FRESH VOTERS' ROLL STILL IN SHAMBLES Mon 11 October
††††† HARARE - Several hundreds of thousands of "ghost voters" still
appear on a new voters' roll compiled by Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede
for use in next year's parliamentary election, sources at Mudede's office
††††† Mudede met President Robert Mugabe two weeks
ago to formally tell him that he had finished compiling the register of
voters for the March poll. The registrar also gave Mugabe a copy of the new
roll, according to the sources.
††††† "Mudede met the President
(Mugabe) to appraise him on progress in the compilation of the voters' roll.
He told the President he had finished preparing the roll and also gave him a
copy of the new voters' roll," said a senior official at Mudede's Makombe
Building ††††† offices.
††††† Mudede confirmed meeting Mugabe but
refused to disclose whether they discussed the issue of the voters' roll. He
also would not discuss charges that the new roll contains mistakes and names
of people who have either died or left Zimbabwe.
††††† He said: "I
met him (Mugabe) because he is my boss. But I cannot discuss what we met for
neither can I discuss issues to do with the voters' roll."
There are slightly more than five million names on Zimbabwe's voters' roll.
Out of these, two million are names of people who have either fled economic
hardships and political violence in the country and are now living abroad or
they are names of people who have succumbed to a raging HIV/AIDS epidemic
that is killing at least 2 000 Zimbabweans every week.
††††† The Zimbabwe
government estimates that more than four million of its citizens are living
abroad, mostly in South Africa, Britain, Botswana, United States and
††††† Besides the phantom voters, the registrar, who earlier this
year carried out a national exercise to update the voters' register had not
adequately factored in the movement of voters between
††††† As a result several hundreds of thousands of
voters, who have since changed location since the last election, are still
registered in their old ††††† constituencies and may not be able to vote next
††††† Under laws governing parliamentary elections people can only
vote in a particular constituency under which they are
††††† The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) party, local and international election observers have in the past
accused Mudede, a well known ruling ZANU PF party supporter, of manipulating
the shambolic voters' roll to the advantage of the ††††† ruling
††††† The MDC also accused Mudede of concentrating a voter
registration exercise at the beginning of the year in areas known to back
ZANU PF. Mudede denies the charges of bias towards ZANU PF. - ZimOnline
Governor hauled to court over death threats to MDC
official Mon 11 October 2004
††††† MASHONALAND CENTRAL - The governor
of Mashonaland Central province, Ephraim Masawi, will today appear in the
High Court in Harare to answer to charges of masterminding political
violence and issuing death threats to opposition supporters
††††† Masawi, the first high-ranking member of the ruling ZANU PF
party to be tried for political violence, sometime this year allegedly
ordered opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party national
executive member, Claudius Marimo, to leave the ††††† province after he
refused to defect to ZANU PF.
††††† The governor, who is the most senior
government official in the province, is alleged to have held several
meetings with ZANU PF militants urging them to cleanse the province of MDC
supporters. Mashonaland Central is a stronghold of the ruling
††††† The ruling party militants later raided Marimo's business in
Musana communal lands in the province. They destroyed the property and
looted goods and cash amounting to Z$3 million. The MDC official was
forcibly evicted from the area and now lives in ††††† Goromonzi in the
neighbouring Mashonaland East province.
††††† In opposing papers filed
with the court, Masawi admits having asked Marimo to leave his party and
join ZANU PF but claims he had said it more as a joke and to a person with
whom he "has no problems at a social level."
††††† Masawi denied
threatening Marimo or other MDC supporters in the area with death and said
he regretted the looting of the opposition official's business by ZANU PF
††††† He said: "I wish to humbly stress that if it ever
happened (looting), that was a regrettable reaction of the community which
might have erroneously believed that Marimo's political affiliation might
have a negative impact on community development."
††††† Marimo wants
the court to ban Masawi or anyone acting on his behalf from visiting his
businesses and home and that they are stopped from threatening to assault or
evict him, his family and his employees.
