr A Walsh - Manicaland - Chairman
Mrs D Savory - Secretary - Minute Taker

Invited People:
Mr E Dube - National Selector and Matabeleland Board Member
Mr P Simmons - National Coach
Mr C Mandenge - Mashonaland Chairman
Mr E Sembeseya - Mashonaland Chairman
Mr D Hondo - Players Representative
Mr A Blignaut - Players Representative

The meeting was scheduled to start at 9:30am, but due to the late arrival of the Air Zimbabwe flight from Bulawayo we only started at 10:00am.

At approximately 10:30am a Mr Themba Mliswa (who incidentally flew in from Bulawayo on the same flight as Mr Kemp, Mr Essat and Mr Dube), Dr T Mukuhlani (board member and ex Mashonaland Chairman) and an unidentified young lady from Redcliffe Cricket Club who said she was here to represent Midlands arrived.

They banged on the door and demanded entry and when Mr Kemp opened the door Mr Themba Mliswa barged in and said to Mr Kemp and I quote: “You f***ing white Rhodesian, this is a Rhodesian meeting. Do you know who I am - I am from the office of State Security from the office of Mr Mutasa”. He repeated this several times. He stated and again I quote: “We have taken the farms now we are going to take cricket”. He then stated that the army was now going to run cricket and stated again quote “we are here to destroy cricket”.

He also stated that he was now Chairman of Mashonaland West cricket and that there was no more Mashonaland Country Districts. Mr T Mukuhlani was standing next to him throughout and was shouting out what was this meeting being held for and why certain people were at the meeting.

Mr Mliswa then turned to Mr E Sembeseya and said to him and again I quote "You are just a f***ing white arse licker".

This shouting and screaming carried on for about 15 minutes and was witnessed by Mr Hondo and A Blignaut, National Players and Mr P Simmons the West Indian Zimbabwe Cricket coach.

We telephoned the Police, CID, who sent some men to Old Hararians , but by the time they arrived these men had disappeared. They stated that we were free to carry on with our properly organised meeting, which we did up to 6:00pm.

We are sending a copy of this report to Senior Superintendent Erasmus at CID headquarters, to the ICC, the Chairman of ZC and the entire board, Mr Alwyn Pichanic and his selection panel and Players representative Mr Clive Field, to show what level we have sunk to.

On behalf of all those present.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Don't let Zim host the cup

The Zimbabwean

HARARE - The Confederation of African Football is well advised not to bring
the 2010 Nations Cup to Zimbabwe, says the activist group Zimactivism. They
have called on all Zimbabweans to email CAF at and
register their objections to the nation's bid to host the competition.
A staunch CAPS United supporter, Jefter Gondo, dismissed the bid. "What Zifa
needs first is to put its house in order first before making a noise. This
bid thing is a pipe-dream because the administrative structures are not in

But Zifa boss Rafik Khan was confident that Caf would award the opportunity
to Zimbabwe. He said: "Caf is highly likely to look at Southern Africa
because it has been a long time since we got it this side. So our greatest
rivals in this competition become southern African countries like Angola,
Namibia and Mozambique. But the good thing is that we now know what Caf

The last time a southern African country hosted this tournament was in 1996
in South Africa.

Zimactivism suggests that objections take into account the following:

"Notwithstanding the fact that Zimbabwe is not in a position financially to
develop the infrastructure needed for this exercise it might be worth
pointing out to CAF the following:

- Zimbabwe has a constant fuel crisis,

- There are frequent water shortages (guests at the Sheraton Hotel among
millions of other Zimbabweans can testify to this),

- Electricity supply is often interrupted (if our current infrastructure
cannot supply adequate power and water, imagine the chaos when a major
sporting event is held),

- Street lighting is almost non-existent in suburbs all over Zimbabwe,

- Garbage is seldom collected leaving the once "Sunshine City" of Harare

- Zimbabwe is experiencing 80% unemployment which means high levels of crime

- Corruption across the board has mean that many Zimbabweans have "bought"
their driver's licences, meaning our roads are extremely unsafe,

- Basic maintenance of traffic lights and roads is non-existent making
driving in Harare extremely dangerous,

- Zimbabwe's medical facilities have failed; there are too few ambulances
servicing major cities and even if you get to hospital, you are unlikely to
find the drugs needed for treatment (Zimbabwe health facilities cannot deal
with minor disasters never mind major ones which could occur during major
sporting events),

- Talk about undemocratic: three Zimbabweans conducting a survey in Harare
and representing a civil society organisation were recently severely
assaulted by members of the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA),

- Presidential Guards patrolling State House are known to beat up members of
the public near State House."

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Letters to The Zimbabwean

Challenge to the youth
EDITOR - I would like to challenge all Zimbabwean youths. This not the time
to run away for our lovely country, going to neighbouring countries to find
better living, while other youths of your age are busy trying to bring
change at home.
We should be together in spirit and fight the enemy so that we will remove
this Mugabe regime. Let us be like South African youths. They brought
democracy to their country. We should form a radical youth movement that
will lead us to democracy. Let us demand our rights by giving pressure to
Mugabe. We will never sit and say God will punish Mugabe. By doing so Mugabe
and his Zanu (PF) will keep on chopping off our heads.