††††† Justice Tedius Karwi is
hearing the matter.
††††† ZANU PF has been accused of using violence and
murder to intimidate villagers in remote rural areas to support the party.
Most parts of Mashonaland Central province are no-go areas unless one has a
membership card of the ruling party. - ZimOnline
Clip Mugabe's powers, says NGO Mon 11 October 2004 †††††
HARARE - The Zimbabwe Election Support Network is lobbying Parliament to
clip President Robert Mugabe's sweeping powers to change the country's
electoral laws and regulations.
††††† The group, which is an alliance
of human rights and pro-democracy organisations in the country, says Mugabe,
who is also President of the ruling ZANU PF party, has in the past amended
the Electoral Act to the advantage of his party.
Parliament should have power to amend electoral laws to ensure transparency
and fairness, the alliance said in proposals submitted to Parliament and to
Mugabe and his Cabinet.
††††† Part of the proposals read: "Under the
current Electoral Act the President has wide powers to amend the Act without
reference to Parliament (although) the President is leader of a political
party that contests the election.
††††† "In Presidential elections,
the President has been a contestant. It is totally unacceptable to vest in
the President this power. It can be used and has been used to change
electoral laws so as to favour one party."
††††† On top of powers to
virtually chop and change electoral rules and regulations as he deems fit,
Mugabe also appoints the Registrar-General, who registers voters and
candidates for elections. The registrar also conducts the actual voting and
has powers to declare an election valid or invalid.
††††† Mugabe also
appoints the Delimitation Commission that divides the country into
constituencies, a key issue in a country where rural areas are known to back
the ruling party while urban areas support the main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change party.
††††† The President also appoints the Election
Supervisory Commission that is tasked with ensuring that polls are free and
††††† A draft Bill tabled in Parliament last week proposes the
creation of a new Zimbabwe Electoral Commission that the government says
will be independent and will take charge of all polls.
critics say the proposed commission will lack independence because its
chairman will be appointed by Mugabe while its other four members will be
nominated by Parliament's Standing Orders committee that is heavily
dominated by ZANU PF.
††††† But it is doubtful whether the
pro-democracy alliance will succeed in convincing a ZANU PF-dominated
Parliament to change the law and reduce Mugabe's powers. - ZimOnline
IT IS 6:20pm and as I put a few potatoes into a saucepan to
boil, the lights flicker off. Power cuts are nothing new in Harare these
days, but it has been a bad week in the once efficient, clean capital
everyone used to call the Sunshine City.
After days of ignoring "no
petrol" signs outside the city's fuel stations, the state-run newspaper has
finally admitted that once again, there are fuel shortages.
of commuters have been left stranded, the minibuses they depend on stuck in
fuel queues, a recurring feature of life in Zimbabwe in the past four
The Sunday Mail assures us the fuel situation is "expected to be
back to normal by Tuesday next week" and adds that it is the oil companies'
and not the government's fault.
When the mouthpiece of the president,
Robert Mugabe, tells you not to worry, you know something is seriously
wrong. So it is back to measuring out every precious drop of fuel and
rationing trips to the supermarket.
Not that shopping trips are much of
an option these days. The cash is running out. Fears that Zimbabwe's
energetic central bank governor, Gideon Gono, will close down more banks -
six financial institutions have had their operations suspended recently -
have fuelled massive cash withdrawals by depositors wanting to take their
cash somewhere safer.
"There's no money in the bank, there's no money in
the machine," one man complaining in Sam Levy's Shopping Village in the
plush Borrowdale suburb.
Water is another commodity in short supply, with
doubts about the safety of municipal water for months now. Boil twice, then
filter, I have been advised. But dubious water is better than no water, as
people across Harare know only too well.
The city council last month
introduced 18-hour water cuts to many suburbs, blaming breakdowns at an
aging water treatment plant and pipe leakages.
Our landlord fixed the
borehole several weeks ago, meaning our regular trips to a friend with a car
boot full of empty two-litre Mazoe Orange Squash bottles to fill from her
well are - for now at least - over.