A sight for sore ears
EDITOR - So they have finally, after all this time, said it. Vice President
Mispa had the courage to stand up and tell the new farmers that they shouldn't
have destroyed all Zimbabwe's farms and that they should have only taken one
farm each, leaving the whites with one farm as well. This he said is all the
President ever wanted.
Well what a relief that is, now that we have finally cleared that little
point up. One man one farm. Thanks Mr. Vice President. It's such a relief to
know that it was in fact a mistake, unruly elements getting above themselves
and that the land reform is now over. Only thing being I'm not so sure Black
Jesus and his fellows would agree that it was a mistake. Please Mr. Vice
President tell the Deputy Minister of comedy etc etc that it's all over.

A basic thought here, farmers farm, they don't sit in the high court. I don't
for one moment say that a judge shouldn't have a farm but surly employ a
farm manager, get a consultant, approach the business of farming as a
intelligent person, do it properly.

If the chefs need a little weekend retreat is it necessary to reduce the
country to a laughing stock, put four million people at death's door? Wouldn't
it have been easier to just get a property that can be called yours out of
town and not destroy?

Let's use a recent example, Kintyre Estates. Is it not possible for the
fabulously rich elite of this country to buy a few acres, develop a idle
farm, do roses and build and develop and create and produce. Why rip up an
existing farm. Kintyre at one point was the most modern and technologically
advanced dairy in sub-Saharan Africa, compete with computerized cows no

Now, Mrs.Vice President, please lock up those unruly elements, douse the
fires of racial hatred and give us our own farms back, so that we can prove
to you that the new Zimbabwe will be a place to truly wonder at. The old men
must go to their stoeps, contemplate their work and dream of their legacy.
Let us now save our country before its too late.

MDC separatists missing a point?
EDITOR - The abolition of the Senate soon after independence by Zanu (PF)
was based on the argument that one chamber was adequate for a small country
like ours. Whatever other reasons advanced to support the idea then still
stand for Zimbabwe today.
In the 25 years of his rule, Mugabe has never accepted anyone who challenged
his rule. Like any dictator, he eliminated anyone perceived to be opposing
his policies. It is in this process that many fell by the way, Edson Zvobgo,
Dzikamai Mavhaire, Edgar Tekere, Ndabaningi Sithole, Joshua Nkomo, to name a
few. Realising that his days are numbered, Mugabe, like any human being is
debating over some of the following questions:

Who will I put in my will?, What will I bequeath this nation ? What image
have I created as a nationalist? Where have I gone wrong and what needs to
be corrected? The question of a will boggles the mind of many at the time of
retiring. Experience has taught me that at this stage parents tend to be
guided by two principles: reconciliation on the one hand and perpetuation of
one's posterity on the other.

It is in pursuit of these two principles that Mugabe has realised the need
to resuscitate the Senate. The Senate will for him serve three purposes:
reconciliation. This is where those who could not make it in the 2005
parliamentary elections will go. The second purpose is inheritance. Mugabe's
argument is that there is no other person who will perpetuate his so-called
achievements. Remember he has been let down by the mafikizolo. The third and
obvious purpose is that the Senate will make redundant the present
parliament. He will choose the faithful.

For the MDC separatists logic is anathema. In my view, the temptation for a
big salary, luxurious cars, travel and subsistence, hotel bills, and also
the fact of buying or developing their properties which they may hitherto
failed to do, overwhelmed these boys. In the first instance, they have
destroyed all the gains MDC had made, bridging racial and tribal/regional
divides. The next excuse is forming a party along tribal/regional lines
(maybe they will call it ZAPU 2005: Senate elections ).

Professor Weshman Ncube and your club, I feel strongly let down and
disappointed. You have ceased to command the respect you had from academics.

City of Kings is suffering
EDITOR - I was born and bred in Bulawayo some 38 years ago and never have I
suffered like this in my hometown. It has run out of water, it has no fuel
,it has no sugar, it has no transport - but the government is turning a
blind eye. The water crisis has gone for about 3-4months now.
The government simply does not care whether the city collapses because to
them the Ndebele-speaking people are aliens in Zimbabwe and that is why they
tried to kill all of them during the Gukurahundi.

If the government is not going to help our city survive because it and the
whole of Matabeleland have refused to vote for Zanu (PF),then we will rather
die because we shall never vote for murderers.

People like Professor Jonathan Moyo who tried to steer development in our
region shall always remain heroes in Matabeleland because he had and still
has the region at heart and that's why we love him despite his past sins. We
also sympathise with Professor Welshman Ncube in taking part in the senate
elections because we do not want to give Zanu (PF) any breathing space.

Morgan can go hang if he says Harvest House is a no-go area for Ncube and
his crew. He also should know that Matabeleland is a no-go area for him and
his boys.

Finally to all Zimbabweans I say let's reject the new currency if it has
funny features like Mugabe, Nehanda, kaguvi, Ivu(land issues) just to
mention a few because history and land are not our economy. How can land be
our economy when we dot have farmers.


Back to the Top
Back to Index