But others are not so lucky. The
authorities have had to deploy water bowsers to several northern areas,
including Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison, where the former British SAS
officer Simon Mann is serving a seven-year term for a mercenary plot. State
radio said it had been without tap water for "too long".
quarters at Harare International Airport have, meanwhile, been flooded with
raw sewage since pipes burst more than a month ago. Fears of a dysentery
outbreak are running high. "We are exposed to this filthy water every day
and it is a matter of time before people start dying," a resident told the
Zimbabwe's four-year political and economic crisis has taken
its toll on Harare. Life here was not always this bad.
chairman of the Combined Harare Residents' Association (CHRA), says that
while conditions for the average city dweller have always been poor, "it's
got worse for them".
Many here speak of smooth water delivery as well as
functioning schools, libraries and hospitals in the heady few years after
independence in 1980.
Until recently, Mr Mugabe's government blamed the
opposition-led council for the city's woes.
But in August, Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) councillors resigned en masse, saying government
interference was making it impossible to do their job.
mayor, Sekesai Makwavarara, defected to the ruling ZANU-PF party and was
promptly rewarded with a farm near the president's rural home of Zvimba,
according to local press reports.
As the heat rises ahead of next month's
rains, desperation is deepening. Students at the once-reputed University of
Zimbabwe are resorting to prostitution to pay their way. Up to 75 per cent
of female students trade sex for rent, food or money, according to the
Herald newspaper recently.
Churches have had to include whites, the
formerly privileged minority group, on their feeding lists.
friend Jon was surviving mostly on local nyimo beans and avocado pears from
his tree until a local Presbyterian church began delivering food parcels.
Now he has rediscovered the taste of chicken, he says.
renting out their homes to fund their latter years. Showing me round her
house in the leafy Highlands suburb, one woman told me she was moving into a
Her husband is retiring after more than 40 years as a
teacher at one of Zimbabwe's best private schools. His pension is just
$50,000 Zimbabwe (about £5), "not enough to buy bread for the month", she
Prices are rocketing, despite the official fall in
inflation from a peak of 644 per cent in January.
Statistical Office (CSO) claims the figure is now 314 per cent and the
government is on course for its Christmas target of 200 per cent. But the
rumour doing the rounds is that the real figure these days is more like 700
Telephone charges have just been hiked by 485 per cent, pushing
phone calls out of reach for many. Zimbabwe has only one fixed land-line
operator and, conveniently for the phone taps that reporters and opposition
politicians worry about, it is owned by the government. TelOne says the rise
has been necessitated partly by vandalism of its
"Zimbabweans have become trapped in a communication and
information prison," complains a social commentator, Cathy Buckle, in a
Why do you stay, friends ask. An estimated three million
Zimbabweans already live outside the country, and many more are joining
them, fleeing worsening living standards, threats of school closures and
fears of a surge in violence ahead of elections in March.
because I have family here. Because there are still things to write about.
And because, rightly or wrongly, I hope that things cannot stay this bad
Neil Manthorp in Cape Town Monday October 11, 2004 The
The 12 remaining Zimbabwean rebels who walked out on their
national team six months ago and effectively instigated an International
Cricket Council investigation into claims of racism and improper behaviour
by key members of their cricket union have filed an official letter of
complaint to the ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed. A statement is
expected from the ICC at its next meeting, on October 16-17.
outlines grievances about the way in which the ICC's short-lived
investigation was conducted in Harare last month, when less than half a day
of the scheduled three-day hearing took place. It also quotes assurances
from one of the two investigators, the South African high court judge Steven
Majiedt, that he and India's solici tor general Goolam Vahanvati would
"investigate questions of fact" and that "counsel would be constrained from
Norman Arendse, the ZCU's intimidating
advocate, fought for three ZCU directors to be present but the investigators
sustained the players' objection. So why, they ask, was the investigation
cancelled when the ZCU refused to comply? Two of its directors - the chief
executive Ozias Bvute and selection convenor Max Ebrahim - are the subjects
of most complaints.
"We had 12 witnesses waiting, some who had travelled
great distances. The inquiry could still have proceeded with certain
witnesses giving evidence in front of all the directors. They were never
given the chance," the letter states.
The rebels add that much of the
written evidence presented by their witnesses would be dismissed as
"irrelevant and speculative" without oral testimony to provide background
and context. None of the players handed in submissions either, as they
planned to give oral evidence.
The letter also highlights the case of a
Zimbabwean journalist Mehluli Sibanda, the only man to give evidence.
"Contrary to assurances, he was given no option but to agree to his identity
being revealed," they said, reminding Speed that investigators had earlier
agreed that "Sibanda was at risk". The letter ends with a paragraph
concerning a donation made by Speed to assist the players. They thanked him
for his "genuine attempts" to resolve the issue but added, "We have seven
thousand pounds in trust. Please provide your bank details and a formal
remittance so we can obtain authority to repatriate it to you."
Zimbabwe's electricity bill doubles††† Sheena Adams †††††††††
October 11 2004 at 04:11AM
††††† Zimbabwe's electricity debt to Eskom has
more than doubled in the past year to R74-million.
††††† Minister of
Public Enterprise Alec Erwin confirmed the amount in a written reply to a
parliamentary question, adding that the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply
Authority (Zesa) had begun repaying an amount of $1,5 million (R9,75
million) a month.
††††† It was reported by former Minister of Public
Enterprise Jeff Radebe in May that the debt was standing at
††††† Eskom spokesman Fani Zulu said he could not confirm
when the repayments had begun. The repayment agreement was the result of a
high level meeting last March.
††††† In February this year, Eskom cut
off Zimbabwe's electricity supply for two days because of
††††† "The situation is looking very good, perhaps because
both parties have committed themselves to finding an amicable solution,"
††††† Zesa has owed Eskom money since 1999 when its account
went into arrears. Eskom has been exporting electricity to Zimbabwe since
††††† Zulu said Zesa's debt had been "going away and re-emerging"
as Zimbabwe's foreign exchange reserves dipped and recovered.
The debt-stricken power supply utility also owes millions of rand to
Mozambique's Hydroelectrica Cahora Bassa. It also imports electricity from
the Democratic Republic of Congo.
††††† In a report last year, the
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries estimated Zesa's debt to regional power
companies to be about R900-million.
††††††††† .. This article
was originally published on page 4 of Pretoria News on October 11,
Refurbishment of Old Harare International Airport
Refurbishment of the Old Harare International Airport
passenger terminal is progressing well with about 95 percent of the work
having been completed, the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ)
said on Thursday.
CAAZ acting general manager, Jerry Ndlovu, said the
exercise, expected to be done at a cost of $3 billion, was now scheduled to
be completed by end of November this year, following a lengthy tendering
The refurbishment, which will turn the old international
terminal into a domestic terminal, started in July and was supposed to
have ended at the end of August 2004.
"Remarkable progress has been
made on the refurbishment of the terminal and most of the work is now at 95
percent stage of completion," said Ndlovu.
"The work was delayed when we
had to go through a long tendering process for the roof ceiling.
ceiling was damaged and this was causing damage to the main
"Thus, most of the outstanding work is waiting for the roof
to be done first."
He said in future when traffic increased, the
terminal would be used as a regional terminal.
Ndlovu said the
company that had won the tender was already on site doing the work and was
expected to finish the work in one and a half months.
He said the
terminal was expected to become operational by mid December this
Meanwhile, Ndlovu said work to upgrade the Joshua Nkomo
International Airport in Bulawayo was going according to plan with
acquisition and installation of equipment underway.
He said funds
were adequate to complete the work, which started more than a year
Upgrading work at the Joshua Nkomo International Airport involves
expansion of the terminal building, construction of a separate international
terminal and improvement of the existing structures to bring it in line with
international trends. - New Ziana.